Hillary Clinton violated federal records rules by never obtaining permission to conduct official business on private email server during her tenure as secretary state, a State Department audit concluded.
The report from the State Department’s inspector general say mentions “longstanding, systemic weaknesses” in the agency’s communications even before Clinton took office there, but it singles her out as having been a particularly bad offender for her exclusive use of private, unsecured email.
“Secretary Clinton had an obligation to discuss using her personal email account to conduct official business with their offices, who in turn would have attempted to provide her with approved and secured means that met her business needs” says the audit, which was first obtained by Politico.
“At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department issues before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act,” the report continued.
The 78-page report is the culmination of a review prompted by last year’s revelations that Hillary Clinton conducted official business on a private email server, rather than the secured government servers that officials are expected to use, during her four years in the Obama administration.
The inspector general states that its findings are based on interviews with Secretary of State John Kerry, and predecessors Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice and Madeleine Albright.
Clinton and her deputies, including Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, declined the inspector general’s request for interviews, Politico reported.
The report said that State Department workers are required to use “agency-authorized information systems to conduct normal day-to-day operations” because the use of other systems “creates significant security risks.”
The inspector general went on to recommend that the State Department remind employees that the use of personal email accounts to conduct official business is “discouraged in most circumstances,” and improved policies to promote compliance by all employees – including the secretary of state. The State Department’s management concurred with these recommendations.
“While people were aware of her use of personal email, no one had a full and complete understanding of the extent,” said the State Department’s representative Mark Toner. “We acknowledge that we need to do a better job with our record keeping.”
Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon responded to the report on Wednesday, saying that the report actually showed that Clinton’s practices were consistent with previous secretaries of state.
“[A]s this report makes clear, Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email was not was not unique, and she took steps that went much further than others to appropriately preserve and release her records,” Fallon said.
Clinton herself made the same argument in a March debate. However, Politifact found that statement to be “mostly false.”
However, the State Department has apparently made progress in its record keeping systems.
“Any email that [Secretary Kerry] sends is automatically copied and saved automatically,” the agency’s Deputy Spokesman said at a press briefing. “This automatic archiving approach does comply with the Federal Records Act.”
The audit is only one part of a much larger controversy. Clinton, who is the likely Democratic presidential nominee, is currently under investigation by the FBI for potentially putting highly sensitive information at risk, a fact that has become an important talking point in the election.
Clinton has contended that since most of her emails were sent to other people in the state department, she was complying with the federal law requiring the preservation of government records.
Though the FBI’s investigation is still ongoing, the inspector general’s audit casts doubt on this defense, saying that sending emails to other State Department accounts “is not an appropriate method of preserving any such emails that would constitute a federal record.”
Clinton’s use of a private email account came to light in 2013, when a hacker going by the name of Guccifer accessed the email account of her aide Sydney Blumenthal. The hacker, whose real name is Marcel Lazar, pleaded guilty to various hacking-related offenses on Wednesday.
At a news conference Tuesday, I asked Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and André Carson (D-Ind.) about Hillary Clinton’s having returned money from Muslims and refusing to meet with Arab and Muslim groups in her 2000 Senate run.
Rep. Ellison indicated he didn’t know about the controversy and — while stressing his backing for Sen. Bernie Sanders, argued that Clinton was someone who has done outreach to the Muslim community. Carson lauded her as the “most traveled” secretary of state.
Ellison and Carson, Congress’ only Muslim members, spoke at the at National Press Club to discuss “Islamophobia and Hateful Rhetoric Directed At Muslims.” [See video of their response, full video (33:00) and transcript below.]
Their opening remarks focused on Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Newt Gingrich, Peter King — all Republicans.
I had gone into the event wanting to question the manner in which they spoke — or declined to speak — about U.S. foreign policy. More on that later.
But, their emphasis on Republican transgressions, some going back to previous election cycles, I thought it important to raise the issue of Clinton’s actions and asked if there wasn’t anti-Muslim sentiment in the Democratic Party as well.
I cited a recent piece by Rania Khalek, in which she writes:
Back in 2000, during a heated U.S. Senate race in New York, Clinton came under attack for accepting political contributions from Muslim groups whose members were targets of a smear campaign generated by one of the Islamophobia industry’s most discredited operatives.
Without hesitation, Clinton condemned her Muslim supporters, returned their donations and refused to meet with Arab and Muslim Americans for the remainder of her campaign…
Ellison said: “I’m not aware of the incident. … When she came to Minnesota she specifically reached out to the Muslim community and had a sit down and talked about anti-Muslim hate. … I also know that years ago when she was Secretary of State, the Black Caucus had a meeting with her and she had recently appointed a special envoy to Muslim communities, you know — Farah Pandith — and she sat Andre and I right next to Farah because she wanted to make sure we were talking and comparing notes.”
Presuming he was being forthright, it says something about Ellison’s information flow that he would not have been aware of the controversy.
He mentioned Farah Pandith. According to her bio at the Kennedy School of Government, “Special Representative Pandith served as the Director for Middle East Regional Initiatives for the National Security Council from December 2004 to February 2007, where she was responsible for coordinating U.S. policy on ‘Muslim World’ Outreach and the Broader Middle East North Africa initiative.”
Pandith reported to Elliot Abrams at the Bush National Security Council, who is well known for his longtime backing of U.S. wars in the Mideast and Latin America.
Ellison stated that Clinton has “not in any way contributed to anti-Muslim hate. In fact Huma Abedin is one of her closest aides and Huma has been the target of anti-Muslim hate herself.”
Ellison’s defense of Clinton — and by extension the Democratic Party, since I specifically asked about that, was noteworthy. At another point in the event, he talked about how every community was guilty of bigotry to some extent.
Carson, who supports Clinton over Sanders, stated that while Clinton was recently in Indianapolis, “We helped to ensure that Muslims were not only there, they were part of the process. And there were a group of Syrian-Americans who had a moment with Secretary Clinton. … She is the most traveled Secretary of state in U.S. history. … Whenever I go to embassies that have Muslim ambassadors they talk about the bridge building that was done under her leadership as Secretary of State. … [Clinton] has a special sensitivity as it relates to issues impacting the Muslim community. As it relates to unwanted surveillance … Once she becomes president you will see Muslims in very important positions in her cabinet.”
It seems at best incredibly paltry: “Part of the process.” Syrian-Americans “had a moment.” “A moment” to discuss the fate of their country of origin. Which Syrian-Americans? Doubtlessly, there are some who want more U.S. intervention of the sort that brought disaster to Libya — which Clinton oversaw and Ellison himself backed at the time. Glen Ford has noted that Ellison has also backed a “no fly” zone in Syria.
Though she’s at times criticized Republicans for scapegoating Muslims, CNN reported: “Clinton calls for more surveillance, police after Brussels attacks.”
I actually asked the first question after their opening remarks. I had hoped that I’d get another question later about U.S. foreign policy after they had staked out their positions on foreign policy in response to other questions. However, I did not get another question in.
The deeper issue is the manner in which the question of “Islamophobia” is being dealt with: It largely excludes discussion of U.S. foreign policy, the dehumanization of Muslim lives lost, especially in U.S. attacks.
At the event, Ellison stressed that most of the victims of Daesh [ISIL] were Muslims, which is of course true, but it leaves out that most of the victims of U.S. foreign policy are Muslims — and that U.S. foreign policy has helped foster Al-Qaeda and ISIS and other sectarian groups.
You have Carson talking about how Muslim officials in embassies — almost invariably of tyrannical regimes — speak fondly of Clinton. This seems at best a dubious badge of honor.
Rep. Carson spoke in his other remarks of being on the House Intelligence Committee. He also spoke of his time growing up and being critical of law enforcement. I’ve criticized anti-Muslim bias for over twenty years, but a tacit bargain seems to have been struck whereby Muslims are “tolerated” — so long as they do not seriously critique U.S. foreign policy, and those who go along with it most will clearly be rewarded most by those who control U.S. foreign policy. Indeed, the subtext of some of Carson’s remarks is that such Muslims will be rewarded with plum positions for their apologetics.
The tension here is critical. While some who have written about Islamophobia see a meaningful resolution in incorporation of Muslims into the West, this tends to ignore the incredible violence of U.S. foreign policy. For example, John Feffer, who I know and like personally, recently wrote “Sadiq Khan and the End of Islamophobia” about the recent mayoral race in London.
There is real danger of a line of thinking that in effect charts a course of Muslims being accepted in the West in a manner that neuters any meaningful crit of foreign policy. It’s a course that explicitly or implicitly folds in the Muslim community rather than using it as a messenger to meaningful open up the Western societies in terms of challenging and ending their aggressive foreign policies and bring about a more peaceful world.
