By Francis McLoughlin
A lot of young people of a liberal bent these days are enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton. If they cut their political teeth on the 2006 Euston Manifesto, they tend to admire the former First Lady because, unlike the current president, as a senator in 2002 she did not oppose intervention in Iraq--she voted for the 'Authorisation for Use of Military Force against Iraq Resolution' while the Senator from Illinois, speaking at an anti-war rally, denounced the plan to remove Saddam Hussein as 'a dumb war'. I only hope this faction of her fandom--the humanitarian interventionists--realise Mrs. Clinton voted for the Resolution not out of principle, but out of a desire to 'play it safe' and toe the majority-line of the day (her trade-mark style). On the other hand, if they are but young and frivolous and consumed with apolitical 'Identity Politics', they are wont to look favourably upon Mrs. Clinton for the simple reason that she is a woman--and a 'powerful' woman at that--as well as a long-time Democrat with vague 'progressive' credentials.
A powerful woman she is; and that is good enough for the sort of young people who devoutly attend seminars on the feminist pantheon or gay studies; or who go on about 'gender equality' and 'global warming', and other such slogans which are alternately dubious and trite. They certainly aren't on the Left, that's for sure; for if they were, how could they support this pillar of the moneyed establishment? Mrs. Clinton is Mother Corruption herself, a lame-faced conduit of the centrist status-quo. As is well-known, as the 1970s were coming to a close, Mrs. Clinton, the woman whom everyone--taking direction from upcoming Hollywood biopics and TV-movies--has been taught to think of as a feisty young go-getter of a gal, decided to make some bucks. And so the wide-eyed idealist embarked upon a career in commodities trades. She was a sitter on corporate boards. But above all, there was her stint presiding over a nursing-home scam, in which she and her co-partner, the Rose Law firm, brokered the sale of a string of homes before hiking up the rates, so that the old-timers saw their charges rise by as much as 14%.
Now, my question is simple: Is this the kind of thing on expects to find on a Leftist agenda?--or if 'Left' is too strong a word for the weak-kneed liberals of today, a 'progressive' agenda? I'll leave it with the 'progressives' in their agonising search for 'the lesser evil', whereby they award themselves principle only to immediately throw it away, to come to grips with this simple inquiry. This was the same Rose Law firm, by the way, where William Kennedy, who would become deputy White House counsel for the Clinton administration, was initiated into Washington's ruling elite. When confidential FBI files on 900 former Reagan- and Bush-appointees were delivered to White House Security Chief Craig Livingstone, Mr. Kennedy, a close friend of Mrs. Clinton's, frequently called the FBI and had someone's files sent to him--for political purposes--which Louis Freeh, then FBI director, called 'an egregious violation of privacy'. Back in the day, Richard Nixon--a man whose memory unites practically all self-described 'progressives' of today in their hatred--had to send in a team of burglars to pillage the Watergate Hotel for Democratic dirt; Mrs. Clinton's loyal pal needed only a telephone.
But Mrs. Clinton cares only for media-driven reputation; and the TV-network big-wigs and newspaper-editors, living in the hollow of her hand, prefer to dwell on her 'progressive' allure rather than her back-room dealings and political intrigue. On plasma-screens, she's a liberal queen who is about to exercise her divine right to rule, and accordingly, her fandom already openly regard her as a president-in-waiting--to hell with the primaries! to hell with democracy! Only in reality is she an especially callous and empty specimen of the American ruling class. All she cares about is power, and she has dedicated her entire life to the accumulation and worship of it. She is, as I say, Mother Corruption, a woman who--yes, that's right, I can go on and on about her endless paper-trail of malfeasance, and I very much intend to--received board-member fees from an incinerator company while her husband, as governor of Arkansas, ignored the complaints of concerned inhabitants of Jacksonville about the Vertac Corporation's practice of burning of PCBs in barrels of Agent Orange. So there go her environmentalist credentials. But do the 'progressives' care about that? How's that for lesser evil?
The corruption and disregard for honest practice doesn't end there. Her get-rich schemes only multiplied as her political power swelled. Under the friendly guidance of two scions of Tyson Chicken, Mrs. Clinton, during her tenure as first lady of Arkansas, collected $99,541 on a $1,000 investment in cattle and timber futures in only nine months. Fishy, no? Indeed, the odds on this return were later estimated by three statistics professors to be four in a billion. And while Mrs. Clinton claimed she had learnt how to trade by reading the Wall Street Journal, her broker had earlier been suspended from trading for a year after he was charged with manipulating the egg-futures market. Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. Clinton (while 'Bill' was running for governor for the first time) received a real estate deal--now known to us as 'Whitewater'--by the International Paper Company. Attorney General Janet Reno appointed a special prosecutor to investigate. Jim McDougal, the Clintons' partner-in-crime, who ended up going to jail over this money-making scheme, described the Clintons as 'sort of like tornadoes moving through people's lives'. And isn't it interesting that in court, over the course of just one disposition, Mrs. Clinton said, 'I don't recall', over 50 times? Very interesting indeed.
