Activism, Interests, opinion, TPP, Uncategorized

Fighting Grave Injustices

Fighting Grave Injustices

A breakdown of how the fight against money in politics led by Bernie Sanders is as black and white as the fights against the other injustices, and how the propaganda defending the status quo has always remained the same.

“The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing.” – Edmund Burke

One cannot have even a decent grasp of US history without being familiar with the many horrible injustices which unfairly penalized one or several groups of citizens in favor of another.

The examples are numerous: child labor, slavery, denial of women’s right to vote, segregation… Indeed, the severe consequences of these injustices cannot be disputed.

Fortunately, there was always been at least one person leading a movement to fight every major injustice.

In that regard, Americans have had the choice to remain neutral, fight to keep the status quo, or fight against the injustice. From an outsider’s (and objective) point of view, the choice would seem like a no brainer: fight against the injustice.

Unfortunately, things were not so simple.

Indeed, attempts to overcome any of these injustices were generally met with overwhelming resistance.

Of course, it is true that the people fighting to keep the status quo (and thus the injustice itself) would have difficulty defending their position using logic, since an injustice by it’s nature cannot be defended in good faith.

In this regard, they would resort to throwing out claims which distracted from the real issues, played on the emotion, and catered to the prejudices and ignorance of the time.

Sometimes they would try to convince the electorate that they agreed that the injustice was “unfortunate” but was also simply a part of the way things were and had to be accepted as such. In that light, anyone attempting to eradicate it was portrayed as being radical or unrealistic.

Often they would use irrational fear tactics warning the electorate that if the injustice were eradicated, something unknown and worse would come about.

In summary, these arguments, despite their serious lack of any factual and/or logical basis, were often very effective in convincing many people to remain neutral or even fight for keeping the injustice, however blatantly horrible it was. The propaganda was often so good that some of the people fooled were even very intelligent and well educated. Even many of the victims themselves, convinced of the propaganda, fought tooth and nail alongside their perpetrators against the very change which was in their clear interest.

Sometimes, this had the unfortunate consequence of making generations suffer terribly from the brunt of a few of these injustices.

Of course, baseless arguments such as these almost never stand any test in time, which is why practically anyone reading them today, regardless of their political position, will find them quirky, bizarre, backwards, and even offensive.

Today, Americans are in an identical situation. In simple terms:

A. They are faced with a horrible injustice which unfairly benefits one group of citizens in favor of another;
B. The cancerous effects on the USA are undeniable;
C. There is a person who is leading a movement against this injustice. And people have a clear choice to remain neutral, help keep the status quo, or join the movement to eradicate the injustice. And from an outsider’s (and objective) point of view, the choice is a no-brainer: eradicate the injustice.
D. The movement to eradicate this injustice is being met with overwhelming resistance.
E. The arguments which “justify” keeping this injustice and the status quo, being also mostly or fully devoid of any factual or logical basis, use the same type of distractions, fear mongering, and appeals to emotion, prejudice and ignorance as they did before.

Each of these points will be explained below:

A. The horrible injustice Americans face today is money in politics which is nothing other than legalized bribery.

The concept itself is inherently repugnant to the principal of democracy in that it not only lets a select unelected few exert a tremendous amount of undue influence on local, state, and national policy, but it also allows them to do this unbeknownst to practically everyone else.

Indeed, with such an absence of “equal treatment before the law” and transparency, it is no surprise that more and more prominent figures like Jimmy Carter see the United States as “an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery”.

B. The cancerous effects of money in politics are undeniable.

It is a no brainer that when politicians are bribed, legally or illegally, they have much more of a tendency to enact policies which favor those who bribe them at the expense of everyone else. Since the people bribing tend to be in the top 1%, they are naturally the ones who benefit tremendously.

Indeed, it is of no surprise that since the decision Buckley v. Valeo in 1976, which lifted expenditure limits and greatly eased disclosure requirements regarding campaign money, there has, in simple terms, been a steady and illegal transfer of wealth from the people who need it to the people who don’t, regardless of the party in the oval office, senate or congress.

