The Criminals in Charge


b. traven

I’m certainly no supporter of Hillary Clinton, so I am happy that the House Republicans are calling FBI’s Director Comey in for questioning on the strange conclusion of the FBI investigation that, while clearing Clinton of criminal malfeasance, maintains that she violated several laws worthy of a criminal indictment.  As any of convicted whistle-blower such as John Kiriakou will gladly point out, lessor crimes carried out by the less-well-connected often carry very heavy sentences.

I do wonder, however, why they are “goring that bull,” while disregarding the newly released Chilcot Report in Britain that implicitly ties their Republican Bush to the malfeasance of Tony Blair in taking both nations into the tragic invasion of Iraq.  While Clinton arrogantly flaunted the law in order to keep her e-mails out of the reach of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), her crime is dwarfed by Blair and Bush’s conscious decision to ignore and reshape intelligence for the explicit goal of building a case to invade Iraq.  That invasion cost tens of thousands of lives and resulted in total chaos built on a mountain of lies about WMD and ties to terrorism.

Our elected officials of both parties have made a mockery of the Constitution and the rule of law. The Democrats with boosting Hillary Clinton for President and the Republicans for ignoring their leader’s role in a far worse violation.  At least Jeremy Corbyn, the current British Labour leader, apologized for the conduct of the Labour Party under Blair, rightly calling the rush to war the most “serious foreign policy calamity of the last 60 years.”

We can do better and every citizen should be thinking about how to change these self-seekers in Washington. The answer is neither Trump not Clinton.

14 thoughts on “The Criminals in Charge

  1. Some quick observations: Clinton getting off with a verbal spanking was so predictable that, well, I predicted it. As for Blair, the British Establishment is no more likely to pursue criminal charges against him than the US is likely to pursue Cheney & Company. In other words, it ain’t gonna happen! And what’s this? I saw a report a few days ago indicating that Mr. Corbyn, who brought a breath of fresh air to the “Labour Party” is, in the wake of Brexit, probably going to step down. Seems to be a dearth of good news in politics these days.

  2. Hello B. Travel. If the answer is neither Trump nor Clinton, the question must be whom to elect as President in 2016. For conservatives the answer to that question is most assuredly the candidate selected at the party convention in July, along with every last down-ballot Republican Congressional candidate up for election as well. Because: These voters are acutely aware of the open Supreme Court vacancy; some if not all of these voters also realize that three other USSC Justices are elderly, and it is far from unlikely that one or all three may need to be replaced in the next four years; and even if not a single one of those voters is thinking of the lower federal court vacancies the next president will nominate candidates for, nevertheless a hundred plus or minus fifty of those positions will be filled, as will Supreme Court vacancies, with either rigid conservative ideologues or more moderate, even progressive, jurists.

    If one is not conservative, but cannot vote for HRC, and lives in a safely Red state, then that person’s Bernie write-in or Green candidate Jill Stein vote for president has a neutral effect, as does refraining from exercising the franchise as a protest. That person’s down-ballot Blue vote doesn’t matter anyway. We progressive’s hope there aren’t enough of those that post facto prove to matter, that is. As do GOP types who worry Trump will depress turnout and enable a Senate-majority stealing upset victory. Or even also a — gulp! — loss of the seemingly invincible Republican House majority.

    Democrats fear losing the presidency to Trump because of defection by Hillary haters, but also fear losing the opportunity to take the Senate, and at least make substantial House gains if not pull off the ultimate upset.

    If Democrats take the Senate, Hillary loses, and either Bernie or Stein is elected president (there is about a 10% chance of either of the latter two actually receiving sufficient votes to accomplish this, which means virtually no chance), then Court and lower-court appointments will not be anti-gay; not anti-reproductive rights/abortion; not anti-labor, anti-environment, anti-regulatory regime; not anti-science; not anti-secularist; and also not any other conservative-shit-I-can’t-think-of-now-but-loathe things, either. Well, sometimes a few slip through (Earl Warren surprised the hell out of the Right as an Ike appointment).

    But for the most part, bench appointments 2016-2020 will be either pregressivism’s best hope for withstanding increasing authoritarianism, or conservatives will realize an opportunity to extend 40 years of cultural dominance by two or more decades, and realize their goal of undoing every post-1900 piece of progressive legislation and implementing a neo-feudal 2nd Gilded Age.

    This is not to say that America is not almost there already, or that Hillary philosophy appears to be much different than Bill “New Democrat” Clinton repugnant neo-liberal philosophy.

    However. The Bernie candidacy — and I voted for him in my state primary last March — accomplished what I hoped and more. It was, and remains, a bellows firing up the embers of genuine leftist progressive’s in every state. But even had he won, even if Jell Stein were to win, the national Democratic Party Congressional slate is not comprised of Bernie’s and Jill’s and people who think like I do. The next president, if a Dem or Green, will have the same opportunity to be a military industrial complex jerk like Obama, but her/his power is pretty much limited to that. Except for court appointments, and some issues like the Iran treaty. Hillary will be ok on courts and the Iran treaty, she won’t be an idiot on immigration and religion or guns or reproduction/abortion — either Trump or Johnson will be a dick on all of those.

