Neocons and Neolibs: How Dead Ideas Kill

Exclusive: Hillary Clinton wants the American voters to be very afraid of Donald Trump, but there is reason to fear as well what a neoconservative/neoliberal Clinton presidency would mean for the world, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

For centuries hereditary monarchy was the dominant way to select national leaders, evolving into an intricate system that sustained itself through power and propaganda even as its ideological roots shriveled amid the Age of Reason. Yet, as monarchy became a dead idea, it still killed millions in its death throes.

Today, the dangerous “dead ideas” are neoconservatism and its close ally, neoliberalism. These are concepts that have organized American foreign policy and economics, respectively, over the past several decades – and they have failed miserably, at least from the perspective of average Americans and people of the nations on the receiving end of these ideologies.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressing the AIPAC conference in Washington D.C. on March 21, 2016. (Photo credit: AIPAC)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressing the AIPAC conference in Washington D.C. on March 21, 2016. (Photo credit: AIPAC)

Neither approach has benefited mankind; both have led to untold death and destruction; yet the twin “neos” have built such a powerful propaganda and political apparatus, especially in Official Washington, that they will surely continue to wreak havoc for years to come. They are zombie ideas and they kill.

Yet, the Democratic Party is poised to nominate an adherent to both “neos” in the person of Hillary Clinton. Rather than move forward from President Barack Obama’s unease with what he calls the Washington “playbook,” the Democrats are retreating into its perceived safety.

After all, the Washington Establishment remains enthralled to both “neos,” favoring the “regime change” interventionism of neoconservatism and the “free trade” globalism of neoliberalism. So, Clinton has emerged as the clear favorite of the elites, at least since the field of alternatives has narrowed to populist billionaire Donald Trump and democratic socialist Bernie Sanders.

Democratic Party insiders appear to be counting on the mainstream news media and prominent opinion-leaders to marginalize Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, and to finish off Sanders, who faces long odds against Clinton’s delegate lead for the Democratic nomination, especially among the party regulars known as “super-delegates.”

But the Democratic hierarchy is placing this bet on Clinton in a year when much of the American electorate has risen up against the twin “neos,” exhausted by the perpetual wars demanded by the neoconservatives and impoverished by the export of decent-paying manufacturing jobs driven by the neoliberals.

Though much of the popular resistance to the “neos” remains poorly defined in the minds of rebellious voters, the common denominator of the contrasting appeals of Trump and Sanders is that millions of Americans are rejecting the “neos” and repudiating the establishment institutions that insist on sustaining these ideologies.

The Pressing Question

Thus, the pressing question for Campaign 2016 is whether America will escape from the zombies of the twin “neos” or spend the next four years surrounded by these undead ideas as the world lurches closer to an existential crisis.

The main thing that the zombie “neos” have going for them is that the vast majority of Very Important People in Official Washington have embraced these concepts and have achieved money and fame as a result. These VIPs are no more likely to renounce their fat salaries and overblown influence than the favored courtiers of a King or Queen would side with the unwashed rabble.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan, then Saudi ambassador to the United States, meeting with President George W. Bush in Crawford, Texas, on Aug. 27, 2002. (White House photo)

Prince Bandar bin Sultan, then Saudi ambassador to the United States, meeting with President George W. Bush in Crawford, Texas, on Aug. 27, 2002. (White House photo)

The “neo” adherents are also very skilled at framing issues to their benefit, made easier by the fact that they face almost no opposition or resistance from the mainstream media or the major think tanks.

The neoconservatives have become Washington’s foreign policy establishment, driving the old-time “realists” who favored more judicious use of American power to the sidelines.

Meanwhile, the neoliberals dominate economic policy debates, treating the “markets” as some new-age god and “privatization” of public assets as scripture. They have pushed aside the old New Dealers who called for a robust government role to protect the people from the excesses of capitalism and to build public infrastructure to benefit the nation as a whole.

The absence of any strong resistance to the now dominant “neo” ideologies is why we saw the catastrophic “group think” over Iraq’s WMD in 2003 and why for many years no one of great significance dared question the benefits of “free trade.”

After all, both strategies benefited the elites. Neoconservative warmongering diverted trillions of dollars into the Military-Industrial Complex and neoliberal job outsourcing has made billions of dollars for individual corporate executives and stock investors on Wall Street.

Those interests have, in turn, kicked back a share of the proceeds to fund Washington think tanks, to finance news outlets, and to lavish campaign donations and speaking fees on friendly politicians. So, for the insiders, this game has been a case of win-win.

The Losers

Not so much for the “losers,” those average citizens who have seen the Great American Middle Class hollowed out over the past few decades, watched America’s public infrastructure decay, and worried about their sons and daughters being sent off to fight unnecessary, perpetual and futile wars.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders. (NBC photo)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders. (NBC photo)

But inundated with clever propaganda – and scrambling to make ends meet – most Americans see the reality as if through a glass darkly. Many of them, as Barack Obama indelicately said during the 2008 campaign, “cling to guns or religion.” They have little else – and many are killing themselves with opiates that dull their pain or with those guns that they see as their last link to “freedom.”

