Friday, January 04, 2008


Anyway this is a presidential election year in America but will it bring about any substantive changes or just more of the same. The American people though seem to have few options as the Media has crowned Hilary Clinton before the election has even begun. That the corporate media seems to be falling in line behind Hilary Clinton one has to wonder if she will just continue business as usual if she is to become president. Since the corporate media and the elites in America are not afraid of Hilary maybe it is because she doesn't intend to make a real break with the corrupt policies of the Bush administration.

Though I should add if Hilary is elected president I can only hope she proves myself and other critics wrong. But if it quacks like a duck as they say

For instance will Hilary Clinton as President hold a series of investigations into the wrongdoing of the Bush Regime or will she give them a " free pass ". Even now one does not hear her calling for the impeachment of Bush and his fellow rogues who have misled the American people over and over again about Iraq, Afghanistan or Iran or about the Hurricane Katrina aftermath fiasco or other such scandals from interference with the judiciary or the willful breaking down of the wall of separation of Church and State. Maybe like Bush she sees nothing wrong with America moving towards an all out theocracy.

Is Hilary not willing to take Bush and Cheney to task for illegally extending the powers of the executive while tossing out the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to further their own agenda. Is she not willing to take such action because it might be embarrassing to some of her Corporate and religious backers or even some of her close friends . Besides she may want to have the same illegal powers as the Bush Regime has gained for itself.

Will Hilary stop the use of torture and renditions and the secret prisons and the wide scale surveillance of American citizens. As for the 12 million illegal immigrants will she play into the hands of the fear mongers and racists and toss the illegals into concentration camps .

Maybe it's just that a white middle class or rich female trumps a black male. But no one should vote for Obama solely on the grounds that he happens to be black. Nor should they vote for Hilary just because she is a woman or because she is white. Nor because she is rich . Nor because she was married to President Bill Clinton. One can only hope Americans will vote for the person most willing to take on corporate backed elite and the corporate sponsored media. It is the policies of the various candidates that should matter.

To me Hilary Clinton appears to be too Hawkish since she is open to invading or bombing Iran or other countries. She seems more interested in " saber rattling " and intimidation then in diplomacy. She also buys into the propaganda about Iran as she did the propaganda and lies the Bush regime touted before illegally invading and occupying Iraq. Like Bush I fear she has little concern for the sovereignty of other nations. She also uses the fear of terrorists to justify " renditions" , secret prisons , and torture. She claims she is only in favor of torture under " special circumstances" i.e. the Ticking Bomb scenario. But the " Ticking Bomb " scenario assumes that the person being tortured is going to give up pertinent information. According to experts this is highly unlikely . The tortured detainee if he is actually involved in a terrorist act will either just lie or if committed to his cause may prefer death to betraying his cause. If he is in fact not involved in the terrorist attack then he will say whatever will stop the torture. Most experts on Intelligence gathering would argue that other tactics besides torture are more effective as in getting the persons' trust .

Besides this pragmatic and relativistic form of argument from an " ethical " point of view doesn't wash. Torture is wrong no matter what the circumstances .Of course if one is a believer in " moral relativism ' then one does that which may get results as opposed to being concerned about ethics and morality. It is odd that those who constantly claim to be morally superior to the terrorists see nothing immoral about the use of torture. Is it simply because they believe whatever they do is justified because God is on their side. According to the Neocons and the Religious Right ; Jesus if he were alive today would favor torture , renditions ,secret prisons ,censorship, wire-tapings and the suspension of fair trials and Hebeas Corpus and the freedom of association.

As for Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan Hilary bought into the Bush /Cheney propaganda that Bhutto and her party were truly interested in making Pakistan into a democratic society. But Bhutto if elected would have just continued to be a puppet for the American interest . She might have brought about the odd reform but she surely was not going to challenge the root causes of corruption in Pakistan. Remember the plan was that she would have shared power with Musharraf. This plan was not concocted in Pakistan but in Washington without any consideration for the people of Pakistan.

