Monthly Archives: March 2016

Takeaways from the 3/9 Democratic Debate

First, is Hillary getting uneasy? There’s the question she had difficulty answering, about why so many people find her untrustworthy. She then refused to answer whether she would drop out of the race if she is indicted. She wouldn’t answer the question, claiming it was preposterous. In light of the immunity given to her aide recently, does anyone agree with her? She has to have known that this question would be coming to her sometime soon, but her lack of preparation with a substantive answer was shocking. In fact, if she though her contempt would play well with the audience, she was sadly mistaken.

Second, her attacks on Bernie for voting for or against particular items in a multi-faceted bill were weak and questionable. To try to say that Bernie sided with vigilantes didn’t pass the straight face test. His response was spot-on, saying that she clearly hadn’t listened to any of his speeches. Similarly her claim that his opposition to TARP 2 was a vote against a bailout of the car industry was disingenuous and didn’t make her any points with the audience. She rarely got cheers from the audience and she must have realized her ploys were not being accepted as the debate progressed.

Bernie was more energized than he was in Sunday’s debate, and also more on his game. He faltered when shown the 30 year old video in which he praised Castro and supported Nicaraguan leader Daniel Ortega. In Miami, this connection may be harmful, in light of the strong immigrant community there from Cuba and Latin America. But to those of us who remember the disastrous Reagan years of regime change in Latin America, supporting despots and dictators against freedom fighters from the left, the attack on Ortega fell well short. To most of America, the idea of the Castro brothers as bogeymen has fallen by the wayside with the possibility of ending the isolation of Cuba after too many years.

My main takeaway from this debate is that Clinton is feeling the tension of the unexpected loss in Michigan and what it portends for Illinois, Ohio, and Missouri. If those three states come to Bernie next Tuesday, while North Carolina and Florida possibly go to Clinton, the handwriting should be on the wall. Clinton may live and die by her southern firewall, which is turning into a prison of her own making.

The Bernie March Is On

Bernie wins Michigan! Less than a week ago he was more than 10 points down in the polls, and though the numbers were getting close, not one of the pundits thought he could win. Now the country, and the mainstream media, has to wake up and take notice. Last weekend, the Washington Post published 16 negative articles about Bernie Sanders, trying to sway public opinion against this champion of the people. The arrogance of the media and the Clinton campaign (“It’s time to pivot”) has brought them low, but I wait with anticipation the spin they will try to put on this.

Ohio is next, and it’s demographically very similar to Michigan. The West Coast has yet to be heard from and it’s fertile Bernie territory. Hang on to your hats, folks. The Bernie Bus has left the station and is taking on the world!

The Problems with Hillary

As many of you know, I am a supporter of Bernie, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t done due diligence in learning what I could about Hillary, in the unlikely event that she is the nominee. In fact, I have argued about her positions with many people, some her supporters, some Republicans who believe she is unremittingly awful, and some liberals who are misinformed about her history. I thought I would pass on some of the things I have learned about her to show why I am less than thrilled with the possibility of her being president.

First, she is a hawk. The number of ways that this characteristic has played out run from her support for the Iraq war to her numerous statements about Libya, Israel and Honduras (of all places). Let’s start with her vote for the Iraq war, a subject of some disagreement with a particular Hillary fanatic I met on another web site. His claim, inaccurate as it was, held that Hillary voted for a resolution that required Bush to attempt one final round of negotiation before he started a war. This is false. She voted against an amendment that would have required Bush to take one more stab at a diplomatic solution before starting the land war. What is more important in the run-up to the Iraq war is that she never read the complete National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) regarding the possibility of Saddam’s having WMDs. The NIE, in its full form, was much more skeptical about the case of such weapons that the Bush administration claimed in its preparation for war. Had she read it, she might have had enough suspicion to doubt the veracity of the administration’s claims and would not now be back-pedaling from her vote. Instead she parroted the line of the Bush administration in her argument on the floor of the Senate, saying, “In the four years since the inspectors [left], intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al-Qaeda members…. If left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security.”

She is a strong supporter of Benjamin Netanyahu and his attacks against Gaza and the Palestinians. Unlike many liberals, she finds no difficulty in his strong arm tactics and aggression against not only the Arabs he opposes but also the liberals in his own country. Her desire for regime change in Libya has morphed into a joke for her. As she has said, probably not expecting the objections that came, “We came, we saw, he died,” on the death of Muammar Khaddafi. Finally, in Honduras, she supported the coup of the democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya by the military, and, as her emails show, worked behind the scenes to prevent his return to the country, while mouthing platitudes about concern for his relatives.

She makes much of her work with the Children’s Defense Fund in her early years out of law school. She speaks with pride of working for Marian Wright Edelman, but never admits that this fine woman broke with her over her support for the welfare reform bill pushed by her husband. Edelman said that it was a moment of shame, and her husband resigned from his position with the federal government in protest over the Clintons’ position on welfare. Couple this with her comment about black youths being “super predators” and you have a completely different view of her work with “children.”

I could rehearse and outline for you many of the financial questions that are raised by the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative, but I will instead give an example of the type of transaction that causes one to stop and think about the role of money in her world. While she was Secretary of State, she often advocated for American businesses in foreign capitals. She had prepared for her before these trips. lists of the companies and their projects that should be discussed. Alone there is nothing wrong with this. What raises suspicions is that within a few short weeks or months after these trips, many of these companies would make large donations, frequently in excess of a million dollars, to the Clinton Foundation. Was this a quid pro quo? Since when is it appropriate for a secretary of state to advocate for a company in exchange for a donation from the company in question? It raises a question, in my mind if no other, whether something similar occurs when she takes sums from, among others, Goldman Sachs for her campaign  war chest, in addition to the money she has made from them with speeches and donations to the Clinton Foundation.

I am a feminist, much of an age with Hillary. I have fought in the trenches for women my whole life. Nothing in that history requires me to vote for a person with such disregard for peace, fairness, ethics, and honesty. I would happily engage in discussion with anyone willing to challenge my conclusions with facts and logic. Ad hominem attackers need not comment.