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Clinton’s Contrition

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Posted on Apr 22, 2010
Bill Clinton
Flickr / Chris Denbow (CC-BY)

By David Sirota

In 1992, I was in 10th grade. Hence, I didn’t care about much more than the girls I could never get, the Philadelphia 76ers’ playoff chances and the shortcomings of my own unimpressive basketball career (in that order)—and I certainly didn’t care about politics. So when my teacher assigned me to represent a Southerner I’d never heard of in a mock presidential debate, I was, um, not psyched.

My attitude changed, though, when I started researching—wait, what was his name again? Oh, right—Bill Clinton. To my surprise, what I found was inspiring. The lip-biting saxophonist seemed like a forthright guy with some heartfelt “feel your pain” outrage at the unfairness of the moment’s Gordon Gekko zeitgeist. An early campaign speech I discovered particularly captivated me—the one in which Clinton said, “I expect the jet-setters and featherbedders of corporate America to know that if you sell your companies and your workers and your country down the river, you’ll be called on the carpet.”

Call me crazy or gullible—at 16, I was probably both—but I bought it. If not for Clinton’s campaign (and that irrepressibly optimistic Fleetwood Mac jingle), I might have followed star-crossed hoop dreams already doomed by my god-awful jump shot. Instead, I chose a political path, genuinely believing in that place called hope.

This naive faith, of course, is why I would later come to detest Bill Clinton.

Upon assuming office, he championed the very corporatist policies he railed on—lobbyist-written free-trade pacts and financial deregulation, to name a few. To me, a fervent supporter turned spurned groupie, Clinton eventually looked like an opportunist who knew he was selling out—and yet sold out anyway.

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Because of his reversals, I ended up in my adult years being critical of Clinton—so consistently critical, in fact, that I’m shocked to find myself about to spend the next few paragraphs praising him. No, not for his (admittedly impressive) humanitarian work, but for his recent contrition.

Whereas former presidents typically devote their retirements to history-revising legacy preservation, Clinton is laudably doing the opposite—and the nation will, hopefully, benefit.

It began with his congressional testimony last month. Discussing his administration’s trade policy, Clinton admitted that it “has not worked” to alleviate poverty, as promised.

“It was a mistake,” he said of his agribusiness-backed initiatives forcing impoverished countries to eliminate tariffs. “It was a mistake that I was a party to. ... I had to live every day with the consequences of the loss of capacity to produce a rice crop in Haiti to feed those people because of what I did.”

Clinton didn’t stop there. In a subsequent ABC News interview, he said that when it came to 1990s-era financial deregulation that so harmed today’s economy, “I think [my advisers] were wrong, and I think I was wrong.”

Some will undoubtedly say “too little, too late.” But with Clinton having nothing to gain from these admissions—and, really, lots to lose—the 10th-grade idealist in me says “better late than never.”

Better he acknowledge the failure of misguided trade and deregulatory initiatives, rather than pretend they succeeded. Better he apologize for the betrayals that deflated his supporters, rather than feign indifference. Why? Because the penitence may now spur change.

Clinton’s compunction could, for instance, convince President Barack Obama to shelve new free-trade proposals and avoid undermining Congress’ current financial regulatory legislation. It may compel Obama to fire the same Clinton economic aides who now work in his administration. And it might even prompt a nation of exceptionalists to admit its errors and actually reform itself.

After all, if Clinton can learn from mistakes, then America should be able to do the same.

David Sirota is the author of the best-selling books “Hostile Takeover” and “The Uprising.” He hosts the morning show on AM760 in Colorado and blogs at OpenLeft.com. E-mail him at ds@davidsirota.com.

© 2010 Creators.com


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RAE's avatar

By RAE, April 26, 2010 at 7:01 pm Link to this comment

Oh, cole, grow up.

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By cole, April 26, 2010 at 6:41 pm Link to this comment

I don’t condone ad hominem attacks but, Bill Clinton is, at best, a mutt. Had he not made it in politics he would be incarcerated as a sexual predator. Fame and power spared him that fate. No acts of contrition will change the damage he inflicted on the many females he sullied. He is an embarrassed to the nation, his family and his gender.

