Posts Tagged ‘Hillary Clinton’


DEMOCRATIC PARTY UNITY, phr. Allowing the architects of the current electoral disaster to engineer, unchallenged, further disasters. Some low minded skeptics have suggested that the desire of the masters of disaster to maintain control is due to their wallowing in rivers of corporate cash, but this is obviously not so. They advance corporate interests not out of petty, personal venality, but out of the purest altruistic motives.

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(This one isn’t in The American Heretic’s Dictionary, but it will be should we ever getting around to publishing a further updated edition.)


Amidst all the weeping, wailing, and gnashing of molars over the very real horrors of Donald Trump’s election, almost no one has talked about the very probable horrors of Hillary Clinton’s presidency had she won.

She was an unrepentant hawk. An interventionist (Libya, Iraq). She was a fan of drone warfare. She wanted to put in place a “no fly zone” over Syria, which could quite possibly have led to direct military conflict with Russia.

She would have been almost as abject a servant of the Israeli extreme right as Trump has turned out to be. This would, as under Trump, have bolstered the longstanding and accurate impression that the U.S. aids and abets Israel in its theft of Palestinian lands and in its oppression of the Palestinian people. If you want  permanent conflict in the Middle East, this is the recipe.

She, like Trump, would have been in bed with the brutal, authoritarian Islamists currently in power in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, and Turkey, as well as the repressive military regime in Egypt.

She was obsessively secretive and an advocate, likely an architect, of Obama’s war on whistle blowers. She would have continued that war.

Like Obama, she was chummy with the bankers and corporate elite — remember her $5,000-a-minute speech to Goldman Sachs?

I could go on. The similarity of many of her positions, both domestic and foreign, to those of Trump, Obama, and Bush the Lesser are legion.

But let’s talk about why she would have been a disaster from a domestic politics standpoint.

Had she won, she’d have faced a hostile Congress, and even if she’d wanted to make progressive economic changes (she didn’t), the Congress would have stymied her. (Her true priorities were revealed in her “no we can’t” responses to Bernie Sanders during the primary season.) Economically, it would have been more of the same for the next four years: the rich getting richer and the poor and middle class getting screwed.

It would also have meant that the corporate-lackey wing of the Democratic Party — a wing whose strategy has been purely to pander on social issues while serving the corporate and banking elite on economic issues — would have remained firmly in control.  Clinton’s victory would have cemented their control. Now, progressives might seize control of that party.

Had Clinton won, anger over economic inequality would have built, as the Republican propaganda machine (read Fox “News” and Breitbart) cast the center-rightist Clinton as a “leftist” or even a “socialist.”

This would have fed directly into the alt-right/neo-Nazi Trump-base narrative of “elite liberals” thwarting the economic well-being of ordinary Americans.

As gridlock set in even more deeply, anger would have continued to build, likely resulting in even more far-right Republican gains in the House and Senate in 2018, and the likely election of a smoother, more skilled Republican theo-fascist as president in 2020.

As is, we’re saddled with a grotesque excuse for a president: a narcissistic pathological liar, a whining, paper-thin-skinned bully who is obviously and grossly unfit for office.

As such, he’s inciting massive opposition. Millions of people who have never before been politically active have become so, doing everything from taking to the streets and engaging in civil disobedience to simply calling their congressional representatives or showing up at town halls.

Would this have happened under Clinton? No. Not a chance. At least on nothing approaching the current level.

Rather than the rise of massive progressive opposition, the neo-fascist, phony-populist right would have continued its ascension.

Now, Trump and his alt-right tools are in control, and they have to own what they produce. Their economic policies insure that they can’t deliver on their economic promises and will instead deliver more misery to the working class and what’s left of the middle class.

Thus, there’s already mass progressive opposition. And it will grow.

Some misinformed leftists have argued that the election of Trump was a disaster. It was. What they forget is that the election of Hillary Clinton would, in the long run (barring mass incineration), have been an even bigger disaster.


