Aug 23, 2016

Crisis: Bill Clinton & Welfare, Trump & Racism, Hillary, Bernie Backer
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Bill Clinton's War on Welfare Mothers
2. Trump’s White Supremacist Factor
3. Clinton’s Transition Team: A Corporate Presidency

4. I'm a Bernie Backer and I Refuse to Support Hillary

This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, August 23, 2016.

There are 4 items with 5 dotted links today and in fact most of these deal with both Clintons, though there also is an item about Trump: Item 1 is about Bill Clinton's major lies on ending welfare (during his presidency), and can be seen as a sketch of how the Clintons deceive; item 2 is about an interesting article about Trump as racist; item 3 is about how Clinton's transition team betrays her presidency: it will be bad and conservative; and item 4 is by a Bernie backer who argues quite well (I agree with her on the badness of Clinton) but who just refuses to be rational and reasonable in the end - or so it seems to me.

1. Bill Clinton's War on Welfare Mothers

The first item today in fact consists of two links, both by Robert Scheer (<- Wikipedia), and one originally from 2006 and the other from 1999, but both reprinted now on Truthdig, in 2016, in part (I take it) because they contradict - quite correctly - Bill Clinton's lies [1], and in part because Clinton's wife may be the next "progressive", "democratic" president (where both attributes are really quite false, which is why I put them between quotes).

The first item is this, from 2006:
This contains the following bits:
To hear Bill Clinton tell it, his presidency won the war on poverty three decades after President Lyndon B. Johnson launched it, having changed only the name. Unfortunately, however, for the mothers and their children pushed off the rolls but still struggling mightily to make ends meet even when the women are employed, the war on welfare was not the same battle at all.

Clinton masterfully blurred the two in a recent New York Times opinion column, as did most others on the 10th anniversary of the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, writing as if getting mothers and their children off the welfare rolls is the same as getting them out of poverty. In the absence of any evidence that poverty is tamed, he celebrates a “bipartisan” victory, which was good for his image but not necessarily for those it claimed to help.

Yes, I take it this is quite correct: Bill Clinton completely falsified his anti- welfare measures by classifying them as belonging to Lyndon Johnson's war on poverty: They did not belong to that war, nor did they decrease poverty, for they increased poverty, and he knew it (but didn't care for anything other than getting his utterly false propaganda accepted as if it were true [2]).

Here is more on what Bill Clinton did:

The ex-president gloats over the large decrease in the number of welfare recipients as if he is unaware of the five-year limit and other new restrictions which made it inevitable. Nor does he seem bothered that nobody seems to have thought it important to assess how the families on Aid to Families with Dependent Children fared after they left welfare. The truth is we know very little about the fate of those moved off welfare, 70% of whom are children, because there is no systematic monitoring program, thanks to “welfare reform” severing the federal government’s responsibility to help the nation’s poor.

That is, more specifically, the trick Bill Clinton played on his audiences consisted in this: He denied very many income they did get from the state, and he then pretended that anyone who was denied income and thus was out of welfare was in fact someone who was out of poverty, which again he could do because his government also ceased to monitor those who were on welfare.

In European terms: He could have denied social support to everybody receiving it, shut off all statistical research into those he denied support to, and then insisted that each of those he denied support to had ceased being poor, and that he therefore had eradicated all poverty.

Here is more Scheer, on the same subject, but in 1999:

This takes up the last trick, that consisted in not researching anyone who was kicked out of welfare:

We don’t have more recent data because folks who are running welfare reform at the federal and state levels act as if they don’t really care what happens to those women and children once they’re pushed off the rolls. Out of sight, out of mind is the rule of welfare reform. Success has been measured by reducing the rolls rather than reducing poverty.

Consequently, we have only fragmented and largely anecdotal information on what happens to those thrown off what was once a federally monitored welfare system and who now experience the vicissitudes of a hodgepodge of state programs. Yet what we do know is alarming.

In fact, it was worse: Reducing the rolls on welfare, by refusing to spend that money on the poor = (according to Bill Clinton) reducing poverty (which is an Orwellian lie of very major proportion).

Here is the main reason why this was a - very conscious - very great lie:

The problem is not with the goal of moving people off welfare into decent jobs, but rather the lack of jobs that lift a family out of poverty.