What is clear, however, is that large numbers don’t trust – and don’t want – Hillary Clinton, who had a net 24-point unfavorable rating in one recent poll. It turns out that another indelicate Obama comment from Campaign 2008 may not have been true, when he vouched that “you’re likable enough, Hillary.” For many Americans, that’s not the case (although Trump trumped Clinton with a 41-point net negative).

If the Democrats do nominate Hillary Clinton, they will be hoping that the neocon/neolib establishment can so demonize Donald Trump that a plurality of Americans will vote for the former Secretary of State out of abject fear over what crazy things the narcissistic billionaire might do in the White House.

Trump’s policy prescriptions have been all over the place – and it is hard to know what reflects his actual thinking (or his genuine ignorance) as opposed to what constitutes his skillful showmanship that made him the “survivor” in the real-life reality TV competition for the Republican nomination.

Does Trump really believe that global warming is a hoax or is he just pandering to the know-nothing element of the Republican Party? Does he actually consider Obama’s Iran nuclear deal to be a disaster or is he just playing to the hate-Obama crowd on the Right?

Opposing the ‘Neos’

But Trump is not a fan of the “neos.” He forthrightly takes on the neocons over the Iraq War and excoriates ex-Secretary of State Clinton for her key role in another “regime change” disaster in Libya. Further, Trump calls for cooperation with Russia and China rather than the neocon-preferred escalation of tensions.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaking to the AIPAC conference in Washington D.C. on March 21, 2016. (Photo credit: AIPAC)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaking to the AIPAC conference in Washington D.C. on March 21, 2016. (Photo credit: AIPAC)

In his April 27 foreign policy speech, Trump called for “a new foreign policy direction for our country – one that replaces randomness with purpose, ideology with strategy, and chaos with peace. …It’s time to invite new voices and new visions into the fold. …

“My foreign policy will always put the interests of the American people, and American security, above all else. That will be the foundation of every decision that I will make. America First will be the major and overriding theme of my administration.”

Such comments – suggesting that “new voices” are needed and that “ideology” should be cast aside – were fighting words for the neocons, since it is their voices that have drowned out all others and their ideology that has dominated U.S. foreign policy in recent years.

To make matters worse, Trump outlined an “America First” strategy in contrast to neocon demands that the U.S. military be dispatched abroad to advance the interests of Israel and other “allies.” Trump is not interested in staging “regime changes” to eliminate leaders who are deemed troublesome to Israel.

The real estate tycoon also has made criticism of “free trade” deals a centerpiece of his campaign, arguing that those agreements have sold out American workers by forcing them to compete with foreign workers receiving a fraction of the pay.

Sen. Sanders has struck similar themes in his insurgent Democratic campaign, criticizing Hillary Clinton’s longtime support for “free trade” and her enthusiasm for “regime change” wars, such as those in Iraq and Libya.

Examining her long record in public life, there can be little doubt that Clinton is a neocon on foreign policy and a neolib on economic strategies. She stands firmly with the consensus of Official Washington’s establishment, which is why she has enjoyed its warm embrace.

She has followed Wall Street’s beloved neoliberal attitude toward “free trade,” which has been very good for multinational corporations as they shipped millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs to low-wage countries. (She has only cooled her ardor for trade deals to stanch the flow of Democratic voters to Bernie Sanders.)

Wars and More Wars

On foreign policy, Clinton has consistently supported neoconservative wars, although she might shy from the neocon label per se, preferring its less noxious synonym “liberal interventionist.”

But as arch-neocon Robert Kagan, who has recast himself as a “liberal interventionist,” told The New York Times in 2014, “I feel comfortable with her on foreign policy. If she pursues a policy which we think she will pursue it’s something that might have been called neocon, but clearly her supporters are not going to call it that; they are going to call it something else.”

Prominent neocon intellectual Robert Kagan. (Photo credit: Mariusz Kubik, http://www.mariuszkubik.pl)

Prominent neocon intellectual Robert Kagan. (Photo credit: Mariusz Kubik, http://www.mariuszkubik.pl)

Summing up the feeling of thinkers like Kagan, the Times reported that Clinton “remains the vessel into which many interventionists are pouring their hopes.”

In February 2016, distraught over the rise of Trump, Kagan, whose Project for the New American Century wrote the blueprint for George W. Bush’s Iraq War, openly threw his support to Clinton, announcing his decision in a Washington Post op-ed.

And Kagan is not mistaken when he views Hillary Clinton as a fellow-traveler. She has often marched in lock step with the neocons as they have implemented their aggressive “regime change” schemes against governments and political movements that don’t toe Washington’s line or that deviate from Israel’s goals in the Middle East.

She has backed coups, such as in Honduras (2009) and Ukraine (2014); invasions, such as Iraq (2003) and Libya (2011); and subversions such as Syria (from 2011 to the present) all with various degrees of disastrous results. [For more details, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Yes, Hillary Clinton Is a Neocon” and “Would a Clinton Win Mean More Wars?”]

