Thursday, August 20, 2009

False Savior: Bill Clinton

"Clinton was a master of what became known as wedge politics, poaching on rival political blocs while discarding his own loyal constituencies when expedient."

----- Tom Hayden

"I could not accept such an award from President Clinton or this White House because the very meaning of art, as I understand it, is incompatible with the cynical politics of this administration."

-----Poet Adrienne Rich, refusing a National Medal for the Arts award

"I don't want my daughter near him."

Senator Claire McCaskill on Bill Clinton, October 2006


We can't say we weren't warned. Summarizing his pre-White House political career the Arkansas Democrat Gazette highlighted his gas bag tendencies and demonstrated eagerness to suck up to power: "A purely rhetorical approach to issues that may please all, coupled with a tendency to side with those interests powerful enough to do him some political good . . . his tax policy in Arkansas has been to hand out exemptions to large corporations and soak the middle class."

Like other leaders of his party, Governor Clinton had no problem with Washington's terrorist war against Nicaragua, so long as Democrats were kept properly informed. During his years in the statehouse he never found reason to intervene in the Reagan Administration's cocaine trafficking and Contra supply efforts at the West Arkansas Mena air base, all part of an imperial war that killed thousands of civilians. Though he never tired of talking about his own efforts to rise from humble beginnings, the struggles of the Nicaraguan people to secure their most basic human rights never attracted his slightest attention.

Ordinary Americans proved equally unworthy of his concern. Declining to push for a civil rights law, Clinton achieved the dubious honor of helping make Arkansas one of only two states in the nation without one. Unfortunately, his indifference to injustice wasn't just confined to race. With Arkansas ranking near the bottom of the country in workplace conditions, health and safety standards, regulation enforcement, and per capita income, he did little to reverse the steady decline of American labor, though he did find time to award $100 million in tax breaks to corporations. Bill Becker, head of the AFL-CIO, complained that Clinton's tendency with labor leaders was to "pat you on the back and piss down your leg." Thus, after enjoying 16 years of union support, Clinton announced that he had "serious reservations" about an AFL-CIO petition for a ballot initiative allowing union shop workplaces, even though both workers and management agreed. He also awarded Morrilton Plastics a $300,000 loan guarantee to help them build up excess inventory in preparation for a strike. Clinton still praises himself for "saving" 410 jobs with this move, but John R. Brummett, editor of the Arkansas Times said with greater realism at the time that, "When it comes to business vs. labor, you won't get a much clearer case than Morrilton to show you he's pro-business."

Indeed. And destroying unions is what the business class is all about. As far as this goes, Clinton characterizes himself as an "Eisenhower Republican," and it was Eisenhower who overthrew Guatemalan democracy on behalf of United Fruit in 1954, after which Guatemalans, especially union leaders, were subjected to decades of torture and terror, a policy that eventually reached genocidal proportions in the 1980s. But maybe it saved a few jobs - like for undertakers.

Clinton's environmental policies were no bargain either. As governor he argued for voluntary compliance with environmental standards and stacked his pollution control board with representatives of major polluters. He turned the White River into a cesspool of poultry and cattle industry waste and approved more than $400 million in state tax breaks for International Paper and three other paper mills, letting the former company cut trees in the habitat of the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker and annually vent nearly two million tons of chemicals into the air and water from its Pine Bluff plant. A grateful International Paper pumped money into Clinton campaign coffers as regularly as it did garbage into the environment.

Clinton's gift for gab and slickly two-faced demeanor soon propelled him into national politics. Running for president, he condemned his Republican opponents as captives of corporate lobbyists, though he himself was a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Bankers Association, the Tobacco Institute, Merrill Lynch, Coca Cola, and Occidental Petroleum. While promising federal jobs, urban aid, and a campaign to Rebuild America and "put people first," he parroted the corporate line that the groups that would benefit from such a program were unworthy "special interests." Afflicted with the moral blindness that capitalism requires in its leaders, Clinton couldn't see that the system can't "put people first," because it puts profits first.

Clinton lectured voters that they needed to have the "courage to change," but he showed no interest in changing Washington's longstanding contempt for international law, which denied desperately needed progressive change throughout the world. He applauded President George Bush Senior's intervention in Somalia, vowed to "drop a hammer" on Cuba once elected, and endlessly reiterated his desire that the United States "be leading the Desert Storms in the 21st century." On the domestic front, he called for "good jobs at good wages," but ignored the hordes of unorganized checkout clerks at Wal Marts in Arkansas, who were getting steadily poisoned by the state ranked 48th in environmental practice by the Institute For Southern Studies.