For example, under Obama, who of course received millions of dollars for his campaign from special interests the increase in wealth in two years of the richest 14 people, amounting to $157 billion, was greater than what 130 million Americans own collectively.

Also, under Bill Clinton, whose campaign was also well funded by special interests, the increase in income inequality was greater than under either George W Bush or George H. W. Bush.
Unfortunately, the effects are much more devastating then simple economic inequality and the fact that young Americans today will be the first generation who fare less well than their parents did, ironically in spite of the great technological advances.

For example, it is well known now that CEOs of arms manufacturers can influence the USA to carry out unjust wars like in Iraq which killed millions of soldiers as well as innocent men, women, and children, but which greatly enriched the people behind this atrocity. Another example is pharmaceutical companies which obtain free reign to jack up the prices of any drug to any amount if it pleases them, even if that drug can be life saving.

One can go on: private prisons which prosper in accordance with the number of people incarcerated, impunity for the executives of the widespread mortgage fraud which is the largest bankruptcy in US history and precipitated the Great Recession that lingers on today, allowing these same executives to remain in a position to do precisely the same thing which would have even greater economic consequences …

Indeed, when looking at the various injustices over history through the lenses of the time period each one took place, the evil of money in politics becomes all the more glaring.

The main distinction it has with regards to the other injustices is that it effects everyone under a certain economic bracket, regardless of race, gender or age. And as long as bribery continues then the injustice will continue.

C. People today have a clear choice to remain neutral, help keep the status quo, or join the movement to eradicate the injustice. And the right choice seems evident.

Just like before, the people who plan to vote as Democrats are confronted with two choices:

  • Bernie Sanders, the candidate who clearly wants to take money out of politics, and is taking no money from any of the special interests in that regard;
  • Hillary Clinton, who clearly by her words and actions wants to keep the status quo. Yes, among all the vague statements she’s made to sound like Bernie (for example taking “unaccountable money” out of politics which has little if any significance), she has never specifically said that she ever wanted to do such a thing.

And had she said this, it would be a lie that would insult people’s intelligence by insinuating that Wall Street, pharmaceuticals, fossil fuel companies, arms manufacturers, bankers, insurance companies, and, yes, private prisons again, would pay her millions of dollars to fight against their own interest.

In short, she is clearly part of the problem with money in politics, not part of the solution.

So they can choose to remain neutral, vote for Hillary to help keep the status quo, or vote for Bernie to eradicate the injustice. And from an outsider’s (and objective) point of view, the choice is a no-brainer: vote for Bernie and eradicate the injustice.

But just like every other fight against the major injustices, in spite of the situation being practically black and white, things are thrown in the mix in the attempt to confuse things.

D. The movement to eradicate this injustice is being met with overwhelming resistance.

There is no question that if Bernie is nominated and elected, not only do the chances of getting money out of politics increase dramatically, but the chances of him doing any favors for the special interests become practically absent since he is not on their payroll. The opposite is the case if Hillary is nominated and elected.

Indeed, the financial stakes for these special interests are staggering, the reason why the amounts they have contributed to Hillary’s campaign are so exorbitant and why Hillary’s last reported in income in 2014 has gone up to over $14 million.

Most, if not all of the Democratic politicians who endorse Hillary Clinton are in a similar situation.

And it cannot be debated that the corporate media also benefits handsomely by money in politics in light of the high turnover obtained from political advertising. In that regard, it is not surprising that, the media corporations contribute substantial amounts to Hillary’s campaign.

For that reason, it is also no surprise that their coverage tends to be highly lopsided.

The examples are endless. One involves their citing economists who worked under Bill Clinton and, as if by coincidence, who claim Bernie’s economic plan is unrealistic, while completely ignoring the 170 prestigious economists, some of them Hillary supporters, who praised that same plan confirming that it would greatly help the USA.