Seeking ‘Coercion’

A glimpse of what a Clinton-45 presidency might do could be seen in a recent Politico commentary by Dennis Ross, a former special adviser to Secretary of State Clinton now working at the staunchly pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

In the article, Ross painted a surreal world in which the problems of the Middle East have been caused by President Obama’s hesitancy to engage militarily more aggressively across the region, not by the neocon-driven decision to invade Iraq in 2003 and the similar schemes to overthrow secular governments in Libya and Syria in 2011, leaving those two countries in ruin.

Channeling the desires of right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Ross called for the United States to yoke itself to the regional interests of Israel, Saudi Arabia and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in their rivalry against Shiite-led Iran.

Dennis Ross, who has served as a senior U.S. emissary in the Middle East.

Dennis Ross, who has served as a senior U.S. emissary in the Middle East.

Ross wrote: “Obama believes in the use of force only in circumstances where our security and homeland might be directly threatened. His mindset justifies pre-emptive action against terrorists and doing more to fight the Islamic State. But it frames U.S. interests and the use of force to support them in very narrow terms. …

“The Saudis acted in [invading] Yemen in no small part because they feared the United States would impose no limits on Iranian expansion in the area, and they felt the need to draw their own lines.”

To counter Obama’s hesitancy to apply military force, Ross calls for a reassertion of a muscular U.S. policy in the Middle East, much along the lines that the neocon establishment and Hillary Clinton also favor, including:

–Threatening Iran with “blunt, explicit language on employing force, not sanctions” if Iran deviates from the Obama-negotiated agreement to constrain its nuclear program (the bomb-bomb-bomb-Iran zombie lives!);

–“Contingency planning with GCC states and Israel … to generate specific options for countering Iran’s growing use of Shiite militias to undermine regimes in the region”;

–A readiness to arm Sunni tribes in Iraq if Iraq’s prime minister doesn’t;

–Establish “safe havens with no-fly zones” inside Syria if Russian President Vladimir Putin does not force Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

Employing the classic tough talk of the neocons, Ross concludes, “Putin and Middle Eastern leaders understand the logic of coercion. It is time for us to reapply it.”

One might note the many logical inconsistencies of Ross’s arguments, including his failure to note that much of Iran’s supposed meddling in the Middle East has involved aiding the Syrian and Iraqi governments in their battle against the Islamic State and Al Qaeda. Or that Russia’s intervention in Syria also has been to support the internationally recognized government in its fight against Sunni extremists and terrorists.

But the significance of Ross’s prescription to “reapply” U.S. “coercion” across the region is that he is outlining what the world can expect from a Clinton-45 presidency.

Clinton made many of the same points in her speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and in debates with Bernie Sanders. If she stays on that track as president, there would be at least a partial U.S. military invasion of Syria, a very strong likelihood of war with Iran, and an escalation of tensions (and possible war) with nuclear-armed Russia.

The logic of how all that is supposed to improve matters is lost amid the classic neocon growling about showing toughness or reapplying “coercion.”

So, the Democratic Party seems to be betting that Hillary Clinton’s flood of ugly TV ads against Trump can frighten the American people enough to give the neocons and the neolibs one more lease on the White House – and four more years to wreak their zombie havoc on the world.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

 

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38 comments for “Neocons and Neolibs: How Dead Ideas Kill

  1. Rikhard Ravindra Tanskanen
    May 11, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Hillary Clinton must not win the White House. Although I am Canadian, I support Bernie Sanders for president.

  2. Bill Bodden
    May 11, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    After all, the Washington Establishment remains enthralled to both “neos,” favoring the “regime change” interventionism of neoconservatism and the “free trade” globalism of neoliberalism. So, Clinton has emerged as the clear favorite of the elites, at least since the field of alternatives has narrowed to populist billionaire Donald Trump and democratic socialist Bernie Sanders.

    Among the more convincing pieces of evidence proving the moral bankruptcy of the Washington Establishment is the skit used by George W. Bush at the WHCA dinner in 2004 making a joke of the non-existent WMDs used to start the war on Iraq at a time when tens of thousands of men, women and children, including US personnel, had already been killed and more displaced: 2004 White House Correspondents Association dinner –March 24, 2004 = http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/181100-1 Only David Corn, now of Mother Jones, had the integrity to walk out at this repugnant event while many in the audience acted as if this skit was the funniest thing they had ever witnessed. Unfortunately, there is no lack of up-to-date supporting evidence.

  3. Annie
    May 11, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    Perfect article by Parry!

    I read the piece in Politico and what a propaganda piece it is. I suppose if you see Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt as great strategic allies you might be worried about them wooing Putin, however I think all three are detrimental to US interests and personally I would gladly see them go.

    • Bart Gruzalski
      May 11, 2016 at 8:23 pm

      Absolutely a great article–thanks Robert! I didn’t know about “recent Politico commentary by Dennis Ross.” Sounds absolutely dangerous–and it’s nice that Trump is criticizing such “America Second/Third” policies. A recent poll reports that half of Sanders’ supporters will vote for Trump if Hillary is the candidate. I know I could never vote for Hillary–I recall emailing her before the Iraq invasion that wiped out Sadam Hussein’s government.