Clinton quickly demolished hopes for a liberal administration. In his first 100 days he sent fleeing Haitian refugees back to their killers in Port Au Prince. He turned Africa policy over to a Bush appointee, encouraging Jonas Savimbi to go on the rampage in Angola. He put the Zionist lobby in charge of Middle East policy. He called for Pentagon spending above the post-1950 Cold War average. He increased secret intelligence spending and maintained full funding for the Drug Enforcement Agency. He capitulated on grazing and mineral rights on public lands and delivered economic policy to Wall Street. He promoted NAFTA while gutting the side agreements protecting workers and the environment that he had promised to enforce. He rejected the single-payer health insurance long favored by other industrial countries, pushing instead for a system of "managed care" that would increase profits for the private insurance companies that donated $850,000 to getting him elected.

While rhetorically criticizing the so-called excesses of the Reagan years, Clinton in practice extended the Reagan "revolution" beyond the bounds that Reagan himself had contemplated. He shrank the federal government relative to the private economy, especially social welfare budgets. He increased the suffering of the poor. He dismantled the post-WWII capital-labor accord and made the control of business costs trounce unemployment as a policy concern. He strove to make taxes go increasingly towards police, prisons, and war, while restricting the social safety net to the elderly. In short, he advanced Republican orthodoxy across the board, embracing a war on drugs, limitless "free trade," balanced budgets, a crippling of civil liberties, the death penalty, Star Wars, and runaway prison construction.

On no major issue was he even slightly progressive. Much praised for holding an allegedly constructive attitude on race (novelist Toni Morrison praised him as the nation's "first black president"), Clinton in fact deliberately insulted blacks from the beginning. When the Rodney King beating and subsequent riots demonstrated for the umpteenth time that U.S. cities were hellholes of racial and class oppression, he mouthed ignorant platitudes about the "culture of poverty," blaming the victims for their plight. In the subsequent Sister Souljah fiasco, Clinton appeared before Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition to denounce Souljah for having stated that black gang members involved in incessant warfare against each other instead consider "hav[ing] a week and kill white people." Clinton distorted this into an advocacy of racial murder, which it was not. Souljah's comments were predicated on one being a black gang member in a racist society, intricately connected to vast social violence obviously not susceptible to quick solution. In that circumstance, Souljah suggested, why not kill white people rather than blacks, since white deaths garner broad social concern in a way that black deaths do not. It was not advocacy of racial murder, but a rhetorical attempt to awaken blacks to the fact that a racist society was encouraging them to kill only themselves. Clinton wrenched Souljah's comments out of context to let minorities know that slick white professionals were still in control of the Democratic Party, so blacks had better tone down their grievances and stay at the back of the campaign bus.

As president, Clinton added injury to insult, carrying out a devastating war on the poor and people of color, while preaching chastity to young blacks and continuing to develop a well-deserved reputation as a compulsory philanderer himself. In 1993, with crime rates not rising, and with nonviolent offenses and minor parole violations accounting for the vast majority of the jailed, Clinton called for 100,000 new cops on the beat, boot camps for juveniles, expanded prison construction, an extension of the death penalty to dozens of new offenses, and the criminalization of gang membership. At the time a typical inmate in a U.S. jail was a nonwhite male who had become involved in petty crime because no avenues to a legal life of conventional satisfactions existed. He had usually not finished high school, had no job skills, had never enjoyed steady employment, and was not working at the time of his arrest. The top five predictors of his crime referred to economic conditions: business failure rate, number of unemployment claims, number of workers on strike, number of personal bankruptcies, and incidence of mortgage foreclosure. Clinton addressed none of this, seizing on the opportunity to kick a helpless constituency in the face while basking in the applause of clueless pundits.