Another is focusing more on “sexist” comments from anonymous people online who might be Bernie supporters, rather than on money Hillary takes from fossil fuel companies and arms manufacturers. Much talk is made about Bernie being “unelectable”. But it is rarely mentioned that he does better than Hillary when matched against any of the Republican candidates. And of course it is never mentioned that he had the greatest favorability rating, not only out of all the senators, but also of all the presidential candidates.

Although other examples will be given below, mentioning all or even most of them would be well outside the scope of this article.

Unfortunately, many people still believe the corporate media to be objective notwithstanding their financial support for Hillary and the critical information they conveniently leave out, making the situation a difficult one to overcome.

E. The arguments “justifying” this injustice, being also devoid of fact and logic, use the same type of distractions, fear mongering, and appeals to emotion, prejudice and ignorance as they did before.

Clinton’s campaign, the special interests, most Democratic senators and representatives, and the corporate media, are using precisely the same tactics the previous benefactors of injustices did throughout history in the interest of safeguarding their privileges, albeit at the expense of the rest of the population.

Indeed, it doesn’t take much digging to see the vacuity of their major arguments which have repeatedly been shown in the corporate media as will be demonstrated below:

  1. Hillary has spoken out against Wall Street and pharmaceuticals and says she will reign them in if elected president.

It is foolhardy and extremely naive to even envisage that any politician could fight against the crucial interests very same organizations who are paying her millions of dollars to run. This is the case whether we are talking about Wall Street, the pharmaceuticals, fossil fuel companies, arms manufacturers, media corporations, insurance companies, or private prisons: all which have contributed generously to Hillary’s campaign.

Besides, unlike Bernie, she has never said she would stop or even curb money in politics.

To those who are not convinced, what do you think is her sales pitch when she interrupts her campaign to ask for more contributions from these same special interests?

2. There is no problem with Hillary running for president while under criminal investigation.

This claim is completely false and even scary. The truth is that her running while under criminal investigation is a very problematic. In fact, this is illegal in every industrialized country which does not officially allow money in politics.

The simple reason is due to the justified uncertainty regarding whether the candidate will be able to concentrate on their job amidst the investigation.

In fact, even the USA has never elected as president a person under criminal investigation. And if Hillary is elected, it will be a new low.

To put this in perspective: how many people faced with an important case would feel comfortable hiring a lawyer under criminal investigation?

3. Bernie Sanders is a one issue candidate – getting money out of politics.
Again another absurd claim that uniquely appeals to emotion.

First of all, it is easy to see the egregious falsity of this claim by simply looking at Bernie’s website online which discusses many issues: making universities free, eradicating private prisons, training police against police brutality, strongly decreasing interventionist wars, single payer health care …

The one issue candidate actually was Lessig who actually criticized Bernie Sanders precisely for not being a one issue president.

Second of all, painting “money in politics” as being a simple issue is extremely misleading, since it has s significant effect on practically every other issue.

As demonstrated above, the more money plays a role in politics, the more laws are passed and enforced in order to benefit the people in the top 1% who have paid the politicians which in turn aggravates economic inequality, a spitting image of what has been steadily happening since the decision Buckley v. Valeo in 1976.

This is not only a catalyst for the inhuman acts and travesties of justice mentioned above. It is also practically undisputed that there is a strong correlation between economic inequality and health, access to education, crime and the environment.

In this regard, it is no coincidence that the USA has by a long shot a wealthier top 1% than that of any other industrialized country, BUT at the same time “leads” these same countries in childhood poverty, infant mortality, illiteracy, homeless rate, murder rate, obesity, pollution, malnutrition, general poverty rate, percentage of working poor, illness and death due to lack of proper medical treatment, lack of life expectancy …

On the other hand, it is no coincidence that countries with the least amount of money in politics, legal or illegal, such as Iceland, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden which are subtly vilified by the media, are also the countries where people are the best educated, the healthiest, with the highest life expectancy …

These same countries also tend to be the most environmental friendly, have greater gender equality, and have an extremely low crime rate (which is naturally low, meaning that there is not really any necessity to put a significant amount of police officers on the streets like there is in the USA).