      Clinton and Ross are our elites? Yuck!

  4. Joe Tedesky
    May 11, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    The Neocon establishment will be thrilled if Hillary takes the presidential office. I can only speculate to how bad of a false flag, on American soil, it will take in order for Americans to rally around a president who will seek out revenge on these terrorist who attacked us while we were going about our peaceful American way. Will any of this be enough to bring back the draft? Could the establishment not even need a draft, because hidden inside of some Trade Agreement is an article allowing for citizens to be recruited at will, in time of war? Should we ask the Brookings Institute if there are plans (Path to Persia) for Israel to just go ahead and bomb Iran, if this terrible false flag should occur? Hillary, I am sure will be more than excited if she is amble to march our troops up against Russia’s borders. After all, isn’t Russia the real prize?

    Trump, likes to raise the stakes high. This is the art of the deal. You can always negotiate down, but rarely never negotiate up, once you blink towards accepting anything less. At least, this is the way I view Trump. I don’t suspect Trump to be a warmonger. I like some of what he says, but he loses me when he gets into building walls, and I hate his bigot comments the most.

    For me I may vote for the down ticket candidates, but not the presidential ones, and that is where I am at so far with my decision making. I wish it were a Bernie Sanders, or a Jill Stein, instead of Clinton vs Trump. Other than that, life is great.

    • May 11, 2016 at 5:27 pm

      “… I may vote for the down ticket candidates, but not the presidential ones,”

      Yes. Good idea. Especially if it is backed up by a statistically irrefutable people’s pole that reveals how many follow this version of plan b.

      The only improvement on your suggestion would be a people’s pole statement of victory for None of the Above.

    • Helga Fellay
      May 11, 2016 at 6:30 pm

      By not voting for president you are passively supporting the corrupt system. If you are prevented from voting for Sanders, vote for the Green Party’s Jill Stein. Enough Sanders supporters have already committed themselves to doing that that it would propel the Green Party into becoming a viable, recognized third party which would finally give us a real choice between progressive and neocon/neolib which both traditional parties are. We might have to suffer for the next four years, but if we survive those years, at least 4 years from now we might be able to elect a truly progressive woman or man as our president.

      • Joe Tedesky
        May 11, 2016 at 11:48 pm

        Thanks, I may take you up on your suggestion. Vote Green, and disrupt the two party monopoly. Not a bad idea.

        • alexander
          May 12, 2016 at 3:59 pm

          I don’t know if you have the answer to this ,Joe,

          But lets assume (for arguments sake) that Jill Stein wins the general election by a sweeping majority…Lets say 62% ……How does the electoral college come into play when an unanticipated outsider succeeds in taking the majority ?

          Would the electoral college recognize her win ?

          Does it have an option to disregard her mandate, and just give the electoral votes to Hillary or the Donald ?

          • Joe Tedesky
            May 12, 2016 at 7:54 pm

            Thanks, now I won’t sleep tonight. No, seriously, besides somebody wanting their money back from Diebolt, it would be a sight to see how a Jill Stein winning the keys to the Oval Office, would certainly be cause for establishment government. But, that’s just what their established asses need, so let’s give it to them. Vote Jill Stein!

      • Brad Owen
        May 12, 2016 at 4:56 am

        That’s my plan too. If Sanders “slips beneath the waves”, I’ll go for Jill and the Greens. I think enough people will do it, which will establish their presence, plant the flag of the Green Party in the middle of D.C.: “We’re here and we’re not going to go away”.

        • Brad Owen
          May 12, 2016 at 7:22 am

          I can foresee the Republicans turning into a crackpot, fascistoid, 3rd party, the Democratic Party becoming the new Wall Street/Deep State New Republican minority party, and the Greens becoming the new majority People’s Party.

  5. Gregory Kruse
    May 11, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    Maybe we should zomb, zomb, zomb, zomb, zomb Iran. Welczomb back, Robert Parry.

  6. Lincoln Forte
    May 11, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    Neocriminals is a better call. Read chapterror 5 of Eustice Mullins book Secrets of the Federal Reserve to understand the root of the neotreason. The manifesto was written over 240 years ago but proves that the past bends the future into the here and now. Those who control the money have destroyed the temple of freedom and need to be vanquished by the righteous sting of our pitchforks.

  7. Bill Bodden
    May 11, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    In the short term, it would be much better for anyone to deny Hillary the presidency, but in the long term Trump could be every bit as bad or even worse by other means. But the problem isn’t confined to the Clintons, Trump, Ted Cruz and others like or associated with them. The problem is these wretches are supported in one degree or another by a majority of the American people who could soundly reject them. Polls consistently show approval rates for Congress in or close to single digits. Nevertheless, most incumbents who choose to run for reelection are returned to office to continue their vile and squalid ways.

  8. Pablo Diablo
    May 11, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    A massive military buildup = an empire in decline.