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By cole, April 26, 2010 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t condone ad hominem attacks but, Bill Clinton is, at best, a mutt. Had he not made it in politics he would be incarcerated as a sexual predator. Fame and power spared him this fate. No acts of contrition will change the damage he inflicted on the many females he sullied. He is an embarrassed to his gender.

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Not One More!'s avatar

By Not One More!, April 26, 2010 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

If I add up 2 + 2 and get 5, it is only a mistake only if I incorrectly and accidentally come up with that answer. If I intentionally say that 2 + 2 equals 5 (and if I benefit from that answer) it is called a LIE, not a mistake.

A true contrition would have admitted that Clinton intentionally did the wrong thing, intentionally made the wrong choices because of his selfish greed driven intentions. He is not accepting any blame, it is not an act of contrition, it is blaming the wind for the earthquake that he created.

The reason Clinton can’t admit he was intentionally lying back then is because he is still lying. But it seems to be working because he is changing the reality of what happened then as he lies about it now saying it was a ‘mistake’ instead of intentional deceit.

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By John, April 26, 2010 at 4:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Jimmy Carter did not spend his post presidency years in history-revising legacy preservation activity. 

Bill Clinton has yet to what Jimmy Carter had done eight years after the Carter presidency.

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By Inherit The Wind, April 26, 2010 at 3:54 am Link to this comment

So…what do you expect Bill Clinton to do? Sit back and write his memoirs and try to justify his f***-ups the way his successor did?

It bothers me that people forget that Bill Clinton came in with a Liberal agenda, tried to get a single payer health care plan through and….all he got was he lost BOTH houses of Congress in 1994, just 2 years into his first term.  He spent the next 6 years having to deal with and fight off a House led by Newt Gingrich and a Senate led by Bob Dole, then by Trent Lott.  Remember: Newt and Lott engineered a totally BOGUS impeachment of Clinton based on BS, knowing it would fail.

THAT was the Congress WJC had to work with!  What did you expect him to do, “dissolve Parliament”?  Our system doesn’t work that way.

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By Not One More!, April 25, 2010 at 11:09 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Sirota is proof that a sucker is born every minute, and reborn the very next. Clinton will not upset the apple cart. This is lip service to silence the criticism of the Democratic party leadership, and Mr. Sirota fell hook line and sinker, just like Monica.

And the loser is the American people, again, when they allow people like Clinton (both Bill and Hillary), and Obama to get a free ride for doing the same thing that the ‘evil’ Bush did—Sell out the American people, the environment, peace and justice.

This is part of the sham that keeps the dissent down so that people don’t really exercise the power that they would ever have if they stopped supporting the two corporate mainstream parties.

Where is the end of the war, the end of corporate corruption, the end to the desecration of our environment (clean coal and all that crap)?

Won’t happen while Bill, Hillary, Obama, Kerry, Edwards, Gore etc are in charge.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” ~Albert Einstein

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By drum4one4all, April 25, 2010 at 3:38 pm Link to this comment

Scale? Subtlity? No.

Destroying a people’s economic basis AND food supply is co-vert warfare vs Bush’s overt warfare. 

It’s too easy to say Bush is bad therefore Clinton good.  It took a massive earthquake to revisit the damage Clinton did to Haiti.  No earthquake…the Haitians would still be starving.

Installing dictators in every country to operate NAFTA…that’s sublte isn’t it?  Compared to Bush’s “I dare you” attitude. 

Here’s another perspective.  Clinton and his buddies getting away with destroying the economies of 3rd world countries was the groundwork for even greater atrocities.  Prepared the soil for the likes of Bush.

They are all criminals.  I don’t know where the numbers stand these days but death by starvation and despair is equally countable to death by a gun, a drone, a waterboard.

What’s vile is not seeing the vileness of NAFTA.  What’s vile is absolutely waterboarding, illegal, immoral war.

Whats vile is all war in all it’s forms.

There never was such a thing as apples for apples. Every tree bares a slightly different taste, color smell of fruit.

The last 50 years has all been rotten fruit.