There is debate among economists on whether economic inequality causes an increase in the national debt. Although, this can be a complex subject which I am not qualified to discuss, it is interesting to note that the national debt in the USA began skyrocketing in 1978, just two years after decision Buckley v. Valeo in 1976 which also caused the dramatic increase in economic inequality began to increase.

One could also argue that it spurs racism, xenophobia, and ethnocentricity. Indeed, in what election before 2016 would a candidate like Donald Trump have a clear shot at the presidency?

In summary, contrary to what is implied, even if money in politics were Bernie Sanders’ only issue, it would actually be a very positive thing.

4. Bernie Sanders is a socialist who wants the USA to become the same.

Yet another scare tactic which appeals to the prejudices and ignorance of today which should be gone tomorrow.

Indeed, there are so many things wrong with that statement that it is difficult to know where to begin.

First of all, Sanders is not a Socialist but a Social Democrat (very big difference).

The country which Hillary’s campaign and the media attributes to him is Denmark which also has more or less a Social Democratic system.

Second of all, he has never said or done anything whatsoever to even imply that he wants the USA to be just like Denmark. On the contrary, the policies he advocates are so far to the right in comparison with the political culture there that they would shock most Danish people. Take for example his 10-day mandatory vacation in comparison to the whopping 8 weeks in Denmark.

Finally, even if the rumor were true, which it isn’t, Americans who have spent some time in Denmark know it is not such a bad place: much lower crime rate, better medical system, more educated population, greater gender equality … to name just a few.

5. Some people who may be Bernie supporters have made sexist comments online

Textbook definition of a distraction that has absolutely no importance and is in no way newsworthy. Indeed, when one has millions of supporters, there are all kinds. And the fact that Hillary and the corporate media have stooped down so low to publicize allegedly compromising quotes online of possible individual supporters who, on top of that, are in large part anonymous, confirms all the more their lack of substantive issues upon which they can attack.

On another note, this cheap shot can take away credibility of legitimate allegations of sexism that happen elsewhere.

6. Bernie Sanders is lacking in experience

This is another scare tactic which has little or no factual basis.

Bernie Sanders has over 35 years of experience in politics, 16 of those years in congress and over 9 of those years in the senate, a slightly more impressive resume than that of Franklin D Roosevelt and John F Kennedy before they took office. And he certainly has more experience than Barack Obama did.

Hillary Clinton does have more experience thanks to being First Lady and Secretary of State.

However, the level of both is so high that such an addition does not make a huge difference at that point. The proof is simply that of the many criticisms directed at the four presidents mentioned above for their time in office, very few, if any, have been in relation to any lack of experience.

In fact, it can even be argued that the experience of Hillary Clinton as first lady is actually a grave handicap, since electing her as president (and thus Bill Clinton as first man) would actually be a violation of two term limit.

Besides, it cannot be contested that one factor more important than experience is judgment. And, unlike Bernie, there is no example of any decision Hillary made which was against popular opinion but which turned out to be right.

On the other hand, there are examples of terribly wrong decisions she made, like the Iraq war which, even alone, is devastating and should in no way be minimized.

This is not only due to the significant number of deaths and wounds this war caused to millions of soldiers as well as innocent men women and children as mentioned above. It also cost over a trillion dollars. To put this amount in perspective, Bernie’s plan to provide free public universities, which Hillary opposes on the grounds of being “too costly”, only costs $ 70 billion. Indeed, it is difficult to not find this highly offensive.

And it’s not just the Iraq war. She also has voted for the same interventionist wars as the Republicans: Libya, Afghanistan and Syria, all which Bernie opposed. This should not be a surprise given the handsome contributions she receives from arms manufacturers.

And even if we were to play the devil’s advocate and say that her experience was a significant advantage, would one really feel more comfortable being led by, and therefore being dependent on, 1. a person with significant experience that was riddled with scandals including at least one current criminal investigation and whose judgment is influenced by special interests, rather than 2. one who has less experience but who has a clean record?