It is difficult to exaggerate the viciousness of Clinton's war on the poor. In 1996, bursting with homilies about moral discipline, thrift, and "family values," Clinton revoked federal income support for the poor ("welfare reform"), a policy no Republican president had ever dared to implement. The move to end welfare "as we know it," plunged a million more American children into poverty (the U.S. already had the highest child poverty rate in the world among industrial nations) and deprived poor families of $28 billion in food assistance. A provision in the bill mandated that welfare mothers divulge the name of their children's father or be stricken from the rolls. The original plan of moving people "from welfare to work" had called for softening the transition with guaranteed health care, child care, job training, and a living wage. None of that made the final bill.

"Your president is a real asshole," commented Labor Secretary Robert Reich's wife to her husband as he returned home after the nasty deed was done.

On foreign policy Clinton was even more disastrous. Just as Jimmy Carter had, Clinton falsely announced he had achieved lasting peace in the Middle East. He neglected to mention that his Oslo Accords called for the incorporation of Palestinian lands in a permanent colonial structure administered by Israel, which was not peace but a solidification of the racist status quo. Israel remained in control of everything that counted: East Jerusalem, the constantly expanding settlements, the economy, the land, the water, sovereignty, and "security." The final settlement was to be based on U.N. Resolution 242, which recognized only the rights of existing states, defining the Palestinians as mere stateless refugees, not a nationality dispossessed of its rightful territory. Jerusalem was to be Israel's eternal and undivided capital, while the Palestinian National Authority was slated to control less than 3% of the West Bank. In the "autonomy" region, Palestinians were to govern 30% of the territory under the overall "security control" of the Israeli military. The remaining two-thirds of the West Bank was to be reserved for Israeli settlements. The Israeli Military Administration retained an exclusive right to legislate, judge, and execute policy, while Diasporan Palestinians had no "right of return" to the land of their birth, as called for by unanimous U.N. decision in 1948. The Palestinians were granted merely "limited autonomy" in the Gaza Strip and Jericho, which, as Palestinian scholar Edward Said noted, meant that the PLO had converted itself from a liberation movement into a "small-town government."

Meanwhile, Jewish settlement construction in the occupied territories accelerated dramatically in the Clinton years, a policy that served as backdrop for Ariel Sharon's touching off of the new intifada with an invasion of the Al Aqsa mosque site in Arab Jerusalem in September 2000. The next day Prime Minister Ehud Barak ordered riot police to storm the compound where 20,000 Palestinians were praying. Rocks were thrown and the police opened fire, killing seven and wounding 220. President Clinton showed his approval by speedily delivering to Israel the largest shipment of attack helicopters in a decade.

In spite of much nonsense written about the allegedly extraordinarly generous Clinton-Barak plan at Camp David in 2000, the Clinton Administration continued to back Israel's rejectionism to the hilt. Barak conceded nothing, not a return to the 1967 borders, not a right of return for Palestinian exiles, not Palestinian sovereignty over Jerusalem. He refused to dismantle Jewish settlements and called for terminating Palestinian electricity, telecommunications, and water. And when the Palestinians resisted, he saw to it that the nearly defenseless civilian population was pounded by helicopter gunships, F-16s, tanks, missiles, and machine guns.

Clinton also backed Colombia's death squad government to the hilt, as it converted much of the national territory to a corpse strewn wasteland. Thousands of people were tortured and murdered, hundreds of thousands made refugees, giving Colombia honors as the country with the largest displaced population in the world. The security forces responsible for the devastation were closely linked to the narcotraffickers Washington allegedly was intervening in Colombia to fight against. When Clinton took office, U.S. aid to Colombia amounted to about half the total for the Americas. Clinton increased it.

At a ceremony for Colombia's new ambassador to the U.S. in 1993, Clinton praised the gangster state as a "valued trading partner" and "one of our strongest allies . . . . in the effort to . . . .see democracy flourish and the rule of law prevail." He saluted "the policeman on the street and the soldier in the field," for their valiant help in such a noble effort. The day after his speech a group of soldiers in the field killed three peasants and dumped their bodies in front of the Catholic bishop's residence in Tibu, a typically grisly display of propaganda by the deed. These were just the latest victims of Washington-backed death squads that had claimed twenty thousand lives in the previous seven years. The targets were those whose existence interfered with elite efforts to maintain a national disparity that awarded 3% of the population 70% of the land: community leaders, human rights and health workers, union activists, students, religious workers, vagrants, the unemployed, street children, prostitutes and homosexuals. Many of the "undesirables" were killed for the cash their body parts yielded on the black market.