Saying waterboarding is illegal is a fine thing…“they” will say no its not just to stir the pot. And, they will say Nafta is legal, trying to make it a fine thing when it is not.  Just because its a law doesn’t mean it right.  And that, in my mind makes it even more dangerous and harder to fight, cause it is harder to see.

Until there’s an earthquake.

I forget..didn’t Clinton have something to do with Serbia and Kosovo…Georgia…remind me again, what was that all about?

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By T. A. Madison, April 25, 2010 at 2:15 pm Link to this comment

Conflating the policies of George W. Bush with Bill Clinton lacks subtlity.  It confounds differences of scale and, more significantly, obscures the Cheney/Bush Administration’s pattern of intent in its subversion of the Constitution and Rule of Law.  Blurring the two also ignores the differences of voter fraud, thuggery, and authoritarianism encouraged by Bush, now further inflamed against President Obama.  The Bush/Cheney criminal legacy is simply too dangerous to be justified by diversions or omissions.

Of course, The School of the Americas should be closed.  Even a President Ralph Nader, however, would have to muster constituencies to do so and would need all the allies he could get.

Recollect for a moment, please, that the Bush/Cheney Administration was all crime, all the time.  High Crimes included the subversion of the Constitution, lying to Congress, and torture.  It is not generally cited that torture also rationalizes slavery, and weakens most of the articles of The Bill of Rights.  Domestically, at any rate, there is no comparison between Clinton and Bush.

Further, “Invasion” is regarded as “the supreme war crime” according to the Nuremberg Principals.  Long standing international laws like the Geneva Conventions and The Convention Against Torture, were criminally subverted by Weinberger and Cheney.  Many high-ranking Constitutionally minded soldiers were hounded into early retirement from service after their knowing protests against torture because it puts our own soldiers at risk.  Many of the violated provisions of international law were treaties signed by the United States.  They were, therefore, Federal Laws that, when violated, and became Felonies committed by members of the Bush Administration, according to the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. 

In Iraq, there have been certainly more than million people killed there during the Bush Administration.  Numbers expand by factors of ten concerning the wounded (never to recover fully).  Considering those robbed, violated and displaced by the war increase numbers again by a factor of ten.  One million people dead and one hundred million people devastated from war.

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By T. A. Madison, April 25, 2010 at 2:15 pm Link to this comment

Another point of view to inform the context showing the Clinton Administration as significantly different than the Bush Administration is from Seymour Hersh, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who first broke the story of the Abu Ghraib torture camp.  He said on PBS that: “The contempt for Congress in the Bush-Cheney White House was extraordinary.” Cheney and his inner circle: “ran a government within the government” established “an executive assassination ring” and added: “Eight or nine neoconservatives took over our country.”  Former Vice President Walter Mondale who was with him in the interview said that the precedents of abuse by Vice President Cheney would remain for our country “like a loaded pistol that you leave on the dining room table.”

Under Cheney-Bush, we came very close to martial law. Only the reinstatement of habeas corpus by one vote in the Supreme Court began the unraveling of the Bush “Cabal”.  It was Clinton himself who only last year publically directed the sharp and arresting comment to Dick Cheney.  “It’s over,” he said.  Think of that, especially supposing that Cheney still has too much power to be brought to justice.

No, Clinton is not the same as Bush.  Bush, in virtually all gestures ran, counter to Law.  Even a well-intended President can only shape foreign policies, and can only rarely control them.  Beyond that, what foreign policy is not repellant?  Switzerland’s?  Costa Rica’s?  New Zealand’s?  Repellant as it is, context, political climate, and the poisonous fifth column remaining administratively from the Cheney years is relevant.  I believe President Obama’s administration can be better understood by considering the maxim, “Keep your friends close and you enemies closer”.  Clinton’s contrition is significant diplomatically, if considered in that context.  His gesture allows more likelihood for international law take hold where it was previously trashed. 

In the US, if any work is going to get done it is by increasing numbers in the interest of human rights for democratic Rule of Law and against the looming threat authoritarianism.  The work to be done is going to be done by citizens who can help articulate the value of citizenship that Bush almost succeeded in denying to all. 