In fact, this course is incredibly dangerous because it leads to the impression of having a global dialogue when none is actually taking place about the most critical issues of U.S. government violence.
As Arun Kundnani has argued: “The promise of the ‘war on terror’ was that we would kill them ‘over there’ so they would not kill us ‘over here.’ Hence mass violence in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, Yemen, and Somalia — in the name of peace in the West. The ‘Authorization to Use Military Force’ that the U.S. Congress passed in the days after 9/11 already defined the whole world as a battlefield in the ‘war on terror’. President Obama continues to rely on the authorization to give his drone-killing program a veneer of legality. This is the old colonial formula of liberal values at home sustained by a hidden illiberalism in the periphery — where routine extra-judicial killing is normalized.”
The remarks of Malcolm X — whose birthday just passed — and his view of the course of African Americans in the U.S. is relevant: “They have a new gimmick every year. They’re going to take one of their boys, black boys, and put him in the cabinet so he can walk around Washington with a cigar. Fire on one end and fool on the other end. And because his immediate personal problem will have been solved he will be the one to tell our people: ‘Look how much progress we’re making. I’m in Washington, D.C., I can have tea in the White House. I’m your spokesman, I’m your leader.’ While our people are still living in Harlem in the slums. Still receiving the worst form of education.”
Sam Husseini: You’ve mentioned Trump and Cruz and Carson. I think all the names that you mentioned are Republicans that you feel are guilty of some form of Islamophobia. Rania Khalek, an Arab-American writer recently had a piece recounting that in her 2000 run, Hillary Clinton — after there were allegations that she was taking quote-unquote Muslim money — returned the money and refused to meet with members of the Muslim-American and Arab community. How do you respond to something like that? Is the Democratic party itself clear of Islamophobic sentiment as well?
Keith Ellison: I can only speak on what I know about — and I’m a Bernie supporter. And I support Bernie running all the way through the election. And — but have to be honest and tell you I’m not aware of that, right?Husseini: You don’t know about this?
Ellison: Well I’m not aware of the incident. I’ll tell you what I’m aware of I know that when she came to Minneapolis, Minnesota — and this is just being fair and honest. When she came to Minnesota she specifically reached out to the Muslim community and had a sit down and talked about anti-Muslim hate. I know about that.
I also know that years ago when she was Secretary of State, the black caucus had a meeting with her and she had recently appointed a special envoy to Muslim communities, you know — Farah Pandith — and she sat Andre and I right next to Farah because she wanted to make sure we were talking and comparing notes.
Now, I don’t want to say something didn’t happen when I don’t know — when I don’t have information. But I can say that if that did happen there’s weight with her reaching out as well.
Again, I’m not trying to discredit anyone’s experience, I don’t have any information on it. But I can tell you she did some things and has not in any way contributed to anti-Muslim hate. In fact Huma Abedin is one of her closest aides and Huma has been the target of anti-Muslim hate herself and I have never sensed that Secretary Clinton is backing herself away from her association with Huma Abedin. So.
Again, I’m a Bernie guy. I’m standing up there — if you wanna talk who should be president I believe it’s Bernie Sanders, but fair’s fair and true’s true and she has no record that I’m aware of of anti-Muslim hate.
Andre Carson: As a Clinton guy (laughter)
Ellison: Did I mention that —?
Carson: As Keith stated, one of her chief advisers and closest confidants is Huma Abedin who is phenomenal. She’s a friend of mine. Secretary Clinton was in Indianapolis a few weeks ago. We helped to ensure that Muslims were not only there, they were part of the process. And there were a group of Syrian-Americans who had a moment with Secretary Clinton. If you look at her history as not only as first lady of Arkansas but first lady of the United States of America, and even Secretary of State. She is the most traveled Secretary of state in U.S. history. Let’s make that clear.
Whenever I go to embassies that have Muslim ambassadors they talk about the bridge building that was done under her leadership as Secretary of State. When I go to Muslim communities across the country and communities are divided — some are Feeling the Bern and some like me are climbing up that Hill. But they respect Secretary Clinton because she has a special sensitivity as it relates to issues impacting the Muslim community. As it relates to unwanted surveillance as it relates to outright discrimination. And I believe and we can talk about this later, that once she becomes president you will see Muslims in very important positions in her cabinet.
Washington is promoting commercial interests of the energy corporation Westinghouse in Europe, creating risks for European nuclear power plants, an article in Forbes read.
For example, in 2015, two of the Westinghouse-made fuel assemblies at the South Ukraine nuclear power plant (NPP) were found to be leaking. Since 2015, the NPP has been using US-made fuel.
In 2014, Ukraine and Westinghouse reached an agreement to supply nuclear fuel to some Ukrainian NPPs. The alleged reason behind the contract was the need to help Ukraine become energetically independent from Russia. Russia was a long-time supplier of nuclear fuel to Ukraine.
Experts have repeatedly warned that the deal would create serious risks for the safety of Ukrainian NPPs.
They cited the example of an incident which took place several years ago at the Temelin nuclear power plant, in the Czech Republic. The NPP operated on Russian-designed reactors and used fuel supplied by Westinghouse. The fuel was leaking and the rods were bending. All the Westinghouse fuel was removed from the core and replaced with Russian-made fuel.
As for Ukraine, the company announced that its fuel for Ukrainian NPPs had been improved.
Despite experts’ warnings, in March 2015, the first 42 fuel assemblies made by Westinghouse were loaded to the third reactor unit at the South Ukraine NPP.
According to Forbes, the two Westinghouse-made assemblies were found leaking during a scheduled outage at the third unit of the NPP.
The author of the article, Forbes contributor Kenneth Rapoza described how Washington has promoted Westinghouse’s interest in Eastern Europe, neglecting safety recommendations.
“Westinghouse is more than a brand name American power company. It’s a battering ram used by Washington to promote energy security,” the author wrote.
A source who wished to remain anonymous told Forbes that Westinghouse wants a market share in Eastern Europe in a bid to prevent the company from insolvency.
“Their new reactor division is loss-making, the fuel division is their only cash cow and it is not growing and existing margins are getting slimmer and slimmer. We think Westinghouse has spent millions of dollars to include nuclear fuel as part of the energy security narrative, and the current EU sentiment against Russia play into their hand,” the source said.
“But derailing nuclear projects while running into technical difficulties with Westinghouse fuel assemblies in Rosatom reactors is a dangerous way to promote energy security,” Rapoza noted.
According to former Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek, the US has been promoting Westinghouse for years.
In the 1990s, US diplomats supported contribution between the Czech Republic and Westinghouse. The company pledged to improve Russian-designed nuclear plants to Western standards.
“However, the opposite proved to be true. Fuel assemblies delivered by Westinghouse were of inferior quality and higher price compared with than Russian fuel and caused frequent outages of Temelin reactors,” Paroubek told Forbes.
After, Westinghouse’s fuel assemblies were found leaking in the 2000s the Czech company CEZ decided to return to Russian-made nuclear fuel for the Temelin NPP.
“CEZ’s decision serves as a testament to the fact that the Russian fuel assembly was safer and that Washington was selling a product that did not quite work at the time, potentially putting nuclear power plants in danger,” the article read.
US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton was also involved in promoting Westinghouse in Eastern Europe. In 2012 when she served as US State Secretary Clinton met with then Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas, using the energy security argument to promote the company.
According to the article, Westinghouse can produce fuel for Russia-designed reactors as well as Rosatom can build fuel assemblies for Western-designed power units. However, for third parties working with Westinghouse is less economically efficient.
“Russia is the cheaper producer of the two, so when countries turn to Westinghouse for the fuel assemblies, they have to pay a premium for diversification,” Rapoza wrote.
Nevertheless, the largest initiative by Westinghouse is squeezing Russia from the Ukrainian nuclear fuel market, using again the argument of diversifying supplies.
In 2012, the Ukrainian nuclear regulator banned the use of Westinghouse’s fuel assemblies in the country pending an investigation over the incident at the South Ukraine NPP.
“Two years later, then-Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk consulted Westinghouse on picking a new nuclear safety regulator for his new government,” the author wrote citing a source in Ukraine.
In April, the Ukrainian Energy Ministry announced it would buy more nuclear fuel from Westinghouse. The company is planning to deliver five reloads of fuel to South Ukraine and Zaporizhia NPPs.
According to the author, Westinghouse’s commercial interests are closely tied to politics and thus the company neglects safety.