A similar campaign of mass destruction was carried out in Turkey. While Washington rewarded its client state with billions of dollars in jet planes, tanks, and other weapons, Ankara went on the rampage in the southeast, where major U.S. airbases were located, razing Kurdish villages to the ground and forcibly evacuating refugees. Tens of thousands were killed and millions left homeless, an atrocity dwarfing much more highlighted events occurring in the former Yugoslavia, but no accusations of resurgent Hitlerism were heard in the U.S. media as they were in relation to Slobodan Milosevic and the Serbs.

In Somalia Clinton continued the "humanitarian" mission of George Bush Senior, with U.S. troops waging gun battles in the streets of Mogadishu with teenage gangsters, killing thousands in the righteous effort to conquer an evil "warlord." Assaulting hospitals, bombarding political meetings, shooting into protesting crowds, and bulldozing homes to make free fire zones, they encountered only curiously ungrateful Somalis, who raised their shoes over head in a ritual gesture of contempt, showing their invaders a forest of heels. According to the C.I.A. the Somali intervention - Operation Restore Hope - killed between 7000 and 10,000 Somalis.

In Iraq, Clinton continuously bombed the country to preserve "no fly" zones having absolutely no legality, while maintaining harsh economic sanctions that killed staggering numbers of Iraqi civilians. By 1996, six hundred thousand children had died from malnutrition and disease as a result of the sanctions. A U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization report stated that Iraqi children under five were plagued by "wasting" - severe hunger, visible in the ribs and limbs. "Iraq," the report said, "is increasingly becoming like a concentration camp." The continued silence of the international community, it warned, "results in genocide." On 60 Minutes Clinton's Secretary of State Madeleine Albright firmly justified the policy that Leslie Stahl reminded her had killed "more children than died in Hiroshima." "This is a very hard choice," Albright said, "but the price, we think the price is worth it."

Clinton declined to withdraw support from client Indonesia when it unleashed another huge slaughter on the island of East Timor. In the six months preceding a 1998 popular referendum on independence for the island, Indonesian forces armed and trained by Washington carried out a campaign of terror and intimidation that killed thousands, according to Church officials and other credible observers. While most of the population was driven from its homes and the country was destroyed, Clinton did nothing to reign in the killers. Clinton's National Security Adviser Sandy Berger explained that a U.S. attempt to stop the slaughter would be analogous to his cleaning up his daughter's dirty room at college, a trifling errand beneath the dignity of a superpower.

Incredibly, 80% of East Timorese went ahead and voted for independence from their murderers, which prompted the Indonesian military to exact revenge by torching Dili, sacking and burning churches, killing priests, nuns, and pro-independence leaders, leaving behind a charred landscape of pillaged remains. Just five days before the referendum the Pentagon had announced that "A U.S.-Indonesian training exercise focused on humanitarian and disaster relief activities concluded August 25." By the end of 1999 Amnesty International reported that between 100,000 and 150,000 people were trapped in "makeshift camps" in Indonesian West Timor as "virtual prisoners," frequently "intimidated, harassed, extorted and in some cases sexually assaulted and killed."

An Australian academic specialist commented that exact figures on Timorese deaths were unknown because (1) bodies were still being discovered (2)"as many as 80,000" people were still unaccounted for, and (3) many others were thought to have been "dumped in the shark-infested ocean." What was known was that the sick, the elderly, and children, lacking clean water, cooking fuel, and modern sanitation and shelter, were dying in large numbers from gastroenteritis. The retreating Indonesian army polluted wells with corpses and chemicals, and destroyed the water supply and phone systems. The Clinton Administration, who welcomed General Suharto to Washington in 1995 as "our kind of guy," let the Indonesian generals go about their business unimpeded.