In a national survey, the Children’s Defense Fund, with which Hillary Clinton has long been associated, revealed the majority of jobs found by former welfare recipients paid well below the poverty level. How can she or her husband continue to endorse a program that pushes millions of children deeper into poverty?

That is: There simply were no decent jobs. Who was kicked out of welfare was forced to accept some job that "paid well below the poverty level" and thereby pushed "millions of children deeper into poverty".

Here is part of a sum-up by Scheer:

But the bottom line is that what now passes for “welfare reform” represents the abandonment of millions of children and we are, as the president is fond of pointing out, in the best of times. When the economy dips, as it surely will, the risks for those and many other children will dramatically increase.

Clinton is correct in stating that we now have the smallest welfare rolls in 30 years, close to what they were in the 1960s before Lyndon Johnson launched his “war on poverty.” There are still 36 million Americans living in poverty, 40% of them children. That is unconscionable in a time of wild run-ups of the stock market wealth of the “other America.” But instead of a war on poverty, Bill Clinton has settled for a war on welfare recipients, and that is hardly the same thing.

Incidentally, 36 million is well over 10% of the American population. And what Bill Clinton did for them was kick them out of welfare, making them poorer than they were before, terminate any statistical research into what was happening to them, while he presented the result as the end of poverty.

And thus you are misled and deceived by the Clintons, is one possible lesson.

2. Trump’s White Supremacist Factor

The second item today is by Nicholas C. Arguimbau on Consortiumnews:
This starts as follows and sets the scene for what will be following:

America has been a nation of white male supremacists from Day One. They “bought” Manhattan Island from the Indians for $24. They safeguarded slavery in the Constitution. They bought the Louisiana Purchase from the French but stole the land from the Indians, and then took the Southwest from the Mexicans. They settled what was left of the Indians on reservations in the most uninhabitable land on the continent where they live in poverty inconceivable to the rest of us.

White males have nonetheless done some great and noble things. When they declared our independence from England, they could have said, “Get out of our hair; we can make more money without you.” Instead, they wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

“–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

It so happens that I think that all men are created unequal, but that for that reason legal equality is strongly desirable, but that this should not be confused with an utterly false factual equality [3], and that I also don't believe in any "Creator", but I agree with the rest:

Yes, "unalienable Rights" are a good idea, as are the rights to "
Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness", and so is "the Right of the People to alter or to abolish" any government that destroys their rights. [4]

Then there is this, which seems a bit misleading to me:

But who were the “we” who perceived that governments “derive their just powers from the consent of the governed”? Portrayed by the white male artist John Trumbull, the signers of the Declaration of Independence are a room full of white males. No exceptions. In other words, the “governed” at the time of the Revolution were white males.
The reason this is misleading is that the Declaration of Independence, that was indeed both designed and signed by nothing but white males, dates back to 1776, when there had been at least 2300 years of slavery, while there were very few whites in 1776 who attacked slavery and indeed also very few
white males who desired more rights and a better education for women.

So while I think it is quite deplorable that the white males who designed and signed the Declaration of Independence did not extend their rights to either black people or female people, which I agree they ought to have done in simple consistency, I do understand why they did not: Very few in their time did write in favor of equal rights for blacks and for women.

And I agree that racism is a great evil, but the racism in the United States has less to do with the Declaration of Independence, than it has to do with the simple fact that there were many slaves, there was a lot of racism, and both
continued from 1776 till 1865, and indeed also since 1865, apart from legal slavery, in part because there are quite a few quite stupid whites, and in part because the poor whites and the poor blacks competed for the same sorts of jobs.

There are more reasons for the persistence of racism in the United States, but this will do here and now, and the next quotation is a whole lot better:

The legitimacy of white supremacy within a constitutional framework has been finessed for 240 years, but demographics dictate that it can be finessed no longer. The November election has chosen itself as the forum in which the choice between constitutionalism and white supremacy will be made once and for all.

So let it be made, and made decisively, for constitutional government, which has served a changing majority probably as well these many years as any other form of government could have served.

The demographics that Arguimbau appeals to show that soon there will be fewer whites than people who have a non-white background (including Mexicans etc. who are racially white - I'd say - but who are discriminated).