As Michael Moore in a recent article points out he was once a supporter of Hilary Clinton but she has become a disappointment as she has continued to support the war in Iraq. As he argues it appears Hilary in her desire to be taken seriously she is trying to prove she would be as hawkish as any man and if necessary would be willing to go to war.So she has little desire to change American foreign policy . She believes as does George W. Bush that America must stand tough and prove itself to the rest of the world . But the rest of the world and a majority of the American people would prefer more diplomatic solutions to any new crisis rather than the knee jerk response of going to war and destroying whole countries to prove America is no. 1.

Michael Moore: Who Is the Best Dem Candidate on the Issues?By Michael Moore, January 2, 2008 at AlterNet.

"If you cut through the media coverage on the Dem candidates, John Edwards' positions on health care, Iraq and corporations shine out. "

And yet, I am sad to say, nothing has disappointed me more than the disastrous, premeditated vote by Senator Hillary Clinton to send us to war in Iraq. I'm not only talking about her first vote that gave Mr. Bush his "authorization" to invade -- I'm talking about every single OTHER vote she then cast for the next four years, backing and funding Bush's illegal war, and doing so with verve. She never met a request from the White House for war authorization that she didn't like. Unlike the Kerrys and the Bidens who initially voted for authorization but later came to realize the folly of their decision, Mrs. Clinton continued to cast numerous votes for the war until last March -- four long years of pro-war votes, even after 70% of the American public had turned against the war. She has steadfastly refused to say that she was wrong about any of this, and she will not apologize for her culpability in America's worst-ever foreign policy disaster. All she can bring herself to say is that she was "misled" by "faulty intelligence."

Let's assume that's true. Do you want a President who is so easily misled? I wasn't "misled," and millions of others who took to the streets in February of 2003 weren't "misled" either. It was simply amazing that we knew the war was wrong when none of us had been briefed by the CIA, none of us were national security experts, and none of us had gone on a weapons inspection tour of Iraq. And yet... we knew we were being lied to! Let me ask those of you reading this letter: Were you "misled" -- or did you figure it out sometime between October of 2002 and March of 2007 that George W. Bush was up to something rotten? Twenty-three other senators were smart enough to figure it out and vote against the war from the get-go. Why wasn't Senator Clinton?

I have a theory: Hillary knows the sexist country we still live in and that one of the reasons the public, in the past, would never consider a woman as president is because she would also be commander in chief. The majority of Americans were concerned that a woman would not be as likely to go to war as a man (horror of horrors!). So, in order to placate that mindset, perhaps she believed she had to be as "tough" as a man, she had to be willing to push The Button if necessary, and give the generals whatever they wanted. If this is, in fact, what has motivated her pro-war votes, then this would truly make her a scary first-term president. If the U.S. is faced with some unforeseen threat in her first years, she knows that in order to get re-elected she'd better be ready to go all Maggie Thatcher on whoever sneezes in our direction. Do we want to risk this, hoping the world makes it in one piece to her second term?"

Barack Obama Michael Moore goes on to comment is also someone who is also too enmeshed with Big Corporations and not necessarily a champion of the average American .Obama has also voted over and over again to finance Bush's Iraq War.

"Barack Obama is a good and inspiring man. There's no doubting his sincerity or his commitment to trying to straighten things out in this country. But who is he? I mean, other than a guy who gives a great speech? How much do any of us really know about him? I know he was against the war. How do I know that? He gave a speech before the war started. But since he joined the Senate, he has voted for the funds for the war, while at the same time saying we should get out. He says he's for the little guy, but then he votes for a corporate-backed bill to make it harder for the little guy to file a class action suit when his kid swallows lead paint from a Chinese-made toy. In fact, Obama doesn't think Wall Street is a bad place. He wants the insurance companies to help us develop a new health care plan -- the same companies who have created the mess in the first place. He's such a feel-good kinda guy, I get the sense that, if elected, the Republicans will eat him for breakfast. He won't even have time to make a good speech about it."

as for John Edwards Michael Moore is more positive about his policies and his character :

