Hillary Clinton and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

    emptyroomFor years I have criticized, frequently harshly, Hillary Rodham Clinton.  I think she is arrogant, aloof, and self-regarding.  Her political convictions are thin and yielding. More often than not she has shied away from tackling humankind's two most serious problems - economic injustice and global warming - perhaps because she seeks and accepts support from international business elites and the fossil fuel industry. 

    I invariably expect the worst from her.  Still I never could have anticipated how damaging the past week would prove to her quest to be President.

    1)    The Refugees - The world has been gripped by the humanitarian crisis playing out from Syria to Europe and beyond as over 4 million Syrians displaced by civil and religious strife seek safety.  The defining image of this tragedy shows a police officer carrying the corpse of a drowned boy on a Turkish beach.  Iconic photographs went viral worldwide Wednesday last week.

    That same day the Guardian reported that Germany expected to take in between 800 thousand to 1 million refugees before the end of the year, although not all will be Syrian.  By contrast, according to Time Magazine, "in August, State Department officials said that the U.S. would likely accept 5,000 to 8,000 refugees from Syria by the end of 2016" with perhaps "1,500 to 1,800" arriving by the end of 2015.

    Last Friday, MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell asked Hillary Clinton whether the US should take in more than this paltry number.  "We should do our part, as should the Europeans; but this is a broader, global crisis," Clinton tonelessly responded. "We now have more refugees than we've had in many years -- I think, since the Second World War," she added.  In contrast, Martin O'Malley forthrightly is calling for the US to accept 65,000 Syrian refugees.  Like Hillary, Bernie Sanders did not answer the Guardian's question to him on this issue.

    Clinton's non-committal response fails on a number of levels:

    A) Clinton's refusal to declare that the United States should re-embrace our role as a haven for displaced people demonstrates a lack of empathy for victims of war and persecution.

    B) In mentioning World War II, Clinton conjures up memories of German Jews desperate to escape Hitler's clutches being turned away by officious American bureaucrats who, like Clinton apparently, were "worried about the potential flood of migrants."

    C) Clinton's contention that countries outside the US and Europe must also step up, bespeaks either an ignorance of or a refusal to acknowledge the outsize role that Western European and American military and economic imperialism have played in the current crisis.

    D) From a purely political perspective, Clinton's nuanced and equivocal answer can't help but remind voters of her unwillingness to answer other important questions directly like whether she'd approve the Keystone XL pipeline and where she stands on the TPP.

    Presumably, Clinton didn't call for a significant increase in the quota of Syrian refugees for fear of alienating conservative voters.  Without evidence, Fox and Republican Presidential candidates are demonizing these unfortunates as potential terrorists.  But Clinton isn't likely to win the votes of right-wing Islamophobes and, in any case, very few of them vote in Democratic primaries.  Triangulating on this issue makes virtually no political sense while displaying a callous disregard for human life.

    2)    No Enthusiasm - This past Monday, Salena Zito of the right-wing Pittsburgh Tribune tweeted that Clinton required a written commitment of support from the those who came to see her speak at Case Western Reserve University Cleveland on Thursday August 27 before they could enter the football field where she was speaking.  The Clinton campaign responded that attendees were asked to sign the pledge but it was not a condition of entry.

    CNN's nearly contemporaneous report of the event mentions that voters were asked to sign the pledge as they entered the arena.  But the network does not state whether people were turned away if they didn't.  The problem for Hillary isn't that she asked voters to commit to her, it's that so many in the sparse crowd of about 1,500, according to the Case Western Observer, were reluctant to do so both before and after the event.

    Clinton's campaign events have been plagued by poor attendance.  Her June rally on Roosevelt Island in New York City drew only about 5,500 people with the overflow section empty or virtually so.  Thursday, Washington Post reporter Karen Tumulty tweeted a picture of a handful of people in a nearly empty meeting room in Columbus, OH, at a Clinton meet and greet.

    Various pundits have questioned whether a candidate, like Bernie Sanders, who attracts large excited crowds, really has an advantage over one speaking to empty rooms and small arenas sprinkled with pockets of unenthusiastic attendees.  My answer is yes.  Candidates are better off addressing tens of thousands of thrilled and involved supporters than dozens of desultory ones.

    3)    The "Apology" - Over six months ago, I pointed out that Hillary violated federal regulations when she opted not to preserve her government emails on a State Department server but rather on one in her and Bill's home in Chappaqua, NY.  Up until Tuesday, first her surrogates and then she denied any wrongdoing whatsoever.  When investigators found that she had kept classified materials on the server, she provided alternative alibis - either the documents weren't classified when she received them or the State Department disputed the classification.