“Regardless, anti-Russia politics trumps technological problems,” Rapoza concluded.
As the current Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton was entering the presidential race, her husband and former US President Bill Clinton received millions of dollars from special interest groups, including $325,000 from a group lobbying for the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership).
In October 2015, Hillary Clinton was pressured by her Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders, to openly oppose the controversial global deal to deregulate trade. The Vermont Senator did not hesitate to condemn the deal early in his campaign, claiming that it favors the corporate elite at the expense of American jobs.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Manufacturers, from which Bill Clinton received a substantial fee just one month before his wife announced her campaign, backs the TPP.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), the manufacturing business group affirmed its support for the hotly-debated deal three months before turning to Bill Clinton. The CRP called the proposed deal “a significant improvement over the status quo” for corporations.
Another $300,000 was donated to candidate Clinton from technology firm Oracle, when the former Secretary of State’s Democratic primary was in full swing. Disclosure forms reveal that Oracle supports ratification of the TPP.
Previously Hillary Clinton indicated that she would support the global deregulation deal, calling it the “gold standard” of free trade.
On June 29, 2009, one day after Honduran military leaders ousted their country’s democratically elected president, President Obama publicly branded the coup illegal and denounced it as “a terrible precedent.” Yet even as he spoke, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was ensuring that U.S. aid continued and that major capitals would recognize the new regime.
Human rights activists have long decried her for abandoning democratic rights and values in Honduras. But many have overlooked her cozy embrace of the morally compromised Latin American leader who happened to be sharing the White House podium when Obama made his remarks: Colombian President Álvaro Uribe.
Obama was hosting Uribe to build political support for the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement, which both he and Hillary Clinton had vigorously opposed during the 2008 election campaign. Obama praised Uribe’s “courage” and his “admirabl(e)” progress on human rights and fighting drug cartels since taking office in 2002 — a controversial claim that Clinton’s State Department would certify that September.
A year later, the love affair between the Obama administration and Uribe grew even hotter. After landing in Bogota for an official visit in April 2010, Defense Secretary Robert Gates lauded the “historic” progress that Uribe’s government had made in the war against “narco-traffickers and terrorists.”
“Uribe, in my view, is a great hero and has been an enormously successful president of Colombia,” Gates told reporters.
Human rights campaigners were aghast. In an email to Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff, a senior aide to Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern cited Gates as an example of what not to do during Clinton’s upcoming visit to Colombia that June: “The most important thing the Secretary can do is avoid effusive praise for President Álvaro Uribe, who leaves office in August.”
McGovern’s aide cited several damning facts:
–Contrary to claims from Bogota, reports by the General Accountability Office and the U.S. Agency for International Development showed that U.S. aid and Colombia’s anti-drug programs were failing to meet their goals and in some cases were actually stimulating coca production.
–Military killings of civilians were up — with as many as 1,486 civilians killed “during the first six years of Álvaro Uribe’s presidency,” she noted. (The actual number was likely more than double that.)
–There were also “mounting allegations that the President’s intelligence service, the DAS, was put at the service of paramilitary leaders and narco-traffickers; used to spy on and intimidate Supreme Court justices, opposition politicians, journalists and human rights defenders; and employed in a campaign of sabotage and smears against political opponents” of Uribe.
–Dozens of President Uribe’s political supporters were under investigation for corruption and ties to illegal paramilitary units, she reported. “Many are large landholders with ties to narco-trafficking, the same local leaders who created and fostered the brutal pro-government paramilitary groups that killed tens of thousands of non-combatants in the 1990s and early 2000s. . . Those embroiled . . . include the President’s cousin, Mario Uribe; the brother of his former foreign minister; and individuals whom the President had named to be Colombia’s ambassadors to Chile, the Dominican Republic, and Canada.”
In conclusion, she maintained, the real heroes were not Uribe but “Colombian prosecutors, investigators, witnesses and non-governmental organizations trying to uncover the truth about these abuses” under conditions of great personal risk.
Falling on Deaf Ears
Her advice fell on deaf ears. Just one week later, Secretary Clinton was in Bogota to affirm the administration’s strong support for a free trade agreement, and underline Washington’s commitment to helping Uribe “consolidate the security gains of recent years” against “the insurgents, the guerillas, the narco-traffickers, who would wish to turn the clock back.”
Echoing her friend Bob Gates, she added, “because of your commitment to building strong democratic institutions here in Colombia and to nurturing the bonds of friendship between our two countries, you leave a legacy of great progress that will be viewed in historic terms.”
Clinton had nothing to say about the quarter million victims of right-wing paramilitary groups, many of them backed by the military, as reported in a November, 2009 cable from the U.S. embassy in Bogota. Nor did she have anything to say about the more than 2,700 union members murdered since 1986 (including hundreds under Uribe), making Colombia by far the world’s most dangerous place for organized labor.
Secretary Clinton may have been influenced by her husband’s warm relationship with Uribe. As President, he had signed and implemented a multi-year aid package called Plan Colombia, which contributed more than $8 billion to Colombia’s counterinsurgency wars, despite Washington’s full knowledge of the military’s “death-squad tactics” and cooperation with drug-running paramilitary groups.
In retirement, former President Clinton deepened his ties to Uribe and Colombia. In 2005, he introduced Uribe to Canadian mining magnate Frank Guistra, who was a leading donor to the Clinton Global Initiative fund; Guistra was interested in acquiring mineral and oil rights in Colombia. In 2005, Clinton also picked up $800,000 from a Colombia-based group for a speaking tour of Latin America to tout the merits of a U.S-Colombia free trade agreement. (Guistra provided the private jet for Clinton’s tour.)
To further promote the trade pact, Bogota provided a $300,000 P.R. contract to Clinton’s pollster Mark Penn. As part of his publicity campaign, Penn arranged for Uribe to hold an award banquet in honor of Clinton in 2007. Clinton reciprocated by featuring Uribe as an honored guest at his Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting a few months later.
When news of Penn’s contract with Bogota got out in 2008, Hillary Clinton had to fire him as her campaign strategist, lest she lose endorsements from labor unions. She insisted that her husband’s relationship with Colombia would not influence her stand on the free trade deal, which she opposed because of “the history of violence against trade unionists in Colombia.”
As we have seen, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton reversed course once in office. Clinton may simply have been following the President’s lead, but critics point to her family’s unsavory financial connections as another explanation for her change of heart. As International Business Times reported last year:
“When workers at the country’s largest independent oil company staged a strike in 2011, the Colombian military rounded them up at gunpoint and threatened violence if they failed to disband, according to human rights organizations. Similar intimidation tactics against the workers, say labor leaders, amounted to an everyday feature of life. . .
“Yet as union leaders and human rights activists conveyed these harrowing reports of violence to then-Secretary of State Clinton in late 2011, urging her to pressure the Colombian government to protect labor organizers, she responded first with silence, these organizers say. The State Department publicly praised Colombia’s progress on human rights, thereby permitting hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid to flow to the same Colombian military that labor activists say helped intimidate workers.
“At the same time that Clinton’s State Department was lauding Colombia’s human rights record, her family was forging a financial relationship with Pacific Rubiales, the sprawling Canadian petroleum company at the center of Colombia’s labor strife. The Clintons were also developing commercial ties with the oil giant’s founder, Canadian financier Frank Giustra, who now occupies a seat on the board of the Clinton Foundation, the family’s global philanthropic empire.
“The details of these financial dealings remain murky, but this much is clear: After millions of dollars were pledged by the oil company to the Clinton Foundation — supplemented by millions more from Giustra himself — Secretary Clinton abruptly changed her position on the controversial U.S.-Colombia trade pact.
“Having opposed the deal as a bad one for labor rights back when she was a presidential candidate in 2008, she now promoted it, calling it ‘strongly in the interests of both Colombia and the United States.’ The change of heart by Clinton and other Democratic leaders enabled congressional passage of a Colombia trade deal that experts say delivered big benefits to foreign investors like Giustra.”
According to a report this May by the AFL-CIO and four Colombian unions, 99 Colombian workers and union activists have been killed since the trade agreement took effect in 2011. Another six were kidnapped and 955 received death threats. Only a small fraction of those crimes were every solved.
Meanwhile, Uribe continues to be a major force in Colombian politics. In April, he mobilized a street protest against efforts by the current government to bring about a lasting peace with the Marxist guerrilla group FARC; a leading newspaper reported that Uribe’s protest was backed by Colombia’s largest paramilitary drug-trafficking organization, Los Urabeños, which managed to shut down much of the north of the country for 72 hours after assassinating a dozen policemen.
