George Clooney recently held two fundraising events for Hillary Clinton, one at a friend's San Francisco home and another at Clooney's Los Angeles home. Total haul: roughly $15 million. Donors paid between $33,000 and $353,000 for a shot at sharing a brief moment in time with one career actor and, well, another career actor. Clinton spoke about her middle class devotion to a clique of 100 devotees worth billions while pounds of spot prawns and beef tenderloin were blissfully devoured. The middle class wanted to make its own statement, but it was forcibly barricaded blocks away and incapable of affording a ticket on a salary less than the price of admission.
The San Francisco event was held at the $4 million dollar 4,000 square foot San Francisco stunner of Silicon Valley entrepreneur, venture capitalist, Obama advisor and now Clinton über-fundraiser, Shervin Pishevar. Protestors scaled Nob Hill until they reached the police stronghold which clearly drew the line between the illustrious and the obscure. Nonetheless, activists banged pots, chanted anti-Clinton catchphrases, annoyed cops and eventually disappeared, much like the middle class.
The Los Angeles event was held at Clooney's sprawling 7,500 square foot Hollywood Hills estate in the historic Whitley Heights neighborhood. Gorgeous George's $20 million dollar showstopper is an apt companion to his $16 million dollar Oxfordshire mansion, his $50 million dollar Italian mansion and his $50 million dollar Cabo San Lucas mansion, recently sold to a Mexican billionaire who simultaneously bought the neighbors' mansion (owned by besties Cindy Crawford and Randy Gerber) for another $50 million. Incidentally, the nifty $100 million dollar deal equals salaries for 2,200 Americans. Viva la raza!
Protestors flanked Hollywood's Whitley Terrace in order to throw a thousand one dollar bills over secret service and LAPD toward limousines occupied by Clinton and her cohorts as the motorcade approached the Clooney compound. Ironically, one thousand dollars couldn't buy even a few bottles of bubbly served on silver platters carried by servers whose evening wage was likely less than the cost of one bottle, let alone a Clooney sock.
Two contest winners (seen above) from Pennsylvania got the chance to see what it's like to live in La-La Land and cross over to the other side of the class paradigm. Interesting how they were "randomly" selected two weeks before the critical Pennsylvania primary; just enough time to garner additional feel-good press as Americana parents of an aspiring actress who got to meet one of the nation's political legends.
Howard Gold lives down the hill from Clooney. It was he who withdrew the thousand bucks and spread it among protestors. In fact, in a colossally ironic twist, Howard is actually son of the now-deceased founder of the 99 Cents Only retail chain, Dave Gold, a well-known, humble philanthropist who was deeply invested in his employee's well-being. Besides dishing out the cash, Howard also created the protest spectacle in the first place with an e-invite to Sanders supporters that read,
"Swimming pools, movie stars, and merriment for all! This is happening right next door to Clooney's party for Hillary! No-one turned away for a lack of funds."
Gold's outreach turned into a pool party protest and $27-per-head fundraiser at his pad. $27 donations have become a battle cry for Sanders and his supporters as they rail against big money interests - including Hollywood heavyweights - who have supported Clinton and her predecessors through Super PACs and grandiose galas at country clubs and mansions coast-to-coast.
Aside from the gated mansions, the $200 million dollars of net worth, the security detail and the movie star madness, George Clooney is know for his activism, for being a big star with a big heart and a big mind. He's also known for using his big heart and his big mind and his big bucks to stake his good-guy reputation on Hillary Clinton, as seen in his endorsement email which declared, "In all of this clutter, there's been one consistent voice. A voice of tolerance and experience."
If the American people have learned one thing about Hillary and Bill Clinton over four decades, it's that "consistent" and "tolerance" are antonyms, not synonyms.
One would certainly love to have mingled among the gilded that starry night in the Hollywood Hills, not to behold the glitz and glam, but to eavesdrop on the gab among the mega-moneyed and perhaps glean precisely why some were there to support Hillary. Did they actually know her policies, her voting record, her vision?
Hillary's Senatorial record is neither widely discussed nor known. In fact, she has often cited Bill's Presidential policies - in debates, interviews, stump speeches and ad campaigns - as if they were her own, as if this would be her third term as POTUS should November's ballots fall her way. She has also shapeshifted so frequently - based on which way the political wind blows at the moment - that one can hardly know how to identify the real Hillary let alone follow her footsteps forward.
