Trump and Clinton brawl in the gutter
Andre Damon, WSWS, Oct 13 2016
The unprecedented level of vituperation employed by both presidential candidates and the atmosphere of violence surrounding the election campaign are malignant expressions of the intensity of the political crisis of Pindostan. At a rally Tuesday in Panama City Beach, Florida, Trump declared, “The election of Hillary Clinton would lead to the destruction of our country.” The previous day he obliquely referred to Clinton as “the devil.” Such denunciations are combined with an attempt to revive the Bill Clinton sex scandals and charges that the entire election is “rigged.” While Trump’s poll numbers show him losing ground to Clinton, he continues to attract very large crowds. He is exploiting a deep-going anger that exists among layers of workers and lower-middle-class people who have seen a drastic decline in their living standards, a process that has only intensified during the nearly eight years of the Obama administration. The fact that these grievances can find no progressive outlet within the framework of the Pindosi political system facilitates Trump’s efforts to channel them in a reactionary and even fascistic direction. The response of the Democrat Party and the Hillary Clinton campaign to Trump is fundamentally reactionary. They do not seek to expose the right-wing politics of Trump or the oligarchic and semi-criminal social interests he actually represents. Rather, Clinton is seeking to outflank Trump from the right on foreign policy by baiting him as an agent of Russia, and to scandalize him on the basis of his sexual exploits. This in no way addresses the social grievances of Trump’s supporters and actually bolsters his effort to portray himself as the victim of a ruthless establishment, laying the basis for him to declare the entire election illegitimate and seek to develop an extra-parliamentary political movement for the period after the Nov 8 election.
Besides the sex scandal-mongering and anti-Russian agitation, the other major feature of the Democratic campaign is its relentless focus on Trump’s persona, as though the real estate mogul and reality TV star were an aberrant interloper into Pindostan’s political Garden of Eden. How absurd! Trump is the personification of a diseased political culture and a society benighted by an immense stratification of wealth. He embodies the backwardness and corruption that have accumulated in Pindosi politics and culture over a period of half a century. The methods employed by the Clinton campaign are those historically associated with the extreme right and the Republican Party. In flooding the media with sexual exposures, Clinton is adopting the modus operandi of the Republicans in the impeachment of her husband, Bill Clinton, which she herself declared at the time to be a “vast right-wing conspiracy.” Sex scandals have long been used to conceal political issues and debase public debate. The anti-communist spy scares and witch-hunts of the 1950s. Since the eve of the Democrat Convention, the Clinton campaign, backed by the media, has responded to the release of incriminating emails by WikiLeaks and other sources documenting Clinton’s corrupt relations with Wall Street, her efforts to rig the primary campaign against her rival Bernie Sanders, her machinations in regard to her illicit use of a private email server while Sec State, and her incessant lying to the public with the classic dodge of blaming the messenger. Without presenting to the public a shred of evidence, the Clinton campaign, the Democrat Party, the Pindosi government and the entire media have charged the Russian government with hacking into Democrat Party computers and leaking emails in order to tilt the election in favor of Trump.
Last week, DNI Clapper officially declared the Putin government to be the organizer of the leaks. This is the same person who lied under oath to the US Senate in Mar 2013 when asked point blank whether the Pindosi government was carrying out mass domestic spying. On Tuesday, the day after WikiLeaks released a trove of Clinton campaign emails, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest reiterated the charge that the Russian government was to blame for the leaks. He threatened Russia with “retaliatory activity” by the Pindosi government. Earnest declared that the Pindosi government had “significant capabilities” to “carry out offensive operations in other countries.” John Podesta, tthe chairman of Clinton’s campaign, told reporters that “Russian intelligence agencies” were “doing everything they can on behalf of our opponent.” The Russians have denied the charges. Commenting in the Intercept, Glenn Greenwald warned about the consequences of the tactics employed by the Clinton campaign against Trump. Greenwald wrote:
In the face of an abusive, misogynistic, bigoted, scary, lawless authoritarian, what’s a little journalistic fraud or constant fear-mongering about subversive Kremlin agents between friends, if it helps to stop him?… Come January, Democrats will continue to be the dominant political faction in Pindostan, more so than ever, and the tactics they are now embracing will endure past the election.