" find a man who is out to take on the wealthy and powerful who have made life so miserable for so many. A candidate who says things like this: "I absolutely believe to my soul that this corporate greed and corporate power has an ironclad hold on our democracy." Whoa. We haven't heard anyone talk like that in a while, at least not anyone who is near the top of the polls. I suspect this is why Edwards is doing so well in Iowa, even though he has nowhere near the stash of cash the other two have. He won't take the big checks from the corporate PACs, and he is alone among the top three candidates in agreeing to limit his spending and be publicly funded. He has said, point-blank, that he's going after the drug companies and the oil companies and anyone else who is messing with the American worker. The media clearly find him to be a threat, probably because he will go after their monopolistic power, too. This is Roosevelt/Truman kind of talk. That's why it's resonating with people in Iowa, even though he doesn't get the attention Obama and Hillary get -- and that lack of coverage may cost him the first place spot in Iowa. After all, he is one of those white guys who's been running things for far too long.

And he voted for the war. But unlike Senator Clinton, he has stated quite forcefully that he was wrong. And he has remorse. Should he be forgiven? Did he learn his lesson? Like Hillary and Obama, he refused to promise in a September debate that there will be no U.S. troops in Iraq by the end of his first term in 2013. But this week in Iowa, he changed his mind. He went further than Clinton and Obama and said he'd have all the troops home in less than a year.

Edwards is the only one of the three front-runners who has a universal health care plan that will lead to the single-payer kind all other civilized countries have. His plan doesn't go as fast as I would like, but he is the only one who has correctly pointed out that the health insurance companies are the enemy and should not have a seat at the table."

I get the feeling that having Hilary Clinton in power would change very little in American foreign or domestic policies :

And here's more on Hilary's record in regards to torture , Iran and Pakistan etc.It seems that as she begins to sense she might become the next president the more she begins talking tough and it becomes more difficult to determine how her policies would be that much more different from the Bush Regime.

What Hilary said about torture Sept. 2006

Hilary Against Torture

but later on she becomes less sure about what constitutes torture and that there may be circumstances in which she if president would permit the use of torture ie the ticking bomb scenario.

Hilary Clinton on Torture

The Wasington Monthly, Political Animal by Kevin Drum ,October 10, 2007

CLINTON ON TORTURE....Yes, Andrew Sullivan suffers from Clinton Derangement Syndrome, but I'll still join him in gagging over this nauseating piece of evasion from Hillary:

Clinton was similarly vague about how she would handle special interrogation methods used by the CIA. She said that while she does not condone torture, so much has been kept secret that she would not know unless elected what other extreme measures interrogators are using, and therefore could not say whether she would change or continue existing policies.

"It is not clear yet exactly what this administration is or isn't doing. We're getting all kinds of mixed messages," Clinton said. "I don't think we'll know the truth until we have a new president. I think [until] you can get in there and actually bore into what's been going on, you're not going to know."

Politics is politics. Spin and ambiguity are part of the game. But if you can't even take a full-throated, non-weasely position against torture and abuse of prisoners in American custody, what the hell good are you?

Is That Legal?Torture, Necessity, and Senator Hillary Clinton Oct. 13, 2006

In an interview with the editors of the NY Daily News, Senator Clinton apparently suggested that when faced with the so-called "ticking time bomb" scenario, the use of techniques that may constitute torture would be okay -- so long as whoever is president approved them and reported their use to Congress, even secretly.

From the Staff
For the story behind the story...Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2005 Hillary Clinton Attacks Cheney on 'Torture'

2008 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is complaining about Vice President Dick Cheney's defense of U.S. interrogations tactics used on terrorist suspects, saying they amount to "torture."

In her latest fundraising letter, Clinton declares, "When Republicans strengthened control of the White House and Congress last year, we knew it would be bad - we just didn't know it would be this bad, this fast.

"Who knew Vice President Cheney would start lobbying for the right to torture?" she adds.

Hillary Clinton supports selective torture of terror suspects 10/16/06

Senator Hillary Clinton has said that she supports legalizing the torture of a captured terror suspect who knows abut "an imminent threat to millions of Americans".

This, she said was an exception to her opposition to torture.