In the end, however, one question remains. Are Bill's and Hill's past, present and proposed policies worthy of a six figure check for 120 minutes in Clooney's backyard?
In 1994, Bill Clinton instituted the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (DADT) policy which barred openly gay, lesbian or bisexual persons from military service. In 1996, Bill Clinton signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which defined federal marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Hillary Clinton fully supported these policies.
Obama led the Congressional charge to repeal DADT in 2010, just two years into his Presidency. Ellen DeGeneres tweeted, "Thank you Senators for pushing us one step closer towards full equality." Obama publicly announced his support of same-sex marriage in 2012. DeGeneres stated, "It takes a brave man to take a stand like this especially in an election year. Mr. President, to you, I say, thank you, very, very much."
In March of 2013, one year after Obama made his historic marriage-for-all plea, the Supreme Court was on the verge of overturning DOMA and the American people favored a definitive reversal of the age old civil rights disaster. The time was therefore ripe for Hillary Clinton's own coming out party. Following decades of actively denying wedding bells for woman and woman and man and man, she suddenly announced her support.
On the other hand, Bernie Sanders was one of the vast minority to oppose DADT in 1994. Bernie Sanders was one of the vast minority to vote against DOMA in 1996. In fact, in 1983, as mayor of Burlington, Vermont, Sanders signed a Gay Pride Day Proclamation which, he said, defined his belief that gay rights were civil rights. In 2009, Sanders helped helped pass the nation's first same-sex marriage law in Vermont.
In a baffling clarion call for Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres attended Clooney's money ball last week. Do you think she thanked Hillary for supporting the LGBT community only after it became politically convenient? Do you think she thought it a better investment than $27 to the Sanders campaign which serves all citizens, everywhere, all the time, not just those who have special access to people who pretend for a living? Gay actor Jim Parsons and gay talent agency exec Bryan Lourd were also at Clooney's shindig. Wonder if they congratulated Clinton for doing nothing to secure their rightful place in the straight person's world.
1994. Bill Clinton passes the largest crime bill in the history of the United States. While some measures of the bill were admirable - Violence Against Women Act, Federal Assault Weapons Ban - others led to today's outrageous mass incarceration catastrophe and the cultural crippling of Blacks and Latinos.
In a heartbeat, low-level drug use and non-violent crimes led to myriad disappearing acts thanks to Clinton's "truth in sentencing" clause which not only extended prison sentences so that "violators" drifted into infinite darkness but also mandated that such sentences be served without early parole. Crack and cocaine had near twin-like compositions, but because crack was associated with Black communities and cocaine was the fuel for the well-heeled Whites - the kind you might find at Hollywood hangouts - a massive "crackdown" on Blacks convened while Whites partied on. Today, America is the proud owner of the largest prison industrial complex on the planet and a population in which 1 in 3 Black men will not only go to jail for being Black and male, but mostly for being impoverished, contrary to what most Whites think.
The crime bill removed prevention and education programs from prisons thereby worsening recidivism rates. And let's not forget what may be the most mighty repercussion of this grave imbalance. The vast, vast, vast majority of felons cannot vote while in prison or on probation. Only Maine and Vermont - Bernie Sanders' state - allow incarcerated citizens to vote. Since the Clinton crime bill extended sentences for even first-time, non-violent and low-level offenders, it continues to erase more and more Blacks and Latinos from voting lines. And if you think that was happenstance, think again.
"These are not just gangs of kids anymore. They are often the kinds of kids that are called super-predators with no conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel."
Hillary made these comments during a speech to garner support for Bill's crime bill which she fervently supported and which clearly targeted Blacks. And, yes, she willfully deployed the word "heel," as in what dogs are demanded to do. The term "super-predators" was rarely if ever used to reference anyone other than a Black person. It was a term first and widely used by Republicans to create the Black boogeyman complex and thereafter picked up and perpetuated by the Clintons. Clinton recently said, "I shouldn't have used those words." So, why did she? Is that an apology or a mistake?