Ties to Drug Trade
A connection between Uribe, paramilitary groups, and drug traffickers is all too easy to imagine, despite his denials and Washington’s hero worship. Consider a few family connections, among the many that have been alleged:
–One of Uribe’s brothers was arrested this February for allegedly leading a death squad against suspected leftists that was run from the family cattle ranch. A Colombian legislator cited testimony that Álvaro himself may have “ordered massacres” from the ranch.
—Another brother was arrested (but not convicted) for suspected ties to cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar; his extramarital partner was later arrested on a U.S. warrant for allegedly working with the head of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. Their daughter was also listed by the U.S. Treasury Department as a major money launderer.
–Uribe’s two sons are under investigation for massive tax evasion and showed up in the recent “Panama papers” leak as shareholders in a British Virgin Islands tax shelter;
–Uribe’s campaign manager and former chief of staff was flagged by DEA in 2001 as Colombia’s largest importer of a key precursor chemical for the production of cocaine.
–Uribe received contributions to his 2002 presidential campaign from the country’s largest and most murderous paramilitary organization, the AUC, which was listed by Washington as an international terrorist organization. By the time of Uribe’s election, according to one expert, “the AUC had become the most powerful network of drug traffickers in the country’s history.”
Uribe arranged a sweetheart deal to allow AUC leaders to escape serious justice with most of their wealth intact, until the nation’s top courts intervened. Uribe’s chief of security from 2002 to 2005 pleaded guilty in 2012 to taking bribes to protect the AUC.
–And as far back as 1991, a confidential U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency report called Uribe a “close personal friend” of Pablo Escobar, and said he was “dedicated to collaboration with the Medellín cartel at high government levels.” It also noted that his father had been murdered “for his connection with the narcotic traffickers.”
On the plus side, President George W. Bush awarded Uribe the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service named him a Distinguished Scholar. And Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation named him to its Board of Directors in 2012.
Hillary Clinton clearly sides with the camp of Uribe’s admirers. It’s time to call her out and make her account for that choice — and for a record that calls into question her professed devotion to human freedom, democratic values, and the rights of organized labor.
Jonathan Marshall is author or co-author of five books on international affairs, including The Lebanese Connection: Corruption, Civil War and the International Drug Traffic (Stanford University Press, 2012).
Photo credit – Gage Skidmore on Flickr
Hillary Clinton winning the White House would constitute “a danger for the world peace,” as she would continue to drag Europe into her “destructive policy” of conflicts, Marine Le Pen, leader of the French National Front party, told RT.
While declining to endorse any of the US presidential front-runners, Le Pen said she believes there is one that would definitely not benefit France.
“There is a candidate who appears a lot more dangerous for France than the others – that’s Hillary Clinton,” the head of the National Front told RT France in an exclusive interview. “I’m not American so I don’t need to make a choice. But… in the interests of France, Hillary Clinton is probably the worst choice out there.”
Le Pen sees the Democratic frontrunner as being so “dangerous” because of Clinton’s career as US Secretary of State, in which she worked “hand in hand with the full spectrum of American decisions” that eventually “plunged the world objectively into chaos.”
“I think if she was elected she would continue this policy, a destructive policy, a policy of conflict, a policy of imprisonment of Europe in blinded Atlanticism,” Le Pen said. “I think it’s a danger for world peace.”
In December, Le Pen, who herself hopes to win France’s 2017 presidential elections, criticized Republican frontrunner Donald Trump for proposing to ban almost all Muslims from entering the United States.
“Seriously, have you ever heard me say something like that?” Le Pen said in one of her interviews, presumably in response to being compared with Trump. “I defend all the French people in France, regardless of their origin, regardless of their religion.”
The US media has repeatedly drawn comparisons between Marine Le Pen and Trump. The New York Times called the real estate mogul turned GOP frontrunner “America’s Marine Le Pen”. Bloomberg has also referred to Le Pen as “Europe’s own Donald Trump.”
While Marine Le Pen hasn’t explicitly named a “preferable” candidate for US president, her father has.
Jean-Marie Le Pen, retired long-time leader and founder of the French National Front, made headlines in February by endorsing Trump in a tweet, in which he said that if he was an American, he “would vote Donald Trump.”
Those American citizens that have put their trust in Barack Obama back when he was running for president must be infinitely disappointed while reading countless articles about Obama’s actual policies. These are not just failures, but incredibly deadly ones.
For instance, Forbes would note that from 1999 to 2014 the suicide rate in the United States went up by 24%, while among certain ethnic and demographic sub-groups the situation looks even more surreal. For instance, over the same time period, Native American women saw an increase in suicide of 89%. America’s current level of suicide is abnormally high and it’s a huge change from the not too distant past. And Russia has nothing to do with it, even though the rule of thumb in Washington today is to push blame on it for every single thing that goes wrong. President Barack has even stated that global crises such as Ebola, ISIS and Russian aggression have made the world spin so fast, nobody is able to control it.
The The New York Post would note:
Middle-aged people laid off and unable to find work are taking another way out They’re killing themselves.. Especially in economically depressed states. People in need of work are twice as likely to take their own lives as employed people, and people fired in their 40s and 50s find it hardest to get hired again. That makes boosting economic growth a life-or-death issue for many. But you would not know it listening to President Obama and Hillary Clinton. President Obama whitewashes reality, claiming the “American economy is pretty darn good right now. “False. The Obama economy is stalled.
In his article for The Washington Post American historian David Mereniss underlined that President Obama came to office with the goal of changing “the trajectory of America”. However, he failed to keep his promises. In the end, this will be Obama’s enduring domestic legacy.
Obama’s rise to power was facilitated by the promise he made to stop US wars, but has he fulfilled this promise? The Atlantic reminds us than when Barack Obama first entered the White House, with George W. Bush’s long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq ongoing, he stated that “he was not seeking new dragons to slay.” Instead he elected to scale back America’s commitments overseas and shift responsibilities to allies. But you could be forgiven for thinking the dragons have stubbornly remained, and even multiplied, on Obama’s watch.
During Obama’s time in office the US military would have allocated more money to war-related initiatives than it did under Bush: 866 billion dollars under Obama. Obama has unleashed 372 drone strikes against suspected terrorists in Pakistan, according to data gathered by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, 112 strikes in Yemen and 19 in Somalia. In fiscal year 2014, US special-operations forces were deployed to 133 countries, or roughly 70 percent of the entire world. The size of SOCOM has expanded by almost 25 percent since Obama took office.
In turn, Hillary Clinton is eager to urge the US to carry on its militaristic policies, so it’s no wonder that Obama has recently made a joke at his final correspondents’ dinner that he can see Hillary Clinton in his seat.
In Obama’s term, the US national debt increased by 8.3 trillion dollars, according to a new report released by the US Treasury. The debt of the federal government increased by 8,314,529,850,339.07 dollars in President Barack Obama’s first seven years in office, according to official data published by the US Treasury. That 13,213,630,160,947.51 dollars increase in the debt during the Bush-Obama years equals 112,219.57 dollars for each of the 117,748,000 households that were in the country as of September. When Obama completed his seventh year in office, the federal debt was 18,941,406,899,252.15 dollars.
It’s therefore not surprising that The Huffington Post would note a bitter split within American society. It would note:
Republicans and Democrats may as well have been living in different countries for the past eight years. When President Barack Obama delivered his final State of the Union address, he was speaking to two very different countries. One of them he leaves happier and better off than it was when he started his tenure in the White House nearly eight years ago, with an improving economy and a dominant international position. The other is, by almost every measure, worse.
A majority of Democrats in a new HuffPost poll say that since Obama took office, their own lives have improved, the economy has gotten better and the United States has retained its role as the most powerful nation on Earth. Republicans disagree on all three points. The partisan divide over the president’s legacy, and the direction of the country as a whole, transcends all other demographic lines, far outstripping age, race, region or income level. the only real point of agreement between the parties, in fact, is the near-universal sentiment that partisanship has worsened over the past eight years.
Therefore, one shouldn’t view US elections as a new prime time reality show, as it is being presented to us by the establishment, since it remains eager to replace Barack Obama with Hillary Clinton. But we shouldn’t forget that the influential alternative media source the Global Research has described Hillary Clinton as Barack Obama’s political twin for a reason, since she’s devoted to the ideas of American expansionism and militarism.
The presidential elections should serve as an emergency brake for those Americans that have somehow survived Obama’s killer policies. Those who are still able to elect a true leader that would be able to mend American society and raise the international prestige of the US, instead of carrying on the irresponsible policies that may destroy America along with the better part of this world.