And the choice between constitutionalism and white supremacy is dictated by the fact that Donald Trump is a racist.

Here is more on the US Constitution - which in fact is under wide attack, not only by white racists but also by many other rightist groups and also by groups inside government (who simply do not adhere to it, while they should):

We recognize that states are widely attempting to cut off minority voting rights, that “antiterrorism” is a not-very-veiled process going back two decades to deprive non-whites of constitutional safeguards (see, e.g. the US “Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act” of 1993); that conduct of the “war on terror” gives the President unfettered power to do virtually anything without prior authorization and with no apparent participation by the public or even Congress, presumably under his war powers; and indeed that Trump walks and talks like a World War II fascist dictator.

Yet we somehow avoid saying that abandonment of constitutional rule is part and parcel of the preservation of white supremacy.
I agree, although I think “antiterrorism” had a far wider grasp than merely  to "deprive non-whites of constitutional safeguards": Antiterrorism has the goal of
giving the governments a complete insight and full knowledge of everything that all people do, think, desire and value, with the intent of manipulating the people and removing anyone with displeasing attributes in  the eyes of the governors.

It is the beginning of the rule of neofascism, and has been quite consciously designed for that purpose, except that those furthering it formulate it quite differently.

But apart from that I mostly agree, although I don't know that "
Trump walks and talks like a World War II fascist dictator". It seems that he does look like Mussolini in some respects, but I didn't have the patience to check this out, and I also don't think a person's walk says anything about his politics.

Therefore this is indeed the choice the people of the USA have in November:
As fate has decreed, the representative of white supremacy is Donald Trump, and the representative of constitutional government is Hillary Clinton.
And I think you should vote for Clinton (who is bad, as I have also been saying from the beginning) because either Clinton or Trump will be the next president, and a president like the mad, racist and neofascist Trump will be the end of the USA and quite possibly of the world.

3. Clinton’s Transition Team: A Corporate Presidency Foretold

The third item today is by Norman Solomon on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:

Like other Bernie Sanders delegates in Philadelphia a few weeks ago, I kept hearing about the crucial need to close ranks behind Hillary Clinton. “Unity” was the watchword. But Clinton has reaffirmed her unity with corporate America.

Rhetoric aside, Clinton is showing her solidarity with the nemesis of the Sanders campaign—Wall Street. The trend continued last week with the announcement that Clinton has tapped former senator and Interior secretary Ken Salazar to chair her transition team.

After many months of asserting that her support for the “gold standard” Trans-Pacific Partnership was a thing of the past—and after declaring that she wants restrictions on fracking so stringent that it could scarcely continue—Clinton has now selected a vehement advocate for the TPP and for fracking, to coordinate the process of staffing the top of her administration.

Yes indeed: This is all true (and has been reported in Nederlog repeatedly).
Here is some more, that also is quite true (and I like
William K. Black (<- Wikipedia)):

“The transition team is one of the absolute most important things in the world for a new administration,” says William K. Black, who has held key positions at several major regulatory agencies such as the Federal Home Loan Bank Board. Along with “deciding what are we actually going to make our policy priorities,” the transition team will handle key questions: “Who will the top people be? Who are we going to vet, to hold all of the cabinet positions, and many non-cabinet positions, as well? The whole staffing of the senior leadership of the White House.”

Black’s assessment of Salazar, Podesta and the transition team’s four co-chairs is withering. “These aren't just DNC regulars, Democratic National Committee regulars,” he said in an interview with The Real News Network. “What you're seeing is complete domination by what used to be the Democratic Leadership Council. So this was a group we talked about in the past. Very, very, very right-wing on foreign policy, what they called a muscular foreign policy, which was a euphemism for invading places. And very, very tough on crime—this was that era of mass incarceration that Bill Clinton pushed, and it's when Hillary was talking about black ‘superpredators,’ this myth, this so dangerous myth.”

As I said, I think this is all true and you never saw me say that Hillary Clinton is a good presidential candidate: I think she is a bad one, indeed in part for the reasons stated in this article, but I also think that the only realistic alternative [5] is far worse than she is.