Incidentally, the crime bill not only awarded grants to cities coast-to-coast in order to put armies of additional cops on streets, but it became a gateway to what is now a highly militarized police presence that sweeps through largely urban communities, armed to the teeth and hellbent on suppressing the most vulnerable voices and those advocating on their behalf. One only has to attend today's anti-police violence protests or political protests or wage protests to see its effects.
Because of his commitment to protect women and ban assault weapons, Bernie Sanders voted in favor of the crime bill, as is widely known, but he despised the sentencing mandates and disproportionate effects he believed the bill would have on minorities. He, of course, was right. In '94, Sanders addressed the House as a final, emotional plea to alter such legislation.
Mr. Speaker, how do we talk about the very serious crime problem in America without mentioning that we have the highest rate of childhood poverty in the industrialized world, by far, with 22 percent of our children in poverty and 5 million who are hungry today? Do the Members think maybe that might have some relationship to crime? How do we talk about crime when this Congress is prepared, this year, to spend 11 times more for the military than for education; when 21 percent of our kids drop out of high school; when a recent study told us that twice as many young workers now earn poverty wages as 10 years ago; when the gap between the rich and the poor is wider, and when the rate of poverty continues to grow? Do the members think that might have some relationship to crime?
Mr. Speaker, it is my firm belief that clearly, there are some people in our society who are horribly violent, who are deeply sick and sociopathic, and clearly these people must be put behind bars in order to protect society from them. But it is also my view that through the neglect of our Government and through a grossly irrational set of priorities, we are dooming tens of millions of young people to a future of bitterness, misery, hopelessness, drugs, crime, and violence.
And Mr. Speaker, all the jails in the world, and we already imprison more people per capita than any other country, and all of the executions in the world, will not make that situation right. We can either educate or electrocute. We can create meaningful jobs, rebuilding our society, or we can build more jails.
In order to deflect from this horrific Clinton legacy, Hillary relishes every opportunity to excoriate Bernie over his stance on guns, especially his recent comments about the Sandy Hook Elementary School parents who are suing Remington. She positions herself as the anti-gun crime crusader who finds it appalling that Sanders does not support the lawsuit and did not support the Brady Bill. However, during an October 2015 CNN debate, Sanders reminded her that, at the time of the Brady Bill vote, he favored most provisions but believed there was too much room for abuse of authority, stating, "For example, do I think that a gun shop in the state of Vermont that sells legally a gun to somebody, and that somebody goes out and does something crazy, that that gun shop owner should be held responsible? I don't."
Hillary Clinton fails truth when she says, over and again, that gun makers "are the only business in America that is wholly protected from any kind of liability." In fact, gun makers can be sued, especially, as Sanders stipulates, when they know their wares will be used for criminal purposes or when they knowingly break state or federal laws.
Sanders has always preferred a provision that punishes makers and sellers that purposefully or negligently sell arms to criminals or in opposition of laws. Just like car manufacturers that purposefully or negligently install software to cheat emissions tests. Or municipal officials who purposefully or negligently tap into corrosive water sources to meet budget shortfalls. Or energy companies that purposefully or negligently destroy our environment. Or investment bankers who purposefully or negligently destroy our economy. Or Congresspeople who purposefully or negligently accept money from special interests (or Wall Street speaking engagements) to ensure that all of the above remains the status quo. In fact, one might argue that lawsuits must first be waged against politicians who, without a shadow of doubt, perennially, purposefully and negligently cripple the public good ad nauseam.
Is Sanders' stance on gun makers debatable, perhaps somewhat dubious? Yes. Is his record on helping to keep his state safe debatable, regardless of its lax gun laws? No. Vermont is the safest state in the country and has maintained such a safety level for all of Sanders' 26 years in the House and Senate. Despite this, he still has a D- rating from the NRA.
And, is Sanders accepting fundraising events hosted by NRA lobbyists? No. But guess who is? Her name starts with a Hillary and ends with a Clinton. Yes, Hillary had no problem letting longtime NRA lobbyist, Jeff Forbes, host a fundraiser for her in D.C. in March. And by the way, Forbes worked in Bill Clinton's administration and has been a "veteran strategist for the Democratic National Committee." Oh, the ties that bind.
