I’m back on part two of my article on Hillary Clinton, and why I will not support her if she is the nominated candidate for the Democratic Party. In this part, I will also explain my rejection of the Democratic Party after years of being a loyal member.
Hillary Clinton has been a consistent supporter of job-killing trade agreements. As a 2016 candidate, Clinton has come out against the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. But as Secretary of State, she actively pushed Obama’s darling deal…for the corporations. As we’ve seen with Barack Obama, what gets said and what gets done are two very different things. Tom Donohue, a lobbyist for the Department of Commerce, believes that Clinton’s current position on TPP is just politics and that she will support it once elected.
Hillary Clinton also supported NAFTA, which cost the U.S. 850,000 jobs. It’s important to note that 43,000 jobs were lost in Michigan, 35,000 in Ohio, and 35,000 in Illinois. She also supported Permanent Normalized Trade Relations with China, which cost 32 million U.S. jobs. Clinton also supported the free trade agreement with Panama.
A February 2015 Public Citizen report shows that the aggregate U.S. goods trade deficit with trade partners has soared to five times as high as before the deals went into effect.
Hillary Clinton has great disdain for citizens who confront her face-to-face. I know that Clinton has been more successful at reaching and securing black voters than Sanders has, and I confess that I do not understand that given the two histories of the candidates. Sanders clearly has consistently over the years been more vocal and supportive of people of color. More importantly, however, is the difference between the two candidates when they are challenged in person by citizens. It seems that Clinton supporters at these events react by booing and hissing when she is confronted, and that she follows their lead instead of taking control of the situation in an effective manner.
When Hillary Clinton was confronted by Black Lives Matter activists in Atlanta calling out her support of the death penalty, she had them removed. In contrast, when Sanders was confronted in Seattle, he gave them the mic and allowed them to air their grievances. She repeated the process when confronted by Ashley Williams at a $500 a head fundraising event in South Carolina.
Whether Clinton and her supporters like it or not, there are black citizens who have questions about her past positions with regard to people of color. She supports the death penalty, which disproportionately victimizes the black community, and she has supported tougher crime laws, without regard to the very human consequences of those laws on black people. Clinton also took a position and used verbiage at that time that is simply coming back to haunt her:
“They are not just gangs of kids anymore. They are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘super-predators.’ No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended that way, but first we have bring them to heel.”
At a stop in Minneapolis, Clinton’s short temper and dismissive attitude came into focus again. Anyone running for office has to know that their histories are going to come into focus during a campaign. Clinton seems to be unable to address her own history and explain why certain positions she has taken in the past are not relevant anymore. That would have been a more effective response than simply tossing people out of the room.
As a lesbian, I am insulted by the assertion that Clinton has been a tireless supporter of LGBT civil rights. Yes, I know that the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has endorsed Hillary Clinton. However, I have to say that this was not a decision that was opened up to HRCs members, like me. It was a top-down decision made by the board. For this reason, I have withdrawn my monthly donation to HRC and am funneling that money into the Bernie Sanders campaign.
There is no question that Hillary Clinton’s “evolution” on gay marriage came in 2013 for political reasons. It isn’t tough or courageous to take that position after the rest of the known universe has come around. She was against same-sex marriage as a Senator, and still opposed when she ran for the presidency in 2008. More annoying is an email written by Clinton in 2010 as Secretary of State in response to changing U.S. passport application forms from “mother” and “father” to “parent 1” and “parent 2” in order to make it more inclusive for different types of families. Hillary Clinton couldn’t even champion such an innocuous change for fear of having to defend it.
After courting the gay vote, Bill Clinton threw us all under the bus with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act, which Hillary Clinton supported. Her lame excuse for DOMA was that her husband signed it to prevent “further erosion” of LGBT rights by the GOP, as evidenced by her interaction with Melissa Etheridge during this 2008 Logo television Democratic forum:
While she didn’t explain that statement, she went on to say that the existence of DOMA was actually a helpful device in fending off the proposed federal constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
“That is something that has provided a great protection against what was clearly the Republican strategy,” she said, “…to just cynically use marriage as a political tool.”
Clinton defended her husband against Etheridge’s claim that gays, under former President Clinton, were “thrown under the bus” and “pushed aside.”