    Tuesday though Clinton seemed to change gears.  With her campaign floundering, she purported to abandon deflect, distract, and deny for an apology.  After telling the AP Monday she had nothing to apologize for the next day she admitted to David Muir of ABC News that she made "a mistake" and "take[s] responsibility for it".  It was a funny kind of apology though since she insisted she hadn't done anything wrong but she was still sorry.

    When asked about the classified information on her server, she fell back on the old either or defense.  But she never acknowledged that she should have maintained her emails at the State Department because 1) agencies may have different opinions on whether information in an email should be classified and 2) information that is not classified when originally sent may become classified later.

    Beyond Clinton's inability to identify anything wrong with the problematic email setup for which she issued her apology, the circumstances of it could not help but lead one to question her sincerity.  As Muir pointed out at the beginning of her ABC interview, Clinton's approval ratings are down and she is widely perceived as dishonest.  In New Hampshire, Clinton aides concluded that voters were not receptive to her message on other issues because of concerns about her use of a private email account and server while Secretary of State.

    So Clinton is sorry that questions about her now revealed email practices hurt her with voters and make it tougher for her to campaign on other topics.  She's sorry that people look skeptically at her responses to questions about her home-based server and doubt her honesty.  But she's evidently not sorry that she broke the rules nor does she evince any recognition that her actions result from a mania for secrecy and control that are not serving her well.

    4)    The Re-Reboot - I didn't think much of Hillary's video announcement back in April that she was running for President and said so.  Apparently, her team wasn't thrilled with the rollout either as they relaunched a few months later with her aforementioned Roosevelt Island speech.   Tuesday, with Sanders breathing down her neck, the New York Times reported on a decision by Clinton and her advisers that she would henceforth be showing her "humor and heart" and would be "scrapping the slogan 'everyday Americans.'"

    It may have seemed like a good idea at the time especially because the slogan clearly wasn't killing it on the campaign trail.  As part of this second reboot, Clinton offered her mea culpa to David Muir.  Henceforth, Clinton is going to try to act more authentic and more likable but how convincing can she be since people know that her current strategy is to be more authentic and likable?  It's impossible to avoid the Atlantic's conclusion that "it’s a bad sign when your presidential campaign needs a reboot.  It’s a worse sign when your advisers announce that reboot publicly."

    5)    The Brookings Speech - The new and improved funnier more compassionate Hillary apparently wasn't slated to kick in until after her speech at the Brookings Institute Wednesday.  Within this temple to the official Washington establishment, Anne Gearan writes:

    Again and again, Clinton pointed to instances overseas where she would have taken a tougher stance than Obama, from arming Syrian rebels to confronting an expansionist Russia. In some cases, she was talking about policy debates she lost while serving as Obama’s first-term secretary of state, or about advice she suggested was not heeded.

    Gearan notes further:

    The critique, delivered as part of a Washington speech focused on the Iran nuclear deal, was in many respects subtle — wrapped inside overall praise for Obama and never targeting him directly. But the differences were nonetheless striking for a candidate who has worked carefully to soften her hawkish national security reputation and who badly needs Obama’s liberal coalition of voters to gain the White House.

    It's almost as though Clinton decided that her re-reboot is only about authenticity not about humor and heart.  At Brookings, she bared the talons that she has never been able to hide fully.   Clinton probably spoke as she did because she knew she was on friendly turf.

    Brookings after all is the home of neo-con Robert Kagan who championed the Cheney/Bush War on Iraq and over the following 14 years has consistently urged the same muscular foreign policy that Clinton lauded Wednesday.  His wife Victoria Nuland, who shares his views, served as Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs under Hillary at the State Department and helped promote the regime change in Ukraine that led directly to Russian sabre-rattling in the eastern part of that country.

    Dropping the mask at least for the afternoon may have been liberating for Clinton but one must conclude she likely alienated more potential Democratic primary voters than she attracted.  Increasing her distance from Obama will hurt her with African-American voters upon whose support she is now utterly reliant.  Likewise, the disdain that many progressive Democrats (including yours truly) feel for her will only increase.  Ultimately, Hillary's speech at Brookings tells voters that Clinton hasn't evolved much since her 2002 vote in favor of George W. Bush's request for authorization to use military force against Iraq - a vote that may well have cost her the Presidency seven years ago.

    6)    The "Hitman" - Given that Hillary "apologized" Tuesday for her "mistake" in using a private server to maintain and preserve emails, including arguably classified ones, she sent as part of her duties as Secretary of State, one might expect that her surrogates would mute criticism of the messengers.  One would be wrong.  Thursday Politico reported that Clinton mouthpiece shill confederate supporter David Brock contends there's "a special place in hell" for the New York Times because of its supposedly unfair coverage of Clinton's email kerfluffle.