An equal opportunity destroyer, Clinton also bombed the Al Shifa pharmaceutical plant in the Sudan in August, 1998, destroying half the medicine supply in that poor African country, along with the facilities for replenishing them. Washington blocked a UN inquiry into the justification for this bombing, which the Clinton administration said was because it produced EMPTA, a building block in the manufacture of VX nerve gas, and because it was financed by Osama bin Laden. These claims evaporated almost overnight, while the death toll from the strike - in a country with endemic malaria, tuberculosis and other fatal diseases - was estimated by the Boston Globe's Jonathan Belke to be in the "tens of thousands" just in the year following the bombing, with the ultimate toll unknowable but beyond even that grim estimate. Werner Daum, Germany's ambassador to Sudan, wrote in the Harvard International Review that, "It is difficult to assess how many people in this poor African country died as a consequence of the destruction of the Al Shifa factory, but several tens of thousands seems a reasonable guess." Human Rights Watch reported that as a consequence of Clinton's bombing UN and other relief agencies indefinitely postponed their relief efforts in Sudan, a disruption of assistance that likely produced many other preventable deaths, given that in the south of the country alone the U.N. estimated there were 2.4 million refugees at risk of starvation.

In 1999, Clinton launched his most-publicized intervention, a "humanitarian" war against Serbia that had no legal sanction from the U.N. Security Council. Yugoslavia was subjected to round-the-clock air attacks for 11 weeks, which dropped twenty thousand tons of bombs and spewed hundreds of thousands of tons of highly toxic and carcinogenic chemicals into water, air, and soil, poisoning fields and streams, exposing millions of people to the radiation from depleted uranium, and wiping out the productive capital of the entire country. There is no doubt about where responsibility for these crimes lies. Captain Martin de la Hoz, who participated in bombing missions flying an F-18, confirms that, "All the missions that we flew, all and each one, were planned by U.S. high military authorities."

Neither is there any doubt about who caused the war. In pre-war negotiations at Rambouillet, Clinton and Co. demanded that NATO receive "free and unrestricted passage" throughout Yugoslavia, immunity for crimes, and full use of the electromagnetic spectrum, along with all airports, roads, rails, and ports. When the Serbian Parliament objected to being treated as a conquered nation, as any self-respecting government would, the U.S. moved to "save lives" by bombing Serbs, Montenegrins, Albanians, Hungarians, and Romanis, burying them in blood-spattered rubble.

The Clinton/NATO aggression killed almost three thousand people. Initially the war was cast as an effort to maintain NATO's "credibility," but the campaign was quickly repackaged as an effort to stop genocide by yet "another Hitler," overlooking the fact that the truly massive violence occurred as a consequence of the NATO bombings.

Slobodan Milosevic's (the latest Hitler) democratic opposition was silenced, the flight of Kosovar refugees expanded to a flood, the U.N. was kicked to the sidelines, and a resurgent Luftwaffe goose-stepped through the Balkans under the high-minded guidance of Clinton internationalists. The demolition of Yugoslavia completed, NATO Commander Wesley Clark indicated that the official pretext for the aggression was merely a cover story, stating that the NATO operation "was not designed as a means of blocking Serb ethnic cleansing . . . . There was never any intent to do that. That was not the idea." In fact, Clark bragged that the goal of the war was to "demolish, destroy, devastate, degrade, and ultimately eliminate the essential infrastructure" of Yugoslavia. Such is the fate of countries that wish to retain public sector services and social programs in a capitalist world order.

Clinton lied about nearly everything to do with Yugoslavia. He said he acted to fulfill "the demands of an outraged and united international community." But the 154-member UN was deliberately bypassed, and not even the Security Council endorsed the war. Clinton claimed that he conducted the war "to enable the Kosovar people, the victims of some of the most vicious atrocities in Europe since the Second World War, to return to their homes with safety and self-government." In fact, a large majority of Albanian Kosovars were forced to leave their homes not by Milosevic, but by the NATO bombings. Clinton claimed that the NATO triumph ushered in new hope that victims of ethnic or religious oppression could permanently count on support from the U.S. and the world. In fact, the U.S. was and is far and away the world leader in fomenting and capitalizing on all kinds of oppression to maintain a secure global system of profit extraction. Clinton applauded U.S. pilots for allegedly "risking their lives to attack their targets" while avoiding civilian casualties, even though they allegedly were "fired upon from populated areas." In fact, U.S. combat deaths were zero, and American pilots faced little or no danger as they dropped thousands of tons of bombs on nearly helpless civilian populations. Clinton insisted that "when our diplomatic efforts to avert this horror were rebuffed, and the violence mounted, we and our allies chose to act." In fact, there was no diplomacy at Rambouillet, just the usual ultimatum to submit to U.S. demands or endure unprovoked attack. Clinton bragged that 19 democracies had joined forces to defend against "the stiffest military challenge in NATO's 50-year history." In fact, Yugoslavia posed no serious military challenge to NATO, which represented countries whose collective GDP was about 50% of the world's GDP and whose collective military spending was more than half the world's. The war could in no realistic way be construed as self-defense. On the contrary. It was a sadistic smashing of a defenseless nation by the most powerful rogue forces in the world.