7. Bernie Sanders, if elected, won’t be able to get anything done because his ideas are too radical

This claim is different from the others against Bernie Sanders in that it is partially based on fact.

All the same, it still fraudulent in light of so many fallacies, making it be nothing more than fear mongering, a tactic which feeds off of prejudices, and propaganda that portrays the candidate attempting to eradicate the injustice (money in politics this time) as being radical or unrealistic.

First of all, there are many factors which play into the ability of a politician to get things done, only one of them being the position of their ideas on the political spectrum.

One example is the ability to reach out to the other side of the spectrum, which Bernie has done through speeches at places like Liberty University (where Hillary declined to go), obtaining 25% of the Republican vote in his state, being awarded the highest honor in 2015 from the right wing Veterans of Foreign Wars, having significantly more support among Republicans and Independents than Hillary etc…

It is all the more telling that Hillary had the fourth-largest partisan difference of any senator, with a 50 percentage point difference in approval between New York’s Democrats and Republicans.

Another example, which probably is a much more important factor, is the popularity of a candidate. Bernie Sanders wins here by a landslide. In late January/early February, polls on the average showed Sanders favorability ratings to be in the high 40s/low 50s while his unfavorability ratings were in the high 30s.

And according to the last poll, done by CNN, Bernie’s favorability rating has gone up to 60% while his unfavorability rating has gone down to 33%. This is by far better then that of any presidential candidate.

This is practically the opposite for Hillary who’s favorability ratings in the high 30s are dwarfed by her unfavorability ratings in the high 50s. These figures are simply abysmal.

It is telling to note that the corporate media has been using Donald Trump’s favorability ratings (which are almost identical to those of Hillary) as a basis to prove that he is not only unelectable, but that he would not be able to lead the country or get anything done.

And the fact that they do not even mention Hillary’s ratings on television is simply another confirmation of their bias.

Additionally, Bernie’s approval rating among his constituents in Vermont is 83%, making him the most popular Senator in the country. Hillary, whose approval rating as senator tended to hover on the average between 50 and 60%, never had anywhere near that type of success.

Indeed, contrary to what the claim states, Bernie not only has the profile of a candidate who can get many more things done than Hillary, but has already shown this to be true.

The proof is in the pudding: Hillary, during her time as a senator, only sponsored 3 bills and cosponsored 74 bills. This is dwarfed by Sanders’ achievements: 708 bills sponsored and 6218 bills cosponsored.

Third of all, this claim of Hillary’s campaign and the corporate media is extremely offensive. In simple terms, it is saying (if we were to take the claim of Bernie being a one issue candidate for granted): “The candidate who wants to take money out of politics is too radical in part because of this idea, and therefore won’t be able to get anything done. Therefore, we should elect a “moderate” who is paid for by the special interests and who does not want to take money out of politics.”

This is an echo of the same arguments against desegregation in the south and granting homosexuals equal rights. In short, for better or for worse, they take this injustice for granted to the point that anyone clearly trying to fight such an injustice is a radical. Those arguments were highly offensive then, and are highly offensive now.

Finally, contrary to what Clinton’s campaign and corporate media try to purport, Bernie’s ideas are not radical. The vast majority of Americans don’t want money in politics.

The same thing goes for his other ideas (yes he is not a one issue candidate): most Americans also want: legalization of marijuana, free universities, single payer health care, to cease or decrease interventionist wars …

8. Bernie Sanders is unelectable

Again this is another example of fear mongering, a tactic which feeds off of prejudices, and propaganda that portrays the candidate attempting to eradicate the injustice (money in politics this time) as being radical or unrealistic.

Besides, it’s completely false according to the average polls in the last 3 weeks:

  • Bernie beats Donald Trump by around 9 points on the average. Hillary Clinton only beats him by around 4 points.
  • Bernie beats Cruz by around 14 points. Hillary loses to Cruz by around 2 points.
  • Bernie beats Rubio by around 7 points. Hillary loses to Rubio by around 5 points.
  • Bernie beats Kasich by around 4 points. Hillary loses to Kasich by around 8 points.