Pressing for greater democratic law and repairing democratic laws that Bush eroded requires unity in the “common good”.  By pushing Congress to Constitutional fidelity, reclaiming it truly from bogus Tea Party distortions and the runaway engine of war profiteering violence, is how it can be done if it is to get done at all.  The overriding question is how to shape influence away from authoritarianism? 

The process begins with peace (Washington knew this so well) - first in oneself and then in civility toward others.

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By drum4one4all, April 25, 2010 at 11:09 am Link to this comment

Maybe, for some people, apologies count for something.  Make a mistake..apologize.  Make a knowing mistake…apologize.  Throw care and humanity to the wind…apologize. 

Good grief.  I dare say, Sirota, if you fall for this faux contrition, then you like Bill, are either too hard headed to learn, don’t want to learn, couldn’t give a flying f-k to learn or maybe simply, are terminally unawares that in this world there is MUCH MUCH better.

To think Bill Clinton is any less of a war criminal than Bush simply has their head in the sand. ANd likely that sand is being corporatized as I write this.

“my failed policies”  boo hoo boo hoo. 

Like another poster wrote about “great men”  Where is Bill’s substantive work to rectify his error?  I mean, c’mon…shaking hands with the poor people of Haiti?  Hell, They should’ve spat on that hand.  Not just thanks for nothing…but thanks for negative equity for decades to come.

There is no Left political party in the US today that is on the ballot for all 50 states.  All we have are two right winged parties who say all the right things to keep the charade going.

It will crumble though.  This charade is not going to last much longer.  That is if…we can organize well enough before a free interent becomes a thing of the past.

STOP watching MSM. AND Stop reading articles who sympathize and have empathy for the people who do not care one iota for you or I.  Articles like this one, and by its author David Sirota. Bill Clinton might be good enough for Sirota…but he IS NOT good enough for me. Nor the rest of us.  Nor is his Hawk wife Hilary good enough.  Nor is the DEMO-REPUB party.  (Kinda of sounds like the Demolish the Republic Party doesn’t it?  And thats what they are doing.)

Remember too…Sirota is disappointed with Obama but can not renounce him.  Obama is now the world’s leading war-mongerer and corportacracy conspirator, giving us FAUX health care reform and more debt.

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By Hammond Eggs, April 25, 2010 at 11:01 am Link to this comment

Bill Clinton is one of the consummate bullshit artists of recent American politics.  A sophisticated sociopath and narcissist, he believes that by doing something George W. Bush would never contemplate, i.e., admitting to mistakes, history will kinder to him.  This phony has enough snot up his nose to sink a ship.  All that counts, Your Slickness, is what you did when you had the power. And we all know what you REALLY did!

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By MeHere, April 25, 2010 at 8:30 am Link to this comment

D. Sirota has fallen (again, according to him) under B. Clinton’s seductive power. It can easily happen.  Bill Clinton has been described as “a man whose sense of
reality is dependent on the perceptions of others.”  A shallow man with an
incredible memory.  All his life, his resources have been centered on coping with
what amounts to a difficult character disorder.  He deserves sympathy, but
contrition hardly plays a part here.  He is very skilled at portraying himself
according to what he perceives may bring him needed approval at a given time.

An interesting article on the subject:

http://reason.com/archives/1994/11/01/can-the-president-think/1

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RAE's avatar

By RAE, April 25, 2010 at 5:48 am Link to this comment

omop, I guess I still miss the gist. Clinton’s biggest mistake was responding to questions/accusations in the first place. As I said, nobody’s business but his. In my view, he had no reason for contrition in the first place but to try to fake it was a major blunder. When your ego is larger even than your libido I guess the phrase “NO COMMENT” doesn’t easily come to mind.

That whole “investigation” turned into a multi-million dollar circus because of the American penchant for monumental hypocrisy especially when accompanied by an opportunity for a few to make a pile of dough converting the molehill into a mountain.

When you add those quaint traits to the schizophrenic relationship with Rules and Regulations and almost inbred “shoot first ask questions later” mentality the world is provided with non-stop entertainment.