Perhaps Clinton's proudest achievement is his economic record. It is true that, thanks to social security surpluses, he did record three consecutive years of fiscal surplus between 1998 and 2000, leading to suggestions that he - and even more, Alan Greenspan - was the Financial Messiah. Greenspan was applauded for having tamed inflation, kept unemployment low, and presided over the greatest stock market boom in history.

Inflation did decline, but this was mostly because workers were unable to secure wage increases commensurate with productivity increases even at low unemployment rates. Greenspan conceded as much when he praised the economy's performance in 1997 as "extraordinary" and "exceptional," while adding that a major factor accounting for this was "a heightened sense of job insecurity and, as a consequence, subdued wages." And because household incomes and even corporate profits were unable to keep pace with the soaring market, the 1990s spending spree could only be financed by unprecedented borrowing. (Household debt mushroomed under Clinton, reaching 97.4 percent of disposable income.) But the debt-financed boom began falling apart even before Clinton left office.

We should also keep in mind that under Clinton the distribution of wealth in the U.S. became more skewed than at any time in the previous 40 years. The ratio of average CEO pay to the average worker's wages rose from 113 to 1 in 1991 to 449 to 1 when Clinton left office in 2001. Why does this matter? Because extremely lopsided wealth distribution always leads to economic collapse when the rich can no longer productively spend or invest their fortunes and opt instead for speculative schemes that siphon wealth rather than create it. At that point aggregate purchasing power begins to collapse because the plundered middle class has too little money with which to sustain broad consumer demand. Recession or depression is the depressingly familiar result.

Clinton actually invited the current recession/depression by repealing the Glass-Steagall Act, which had been passed in the wake of the Depression to keep commercial banking separate from investment banking, in order to prevent speculators from collapsing the market as they had in the 1929 crash. In fact, in the name of market efficiency and modernization Clinton advanced financial deregulation across the board, opening the way for the fraudsters to plunder the nation's assets and leave the public holding the bag - of toxic assets.

It is true that Clinton increased the minimum wage from $4.25 to $5.15, but this did not reverse the steady decline in purchasing power of even that higher minimum. When Clinton left office in January 2001, the $5.15 minimum was 35 percent below the minimum wage's peak real value in 1968, even though the economy had become 81 percent more productive since then. Furthermore, average real wages were lower under Clinton than they had been under Nixon, Carter, Reagan, and Bush Sr.

The official poverty rate declined from 15.1 percent to 11.3 percent in 2000, which means that the prevalence of poverty was the same as it had been in 1974. But per capita GDP in 2000 was 70 percent higher than it had been in 1974, productivity was 61 percent higher, and the stock market was up 603 percent. Given these figures, anything short of the outright elimination of poverty represented overwhelming failure to promote the general welfare, as called for in the U.S. Constitution. In any case, child care costs rose steeply for a large percentage of poor households after Clinton cut federal welfare support for single mothers. If this single factor were accounted for, the slight decline in the official poverty rate in the Clinton years as compared with the Reagan-Bush years would most likely vanish.

It is generally thought that during the Clinton era fewer jobs were lost due to trade than under Reagan, but this is not true. Under Reagan and Bush Senior from 1980 to 1994 3.2 million jobs were lost in the U.S. because of free trade, that is, 228,571 jobs a year. Under Clinton, from 1994 to 2000, the beginning of NAFTA, another 3 million jobs were lost due to free trade, that is, 500,000 jobs a year. Furthermore, the new jobs Clinton boasted of creating were of lower quality in terms of pay, benefits, and security than those that had been shed.

Finally, a word on Clinton's disgraceful "personal" life. Bodyguards delivered women to Clinton, who, while auctioning off the Lincoln Bedroom as a six-figure overnight flophouse for fat cat donors, claimed the Oval Office as his "private" sanctuary. While speaking to teens of chastity and personal responsibility, he bullied his sexual conquests into silence, employing semi-official detectives to dig up blackmail data for use in extracting false testimony absolving him of responsibility for his predations. Kathleen Willey found her car tires punctured and a stranger inquiring after her children by name. "Don't you get the message?" the man asked.

