Feb. 25, 2016
In his speech, Sanders outlined for the first time, his view of the real legacy of Bill and Hillary Clinton.
“I understand,” he said, “that many black voters have positive feelings about the Clintons. That is true for many working people in general, largely because Bill Clinton had the good fortune to serve in office during a time of a strong economic expansion. And my opponent, Hillary Clinton, is largely campaigning on the image of the previous Clinton administration. It’s true that Bill Clinton made himself popular by going on TV and playing the saxophone, but image pales by comparison with the real record. I urge you to consider that real record:
Right in the middle of Bill Clinton’s first campaign for president, just weeks before the crucial vote in New Hampshire, Bill Clinton rushed home to sign the death warrant for Ricky Ray Rector, a mentally impaired black man who was so unaware of what was about to happen to him that he asked if he could save his last meal’s dessert for later. He had this man executed – a child really – as a sacrificial lamb on the alter of the “tough on crime” god. And we should all be aware what that whole campaign around being “tough on crime”, the campaign against “violent criminals” and so on was really all about: It was a code word for black people, it was using the ’n’ word without the fallout.
“Once in office, the Clinton administration didn’t stop there. One of his major steps was welfare “reform”, and it’s ironic how “reform” nowadays has come to mean making things harder on working class people and harder on black people in particular. What was the result of that “reform” – one that was signed with the support of Hillary Rodham Clinton? One result is that today this, the richest nation in the world, has one of the highest child poverty rates in the developed world.
“Then there is the issue of the mass incarceration of black people, something that was given a huge boost through the omnibus crime bill that Bill Clinton signed, again with no objection from the First Lady, who today is running for president. Just one measure of that bill tells you all you need to know. Under it, a convicted felon is barred from not only receiving federal aid to go to college – which often times will condemn that person to a choice between a life of poverty or a life of crime – not only that, but it prohibits him from ever living in public housing. So, just imagine the choice some mother has: Her 20 year old son is released from prison after serving maybe a year or two. She is living in public housing with her three other children. She has to put that elder son out on the street; she cannot allow him to live with her, or else she risks herself and her other children being put out on the street. Can you imagine anything so cruel, so cold hearted?
“And while we’re talking about housing, let’s remember that it’s not true that the Clinton administration cut federal funding for housing. It was just a matter of what housing. Instead of real housing – housing for struggling families – they shifted the funding to housing – or should we say ‘warehousing’ – of criminals. That is to say, a massive increase in federal spending for prisons. Money shifted away from food stamps, child welfare budgets, federal housing and instead spent on the mass incarceration machine.
“Today, Bill Clinton apologizes for this ‘mistake’. But that is only when his wife is running for president and the two of them are appealing for the votes of black voters. How seriously can that be taken?
“As the black writer and intellectual, Michelle Alexander, has said, ‘If you listen closely here, you’ll notice that Hillary is still singing the same old tune in a slightly different key. She is arguing that we ought not be seduced by Bernie Sanders’ rhetoric because we must be “pragmatic,” “face political realities” and not get tempted to believe that we can fight for economic justice and win.’
“And speaking of admitting to ‘mistakes’, today my opponent admits that her vote to go to war in Iraq was a ‘mistake’. But it was just back in 2011 that she was saying ‘It’s time for the United States to start thinking of Iraq as a business opportunity.’ A business opportunity? How many tens of thousands of Iraqi men women and children have to be sacrificed for this business opportunity? Is that what human life comes down to – especially if that life is not of a blond-haired, blue-eyed person? Just a business opportunity?
“Today, Hillary Clinton talks about all her experience, especially as secretary of state. Let’s remember that that experience can best be summarized by the US military’s involvement in the overthrow of Moammar Qaddafi in Libya. But yet her own e mails reveal that her advocacy of that overthrow was taken just as light mindedly as the Bush invasion of Iraq. Ms. Clinton, above all others in the Obama administration, advocated the intervention without ever considering what would come afterwards. As then Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, put it “We were playing it by ear.” So, even if she thinks her support for the US invasion of Iraq was simply a ‘mistake’, she has evidently learned nothing from it.