Sanders is and has been opposed to virtually everything Clinton opposes concerning gun control, including an assault weapons ban, ending gun show loopholes and instituting universal background checks. Sanders could simply clobber Clinton on her support of a perverse criminal justice system sprung from the Clinton crime bill, but he has remained tame, to say the least. The difference is, he does not have an establishment army at his back. She does.
Two more notes about those guns that Clinton claims to loathe. In 2008, Obama made what was then seen as a gaffe when he said that certain people "cling to their guns." Within milliseconds, Clinton rallied around the 2nd Amendment faithful by stating,
"You know, my dad took me out behind the cottage that my grandfather built on a little lake called Lake Winola outside of Scranton and taught me how to shoot when I was a little girl. You know, some people now continue to teach their children and their grandchildren. It's part of culture. It's part of a way of life. People enjoy hunting and shooting because it's an important part of who they are. Not because they are bitter... there is not a contradiction between protecting Second Amendment rights [and efforts to reduce crime]."
Obama soon after remarked, "Hillary Clinton is out there like she's on the duck blind every Sunday. She's packing a six-shooter. She's talking like she's Annie Oakley. Come on, she knows better." Throughout the balance of that campaign, she was far more conservative on guns than Obama and even refrained from a proposal for a national gun registry. During the campaign, Clinton also stipulated, "What might work in NYC is certainly not going to work in Montana. So, for the federal government to be having any kind of blanket rules that they're going to try to impose, I think doesn't make sense." Gun control groups came down hard on Hillary over these knee-jerk, politically convenient policy shifts for which she has become notorious. And now, like an ever-faithful pendulum, she has swung back leftward of Sanders on gun control since she sees a political opportunity waiting on the other side.
So, did all the Black and Latino guests at Clooney's shindigs ask Clinton why she stumped for legislation that ravaged their brethren? Did they ask why she waited 20 years to reverse the "school-to-prison pipeline" (her words) that she helped to forge? Surely billionaire attendee, Haim Saban, the world's 143rd richest man, might want to challenge Clinton on this record, considering he owns Univision - the largest Spanish speaking media conglomerate in the nation. Or is it because, in his words, "I'm a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel," that he is obsessive about Hillary, and she about he? Hillary is widely known to be the most right-wing Democrat on Israel relations as Noted by the Washington Post article which related, "she appeared to blame the collapse of direct Israel-Palestinian talks on the wave of Mideast revolutions and unrest during the 2011 Arab Spring, although talks had broken off the previous year."
On second thought, how many Black and Latino guests were even in attendance?
In 1996, Hillary championed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), known as the welfare reform bill which overhauled the entire system. Bill Clinton famously said it was a "hand-up rather than a handout... designed to end welfare as we know it." Hillary touted how she "worked hard to round up votes for its passage" and years later infamously said that those who left the system were "no longer deadbeats--they're actually out there being productive."
According to The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, though the poverty rate declined for a few years, by the time Clinton left office, it was on the rise again and is currently worse than when the legislation was etched in stone. Clinton's willfully shortsighted legislation changed a flexible funding model in which the government's contributions increased, as need increased, into a fixed funding model which dramatically devalued support over time, especially in light of the Recession. A vivid loophole also enabled States to misappropriate such funding, and they have. Many have rerouted contributions to plug other budget shortfalls.
In '96, 28 percent of poor families failed to receive benefits. 20 years later, that number reached 74 percent. Bill and Hillary Clinton helped systematically further disadvantage the already disadvantaged, and the country is reeling from it to this very day. The most striking indictment of their actions came from one of their very own appointees to the Department of Health and Human Services 20 years ago, who resigned in disgust after the Clintons pushed the welfare act to law. He said,
"The best that can be said about this terrible legislation is that perhaps we will learn from it and eventually arrive at a better approach. I am afraid, though, that along the way we will do some serious injury to American children, who should not have had to suffer from our national backlash." Read the rest here.
And by the way, Bernie Sanders opposed the 1996 welfare reform bill.