Ah!--the liberals exhale, having noted the matters raised above. But so what if she was picking up a little pocket-money on the side? All politicians do it! Besides, don't you know she's wife to 'Bill' Clinton?--a president of supreme excellence. Actually, it would be exceedingly difficult to unearth a more vastly over-rated president from the annals of American leadership, which makes it all the more pathetic that Mr. Clinton's airbrushed political record is frequently held up by precocious, Jon Stewart-watching yuppies as exemplary of the things 'progressive' statesmen can achieve if not bogged down in the mores of responsible adulthood. (Such people tend to nod approvingly at the idea of a president lolling around in extramarital funny-business instead of preaching temperance). Liberals may feel it necessary to do a double-take on certain aspects of the Clinton era, and if pushed, many will make a point of showing that--'can't fool me!'--they are well aware of some of the man's shortcomings. But the cold truth is that this charlatan is just about the only politician to be given a free pass by the populous Young Cynics of our generation. Thus, Mrs. Clinton's association with her husband is often recorded as an 'asset' on her Bourdieuian balance-sheet of sordid 'political capital'.
At this point, I could go on and on about how association with this political-fiend is enough to disqualify anyone from High Office. I could run through Mr. Clinton's litany of misdeeds, starting with his utter-corporatisation and sell-out of the Democratic Party through the formation of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) and his practice of 'triangulation', whereby he and his campaign-manager, veteran political-fixer Dick Morris, stole from the GOP platform all the Big Business items that would attract the most corporate-funding for his campaign. It worked, of course. Officers of Goldman Sachs donated $1.2 million to the Clinton 'war-chest' and were amply recompensed when Robert Rubin, a long-standing board-member and co-chairman of the investment-bank, was appointed as President Clinton's chief economic officer. Liberal foundations like MacArthur, Pew and Rockefeller dedicated $3 billion a year to shaping the Clinton administration's policy on everything from the environment to penal reform. And this is the man whom 'progressives' look up to? As I said, I could go on and on about it, and now that I think about it, I think I will go on and on about how association with this fiend should disqualify anyone from standing for office. Because it does.
Mrs. Clinton, after all, was the 'life-partner' (to employ some 'progressive' lingo) of this man. In fact, she was so devoted to her husband--or should that be to the power that comes with being his partner?--that she stood by him even as he raped the hired-help that surrounded him in the Oval Office, and was exposed for it. On top of the overt sell-out of the entire Democratic Party under President Clinton, there are his (and his wife's) under-the-table tactics, for example the taking of dirty-money from Marc Rich, on whom President Clinton, at the end of his sordid reign, conferred a presidential pardon, absolving his partner and financier of the treason he committed by doing business with Khomeinite Iran doing the hostage-taking period. If you wish to learn more about Mr. Rich, I recommend Jeffrey St. Clair's in the June 28-30 (2013) edition of the radical online CounterPunch newsletter.
In other high-profile cases, Mr. Clinton was plied with cash from Roger Tamraz and James Riady, who added substantially to the coffers of the DNC. This corruption of politics by 'soft money' during Mr. Clinton's run (and re-run) for High Office reached heights to which no politician had dared ascend. Mr. and Mrs. Clinton represent a faction of the ostensibly liberal establishment (an establishment that impresses its supporters just as much with its liberal views on sex as with its total contempt for the demos), that is basically fed up with democracy, preferring instead to procure the executive branch under an arrangement that hands it over to the highest bidder. Once the executive branch was won, thanks to that 'soft money', Mrs. Clinton took things further. In May 1993, she put on paper her intention to 'get our people' into the White House Travel Office. Billy Dale, its director, and six of his employees were fired when a cousin of Bill Clinton's (who went on to run the travel office!) manufactured a rumour that Mr. Dale had embezzled $88,000 from the office. It took jurors only two hours to acquit him of all charges, with Mrs. Clinton refusing be to be interviewed by the General Accounting Office about her role in the affair.
I could flesh out all the above-alluded-to contours of the Clinton team's chronic corruption, and summon the material to impugn Mrs. Clinton as an indispensible collaborator in these squalid feats of opportunism--both in cases when 'soft money' defined the campaign platform as when Mrs. Clinton circumvented law and order to pursue no other interest but her own (or that of her husband). But there are even more pressing matters at hand. Given Mrs. Clinton's claim to some kind of expertise and experience in foreign policy after serving as secretary of state during President Obama's first term, it's important to set aside some time to touch upon the foreign-policy miscalculations, muck-ups, and outright immoralities of her husband during his stint as commander-in-chief--from his initial refusal to intervene in the Balkans to his belated launching a series of under-prepared airstrikes under the auspices of NATO, which predictably inflamed the Serbian genocidaires to ramp up their ethnic-cleansing, unimpeded (because the strikes were undertaken without a contingency plan). With this ignoble record, Mr. Clinton has truly more than earned a lengthy chapter in any Profiles of Cowardice a future scholar may wish to write.