    If not suppressed by a perfect-is-the-enemy-of-the-presently-attainable 2016 Democratic turnout, that fails to secure the Senate and place in the Oval Office someone who at least does not fuck us with the federal court system, those embers may blow into a flame that ignites a national movement capable of restoring a meaningful left in America which at least gives us the opportunity to restrain plutocracy, if not negate its suppression of representative democracy. Given the imminent climate change societal/institutional upheaval in our near future, this may well be the last chance to avoid the certainty of authoritarianism. It is a weak chance, I fear, but unfortunately our only one.

    • Isnrchrdi.. Thank you for your thoughtful analysis of “if not Hillary, Who?” I can’t really say anything other than our country can’t fall too much lower than the offering we have this year. Two repugnant, elitist, anti democratic candidates. I have no answer but I cannot put up with another eight years of a “lesser evil” who throws occasional legislative bones to liberals but embrace’s the destructive policies of neo liberalism.

      One of your arguments involves the “down ballot” results of not voting for the ‘lesser evil’. You are well aware of the fact that Clinton has higher unfavorable ratings than Trump on several levels and her winning is not a shoo in. Therefore I do not feel that she will have any “pull through” value to down ballot Democrats and she may not even get elected with the baggage she is carrying. In addition her very candidacy will encourage the Democratic Party to support only right wing Democrats as they are doing in Florida. So there are a number of factors, to my mind, that say let Clinton swing on her own, but I will let my vote tell the Democratic Party that I want something better than another elitist neo liberal..

    • I understand and sympathize with your big-picture view here, but I think you’ve overlooked some “little details”–those are the ones that’ll bite us in the ass! The realistic chances of a Bernie write-in or Jill Stein victory are ZERO. (Green Party has to petition in some states, including mine, just to make the ballot.) If GOP maintains control of Congress, assuming for sake of argument that Madam Clinton wants to put progressives into SCOTUS vacancies, how would she do that? Right now GOP flatly refuses to even consider an Obama nominee for the one current vacancy. Are they going to “play nice” with Hillary? Clinton in the White House provides no guarantee whatsoever that pro-choice, pro-sensible-gun-laws judges will be seated. As the global Capitalist system continues to decline, we are being pushed toward authoritarianism, alright. I have no doubt that Madam Clinton will sign off on whatever repressive measures the Ruling Class deems necessary, just as Obama has made his administration THE most secretive in our nation’s history and severely punishes whistleblowers. I don’t see a true champion of liberty for all on a white horse on any horizon I can see from my house.

      • Travel & Greg – while I, too, stated that imo Bernie or Jill has no chance of winning, if history holds true then the fact is that during presidential election years the winner of that office almost always means an increase in seats for his (and perhaps in ’16, for the first time, “her”) party in both houses of Congress. In 2016 this will translate into a Dem majority in the Senate, although retaking a House majority is probably too formidable a task to have hopes of accomplishing. The party that takes the Presidency seldom loses Congressional seats in presidential election years, although it often is clobbered in off years.

        Now. If either Bernie or Stein were elected prez, voters who cast ballots for them are more likely than not to also cast ballots for senate and house candidates who have a (D) behind their name. GOP voters who won’t vote for Trump may vote HRC but are far more likely, I bet, to vote for Johnson or leave president blank. But they are more likely to turn out no matter what so they may vote for Congressional Republican candidates so as not to lose the House, minimum.

        These R’s can’t help but hope, also, that so-called Independent voters (even though about 50% of the electorate do not identify as R or D, most of that fifty percent reliably votes either R or D every goddamn time) will hate Hillary more than they hate Trump, be ignorant of Stein (a safe bet), vote Trump, and while they vote Trump also say “What the hell, in for a penny in for a pound) and this year mark the R names all the way down. This is not a forlorn hope, either, not by a long shot, because despite the gooey talk candidates employ to woo voters, voters in reality are pretty frickin’ dim.

        If Trump is elected I bet it is certain R’s retain both houses of Congress. If that happens, all the bad things I listed earlier come true — principally decades of federal court support for anti-secular far-right Christian social legislation and libertarian laissez faire economic legislation (see: any Paul Charles Koch Ryan budget proposal ever devised).

        The Democratic Party national brain trust started losing cogs on the gears sometime around 1976. The totality of the shift did not happen instantly. People noticed right away and sounded warnings, but it has taken until now for a line in the sand to be drawn. I think this line people are saying they will not cross, here and now in 2016, is unwise in the utmost.

