Hillary Clinton’s Pay-for-Play Reality

Lloyd Blankfein, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs. (Photo credit: Goldman Sachs)

Whatever one thinks about Hillary Clinton’s sincerity when she professes progressive values, the undeniable reality is that she has immersed herself for decades in the corrupting sludge of Official Washington and its sleazy pay-for-play schemes with Wall Street and other power centers, as JP Sottile explains.

Who Would Dr. King Endorse?

Martin Luther King Jr.

Hillary Clinton won endorsements from Congressional Black Caucus members while civil rights legend Harry Belafonte came out for Bernie Sanders. But another question is who would Martin Luther King Jr. have supported since he – like Sanders – advocated for “democratic socialism,” as Jeff Cohen recalls.

BBC Imagines World War III

Russian President Vladimir Putin during a state visit to Austria on June 24, 2014. (Official Russian government photo)

Believing their own propaganda about “Russian aggression,” Western leaders are building up NATO forces in the Baltic states, which treat ethnic Russians as second-class citizens, possibly provoking a nuclear showdown that no one wants and that a searing BBC documentary imagines, writes Gilbert Doctorow.

How Crimeans See Ukraine Crisis

A map showing Crimea (in beige) and its proximity to both the Ukrainian mainland and Russia.

Two years ago, the Maidan uprising ousted Ukraine’s elected president, prompting resistance in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, with Crimeans voting overwhelmingly to reunify with Russia, a move that then sparked a new cold war. As propaganda enveloped this issue, Natylie Baldwin went to see for herself last fall.

Turkey’s Revival of a Dirty ‘Deep State’

Turkish President Recep Erdogan.

Exclusive: NATO keeps backing Turkey, one of its members, despite its aid to the Islamic State and other jihadists fighting Syria’s secular government — and even though Turkey’s erratic President Erdogan may be leading NATO into a risky showdown with Syria’s Russian allies, writes Jonathan Marshall.

Saudis Goad Obama to Invade Syria

King Salman greets the President and First Lady during a state visit to Saudi Arabia on Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: Syrian rebels, including dominant jihadist elements, torpedoed Geneva peace talks by setting preconditions to come to the table. But the maneuver also renewed pressure on President Obama to commit to a “regime-change” invasion of Syria alongside Saudi and other Sunni armies, as Joe Lauria explains.

Hillary Clinton’s Very Bad Night

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Exclusive: The magnitude of Hillary Clinton’s New Hampshire drubbing has establishment Democrats wringing their hands as it dawns on them that no candidate in modern U.S. political history has bounced back from a 22-point loss in that first-in-the-nation primary to win the White House, reports Robert Parry.

Inventing the Right’s ‘Metanarrative’

Oil billionaires David and Charles Koch.

For decades, the Koch Brothers have funded a massive propaganda operation to disparage what democracy can do when a society pulls together and to glorify a “greed is good” narrative promising great benefits if capitalism reigns free. But the results have been good only for a privileged few, as Michael Winship describes.

In Case You Missed…

Some of our special stories in January focused on the worsening crisis in relations between the United States and Russia, the danger of a wider war around Syria, the triumph of propaganda over reason in American foreign policy, and developments in Campaign 2016.

How Washington’s New Rich Live

A McMansion in McLean, Virginia, offered for $12.5 million in 2014. [Photo credit: MRIS]

The twin explosions of post-9/11 national security extravagance and Citizens United political spending bonanza have reshaped Washington — not only in its political outlook but physically, with this New Class preferring lavish McMansions to show off their newfound wealth, as Mike Lofgren describes.

The Meaning Behind the Sanders Surge

Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a Democratic presidential debate sponsored by CNN.

What is most startling about the excited response to Sen. Sanders’s campaign is that millions of Americans seem to be saying that free-market capitalism is failing them and that there must be something better than accepting vast income inequality, as economist Richard Wolff explained to Dennis J Bernstein.

Rightists Sell Anti-Government Message

Neoconservative pundit Charles Krauthammer.

Since Ronald Reagan, the Republicans have rallied many Americans around the notion that “government is the problem.” And, despite disasters for the middle and working classes, right-wing intellectuals like Charles Krauthammer continue to sell the same message, as Lawrence Davidson describes.

Ted Cruz’s Religious Play

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a Republican candidate for U.S. President.

Sen. Ted Cruz – known for his brash, boastful and brutal proclamations – is remaking himself in the image of the Lord Savior as he appeals to the Republican Religious Right to pave his way to the GOP nomination and the White House, as Bill Moyers and Gail Ablow describe.

A Look at Ukraine’s Dark Side

Sen. John McCain appearing with Ukrainian rightists of the Svoboda party at a pre-coup rally in Kiev.

Exclusive: Americans have been carefully shielded from the ugly underbelly of Ukraine’s Maidan uprising in 2014 that overthrew the elected president and installed a U.S.-backed, fiercely anti-Russian regime which has unleashed armed neo-Nazis. But a French documentary has dared to expose this grim reality, as Gilbert Doctorow describes.

Still Sabotaging the Iran-Nuke Deal

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 24, 2013. (UN Photo)

Since Israel and the influential U.S. neocons never wanted the Iranian nuclear deal, many U.S. politicians – including presidential candidates – are lining up to sabotage the agreement by finding new excuses to sanction Iran. This trick is a dangerous game, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Risking World War III in Syria

Saudi King Salman meets with President Barack Obama at Erga Palace during a state visit to Saudi Arabia on Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: After Saudi-backed Syrian rebels balked at peace talks and the Russian-backed Syrian army cut off Turkish supply lines to jihadists and other Syrian rebels, the U.S. and its Mideast Sunni “allies” appear poised to invade Syria and force “regime change” even at the risk of fighting Russia, a gamble with nuclear war, writes Joe Lauria.

