HRC: Why not.

I don’t usually use this weblog for political statements, but in this particular instance there’s nowhere else to post this in its entirely, with intact links. So feel free to ignore it, I won’t be offended. 

Foreword.  Please remember that information about any and every presidential candidate — information that you should be able to find — may not be as accessible as you think it is. Nor is information necessary reliable, no matter how creditable the source may seem. According to the World Press Freedom Index the U.S. is no higher than 49th in terms of freedom of press. Remember too that television networks and newspapers are owned by for-profit corporations, and corporations have a vested interested in what news you hear.

The following are the issues that concern me. Taken together they add up to a simple fact: I cannot support HRC’s bid for the presidency. These issues are not all equal; they are not presented in any particular order, and most important, there is better documentation for some than others. Some allegations are just that — suspicions that have yet to be proven. I only include those allegations which I believe to be creditable enough to raise serious doubts. Where I have a link to what I consider a good source of information/documentation on a particular subject I have included it.

Edited to add: If I had to point to one thing that turned me against HRC, it is her unwillingness to take responsibility for the Honduras coup in 2009 and its horrific aftermath.  From The Nation: “Cáceres was a vocal and brave indigenous leader, an opponent of the 2009 Honduran coup that Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state, made possible. In The Nation, Dana Frank and I covered that coup as it unfolded. Later, as Clinton’s emails were released, others, such as Robert Naiman, Mark Weisbrot, and Alex Main, revealed the central role she played in undercutting Manuel Zelaya, the deposed president, and undercutting the opposition movement demanding his restoration. In so doing, Clinton allied with the worst sectors of Honduran society.”

  • HRC both claims credit for  her husband’s presidency and rejects responsibility, depending on the impression she wants to make. She promoted Bill Clinton’s punitive crime bill and disastrous ‘three strike’ legislation; supported his Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act which gutted welfare and aid to dependent families; referred  callously to gang-related youth as ‘super-predators’ and used racist imagery to describe black youth as unruly dogs that need to be ‘brought to heel’  (video). See Michelle Alexanders’s “Why Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote: From the crime bill to welfare reform, policies Bill Clinton enacted—and Hillary Clinton supported—decimated black America.” and Cornel West’s editorial on her effects on the African American community. The New Jim Crow
  • When HRC was Secretary of State there was a pattern of arms sales to countries who also made large contributions to the Clinton Foundation. State Department favors and Clinton Foundation scandal “…. the unethical mixing of Mrs. Clinton’s public work and her personal fundraising/speech-giving/favor-doing. The more evidence that comes out, the more it looks as if that server was set up to provide an off-the-grid means for those two worlds to interact.”  From Salon: “As the International Business Times (IBT) reported, under Clinton the State Department signed off on $316 billion in arms sales to countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation. Now the Clinton campaign has received vastly more support from arms manufacturers than any other candidate of either party.” The Washington Post.
  • HRC said she would release transcripts of her speeches to the big banks, but still has not. If there is nothing to be worried about, she should do as promised and release them. Her refusal signals either a counter-productive, paranoid and frightening inflexibility or fear of repercussions.
  • Campaign Finance. Wasserman-Schultz rather sneakily rolled back Obama’s DNC ban on unlimited campaign contributions from lobbyist and super PACs; Hillary remained (and still remains) quiet on this. The Nation.
  • There are also questions about how much of the money she raises for the DNC actually goes to the DNC
  • She has  abandoned the pursuit of single payer health care and takes large contributions from the insurance industry — according to public disclosures, from 2013 to 2015,  she made $2,847,000 from 13 paid speeches to the health industry. She claims that at the time she did not intend to run for president. I find this to be less than plausible.
  • A disconcertingly close relationship to the banking industry and her insistence that billions of dollars of contributions from that sector do not mean that she is beholden to them is something I find both suspect and patronizing. (See in particular this interview with Elizabeth Warren in which she describes the way Clinton changed her view on the bankruptcy bill after Wall Street money got her elected to the Senate.) More on this
  • Example: HRC has many business relationships with big banks that are ethically very suspect, for example, with UBS.  The Atlantic 
  •  Opposition to the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall act,  
  • The same is true of the financial contributions she has accepted from the pharmaceutical, oil (her position and history on fracking is especially troubling as is her continued acceptance of support from that industry), and prison industries. 
  • She has repeatedly and forcefully argued for TPP. Her sudden turn around is more than slightly suspect. See The Washington Post on the objections to TPP and Jake Tapper/CNN on HRC’s support of it. Her  constant hedging on these issues is less than convincing.
  • In the slow emergence of information from the Panama Papers, questions about her own finances.
  • Her ridiculously late and unconvincing reversal on LGBTQ rights. 
  • Her support/voting for the Patriot Act, and for renewal of the Patriot Act, and her enthusiasm for domestic spying.
  • What I find most disturbing, the thing that solidifies my strong opinion that she is not fit for office is her hawkishness. Note: I would not claim that she alone is responsible for anything mentioned here. But she has been the designer, advocate and executioner of  many interventions that were unnecessary. It might be enough to say that she considers Henry Kissinger a role model, but then there’s the hard evidence of how seriously she means that.  Failures as Secretary of State (in particular)  LibyaSyriaenthusiasm for military intervention and a militaristic stance on Israel/Palestine (as a senator defended Israel’s effort to establish colonies on the West Bank and criticized the UN when it attempted to enforce international humanitarian law.) See also Salon;  NYT.
  • Example of a specific intervention with long-term tragic repercussions:  Honduras; the denial of any responsibility for the resulting human rights violations. The Nation, Alternet, Democracy Now
  • She publicly condemns over-incarceration while playing a significant role in promoting it, and taking financial donations from the private prison industry.
  • She continues to support the death penalty.
  • Her stance on immigration and exportation are destructive and anything but humanitarian. Latin Times.
  • She has supported faith-based initiatives
  • She has shown a remarkable lack of concern about evidence of election tampering and voter suppression. 
  • In addition to questions about contribution to the Clinton Foundation that may be linked to her role as Secretary of State, her emails have raised questions about her ties to the controversial for-profit colleges. As an academic and former professor I consider these institutions to be fraudulent, and in the majority of cases, designed to do nothing more than extort money from vulnerable students.

Please note that in all of this I have not addressed the primary season in any detail, though I believe that there is good reason to question the way voting has been conducted and tallied.  

These are most (but not all) of the reasons I do not and will not support HRC. Please don’t comment just to tell me that by not voting for Hillary I will be supporting Trump. If Hillary is the nominee and she loses, she alone is responsible for that loss. She has conducted a terrible campaign hampered by lies, misdirection, and disdain for those who disagree with her.