        We are not going to change the national Democratic Party to majority progressive this year. It is going to take time to accomplish that goal, but if realistic mileposts are set and attained through persistent labor at the local and state levels, building upon the momentum which has finally been set in motion thanks to Bernie’s campaign [I frankly have always preferred Stein and the Green Party platform to Bernie and his goals, but the Greens would even more negligible right now, as they are in every other election year, were it not for the light aimed at Bernie that finds them, now that disillusioned Democrats are looking elsewhere, and unfortunately anybody who thinks Greens will be a factor in November is sadly in for yet one more great big disappointment this year].

        I hear so many people say they are going to teach national Dem leadership a lesson this year, and maybe at long last get their attention, force them away from neoliberalism. The party platform committee meets two more times before the convention concludes in Philly. A one vote majority favors inclusion of the TTP and other items 70% of rank and file Dem voters oppose, and there is no reason to abandon hope that the dumb fucks voting for that unacceptable treaty will stand in support of Obama’s quest for a post-presidential corporate payday by continuing to support it and the other crap.

        On the other hand, how realistic is it to expect a 180 turnaround and just blithely give complete free governmental/judicial rein to the GOP if a one-eighty is not in the cards? Senate judicial confirmation power and treaty power, and budgetary input, is a good half a loaf. I don’t understand why no loaf holds so much appeal to disgusted liberals. Idealism, it seems to me, is crushing pragmatism.

      • I think this year’s elections could be genuinely unique. If enough people, including Rs, can’t bring themselves to vote for Trump, then Clinton obviously wins. But the Rs will surely stampede to vote for all the “regular” Rs on the ballot, maintaining loyalty to the hideous ideology the Modern Republican Party has come to represent. (You see, they just don’t believe Trump loves Jesus sufficiently!) This scenario would pretty well guarantee GOP retains control of Congress, giving us four more years of The Party That Can Only Say “No.” A current CNN online headline indicates Bernie will soon endorse Clinton. This is to be expected, and Bernie supporters in the convention hall and watching at home better gird themselves for HRC complimenting Bernie on “the good fight you put up,” followed by Bernie holding her hand aloft in a sign of forthcoming victory.

        In 1976 a potential Presidential candidate was already casting a very long shadow across the nation. (He failed to win his party”s nomination that year.) What he claimed to stand for (he was, after all, an actor reading from a script) would, through the wonders of political marketing, come to be accepted as “common wisdom”: labor unions are inherently evil; the US should assert its military might anywhere it damn well pleases; affirmative action is reverse racism; abortion should be outlawed, etc. ad nauseam (and I do mean nauseam!!). It was precisely the DISMAL FAILURE of the “traditional Democratic Party forces,” such as labor unions (which already saw dwindling influence here), to rise vigorously to oppose the Reagan Program that led our nation to its present pathetic condition. Looks to me like the USA will be swept into that famous Dustbin of History before it can elect a President who knows how to say “No!” to the Pentagon’s plans for conquest, the Intel Community’s anti-Constitutional machinations, the Greed is Good mentality in the corporate world. I voted for Obama in 2008 to make a statement against racism in this country but I will never forgive him for embracing the policies of his predecessors. Why, exactly, Mr. Obama, are “we” STILL in Afghanistan???

  3. It’s not either Clinton or Trump. It’s neither/nor. Both are disasters-in-waiting.

    Some telling comments from the FBI report:

    “Most importantly, Comey said the FBI found 110 emails on Clinton’s server that were classified at the time they were sent or received. That stands in direct contradiction to Clinton’s repeated insistence she never sent or received any classified emails. And it even stands in contrast to her amended statement that she never knowingly sent or received any classified information.”

    “It’s hard to read Comey’s statement as anything other than a wholesale rebuke of the story Clinton and her campaign team have been telling ever since the existence of her private email server came to light in spring 2015. She did send and receive classified emails. The setup did leave her — and the classified information on the server — subject to a possible foreign hack. She and her team did delete emails as personal that contained professional information.”…/hillary-clintons-email-pr…/

      • At this time my only hope for our country relies on something Winston Churchill had opined :

      • traven.

        How sick we are. While POTUS Clinton was not having sex with an intern, FLOTUS Clinton was dodging bullets in Boznia. Churchill aside, I say our sickness is terminal.

  4. Its a shame We in the US didn’t adopt the American Indian ways after conquering them– Peacetime leaders often chosen by Women took care of the Civil affairs of the Tribe and were called Sachems, and when it came time for War the tribal War leaders took over till the threat to the Tribe was over then the Sachems negotiated the Peace and took back the Leadership reins, and We called them Savages!!?? There may be something to be learned by their principles…I I firmly believe this Country is so powerful that the only thing that will destroy it in the end will be itself –from within!.

    • “traven”–And thanks to the modern marvel of marketing (“Image is Everything”) that I referenced in an earlier Comment, ask the average American today who’s at least 40 years of age about Reagan and you’ll be told he was a GREAT President and an overall splendid fellow. It’s enough to make a fella want to tear out what hair still resides on top of his head!!

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