Over half the US electorate views the two leading candidates for the 2016 Presidential elections with horror and disdain.
In contrast, the entire corporate mass media, here and abroad, repeat outrageous virtuous claims on behalf of Hillary Clinton and visceral denunciations of Donald Trump.
Media pundits, financial, academic and corporate elites describe the prospects of her presidency as one of responsibility, national security, business prosperity and political normalcy.
In contrast, they paint billionaire Republican candidate, Donald Trump as a grave threat, likely to destroy the global economic and military order, polarize US society and destined to lead an isolated and protectionist US into deep recession.
The super-charged rhetoric, flaunting the virtues of one candidate and vices of the other, ignores the momentous consequences of the election of either candidate. There is a strong chance that the election of ultra-militarist Hillary Clinton will drive the world into catastrophic global nuclear war.
On the other hand, Trump’s ascent to the US Presidency will likely provoke unprecedented global economic opposition from the corporate establishment, which will drive the US economy into a profound depression.
These are not idle claims: The destructive consequences of either candidate’s presidency can best be understood through a systematic analysis of Mme. Clinton’s past and present foreign policies and Trump’s belief that he has the ability to transform the US from an empire to a republic.
Clinton on the Road to Nuclear War
Over the past quarter century, Hillary Clinton has promoted the most savage and destructive wars of our times. Moreover, the more directly she has been engaged in imperial policymaking, the greater her responsibility in implementing foreign policy, the closer we have come to nuclear war.
To identify Hillary Clinton’s path to global war it is necessary to identify three crucial moments. Hillary’s bloody history can be dated initially to her de facto ‘joint Presidency’ with husband Bill Clinton (1993-2001).
Stage One: The Conjugal Militarist Presidency (1993-2001)
During Hilary Clinton’s joint presidency with William Clinton (the Billary Regime) the First Lady actively promoted an aggressive militarized takeover of Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the Middle East and Eastern Africa – often under her favorite messianic doctrine of ‘humanitarian intervention and regime change’.
This justified the relentless bombing of Iraq, destroying its infrastructure and blockading its population into starvation while preparing to carve its territory into ethnic and religious divisions. Over 500,000 Iraqi children were murdered as proudly justified by then-Secretary of State Madeline Albright (1997-2001) and lauded by the Clintons.
In the same manner, Yugoslavia was bombed by the US humanitarian coalition air forces and cruise missiles over 1,000 times from March 24 to June 11, 2009 in the course of sub-dividing the country into five backward ‘ethnically cleansed’ mini-states. Thousands of factories, public buildings, bridges, passenger trains, radio stations, embassies, apartment complexes and hospitals were devastated; over a million victims became refugees while hundreds of thousands were wounded or killed.
The Conjugal Presidency successfully carried out the bloodiest war of aggression in Europe since the Nazi invasion during WWII, in order to subdivide an ethnically diverse and industrially advanced federation whose independent foreign policies had angered the Western corporate empire.
The Clintons launched the military invasion of Somalia (in East Africa) to impose a vassal regime, leading to the death of many thousands and a regional imperial war. Faced with desperate popular resistance from the Somalis, the Clintons were forced to withdraw US troops and bring in thousands of Sub-Saharan African and Ethiopian mercenaries – whose death would pass unnoticed among the US electorate.
From 1992 through 2001 the Clinton war machine helped set up the Yeltsin kleptocratic vassal state in Russia facilitating the greatest peace-time pillage of state resources in world history.
In the post-Soviet breakup era, over 1 trillion dollars of former public assets were seized especially by US and British-allied Zionist gangsters, Clinton-affiliated officials and ‘academics’ and Wall Street bankers. Under Clinton’s vassalage the entire Soviet public health system was eliminated and Yeltsin’s Russia experienced a population decline of 4.3 million citizens, mostly due to diseases, alcohol and drug toxicity, suicide, malnutrition, unemployment and loss of wages, pensions and and an unprecedented epidemic of tuberculosis and infectious diseases once thought wiped out, like syphilis and diphtheria.
Senator Hillary Clinton’s War Crimes by Association: January 3, 2001 to January 21, 2009
During the George W. Bush dynastic regime, Mme. Senator Clinton supported the US war machine ‘sowing death and destruction to the four corners of the earth’ (to quote Bush Jr.), millions in Iraq and Afghanistan died or fled in terror. Bush had only deepened and expanded the mayhem that the Clinton Conjugal Presidency had begun a decade earlier.
Mme. Senator Clinton promoted the US direct and unprovoked invasion and occupation of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan. Mme. Senator Clinton embraced crippling economic sanctions against Iran and she blessed Israel’s military assault against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and Israeli massacres in Lebanon.
Mme. Senator Clinton supported President Junior Bush’s aborted coup against Venezuelan President-elect Hugo Chavez (2002), a prelude to the coup attempts in Latin America that she directed later as US Secretary of State.
Hillary Clinton’s Senatorial term served as a transition linking her initial joint presidential period of wars of conquest onto the next period. As US Secretary of State under President Obama she aggressively promoted global military supremacy.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: Naked Militarism Unleashed (2009-2014)
Whatever restraints Mme. Clinton faced as Senator dissolved as she ran amok during her term as Secretary of State. Across Europe, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, Hillary Clinton bombed, massacred and dispossessed millions of families, shredding entire societies and dismantling the institutions of organized civil life for scores of millions. She never balked at the prospect of ethnocide and even joked that NATO might become ‘Al Qaeda’s Air Force’ as she pushed for a ‘no-fly zone’ over Syria.
A wild-eyed cackle echoed down the marbled corridors as the Foggy Bottom turned into a psycho- ward.
Mme. Secretary promoted the terror mercenary brigades invading Syria in a bid to ‘regime change’ the secular government of Al Assad, driving several million Syrian refugees into flight. Entire ancient Syrian Christian communities were wiped out under her reign of ‘regime change’.
Mme. Secretary Clinton directed US air force bombers and missiles to buttress the despotic Saudi monarch’s drive to obliterate Yemen.
Clinton unleashed the most savage bombing against Libya destroying the country and leading to the ethnic cleansing of a million and a half of Sub-Sahara workers and Black Libyans of sub-Saharan descent.
Under the aegis of murderous jihadi warlords and tribal chiefs, Mme. Clinton joked over the torture death of the wounded captive President Gaddafi, whose nauseating, almost pornographic murder by anal impalement was documented as a kind of ‘regime-change’ snuff film. Less known is the earlier, almost Old Testament-type slaughter of several of Gaddafi’s non-political children and five small grandchildren by a deliberate US missile strike aimed at ‘teaching the dictator’ that even his smallest grandchild cannot be hidden.
Mme. Clinton, who bragged that her Biblical role-model is the ethnocidal Queen Ester, has declared unconditional support for Israel’s war crimes against Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and among the diaspora. Hillary endorsed and defended Israeli torture and prison camps for children, the elderly and the homeless.
Mme. Secretary sent her criminal sub-secretary Victoria Nuland (an unreconstructed Neo-Con holdover from the Bush Administration) to orchestrate the violent putsch in the Ukraine. Millions from Ukraine’s huge ethnic Russian population were dispossessed from the Donbas region. Mme. Clinton had sought to convert Russian strategic military assets in Crimea to US-NATO bases aimed at Moscow, causing the residents of Crimea to overwhelmingly reject the coup and vote to re-join Russia.
The forceful intervention by Russian President Vladimir Putin prevented Mme. Clinton’s ethnic cleansing power grab in Crimea and the Donbas. The US retaliated by pushing for massive European Union economic sanctions against Russia.
Consistent with her pitiless Biblical role model, Mme. Clinton openly threatened to obliterate Iran with a nuclear war and incinerate 76 million Iranians to please her Uncle Netanyahu – a demented process that would poison a hundred million Arabs and perhaps a few million Israelis. Even the insane Israeli ‘Samson option’ was never dreamt of being ordered from Washington, DC!
During her tenure as Secretary of State, Mme. Clinton actively obstructed any diplomatic moves to achieve a US-Iran agreement on nuclear technology, parroting the Israeli militarist solution against regional rivals!
Mme. Clinton has remained an unrepentant enemy to the emerging independent Latin American governments. In search of vassal states, Clinton promoted successful military coups in Honduras and Paraguay, but was defeated in Venezuela. She proudly touts the death squad regime in Honduras among her foreign policy successes.
Mme. Hillary backed the death squad and narco-regimes in Colombia and Mexico, which killed over a hundred thousand civilians.