“My opponent has decried my talking about the money she has received from Wall St. All in all, when you include the money given to her political campaigns, for her speeches and – last but not least – the money given to her and her husband’s so-called non-profit foundation – that money totals $3 billion. Not million, not tens or even hundreds of millions. Billions, with a “b”. Among the donors were Elaine and Gerald Schuster, who made their fortunes ‘operating nursing homes and public housing developments, tangling with union leaders, government and housing activists in the process,’ as a Washington Post article put it. Then there was the Walton family, of Walmart fame. Now, I ask you, do you think the Schusters and the Walton’s donated their money to the Clinton’s out of the goodness of their hearts? Or do you think they did it to ensure that Hillary’s so-called “finance reform” measures would be nothing but a slight tweak, one about which the financier Jaret Seiberg wrote that it “demonstrates an understanding of the financial system”? You decide.”
Returning to the site of the so-called Orangeburg Massacre of 1968 in which three students were killed and 27 wounded by police at the historically black South Carolina State University, US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders gave a major speech two days ago in which he denounced the legacy of the Clintons. (See text of speech on right.) The response was immediate. The very next day, a poll conducted by Offthewall polling revealed that Hillary’s support had collapsed by 14% and, when matched against Donald Trump, the likely Republican nominee, she was losing for the first time by as much as 4%. Sanders numbers, especially among black voters, were rapidly increasing.
There was another response, however, as nearly the entire top of Sanders campaign staff resigned en masse. Those who resigned included his former chief of staff, Michaeleen Crowell, his former campaign communications director, Michael Briggs, his former campaign director Jeff Weaver, his former field director Phil Fiermonte, his strategist Tad Devine, and other top aides Pete D’Alesandro, Scott Goldstein, Arun Chaudry, and Keegan Goodiss.
This blog site has been in communication with a Sanders staffer who was present at the meeting with Sanders in which these aides presented their joint resignation. Our informant, who wishes to be known as “Flyonthewall”, reports that it was Phil Fiermonte who presented the joint resignation and was chief spokesperson for the entire group.
“Senator Sanders,” Fiermonte reportedly said, “we cannot accept this sort of attack on Hillary and even less on Bill Clinton. As you well know, Bill Clinton stands for our party as an icon every bit as important as is Ronald Reagan for the Republicans. And let me remind you that their politics weren’t really all that different. Don’t forget that it was President Clinton who proclaimed that ‘the era of big government is over.’ We did not join your campaign nor your staff as US Senator in order to assist you in taking down this icon, especially given the importance of maintaining images and icons for maintaining the stability of US society.”
To which Senator Sanders allegedly explained that the most important thing was to prevent the Republicans for winning the presidency and maintaining their control of both houses and that polls were consistently showing that Hillary Clinton would just barely beat Donald Trump, if she can beat him at all. His objective, as he had clearly explained after his New Hampshire victory, was to strengthen the Democratic Party, and he didn’t believe that a Hillary Clinton candidacy could achieve that.
“That’s not the point, Senator Sanders,” replied Fiermonte. “We cannot accept a win-at-all-costs approach. Imagery is too important. We are already told that many Republican tops will support a Clinton candidacy if she runs against Trump and even if Trump were to win, we believe the system can handle even a Trump presidency, if it comes to that. And, speaking quite frankly, Mr. Senator, we have our own careers to look after. With all due respect, Senator, you may not engage in many more campaigns given the age factor, but we hope to. We were placed on your staff not only to assist you, but to help steer your campaign within responsible guidelines. What do you think will happen to us if we cannot accomplish this?”
To which Senator Sanders replied, “Okay, Phil, I can understand this coming from these others. Their entire careers have been spent as Democratic Party insiders, but you, Phil — before you worked for me you worked for the union leadership, not for the Democratic Party!”
To which Phil Fiermonte allegedly replied, “is there a difference?”
Added editorial note:
Question: “Is this real?”
Answer: “Look at the date is was posted and the dateline of the article.
Question: “I’m still not sure.”
Answer: “Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction and sometimes fiction – or satire – tells you more about truth than you might want to know.”