Stanford Law grad, activist and writer, Michelle Alexander brilliantly dissembled the Clintons' smoke and mirrors as such,
"On the campaign trail, Bill Clinton made the economy his top priority and argued persuasively that conservatives were using race to divide the nation and divert attention from the failed economy. In practice, however, he capitulated entirely to the right-wing backlash against the civil-rights movement and embraced former president Ronald Reagan's agenda on race, crime, welfare, and taxes--ultimately doing more harm to black communities than Reagan ever did... Clinton mastered the art of sending mixed cultural messages, appealing to African Americans by belting out "Lift Every Voice and Sing" in black churches, while at the same time signaling to poor and working-class whites that he was willing to be tougher on black communities than Republicans had been. In short, there is such a thing as a lesser evil, and Hillary is not it. "
So again, one must wonder why Blacks and Latinos are so enamored of Hillary and of Bill, whom many have dubbed "the first black President." If one had a nickel for every time Hillary self-praises over her support of women and children in need, one might be able to afford a ticket to the Clooney gig. Yet, she has clearly and systematically dismantled such support for ages, especially where it concerns minorities.
Hillary was crystal clear a year ago that she favored a $12 minimum wage, not a $15 minimum as has been adopted in Seattle and now New York City and the state of California. (See video below.) Yet, in vintage Clinton fashion, that did not stop her from rushing to Governor Andrew Cuomo's side for a premium photo op once Cuomo announced The Big Apple's adoption of a $15 minimum... conveniently just two weeks before New York primary.
Activists from Fight for $15 have done bruising work for years in their effort to raise the minimum to a satisfactory living wage, no thanks to Clinton who has only recently glommed on to the movement as if she were a spokesperson. Sanders, on the other hand, has been an avid supporter of this fight for minimum wage workers as detailed in this piece from notable activist and Seattle Councilwoman, Kshama Sawant.
In one of the most memorable moments in debate history, Sanders pinned Clinton on the ropes and forced her to make a $15 minimum public pledge. Perhaps the catering folks at Clooney's soirée should have asked Clinton why the sudden change of heart. Either way, Bernie continues to get rope-a-doped by Clinton because, again, she has too many political establishment heavyweights in the ring with her.
Hillary Clinton shows no signs of being an environment-friendly President. She does, however, show plenty of signs of being a fossil-fuel friendly President. In fact, she shows millions and millions of signs that this is the case, as attested to by her countless compatriots in the gas and oil business who fund her POTUS campaign like a kid with an unquenchable thirst.
Hillary Clinton made $1 million dollars in speeches from Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce which is a major investor in the Keystone XL pipeline project. Hillary Clinton made $650,000 from speeches to TD Bank another major financial backer of Keystone. She was "inclined" to sign off on Keystone, then she "can't really comment" on Keystone then suddenly "I oppose it" only once Obama said enough's enough.
Hillary Clinton registered 40 lobbyists last year as major financial "bundlers" whose contributions totaled $2.1 million dollars. Almost every one of those lobbyists pushed fossil fuel. Hillary Clinton has received another $500,000 in direct contributions from fossil fuel lobbyists. Hillary Clinton has received $310,000 in direct contributions from fossil fuel employees. And Greenpeace has claimed that Hillary Clinton has received $4,000,000 in Super PAC contributions and ancillary fossil fuel interests. Hillary Clinton has also clearly leveraged her position as Secretary of State to shill for oil and gas interests (Exxon, Chevron) from Bulgaria to Mexico.
Click here to see who Clinton's lobbyists are:
It is, therefore, no small wonder why Clooney and company do what they do, pander the way they pander. While their public intentions may seem just, their private lives don't sync with an anti-establishment titan like Sanders. By no means is Sanders infallible. He admits he has been on the wrong side of things enough times to shorten sleep, i.e. votes on crime bill and the misleading deregulation bill known as the Commodity Futures Modernization Act. But rarely has he, over four decades of public service, failed the public for long. And if he senses he has, he voices his disgust and expeditiously pushes to right the wrongs, with fervor and with very little establishment accord. In other words, his experience has taught him not to be bound by political zetigeist or dirty pool.
Hillary Clinton has been widely acclaimed for her experience. Her experience as a legal eagle. Her experience in her husband's administration. Her experience as a U.S. Senator. And especially her experience as Secretary of State. One of her recent campaign ads props her up as an incomparable Commander in Chief proclaiming, "She's prepared for it like no other. A tireless Secretary of State, standing up against the abuse of women and girls, negotiating a cease-fire in Gaza, leading the diplomacy that keeps us out of war. The Presidency is the toughest job in the world, and she's the one leader who has what it takes to get every part of the job done."