A group of former intelligence operatives, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), whose steering group (see below) is composed primarily of ex-CIA and ex-NSA officers, has just released a statement (“Memorandum”) on why Russia could not have hacked the U.S. presidential election (i.e., the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign) without the NSA being aware of it, and why instead the revelations of the DNC’s/Clinton’s dirty tricks were the result of untraceable leaks. (There’s a crucial difference, which they explain in some detail in their memorandum, reproduced below in its entirety, which originally appeared on the Consortium News site.)

They make a good case.

Before you write them off as tools for Trump, please realize that VIPS was formed in 2003 to counter the Bush Administration’s disinformation campaign about Iraq, and that those members of their steering committee I’m familiar with, via their work, Mike Gravel and Ray McGovern, are left-leaning, anti-war activists. (warisacrime.org has an archive of all of the VIPS previous memorandums.)

All this brings up the question of why the Russian “hacking” allegations are being promoted by Democratic insiders and treated as fact in the corporate media. One theory is that by focusing on the “hacking,” Clinton partisans are attempting to divert attention from their very flawed, very unpopular, business-as-usual candidate, their very flawed, very unethical campaign, and their responsibility for foisting that candidate upon the public, and instead blame an outside force for the disaster they engineered.

If people buy this, and blame the Russians for Clinton’s loss, it follows that there was nothing fundamentally wrong with Clinton or her campaign, and thus no reason for the Democrats not to nominate another business-as-usual candidate (or, god help us, Clinton again) in 2020.

This seems plausible.

But why would CIA insiders leak the Russian hacking assertions to the press, when they have no hard evidence? Two things come to mind: 1) they’re Clinton partisans; or 2) they’re so alarmed by Trump’s gross incompetence and erratic, volatile nature — the huge and obvious danger that he represents to all of us — that they’re doing their best to kneecap him before he takes office.

If so, they might succeed. It would be highly ironic if false hacking allegations brought down Donald Trump (Mussolini without the charm)  a demagogue who built his entire campaign on lies. There would be some perverse justice in that.

In the end, we don’t know who was responsible for the DNC/Clinton campaign leaks, nor do we know why the CIA leaked the allegations about those leaks. We might never know.

Here’s the VIPS’ memorandum, in its entirety.


Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

MEMORANDUM

Allegations of Hacking Election Are Baseless

A New York Times report on Monday alluding to “overwhelming circumstantial evidence” leading the CIA to believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin “deployed computer hackers with the goal of tipping the election to Donald J. Trump” is, sadly, evidence-free. This is no surprise, because harder evidence of a technical nature points to an inside leak, not hacking – by Russians or anyone else.

Seal of the National Security Agency

Seal of the National Security Agency

Monday’s Washington Post reports that Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has joined other senators in calling for a bipartisan investigation of suspected cyber-intrusion by Russia. Reading our short memo could save the Senate from endemic partisanship, expense and unnecessary delay.

In what follows, we draw on decades of senior-level experience – with emphasis on cyber-intelligence and security – to cut through uninformed, largely partisan fog. Far from hiding behind anonymity, we are proud to speak out with the hope of gaining an audience appropriate to what we merit – given our long labors in government and other areas of technology. And corny though it may sound these days, our ethos as intelligence professionals remains, simply, to tell it like it is – without fear or favor.

We have gone through the various claims about hacking. For us, it is child’s play to dismiss them. The email disclosures in question are the result of a leak, not a hack. Here’s the difference between leaking and hacking:

Leak: When someone physically takes data out of an organization and gives it to some other person or organization, as Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning did.

Hack: When someone in a remote location electronically penetrates operating systems, firewalls or any other cyber-protection system and then extracts data.

All signs point to leaking, not hacking. If hacking were involved, the National Security Agency would know it – and know both sender and recipient.

