Climb Down From the Summit of Hostile Propaganda

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Throughout the day before the summit in Helsinki, the lead story on the New York Times home page stayed the same: “Just by Meeting With Trump, Putin Comes Out Ahead.” The Sunday headline was in harmony with the tone of U.S. news coverage overall. As for media commentary, the Washington Post was in the dominant groove as it editorialized that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is “an implacably hostile foreign adversary.”

 

Image: Matterhorn via Wikipedia

Contempt for diplomacy with Russia is now extreme. Mainline U.S. journalists and top Democrats often bait President Trump in zero-sum terms. No doubt Hillary Clinton thought she was sending out an applause line in her tweet Sunday night: “Question for President Trump as he meets Putin: Do you know which team you play for?”

Since early 2017, the U.S. mass media have laid it on thick with the rough political equivalent of a painting technique known as chiaroscuro – “the use of strong contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts affecting a whole composition,” in the words of Wikipedia. The Russiagate frenzy is largely about punching up contrasts between the United States (angelic and victimized) and Russia (sinister and victimizer).

Often the biggest lies involve what remains unsaid. For instance, U.S. media rarely mention such key matters as the promise-breaking huge expansion of NATO to Russia’s borders since the fall of the Berlin Wall, or the brazen U.S. intervention in Russia’s pivotal 1996 presidential election, or the U.S. government’s 2002 withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, or the more than 800 U.S. military bases overseas — in contrast to Russia’s nine.

More from Normon Solomon @ Common Dreams

Posted by Libergirl

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Puerto Rico: Another Victim of the Clintons

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You’ve probably been hearing a lot about Puerto Rico’s crushing debt, here is where it all started…Libergirl

On May 1, 2016 Puerto Rico’s Government Development Bank (GDB) defaulted on a $389,000,000 bond payment.

The GDB, which according to recent financial disclosures shows less than $600,000,000 in total assets was subjected recently to capital controls via executive order issued by Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla that have frozen almost all withdrawals, while also suspending lending.

The default immediately closed the island’s access to capital markets and simultaneously halted the issuance of almost 1 billion in tax revenue anticipation notes the Puerto Rican Government was expected to issue through the end of 2016.

The Puerto Rican economy was forecast to be somewhat compromised by provisions in the North American Free Trade Agreement(NAFTA) which was agreed upon and ceremoniously signed on December 17, 1992, by Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Mexican President Carlos Salinas, and U.S. President George H.W. Bush.

These provisions, which were officially signed into law by President Bill Clinton on Dec. 8, 1993, would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014 taking away a key trade advantage held by the island over many Latin American countries with regard to duty-free imports to the U.S.

Further exacerbating the potential for economic stagnation were the federally mandated minimum wage laws, which gave non-minimum wage countries in the Caribbean a pronounced economic advantage over the commonwealth.

With those factors in play, the Clinton administration made a shortsighted decision to increase revenue intended to reduce the federal deficit by proposing elimination of Section 936 of the Internal Revenue Code, which gave mainland U.S. companies an exemption from federal taxes on income earned in Puerto Rico.

More from NewsMax

Posted by Libergirl

 

 

 

Hillary Clinton’s book signing was as insufferable as you’d expect

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Image: NY Post

Among the enduring criticisms of Hillary Clinton: Her sense of entitlement is limitless. She’s tone-deaf and doesn’t understand the average American — nor does she care to. Her greed is insatiable.

Add to this a gaping lack of self-awareness, and you have all the ingredients for the New York City launch of Hillary’s nationwide book tour Tuesday morning (also primary day, not that Hillary — who maintains she’s still here only for us — cares about that either).

Thousands of people lined up outside the Barnes & Noble at Union Square in hopes of meeting their idol. Some slept outside the night before. Clare Hogenauer, an older, disabled Upper West Sider, told me she rented a downtown motel room nearby. “I didn’t want to take a chance,” she said.

More from  the New York Post

Posted by Libergirl

Hillary Happened

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So someone has ghost-written another Hillary Clinton memoir. My biggest question when I picked it up was: Did Hillary stiff the writer out of the final payment as she did Barbara Feinman, real author of It Takes a Village?