  9. Shirley Smith
    May 11, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    I am shocked that people want Trump or Clinton. I guess the US has to hit bottom before people wake up, and I fear that either one, Trump or Clinton, will have us at war. Money and power is what they worship most.

  10. Abe
    May 12, 2016 at 12:42 am

    The favorite mantra of the neocons and liberal interventionists is that President Obama “overlearned” the lessons of Iraq.

    Here’s recent vomitus from Dennis Ross http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2016/02/24/dennis-ross-obama-syria-iraq

  11. F. G. Sanford
    May 12, 2016 at 2:44 am

    There is a reality which the pundit class can’t seem to grasp. Even among hard core Democrats, there is palpable revulsion for candidate Clinton. She represents the same ‘power elite’ that both Jeb Bush and Donald Trump ultimately represent, and there is a visceral, if not empirical recognition of this fact. Trump may be perceived as scurrilous, but on a gut level, he comes across as somehow ‘genuine’. The current email scandal has been dissected ad infinitum, and the range of ‘opinions’ on the subject fill the spectrum from misinformed to completely delusional. There has been one, and only one publicly accurate assessment of the scandal. Like it or not, that was provided by Michael Mukasey. The crimes committed are not only felonious, they are, if prosecuted, virtually impossible to defend. Mrs. Clinton is simply guilty by statutory definition (Title 18. USC Section 793). There can be no ‘cover-up’, because the facts have been made public. Failure to prosecute constitutes misprision of felony, which is an impeachable offense. If the administration pursues that strategy, it risks exposing to public scrutiny that deficit which is at the very heart of the repugnance with which Mrs. Clinton is regarded: the presumption that she is “above the law.” But that is the strategy they appear willing to pursue. Sid Blumenthal’s role in all of this would seem to be that of an intermediary conduit or perhaps a “cutout” for some agency or foreign government. Passing what was proffered to be legitimate humint/sigint to Mrs. Clinton via her private server, obtained from his “sources”, and the appearance that she regarded that as “valuable” suggests two possibilities: a rogue intelligence operation or a trusted foreign government. It is easy to speculate which government that might be, given Mr. Blumenthal’s solid neocon credentials. All of this scenario might have played well at some point, at least in the minds of its progenitors, but it was fleshed out when the presumptive candidates were Bush v. Clinton. Enter Donald Trump, and everything changes. The players pulling the puppet strings would have gladly made the decision to prosecute, but to do so now risks a Trump Presidency. They’re backed into a corner. The mask is removed. The ‘rule of law’ is of no importance. And, the “puppet masters” are saddled with the most compromised and reviled Democratic candidate in American history. The whole thing reminds me of an updated version of that Dana Carvey impersonation of G.H.W. Bush: “Nothing marked classified. No intent to mishandle. Nothing classified at the time. Just a security review. Never received anything marked classified. A thousand points of light. Stay the course. No criminal intent. Stay the course. A thousand points of light.” I said a long, long time ago, right here on this very site, long before primary season, that Trump was not a candidate to dismiss. But, he’ll make an ineffective President. Given the choice between an aggressively malignant Clinton and a manageable, benign Trump, I think the choice is clear. The Democrats should have thought of that when they wrote off Bernie Sanders. But it’s like H. L. Mencken put it: “Democracy proves that Americans know what they want…and deserve to get it good and hard.” Maybe a term or two of Donald Trump will help them finally realize what really happened in Dealey Plaza fifty three years ago.

    • Joe Tedesky
      May 12, 2016 at 9:29 am

      I’m just glad to see that your still alive.

      Yes, Hillary is guilty. Forget, the classification markings, the private personal e mail server is the crime. By her going around the system, Hillary put the whole system at risk. I’m not so sure if she will suffer for this, like you and I would, but she probably was compromised by some hacker.

      With Bernie’s introduction to politics to America’s younger voters, and coupled with four years of the Donald, I sense a wave of liberal thinking could overcome this nation within the next few years. I don’t mean liberal as in the kind of Hillary/Bill liberal. I mean a liberal with a cleaning out the attic type agenda goals, aimed at ousting everything, and everyone who have perverted the constitution along the way. Say, like since JFK was assassinated.

      Good to see you back on this comment board F.G., stay well, J.T.

      • Kevin O'Connell
        May 17, 2016 at 3:09 am

        This has to be the most absurd posting I’ve ever seen here. Michael Mukasey as a credible expert? W’s final AG, who wouldn’t admit that waterboarding was torture? Who later supported Giuliani for President, then Lieberman for Senate? Oh, and who didn’t take any action against either Colin Powell or Condoleezza Rice, who also set up private servers? Basically, Mukasey’s judicial philosophy since becoming W’s AG is that if a Republican did anything, it’s fine, if a Democrat did it, it’s a crime.