And it is important to remember (see above) that Bernie has a positive favorability rating of around 27 points whereas Hillary has a negative favorability rating by around 20 points.

Finally, it is important to remember that Bernie is the candidate with the best favorability rating.

It is very telling that for the first time ever, the corporate media now alleges that such polls don’t mean very much. One must ask why they have never made such a claim regarding all other elections before when both candidates wanted to keep money in politics.

Furthermore, the statistics for Hillary will only get worse if she is nominated.

Up until now, contrary to what one may think, both the corporate media and Bernie have been extremely soft on her.

From the corporate media side, the negative publicity which was most exposed surrounded the email scandal and Benghazi: both where her culpability is debatable and debated. In fact, regarding the email scandal, it is interesting to note that no mention is made from corporate media regarding the gravity of a candidate running while under criminal investigation, which is not easily debatable and very serious.

On Bernie’s side (and just recently the corporate media) the criticism mainly regards Hillary’s ties to Wall Street and the three speeches at Goldman Sachs where she earned a total of $675,000. But this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Indeed, unlike Bernie Sanders and the corporate media, Donald Trump won’t hesitate to throw out a slew of ads showing her boasting and laughing about how she had fun getting off a client she knew to be guilty of raping a 12 year old girl who ended up in a coma, her contributions from and her ties with Saudi Arabia, her shaming of women who had sexual relations with her husband, the scores of people who “died” while working for her, her threatening women who accused Bill Clinton of raping them, the fact that it is damning that the USA even allows a candidate to run for president while she is under criminal investigation, naming all the other special interests she has taken money from, etc….

The choices of what skeletons to expose are endless. And unlike the email scandal and Benghazi, the guilt regarding many of the facts above is difficultly debatable and certainly damning enough to turn away even many Hillary supporters.

Bernie’s statistics on the other hand, if nominated, should go up or stay the same. Indeed, how much further can Donald Trump go? Hillary’s campaign and the media have already exhausted and twisted every shred of damning material it could find. Indeed, when the criticism sinks to a low of “exposing” online “sexist” comments made by anonymous people who might be Bernie supporters, then in all probability there is not very much left.

Of course Trump could continue to twist the word socialist in so many ways, but at this point, practically all Bernie’s supporters already know he’s a social democrat already. And in any case, such a criticism is much less effective than before, especially when we notice the growing popularity Bernie has in spite of the corporate media bias. Indeed, it is difficult to not like his message regardless of one’s political affiliation.

9. The media is hard on Hillary because she is a woman

This argument probably used by the Hillary campaign for the two following reasons:

  • To make people think that they should take anything negative said about Hillary in the corporate media with a grain of salt on the pretext that the media is supposedly bias against her. Of course as shown above, the corporate media, which contributes handsomely to her campaign treats her very favorably in comparison to Bernie (see above and below), the candidate who fights against their interests.
  • To make people judge Hillary less harshly out of guilt from feeling “sexist”.

But, as will be shown below, this is another baseless argument that falls on it’s face very easily.

a. Hillary’s likeability

Hillary and the corporate media tend to chalk up any criticism about her likeability and/or policies as being based on the fact that she is a woman who has “succeeded”.

Here, one merely has to stop and ask the simple but rhetoric question if there are many well known female politicians who have had the same type of criticisms regarding likeability that Hillary has: shrill, self-entitled, arrogant, calculated, irresponsible, flip-flopping, and fake.

Indeed, it would be very difficult to find the same types of criticism thrown at successful female politicians anywhere from Elizabeth Warren to Nina Turner (who often speaks loudly by the way) to Carly Fiorina to Sarah Palin. Of course each one of them has received other types criticisms, just like all male politicians.