On the path to global war, Mme. Militarist has prepared to encircle Russia, stationing nuclear weapons in the Balkans and Poland. She promised that missiles would be placed in south central Europe and Ukraine.
Clinton raised the nuclear ante by hysterically claiming that the elected Russian President Vladimir Putin was ‘worse than ISIS’… ‘worse’ than Hitler.
Repeatedly threatening global war and actually making aggressive regional war should clearly have marked Mme. Hillary Clinton as unfit for the Presidency of the United States. She is politically, intellectually and emotionally unable to deal realistically with an independent Russia and any other independent power, including China and Iran. Her monomania is a course of violent ‘regime changes’, unable to evaluate any of the catastrophes her policymaking has in fact already produced.
Hillary Clinton was the proud author and director of the so-called US ‘pivot to Asia’. Clinton’s ‘pivot’ has led to a massive buildup of the US air and naval forces surrounding China’s maritime routes to its global markets and access to essential raw materials.
Clinton’s hyper-militarism expanded US war zones to cover Australia, Japan and the Philippines, greatly heightening tensions and increasing the possibility of a military provocation leading to nuclear war with China.
No US presidential contender, past or present, has engaged in more offensive wars, in a shorter time, uttering greater nuclear threats than Mme. Hillary Clinton. That she has not yet set off the nuclear holocaust is probably a result of the Administrative constraints imposed on the Mme. Secretary of State by the less blood-thirsty President Obama. These limitations will end if and when Mme. Hillary Clinton is ‘elected’ President of the United States in a process that the electorate increasingly knows is ‘rigged’ toward that outcome.
Donald Trump: the Peaceful Road to Recession
In sharp contrast to the militarist Mme. Clinton, Donald Trump, ‘the Businessman’, has adopted a relatively peaceful approach to international politics for an American presidential candidate in the current era.
‘Businessman’ Trump envisions productive negotiations with Russian President Putin. Employing his loudly trumpeted deal-making genius to benefit the United States, Trump predicts economic and diplomatic successes with Russia, China and other major powers.
Angered at US military allies enjoying decades of US Treasury largesse, a President Trump promises to withdraw US military bases from Asia and Europe and demanding that overseas allies ‘pony-up’ for their own defense.
What the war mongers in the mass media, academia and Washington bureaucracy, dismiss as ‘Trump’s isolationism’, The Businessman describes as rebuilding America by converting overseas military spending into domestic infrastructure projects and ‘real’ jobs in America.
Trump’s ‘America First’ policy, under his ‘Make America Great Again’ slogan, does not envision wars of conquest against Muslim countries, especially since they have already led to massive floods of Muslim refugees, threatening trade and stability, and Trump opposition to the entry of more Muslim refugees into the US. Trump’s foreign policy of limited military goals and warfare is diametrically opposed to Clinton’s total war strategy. Trump, ridiculed by his rivals for ‘his small hands’, does not appear to have Hillary’s itchy trigger finger on the nuclear button!
Trump mouths contradictory economic statements, especially his proposals to “rebuild America”, while operating in the framework of an imperial system. As President of the United States, his protectionist policies will come into direct confrontation with US and global ‘finance and monopoly capitalism’ and will likely lead to systematic disinvestment and a disastrous economic collapse or, more likely, the Businessman-President’s capitulation to the status quo.
The problem is not Trump’s pledges to tax the rich (as he occasionally promises) , or expand Social Security (as he claims), but his failure to admit that these policies would lead to massive flight by the capitalist elite to avoid taxes. The major threat is that, if Trump follows-up on his America-First policies, there will be massive capital resistance and a Congressional revolt by both finance-dominated political parties, which will paralyze any hope for his economic agenda.
Without political independence to implement his domestic economic agenda, Trump will have to face a massive investment and lending revolt from capitalists and bankers who would be very willing to drive the fragile economy into a major recession – threatening a kind of ‘domestic economic sabotage’.
Trump’s Republican Party (and certainly the Democrats) will never support a program which will force multi-national capital to sacrifice its reliance on cheap overseas labor and double digit profits in order to create American jobs and employ American workers at living wages.
A President Trump would not even secure a handful of Congressional votes to increase taxes on plutocrats to fund his proposed large-scale public works, infrastructure and job creation projects.
The Businessman President would face the full fury of the powerful military-industrial-high tech complex if and when he attempted to retire US global military forces from Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
The non-politician Trump’s historic rise to national political prominence has its roots in the ideas and values of the majority of working people who have been marginalized to the fringes by the media moguls and Wall Street riff-raff. Today Trump’s themes and ideas resonate with the mainstream of voters.
Several dominant ideas circulate in his speeches and interviews.
First, Trump rejects ‘globalization’ (the watered-down PR term for imperialism) and ‘free trade’ (a euphemism for the transfer of profits extracted from US workers to business investment abroad).
Trump’s narrative resonates with the recent anti-Wall Street ‘Occupy’ movements opposing the power of 0.1% super rich against the vast majority.
Secondly, Trump embraces economic nationalism in his slogan “Make American Great Again”. Too many American workers and their families resent having been exploited, maimed and slaughtered to serve multiple wars in the Middle East, Asia and Europe for the interests of US warlords, bankers, Zionists and other imperial royalties. Trump argues that the entire inflated security and corporate welfare system has led to an untenable debt payments spiral.
The third theme that draws millions is Trump’s notion that the US should reject the policy of serial ‘regime change’. We should not initiate and engage in perpetual overseas wars against Muslim countries as a way to avoid domestic attacks by individual terrorists. During an early foreign policy debate, Trump shocked the political establishment when he accused the Bush Administration of deliberately lying the country into the disastrous invasion of Iraq. This ‘truth-telling’ elicited wild applause from the mass Republican electorate.
Trump’s goal is to strengthen American civilization and avoid provoking more ‘clashes of civilizations’…
The fourth, and probably most attractive, message to most Americans is Trump’s powerful assault on Washington and Wall Street elites and their academic and media apologists.
Millions of Americans have been disgusted with the Bushes, Clintons and Obamas, as well as the Morgans, Goldman Sachs and Paulsons, whose policies have exacerbated class inequalities through multiple banking swindles and financial crashes, all ‘bailed out’ by the American tax payers.
Fifth, Trump’s loud, brash exposure of the mass media’s lies and propaganda has resonated with the same deep distrust felt by the American public. His talent for talking directly and bluntly to the public and on the internet has led to his enormous appeal. He does not engage in ‘conspiracy’ but acknowledges that the Edward Snowden revelations have unmasked the government’s deceptions and its program of espionage against the people, destroying the foundations for democratic discourse.
Trump might win the election based on his ‘five truths’ and his pledge to ‘make America great again’, but more likely he will lose because he has insulted the traditional establishment, the Latinos, Afro-Americans, feminists, trade union bureaucrats and their followers from both parties. Even if he succeeds at the ballot box, his political agenda with relying on Republican elites in Washington and Wall Street, the Pentagon and the ‘international security system’ will lead to a major economic crisis. For the elite, if blocking Trump’s domestic economic agenda requires a financial crash to defend ‘globalization’, serial wars and the 0.1%, then tighten your belts!
This November, the country will face the disagreeable choice between a proven nuclear warmonger and a captive of Wall Street. I will try to keep warm, roast chestnuts and avoid thinking about Mme. President’s Looming Mushroom Cloud.
She’s recklessly pro-war, pro-business, anti-populist, a threat to world peace and stability. Her deplorable public office record shows she opposes equity, justice, rule of law principles and democratic values.
Her agenda is frightening, electing her president unthinkable, a neocon war goddess, supporting endless conflicts, deploring peace, risking direct confrontation with Russia and China.
Her finger on the nuclear trigger leaves humanity’s fate up for grabs. NYT editors support the most recklessly dangerous US presidential aspirant in modern memory while bashing Trump relentlessly.
He’s over-the-top like all duopoly power presidential aspirants, supporting the same dirty business as usual agenda. Unlike Clinton, he’d rather make money than start WW III.
The Times went to extraordinary lengths to bash his womanizing history, making “unwelcome advances,” conducting “unsettling workplace conduct over decades.”
It assigned unknown numbers of reporters to locate and interview over 50 women who worked with, dated or interacted with him socially “since his adolescence” – without explaining how any of this relates to affairs of state if he’s elected president.
Numerous past presidents had extramarital affairs, including Washington, Jefferson, Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Jack Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Bill Clinton, among others.
Little or nothing was said about their private lives while campaigning or throughout their tenure.