In short, since leaking requires physically removing data – on a thumb drive, for example – the only way such data can be copied and removed, with no electronic trace of what has left the server, is via a physical storage device.

Awesome Technical Capabilities

Again, NSA is able to identify both the sender and recipient when hacking is involved. Thanks largely to the material released by Edward Snowden, we can provide a full picture of NSA’s extensive domestic data-collection network including Upstream programs like Fairview, Stormbrew and Blarney. These include at least 30 companies in the U.S. operating the fiber networks that carry the Public Switched Telephone Network as well as the World Wide Web. This gives NSA unparalleled access to data flowing within the U.S. and data going out to the rest of the world, as well as data transiting the U.S.

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. (Photo credit: The Guardian)

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. (Photo credit: The Guardian)

In other words, any data that is passed from the servers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) or of Hillary Rodham Clinton (HRC) – or any other server in the U.S. – is collected by the NSA.  These data transfers carry destination addresses in what are called packets, which enable the transfer to be traced and followed through the network.

Packets: Emails being passed across the World Wide Web are broken down into smaller segments called packets. These packets are passed into the network to be delivered to a recipient. This means the packets need to be reassembled at the receiving end.

To accomplish this, all the packets that form a message are assigned an identifying number that enables the receiving end to collect them for reassembly. Moreover, each packet carries the originator and ultimate receiver Internet protocol number (either IPV4 or IPV6) that enables the network to route data.

When email packets leave the U.S., the other “Five Eyes” countries (the U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) and the seven or eight additional countries participating with the U.S. in bulk-collection of everything on the planet would also have a record of where those email packets went after leaving the U.S.

These collection resources are extensive [see attached NSA slides 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]; they include hundreds of trace route programs that trace the path of packets going across the network and tens of thousands of hardware and software implants in switches and servers that manage the network. Any emails being extracted from one server going to another would be, at least in part, recognizable and traceable by all these resources.

The bottom line is that the NSA would know where and how any “hacked” emails from the DNC, HRC or any other servers were routed through the network. This process can sometimes require a closer look into the routing to sort out intermediate clients, but in the end sender and recipient can be traced across the network.

The various ways in which usually anonymous spokespeople for U.S. intelligence agencies are equivocating – saying things like “our best guess” or “our opinion” or “our estimate” etc. – shows that the emails alleged to have been “hacked” cannot be traced across the network. Given NSA’s extensive trace capability, we conclude that DNC and HRC servers alleged to have been hacked were, in fact, not hacked.

The evidence that should be there is absent; otherwise, it would surely be brought forward, since this could be done without any danger to sources and methods. Thus, we conclude that the emails were leaked by an insider – as was the case with Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. Such an insider could be anyone in a government department or agency with access to NSA databases, or perhaps someone within the DNC.

As for the comments to the media as to what the CIA believes, the reality is that CIA is almost totally dependent on NSA for ground truth in the communications arena. Thus, it remains something of a mystery why the media is being fed strange stories about hacking that have no basis in fact. In sum, given what we know of NSA’s existing capabilities, it beggars belief that NSA would be unable to identify anyone – Russian or not – attempting to interfere in a U.S. election by hacking.

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Mike Gravel, former Adjutant, top secret control officer, Communications Intelligence Service; special agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps and former United States Senator

Larry Johnson, former CIA Intelligence Officer & former State Department Counter-Terrorism Official

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East, CIA (ret.)

Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA (ret.)


I’m shocked, shocked I tell you. Donald Trump has already begun to betray the people who elected him, both the racist wingnuts and those driven by economic despair.

He’s recently indicated that he won’t build a wall along the entire Mexican border (an impossibility because, among other things, the Tohono O’odhams down here in Pima County won’t let him do it on their nation–their lands extend on both sides of the border), and he’s also indicated that he’ll try to reach an accommodation with the “dreamers,” non-citizens who were brought here as children, rather than deport them en masse.

