What the Positive Campaign of Bernie Sanders Won’t Tell You About Hillary Clinton
As Bernie Sanders jump-starts his 2016 Presidential Campaign for the democratic nomination, with strong showings in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Minnesota, his message has stayed strong and consistent. Something that the Vermont senator has said repeatedly in recent interviews is that he has never run a negative campaign in his life, masterfully avoiding attacking Hillary, and stating that he is running against the oligarchy rather than the former Secretary of State. For instance, check out this CNN segment a few weeks ago with Wolf Blitzer, where he successfully deflects all questions which try to goad him into attacking Clinton:
In an era where negative ads flood our televisions, websites, and social media accounts each election season, fueled by the spread of superPACs which receive a mammoth amount of billionaire backing, Bernie’s campaign is a welcome breath of fresh air. However, while we can certainly respect for Bernie for being genuine, there are many justified reasons to attack Hillary for her record and inability to stand for the interests of the American people who don’t have the ability to donate millions of dollars to political campaigns.
Lately, the media has been focusing on Hillary’s involvement with the Clinton Foundation, which was founded at the end of Bill Clinton’s presidency in 2000. According to their site, they initiate “partnerships of purpose”:
“We believe that the best way to unlock human potential is through the power of creative collaboration. That’s why we build partnerships between businesses, NGOs, governments, and individuals everywhere to work faster, better, and leaner; to find solutions that last; and to transform lives and communities from what they are today to what they can be, tomorrow.”
At first glance, the foundation seems engaged in fantastic work that would only bolster the case for Hillary becoming president. Some goals of the foundation include improving global health, empowering women and girls, combating climate change, reducing childhood obesity and creating economic opportunity. What can be more charitable than that? Furthermore, According to the bottom right corner of the foundation’s website, 88% of the money raised is spent directly on programs, which is far more than many other so-called “charitable” foundations. However, as is usually the case with organizations which are run by families who are so wealthy that they earn millions of dollars just from speeches alone, there is more here than meets the eye.
When Hillary was confirmed as Secretary of State in 2009, she stated that she was “committed to ensuring that his work does not present a conflict of interest with the duties of Secretary of State.” She also pledged “to protect against even the appearance of a conflict of interest between his work and the duties of the Secretary of State” and that “in many, if not most cases, it is likely that the Foundation or President Clinton will not pursue an opportunity that presents a conflict.”
An investigation in International Business Times, uncovered that this was all lip service, as Hillary’s State Department approved $165 billion in commercial arms sales and another $151 billion worth of arms deals through the Pentagon, all to countries who had previously donated between $54 million and $141 million to the Foundation, as well as thousands in direct payments to the Clinton family. Coincidence? Not likely, since the countries who received these arms aren’t exactly trusted allies, but authoritative regimes which are known for their human rights abuses, including Qatar, Algeria, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Saudi Arabia.
For a Foundation which claims to be promoting the global good, it seems contradictory that these repressive regimes are among their partners. Even more damning, FIFA, who is dealing with their own major scandal, is a partner of the Clinton Global Initiative. Another organization which the Foundation works with is the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, where migrant workers from Nepal, Bangladesh, and India who are building the infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup have been dying at a rate of at least one person every two days.
As the media continues to attack the Clinton Foundation, which is justified because we should know the corporate connections of anyone who is running for President in this nation, the Foundation has decided to publish the list of all companies who have paid speaking fees to the Clinton Foundation. The list includes Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, and Citibank, each of which donated between $250,000 and $500,000 for speeches at their events. The family has had a strong relationship with Goldman Sachs ever since Bill’s presidency, and thus, Hillary is obviously unlikely to hold them accountable for the financial crisis or initiate plans which would hurt the interests of these large banks which completely destroyed the economy.
Indeed, there seems to be two Hillarys. When she was campaigning for Martha Coakley in Boston, she praised Elizabeth Warren, stating:
“I love watching Elizabeth giving it to those who deserve it. She stood up to the big national banks that tried to trick and trap and cheat our families. Don’t let anybody tell you that, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs. You know that old theory, trickle-down economics: That has been tried; that has failed.”
However, when she is campaigning in New York, the home to those same large financial institutions who have donated extensively to the Clinton family, her tone immediately changes: “Our economy grows when businesses and entrepreneurs create good-paying jobs here in America, where workers and families are empowered to build from the bottom up and the middle out.” Wall Street is standing behind Hillary because they know that she isn’t actually a populist, and that when she claims to be fighting for working families, she is simply playing politics.
Even as we see the destructive effects of climate change, and we have readily available energy sources like solar and wind, which can literally be deployed immediately, Hillary still believes that natural gas drilling needs to be expanded in the United States. She won’t even reveal her view of the Keystone XL pipeline, which is considered by many scientists and the Environmental Protection Agency to be disastrous for the environment. TD Bank and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, two of the major sponsors of the pipeline paid Hillary for eight speeches that she recently gave in Canada, further showing Hillary’s allegiances are with the major corporate interests which are destroying the planet.