Instead of focusing solely on issues and where candidates stand, the Times dwelled on where it had no business going. Nothing it reported suggested wrongdoing.
Countless hours spent locating and interviewing dozens of women found nothing more than a “portrait of a wealthy, well-known and provocative man and the women around him, one that defies categorization,” said the Times.
“Some women found him gracious and encouraging.” Some got high-level positions in his enterprises. The Times called it “a daring move for a major real estate developer at the time.”
Who cares if he made “romantic advances.” He didn’t rape or molest anyone. “A lot of things get made up over the years,” he said. “I have always treated women with great respect. And women will tell you that.”
About all the Times could conclude was saying he had power and women he came into contact with didn’t. He had and still has “celebrity… wealth (and) connections.” Some women sought his help with their careers and stuck with him.
The lengthy article isn’t worth the time or trouble to read. It reveals more about the Times’ deplorable agenda than Trump’s.
Political reporting should focus solely on issues and pinning down candidates on where they stand. America’s money-controlled system features horse-race journalism.
Duopoly power is ignored. So is a sham political process too debauched to fix. Whether Trump or Clinton succeeds Obama, ordinary people lose.
The biggest unreported issue is avoiding global nuclear war. With Trump there’s a chance, likely little at best with Clinton.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.
Last year when Democratic insiders looked forward to Election 2016, they expected a run-of-the-mill Republican, possibly even legacy candidate Jeb Bush. So they countered with their own “safe” next-in-line legacy candidate, Hillary Clinton, who would supposedly win by playing up the prospect of the first woman president.
In such an expected match-up, the concern of rank-and-file Democrats about Clinton’s hawkish foreign policy would be negated by the GOP nominee still defending President George W. Bush’s Iraq War and again surrounded by neocons pounding the drums for even more wars. With both parties putting forward war candidates, anti-war Democrats would accept Clinton as the lesser evil, or so the thinking went.
The likely Republican nominee also would be burdened by reactionary domestic proposals, including GOP plans for privatizing Social Security and Medicare. By contrast, centrist Clinton would look reasonable in promising to protect those popular programs, albeit with some modest trimming of benefits to please the budget hawks.
But the Democratic insiders didn’t count on the unlikely emergence of populist billionaire Donald Trump, who repudiated Bush’s Iraq War and the GOP’s neocon foreign policy and rejected Republican orthodoxy on “entitlement reform,” i.e., slashing Social Security and Medicare.
The unabashed Trump also has made clear that he is not afraid of countering Clinton’s “woman card” by playing his own “man card,” including attacks on her troubled marriage and her tolerance of Bill Clinton’s notorious womanizing, even claiming that she was her wayward husband’s “enabler.”
At first, the Democratic hierarchy couldn’t believe its luck as the Republican Party seemed to splinter over Trump’s disdain for the GOP’s neocon interventionism and rejection of the party’s cutbacks in Social Security and Medicare. Trump’s mocking attacks on his rivals also shattered the decorum that Republican leaders had hoped would mark their primary campaign.
So, the Democratic insiders initially rubbed their hands with glee and imagined not only an easy presidential victory but major gains in the House and Senate. However, new polls show Trump running neck-and-neck with Clinton nationally and in key battleground states, while other polls reveal strong public doubts about Clinton’s honesty, thus wiping the premature smiles off the Democrats’ faces.
Indeed, some Democrats reportedly are slipping into panic mode as they watch Clinton’s poll numbers tank and the Republican Party come to grips with the Trump phenomenon. The new storyline of Campaign 2016 is the tale of top Republicans reconciling to Trump’s populist conquest of the party. At least, these GOP leaders acknowledge, Trump has excited both average Republicans and many independents.
The obsessive media coverage of Trump’s meetings on Thursday with senior congressional Republicans made the narcissistic real estate mogul and reality TV star look like some major world leader being received in Washington as a conquering hero. And, with the GOP rallying behind Trump, the likelihood is that his poll numbers and favorable/unfavorable ratings will continue to improve.
So, instead of Democratic dreams of a landslide victory, the party insiders are worrying now about their decision to coronate a deeply flawed and wounded candidate in Hillary Clinton. Not only could she lose to Trump but she could take many of the House and Senate candidates down with her. It’s dawning on some Democrats that they may have squandered a historic opportunity to realign American politics to the left by promoting the wrong person in 2016.
At a moment when the American people are demanding change – even willing to risk entrusting the White House to the unorthodox and inexperienced Donald Trump – the Democratic Party may be stuck with an uninspiring status quo candidate who also is pro-war, indeed far more hawkish than President Barack Obama.
Thus, in the fall election, not only would Trump be in a position to bait Clinton about her dysfunctional marriage, reminding the nation of the messy scandals of the 1990s, but he could challenge her on her warmongering positions, including her years of support for the Iraq War and her hawkish policies as Secretary of State, including her instigation of the disastrous “regime change” war in Libya. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Yes, Hillary Clinton Is a Neocon.”]
This November could be the first time in modern American history when the Republican nominee would be the relative “peace candidate” and the Democrat would be the “war candidate.” That changing places could lose Clinton much of the “anti-war left,” a significant faction within the Democratic coalition with many “peace Democrats” either voting for Trump or choosing a third party, such as the Greens.
Of course, the Democrats didn’t have to be in this position. The party leaders could have encouraged a more competitive primary contest instead of trying to keep alternative candidates, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren and some younger Democratic prospects, on the sidelines, all the better to give Hillary Clinton an unimpeded path to the nomination. The party insiders treated Clinton like an incumbent president seeking reelection, a foregone conclusion.
But the best laid plans of mice and politicians often go astray. How weak Clinton is as a candidate has been underscored by her struggle to put away a progressive challenge from Sen. Bernie Sanders, a 74-year-old “democratic socialist” from Vermont, who isn’t even technically a Democrat, listing himself as an Independent.
Even though the vast majority of “super-delegates” – i.e., party insiders – have lined up behind Clinton and she leads in pledged delegates, Sanders continues to win primaries, including recent ones in Indiana and West Virginia, and he could roll up a series of victories in upcoming western state races.
Clinton could stagger to the Democratic convention in July with a dispirited party lining up glumly to witness her long-delayed coronation. The onlookers might sense that they had made a terrible mistake but couldn’t correct it. They would be left to grit their teeth and hope that Clinton’s self-inflicted wounds, such as her private emails as Secretary of State, don’t fester and become fatal.
Arguably, it is the Democrats who would benefit the most from a contested convention, one that might give them an opportunity to reconsider the choice of Clinton and either nominate Sanders, who fares much better against Trump in poll match-ups, or pick someone else, possibly a fresh face like Sen. Warren.
While that may be highly unlikely – even if Sanders sweeps the remaining primaries – it is beginning to dawn on Democratic insiders that their scheme to grease the skids for a Clinton nomination might end up slipping Donald Trump into the White House.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).
There are good reasons to harbor serious reservations about The Donald, given that he changes his position as frequently as most people change their clothes. But so far, he has been consistent in making an argument that is sorely underrepresented in the media and in policy circles: that our war-making in the Middle East has been a costly disaster with no upside to the US. Trump even cites, without naming him, Joe Stiglitz’s estimate that our wars have cost at least $4 trillion.
As Lambert put it, “I hate it when Trump is right.”
If you think Trump is overstating his case on Hillary’s trigger-happiness, read this New York Times story, How Hillary Clinton Became a Hawk.
And on Clinton’s role in Libya, which Obama has since called the worst decision of his presidency:
Mrs. Clinton’s account of a unified European-Arab front powerfully influenced Mr. Obama. “Because the president would never have done this thing on our own,” said Benjamin J. Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser.
Mr. Gates, among others, thought Mrs. Clinton’s backing decisive. Mr. Obama later told him privately in the Oval Office, he said, that the Libya decision was “51-49.”
“I’ve always thought that Hillary’s support for the broader mission in Libya put the president on the 51 side of the line for a more aggressive approach,” Mr. Gates said. Had the secretaries of state and defense both opposed the war, he and others said, the president’s decision might have been politically impossible.
And yes, that’s this Ben Rhodes.
If any corporate donation can accurately predict the direction in which a Hillary Clinton presidency would take the American economy, it would be the sizeable donations made by Wal-Mart executives.
As early as 2013, Alice Walton, heiress to the Wal-Mart fortune, donated the maximum allowed amount ($25,000) to the Ready For Hillary PAC. 