But since Hillary is the only one to have had those specific criticisms attributed to her, it is a no-brainer to see that the cause stems from because things she has done and/or ways she acts rather than anything to do with her gender.

b. Hillary’s actions

First of all, if the press covers skeletons in a politician’s career, they are not being hard on the politician as long as the story is newsworthy and important.

It cannot be denied that the investigations against Hillary regarding Benghazi and the email scandal are both, regardless of the extent of her guilt. It is completely irresponsible for Hillary’s campaign to claim that this is in light of her gender.

Furthermore, the reality is the opposite of Hillary’s claim : the corporate media actually has been very soft on Hillary (which is expected given that they contribute to her campaign) considering the vast number of skeletons which receive little or no attention : laughing about how she had fun getting off a client she knew to be guilty of raping a 12 year old girl who ended up in a coma, her contributions from Saudi Arabia, her shaming of women who had sexual relations with her husband, the scores of people who “died” while working for her, her threatening women who accused Bill Clinton of raping them, the fact that it is damning that the USA even allows a candidate to run for president while she is under criminal investigation, naming all the other special interests she has taken money from, etc…

Contrast this with the media’s coverage of Bernie’s “scandals” which are neither important nor newsworthy. Take for example the “sexist” online comments, many of them anonymous, from individuals who might be Bernie supporters; or digging back over a half century to find a paper Bernie wrote which might be able to be construed as being very offensive.

Of course, the reason why the media is so soft on Hillary probably has little if anything to do with gender, but rather because she plans to keep money in politics which is a significant source of their income. And, of course, the fact that Bernie wants the opposite also explains why they are so harsh.

On a side note, this argument of Hillary’s campaign is not only ridiculous, but also cowardly, abusive and dangerous.

10. It is important to elect Hillary Clinton because she represents female empowerment

This is yet another distraction which has absolutely nothing to do with keeping Americans healthy, putting food on the table, living in a safe environment, racism or even gender equality for that matter.

First of all, it must be emphasized that the gender and/or race of a leader who has “symbolized” empowerment of such race and/or ethnic group has little effect if any on the direction the country takes.

Indeed, the great accomplishments of Margaret Thatcher certainly did not revolve so much around women’s rights. Same with Angela Merkel. Under Obama, the group that made by far the greatest strides were gays and lesbians. In fact, in light of the widening wealth gap, one could make a strong argument that African Americans fared the less well economically than any other group, certainly less well than whites did.

Under Hillary Clinton herself, if we are to use the methodology of the Census Bureau, women earned 72 cents for every dollar men earned. Although this methodology is questionable, it was precisely the same one used behind the 77 cents to the dollar statistic in the USA that Hillary often cites when “proving” the income disparity between women and men. She also accepted large contributions from Saudi Arabia which has most oppressive regime against women.

It is for this reason that such a symbol, like other symbols in general, only has, by definition, symbolic importance. And giving it anything near to what the corporate media portrays is not only simplistic, superficial, misguided, racist/sexist and highly offensive, but most of all dangerous.

If we are to play the devil’s advocate and say that the symbol of female empowerment is important, this symbol would actually be a strong argument against, not for, electing Hillary. The two main reasons revolve around precisely the two characteristics which distinguish her from not only the female and minority leaders mentioned above, but even every other female and minority who has attempted to become president or vice president.

Reason no. 1: Abusive use of the Gender Card. The best way to look at this is to start by giving a counter example. One of the reasons many saw Obama’s election as being a great moment, is precisely because he didn’t play the race card. He went on the issues, and defended himself against criticisms by specifically responding to the allegations against him. Sometimes he did this in good faith, sometimes in bad faith, sometimes by outright lying, but he never sought protection from the race card by circumventing the attacks on the grounds that they were “racist”. In short, he ran as a candidate and not as a black candidate. Same thing with Sanders, Thatcher and to a great extent Merkel. The use of the gender card from Palin, Ferraro, Fiorina, and Winona LaDuke was also either limited or non existent.

This, of course is not at all the case with Hillary who uses it constantly whenever she does not find a valid answer to a criticism against her (see above). Indeed, in such a situation she often turns the tables around by claiming that the criticism against her she is simply due to the fact that she is a woman who has “succeeded”.