The reactionary methods of the Clinton campaign are determined by the reactionary agenda being prepared for a Hillary Clinton administration. The baiting of Russia is calculated to build an atmosphere conducive to legitimizing the basic axis of her administration: escalation of war in the Middle East and military confrontation with Russia and China.
Trump escalates conflict with congressional Republicans
Patrick Martin, WSWS, Oct 12 2016
Tensions within the Republican Party exploded into public recriminations Tuesday, with Trump issuing a series of strident statements denouncing House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator John McCain for their refusal to support his campaign. In a particularly revealing Twitter comment, Trump gloated over his open break with the Republican congressional leadership, declaring:
It is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for Pindostan the way I want to.
By “shackles” Trump is referring to the political norms of the Pindosi constitutional system, which he has defied with his threats, should he win the presidency, to prosecute and jail Hillary Clinton, as well as his encouragement of violence and his denunciation of the electoral process as “rigged.” At two campaign rallies Monday, Trump suggested that a Democrat victory in the presidential election would be illegitimate, the result of ballot-box fraud in key states such as Pennsylvania. He told his supporters to send poll watchers to “certain communities,” alluding to
African-American Black neighborhoods in Philadelphia, to “make sure that this election is not stolen from us and is not taken away from us.” Trump’s strident attacks on his own party as well as the Democrats make clear that his perspective is no longer to win the presidential election on Nov 8. His orientation is rather toward the building of an extra-parliamentary far-right movement for the period of social and political upheaval that will follow the elections. Maine Governor Paul LePage, a fervent Trump supporter, said in a radio interview Tuesday that Pindostan needed someone like Trump to wield “authoritarian power” because “we’re slipping into anarchy.” LePage was only articulating in the crudest form the strongman politics that are the essence of the Trump campaign.
Trump has said that a collapse of the world financial system on an even greater scale than in 2008 is likely, and he is positioning himself to offer an ultra-right alternative to a Democrat administration that will become deeply unpopular as it imposes policies of economic austerity and imperialist war. Whether this approach costs the Republicans legislative seats on Nov 8 is irrelevant to Trump, because he anticipates that in the next period of Pindosi history, political issues are going to be decided in the streets, not in the halls of Congress. This divergence underlies the conflict between him and House Speaker Ryan, who announced Monday he would no longer defend Trump or campaign for him. Ryan informed the House Republican Caucus of his decision in a Monday conference call, during which all members of the House leadership declared their agreement, while a minority of pro-Trump representatives loudly objected. Effectively declaring the presidential race lost for the Republicans, Ryan said that while he would not withdraw his endorsement of Trump, his #1 task was to defend the Republican majorities in the House and Senate, “making sure that Hillary Clinton does not get a blank check” when she becomes president next January. The House Republican leaders were reacting to polling data showing that Clinton has opened up a double-digit lead over Trump nationally. Of particular concern to the Republicans were indications that Trump’s unpopularity was having an effect on congressional races. While loss of the Republican majority in the Senate had been widely considered possible, the 60-seat Republican majority in the House of Representatives was seen as impregnable until last week.
Trump unloaded on Ryan in a series of tweets on Tuesday, calling him “weak” and suggesting that the congressional Republican leadership would be responsible if he lost the election to Clinton. He also denounced John McCain, one of ten Republican senators who announced Saturday they could no longer support his presidential campaign. Clinton’s response to these events has been a further shift to the right, redoubling her efforts to win support from leading figures in the Republican Party. Her campaign launched advertisements in at least four states that include testimonials from Republican voters who are supporting Clinton this year. Campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said:
She is reaching out to voters that may well have supported Mitt Romney in 2012 and in a normal year might also be inclined to support the Republican nominee, but are so troubled by Donald Trump they are open to supporting Hillary Clinton.