You don’t have to read any further than the cover of the book to answer the question posed by its title: What Happened: Hillary Clinton. Glutton for punishment, I took a masochistic dive into its dark pages anyway.

It soon became apparent that Hillary shouldn’t haven’t treated Feinman so churlishly. What Happened would have greatly benefited from her stylistic enhancements. The prose in this book is as brittle as the mind behind it. Notice the lack of a question mark in the title. This is a telling punctuational elision. It signals that this text will not be an investigation into the dynamics behind the most perplexing election in American history.   Don’t skim these pages in search of a self-lacerating confession or an apologia. What Happened reads more like a drive-by shooting rampage. The book is a score-settling scattershot rant, enfilading anyone who stood in Clinton’s way, from Bernie Sanders to James Comey. Amid Hillary’s hitlist of villains, even toothless Joe Biden gets gut-shot.

There are, naturally, two ways of interpreting the results of the 2016 elections pitting the two most unappetizing candidates in American history against each: either Trump found some way to defeat Hillary or, more probably, Hillary managed to lose to Trump. But Hillary’s psyche can’t swallow either scenario. So, she endeavors to create a mystery where there is none. The outcome was so inexplicable, she reasons, that there must be some hidden mechanism at work: Russian hacking, press bias, left betrayal, FBI sabotage. Clinton summons a lineup of the possible suspects: Bernie Sanders, Vladimir Putin, Julian Assange, Jill Stein, the New York Times, CNN, and Jim Comey. Alas, Hillary and her ghost-writer are not John LeCarré. She can’t spin a coherent and plausible cyber-spy yarn, in part because Clinton keeps getting sidetracked by a compulsion to wash her own hands of any culpability in blowing the election.

The closest Hillary comes to any admission of personal liability is when she discloses that she may have blundered when she smeared Trump’s supporters as “deplorables.” Then she suddenly pulls back, recalibrates and defends her denunciation of white working class voters as an act of courage, speaking truth to the powerless, even though it may have harmed her. “I regret handing Trump a political gift with my ‘deplorables’ comment,” she writes. “[But] too many of Trump’s core supporters do hold views that I find — there’s no other word for it — deplorable.” What started as a confession ended in a boast.

Of course, Hillary Clinton has never been able to conceal her contempt for her enemies, real and imagined. It’s one reason she’s never been a successful politician. Where others are supple, she is taut. Unlike Bill, Hillary is a prolific, but graceless and transparent liar. She is also probably the nastiest political figure in America since Nixon. Yet she lacked Nixon’s Machiavellian genius for political manipulation. Hillary wears her menace on her face. She could never hide her aspiration for power; her desire to become a war criminal in the ranks of her mentor Henry Kissinger (symbolized by the laurels of a Nobel Peace Prize, naturally). Americans don’t mind politicians with a lust to spill blood, but they prefer them not to advertise it.

Thus, Clinton was miscast from the beginning as a political candidate for elected office. Her skills and temperament were more suited to the role of political enforcer in the mode of Thomas Cromwell or John Erhlichman. But her ambition wouldn’t let her settle for the role of a backstage player. “One thing I’ve learned over the years is how easy it is for some people to say horrible things about me when I’m not around,” she fumes with Nixonian fury, “but how hard it is for them to look me in the eye and say it to my face.”

Hillary has tried to reinvent herself many times and does so yet again in this meretricious coda to her failed campaign. She made herself more domesticated for the southern electorate in Arkansas. She shifted the blame to her advisors after the disaster of her health care bill. She washed off the blood-spatter from the Ken Starr investigations by portraying herself as the target of a witch hunt. She exploited an addled Daniel Patrick Moynihan to justify running as an interloper for Senator in New York. She rationalized her votes for the Iraq War by saying she was duped by Colin Powell and Dick Cheney. She manufactured a timely tear for the cameras after her loss to Obama. She assumed the mantle of unrepentant war-monger during her belligerent tenure as Secretary of State and transubstantiated into a white dove during her debates with Bernie Sanders.

