The Case Against Hillary: a Compendium of 175 Articles, 2005-2016

For those of you who want to immediately begin digging, please do proceed.

This compendium consists of 175 articles from 2005-2016 taken from independent news websites, blogs, and other sources and focuses on Hillary Clinton’s record as Secretary of State (2009-2013) and as a Presidential Primary candidate in 2008 and 2016. Her Senate record (2001-2009), though also important, is barely covered, but you can search her Senate votes and sponsorships online. In addition, the twitter feed Defeat the DINOcrats includes some graphics about Clinton’s votes on major legislation.

Topics covered include the economy, trade, politics, foreign affairs, diversity, justice, ethics, the environment, health insurance, and others.

Many of the news and opinion sources for this compendium rely on reader contributions to bring us the kind of insightful and independent reporting and commentary that isn’t available in the mainstream corporate media, so please consider giving to them. These organizations include
Alternet
Truthdig
Truthout
Democracy Now!
Pro Publica
Foreign Policy in Focus
The Nation, and
OtherWords.

LINKS
Compendium: https://theciviccenter.wordpress.com/cpdm00000045
This page: https://theciviccenter.wordpress.com/2016/02/27/00000045, http://wp.me/s1XWDT-00000045

Just got polled

A few minutes ago, I responded to a telephone survey about my preferences for the upcoming Congressional and Presidential elections. In the questions about my preference for President, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, and Hillary Clinton were mentioned, but Bernie Sanders (running in the Democratic Primary), Jill Stein*, and any possible Libertarian candidate weren’t presented as choices. Likewise, the choices for party preferences did not include the Green and the Libertarian parties.

The questions mostly concerned national security, and many of the choices given did not fit my positions on this issue. The one open question in the poll asked me to state my greatest concern about national security. My response was “endless war”. Many of the multiple-choice questions were long and complex as were the choices given.

I did ask for the name of the firm, Central Marketing of New York, NY.

* Dr. Jill Stein is one of five candidates for President in the Green Party.

My Letter to Bernie Sanders

I am posting a letter that I wrote to U.S. Senator and Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders in late October. Although I will likely vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein in the general election, I would like to see Sanders win the Democratic Primary. Having Stein and Sanders together on a nationally televised debate stage would be a breakthrough that would elevate policy discourse from political expediency to undaunted progressivism.

In the letter that follows, “CORE” is an acronym for Congress of Racial Equality, an organization that Sanders led to oppose racial segregation in off-campus housing owned by the University of Chicago.

Dear Senator Sanders:

After weeks of procrastination, I am finally getting around to sending you a letter and a check for $100. America cannot afford eight more years of compassionate conservatism, which is what we’ve been getting since 1981. Nor can we afford continuation of the endless wars in Afghanistan and Syria, which remind me of the endless war of Orwell’s 1984.

Hillary Clinton has suddenly become more outspoken on gun control, and I’m glad that she is doing so. However, I believe that your positions on firearms are constituent-driven rather than corporate-driven.

Clinton also is popular among African-Americans, although articles that I’ve read describe your courageous activism for civil rights. If you can dig out more evidence of this, like the photo on your website of your leading a CORE meeting, I believe that you can use these materials to help you tell your story of activism.

Most importantly, however, addressing the current economic plight of African-Americans could help you diversify your support. Portraying your activist experience and your commitment to prosperity for all in a television ad might be an effective way to reach African-Americans.

Finally, I would like to see you personalize the issues that you talk about, using stories that supporters have written to you, some of which I’ve seen in your e-mails.

The Political Sleuth’s Guide to the Clinton E-mails

LINK to Guide (HTML): The Political Sleuth’s Guide to the Clinton E-mails

In one of the highlights of the October 13 Democratic Presidential Primary Debate, Senator and candidate Bernie Sanders denounced the media’s obsession over Hillary Clinton’s e-mails from her time as Secretary of State. Although I agree with Sanders that economic and other issues are much more important than the e-mails, I believe that the e-mails are worth scrutiny because of what can potentially be learned about U.S. foreign policy under Barack Obama, the inner workings of the State Department, and the people involved.

The Guide includes a list of key State Dept. personnel, tips for searching and sharing, relevant FOIA and classification information, and links to recommended readings. These resources have helped me in my research, and I think that you’ll find them helpful also.