As part of this “outreach” effort, Clinton followed up a campaign rally at Wayne State University in Detroit Monday with a private meeting with Republican billionaire Dan Gilbert, the Quicken Loans mogul who has bought up most of downtown Detroit in order to make a killing from the city’s bankruptcy. For the Democrat Party and its supporters in the media, Trump’s slide in the polls and the very public crisis of the Republican Party are cause for celebration and complacent sighs of relief. Typical is the column by Roger Cohen in the NYT, which begins with a lengthy verbal lashing of Trump:
It’s fortunate that we are less than a month from the election because we are running out of words to describe him: this phony, this liar, this blowhard, this cheat, this bully, this misogynist, this demagogue, this predator, this bigot, this bore, this egomaniac, this racist, this sexist, this sociopath. I will not go on. It’s pointless. Everyone knows, not least his supporters.
Cohen and his like are hostile to acknowledging the widespread economic desperation that is driving millions of working people to vote for and support the billionaire demagogue. But as NYT columnist David Leonhardt pointed out on the same page Tuesday, tens of millions of Pindosis confront economic stagnation and generally deteriorating conditions of life. He wrote:
The typical household, amazingly, has a net worth 14% lower than the typical one did in 1984, according to a forthcoming Russell Sage Foundation publication. The life-expectancy gap between the affluent and everyone else is growing. The number of children living with only one parent or none has doubled since the 1970s (to 30%). The obesity rate has nearly tripled (to 38%). About eight million people have spent time behind bars at some point in their life, up from 1.5 million 40 years ago. While college enrollment has grown, the norm for middle-class and poor students is to leave without a four-year degree.
Cohen dismisses this social layer as “the losers to turbo-capitalism,” but they comprise, as Leonhardt suggests, the vast majority of the working class and large sections of the middle class, for whom living standards have declined or, at best, stagnated. Hillary Clinton, the handmaiden of the stock exchange and the Pentagon, has no credibility as a defender of working-class jobs and living standards. It is the complacent, right-wing defense of capitalism and imperialism by the Democrat Party, given a “progressive” coloration by its pseudo-left apologists, who share its obsession with the politics of race, gender and sexual orientation, that provides an opening for fascistic demagogues, whether Trump himself or a more politically skilled successor.
Hillary Clinton acknowledges Toad terror financing in hacked email, hinting at tougher approach
Mattathias Schwartz, Intercept, Oct 12 2016
Pindostan & the Toads have maintained their alliance for seven decades despite disagreements over oil prices, Israel, and, more recently, the Obama administration’s rapprochement with Iran. Judging by a 2014 email purportedly written by Hillary Clinton to John Podesta, her current campaign chairman, and published by Wikileaks, there have been serious tensions over the role of the Toads in the Syria conflict as well. In the midst of a nine-point overview of Pindo strategy in the Middle East, Clinton wrote:
We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the Toads & Thanis, who are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to Daesh and other radical Sunni groups in the region.
Clinton’s private comments differ from the public line taken by members of the Obama administration. Speaking at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York, DCI Brennan recently called the Toads “among our very best counter-terrorism partners globally.” Last month, Obama, who long ago referred to the Toads as “so-called” allies, acted to protect the Toads from litigation by vetoing the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which would allow 9/11 victims to sue the Toads for damages in Pindo Federal court. Congress overturned Obama’s veto, leaving the door open for the Toads to be named as defendants in future lawsuits. Pindostan has its reasons for maintaining the Toad alliance. The country produces 13% of the world’s oil, and holds $117b of Pindo debt. During Obama’s two terms, the Toads have spent more than $50b on Pindostan-made weaponry, far more than during Bush 43’s two terms, and Pindostan has approved deals worth another $65b. The Toads still have their staunch backers in Faschingstein, due in no small part to their lavish spending on lobbyists and public relations. Among them is John Podesta’s lobbyist brother Tony. Filings made under the Foreign Agents Registration Act show that the Toads are paying Tony Podesta’s firm, the Podesta Group, a $14k/month through the end of 2016, and that Tony himself consults on the Toad account. Earlier this year, Politico reported on a 104-page white paper circulating on Capitol Hill, said to detail the efforts of the Toads to fight terrorism. Public opinion about the Toads now appears to be approaching a crossroads. According to Gallup, the country’s favorability ratings are at 37%, between China and Russia. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have both condemned ties between the country’s religious leadership and extremist ideology. Over the past year, a series of investigative articles in the NYT have chronicled the Toads’ invasive legal controls over women, its complicated relationship with Daesh, and the brutal proxy war it is carrying out against Iran in Yemen.