    Employing customarily salty language, Brock writes in his soon-to-be-released book Killing the Messenger that former Washington bureau chief Carolyn Ryan "has a hard-on for Hillary.”  Brock cites an anonymous Times source for the proposition that Ryan "wants that coonskin nailed to the wall.” In fairness to Brock, the Times has committed one obvious mistake in its coverage of Clinton.  It incorrectly reported, while Ryan was on vacation in July, that the FBI was investigating Clinton for criminal wrongdoing with respect to her email practice.

    It seems unlikely that Clinton wants a high profile mouthpiece shill confederate supporter engaged in a pissing match with the nation's most powerful newspaper - one which endorsed her in 2008 over then Senator Barack Obama - over its coverage of her self-described email "mistake".  After all, the ultimate takeaway from Brock's tantrum is that he (and presumably she) is furious that the newspaper reported what she acknowledges was error on her part.  Instead, it would be reasonable to assume, Clinton simply wants the whole sordid episode in her rearview mirror as quickly as possible.

    On the other hand, per Politico, "[s]hortly after "Blinded" was published, Bill Clinton called [Brock] to lavish praise on his expose. Later, Brock was invited to the former president’s Harlem office where he was shocked to discover Clinton had purchased dozens of copies — and stuffed them into a big cabinet."  Whether Hillary green-lighted the "hit" on the New York Times or Brock had gone rogue, she cannot benefit from a renewed focus on her email shenanigans.

    7)     The Polls - From Saturday September 5 through today, a series of increasingly ominous polls for Clinton were released.

    Last Saturday's polls - Survey USA has Clinton down 5 points in a general election against Trump.  This is the first poll showing her behind Trump in a general election.  The same pollster shows Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders losing to Trump as well but by narrower margins.

    Sunday's polls - A whole slew of polls released by NBC/Marist have nothing but bad news for Hillary.  She's behind by 9 to Sanders in New Hampshire.  In Iowa, she's up by 11 over Sanders but her lead has shrunk by 13 points since the previous NBC/Marist poll.  Joe Biden does significantly better than Clinton in head-to-head matchups with various Republicans.

    Tuesday's polls -  Per Monmouth, Clinton maintains a formidable 20 point lead over Joe Biden in a national poll of Democratic primary voters.  But with only 42% of voters saying they support her, most prefer another candidate and her support is down 10 points in the month since the previous Monmouth poll was published.

    Thurday's polls - Quinnipiac has Bernie Sanders leading in Iowa by one point.  This is the first poll showing her behind in the Hawkeye State.

    Friday's polls - CNN reports that Clinton's support among all Democratic primary voters is down to 37%.  Sanders is second with 27%.  This is the narrowest gap by far between the two candidates and the lowest level of support Clinton has received nationally since she kicked off her campaign.  The same pollster has Clinton tying in a general election with Trump but losing to Ben Carson and Jeb Bush.  CNN has Biden beating Trump and Bush but losing narrowly to Carson.


    There is no escaping the conclusion that the past week was the roughest yet for Hillary Clinton as she competes to succeed Barack Obama.  But, as I wrote a month ago, her campaign retains some formidable advantages - mainly the Clinton's magic fundraising touch and the endorsements she's stockpiling.  Maybe just maybe these will see her through the Democratic convention and even to victory in the general election.  But she has yet to connect with voters in any meaningful way, and her ham-fisted attempts to do so tied to an out-of-date neo-liberal economic record and still evident neo-conservative foreign policy predilections weigh heavily on her campaign.



    Please consider removing that photo. That poor boy and his family have been exploited enough. Placing it next to your "clever" title is gross.

    Thank you, Kyle.

    I agree.  It has nothing to do with Hillary Clinton, no matter what connection Hal would like to make.

    The whole world saw the photograph and wanted to help.  Hillary saw it and told Andrea Mitchell other countries need to step up.

    Clinton believes that the U.S. should lead the global response to the Syrian refugee crisis, assisted by the United Nations.

    This is controversial to... nobody.

    Maybe not controversial, but her response clearly showed a lack of compassion for those in desperate need.

    Presumably, Clinton didn't call for a significant increase in the quota of Syrian refugees for fear of alienating conservative voters.