As for the people devastated by deindustrialization and the recession, Trump has raised his middle finger in salute, appointing a former Goldman Sachs executive as his Secretary of the Treasury and another as head of the National Economic Council (NEC). Revealingly, Gary Cohn, the NEC appointee, was a Hillary Clinton donor. That’s not all that surprising given that Trump is surrounding himself with Clinton backers and members of Clinton’s economic team.

And all this after he slammed Hillary Clinton for taking a $5000-a-minute speaking fee from Goldman Sachs. (Nice “work” if you can get it.)

Beyond that, Trump just appointed as Secretary of Labor a fast food exec, Andrew Puzder (yes, a real name), whose firms have been accused of wage theft and who thinks the minimum wage is too high. (Reportedly, Puzder will advocate for a system of agricultural settlements in which displaced workers will work in exchange for food they raise themselves and cabins they themselves build, under the guidance of kindly overseers.)

Those who voted for Trump hoping for economic improvement in their lives are in for some rude shocks.


Trump’s alt-right supporters have been celebrating his election — through, among other forms of assholery, attacks on blacks, hispanics, and muslims — and acting as if he won in a landslide. But he has nothing approaching a mandate.

The Democratic corporate elite did their best to hand him one. They managed to foist upon the electorate the most disliked (or detested) Democratic candidate in history, a candidate whose unfavorability polling rate has exceeded 50% for years. They knew how unpopular she was going in; they rigged the primary process to deliver the nomination to her; and they alienated many, many of her opponent’s supporters, especially his young supporters.

They were arrogant enough to think that they could cram an incredibly unpopular candidate down an unwilling public’s throat, because they calculated that Donald Trump was even more unpalatable than she was. They thought that their perennial good-cop-bad-cop routine would once again work. They were almost right.

Donald Trump won the electoral college, but lost the popular vote, receiving about 2.6 million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton; he lost the popular vote by approximately 2%, roughly 46% to 48% (with the other 6% going to “protest” candidates Jill Stein and Gary Johnson).

Looking at the figures more closely, one sees that the voter participation rate was approximately 59%, which means that over 40% of eligible voters were so disgusted or discouraged that they didn’t even bother to vote. They abstained in what the Democratic establishment and its water carriers were trumpeting as “the most important election of our time” (as they’ve trumpeted every presidential election in my time). Subtracting “protest” votes, only about 55% of those eligible voted for either Trump or Clinton.

And Trump didn’t win even half of those votes. Trump won with the votes of 27% of eligible voters.

That’s one hell of a “mandate” there, Bubba.


Amidst the weeping, wailing, and grinding of molars over Donald Trump’s victory, there are some reasons for optimism. Yes, there’s a lot to fear, and Trump and his extreme right cohorts will do a lot of damage–notably to the environment and reproductive rights–but there are reasons to be cautiously optimistic:

  • Trump’s election has energized the left more than anything since Occupy Wall Street in 2011. There are demonstrations and myriad organizing efforts all across the country, and they don’t seem to be slowing down.
  • A Republican is inciting the left, and it’s probable that this time the Democrats, locally and nationally, won’t conspire with the FBI and corporate security firms to destroy a dissident movement — as they did in 2011/2012 when they were complicit in suppressing the Occupy movement. They’ll try to co-opt the emerging movement, but they probably won’t try to destroy it.
  • The corporate-lackey, identity-politics Democrats’ quadrennial good cop / bad cop blackmailing of the public didn’t work. They found the one candidate who could lose to Trump: a widely disliked corporatist synonymous with the status quo; they rigged the primary process to ensure her nomination, expecting that the Republican nominee would be so odious that they could cram their candidate down our throats. They were wrong. They’re now trying to divert attention from their culpability by blaming voters, pointing to “racism” and “misogyny” as the reasons for the electoral disaster they engineered. But a lot of people are finally wising up to their extortion tactics and realizing that the corporate Democrats are not the friends of working people.
  • As a result of the corporatists’ arrogance, bungling, and all-too-obvious ethical bankruptcy, there’s a real chance that “the democratic wing of the Democratic Party” will seize control of that party. I don’t think it’s likely to happen, but for the first time in decades there’s a real possibility that it will.
  • The Democrats might start opposing mass surveillance, erosion of civil liberties, and persecution of whistle blowers. Most of them abetted Obama in his assaults on whistle blowers and civil liberties, and his continuation of the mass surveillance begun under Bush. Now, they might show what passes for spine.
  • The alt-right is small and fractured. Current Klan membership is estimated at 5,000 to 8,ooo, and the largest neo-Nazi group in the country, the National Socialist Movement (NSM), has an estimated 400 members. In the 1920s, the Klan had at least 3,000,000 members and perhaps twice that. Taking population growth into account, that would equate to at least 9,000,000 members today. In the 1930s there was a plethora of openly fascist and pro-Nazi groups in the U.S. Just one of them, the German-American Bund, had at least 8,000 members, twenty times the membership of the NSM.
  • Alt-right members will continue to commit horrific hate crimes, but the alt-right is not a great national threat. Had the corporate Democrat won the presidential election, and predictably done next to nothing while public anger and hunger for change grew, it would have provided four more years for the alt-right to grow and metastasize.
  • We lived through eight years of Bush; we can live through four years of Trump.

 

 


Back in April, I wrote a post titled “Hillary Clinton is all but Unelectable (against any sane opponent).” It turns out she couldn’t even beat an insane opponent.

Four days ago, I wrote another post: “If Clinton loses, who’s to blame?” focusing on the betrayal of low-income working people by the corporate-servant Democrats (Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Chuck Schumer, Donna Brazile, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Diane Feinstein, et al.) who’ve controlled the Democratic Party for decades.

Clinton’s water carriers will undoubtedly dismiss such analyses and will instead focus on such things as corporate money in politics, the Republican propaganda machine (Fox, Breitbart, Infowars, etc.), and Trump’s racial scapegoating. You’ll see plenty of these in-part-correct analyses in the days to come.

You’ll also see plenty of pieces by Clinton apologists drawing all the wrong conclusions about Clinton’s defeat. For a spectacular example of such wrong-headed analysis, see “The Misogyny Apocalypse” by Clinton cheerleader extraordinaire, Amanda Marcotte.

Rather, I’d argue that you can’t screw people economically for decades,  make it harder and harder for their children to attend college, ridicule them, and then pretend that you’re their friend. There are consequences for this type of behavior. Meet President Trump.

I’ve covered these matters extensively in posts over the last few years–just check the Economics category and search the site for posts on Obama and Clinton–so let’s let this go for now and examine what might happen under the Trump administration.

First the negative:

Immigration. Trump based his campaign on racism and anti-immigrant scapegoating. Here, unfortunately, he’s likely to deliver. Obama has been “the deporter in chief.” Trump will be worse, probably far worse.

Taxation. Trump wants to reduce the corporate tax rate to 15%, reduce individual income taxes across the board, and eliminate the estate tax. These things will lead to massive deficits (similar measures did under Bush the Lesser).

Global Warming. Trump is, at least publicly, a climate-change denier. Expect no action in this area.

Environment. Expect more air pollution, more water pollution, less regulation (including food-quality regulation — lack of which is already a national scandal), more fracking, more despoliation of public lands, especially in the West.

Supreme Court. One can only shudder at what’s to come here: corporate-friendly, anti-individual-rights, religious extremists (a la Scalia and Alioto).

Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, “Obamacare”: Trump made repeal of “Obamacare” a centerpiece of his campaign. Expect grossly inadequate measures in its place (“competition across state lines,” individual health savings accounts, vouchers), expect millions to lose access to healthcare, and expect at least tens of thousands to die unnecessary deaths because of this dismantling of already-inadequate public healthcare.