The Clinton-Berger Doctrine culminated, in the case of Bosnia, in the Dayton Accords, which made President Clinton complicit in the genocide by bringing Slobodan Milosevic into a 'peace' settlement which retained the war-criminal in Russian-backed power. This nadir of U.S. foreign policy saw the Washington elites flirt with the long-discredited idea of partition, which was atrocious enough. But it was the First Lady who, all throughout the ethnic-cleansing in the Balkans, convinced her husband to refrain from intervening on the side of the victims--first the Muslim Bosnians, then the ethnic-Albanian Kosovar--seeing as his doing so could have deflected attention away from her corporate-friendly health-care program, which failed anyway. But this wasn't the only time Mrs. Clinton lobbied her husband on vital aspects of U.S. foreign policy. It is also true that her husband needed little prodding to rush to the defence of his donors' interests.
In fact, the health-care program exhibited all the hallmark criminal dealings which have characterised Mrs. Clinton's career to date. You can takes this as an aside if you like, but in 1997, Royce Lamberth, a federal judge, levied $286,000 in sanctions against the Clinton administration for its 'cover-up' of Mrs. Clinton's health-care task force. Deputy White House counsel Vincent Foster had made contradictory assertions about her role in an effort to keep the work of the task force secret. Mr. Foster later committed suicide, and a Secret Service agent saw Mrs. Clinton's chief of staff, Margaret Williams, removing boxes of papers from Mr. Foster's office before investigators could arrive and seal it. So what started with financial vice in Whitewater eventually snowballed into all-out political conspiracy in the introduction of corporate influence into a supposedly 'progressive' initiative in health-care reform. Later, past and present converged, with the records of Mrs. Clinton's clients at the Rose Law firm--records which had been subpoenaed for years by investigators looking into Whitewater--finally turning up on a coffee table in the private quarters of the White House.
But back to this foreign-policy-for-sale practice which constituted the Clinton administration's fundamental legacy. Take its approach to authoritarian China. It was President Clinton who, having reaped a veritable harvest of political donations from companies doing business with China, decided to formally de-couple issues of Chinese human rights from commercial and sales questions, tempering his ostensible 'liberalism' with a great deal of 'realism', a doctrine much applauded by young 'Hillary'-supporters today. This agendum of the corporate state with its middle-of-the-road foreign policy was part and parcel of the neo-liberal vision of the Clintons. In their younger days, in 1972, they worked for months in Texas for the McGovern campaign, but quickly became disillusioned with old-school McGovernite liberalism. Ever since that doomed campaign, the Clintons aspired to 'rescue' the Democratic Party from its progressive tradition by implementing a pro-corporate manifesto embodied in the Democratic Leadership Council, founded, among others, by Bill Clinton and Al Gore. But back to foreign policy
I could also bring up President Clinton's decision to fire, without hesitation, cruise-missiles into the Islamic Republic of Sudan's only pharmaceutical factory, condemning tens of thousands of people, many of them children, to death by malaria, tuberculosis, and other treatable diseases, while destroying that third world country's access to agricultural pesticides, in a knee-jerk response to al-Qaeda's bombing of the U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi. If this blunder was committed under the erroneous (yet easily-testable) belief that the factory was part of Osama bin Laden's business-empire), how much worse the Clinton legacy becomes in light of that president's subsequent failure to act on the Pakistani-ISI-al-Qaeda terror-connection, exposed when a later air-strike authorised by 'Bill' killed a handful of Pakistani secret-police in the act of training jihadis in al-Qaeda terrorist-camps in Afghanistan. That's right: President Clinton was as criminally hard on the victims of theocracy as he was soft on the actual theocrats.
I could mention all these things and more, with a view to implicating President Obama's former Secretary of State in the crimes and incompetence of the Clinton era. But the point is far simpler: Mrs. Clinton is a woman of action, capable of independent-thought, and as such, she deserves to be judged on the basis of her own actions and individual-initiatives. But her actual independent record, as I've addressed above, reveals little more than ineptitude and corruption. Really, her career in politics is inseparable from her husband's, and I'll leave you with what I believe to be an encapsulating anecdote. Following the ball as it rolls down the question of what was the impetus behind 'Clintonian' foreign policy, we are obliged to inspect the matter of Mrs. Clinton's husband embarking on a trip to the rogue-state of Pakistan in 2000. And what are we to make of it, when prior to his little sojourn to the most foul, anti-American country on the planet, a Pakistani-American PAC organised a fundraiser that raised $50,000 for Mrs. Clinton's Senate race. Like the Clinton policy towards China, here we have the neo-liberal motivation up-front and obvious: the Clintons are driven by money, power, and a complete disregard for even the pretence of moral decency or strategic prudence.
Any crook deserves a t te- -t te, as long as he makes out the cheque to a pro-Clinton PAC. If you're fine with this, cross your figures for Clinton 2016!