The Clinton Foundation has also received a sizeable amount of direct donations from Wal-Mart. Indeed, the Wal-Mart Foundation has even donated anywhere from $1 to $5 million to the Clinton Foundation in 2013 alone. The Wal-Mart Foundation has also funded and hosted a number of “energy and climate change” awards for the Clinton Global Initiative. 
The assistance and promotion has been reciprocal, of course, with the Clinton Global Initiative posting a rave review of the Wal-Mart corporation, naming it a company that makes great “efforts to empower girls and women.” It was unclear as to whether it was the slave labor wages, the humiliating work environment, or the abusive labor policies of Wal-mart that were the “empowerment of girls and women.” Such questions generally do go unanswered.
The Clinton’s have also assisted Wal-Mart in the past regarding its effort to appear as more environmentally-friendly. For this reason, Bill Clinton met with past Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott in order to help boost the company’s relationship with environmentalists.
Yet the Clinton connection to Wal-Mart goes much further back than 2013. As Kevin Young and Diana C. Sierra Becerra of Solidarity wrote in their article “Something That Might Be Called A Neo-Con: Hillary Clinton And Corporate Feminism,”
Hillary Clinton’s record on such issues is hardly encouraging. Her decades of service on corporate boards and in major policy roles as First Lady, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State give a clear indication of where she stands. One of Clinton’s first high-profile public positions was at Walmart, where she served on the board from 1986 to 1992.  She “remained silent” in board meetings as her company “waged a major campaign against labor unions seeking to represent store workers,” as an ABC review of video recordings later noted.
Clinton recounted in her 2003 book that Walmart CEO Sam Walton “taught me a great deal about corporate integrity and success.” Though she later began trying to shed her public identification with the company in order to attract labor support for her Senate and presidential candidacies, Walmart executives have continued to look favorably on her, with Alice Walton donating the maximum amount to the “Ready for Hillary” Super PAC in 2013. Walton’s $25,000 donation was considerably higher than the average annual salary for Walmart’s hourly employees, two-thirds of whom are women.   
In regards to her “remaining silent” on Wal-Mart’s war on labor and labor unions while she served on the Wal-Mart corporate board, it appears that Clinton did much more than merely remain silent. Patrick Caldwell of Mother Jones reports that she was actually involved in these decisions. Caldwell writes,
Clinton was the first woman to serve on the board of the company. As the Village Voice noted in a 2000 article denouncing Clinton Walmart past, Clinton’s spot on the board was designed just for her: she wasn’t filling any open vacancies, and the company didn’t replace her seat when she resigned in 1992. Her ties to Walmart weren’t confined to her role on the board, either. Walmart was one of Rose’s clients and, according to a 1994 New York Times article, Hillary served as “director” for the firm’s representation of Walmart. 
In 2007 the New York Times reported that during her time on the board, Clinton pushed for greater representation for women in the company’s management and led an advisory group that focused on ways Walmart could improve its environmental practices. During a shareholder meeting the year after she joined the company, Walton said they’d added a “strong-willed young lady on the board now who has already told the board it should do more to ensure the advancement of women.”
But on unionization—the primary liberal complaint against Walmart—Clinton had little to say. A 2008 ABC review of videotapes from Walmart meetings found that “Clinton remained silent as the world’s largest retailer waged a major campaign against labor unions seeking to represent store workers.”
“She was not a dissenter,” one of her fellow board members told the Los Angeles Times in 2007. “She was a part of those decisions.”
Even while Bill Clinton served as Governor of Arkansas, the Clintons, due to Hillary’s position on the board, traveled for free on the Wal-Mart corporate jet 14 times in the time span between 1990 and 1991. Bill was a widespread defender of Wal-Mart during his tenure as Governor. This is, of course, not surprising, since Bill depended on Wal-Mart for funding his campaigns both on the State and Federal level.
It is thus a true pity that union members – we can assume the big union bosses are not unaware of Clinton’s Wal-Mart, anti-union history – find themselves at Clinton rallies, with their hard-earned dues being donated to the Clinton campaign merely to hear empty slogans of how Clinton supports labor, unions, and the right to collectively bargain. All the evidence shows that, when Clinton finally seizes the reins of power, she does her part in crushing union formation, worker’s rights, and reasonable working conditions. In the meantime, however, the empty slogans come flowing out like rushing water.
 Caldwell, Patrick. “Retail Politics: Hillary Clinton Heads To Costco, Skips Walmart On Latest Book Tour.” Mother Jones. June 14, 2014. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/hillary-clinton-costco-walmart Accessed on September 8, 2015.
 Caldwell, Patrick. “Retail Politics: Hillary Clinton Heads To Costco, Skips Walmart On Latest Book Tour.” Mother Jones. June 14, 2014. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/hillary-clinton-costco-walmart Accessed on September 8, 2015.
 Abeywardena, Penny. “How Walmart Is Reimagining Its Investments To Empower Girls And Women.” Clinton Foundation website. April 29, 2014. https://www.clintonfoundation.org/blog/2014/04/29/how-walmart-reimagining-its-investments-empower-girls-and-women Accessed on September 8, 2015.
 Eidelson, Josh. “Wal-mart’s Big Green Con: Environmentalists Blast Megastore, As Worker’s Strike.” Salon. November 13, 2013. http://www.salon.com/2013/11/13/wal_marts_big_green_con_environmentalists_blast_megastore_as_workers_strike/ Accessed on September 8, 2015.
 Harkavy, Ward. “Wal-Mart’s First Lady.” Village Voice. May 23, 2000. http://www.villagevoice.com/news/wal-marts-first-lady-6418414 Accessed on September 8, 2015.
 Ross, Brian; Schwartz, Rhonda. “Clinton Remained Silent As Walmart Fought Unions.” ABC News. January 31, 2008. http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=4218509 Accessed on September 8, 2015.
 Caldwell, Patrick. “Retail Politics: Hillary Clinton Heads To Costco, Skips Walmart On Latest Book Tour.” Mother Jones. June 14, 2014. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/hillary-clinton-costco-walmart Accessed on September 8, 2015.
 “Fact Sheet – Wages.” Making A Change At Walmart website. http://makingchangeatwalmart.org/factsheet/walmart-watch-fact-sheets/fact-sheet-wages/ Accessed on September 9, 2015.
 “Walmart’s Women Workers Take Case To Supreme Court.” Alternet. http://www.alternet.org/rss/breaking_news/542766/walmart%27s_women_workers_take_case_to_supreme_court Accessed on September 9, 2015.
 Young, Kevin; Becerra, Diana C. Sierra. “’Something That Might Be Called A Neocon:’ Hillary Clinton And Corporate Feminism.” Solidarity. March 3, 2015. https://solidarity-us.org/node/4389 Accessed on September 8, 2015.
 Harkavy, Ward. “Wal-Mart’s First Lady.” Village Voice. May 23, 2000. http://www.villagevoice.com/news/wal-marts-first-lady-6418414 Accessed on September 9, 2015.
 Labaton, Stephen. “Rose Law Firm, Arkansas Power, Slips As It Steps Onto A Bigger Stage.” New York Times. February 26, 1994.
 Caldwell, Patrick. “Retail Politics: Hillary Clinton Heads To Costco, Skips Walmart On Her Latest Book Tour.” Mother Jones. June 14, 2014. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/hillary-clinton-costco-walmart Accessed on September 9, 2015.
 Barbaro, Michael. “As A Director, Clinton Moved Wal-Mart Board, but Only So Far.” New York Times. May 20, 2007. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/20/us/politics/20walmart.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 Accessed on September 9, 2015.
 Ross, Brian; Schwartz, Rhonda. “Clinton Remained Silent As Wal-Mart Fought Unions.” ABC News. January 31, 2008. http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=4218509 Accessed on September 9, 2015.
 Braun, Stephen. “At Wal-Mart, Clinton Didn’t Upset Any Carts.” Los Angeles Times. May 19, 2007. http://www.latimes.com/la-na-clintonwalmart19-2007may19-story.html#page=1 Accessed on September 9, 2015.
 Harkavy, Ward. “Wal-Mart’s First Lady.” Village Voice. May 23, 2000. http://www.villagevoice.com/news/wal-marts-first-lady-6418414 Accessed on September 9, 2015.
 Harkavy, Ward. “Wal-Mart’s First Lady.” Village Voice. May 23, 2000. http://www.villagevoice.com/news/wal-marts-first-lady-6418414 Accessed on September 9, 2015.
Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of seven books, including Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria. Brandon Turbeville’s new book, The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President is available in three different formats: Hardcopy (available here), Amazon Kindle for only .99 (available here), and a Free PDF Format (accessible free from his website, BrandonTurbeville.com). Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.