My own research on the e-mails has focused on Israeli-Palestininian relations and the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, using the search terms “Hillary Gaza” and “Hillary Afghanistan”, respectively. I have found items worth tweeting but nothing that I would consider newsworthy or damaging. I have so far avoided tweeting about the Benghazi-related e-mails because I don’t want to be identified with the seemingly partisan House Select Committee on Benghazi. In my research, however, I have found a 2009 letter to Secretary Clinton from the Project on Government Oversight expressing their concern about embassy security in light of an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. I don’t know how Clinton responded to this letter, but I think that embassy security could have been improved at a time when Democrats controlled both the White House and Congress.

By the way, this is my first post about foreign affairs, a subject that I originally didn’t intend to cover on this blog. However, my opposition to Hillary Clinton led me into it.

What the Muck?

I started this blog nearly four years ago intending to post my own original commentary, but I saw a comment on the website of NPR/WNYC’s On the Media that I could not leave buried in obscurity.

The comment criticizes the media’s lack of coverage of the plight of the lowest-wage workers in the U.S., in light of “On the Media” host Bob Garfield’s discussion on how a New York Times story about hazardous working conditions in nail salons became widely read. The commenter’s initialism “USCFM” apparently stands for U.S. Corporate-Funded Media, but I cannot decipher “ICBW”.

Garfield compares the NYT’s work on manicurists to the great muckrakers of the fin-de-si├Ęcle-beore-last, missing a *major* difference. Persons like Tarbell[1] and Sinclair[2] publicly declared their intent to fundamentally change their society and their pain when their work produced only token reforms: Sinclair famously despaired that (in The Jungle) he had aimed at his nation’s heart but merely hit it in the gut. ICBW, but I strongly suspect that the Times (and WNYC, and the rest of the US corporate-funded media) aims no higher than the nation’s toenails.

The “buried lead” (of which the NYC manicurists’ story is but a nail-clipping) is that mass migration to the US–especially illegal immigration–is driving down wages and working conditions (and increasingly living conditions) while driving up rents and housing costs, especially at the bottom of US labor and housing markets. (Mass emigration also drains energy, skills, and political oppositions from the source nations, but the discourse of “brain drain” appears to be banned from today’s USCFM.) ICBW, but I strongly suspect the NYT et al are going nowhere near that engine of inequality: it’s just too profitable for their 1% advertisers and funders. Instead of attacks on the *economics* of importing a new underclass–and especially on the bosses and landlords who profit most–the USCFM will deliver only xenophobic attacks on immigrants (but not those who exploit them) from the likes of Fox News and the Murdoch[3] press, and defenses of immigrants (but not the native-born underclass) by its more socially-liberal organs.

In 1906, President Roosevelt told the muckrakers to “know when to stop raking the muck”[4]. With increasingly few exceptions (like Seymour Hersh[5]–thanks for doing that, OTM!), the USCFM of 2015 don’t need to be told: they know to stop long before its stench afflicts the comfortable.

[1]: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ida_Tarbell
[2]: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upton_Sinclair
[3]: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupert_Murdoch
[4]: en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Man_with_the_Muck_Rake
[5]: onthemedia.org/story/podcast-extra-seymour-hersh

Keystone XL on Steroids

Corporate America wants to ram another dangerous pipeline through another sparsely-populated region, Trans-Pecos Texas. The wild and scenic landscapes of this region, however, inspire many of its residents to preserve its beauty, tranquility, and wildlife. The Big Bend Conservation Alliance is leading the fight against this proposed pipeline, and has started a petition to urge President Obama to deny permits for this project. For further information, I recommend reading The Big Bend Sentinel, a Presidio County newspaper. They have done some thorough yet balanced reporting on the proposed pipeline.

In addition to signing the petition, I submitted the following letter to President Obama through the White House contact form.

Dear President Obama:

I appreciate your rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline. However, Corporate America has not finished ramming dangerous pipelines through America’s pristine lands over the objections of landowners and communities. A pipeline that is much larger and potentially more volatile than Keystone is proposed to be routed through the Trans-Pecos Region of West Texas to carry raw natural gas to Mexico. Because the Trans-Pecos pipeline will be connected to a Mexican pipeline at the border near Presidio, Texas, it can be considered an international pipeline as the Keystone was.

The pipeline is proposed to pass through Texas’ most wild and scenic landscapes consisting of mountains, canyons, grasslands, alpine forests, and the Rio Grande. This land was once the home of the Mescalero Apache and was surveyed by Spanish explorers. Americans arrived and established Fort Davis, where many Buffalo Soldiers were stationed after the Civil War. Fort Davis is now a national historic site and one of the best-preserved frontier forts in the U.S.

Construction of some of the supporting infrastructure had begun before the pipeline company began engaging with residents of the region, and there are still more questions than answers about the pipeline. One of those questions concerns whether the pipeline will include compression stations, which use a lot of energy and make loud noises that could interfere with communication among birds and other wildlife.