But experience does not equate prudence. And why does a nation remain so smitten with someone who makes one globally disastrous decision after another?
In 2002, Hillary Clinton voted in favor of the war in Iraq. Bernie Sanders voted against it. Over 4,500 Americans died. Upwards of a half million Americans were injured (physical, emotional). Nearly 200,000 Iraqis died, the vast majority being civilians. Taxpayers have spent over $4 trillion with many more trillions to come. And yet, the region is less stable than it ever was. We now know what a vote for this war constituted... the worst foreign policy decision in our nation's history.
In 2009, a vicious military coup ousted a democratically elected President in Honduras. Secretary Clinton fiercely advocated for the coup and supported new elections of pro-U.S. puppets, regardless of an international community that saw her decision as disdainful and dangerous. Latin American officials eventually rejected U.S. policy judgments and relations have been strained ever since. Honduras was already the most dangerous place on the planet but has since become far worse, with the world's highest murder rate, the constant slaughter of activists, journalists, dissenters, LGBT citizens, wholesale police and government corruption and a mass exodus of mothers and children who have desperately sought U.S. asylum. Hillary Clinton has steadfastly denied such asylum. Sanders supports it.
In 2011, Secretary Clinton flew to Haiti, 9 months after the quake, to all but commandeer the presidential election and eventuate success for Michel ("Sweet Mickey") Martelly, a former carnival performer cum pop star, son of a Shell oil executive (hmm) and on-again-off-again resident of the U.S. who returned to Haiti for good after defaulting on over $1 million in bank loans. It's no surprise that Martelly cherished support from his "friends in the U.S." who coddled him with everything he needed to assume his nation's top seat, including a U.S. government pledge of millions in campaign support.
Regardless of massive outrage from human rights organizations and an entire populist party consisting of tens of thousands of working class Haitians being denied the right to vote, Martelly was "elected." Simultaneously, Obama, in concert with Martelly, put Bill Clinton in charge of Haitian quake reconstruction. Needless to say, the Clinton Global Initiative received some healthy donations from Clinton cronies awarded no-bid contracts to clean up the disaster. Martelly had been mired in corruption, strong-arming scandals and surrounded himself with reported drug traffickers, rapists and murderers. Sadly, the country remains in shreds while cholera continues to ravage citizens. Where did billions in relief go?
Incidentally, also in 2011, as Egypt erupted in anti-government protests (Tahrir Square), Tunisia erupted in anti-government protests, Yemen and Syria erupted in anti-government protests and the Sudanese were demanding freedom, Secretary Clinton didn't rush into the fray. She went to Haiti to protect her husband's interests, to protect her interests, and to protect relations with international businesses invested in Haitian resources, not to mention her brother being awarded a rare gold mining contract.
In 2009. Secretary Clinton stated, "We deeply value the relationship between the United States and Libya." In 2011, at her behest, the U.S. and allied nations launched a massive bomb strike upon Libya in order to force the ouster of leader Muammar Gaddafi and his loyalists and suppress what Clinton promised as Gaddafi's imminent massacre of Libyan protestors. Gaddafi was soon killed by opposition forces. Clinton took a victory tour of the ravaged country proclaiming, "We came, we saw, he died!"
But her decision to push Libya into a U.S./Western-backed government, yet again, was ignorant, at best, as the sudden dissolution of leadership led to chaotic civil war, bolstered terrorists, incited mass migration, and eventually led to the disaster in Benghazi, which, no matter what one's political affiliation, was an avoidable fiasco cum mystery of epic proportion.
Since 2011 until now, Secretary Clinton has pushed - perhaps "bullied" is more apt - Obama into building an aggressive operation in Syria that forces President Assad out. By now Clinton's model of regime change must sound not only like a broken record but a broken record collection. Clinton was entirely unaccommodating to anyone who considered a ceasefire, anyone who considered diplomacy, including the U.N. She wanted Assad out, and she would and will stop at nothing until it happens.
Is Assad a butcher? Yes. But Clinton's America makes us a nonstop butcher of butchers and anyone in our way of butchering. Her international defiance has contributed to an escalation in which 10 million Syrians are displaced and a quarter million are dead. Time and time again, Clinton's mania and gracelessness have left the international community exasperated and even exacerbated suffering. Perhaps Salon said it best with, "There hasn't been a major foreign policy decision in the Middle East she pushed for that didn't end up being a disaster both at home and the countries she advocated meddling in."