Ayn Rand worshipper Paul Ryan is itching to dismantle Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. Expect some movement in that direction. Expect Republicans to cut benefits for both Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries, perhaps eliminate Social Security as we know it for workers under the age of 45 (or 35 or 55), to at least attempt to replace Social Security with some sort of individual-investment plan (which would leave the bottom 50% or so of workers s.o.l.), and perhaps to eliminate Medicaid outright.

Reproductive Rights. Expect continued assaults on the right to abortion and even access to contraception. If Trump appoints more than one member of the Supreme Court, expect repeal of Roe v. Wade

TBGL Rights. Expect a slew of “religious freedom” measures, both federal and state, to institutionalize discrimination.

Emboldened Racists/Fascists. The KKK endorsed Trump, and in his election campaign he repeatedly endorsed and even urged thuggish behavior. Expect fascists and racists to engage in public intimidation, including physical attack, of political opponents and expect a spike in racist murders of black and hispanic people.

 

Where it’s a wash:

The Surveillance State. Despite his professed admiration for Wikileaks during the campaign, one can assume that that admiration was entirely hypocritical. Like Clinton would have, Trump will almost certainly continue the war on whistle blowers and the mass, intense surveillance of all of us.

 

Now the good news:

Believe it or not, there is some.

Foreign Policy. Given Clinton’s history of poor judgment, arrogance, war-mongering, support of coups (Honduras 2009), friendship with a notorious war criminal (Henry Kissinger), abject servility to the Israeli extreme right, support of repressive Islamist regimes (most notably Saudi Arabia), and bellicosity toward Russia, it’s hard to imagine Trump being worse. He might even end up being somewhat isolationist, which would be a marked improvement over the disastrous Bush/Obama/Clinton interventionist foreign policy.

Trade Policy. The TTP is dead. Clinton would almost certainly have pushed it, under the cover of minor changes that would have “met her objections.” Trump might push for repeal of NAFTA and other previous trade deals. But at this point, the damage from these deals is largely done. Trump might also push for protectionist trade policies, which is worrisome from two standpoints: 1) They primarily benefit corporations, who reap profits as consumer prices rise; 2) Trade wars sometimes precede real wars.

Still, rejection of further “free trade” agreements (they’re not; they’re highly managed trade agreements) is a step in the right direction.

Decline of the corporate, status quo Democrats. The engineers of the Trump/Clinton disaster will almost certainly decline in influence within the Democratic Party, and one hopes, though probably in vain, that they’ll be driven out of town on a rail. If Clinton had won, they’d still be riding high, they and their Republican co-conspirators would continue to screw working people economically, and Republicans would continue to point to the White House while pretending that they weren’t equally if not more culpable.

With Clinton and her corporado friends having delivered victory to the most grotesque major-party presidential candidate since Andrew Jackson, there will be a war for control of the Democratic Party between progressives and the servants of the corporations and 1%. This is good news: the progressives might win.

No full-blown Fascist Movement. If Clinton had won, and the economic situation of working people continued to fester, popular anger would have continued to build, with blame falling on Clinton and the Democrats. This increasing populist anger could all too easily have taken the form of an organized fascist movement. As is, the fascists remain a small, disorganized faction.

Following Trump’s victory, the pressure driving the growth of fascism is off. There will be fascist thuggery and murders in the upcoming years, but fascist factions will likely remain small and disorganized.

Trump won’t deliver on his economic promises. He can’t. His policies virtually guarantee that life will get worse for most Americans, which means he’ll likely be a one-term president. Of course, when things go south, Trump will likely fall back on racial and immigrant scapegoating. But fewer people should buy it.

When at least a substantial portion of his followers realize that Trump and the Republicans have betrayed them–as they inevitably will–and if the corporate Democrats are ousted, real change could and likely will follow.

Let’s just hope it’s change for the better.

And let’s do what we can to make it so.