Category Archives: peace

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.

Happy Holidays and Hopes for a Peaceful New Year

I just returned from serving as an usher and candlelighter at the three Christmas Eve services at the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Society of Burlington. The first was at 4 in the afternoon and was the unrehearsed Nativity Play that is put on every year with the assistance of the Director of Religious Education as the Master of Ceremonies. She would read part of the story and then call for volunteers for the important parts. As this is the children’s service, there are plenty of volunteers, with many antics to show they are the correct ones to be picked to be Wise Men or shepherds or sheep. This is an acquired pleasure. The first time I saw it, I watched in horror as squealing children seemed to run around with no guidance, making a mess of the Sanctuary and vocalizing some brutal highs.

Now I watch in amusement and amazement at the controlled chaos, the interruption of traditional Christmas carols coming as a new group of characters gets attired in the front of the vast room. I watch with wonder as the Director manages to get in most of the students there from the RE program as well as the few new faces of Christmas guests. Two of the new faces this year were the sweetest little girls, done up fancy and dressier than is common for our little spot of the world, hair nicely coiffed, and prim manners on display until they finally raised their hands to play. They were included and their delight was apparent in their running to get their costumes. The nativity story is played out in all its detail with stars and angels, Mary and Joseph, sheep and shepherds, wise men and others bringing gifts.

After the excitement of the children’s service, the staid middle service, starting at 6 pm and the most crowded one, seems almost placid. Lots of carols, candles lit for “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and the lights extinguished. A wonderful homily by our Interim Minister, while our regular one is home with her newborn son, Cassidy. Trying to get them all out at the end of the service was difficult logistically, but the joy and togetherness on all but the youngest of faces was enough to get us through the bottleneck.

The last service at 8 pm, it was clear that the choir and the minister were getting a little tired, although someone who had not been to the prior services would not have noticed. My legs were aching a little (it’s hard squatting at every row to light the candle of the person in the aisle seat! for three services!) and my throat was a little parched by all the singing. But the joy remained, the feeling of fellowship, warmth and love filling the hall with lightness. We  were all family, and it was worth it to feel the hope for peace and justice in the coming year.

I have all this extra good will and joy, and so I am sending it out on the internet to grace as many people as can be graced. May you all have love and joy in your lives, and peace on this poor earth. The new year is around the corner. Make it the best one yet!

Cause, Meet Effect/Daily Prompt

You can singlehandedly create a causal relation between two things that are currently unconnected — a word and an emotion, a song and an extreme weather event, wearing a certain color and winning the lottery. What cause would you link to what effect, and why?

I would link my going to UU today with the effect of lasting peace on earth. I figure, why not go big? If you’re giving me this power, I damn well better use it for something good. When I come out of UU, I expect to see people dancing in the street because ISIS has disbanded and the Republicans have grown up, both equally improbable events. Gang wars would be over world wide, and the word rape would become a myth. Police would help young black men find a stronger path to peace. Vigilantes and militias would be gone, and the tone of facebook would change for the good. The animals would no longer be hunted, as in Africa, to extinction. The rainforests would be safe from the unremitting violence of greedy people. People would no longer get bloodthirsty over a game like football, baseball, soccer, you name it.

What form of peace would you like to see on earth?