She has weeded and blurred inconvenient episodes from her resumé. She has gone on talking tours. She has appeared in town halls. She has reintroduced herself, again and again. She’s changed her name, hairstyles and fashion designers. She exchanged dresses for pantsuits. She shifted from drinking pinot noir to craft beers. She’s backed wars both before she opposed them and after she condemned them. But she remains the same Hillary Rodham Clinton Americans have known since 1992. Everybody sees this except her. Americans know Hillary better than she does herself.  All of her manufactured mirages are translucent to the very the people she wants to deceive.  When Hillary looks in the mirror, she must see what might have been (should have been in her mind) and not what is. And that schism enrages her.

“Why am I seen as such a divisive figure and, say, Joe Biden and John Kerry aren’t?” she mopes. “They’ve cast votes of all kinds, including some they regret, just like me? What makes me such a lightning rod for fury? I’m really asking. I’m at a loss.”

This self-pitying book should prove a challenge for library cataloguers. Shall they shelve it as non-fiction or fiction? What do we make of a woman who lies so casually about matters great and petty, including the origins of her own name? For years, Hillary has insisted that her mother named her after Edmund Hillary. HRC was born in 1947. The New Zealand mountaineer and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Everest six years later in 1953.

Hillary rarely offers anything remotely revealing about herself, other than plastic platitudes and self-flattering fables. But what seeps through this memoir page after page is an animus that seethes beneath her very thin-skin against anyone she believes has slighted her. Brooding on her fate, she writes mordantly: “It wasn’t healthy or productive to dwell on the ways I felt I’d been shivved.” Yet that’s precisely what she does, incessantly. [Note the deployment of the prison slang “shivved,” with its faint whiff of black criminality. The cunning use of racist tropes is a familiar trick in the Clinton playbook. It implies that she has been stabbed in the back by a friend or someone she thought she owned.]

Hillary’s politics never really matured much beyond the inbred conservativism that drew her to Barry Goldwater in the mid-60s. She’s a moral prude, a hawk, and an unrepentant capitalist, who is deeply suspicious of black people. Eventually, the Democratic Party devolved toward her austere political views, abetted by her husband, Al Gore and the other neoliberal “New Democrats.”

What she had, the ace of up her sleeve, was her feminism. But it was a unique brand of feminism. Call it power feminism, which asserted individual ambition rather than a militant political agenda. She also weaponized the feminism of victimhood. At one point in What Happened, she compares herself to Cersei Lannister in “Game of Thrones.” Not Cersei the torturer, assassin and war-monger, mind you, where the parallels might have been germane. But Cersei the victim of male power, who was forced to walk naked through the streets of Kings Landing while being jeered and pelted with garbage and feces by the townfolk in a ritual of public shaming. Hillary charges that her chance to rule was undone by a nation of misogynists, who thrilled at her torments. “I wish so badly we were a country where a candidate who said, ‘My story is the story of a life shaped by and devoted to the movement for women’s liberation’ would be cheered, not jeered. But that’s not who we are.”

As for the 53 percent of white women who voted against her, they too are portrayed as victims. We are led to believe that these women weren’t acting on their own agency in the voting booth. Rather they were captives, little more than automatons controlled by their husbands, fathers, bosses and preachers.

Throughout her career HRC regularly scolded poor black and Hispanic families about taking “personal responsibility” for their dire circumstances. Indeed, Clinton cast welfare reform as the penance the poor must pay for not getting their shit together. But personal responsibility is a quality that Hillary never adopts for her own failures and screw-ups, including grave ones such as the invasion of Libya or sliming black teens as “super predators” in her lobbying blitz to enact her husband’s vicious Crime Bill. She can’t forgive Bernie Sanders for having the temerity to challenge her pre-ordained coronation and shining a spotlight on the more ignoble chapters of her political career.

“Bernie routinely portrayed me as a corrupt corporatist who couldn’t be trusted…Bernie was outraged about everything. He thundered on at every event about the sins of the ‘millionaires and billionaires,’” she raves. “I was more focused on offering practical solutions that would address real problems and make life better for people.” She then cynically blames Sanders for her losses in Ohio and Pennsylvania with apparently no assist from Putin: “What did matter, and had a lasting impact, was that Bernie’s presence in the race meant that I had less space and credibility to run the kind of progressive campaign that had helped me win Ohio and Pennsylvania in 2008.” Tell Putin the news, Bernie.