    You seem to be suggesting there is an obvious left or right solution to this problem. I'm pretty far left and don't think the solution is resettling the refugees in Europe or the US. Just I don't think the solution to the problem of refugees into the US from Mexico, South and Central America is an open border. The problem is too big and complex for resettlement to be a viable solution. In Europe it's not just Syrian refugees but refugees from Africa coming from Libya and through Libya from more southern African nations. I don't think O'Malley's solution is the de facto liberal position.

    It will be interesting to see where Sanders come down on this question if he decides to address it.

    They have no place to go right now in large part because of American/European imperialism and the Cheney/Bush war on Iraq.  We have a moral duty to provide safety, as Germany is doing, for as many as we reasonably can. 

    That's just weird.  In a better world, with no Iraq war, if there were still a civil war in Syria, the refugees would not be able to... move to Saddam Hussein's Iraq.  The same problems would exist, Iraq war or no.  The civil war is not the result of "American imperialism," either.  If anything, it's the result of Russia propping up Assad's regime.

    ISIL is an offshoot of Al Qaeda.  Before we took out Saddam, Iraq kept the militants in check.  Now, with no stable government between Baghdad, Damascus, south-central Turkey, and the Iran border, ISIL has been able to run rampant causing much of the dislocation in Syria.  Another significant factor in the refugee crisis is global warming for which we are most responsible.

    Any serious rebellion against Assad would have resulted in refugees, ISIS or no.  That's just what happens in civil wars.  I don't think you want to back yourself into the corner of arguing that the world would be a better place if Saddam Hussein were still around because that would have strengthened Assad's hand.

    Well, we disagree.  Many expert commentators see the flood of refugees as secondary to the war between ISIL and Assad which obviously wouldn't have happened if there were no ISIL.  Respected pundits also attribute the dislocation in part to climate change for which we are indubitably responsible.  Of course, I think the world would be a better place if Bush hadn't launched the war in 2003.  Don't you?

    Sure, I think we'd have been better off not invading Iraq in 2003, but not because I think it would have somehow averted the rebellion against Assad.  You and your respected pundits, I hope, realize that the rebellion is not all about ISIS, right?  There are many parties involved.  The real culprit here is Assad's brutal dictatorship.  Responsibility for the resultant refugees lies, as Hillary Clinton with the entire world.

    Many bad things happened because W/Cheney/Condi/Rummy took down Saddam's Iraq.  One of them is that conditions became fecund for the rise of ISIL which is a major reason for the flood of refugees as is global warming.  You are free to dispute these points but you haven't adduced any evidence.

    Would there have been a revolution against Assad without the US invading Iraq?  The answer is, we don't know.

    Is Assad the kind of guy who deserves to be overthrown?  Yes.

    So I'm going to go ahead and guess that it would have happened at one point or another. 

    But how might things have been different if Assad’s hand hadn’t been weakened by the U.S. and other countries which are our allies? How might things have been different in Syria starting from the beginning of the demonstrations that kicked off their civil war? We should remember that at that point in time Syria was a place where a great many refugees had fled to from Iraq.

    We can confidently believe that Assad ruled with an iron hand and would demonstrate that fact at any time and for as long as he felt the need to do so. We haven’t been given any reason to believe that he is one some kind of pervert who would inflict pain just for the fun of it but we can know for a fact that he was willing to use brutal and inhumane methods to stay in control. [That does not separate him morally or ethically or in any other relevant way from a great many leaders, regimes, or even countries as a whole] One way we can know that he was willing to use brutal, despicable methods is that his country was one of the places to where we outsourced some significant part of our significant torture program.

     When the demonstrations in Syria turned violent we were told that it was a reaction to the brutal put down of peaceful demonstrators. That is at least part of the truth and may be the whole truth, but I believe the way to bet is that there were also some instigators, some from outside Syria, who came for the express purpose of instigating conflict. That last bit is of course speculation from the vantage point of looking through the fog of news coverage at the fog of war but I would also bet that if there could have been erected a giant wall around the country that kept out all external influences from that point on that Assad would have fairly quickly crushed the rebellion and some people, maybe a lot, would have died in the process. I think the number would have been relatively low. I would guess that a high number might be as much as ten thousand but probably much lower. After that things would have gone back to approximately the way they had been before. I don’t know how bad that was and neither does anyone else reading this but I know that Assad’s military and a very high percentage of his people have stayed loyal and fought hard, continue t fight hard, to get back to that arrangement.

    I believe that if we, the U.S.A. I mean, had not itself interfered and had used its influence to keep others from doing so, that the small rebellion would have been quickly put down and thus would have never have been allowed to grow into a civil war.