It’s cowardly, divisive, unpresidential, and selfish (since it renders serious situations of sexism less credible).

And most of all, to hide behind this card so frequently is not a sign of strength but a sign of weakness, which is of course an antithesis to empowerment.

Reason no. 2: Hillary ascended in power and name recognition thanks to her husband

There is a second factor which distinguishes all of the female candidates mentioned above from Hillary: unlike her, they all got to where they were on their own. In other words, they really did succeed.

In summary, it would be another insult to female empowerment if the first female president is also the only politician who rode to power and name recognition on the coattails of her husband.

For these two reasons, this argument used continually by Hillary and the corporate media is a sick twist of what female empowerment really is.

11. The USA simply can’t afford free universities and single payer health care

This argument, which also tries to show the candidate against money in politics as being “unrealistic” is not only ridiculous, but also extremely offensive.

There are several analysis by experts which clearly show that the extra taxes on healthcare for individuals and companies would be more than offset by the diminished or even absent costs in health insurance. It also cannot be disputed that all the other industrialized countries with single payer have much lower health costs and provide much better health care on the average to their citizens who have a longer life expectancy, suffer from less obesity …

To give a specific example, it has been estimated that if the U.S. moved to a single-payer system as efficient as Canada’s, it would save $430 billion on useless paperwork and insurance companies’ outrageous profits, more than enough to cover the 31 million Americans who remain uninsured, and to eliminate co-payments and deductibles for everyone.

Of course, both the pharmaceuticals and insurance companies would see a serious dive in their profits, reason why they are contributing so much money to Hillary’s campaign.

And it has also been clearly shown how a tax on wall street speculation more than foots the bill for free public universities.

Besides, aside from all the evidence which has been given, the whole argument falls flat on its face with one simple sentence: it is an insult to intelligence to even suggest that the country which has one of the highest GDP per capita among industrialized countries would be the only industrialized country which couldn’t afford a single payer system and free universities for it’s own citizens.

It is also a highly offensive argument for Hillary’s campaign and the corporate media to make.

To put this in perspective, Hillary and the media completely ignored the expenses behind her vote in favor of the four last wars (especially the one in Iraq which alone cost $1 trillion) and to not break up the banks (which also will force a payment of over $1 trillion): each of them which were significantly more expensive than the single payer health care plan and the $ 70 billion for Bernie’s plan to provide free public universities, both scoffed at on the grounds of being “too costly”.

Indeed, the former would greatly enrich the special interests (albeit impoverish most of the rest of the population), while the latter would be very harmful to those same special interests (albeit beneficial to most of the rest of the population).

Given all the money she receives from the special interests; such decisions are not at all surprising.

CONCLUSION

There is no question that money in politics is not only morally and ethically wrong, but can hinder advancement in practically all other issues. The only people it does benefit are the special interests, the politicians who accept money from the special interests, and the corporate media.

Indeed, if money in politics is eradicated, they will see a significant drop in their income, just like slave owners and businesses hiring child labor did.

As irrational as the arguments against Bernie Sanders are, they are very carefully crafted to compensate the lack of logical and factual basis. Significant amounts of money are spent precisely in that regard.

It is of my hope that most Americans can simply look at the situation for what it is, and at the arguments for what they are.

Voting for Hillary is purely and simply a vote for money in politics. Voting for Bernie is against it.

And the sooner money goes out of politics, the better the USA will be.

Indeed, it would be difficult to find anyone today who claims that child labor, slavery, the denial of women’s right to vote, segregation … ended too soon.

About Eric Witt

Eric Witt is an American lawyer (member of the Connecticut bar) a former French lawyer who gives advice to French individuals and companies on American law and works with French lawyers giving advise to American individuals and companies on French law. Although he has lived the latter half of his life in Europe, he is very interested in American politics.

1 Comment

  1. Cathy Sullivan

    A must read for an informed electorate! Well done, thank you!