All 1 entries tagged 2008
November 28, 2007
This is the extended edit of an article I wrote for today’s Warwick Boar (unfortunately they didn’t seem to receive my emails with the new version!):
Why things will get worse in the US under Hillary
Bush – Clinton – Bush…..Clinton? If Hillary Clinton wins the presidency of the USA in 2008, the country will have watched the same tag-team tournament for 19 years. It feels like one of those maddening instances of sports coverage where for some reason the game refuses to end, gliding past the surrendering boundaries of the TV schedule, and while you bemoan the futility of it all the commentators get more and more worked up about how immensely exciting it is. I wish the crowd would just stand up and do that chant, “Blow the f-ing whistle, blow the f-ing whistle…”
By the most recent estimates Hillary Clinton holds a massive 33 point lead on her closest Democratic competitor, Barack Obama, and she has raised more money for her campaign (over $90 million) than all the Democratic and Republican candidates combined. Given that the Republican candidates are, with the exception of grassroots contender Ron Paul, such unapologetic, unrelenting warmongers at a time when a majority of the public is solidly against the Iraq war and the Republican administration, the surely nominated Hillary will go up against an unelectable Republican ticket.
Hillary’s recent rhetoric over the Iraq war (a “grotesque mistake” and a case of “mismanagement”) is, sadly, convincing enough for a large constituent of faithful Democrats, despite the fact that she voted for the war and backed it for 3 years. They don’t recognize the couched complicity of her position that US forces must persist in Iraq until there is a “unified government”. As one Newsday columnist Jimmy Breslin described it, “she sneaks and slithers past you with her opinion on a war that kills every day.” Hillary has said that she if she wins the presidency she won’t take US troops out of Iraq even by 2013. Journalist Ted Kopel recently told NPR that she has also admitted that troops would be in Iraq at the end of her second term – that’s 2018.
Mrs. Clinton is also encouraging a more hostile policy towards Iran, suggesting military force and criticizing Bush for not being aggressive or hasty enough in branding the Iranian Revolutionary Guard an “international terrorist organization”. She really is stretching her hand up highest in a class full of war hawks. Accordingly, the “defence” industry has now publicly abandoned its allies in the Republican Party and is backing Hillary.
Of course, it is not so much Hillary’s policies that ensure the success of her campaign as her celebrity status. The lasting sympathetic picture of a wronged yet strong wife, the exciting prospect of a female president, the accolade of “experience”, all of this has distracted the public from the question of whether Hillary would actually offer the country a departure from the Bush/Cheney administration’s imperialism, domestic authoritarianism and unaccountability. I dread Hillary’s success in 2008 because she will, on the contrary, “stay the course”, with the added problem that Democrats who would usually stand up to the moronic menace of Bush will feel less inclined to stand up to the “liberal” autocracy of Clinton.
Still, some liberals know to jump off the bandwagon when Rupert Murdoch jumps on. Murdoch, the chairman and CEO of News Corp and an open cheerleader of the Bush administration, hosted a fundraiser dinner for Mrs. Clinton last year.
“But isn’t Murdoch a conservative and Clinton a liberal?!” we instinctively cry. No. In fact these labels have been spun past the orbit of recognition. Both Murdoch and Clinton favour big government and imperial war, same as the Bush administration. Bush the “conservative” borrowed over £1.05 trillion from foreign governments and financial institutions from 2001-2005. That’s more than the accumulated borrowings of all previous Presidents.
Hillary will now inherit much newfangled machinery of state corporatism from the Bush years, for example the sprawling Department of Homeland Security, whose internal records show that 0.0015% of cases they deal with are actually terrorism related, and the “New Freedom Initiative”, a Big Pharma program of compulsory mental health tests for all children and eventually all adults. Similar developments will no doubt accelerate with Hillary in the White House because she has even fewer inhibitions about promoting Statism.
Corruption of power and the power of corruption will always saturate the political process but they are made less of a threat by a) tying the hands of the government’s executive branch and b) anticipating the accession of politicians with compromised or dubious track records. Here’s the current situation:
a) The current members of the executive have casually declared themselves unaccountable to Congress; Cheney even announced that his office is independent of the executive. This is additional to the dictatorial powers provided by congressionally approved legislation, for example the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which completely erases “habeas corpus” (the most important constitutional safeguard of personal liberty), and the Defense Authorization Act of 2007, which allows the President to declare martial law autonomously.
b) The Bushes and Clintons are utterly compromised politicians and businesspeople (extending beyond booze and blowjobs). They’re even personally affiliated. George Bush Snr and Bill Clinton are good friends and Barbara Bush calls Clinton a “surrogate son”. Perhaps the drug smuggling operations through Mena in the ‘80s provided some common ground. Or maybe Bush, as a former CIA director, was especially forthcoming to Clinton on account of his work for the CIA while at Oxford University (and conceivably beyond).
Within the inscrutable world of such connections, the most intriguing insight into the current political game in America is provided by Carroll Quigley, Bill Clinton’s Georgetown mentor who helped get him the Rhodes scholarship to Oxford. Quigley wrote candidly in his encyclopedic “Tragedy and Hope: a History of the World in Our Time” that he was permitted in the early 1960s to examine the records of “an international Anglophile network” working through round table groups and cagey front organisations like the Council on Foreign Relations (whose select membership includes Fortune 100 CEOs like Rupert Murdoch, bankers, and politicos like Henry Kissinger, Irving Kristol, Dick Cheney and the Clintons) to “create a world system of financial control in private hands, able to dominate the political system of each country” in a “feudalist fashion”.
Quigley wrote that in US politics “the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can “throw the rascals out” at any election, without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy”. This is exactly what we are seeing.
Enough with the phony pro-wrestling, the American public need to get in the ring and blow the whistle themselves.