"If we're going to be preparing for the kind of improbable but possible eventuality, then it has to be done within the rule of law," the New York Daily News quoted Hillary as saying in a phone interview on Friday.

She said the "ticking time bomb" scenario represented a narrow exception to her opposition to torture as morally wrong, ineffective and dangerous to American soldiers.

"In the event we were ever confronted with having to interrogate a detainee with knowledge of an imminent threat to millions of Americans, then the decision to depart from standard international practices must be made by the President, and the President must be held accountable," she said.

"That very, very narrow exception within very, very limited circumstances is better than blasting a big hole in our entire law," she added.

Hilary Clinton and Iran Trust :
Can we trust Hillary Clinton to stand up to Republicans on war with Iran? If she can't even stand up to their war propaganda, how can we trust her to stand up to their war policies? December 11, 2007

From The Sunday Times December 23, 2007 The torture tape fingering Bush as a war criminal Andrew Sullivan

Its key argument is a weakly technical one: that the interrogation took place outside US territory - and therefore the courts do not have jurisdiction over it. It’s the same rationale for imprisoning hundreds of suspects at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba - a legal no man’s land. But Congress can get involved - especially if it believes that what we have here is a cover-up.

What are the odds that a legal effective interrogation of a key Al-Qaeda operative would have led many highly respected professionals in the US intelligence community to risk their careers by leaking top-secret details to the press?

What are the odds that the CIA would have sought to destroy tapes that could prove it had legally prevented serious and dangerous attacks against innocent civilians? What are the odds that a president who had never authorised waterboarding would be unable to say whether such waterboarding was torture?

What are the odds that, under congressional grilling, the new attorney-general would also refuse to say whether he believed waterboarding was illegal, if there was any doubt that the president had authorised it? The odds are beyond minimal.

Any reasonable person examining all the evidence we have - without any bias - would conclude that the overwhelming likelihood is that the president of the United States authorised illegal torture of a prisoner and that the evidence of the crime was subsequently illegally destroyed.

Congresswoman Jane Harman, the respected top Democrat on the House intelligence committee in 2003-06, put it as simply as she could: “I am worried. It smells like the cover-up of the cover-up.”

It’s a potential Watergate. But this time the crime is not a two-bit domestic burglary. It’s a war crime that reaches into the very heart of the Oval Office.

Yes, it is Hollywood time. And the ending of this movie is as yet unwritten.

Clinton Demands Bhutto Probe, Slams Musharraf Agence France-Presse at Truthout

Saturday 29 December 2007

Story City, Iowa - Hillary Clinton Friday called for an independent, international probe into Benazir Bhutto's murder, as the turmoil wracking US anti-terror ally Pakistan reshaped debate in the White House race.

The Democratic front-runner weighed in on the crisis just six days before first 2008 party nominating contests, as fellow candidates also brandished their national security credentials and experience on the global stage.

"We need an international, independent investigation into the death of Benazir Bhutto," Clinton said, drawing applause from an audience in a packed school gymnasium as she campaigned in ice-bound Iowa.

Clinton paid a personal tribute to the former Pakistani prime minister, and also turned on President Pervez Musharraf, saying he had failed both to usher Pakistan towards democracy, and to crush Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

"It is also clear the Bush policy of giving Musharraf a blank check has failed," Clinton said, adding a Bhutto death probe could mirror the UN inquiry into the killing of Lebanese ex-prime minister Rafiq Hariri in 2005.

The crisis also provoked a new row with Clinton's top Democratic rival Barack Obama, whose top strategist Thursday highlighted Clinton's 2002 Senate vote for a war in Iraq - which he said had boosted Al-Qaeda, a suspect in Bhutto's murder.

Obama, campaigning in Williamsburg, Iowa, said Washington should cut military aid to Pakistan until Musharraf embraced democracy, and said the US invasion of Iraq was a distraction from the "war on terror."

"We've got to reverse policies, but we've got to see this in a bigger context which is that our invasion of Iraq resulted in us taking our eye off the ball," Obama said.

"We should have been focused in Afghanistan, finishing off Al-Qaeda."

take care,

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