Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The mantra of the wealthy and powerful: "We ask forgiveness not permission"

As I write this, I'm thinking of that music video, The End of the Innocence, by Don Henley. I'm remembering the images of Oliver North, the Iran-Contra scandal and Reagan's Brain. I remember the sense I had back then that the men in power just wanted to "wash their hands of their sins". At the same time, I'm recalling a video of Clinton supporters talking about how to skirt the law, even break it, when it comes to soliciting voter registrations during the primaries this year. One of them said, "we ask forgiveness, not permission", as if the law didn't really matter to her.

Hillary Clinton supporters maintain that for more than 30 years, the Clintons have been investigated for many things and implicitly exonerated on every controversy they have been involved in. From Vince Foster's "suicide" to Whitewater to Hillary Clinton's email server, the Clintons have somehow eluded prosecution and conviction. Clinton supporters admonish anyone who speaks of these things and implore us to just leave them alone.

The Clintons have been investigated more than any other politicians in history and yet no one has ever been able to find any wrongdoing on their part. It just looks bad, right? By their logic if serial killers can elude the authorities for years, then the Clintons are good, too - at least until they are caught at something. The consistency of their participation in apparent scandals or even relations with people involved in such controversies and the complete lack of any convictions, suggests a deep and wide network of allies prepared to divert and/or sustain any political or legal attacks against them.

The Clintons have been implicitly exonerated by the same system that declined to prosecute a single too-big-to-fail bank CEO after the 2008 banking crisis. The same system that declined to prosecute anyone for war crimes under the Bush administration for two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is also the same system that failed to prosecute anyone in America after one of the largest financial scandals in history, the LIBOR scandal where interest rates were manipulated for profit. Yeah, that was bigger than the 2008 banking meltdown, but for some reason, hardly anyone heard about it in the news.

In fact, for much of modern history, it is very hard to find any scandal where the people at the top are held accountable. Not even in the recent Wells Fargo case, will anyone go to jail for fraud. Sure, there will be clawback for bonuses not earned, but no one will go to jail. That opulent lifestyle will remain. Yet, there are now two criminal investigations in play. Does anyone seriously believe that wealthy and very well connected John Stumpf will ever go to jail?

Given all of this, should it even be surprising that Hillary Clinton was not referred to the Department of Justice for prosecution for her email games?

To add insult to injury, we have a president who is not willing to answer for Hillary's crimes or even, her civil infidelities with how she handled official email. Why not? I say respondeat superior or, "let the master answer". President Obama has claimed innocence when he informed the public that he didn't know that Hillary was using a private email address so as to be "extremely careless" with confidential information, on a private domain, on a private email server in the basement of her residence. If Obama had no clue, surely someone in his extensive team of professional could have told him that Hillary was running afoul of the laws.

No they did not, but at least we know that those professionals only follow one basic principle: cover your ass. And while you're at it cover your boss's ass. There were many reasons why I liked Obama during his first term and his second. But this? I might still approve of some of the things he has done, but I seriously do not like how he is responding the email scandal. I don't like how he responded to charges of election fraud on the part of the Democratic Party, either. And I most certainly don't like how not a single mega-bank CEO has gone to jail for their roles in the financial crisis of 2008. Obama, like many of his predecessors, and like Hillary is poised to do, wants to keep the economy rigged.

The members of the professional class that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton deign to protect, are not really professionals if they will not be held accountable. Could they even be called professionals if they cannot do their jobs without flouting or even breaking the laws?

Trump has said that if he's elected, he'll appoint a special prosecutor to go after Clinton. Really? Trump would do that to one of his friends? The Clintons and the Trumps have been friends for decades. Trump says that he'll man polling stations to help prevent voter fraud. Is he going to pay them or stiff them? I think that the Clintons are so well connected that even if Trump won and got a special prosecutor on the job, they'd get about as far one special prosecutor did with Bill Clinton. Nowhere. I expect nothing more from Donald Trump, the entertainer.

I may forgive, but I will not permit, support or enable behavior that betrays the middle class. This is why I'm voting Green for president. Whatever you have to say about Jill Stein, your criticisms, your objections, they pale when held side by side with Obama, Clinton and Trump. Seriously, do you really want to see another 8 years of scandal without prosecution? I don't.

I'll vote for Jill Stein, every Green Party candidate and every Berniecrat I can find on the ballot, and I will do that with a clean conscience, for I want to be able to sleep at night.
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