    In my imagined scenario some unknown number of people would have died just like large numbers die in actual civil wars. That’s just what happens when governments are threatened. In the reality that we have witnessed a full fledged war broke out that has so many forces that are proxies for other powers that it is doubtful that “Civil War” is an accurate description, but regardless, it is war and one which has killed hundreds of thousands and created millions of refugees. My alternate scenario, imagined but I think quite believable, describes a far from “good” state of affairs but the actual situation, largely enabled by the U.S. I believe, is mega-deaths worse. Syria is, I believe, a place where the best choice available was/is the lesser evil and is a case where “evil” is the proper descriptor.

    So, if we could turn back the clock would we do anything different? Should we do anything different? There are millions of suffering people who I bet wish we would had. If we could turn the clock ahead will we see the same people who made the critical decisions, people that theoretically we as voters put in power, making the same sort of decisions? Is it not incumbent on all decent people, at least those decent people who don’t like our wars and don’t like the mongers and go-along-ers that keep them steadily happening, to push to make public an informed, critical, examination of our foreign policy and to push it as an electoral issue. That is unless of course we like, or believe to be necessary, what has been done and continues to be done in our name and is sponsored by our dwindling wealth. The major factor leading me to vote for Obama was my belief that he would be better on this issue. If I have the opportunity to vote for a candidate who I come again to believe is better on this issue I will. 



    Hey Lulu. Howz tricks? So does this mean you're for Sanders? He's almost crossed into being more electable than Clinton and is *way* less bloodthirsty.

    That's an interesting argument in favor of propping up well documented bloody authoritarian regimes in the interest of promoting regional stability. Things certainly have come full circle, haven't they?

    It's quaint that you believe we have that much control in the region. Our real range of options seems to be either assert or leave a vacuum. We basically left a vacuum ... so Saudi Arabia and Russia/Iran totally asserted. We weren't going to stop that. We *can't* build a wall around Syria to protect Assad (neither can Russia).  What if our *only* real power is to be the Big Gorilla. Or not. I can surely tell you that removing American from the equation does not equal peace. People were going to war long before we came along.

    So I'll offer a counter-point. What if civilized nations had stood up firmly for the principle that a government which deploys the tools of national defense against it's own cities has lost legitimacy? What if Western powers had answered nationalist pleas for a civilian no-fly safety zone when the dynamic really was a bunch of protesters and army deserters? What if that gave people the room to negotiate and come to a transitional solution that didn't involve slaughtering everyone that protested against Assad? The second civil war didn't break out in Lybia until 2014 .... in no small part because the proxy war going on in Syria spilled right across the border. Same with Iraq. Hell, the no-fly zone they were asking for would have cut right thought the middle of what is now a goddamn ISIL "caliphate". What if ISIL had never been able to take hold in parts of Syria because they were already internationally stabilized?

    Just sayin. If we're playing "what if" with a completely wide-open alternate history ... isn't picking one that ends with the Syrian people under the thumb of a bloody dictator kind of a dick move?

    YO Dude, Well I’ll be damned. First, I want to say that I am very glad for you to show up even though it is to put me on the spot with a very legitimate question which you summarized in your last paragraph. Next, I wish to beg off answering for a bit. I have the dregs of a bottle of bourbon starring me down and a few obligations when I finally wake up tomorrow, but I do realize the huge difference in my usual position and that of the one you are responding to. I know I cannot resolve that now and only hope I can later. Again, cheers, it’s good to hear from you. I will try to make a sensible reply.  

    First, if the primary election were today I would vote for Sanders over Clinton and there is no one I am aware of who might enter the race on the Democratic side whom I would expect to change that decision. I am not very enthusiastic about that choice because I want big changes in foreign policy and I would expect Sanders to be only a slight improvement. That said, I would not be at all surprised if Clinton would be even worse on FP than Obama has been. I certainly agree that Sanders is “way less bloodthirsty”. While I rate Obama low overall on FP, I do give him a lot of credit for the agreement with Iran and his realignment with Cuba.

    Now for the tough part. When I started paying attention to our country’s relationship with the rest of the world I became appalled at our treatment of Central and South America. The condensed version of that story, as I see it, is that if we did not like the leader of a country we would change it and if our prefered choice was in danger from within his own country we would give them the means to stomp on their own people if that is what it took to keep them in power. This has been most true in Central America, I believe, but I also think that is only because it has been most doable there.  

    I do not believe that The U.S. has the power to install and protect the ruler of their choice in Syria or other countries in that region as, for instance, we did for so long in Central America. If though we take C.A. as an example of what we would do if we could it is obvious that we would support a leader that would serve our purposes, pick and install one if necessary, regardless the effect on the general population, and, if the affect caused a backlash that threatened our chosen leader we would give whatever aid was required, money, guns, training, etc, to stomp on any internal dissention if that is what it took for him to stay in control. It often was. If things started to get out of control anyway then there was little hesitation to send in our own armed forces. I consider all that to be a well established and undisputable fact.