        Actually, I suspect his supposed fury over the e-mail issue is to deflect attention from his failure of doing anything about it while AG, and he’s still upset that 40 Democrats voted against his nomination as AG due to his position on torture, not to mention the personal strain of the legal ethics charges brought against him in 2009, after he left office. (And Clinton and Obama opposed his nomination. Schumer and Feinstein were the two most senior Democrats to vote for confirmation, and of course Lieberman supported him, but by then he was an independent)

        Let me invoke some reality into this conversation. The reason for this mess is twofold: First, there is a natural tension between the statutory requirement not to use government equipment (like computers) for personal purposes, and the national security reality of people who don’t have “regular hours”, and thus security issues pop up during “personal time”. So the claim that she “went around the system” is PURE TRASH. Clinton asked for precedent, and then followed it. That’s one reason Kerry has been disgusted by the entire issue. From the start, he knew there was no criminal intent, given the precedent that she followed. However, the second problem is that from the e-mails published, she’s not very good with tech, and from what I could tell, the person she brought in then set up a lousy system, and she didn’t understand it well enough to know that. So, did she mess up, yup, she sure did, but don’t you dare cite a W apologist who’s still pissed off at how many Dems trashed him over torture as some sort of “fair and balanced” observer. Of course, given that Powell has endorsed Obama twice, and I can’t see him ever supporting Trump, he’ll likely support Clinton as well, Mukasey probably now wishes he HAD indicted Powell for something.

        If you’re looking for a fair analysis, as opposed to a hatchet job, how about former NY Times exec editor Jill Abramson, now writing for the Guardian? I first became aware of her due to the superb book she and her colleague Jane Meyer did about the Clarence Thomas hearings “Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas” over 20 years ago. More recently, in the Guardian, she wrote, contrary to the fantasies cited here, that Clinton is fundamentally honest and trustworthy: Read for yourself:

        http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/28/hillary-clinton-honest-transparency-jill-abramson

        And with this, I’ll say good-bye. Mr. Parry, these absurd postings are why I can no longer support this site. Now, the $90 I last gave is not going to be break you, but this site has actually become a backbone of the right wing press when it comes to the Clintons, as you have deemed them guilty of just about any offense they are accused of, even if the accusation is from GOPers as partisan as Rep. Gowdy. As Kevin Drum of Mother Jones put it, “It’s the ultimate proof of how the right wing’s big lie about the Clintons has successfully poisoned not just the electorate in general, but even the progressive movement itself.” And that is exactly what has happened here. As far as the Clintons are concerned, they’re guilty until proven innocent. Pat yourselves on the back, Fox News would be proud! (and for you Bernie fanatics out there, if today’s story that Trump wants him to run as an independent doesn’t chill you to your bones, remember this, you’ve been parroting Fox propaganda about the Clintons the past several months)

        When you start supporting independent journalistic investigations of facts again, instead of parroting Clinton conspiracy theories as if they were settled truths, let me know. But for now, I’m out of here, and obviously will not support your spring initiative.

    • Robert Parry
      May 12, 2016 at 10:45 am

      From Robert Parry: I have known Sidney Blumenthal for many years and he is not a neocon. In fact, he wrote an early book exposing the emerging dangers of the neocons. Ever since, he has remained on the neocon enemies list. Indeed, he and his son Max have been specifically targeted by Netanyahu supporters who want to ensure that the Blumenthals are so marginalized that a President Hillary Clinton wouldn’t dare include them in her inner circle. While one can criticize Blumenthal as something of a Clinton courtier, he most certainly does not have “solid neocon credentials.”

      • Kevin O'Connell
        May 17, 2016 at 2:11 am

        Agreed, and now that you’ve started a more balanced view of what the reality is, let me add a few more:

        Suggesting that Clinton is now the neocon’s fav is absolute fantasy. Need I remind you she SUPPORTED the Iran nuclear deal, hated by the neocons and all of the GOP Senate, and contrary to what I’ve read in this thread, very much distrusts Netanyahu, as does virtually anyone who has ever had to deal with the lying, egocentric, thrice married Israeli PM. (Hmmmm, I’ll bet he and Trump will get along famously!) Netanyahu is pretty much despised by all of the diplomatic corps throughout the world, just about as unpopular as Ted Cruz is in the Senate. Oh, and Dick Cheney has endorsed Donald Trump. Yup, that endorsement should lock up all of Bernie’s supporters!

        Finally, this fantasy that she “supported” the Iraq war. Now, she has admitted the mistake of believing the Bush administration’s claims about WMD in Iraq, but when was the last time any person on this blog read her speech in favor of giving the administration increased military options? She didn’t support regime change, she spoke of the need to pressure Iraq to allow full and complete access to weapons inspectors. Someone who actually has read her speech was Fred Kaplan at Slate:

        http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2016/02/hillary_clinton_told_the_truth_about_her_iraq_war_vote.html

        Now, I disagreed with her at the time, as I thought Al Gore gave a brilliant argument against the resolution that same month, but Al Gore wasn’t President then, now was he? I wonder how many of the commenters here groaned in 2000 about there being “no difference” between Gore and Bush?

        Secretary Clinton is to my right on foreign affairs, but is a serious and thoughtful person, as is President Obama. And I suspect her actions on foreign affairs, like Obama’s, will be fact based.