Cabinet members and underlings were pressed into service to provide deniability and false alibis. Lawyers famous for devising loopholes for rich thugs made sure the swarm of abusive lies was all "legally accurate."

Eagerly slandering the women he targeted, Clinton dismissed Gennifer Flowers as a lying gold digger; insinuated that Paula Jones was a common slut who might secretly have enjoyed a sleazy encounter with him; discarded Kathleen Willey's accusation the basis that, "It's ludicrous to think I would come on to a small-breasted woman"; and portrayed Monica Lewinsky as a "stalker."

Can there be much doubt that he would have smeared Lewinsky far dirtier if she had not retained the presidential seal on her most famous dress?

Sources:

Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, "HRC," (Broadway Books, 2014)

Christopher Hitchens, "No One Left To Lie To - The Triangulations of William Jefferson Clinton," (Verso, 1999)

Michael Parenti, "To Kill A Nation - The Attack On Yugoslavia,"(Verso, 2000)

Alexander Cockburn, "Washington Babylon," (Verso, 1996)

Alexander Cockburn, "The Golden Age Is In Us," (Verso, 1995)

Jim Hightower, "There's Nothing In The Middle Of The Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos, (HarperCollins, 1997)

Norman Solomon, "False Hope: The Politics of Illusion in the Clinton Era," (Common Courage, 1994)

Norman Solomon, "Through The Media Looking Glass," (Common Courage, 1995)

Javier Giraldo S.J., "Colombia - The Genocidal Democracy," (Common Courage, 1996)

John Irwin and James Austin, "It's About Time - America's Imprisonment Binge," (Wadsworth, 1994)

Robert Pollin, "Contours of Descent - U.S. Economic Fractures and the Landscape of Global Austerity," (Verso, 2003)

Jack Rasmus, "The War at Home - The Corporate Offensive From Ronald Reagan To George W. Bush," (Kyklos, 2006)

Edward W. Said, "The End of The Peace Process - Oslo and After," (Pantheon, 2000)

Noam Chomsky, "A New Generation Draws the Line - Kosovo, East Timor and the Standards of the West," (Verso, 2000)

Noam Chomsky, "9-11," (Seven Stories, 2001)

Noam Chomsky, "Rogue States - The Rule of Force in World Affairs," (South End, 2000)

Noam Chomsky, "Keeping the Rabble in Line," (Common Courage, 1994)

Noam Chomsky, "World Orders Old and New,"(Columbia, 1994)

Noam Chomsky, "A Painful Peace," Z Magazine, January 1996

"A Democratic Triumph," the Progressive, September 1996

Barbara Ehrenreich, "Study Guide," the Progressive, November 1998

"Back to Baghdad," the Progressive, September 1996

"Iraq's Children," The Progressive, November 1997

Kevin Kelley, "The Myth of Humanitarian War," Utne Reader, January/February 2000

Michael Albert and Stephen Shalom, "The Kosovo/NATO Conflict," Z Magazine, May 1999

"A Superpower's Dilemma," Newsweek, September 20, 1999

"East Timor's Agony," the Nation, September 27, 1999

"Ambush in Mogadishu," Frontline, April 8, 1999
Posted by Michael Smith at 9:14 AM

5 comments:

Roger Helbig said...

The commentary about exposing millions to depleted uranium in the Balkans was pure unadulterated male bovine excrement and otherwise false. DU was fired at Serbian tanks and artillery that were used to slaughter innocents. DU was fired by the A-10 Warthog fighter's 30mm cannon. It was not used in bombs and it most certainly did not expose millions to anything. Is the new American left self-destructive - they win the election but don't support the candidate because is not left enough. Have they forgotten the difference between fact and fiction? Fiction is where DU mainly belongs. It was an effective bullet against tanks and had no effect on anything else. Many sites where DU was used in the Balkans were extensively tested by UN Environment Programme Post Conflict international teams. They issued three substantive reports, none of which found any harm to either environment or population. If you want to actually learn and not just regurgitate, then go read at least part of one - start perhaps with page 32's picture of an intact 30mm round in the final report of the series for Bosnia-Herzegovina http://postconflict.unep.ch/publications/BiH_DU_report.pdf . That picture shows the DU penetrator round still within the intact aluminum outer shell. This round and hundreds of others never had DU even touch the environment. So much for the millions affected comment. A DU penetrator round still encased in aluminum does not even expose millions of ants to DU let alone human beings. Another good place to learn more about DU is www.depletedcranium.com or go to the more than 50 scientific reports linked to Message 88 at http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/DUStory/message/88

Michael Smith said...