    I see little difference in our motives or tactics today to the extent that we are able to make them work. The tactic was in play and worked for a while in Iran under Pahlavi and in Iraq under Hussein as two examples but when it became necessary to take the step of sending in our own troops to maintain our desired power structure, Iraq being that example, we found that we couldn’t make it work there and our plan B of doing it with sanctions and bombs and support of proxies in Syria who have shown themselves to be viciously unacceptable if there are actually humanitarian motives involved in our choice, has been most instrumental in setting the region on fire.

     So, what I was describing is the fork in the road we came to, as I see it. If we were to stipulate for the purpose of discussion that I am correct about where the other road would have led then I think the simple math of different rates of death and destruction concludes that the road not taken would have been the lesser of two bad choices. Further down that road we could still attempt to influence the situation in Syria for the better with benign tactics though the thought of that being an available solution seems at least a bit idealistic now.  I think the time might well have passed when different policies could cure the current zombie apocalypse which might well grow much larger before it ever ebbs, if it is ever to do so.   

     So I'll offer a counterpoint. What if civilized nations had stood up firmly for the principle that a government which deploys the tools of national defense against it's own cities has lost legitimacy?

    Would you put the U.S. in that category as Sherman was marching out of a burning Atlanta?  Maybe if civilized countries had instituted a no-fly zone in Syria things would have gone better, they surely would have gone differently, but they might well have ended in a place much the same as they are now. The thing is, that is still resorting to a  military solution and I think it would be hard to make a strong case that it would have had a high probability of involving significantly less death and destruction or that the ones who we helped finally win would have been significantly better for that country or significantly more benign in their methods of holding on to power if and when an organized power structure ever evolved. As a tribe, which they almost certainly would be a part of, they would very likely be more prejudicial in their treatment of other tribes under their control than Assad’s Syria was before the revolt.  

    I think I recall correctly that you supported a no-fly zone in Libya when I was against that too. I think that even early on if we had decided to pick winners in Syria from D.C. and expedite their success by becoming their air force that the result might have been much the same for Assad which some people would surely like but it would probably be just as rough on the general population as it was on Libya's.

    I do not like that callous choices are sometimes the best that we are in a position to make but I think that is the case. I think tha best available choice right now would be an alliance with Assad, Russia, Iran  and the U.S. [and telling Saudi Arabia and a couple other pools of number one crude to but out] if a military solution coming from the outside is to be attempted. Are all those on your list of 'civilized' countries. It doesn't really matter, it would ne politically impossible for our country to be a such an alliance, at least openly and aboveboard, even if it was an obviously best choice such as is the nuke agreement with Iran, for instance.  

    Anyway, again, I am glad you dropped by and hope to hear more from you.  Football starts tonight at 6:30 this evening. That's the time when air power, via Romo, should actually be able to win the day. 




    We have a moral duty to provide safety, as Germany is doing, for as many as we reasonably can. 

    One could make a reasonable argument based on population density that if Germany can take 1 million the US should take 7 million. I don't think it's possible to sell that to the American people.

    Policy is important but a campaign is not just about policy. In some ways I agree with Buckley's maxim that he wanted the most conservative candidate that can win. I want the most liberal candidate that can win. For example I would like to see all or most religious tax exemptions ended. But I don't want Hillary or Sanders to run on that policy. They'd lose if they did. I'd also like to see all drugs legalized but I don't want Hillary or Sanders to run on it. It's another loser. I'd like to see them run on legalizing marijuana. That's a step in the right direction they can support and win with.

    With the absolutely crazy candidates on the republican side the top priority is that a democrat wins. Especially with the Supreme Court in the balance.


    Maybe just maybe these will see her through the Democratic convention and even to victory in the general election. 

    With your vote?

    Just asking.

    Certainly she'll have mine unless some other democrat candidate with better prospects of winning should materialize.

    Even if I accepted every word of  your indictment that wouldn't  even  momentarily tempt  me to pull the lever for Jeb or the Donald.or any other one of  the 13.  Each one of whom would be entering the White House with a binding commitment to abolish Obamacare. 

    End of story.






    "Certainly she'll have mine unless some other democrat [sic] candidate with better prospects of winning should materialize."  As I lay out in detail, the latest polls show Bernie doing as well or better than Hillary does against Trump, Carson, and Bush.