        And BTW, for those who also seem to attack her husband, need I remind everyone that not a single American soldier died in any of the military actions Clinton authorized? Yes, we lost crew on the attack on the Cole, but we were attacked, that was not a military action Clinton authorized. In point of fact, Bill Clinton was extremely concerned about the fate of the average Joe in the armed services, and indeed was attacked by the right as being “not aggressively enough” in projecting US military might.

        So, let’s get real here. Just because someone is to the right of what you believe doesn’t make them a neocon, or put the Clintons in the same camp as the Bush/Cheney team. And the Cheney endorsement (as well as Sen. Cotten’s support) should chill those of you thinking Trump is going to be better.

    • Abe
      May 12, 2016 at 8:28 pm

      Great to hear from you, F.G.

      “a manageable, benign Trump”

      Manageable by whom? Depending on Drumpf’s handlers, he could prove huuugely malignant.

  12. Peter Loeb
    May 12, 2016 at 7:54 am

    SEE NO NEO, HEAR NO NEO

    Americans who feel the promised land of their local dreams disappear
    are never able to make the connections.

    Of many examples is the news propaganda of National Public
    Radio (NPR) of yesterday, 11 May 2016 (pm broadcast). The “news”
    began with a soundbite from Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu
    on the importance of INCREASED yearly allotments from the US
    to Israel for its defense. A spokesperson for the weapons industry in
    Connecticut emphasized the importance of such an increase
    in increasing the manufacture of killing machines a majority
    to come from the US and from Connecticut in particular.

    NPR pointed out that for every dollar of aid increase to Israel
    for its weapons, one dollar must be subtracted from
    domestic spending.

    Much later in the news program was part of a series on
    care for the addicted and the deaths resulting from the
    unavailability of care. Examples were interviewed from
    New Hampshire.

    Naturally, there was no connect between these dismal
    stories and the increase of defense aid to Israel
    which had been highlighted earlier in the program.

    Not in the program but in need of mention is the fact
    that almost all politicos—the neocons and the neolips—
    supported increased defense aid to Israel. For “political
    reasons,” of course.

    Relating the above to Robert Parry’s primary points eloquently
    stated in the above article, most Americans feel intensely the
    lack of what is not there and what will not be there in the
    foreseeable neocon/neolib future. Americans only know that
    jobs are lost, families divided, benefits (such as mental
    care etc) are unavailable.

    A school administrator in a state (?) was interviewed and said
    that thousands of teachers would have to be let go.Services
    for the disabled, funds for textbooks etc. would have
    to disappear. Mostly the cuts would affect low income groups
    but many would affect all groups.

    Once again, no connect with the increase in grants for Israeli
    weapons on a yearly basis (agreement for 10 years)
    and the effects of this on the crumbling quality of
    American society.

    Needless to say, Americans perceive their instant impossablity
    to get help, services, homes etc. The wealthy can “afford”
    this. The middle-class and the poor cannot make any connections.
    Their understanding is limited to a visit to a health care unit
    and being informed that service is unavailable… These Americans
    are not following the discussions about aid to Israel at the
    White House or anywhere else in Washington.

    Add to this, the multitude of “programs” pushed by Hillary
    Clinton and others seem empty to the family at the
    point of injury, when told that there is no help currently
    available but you can put your name on a list
    (applicant died with no care).

    —-Peter Loeb, Bston, MA. USA

    • Joe Tedesky
      May 12, 2016 at 9:38 am

      Peter, you make a great point. Why, in the future product will be delivered on a 3D printer, cars will drive themselves, and yet where is the building of this new infrastructure? I’m starting to meet people who can’t pay the high deductibles, and struggle with the co-pays with their ACA/Obamacare…Single Payer Healthcare anyone? We are long overdue for smashing weapons into plough shares, and that’s the truth.

  13. Bob Van Noy
    May 12, 2016 at 8:47 am

    As always, thanks to Robert Parry.

    What I personally find so maddening about the warring aspect of neoconservative philosophy, is its total blindness to troop dynamics. ”Boots on the ground” is what geo-occupation requires, it is the ultimate limitation of All empires. If the men and women warriors are not motivated to kill the enemy; they cannot win the decisive battle. This is simply a fact of face to face war fair. At the heart of that fact, is the psychological concept of fight or flight that ultimately decides the battle. Military men like Colin Powell and Norman Schwarzkopf took this regained knowledge from the Vietnam failure and built a professional military (non draft). Madeleine Albright, in her great neocon wisdom, then decided to apply our new “power” in limited interventions and now we’ve come full stop to a used-up military. Our greatest problem today is that America knows we have no skin in the fight but the Cheney, Kagan, Newland, Clinton, Rice, Bush, non-combatants; never got “the message”.
    Hillary Clinton is a known commodity; she has never shown a proclivity for non-combat, rather like The Senators McCain and Graham, she has the very real potential to break our military and thus our very Country…

    • Joe Tedesky
      May 12, 2016 at 9:45 am

      The drafted army was replaced with the volunteer army, and that has been replaced with the jihad John army we now see operating in Syria and the Middle East. Maybe we should suit up such dignitaries as Hillary, McCain, etc. and send them into the fray, and then see what they have to report about with all this war they have waged. In fact let’s start with Ambassador Albright, her father would be so proud of his little girl.