Here is Black on Hillary Clinton's motives to declare herself against the TPP (which she has been for a long time, and all you have now is her present word she is not, anymore) and against fracking (idem):

As for Hillary Clinton’s widely heralded “move to the left” in recent months, Black said that it “was purely calculated for political purposes. And all of the team that's going to hire all the key people and vet the key people for the most senior positions for at least the first several years of what increasingly looks likely to be a Clinton administration are going to be picked by these people, who are the opposite of progressive.”

Yes, indeed: I completely agree with Black (and never wrote otherwise). Here is the ending of the article:

Blessed with an unhinged and widely deplored Republican opponent, Hillary Clinton may be able to defeat him without doing much to mend fences with alienated Sanders voters. But Clinton’s smooth rhetoric should not change the fact that—on a vast array of issues—basic principles will require progressives to fight against her actual policy goals, every step of the way.

Again I agree - but while I agree that Clinton is in fact a bad, a rightist, and a conservative candidate, her one opponent is a mad fascist racist, which makes it all-important that he is not elected.

And as to that, next (and last) we have a backer of Bernie Sanders, who acknowledged that he was defeated by Clinton, and who supports Clinton basically because - like me - he fears Trump very much, which means that this backer of Sanders is not anymore a backer of Sanders as he is now. Even so, her arguments are rather good:

4. I'm a Bernie Backer and I Refuse to Support Hillary

The fourth and last item today is by Shawnee Badger on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:

I used to think that the Democrats were the good guys and the Republicans were the bad guys. That's why I've only ever been registered and identified as a Democrat. The Democratic Party is the party of social justice that looks out for the less fortunate, right? The party of the middle class, advocating for equality and progress, while the Republican Party, is ... well ... stuck in the distant past.

I was correct about the Republican Party. But I was incredibly wrong about the Democratic Party. Yes, I'm a Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) supporter — specifically, I was a California delegate to the national convention. Yes, I'm also a millennial. No, I will not be supporting Hillary Clinton this November.

And also, let me clarify, no, I’m not a man. So don't call me sexist.

And now, the question on many progressives' minds: Can Clinton, the Democratic nominee, represent progressive voters and issues important to progressives?

No. She can't.

In fact, I have myself never thought that the Democrats are the good guys, although it so happens that I have always preferred Democratic presidential candidates over Republican ones, at least from Kennedy onwards.

But I agree with the rest, except that she "will not be supporting Hillary Clinton this November". Then again, she has very good arguments why
Hillary Clinton is not a progressive:

She won't ban fracking or implement a carbon tax. She formerly enthusiastically pushed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), once calling it the "gold standard." She is funded by lobbyists for private prisons. She led the charge for violent, deadly and destructive regime change in Libya and Syria and supported the coup in Honduras.

She is against reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act. She is not a transparent politician; if she were, she would have released the transcripts of her speeches that she gave to Wall Street events — which by the way, must have been sheer, utter genius, considering how much she was paid to give those speeches.

She supported the 2008 Wall Street bailout. She supports the former Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.). She is not only pandering to Republicans for their support, but she is seeking the endorsement of President Nixon's former secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. She favors a federal $12 minimum wage, rather than $15.

She is pro-death-penalty. She appointed pro-TPP, pro-fracking former senator, Ken Salazar (Colo.), as chair of her presidential transition team. She is open to constitutional restrictions on abortion. She has deep ties to Wal-Mart, and served on its corporate board during the '90s. Wal-mart has also been a big campaign donor.

I think (and know in most cases) that all of this is quite true, and indeed Hillary Clinton (like her husband Bill, and see item 1) is certainly not a progressive. Also, I quite agree with Shawnee Badger that a real progressive candidate, like Bernie Sanders, is a much better alternative.

There is also this, which I again agree with:

Remember when Clinton was against gay marriage until 2013?

I know what you must be thinking: "I thought Clinton was a Democrat ... "

Ignore the fact that she voted for a barrier between the United States and Mexico (sound familiar?).

And another thing: How can you speak out against income inequality while wearing a $12,495 Giorgio Armani jacket and having a net worth of nearly $50 million?

I know what you're thinking, "But, but, but — all her recent speeches and statements seem progressive. Look at her nomination acceptance speech."