    N.B. - I generally try to avoid nit-picky criticisms.   But seriously, if you are a staunch supporter of Democrats, shouldn't you at least identify their party correctly?  You will support a Democratic candidate not a "democrat candidate". 

    Thanks for the advice.

    You could have ended with your first 2 sentences and come off less unhinged. I was unhappy with Hillary's hawkish speech (as I posted) and the idea that more arms for rebels would have helped. But I didn't need to drag in a litany of historic complaints, irrelevance and quick hatchet jobs. A bad horrible ugly week for Hal. Maybe you'll get it right one of these days after all those years of Hillary hating.

    Hillary as SOS sometimes advocated more hawkish positions than Obama but she doesn't maintain more arms for the Syrian rebels would necessarily have helped.

    Clinton also said she supported doing more to arm moderate Syrian rebels early on in their fight against Syrian President Bashar Assad, a position that President Barack Obama disagreed with. Asked whether Obama's foreign policy caused the crisis, Clinton said that "the world's policies" were responsible.

    "I advocated for -- as I say -- a more robust policy. But sitting here today, I can't say that would have, on its own, made a difference, because this had to be an international effort,"

    She also claims any international effort to solve the problem was blocked by the Russians

    If you read my linked piece Hillary Objectified Iran, that Russian resistance is probably to bombing Syria for use of chemical weapons, a questionable accusation. In challenging Obama's approach for Crimea, she disses a n approach that seems to have gotten things just right, not too hot, not too cold. I'm not sure what her comments on Syria mean - she wishes Russia supported regime change and/or more arming of rebels? I was disappointed how our actions in Libya took the peaceful protest and popular uprising out of the Arab Spring and turned it into another 3-4 western powers call the shots. A wasted opportunity and another trillion dollars and decade down the toilet. Wish she'd discuss that and come up with a 2.0/next gen approach. Talking to foreign leaders, as she advocated in 2008, seems a better way.

    I have to agree with PP.  You could have stopped after your first two or three sentences.  The rest is a rehash of everything you've said before.  You seem to spend a lot of time picking at anything you think might be an argument against Hillary (no enthusiasm. . .really?), but I'm not interested in playing along.  Sorry.  I'm not entirely sold on her but I don't see her as awful incarnate, either.  

    I get it.  You hate the Clintons.  You could save yourself a lot of time and effort by just saying that.  Much of what you say here is over-reaching and snarky, and doesn't do much toward convincing anybody to go along.

    I will say this:  David Brock is right.  

    Ramona - this is no rehash:

    1) Clinton's response to the refugee crisis has not been mentioned by me or anyone else at this site.

    2) Clinton's 2nd reboot has not been has not been mentioned by me or anyone else at this site.

    3) Clinton's "apology" has not been mentioned by me or anyone else at this site.

    4) The evaporation of support for Clinton over the past couple of weeks has not been mentioned by me or anyone else at this site.

    5) Clinton's hawkish speech at Brookings has not been mentioned by me or anyone else at this site.

    6) Brock's latest hissy fit has not been mentioned by me or anyone else at this site.

    You put a picture of the dead child up and wailed about Hillary's woeful inadequate response. Do you not read your own posts?

    PS - I linked to Hillary's Brookings speech days before you, expressing disappointment (see Hillary Objectified Iran) though I know you don't come her to read anyone else's stuff but to fluff your own feathers.

    My apology Anonymous pp.  I missed that.  I am sorry.

    You somehow missed how Hillary totally messed up Serena's Grand Slam quest.

    That would be overreaching - even for me.  Still.  Hmm - can you see a connection?  Let's brainstorm.

    On #6: You wrote, "Thursday Politico reported that Clinton mouthpiece shill confederate supporter David Brock contends there's "a special place in hell" for the New York Times because of its supposedly unfair coverage of Clinton's email kerfluffle."  It wasn't "supposedly" unfair coverage, as noted in the link I provided.

    Hillary is a pragmatist and a politician.  After years of having every uttered word scrutinized to death, she's more than a little punchy, so I don't put much stock in how careful she is about what she says.  I don't believe she'll ever work to get us into an unwarranted war.  I believe she cares about human rights issues.  I don't believe she is owned by Wall Street.  

    I do believe it's possible to make her or anyone else a villain if one chooses to skew every action into something terrible and un-American.  The only thing I don't understand is why.

    Ramona - you write:

     I don't believe she'll ever work to get us into an unwarranted war.  I believe she cares about human rights issues.  I don't believe she is owned by Wall Street.

    These are fine sounding declarations.  They are akin to Michael Maiello's blog title Guys Hillary Clinton's going to be a great President and Peracles Please's response to my criticism of her vote in favor of authorizing Bush to use force in Iraq.  "I think she'd be more toned down if she were in control. As a junior minority senator, she did what was right in Oct 2002."