  14. Zachary Smith
    May 12, 2016 at 10:51 am

    At the xymphora site I found this link. (Note: if you seek out his web page be prepared for some language which isn’t politically correct. Mostly good stuff, but a person has to wonder if a Jewish guy kicked his dog when he was a kid.)

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/05/12/hillary-clinton-the-conveniently-negligent-queen/

    Case…closed? Not really. Seen from Europe and Asia, all these technicalities, the whole legalese web, do not even begin to breach the real story; how the State Department under Hillary Clinton was fully in the loop of the CIA running a rat line of smuggled weapons through Benghazi (so conveniently close to the US consulate), out of Libya and across Turkey straight to “moderate rebels” of the al-Qaeda-linked jihadi variety operating in to-be-regime-changed Syria. This, the real story, complete with bold elements of war crime, destruction of international law and flagrant abuse of power, has simply vanished. Just like those Hillary Clinton emails the State Department is “unable to locate”.

    • Joe Tedesky
      May 12, 2016 at 12:19 pm

      Great article, thanks for the link.

  15. Dosamuno
    May 12, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    Well written, depressing article.
    I will vote for Jill Stein and hope for a plane crash or two, or a couple of lone gunmen.

    • Zachary Smith
      May 12, 2016 at 2:06 pm

      In the Year Of Our Lord 2016 a person really ought to be careful about what he writes on the pages like this, emails, or just about any other place.

      The massive police-state data banks are eternal, and could haunt an individual for the rest of his days.

      • Dosamuno
        May 12, 2016 at 3:35 pm

        Zack,

        You are correct. Thanks for the caveat.

        However, I’m 71, retired, spent several months in prison during the Vietnam Imperial War, and no longer care about being cautious. I hate the American government and it’s obscene security apparatus.

        I really would like to see Hillary, Donald, Obama, the Bush family, Kissinger, and many, many others vaporized by lightening bolts or humanely destroyed by euthanasia.

        I regret I didn’t have the courage to stand along side of Dan Berrigan.

      • bobzz
        May 12, 2016 at 5:19 pm

        Zach, you are correct. Long ago a general was asked about the high suicide rate of veterans. His response was something like, “we have an endless supply of warm bodies”. I asked if anyone on this site knewwho the general was. No one answered. Curiosity got the best of me so I googled the question. Guess what popped up? My question on this site.

  16. May 13, 2016 at 4:22 am

    “Real-life reality…” never has tautology been more appropriately used.

  17. May 13, 2016 at 4:48 am

    Electing Hillary Clinton for president will be the equivalent of electing husband and wife team Robert Kagan and Victoria Nuland – along with their cabinet of conspirators – into the White House. Whereas Clinton could be gone in four years, this dangerous twosome will be there for the rest of their lives, should they get both pairs of jackboots through the door.

    It is interesting to note that, despite holding high public office for many years, Nuland has never been elected by the American public for anything at all. Terrifying as it may seem – considering the power she wields – she is not the only ‘neo’ not to have been elected to very high office in a Western ‘democracy’. Nevertheless, she has been allowed to call the shots far too often. And, in this case, I do mean shots.

    https://bryanhemming.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/double-double-toil-and-trouble-the-cauldron-of-kiev/

  18. B.C. Burkhart
    May 14, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    Well from up here north of fifty, this whole election cycle has seemed, by turns, either hilarious or terrifying. I keep having the nagging little suspicion that somehow, we haven’t seen the last of Jeb Bush in this generally nefarious process. My only advice to the American voters would be to put your mark next to the name Jill Stein, and if that doesn’t work (which it won’t), start packing your handbaskets.

  19. zman
    May 19, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    This next is off subject, but something that does bother me. We all know the reasons for the Libya/Qaddafi fiasco. This is understood. But, try as I might, I cannot get behind any of the explanations of WHY Amb Stevens was killed and by who (the terrorists we supported? Right). So far as I’ve been able to determine, he was involved with the CIA/State Dept. operations to illegally funnel Libyan weapons to the ‘rebels’ in Syria. My question has always been; was it political infighting? did he foul up? or maybe, what occurred that required that he be thrown under the bus?..or was there a 3rd party involved? The explanations given as to why help was not sent, although requested, are disingenuous at best. For some reason, known only to the conspirators (which I include HRC in) he was sacrificed. Was their operation about to be exposed? If so, who would have the juice to do that? No one in this country, that could, would. How many different stories/reasons were there about the attacks on our mission? How many times did that change, with no clear truth. Then all the military brass ‘retirees’ about that time. The Clinton emails may or may not shed some light on this, personally I doubt it…but, if there is smoke, then the emails could be a blackmail weapon, with more info than we could guess…or not. At this point, they are more misdirection/obfuscation than anything. Which, brings me back to the death of Stevens…why? by who? I believe this is the answer we need, but likely will never get.

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