I do understand that people have come around on the issue of LGBT civil rights and same-sex marriage. However, I resent that Clinton has simply come out like she has been in our court all along. That is decidedly not the case. Is any candidate perfect on this issue? No. The closest to perfect, frankly, was Dennis Kucinich who, at the same LOGO forum in 2008, asserted that if you believe in the Constitution then there is no alternative but to be in favor of same-sex marriage. However, Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s opponent in 2016 has done far more for the LGBT community than Hillary Clinton has ever done. She co-opted our movement for her political use, and that is galling. No politician deserves credit for the same-sex marriage decision. The people who deserve credit are the brave plaintiffs who stood up for themselves, the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), and their attorneys who fought in front of the Supreme Court.
You are judged by the company you keep. I have enough of a problem with Hillary Clinton’s hawkish positions without her self-admitted love fest with Henry Kissinger, whose abominable record puts him the war criminal category. Many of today’s voters might not remember his dubious achievements while Secretary of State, so I’ll highlight some of them here:
- He convinced Richard Nixon to wiretap political adversaries and journalists (look up Watergate)
- He prolonged the Viet Nam war by five years (and then, in an act of amazing stupidity, was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for ending the war)
- He laid the groundwork for the Khmer Rouge’s killing fields, where 3 million innocent people were murdered
- He was instrumental in the overthrow of the democratically-elected government of Salvador Allende in Chile
- Kissinger was responsible for genocides in East Timor, Bangladesh, and Cambodia
The list goes on and on. The article highlighted above from Glenn Greenwald’s Intercept is about as complete as you can get. Given her own dismal record as Secretary of State, it’s not hard to see where Clinton takes her lead. She has openly stated that she often solicits Kissinger’s advice.
Of course, the establishment media jumped on Sanders over his bringing up Viet Nam during the debate after Clinton’s comments on Kissinger, as though it isn’t relevant. However, it is totally relevant that Hillary Clinton considers Henry Kissinger a resource for advice in government. She is soliciting his advice right now, and he has a very long history of war crimes under his belt.
We are already harboring war criminals in the United States with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. We do not need to continue to embrace war criminals or take their advice as we move forward.
I don’t trust Hillary Clinton’s position on the environment in general and fracking specifically. Like so many other positions Hillary Clinton has taken, her environmental program has generated more questions than it has answered. Do I understand that politicians dance around issues? Yes. I do. Because I do, I believe that the system has to change and that the people can no longer tolerate this kind of situation.
As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton espoused the virtues of fracking around the world, in spite of the fact that fracking is linked to drinking-water contamination and earthquakes. While industry groups were heavily involved in these efforts, environmental groups — who are rightly concerned about nations where there are few, if any, environmental regulations — were largely left out of the process. According to the Mother Jones article, by late 2011 Clinton unveiled the new Bureau of Energy Resources with 63 employees and a multi-million dollar budget. The goal of the agency is to integrate energy into every aspect of foreign policy.
If any of you have seen the movie Gasland, you know how devastating the fracking process is on the environment. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and take the time to watch it. It can be seen here. Bernie Sanders is the only candidate on the Democratic side who wants to ban it entirely, something that cannot be done without the involvement of Congress. (It is banned in Sanders’ state of Vermont.) Sanders has even outlined steps he can take against fracking without the involvement of Congress.
Do I believe that Hillary Clinton understands the science behind global warming? Yes. Unquestionably. Do I believe that Clinton understands that global warming is caused by mankind? Yes. Without a doubt. However, I haven’t seen a comprehensive plan that tells me where she stands definitively on issues like arctic oil drilling and fracking. Moreover, what is particularly troubling is her association with lobbyists from the fossil fuel industry. While she says she’ll “look into” donations from big oil and gas, it didn’t stop her from helping out her campaign by fundraising with Franklin Square Capital Partners, a major investor in the fossil fuel industry.
I continue to say that deeds matter. Words mean absolutely nothing, particularly when we are in an election cycle. Candidates will say the damndest things to get themselves elected.
I’m done with the Democratic Party
At one time, people could point to the Democratic Party as a party beyond reproach. The GOP was viewed a the party of Wall Street and the banks, not the Democrats. That is no longer the case. Interestingly enough, it is Bill Clinton who led the Democratic Party away from its core dogmas. An article in The Guardian states:
That Clintonian consensus, which slouches on in the bank bailouts and trade deals of recent years, is what deserves to be on the table in 2016, under the bright lights of public scrutiny at last. As we slide ever deeper into the abyss of inequality, it is beginning to dawn on us that sinking the New Deal consensus wasn’t the best idea after all.
Yes, the Clintons have changed the scope and the identity of the Democratic Party, and not for the better. The Clinton strategy, called Triangulation Politics, was fostered by Dick Morris, who has since fallen out with the Clinton clan. This Democratic move to the center-right is, I contend, what has driven the GOP over the ledge to Crazy Town.