Hillary Clinton has been obsessed with power her entire adult life. Now it has finally slipped from her hands, and, like some deposed monarch or disgraced CEO, she can only see a conspiracy behind her downfall. Of course, the Clintons have always been professional paranoids. Every roadbump in their political careers has been covertly placed in their path by some shadowy, malign force. In What Happened the “vast right-wing conspiracy” Hillary inveighed against in the 1990s has morphed into a vast “left-right conspiracy of men,” who, in her portentous words, “want to blow up the system and undermine it and all the rest of the stuff they talk about.” The system, of course, is a stand-in for herself. Her defeat at the hands of a ruthless and scheming patriarchy, we are encouraged to believe, is a trembling testament to American political decline. This egotistical gibberish comes from the woman who seemed eager to bring the world to the brink of nuclear holocaust over Syria and Ukraine.

What Happened is a sordid book, petulant and spiteful. It made me feel queasy and dirty while reading it, like the whole 25-year-long experience of Clintonism itself. By the end, I got the sense that its sleazy torrent of invective and blame-mongering was more an attempt to console the frail psyche of the author rather than to repair her shattered image to any readership the book might find. In the years to come, What Happened will prove much more valuable as documentary evidence for psycho-historians than political scientists.

by JEFFREY ST. CLAIR/CounterPunch

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Bernie Sanders Ruthlessly Sums Up ‘What Happened’ To Hillary Clinton

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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is firing back at former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

In her new book, What Happened, Clinton blames Sanders for doing “lasting damage” to her campaign.

Sanders, speaking to Stephen Colbert on the CBS “Late Show” on Thursday night, wasn’t taking the blame.

“Look, Secretary Clinton ran against the most unpopular candidate in the history of this country and she lost and she was upset about it and I understand that,” the senator said. “But our job is really not to go backwards. It is to go forwards.”

Source: HuffPost

Posted by Libergirl who says you lost Hillary…Deal with IT!

Democrats dread Hillary’s book tour

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President Donald Trump may be the only person in politics truly excited about Hillary Clinton’s book tour.

Image: AP

Democratic operatives can’t stand the thought of her picking the scabs of 2016, again — the Bernie Sanders divide, the Jim Comey complaints, the casting blame on Barack Obama for not speaking out more on Russia. Alums of her Brooklyn headquarters who were miserable even when they thought she was winning tend to greet the topic with, “Oh, God,” “I can’t handle it,” and “the final torture.”

“Maybe at the worst possible time, as we are fighting some of the most high-stakes policy and institutional battles we may ever see, at a time when we’re trying to bring the party together so we can all move the party forward — stronger, stronger together,” said Rep. Jared Huffman, a Democrat who represents a Northern California district. “She’s got every right to tell her story. Who am I to say she shouldn’t, or how she should tell it? But it is difficult for some of us, even like myself who’ve supported her, to play out all these media cycles about the blame game, and the excuses.”

More from Politico

Posted by Libergirl

 

Were Black Progressives Wrong to Not Support Clinton, Opening the Door for Trump’s Victory?

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There were dueling narratives surrounding the 2016 presidential election. On one side, sat a set of voters, scholars and pundits that argued for a Clinton presidency on the merits that the former first lady, senator and secretary of state would continue the policies of the next president’s immediate predecessor, Barack Obama.

On the other, a more radical or progressive set that argued that Clinton and her rival, Donald Trump were the “same thing.”  The Clinton campaign and candidacy, flawed as it may have been, was plagued by email scandals, decades-old comments about children being “super predators” and the behavior of the former President Clinton. All hung like an albatross around the campaign’s neck.

During the Democratic primary campaign against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argued that Clinton didn’t deserve the Black vote. In an oped piece for The Nation, “The New Jim Crow” author wrote:

“If you listen closely here, you’ll notice that Hillary Clinton is still singing the same old tune in a slightly different key. She is arguing that we ought not be seduced by Bernie’s rhetoric because we must be ‘pragmatic,’ ‘face political realities,’ and not get tempted to believe that we can fight for economic justice and win. When politicians start telling you that it is ‘unrealistic’ to support candidates who want to build a movement for greater equality, fair wages, universal healthcare, and an end to corporate control of our political system, it’s probably best to leave the room.”