Hillary Clinton is a brilliant person. A masterful politician. And a send-up of her husband times a gazillion. Clooneys and Fondas and Katzenbergs and DeNiros and DeGenereses and Kardashians worship her because they can, not because they should, or perhaps not because they know better. But they should listen to what she says in contrast to what she does, how she does it and who suffers because of it. And while being a woman matters, it does not matter as much if you are a woman who makes decisions equal to or more dire than those made by men. Truth matters. Fairness matters. And words do matter.
Hillary Clinton once said, "I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the [Bosnian] airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base." In fact, she and her 16-year-old daughter Chelsea actually calmly exited the plane and were greeted by a child who read them a poem on the tarmac. When challenged with video evidence, Clinton said, "So I made a mistake. That happens." Mistake?
Hillary Clinton once said, "We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt." Within one year, let alone a few months of leaving the White House, the Clintons were worth upwards of $30 million dollars. When challenged with documented evidence, Clinton said, "I regret it. It was inartful. It was accurate. But, we are so successful and we are so blessed by the success we've had." Inartful?
Hillary Clinton once said of the Iraq war, "I believe the facts that have brought us to this fateful vote are not in doubt. Any vote that might lead to war should be hard, but I cast it with conviction. " Years later, she said, "I actually started criticizing the war in Iraq before Obama did." Obama criticized the war in Iraq as a State Senator in 2002, and he criticized the war as a U.S. Senator in 2005, both before Clinton. When challenged about her disastrous foreign policy decision, Clinton said, "I made it very clear that I made a mistake, plain and simple." Mistake?
Hillary Clinton once said, "I think everybody is in favor of free and fair trade. I think NAFTA is proving its worth." The North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement was signed into law by Bill Clinton. Since such time, 700,000 jobs have been lost to Mexico alone, collective bargaining was crushed, wages deteriorated and executive compensation skyrocketed because profiteering made labor - American workers - disposable. Before running against Obama, Clinton said, "NAFTA was a mistake to the extent that it did not deliver on what we had hoped it would." Mistake?
Hillary Clinton once said, "This TPP [Trans Pacific Partnership] sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field." Like NAFTA, the TPP will offshore countless jobs, crush wages here at home, further empower Wall Street and corporate profiteering at the cost of labor, endanger health and environmental standards and deny human rights. Only after immense pressure from labor groups and Sanders' anti-TPP devotees did Clinton suddenly declare, "I oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership because when I saw what was in it, it was clear to me there were too many loopholes, too many opportunities for folks to be taken advantage of." What about the first through the 20th time Clinton saw it and praised it?
Hillary Clinton once said, "It may be hard for your viewers to remember how difficult it was for people to talk about HIV/Aids in the 1980s, and because of both President and Mrs. Reagan - in particular Mrs. Reagan - we started a national conversation." In fact, the Reagans famously sat quietly by as the 80s devoured tens of thousands during the AIDS epidemic. After being roundly criticized by advocates and even supporters nationwide, once again, Clinton conveniently and less than admirably backtracked by saying, "While the Reagans were strong advocates of stem cell research and finding a cure for Alzheimer's Disease, I misspoke about their record on HIV and AIDS. For that, I'm sorry." Misspoke?
Hillary Clinton once said during her first run at POTUS, "I am going to leave that to others to conclude" after Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, said homosexuality was immoral. Suffering a massive public backlash, Clinton reversed course and stated, "I disagree with what he said and do not share his view, plain and simple." So, did she originally misspeak? Or make a mistake?
Hillary Clinton once said, "As president, I will not support driver's licenses for undocumented people." She also maintained, "We have to send a clear message: Just because your child gets across the border doesn't mean your child gets to stay." And as a finale, "I am, you know, adamantly against illegal immigrants." The Latino community, including the Dream Action Coalition, made its angry voice heard by roaring, "Rather than be an advocate for the right causes, this news reveals that Mrs. Clinton is prone to changing her stance in unfavorable political climates. Is this what we expect from a President?" Now in her 2nd run for POTUS, the Clinton campaign reverses course with, "Hillary supports state policies to provide driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants." And about those children of undocumented workers, she now claims, "I will stand up against any effort to deport dreamers. Immigrants are vital to our economy." So, again, did she originally misspeak? Or make a mistake? Or was she just plain inartful?