Under Hillary Clinton, the State Department worked directly with the oil and gas industry and the United States Energy Association, to promote fracking to countries throughout the world, including Romania and Bulgaria.
Under her leadership, the State Department worked closely with energy companies to spread fracking around the globe—part of a broader push to fight climate change, boost global energy supply, and undercut the power of adversaries such as Russia that use their energy resources as a cudgel.
She also founded the Bureau of Energy Resources in 2011, which has held pro-Fracking conferences on every continent. If we are going to stem the rising tide of climate change, we cannot elect Hillary Clinton. If we think President Obama opening up the Arctic to drilling was bad, imagine what Hillary and her ties with the entire gas industry will do to our environment.
Clinton, like many other politicians caught up in the fervor of weapons of mass destruction and 9/11, voted for the authorization of the Iraq War:
While she has actually admitted that she made a mistake, her state department also intervened in Libya. No, the Bengazi scandal that the right-wing loves isn’t the major problem. The issue is that in 2011, NATO tried to sell Libya as a peace keeping mission. In one interview, Clinton said:
“Imagine we were sitting here and Benghazi had been overrun, a city of 700,000 people, and tens of thousands of people had been slaughtered, hundreds of thousands had fled. … The cries would be, ‘Why did the United States not do anything?'”
We’ve heard this before right? Remember when we said that our troops needed to bring democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan? Except this time, Hillary actually led the charge in persuading the Pentagon and President Obama to go to war with Libya because there was a chance that Gadhafi was going to commit mass civilian casualties. When Ghadafi was murdered, Hillary told CBS News “We Came, He Saw, He Died”:
However, just like Iraq, all of these claims turned out to not even be based on soild intelligence. In actuality, Ghaddafi was fighting Islamic militants who were trying to take over Libya during the civil war that sparked from the Arab Spring. In fact, the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi could be blamed on the spread of post-war militias which occurred after Ghadafi’s death, and the central government’s complete lack of control. Since the US military intervention, The Islamic State has taken control of Libya, including Tripoli, due to a weak central government. Much like the war in Iraq, the United States, pushed by Hillary, actually contributed to the further destabilization of the Middle East. If she is such a humanitarian, why doesn’t she talk about the war crimes happening in Libya today?
Despite the fact that Libya and Iraq provide just two of the most recent examples of U.S. military involvement actually contributing to the political rise of the Islamic State, Hillary also criticizes President Obama on Syria, believing that to stop the Islamic State from spreading, we should have also intervened in Syria:
“The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad—there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle—the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled.”
She also, as expected, is completely pro-Israel, saying that the responsibility for last summer’s brutal attack on Gaza by Israel, in which over 800 civilians died was the responsibility of Hamas. She actually defends the murder of these civilians:
“it’s impossible to know what happens in the fog of war. Some reports say, maybe it wasn’t the exact UN school that was bombed, but it was the annex to the school next door where they were firing the rockets. And I do think oftentimes that the anguish you are privy to because of the coverage, and the women and the children and all the rest of that, makes it very difficult to sort through to get to the truth.”
It seems that sometimes Hillary Clinton claims to be a “humanitarian” but the truth is, she is a war hawk whose record suggests that if elected President, she would likely start more Middle Eastern wars based on unreliable intelligence. At a time when the American people need our government to invest in infrastructure, education, and healthcare, among other services, she won’t hesitate to push for another expensive war.
With the media attacking the Clinton Foundation from every angle, Bill Clinton has begun to make media appearances, including on NBC’s “Today” where he stated that the charitable organization has “never done anything knowingly inappropriate in terms of taking money to influence any kind of American government policy”. However, Bill is missing the point. While the Clinton Foundation might have broken laws, this isn’t even the reason that the American people need to reject her candidacy. For years, she has fostered partnerships which the largest corporate interests in the world, and the Clintons are close friends with the elites who run our oligarchic capitalist system which has been driving the massive inequality of the past few decades.
Despite all of her “listening tours” and “conversations with Hillary” which cost over one thousand dollars, how can the American people truly believe that she will stand for our interests? At a time when income inequality and consumer debt are at their highest levels, wages are stagnant, our planet is being destroyed by climate change, and many politicians want to cut the few benefits we have left, career elite politicians like Hillary, who contributed to the issues we face today, need to be defeated and dismissed.
Even if Bernie Sanders won’t say it himself out of respect, Hillary Clinton has ties with almost all of the corporate interests which have bought our political system, fostering a country where corruption is legal. To save our environment, economy, and fellow citizens, we must end neoliberalism in America, and the first step is NOT voting for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Primary.