    The problem with these bald assertions is that the closer one looks at Hillary Clinton's recent record for evidentiary support, the less one finds.  Even her accomplishment in laying the groundwork for the Iran deal, for which I give her credit, is somewhat balanced by her current lukewarm support of it.

    Regarding Brock and the New York Times, in the original post, I acknowledged the Times got it wrong when it reported that Clinton was subject to a criminal investigation regarding her email practice at State.  This error hardly justifies Brock's hysterical claim that there's "a special place in hell" for our best and most prestigious newspaper - one that we need more than ever in this era of right-wing propaganda and media consolidation.

    In any event, NY Times reporter Amy Chozick bends over too far backwards in today's paper to be fair to Hillary.  Perhaps she or her editors are reacting to Brock's attack.  In recounting the road the Clinton campaign took to Hillary's ABC apology, Chozick writes that Bill "Clinton was adamant that his wife, who is not accused of breaking any laws or rules, had nothing to apologize for[.]" 

    For the proposition that Hillary "is not accused of breaking any laws or rules", Chozick is apparently relying on the fact that there is no criminal probe into Hillary's email practices.  But there is a civil probe based on concerns that the law or rules may have been violated - especially with regard to the handling of classified information.

    Regardless, many have accused Clinton of breaking laws and rules and there is no question that she violated 36 CFR 1236.24 (Oct 2, 2009) because she failed to "preserve" her government-related emails on the State Department's "record keeping system" as she was required to do.  But Chozick does not mention this.

    You ask why I see her the way I do.  The best I can do is offer the following.  She presents herself as moderate to progressive yet, as I write in he ultimate sentence of the first paragraph of my post "[m]ore often than not she has shied away from tackling humankind's two most serious problems - economic injustice and global warming - perhaps because she seeks and accepts support from international business elites and the fossil fuel industry. 

    What would a civil probe into Hillary's emails prove if there is no criminal wrongdoing?  Is somebody going to sue her for going against protocol, even though nothing bad happened?  Can you say, "Ken Starr"?

    But here's a thought, Hal.  What if all of us are right and you're wrong?

    After considering the criticism of my first choice of an illustration for this article, I realize that the tragedy depicted in the photograph made it a very poor choice in light of the relatively jocular title.  I have replaced it with the more suitable image of Hillary Clinton addressing a mostly empty room at a campaign stop in Columbus Thursday.  I apologize for my insensitivity.

    Things got better.

    The "crowd" was herded together so it would look like she had a crowded hall in a close-up shot like the one you posted. 

    Or the photos were taken at different times.

    Clinton's at the podium in mine.  Did people come late or leave early?  She spoke for about 29 minutes.  Maybe folks had to feed the meter?

    Looks like a crowd in front of her.  This was taken from the side.  There are no chairs, so it looks like a spot that wasn't going to be used, anyway.  (I doubt if they expected people to stand for 29 minutes.)

    But isn't this whole thing kind of silly?  Is it really worth all this effort to try and convince us that nobody likes Hillary?

    I don't get why people make such a big deal about how many people show up for a speech. I'm happy Sanders can get several thousands of people at his speech but it's not meaningful in itself. All it does is force the media to take him seriously and give him air time on news shows where he'll get several hundreds of thousands to a few million viewers. That's where he can actually get his message out to large numbers of people, many who are not already supporters and don't know his policy views.

    What I want to see both Hillary and Sanders do more of is weekly interviews on the Sunday news shows and talk shows like The View, Charlie Rose, etc. Whatever power they have in that venue should be used to bargain for more in depth extended interviews. I want to see a democratic progressive message reach as many people as possible. The whistle stop campaign has gone out of style with the advent of television.


    Yes.  They should appear together and debate.  This would be incredibly helpful to the Democratic party as well as it would showcase candidates who are head and shoulders above anybody on the other side.  Lincoln-Douglas anybody?

    Yes - and they will six times (would love to see more), along with the other Democratic candidates. Otherwise they can appear "together" and speak separately, but not debate. The Lincoln-Douglas reference seems odd since they represented two different parties.

    If they could engage in debates, I think we would not have to hear about emails anymore.  The media is boring us to death right now and since they no longer have any real journalism chops to really go out and find some new news, we have to suffer through an old list of Hillary sins plus emails until the middle of October.  

    I think Debbie W-S is going to regret this tight rain on the candidates ability to engage in discussions with other candidates. It is hurting Clinton as well as the lesser known candidates. 

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