Behind the North Korean Nuke Crisis

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Exclusive: One fallout from the Hillary Clinton-led “regime change” in Libya – after Muammar Gaddafi gave up his WMD deterrence – is that North Korea keeps building up its nuclear-weapon program. Its leaders don’t want to suffer Gaddafi’s grisly fate, another case of how war can exacerbate other tensions, notes Jonathan Marshall.

Giving Peace Very Little Chance

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

Exclusive: What the next U.S. president can do to bring endless warfare to an end is one of the most important issues of Campaign 2016, but it is getting only a cursory treatment in debates as politicians seem to fear neocon wrath if they seek peace, writes Robert Parry.

How Fox News Undercut Trump

Fox News President Roger Ailes.

The Republican Establishment, led by powerful media boss Fox News’ Roger Ailes, undercut Donald Trump’s anti-Establishment campaign with some last-minute maneuvers in Iowa, including baiting Trump to boycott a Fox debate, as JP Sottile explains.

The Reality of Robert Gates

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Official Washington hails Robert Gates as one of its Wise Men – and the former CIA director and defense secretary clearly concurs as he shows in his new book – but the reality is far less complimentary, as ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman describes.

Hillary Clinton’s ‘Progressive’ Persona

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confronts Sen. Bernie Sanders in Democratic presidential debate on Jan. 17, 2016.

Desperate to blunt Bernie Sanders’s surge of support especially among young Democrats, Hillary Clinton is pitching herself as a “progressive,” but many of her policies were anything but – from supporting military coups to favoring corporate interests, writes Jeff Cohen.

Shaking Up the Democratic Party

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.

By demanding a “revolution” to shift power away from Wall Street, Sen. Sanders is attracting millions of young Americans who want fundamental change. He’s also upsetting the Democratic establishment which favors only incremental “reforms” acceptable to corporate interests, as Norman Solomon notes.

Seeking More Cold War with Cuba

Cuban leader Fidel Castro in 2003. (Photo credit: Antonio Milena - ABr)

The neocons who dominate Official Washington speak most loudly through their flagship newspaper, The Washington Post, almost always seeking confrontation rather than cooperation in addressing the world’s problems, such as Cold War-era hostility toward Cuba, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Hillary Clinton’s Hawkish Record

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Surviving Iowa in a dead heat with Sen. Bernie Sanders, ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton now hopes her establishment-backed campaign will grind down her opposition and pave the way for her presidential nomination. But many Democrats remain leery of her hawkish foreign policy, writes Marjorie Cohn.

Feeding the Military-Industrial Complex

The U.S. Navy variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in a test flight over the Chesapeake Bay. [Defense Department photoe]

Exclusive: Because he had commanded Allied forces in World War II, President Eisenhower understood the excesses of the war industry and warned Americans about the dangers of the military-industrial complex, a force that continues to siphon off tens of billions of tax dollars, as Jonathan Marshall explains.

Letting US ‘Lead’ Against Islamic State

syria-map

America’s Mideast “allies” are less eager to take on Islamic State terrorists themselves than to urge the U.S. military to do so, raising questions about whether much of today’s campaign-trail tough-guy/gal talk about Washington taking the lead really means doing the dirty work for Saudi Arabia, Israel and others, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

‘Cut-out’ Anti-Drone Protest Brings Arrests

Life-size cut-outs of Jerry Berrigan arrayed to blockade at Hancock  airbase in upstate New York on Jan. 28, 2016. (Screen grab from YouTube video)

The U.S. government’s lethal drone program continues to spark protests from anti-war activists, including a novel “blockade” outside upstate New York’s Hancock air base where a dozen protesters arrayed life-size cut-outs of the late anti-war activist Jerry Berrigan and faced arrest.

Hillary Clinton’s Iraq War Albatross

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before Congress on Jan. 23, 2013, about the fatal attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11. 2012. (Photo from C-SPAN coverage)

George W. Bush’s Iraq invasion may rank as the worst foreign policy disaster in U.S. history – spreading chaos across the Mideast and now into Europe, yet polls show Democrats nationwide favor nominating Hillary Clinton, who voted for the war and backed it even after Bush’s WMD claims were debunked, recalls Stephen Zunes.

The Dangerous Ideology of Religion

An image of a Crusader killing a Muslim.

Ideology, in the hands of true-believers, tends to reject facts in favor of some grander “truth,” an especially dangerous tendency when mixed with religious conviction and certainty, as Lawrence Davidson explains.

Lobbying’s Mile-High Plateau

Mr. Moneybags from the "Monopoly" game

Special-interest money in Washington may have peaked but it looks more like it has plateaued at mile-high altitudes, with hundreds of millions of dollars continuing to fill the coffers of lobbying firms each year as they sign up ex-members of Congress and other well-connected “public servants,” as Michael Winship reports.

A Russian Diplomat’s Take on the World

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

As the West’s mainstream media portrays Russia as a crazy rogue state, Moscow’s thoughtful critiques of world affairs are ignored, not fitting the propaganda theme. Such was the case when Foreign Minister Lavrov explained why there would be no more “business as usual” with the West, as Gilbert Doctorow describes.