Clinton was not the first to assert links between Toads & Thanis and Daesh. Six months before the 2014 email, Iraqi PM Maliki, accused both Toads & Thanis of “inciting and encouraging terrorist movements.” The Toads vigorously denied Maliki’s allegations at the time. Earlier in 2014, the Obama administration hosted a two-day strategy meeting with intelligence chiefs from Turtksd, Toads, Thanis, Jordanians, and other Middle Eastern countries, reportedly intended to refocus military aid to away from Nusra and Daesh and towards more “moderate” groups of rebels. The wording of Clinton’s 2014 email, attributing support for radical Sunni militants to the Toads themselves, as opposed to a few radical outliers, may also emerge as a factor in the ongoing debate about the degree of Toad support for AQ in the years leading up to 9/11. Fifteen of the nineteen hijackers were Toad citizens. The question of whether the country’s connection to the plot reached official levels was opened up again this summer by the release of 28 classified pages from a 2002 Congressional investigation into the 9/11 attacks. The document offers new information about the FBI’s investigation into Omar al-Bayoumi, a wealthy Toad business student who had worked with the Saudi Civil Aviation Authority. The 9/11 Commission Report found al-Bayoumi to be “an unlikely candidate for clandestine involvement with Islamist extremists.” Yet the 28 pages paint a different picture, relaying FBI reports of al-Bayoumi’s “extensive contact with Toad establishments in Pindostan” and “numerous reports from individuals in the Muslim community, dating back to 1999, alleging that al-Bayoumi may be a Toad intelligence officer.” More damning, however, are differences between the accounts given by the 9/11 Commission Report and the 28 pages regarding the initial meeting between al-Bayoumi, Nawaf al-Hazmi, and Khalid al-Midhdhar at a restaurant in Culver City, California. Soon after, al-Bayoumi found an apartment for the two men, both of them future 9/11 hijackers, and lent them money for rent. The 9/11 Commission Report suggests that their initial meeting was a coincidence. Again, the FBI account quoted in the 28 pages differs:
There are indications in the files that his encounter with the hijackers may not have been accidental.
Over the summer, in the days after the killing of forty-nine people in a Daesh-related shooting at a club in Orlando, Clinton openly criticized the Toads, Thanis and Sabahs (of Kuwait) for failing “to stop their citizens from funding extremist organizations.” Her newly-released 2014 email goes a step further, directly attributing support for Daesh to the Toads. It seems that part of the Obama administration’s approach to the Toads has been to hold its nose and keep its mouth shut, at least in public. Should Clinton prevail in the November election, it will be her turn to try and manage an increasingly awkward alliance.
Leaked Clinton email admits Toad & Thani funding of ISIS in Syria
Bill Van Auken, WSWS, Oct 12 2016
An email exchange between Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager John Podesta, posted Monday by WikiLeaks, frankly acknowledges that Daesh is funded and supported by Washington’s chief Arab vassals. The Sep 2014 exchange was contained in one of the 2,086 documents posted by WikiLeaks Monday, following up on the release a week ago of over 2,000 more of Podesta’s emails and attachments. At the time of the exchange on ISIS, Podesta was a White House counselor to Obama. One of the most powerful figures in the Democrat Party establishment, he is the former White House chief of staff to Bill Clinton, the former chairman of the Obama transition and a corporate lobbyist for corporations like WalMart, BP and Lockheed Martin. For her part, Clinton had left her post as Sec State over a year earlier. The email acknowledges that the sources for the assessment of the Toad & Thani support for Daesh “include Western intelligence, Pindosi intelligence and sources in the region.” The document calls for increased reliance upon the Iraqi Kurds as a key proxy force for combating Daesh in Iraq, pointing to the Kurdish militia’s “long-standing relationships with CIA officers and SOF operators.” It adds:
While this military/ para-military operation operation is moving forward, we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the Toads & Thanis, who are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to Daesh and other radical Sunni groups in the region… This effort will be enhanced by the stepped-up commitment in the KRG. The Toads & Thanis will be put in a position of balancing policy between their ongoing competition to dominate the Sunni world and the consequences of serious Pindosi pressure.