Hillary Clinton once said, "I think when we look back on the 1990s, we will see that the charter school movement led by experienced, committed, expert educators will be one of the ways we will have turned around the entire public school system." In actuality, she championed charters through the 90s and well beyond that speech in 1998. By 2011, Bill Clinton received a lifetime achievement award from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, thanks in large part to Hillary. Clearly, she has reversed course since running for POTUS this year, as she recently said, "And here's a couple of problems. Most charter schools, I don't want to say everyone, but most charter schools, they don't take the hardest-to-teach kids. And if they do, they don't keep them. The public schools are often in a no-win situation, because they do thankfully take everybody, and they don't get the resources and help and support they need to take care of every child's education. I am still a firm believer that the public school system is one of the real pillars of our democracy, and it is a path for opportunity." So, was it her need for teachers union endorsements that has led to a sudden change of heart?
And Hillary Clinton once said, "Our banking system is still too complex and too risky ... While institutions have paid large fines and in some cases admitted guilt, too often it has seemed that the human beings responsible get off with limited consequences - or none at all, even when they've already pocketed the gains. This is wrong, and on my watch, it will change." Much has been made of Clinton's ties to the financial sector. After all she and Bill have made over $150 million dollars in speaking fees since his Presidency and a healthy share is tied to high finance.
During the New York debate, Sanders was asked to name any example of how Wall Street contributions influenced Clinton's policy agenda. He admittedly stumbled, and Clinton pounced, "He cannot come up with any example because there is no example."
The Associated Press however, didn't stumble. They recently did some deep digging on this topic, and here's a slice of what they unearthed,
"The AP's review of federal records, regulatory filings and correspondence showed that almost all the 82 corporations, trade associations and other groups that paid for or sponsored Clinton's speeches have actively sought to sway the government -- lobbying, bidding for contracts, commenting on federal policy and in some cases contacting State Department officials or Clinton herself during her tenure as Secretary of State." For more, go here.
Add that to the $15 million dollars poured into her Super PAC from Wall Street sources. And the tens of millions from Wall Street dumped into the Clinton Global Initiative / family foundation. And a clearly empty record when it comes to punishment or, at the very least, investigation of the polluters that took down the world's financial hub in her own state as Senator of New York from 2001 up to and through the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression. And her ardent support of her deregulating husband. And yet the American people are supposed to believe that Hillary Rodham Clinton would never, ever be influenced by any of it after she swears on the Holy Bible?
It's not rocket science. We all know Hillary won't disclose transcripts of her $225,000 speeches to Wall Street simply because Wall Street has fueled the Clinton dynasty for decades. If you have nothing to hide, you simply don't hide it. Period, end of story. Ask Sanders. She thinks that disclosing her tax returns is proof of fair play. An honest tax return from a multi-millionaire, let alone a Clinton, is like a polar bear roaming the Sunset Strip.
America is ready for a woman President. In light of the job that men have been doing, America needs to clear the deck and install far more women navigators to finally tip the scales firmly in their favor. But is Hillary Clinton the right woman to chart this journey for the next 4 to 8 years? Do we truly expect change?
One would assume the answer, during that particular night, at that particular Hollywood gala with that particular group of untouchables led by Mr. Clooney depends on whether you ask someone holding the $250 crystal champagne flute or someone serving it.
Takeaway? In this country, at this time, with Citizens United doing anything but uniting citizens, change will sadly not come $27 dollars at a time, no matter how much Mr. Sanders and his faithful would like it to. Unless movie stars or corporate stars who host private affairs on gated grounds in order to buy elections, suddenly succumb to outrageous epiphanies that lead to future fundraisers at local libraries and municipal parks, the White House will return to its whitest shade of white, Hillary will further conquer and further divide, and the world will continue to spin further from its proper axis.
Tragically, America's first Black President and America's highly likely first woman President aren't the kind of history-making that many Americans imagined. On the other hand, America's first reality-TV star President might be an end to history as we know it.