Thanks for your comment.

I'm drawing on Michael Parenti's "To Kill a Nation" on the depleted uranium comment, to wit: "Serbian paramilitary killings in Kosovo (many of which occurred AFTER the aerial war began) are no justification for bombing fifteen cities in round-the-clock raids for over two months, spewing hundreds of thousands of tons of highly toxic chemicals into the water, air, and soil, poisoning agricultural fields and rivers, maiming and killing thousands, exposing millions to depleted uranium, and obliterating the productive capital of an entire nation." Parenti's words do not imply depleted uranium exposure was a result of bombings, however mine do. I knew DU was an anti-tank weapon and should have edited out the mistaken implication that bombings had something to do with DU exposure.

There is nothing "self destructive" in my post, and I should point out that some of what we have posted on our blog is considered far right (for example, the material on the Holocaust and Holocaust revisionism). In any case, Obama is definitely NOT the political left. He has no problem with fomenting wars in defense of a far flung U.S. empire, just wants them to be "smart" rather than "dumb." But international law does not permit this distinction. War is illegal. Hopefully, the right and left can find common cause in recognizing this and bring to an end the constant wars practiced by Democrats and Republicans alike.

Thanks again for your comment.

Michael Smith said...

OK. Below is an excerpt from one of the reports you referred me to: "The risks of depleted uranium contamination post-conflict: UNEP assessments," by Mario Burger

Kosovo 2000-2001

"The final report, Depleted Uranium in Kosovo: Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment, published in March 2001, concluded that analyses of the samples collected showed only low levels of radioactivity. Furthermore, the results suggested that there was no immediate cause for concern regarding toxicity. However, major scientific uncertainties persisted over the long-term environmental impacts of DU, especially regarding groundwater.

Due to these scientific uncertainties, UNEP called for precaution and recommended action to be taken for the clean-up and decontamination of the polluted sites, for awareness-raising among the local population, and for future monitoring."

Why clean up the sites if there is no danger? Why do future monitoring? Obviously, the author of the report is not declaring that there is no danger from DU. In fact, he is clearly stating that there is "pollution" and that the local population needs to be made aware of it. If DU were not dangerous, he wouldn't need to make this recommendation.

Note that this report was published less than 2 years after the NATO attack. The gestation period for cancer is measured by decades, not months, hence the need for future monitoring. Note as well that the scientists doing the investigative work were working in a NATO protectorate, and would hardly be likely to issue an extremely critical report for that reason alone.

In any case, according to retired Special Forces officer Stan Goff, military families have expressed reservations about having children because of what they fear is the increased likelihood of birth defects due to exposure to depleted uranium and other toxic agents. See Goff's article "Generational Casualties" published by Counterpunch.

Michael Smith said...

At the time of the NATO war, Yugoslavia's population was about 10.5 million. If groundwater supplies were contaminated with DU in major urban areas throughout the country, then millions of people were indeed exposed to depleted uranium.

Michael Smith said...

Update on depleted uranium effects in the Yugoslavia war from Jeffrey St. Clair at Counterpunch (see Counterpunch Weekend Edition, September 14-15, 2013):

"After the Gulf War, Pentagon war planners were so delighted with the performance of their radioactive weapons that ordered a new arsenal and under Bill Clinton’s orders fired them at Serb positions in Bosnia, Kosovo and Serbia. More than a 100 of the DU bombs have been used in the Balkans over the last six years.

"Already medical teams in the region have detected cancer clusters near the bomb sites. The leukemia rate in Sarajevo, pummeled by American bombs in 1996, has tripled in the last five years. But it’s not just the Serbs who are ill and dying. NATO and UN peacekeepers in the region are also coming down with cancer. As of January 23, eight Italian soldiers who served in the region have died of leukemia."

So much for true-believer Roger Helbig's assertion that DU was "an effective bullet against tanks and had no effect on anything else." Get a clue, Roger