The Obama administration has publicly embraced the Toads as its closest Arab allies and the ostensible leaders of an “Islamic alliance” against terrorism. The Toads are the patrons of the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), which purportedly represents the so-called “moderate” opposition that is also supported by Washington. Officially, the Pindo administration has maintained that, while wealthy Toads & Thanis had helped finance Daesh, the despotic governments of these oil monarchies were blameless. This pretense was blown in Oct 2014, barely a week after the Podesta-Clinton email, when Joe Biden told an audience at Harvard University:
The Toads, along with Turks & Thanis, have poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who will fight against Assad. Except that the people who are being supplied are Nusra and AQ and the extremist elements of Jihadis coming from other parts of the world. We cannot convince our colleagues to stop supplying them.
The State Dept subsequently “clarified” Biden’s remarks and he wrote:
I apologize for any implication that Turks or other vassals in the region have intentionally supplied or facilitated the growth of Daesh or other violent extremists in Syria.
The contents of the Clinton-Podesta email are supplemented by a separate email released by WikiLeaks that includes an excerpt from a secret speech delivered by Clinton in 2013 that was flagged as problematic by her staff. In it she claimed:
(Attempts to) vet, identify, train and arm cadres of rebels (sic – RB) are complicated by the fact that the Toads and others are shipping large amounts of weapons and pretty indiscriminately, not at all targeted toward the people that we think would be the more moderate (and) least likely to cause problems in the future.
And previously, WikiLeaks posted a secret State Dept memo signed by Clinton in 2009 that affirmed:
The Toads remain a critical financial support base for AQ, the Taliban, Lashkar and other terrorist groups.
The Clinton camp has responded to the latest release of emails by ratcheting up its virulently anti-Russian campaign, claiming that WikiLeaks was acting as a pawn of the Kremlin and that the material released may have been altered to serve Moscow’s foreign policy purposes. In the Sunday debate, Clinton herself acknowledged the authenticity of the documents, attempting to defend a statement quoted in one of them from a speech to real-estate investors, in which she declared that in politics, “you need both a public and a private position.” She claimed that her inspiration for this approach was Abraham Lincoln. The method of the “public and private” position is clearly in force in relation to the Toads, and for good reason. The Toads remain a key pillar of political reaction and imperialist domination in the Middle East, and the world’s chief customer of the Pindo arms industry. Some $115b in Pindo weapons and military support have poured into the KSA since Obama took office in 2009. More importantly, Toad support for AQ, Daesh and similar Islamist militias has developed in close collaboration with the CIA, which coordinated the flow of arms, money and foreign fighters into Syria from a station in southern Turkey. Such collaboration began long before the Syrian civil war, dating back to the 1980s, where AQ got its start under the leadership of Osama bin Laden, who collaborated closely with the CIA and Pakistani intelligence. The determination of the Pindosi ruling establishment to maintain a veil of secrecy over this collaboration was underscored by Obama’s veto, subsequently overridden, of legislation allowing Pindosis to sue foreign governments alleged to be responsible for terrorist attacks in Pindostan. The clear target of the bill was the Toads, based on ample evidence of their involvement in 9/11. The overriding fear within the administration and Piondo ruling circles is that any serious probing of the role of the Toads in these attacks would uncover the complicity of elements within the Pindosi intelligence agencies themselves in the events of 9/11. Another significant element of the Clinton-Podesta email is its welcoming of the Daesh 2014 offensive in Iraq. It states:
The advance of Daesh through Iraq gives the Pindosi government an opportunity to change the way it deals with the chaotic security situation in MENA. The most important factor in this matter is to make use of intelligence resources and SOF in an aggressive manner.