The Democratic Party is now completely under the control over a think-tank called The Third Way, and they and their true believers would like nothing more than to see public servants like Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) go away. In fact, I have been saying that the Democratic Party, as we once knew it, is dead and it will never return. You will soon find that progressives will be completely eradicated from the party. They are not wanted.
In addition, the Clintons have enjoyed a long and profitable association with Wall Street and the banks, collecting a cool $3 billion over two decades. This influx of money has been matched only by their ruthless desire for power.
All of this put together makes it absolutely clear why the Democratic Party has been out to destroy the Sanders presidential run from the beginning. I see many petitions out there calling for the removal of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and, indeed, she must go. But the problem is deeper than Wasserman-Schultz. In essence, she does not run the party. She is merely the face of the party. Perhaps as the people’s voice becomes louder, she will be ousted. However, she will merely be the sacrificial lamb to keep the people quiet. Do not be fooled. This is not your parents’ Democratic party, and the best thing we can hope for is that Sanders wins or takes his run all the way to the convention and the party fractures at the seams. That would be the best-case scenario.
It clear that the Democratic Party wants Hillary Clinton, because she will ensure that things stay exactly as they are and the establishment politicians (read: Nancy Pelosi, Claire McCaskill, et al.) can remain comfortable in their little bubble. How have the Democrats tried to rig this election? Wasserman-Schultz has violated DNC rules at least five times in an effort to rig the election for Clinton:
- Scheduling fewer debates than in 2008, and scheduling them at times to minimize the number of viewers;
- Allowing grassroots Clinton offices to be co-located in DNC offices;
- Attempting to dismantle the Sanders’ campaign over a breach in the firewall that exposed Clinton’s data;
- A DNC official was caught raising money for the Clinton campaign, despite strict rules if impartiality;
- Lining up SuperDelegates for Clinton even before the first debate took place.
There are other examples of the Democratic Party’s utter corruption. After his election, Barack Obama instituted a 2008 ban on contributions from federal lobbyists and political action committees (of course that didn’t stop him from taking plenty of money while he was a candidate). This ban was rolled back by the DNC in February 2016, largely because Sanders has been a challenge for Clinton beyond her wildest dreams. The DNC knew she’d need every ounce of money to combat Sanders, who has simply been raising enormous sums of money on sheer people power with an average donation of $27.00. Clinton has many donors who are nearing the $2,700 campaign donation limit, while Sanders keeps on raising money, taking in $42 million last quarter alone.
Showing just how entrenched the “new” DNC has become in Washington, Wasserman-Schultz just joined with the GOP in an attempt to weaken Elizabeth Warren’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) by proposing legislation that would delay by two years the CFPB rules on predatory payday lenders. This kind of ugly behavior by Wasserman-Schultz is nothing new. In November, she and 87 other Democrats attacked the CFPB by joining with members of the GOP to pass legislation that allows banks and car dealerships to discriminate against people of color.
Not one single Senator has come out and endorsed Bernie Sanders, not even Senator Elizabeth Warren, his strongest supporter in the Senate. The Senate females, sorry to say, led by Barbara Boxer, are as bad as any back-room, cigar-smoking group of dirtbags that you can find. It was recently revealed that they all signed a letter (including Elizabeth Warren) urging Clinton to run for president. This more than likely explains why Warren has remained mute when Sanders could really have used her help in the Massachusetts primary.
The one bright spot in all of these DNC political shenanigans has been the emergence of Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), who revealed that she was warned by several people in the DNC about supporting Sanders. She also ran afoul of Wasserman-Schultz with regard to the debate schedule. The threats did not stop Gabbard from quitting her number two post at the DNC to endorse Bernie Sanders for the presidency.
In closing, I leave you with a paragraph from an article in The Guardian:
In truth, our affluent, establishment Democrats can no more be budged from their core dogmas – that education is the solution to all problems, that professionals deserve to lead, that the downfall of the working class is the inevitable price we pay for globalization – than creationists can be wooed away from the tenets of “intelligent design”. The dogmas are simply too essential to their identity. Changing what the Democratic party stands for may ultimately require nothing less than what a certain Vermonter is calling a “political revolution”.
This is why I refuse to vote for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. Let the chips fall where they may. It is time for the Democrats to take a stand. Change is hard for sure, but perpetuating a corrupt political system is worse. There is absolutely no future for the 99% under this irretrievably broken two-party system.