Others went a step further, arguing that the eventual Trump presidency would be good for the movement. In an appearance on the syndicated radio show The Breakfast Club, Dr. Marc Lamont Hill stated, “I would rather have Trump be president for four years and build a real left-wing movement that can get us what we deserve as a people, than to let Hillary be president and we stay locked in the same space where we don’t get what we want.”

Despite Clinton prepping the release of an autobiographical autopsy on what went wrong, there’s little need for us to examine how we got here. Those who would rather have a President Trump in the name of movement building will get to test their theories in real time.

It’s also worth noting that the Clinton loss cannot, and should not be laid at the feet of Black voters, as Daily Kos founder Markos asserted when tweeted Trump’s actions are “what happens when communities of color don’t vote.” Clinton won the Black vote by an overwhelming margin, taking 93 percent of Black women and 88 percent of the overall Black vote, according to exit polls. While it is true that Clinton failed to run up the score among Black voters, and younger Black voters in terms of turnout, it was white America that delivered the presidency to Donald Trump, including 53 percent of white women.

As younger voters age and become a larger part of the electorate, one looming question remains: Was sitting out the election, voting third party or hoping for a new movement to emerge to counter a Trump administration worth the damage the Black community endures in the interim?

Just seven months into Trump’s administration and signs of lasting damage have already occurred. Under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Department of Justice is beginning a “review” of consent decrees with 14 police departments, including Ferguson, New Orleans and Cleveland. Given the administration’s bold and uncompromising support for law enforcement, and blatant endorsements for police brutality from the president himself, rescinding the consent decrees threatens to undo years of work by local activists in those communities. In addition the President recently reversed a prior executive order, now allowing military hardware to freely flow into the hands of local law enforcement. The DOJ has also vowed to look into affirmative action policies at colleges and universities.

The damage doesn’t end there.

Trump’s Department of Education, headed by controversial school choice advocate Betsy DeVos, is under fire from more than a dozen state attorneys general for attempting to undo protections for students with federal loans cheated by their colleges or universities. HUD, the agency responsible for setting and enforcing housing policy, has undergone deep cuts affecting both budget ad personnel, according to an investigative report by The New Yorker and Pro Publica. So decimated are the ranks that the agency headquarters’ cafeteria now sits vacant.

The president’s lasting legacy will be felt on the bench. More than 100 judicial vacancies existed when Trump took office. Filling all, or even most of those seats with conservative judges hostile to civil rights and the issues communities of color mean an uphill battle on the legal issues that will persist long after this administration is swept into the dustbin of history. Politico notes Trump’s initial slate of nominees “represent not only a sharp turn out of the mainstream but a major setback for judicial diversity,” including three nominations to replace outgoing African-American judges with white men.

On a surface level, Trump’s ascent to the White House unquestionably gave birth to a new rise of blatant white supremacy. Dubbed the “alt-right,” figureheads like Richard Spencer attempt to couch their bigotry in intellectualism, diverging from yesteryear when groups like the Ku Klux Klan used hoods, horses and burning crosses to terrorize communities of color. The more fashionable and well-spoken brand of white supremacy don’t make the new crop any less dangerous, as we saw in Charlottesville when one white supremacist drove his car into a crowd of counter protesters, killing one woman and injuring more than a dozen others.

The time for thought experiments is over. Those who theoretically grappled with the idea of building a new movement of leftists or a mass exodus from the Democratic Party have the opportunity to put those ideas into action. Movement and party building take time, talent and treasure. Whether the solution is to build a viable third party or orchestrate takeovers of segments of the Democratic Party, not being politically active and taking our ball and going home when our desired outcome isn’t achieved is no longer a tenable position.

There is a time for arguing and a time for unity. But let us not argue so much over the next three and a half years that we get Trump for an additional four. If the past seven months are an indication, that is truly a cost too high to pay.

AJ Springer is a writer, communications pro, nerd and nomad. You can find him on Twitter @JustAnt1914 discussing current events, combat sports, pop culture and the finer points of pro wrestling. He makes his home in Washington, D.C.

By AJ Springer/AtlantaBlackStar

Posted by The NON-Conformist

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