I hate to burst your bubble, but Clinton cannot be trusted — from big issues, like lying about emailing classified information from her private server, to small things, like lying about coming under sniper fire.

That is: She is a known liar, she is not a progressive, she deceives the voters in order to get elected, she is quite incredible as a defender of the poor - it's all true.

Finally, this is from the ending of the article, and while I quite agreed with nearly everything Shawnee Badger said, I disagree with her conclusion:

However, I really think it's time that we revolutionaries shift away from the two-party system, because honestly, both parties are just destructive tidal waves of corruption — tidal waves that, this time, climate change is not responsible for. That is why, this November, I will reject the lesser of two evils and I will fight for the greater good. I will support Green Party nominee Jill Stein (...)

I think that is stupid - which I don't think Shawnee Badger is, but we all make stupid decisions, and this is one. Here are my arguments.

First, I consider it a virtual certainty that Jill Stein will not win the elections.
Indeed, I suppose most people - the large majority - who will be voting for Stein think the same.

This means that those who vote for Jill Stein will have lost their vote in the presidential elections, simply because she will not be elected.

Second, I think that both presidential candidates who have a chance of winning the presidency are bad. Indeed, I agree with Shawnee Badger in nearly all her criticisms of Hillary Clinton.

Third, I think that every rational person who is forced to choose from two evils, should choose the lesser evil. And while I think Hillary Clinton is bad,
I think Donald Trump is far worse: He is mad (and I am a psychologist); he is a racist; he is a neofascist; he is a rightist; he has many Mafia-connections; he is far too temperamental to be trusted with the ability to fire atomic weapons, and that is just the beginning of a very long list.

Therefore, I think any rational person who has the choice of the next US president, should vote for Hillary Clinton, because that is the only way to prevent that Trump will become president.

In fact, I don't think I will have convinced Shawnee Badger, and I think one possible reason is the difference in our ages: She is at most 35, I am 66. And while I don't think wisdom comes with age, I do know a whole lot, and I think
I have learned better than before how to be rational and reasonable, which are two of my supreme ends.

And the rational and reasonable choice now is for the lesser evil, because the alternative is horrific and mad. And I should add, since I am talking about a Bernie backer, that Bernie Sanders agrees with me and not with Shawnee Badger.


[1] Perhaps I should add that I never liked Bill Clinton, although my dislike for him in the 1990ies was much less based on facts than it is now, and much more on my recognition that he was a very good speaker and a very good liar (and I think almost all politicians are liars anyway, but I could and did see he was extremely good at it, and I mean lying and deceiving).

[2] I think it is rather important to see that (in spite of postmodernistic assurances that there is no truth) that the end of all propaganda is to convince people that what is propagandized is either probable (more than 1/2) or true, while what makes something propaganda is that it falsifies the evidence (to some extent or completely).

[3] I have been arguing for this proposition since 1970 or so, but it seems I convinced very few, perhaps because I live in Holland, where the law says that everyone is of equal value. Once again, the "value" is not specified, and all I want to say here and now is that
nobody believes that everyone is his or her factual equal. (If there were then, according to their belief, there would be just 1 person, logically speaking.)

Also, it happens to be a fact that for any characteristic you have that may be more or less, there are almost certainly others who are better on that characteristic than you are.

And rights also are both a good and a moral idea, and I mostly agree with the Wikipedia, who defines them as follows (minus note numbers):

Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory. 

Rights are of essential importance in such disciplines as law and ethics, especially theories of justice and deontology.

Rights are often considered fundamental to civilization, being regarded as established pillars of society and culture, and the history of social conflicts can be found in the history of each right and its development. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, "rights structure the form of governments, the content of laws, and the shape of morality as it is currently perceived."
And the reason they do so is that rights (supposed rights, desired rights, asserted rights, all of which also may be denied) come before the content of law and the form of government, which in fact result from particular decisions to treat certain things - decisions, norms, regulations - as rights and other things not.

Incidentally, in languages like Dutch and German, the terms for "law" and for "right" may be the same, namely "recht", although there are additional terms for specific laws.

[5] That is: I do not think that it is realistic to believe that Jill Stein (or Gary Johnson) will win the presidency.

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