In other words, Daesh provided a pretext for launching a renewed Pindo military intervention aimed at furthering the strategic goal of Pindo hegemony in the Middle East under the guise of a struggle against terrorism. The email exchange further exposes Hillary Clinton’s deep involvement in all of these crimes.
Hollande cancels Paris meeting with Putin
Anthony Torres, WSWS, Oct 13 2016
Hollande’s decision to cancel his meeting with utin, amid deep military tensions between NATO and Russia, comes as Washington and its European vassals escalate the pressure on Russia, threatening it with war in Syria. The meeting between the two heads of state was slated for Oct 19, for the inauguration in downtown Paris of a “Russian Orthodox spiritual and cultural center” consisting of a church, a school, and cultural services of the Russian embassy. The meeting reportedly was confirmed by the Elysée presidential palace with the Kremlin during the September truce in Syria. As fighting intensified around Aleppo, however, and the NATO powers escalated their threats against Russia, the meeting no longer corresponded to Hollande’s strategy. Last week France tried to push through a UNSCR demanding a no-fly zone over Aleppo, which was vetoed by Russia. At the beginning of the week, French bopxtops made clear that any visit by Putin to Paris would lead to an open confrontation over Syria. On Monday, French FM Ayrault said:
If the President of the French Republic decides that the Russian president is coming, it will not be to discuss pleasantries, but to speak truths… There are war crimes, it is the Sec-Gen of the UN that said so. Afterwards, one must determine who is responsible.
On Tuesday, the Elysée reported that Putin’s visit had been postponed indefinitely:
There was a discussion between the Kremlin and the Elysée this morning to propose a working visit on Syria at the Elysée, but ruling out participation by the president in any other event. In response, Russia has just indicated that it prefers to postpone the meeting scheduled for Oct 19.
The Hollande administration’s denunciations of war crimes in Syria are hypocritical lies. Hollande is proceeding ruthlessly with contempt for the Syrian people, as the main forces responsible for the war are the NATO imperialist powers. The war in Syria is an attempt by the imperialist powers to bring down Assad as they did the Libyan regime in 2011, with Islamist proxy forces funded by the Persian Gulf oil sheikdoms and armed by the imperialist powers. These AQ-linked militias have repeatedly carried out massacres against ethnic and religious minorities in Syria. Above all, it is imperialist foreign policy, composed of pillage and massacres aimed at dominating the oil-rich Middle East, that constitutes a political crime. The NATO proxy war in Syria has caused the deaths of nearly a half million people and forced into exile over 10 million who are now living in refugee centers in Syria, trapped in refugee camps in neighboring countries, or desperately trying to obtain refugee status in Europe. In this policy, France, the former colonial power in Syria, which it plunged into war twice in the 20th century in order to crush anti-imperialist uprisings, plays a particularly aggressive role. It pressed for a direct NATO intervention in 2013, although London, and ultimately Washington, both decided not to launch NATO troops in a war against Damascus. Now, as it denounces Moscow and the Assad regime over the fighting in Aleppo, Paris is preparing France’s participation in the planned bombardment of Mosul, the main Iraqi city controlled by Daesh, that could force hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to flee. Hollande’s Socialist Party (PS) government has sent the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle to the region and is organizing the intervention of French special forces on Iraqi soil. This week, two French parachutists in Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan were wounded by a booby-trapped drone. NATO’s military escalation in Syria goes hand in hand with a rapid movement towards the right of the entire French political establishment. Hollande has seized upon terror attacks in France and Belgium, carried out by the same Islamist networks that are working with NATO intelligence agencies to fight Assad, to impose a state of emergency, first used during France’s war against Algerian independence. The main target of this state of emergency is the working class, whose protests against his government’s anti-worker labor law were met with repeated police crackdowns under the terms of the state of emergency.