Although Trans-Pecos Texas may seem insignificant to politicians in Washington, please consider that in 2008 and 2012 you got 71% of the vote in Presidio County, where a significant part of the pipeline would run.

Rejection of this pipeline would be a rejection of the dirty-energy past and a step toward a clean-energy future, and would help preserve the beauty and tranquility of the Trans-Pecos that draws tourists from Texas, the U.S., and around the world. I therefore urge you, Mr. President, to use your authority to stop the Trans-Pecos Pipeline as you did to Keystone.

If you want further information, I recommend that you read The Big Bend Sentinel, a Presidio County newspaper. They have done some thorough yet balanced reporting on the pipeline.

A Silverman Lining in the D.C. Cloud

This is my September post because I live in the Central Time Zone, although the timestamp will say October.

Last week, I sent a small contribution to Elissa Silverman, a candidate for council at-large in Washington, D.C. I heard her speak in 2011 at forum on the FY2012 D.C. budget hosted by her employer, the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute. Although I have not followed the D.C. election very closely this year, I decided that Silverman is the only candidate worthy of my support after deciding not to support any of the mayoral candidates.

I have met one of the candidates for mayor, former councilmember Carol Schwartz, and have known her for her compassion and other desirable qualities, but I object to her blame-the-teacher approach to public education. I am not familiar enough with another mayoral candidate, At-large Councilman David Catania, to support him.

However, Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser cannot be allowed to be Mayor of the District of Columbia. My experience living in Ward 4 and speaking at some of her committee hearings leaves me the impression that she is not fit to be the mayor and that she doesn’t care about tenants.

A charter amendment to amend the charter

On this blog, I have criticized two amendments to the Home Rule Charter of the District of Columbia, one providing for election of the attorney general and another for expulsion of the mayor and members of the council.

The approval of both amendments by popular vote seems to result from D.C. voters’ rush to embrace anything that sounds like reform. Furthermore, it seems that many voters don’t know or think about proposed charter amendments until election day and vote “yes” or “no” without having any informed consideration of the advantages and disadvantages of the proposal in question. (I am guilty of this also.)

I don’t see much opportunity for informed deliberation on charter amendments when they are put on the ballot. Note that the U.S. Constitution is amended not by popular vote but through a process that provides many opportunities for deliberation in state legislatures and in Congress.

A way to improve the process for D.C. charter amendments could be to replace approval by popular election with approval by a supermajority (2/3 or 3/4) of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions. (This would, I think, require amending the charter by popular vote!) ANC meetings would thus provide a formal opportunity for citizens to learn about proposed amendments and to hear and discuss diverse views of them. Involving the ANCs in this way would ensure that approval or rejection of a charter amendment is the result of an informed, moderated discussion rather than a reaction to a scandal or a rush to promote change under the illusion of a more ethical and responsive government.

72,240 Characters

I have captured all 516 of my tweets up to July 12, 2014, in a PDF file (2.1 MB) and posted it. As of that date, I had 25 followers.

I try to make my tweets as thoughtful and informative as I can in 140 characters. Almost all of my tweets are 140 characters, hence my estimate of 516 x 140 = 72,240 characters as of July 12.

Almost all of my tweets are replies to other tweets, which are not captured in the PDF file.

Would you have voted for John Ashcroft?

Attorneys General: Elected vs. Appointed

I recently replied to a tweet about D.C.’s electing an attorney general by contending that election entails almost as many pitfalls as appointment does. Someone from the District of Columbia then asked me to explain my point, and I promised that I would do so. The result is this paper (PDF) about the advantages and disadvantages of electing or appointing an attorney general. Although I strongly favor the Federal nomination-confirmation method of selecting executive-branch officers, my paper does not argue strongly in favor of appointment because I did not find any compelling reasons to prefer one over the other. Instead, I present my best and worst reasons to appoint or elect an attorney general as follows.

Best Reason Worst Reason
Appoint Deliberative selection process, though often influenced by politics Turnover, especially because of reassignments to other positions
Elect Stability, though not guaranteed Influence of campaign contributions

To expound on the matter of stability, I had wanted to compare average tenures of attorneys general in select appointment states to the averages in comparable election states, but the data required was not readily available. Neither Wyoming nor New Hampshire, both appointment states, list past attorneys general on their websites, although New Jersey does. A resource that might have this data is Powers And Duties Of The Attorneys General, 3rd ed. (Emily Myers, Editor), published by the National Association of Attorneys General.

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