Keep the laughs coming!

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By Shift, April 25, 2010 at 4:10 am Link to this comment

When Clinton formed the DLC he cut off the Eagle’s left wing.  Now representing the interests of business instead of working people he was played for a willing sucker by his economic advisers. Now, after the fact when his errant policies are flashing light evident, he has the gall to say I was wrong.  This is no act of contrition on Clinton’s part, but instead a public relations admission designed to polish his halo.  Now we are left with an economy being kept alive by artificial means, the Fed. 
_____________________________________________________

AN EAGLE WITH TWO RIGHT WINGS CANNOT FLY !

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By omop, April 24, 2010 at 4:26 pm Link to this comment

By RAE, April 24 at 7:15 pm #
Omop: “Hey. any one rhetorically asking the big one, “It depends what “is” is? 
after getting several blow jobs in a closet and claiming ”I never had sex with
that woman”.

Most people ASSUME that “having sex with” means VAGINAL INTERCOURSE.

But that’s beside the point. I cannot believe that after all these years the only
thing Americans can focus on is Clinton’s sexual escapades.

What an erudite summary. I still believe you missed the gist and/or the import.

Very few males would have enjoyed the same ‘non sex’ experiences that Slick
Willie had in the closet.

The question then becomes if YOU had had those under the desk get togethers
would you have claimed to define what “is is” as a defense or would you as a
gentleman and President would have said, “yeah, I had several blow jobs by Monica. So what?

Or would you be contrite? Americans for your infomation are dedicated to klling
all barefooted cave dwellers in South East Asia and to protect and keep safe its
only democratic ally Israel.

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By rjg1971, April 24, 2010 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment

“I am not an apologist for the behavior of
democrats in Congress over the last 11 years but
it seems harebrained to limit derision to Clinton,
as if his Presidency could be equated to the
torture administration of George W. Bush. You
would think that it would be someone on the Right
who would prefer to vilify Clinton and Obama….”

Yes you are, otherwise you wouldn’t be comparing
the criticism on this thread to the criticisms
coming from the right. This is exactly how the
Democrats attacked the Nader campaign in 2000.
Same B.S., different pile.

Notice in my comment I said that Clinton
apologized to the people of Guatemala during his
presidency. My response is that it’s not good
enough, with only the closing of the School of
Americas, ending all military aid to the Guatemalan government and reparations to the
victims of the junta in Guatemala amounting a
sufficient display of contrition from the U.S.
government under Clinton. That’s not a right wing
argument and you know it isn’t, so knock off the
B.S.

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RAE's avatar

By RAE, April 24, 2010 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

Omop: “Hey. any one rhetorically asking the big one, “It depends what “is” is?  after getting several blow jobs in a closet and claiming ”I never had sex with that woman”.

Most people ASSUME that “having sex with” means VAGINAL INTERCOURSE.

But that’s beside the point. I cannot believe that after all these years the only thing Americans can focus on is Clinton’s sexual escapades.

What the hell does it matter what a President, or anyone, does with his penis (that’s consensual)? You elected his BRAIN, you nitwits, not his libido. Unless he billed for his “time under suck” it’s nobody’s business but his.

To continually reduce his presidency to a “blow job” is to announce to all the world that Americans haven’t yet emerged from ADOLESCENCE as a society.

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By omop, April 24, 2010 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

Hey. any one rhetorically asking the big one, “It depends what “is” is?  after
getting several blow jobs in a closet and claiming ” I never had sex with that
woman”. Can only be truly a man of contrition.

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By tazdelaney, April 24, 2010 at 12:36 pm Link to this comment

long ago, my dad told me that ‘bad men do no wrong. good men do wrong but try to cover it up. great men admit their wrongdoing and try to make amends. by this standard, dwight eisenhower was one of the very few great men who was ever president, as he was terrifically self-effacingafterwards, especially as he approached death.he admitted that he’d long known of nixon’s crookery; felt he should have charged joe mccarthy and HUAC with treason to the constitution; recounted his deep regret over the unnecessary bombings of civilian dresden, hiroshima, nagasaki. it should also be noted that ike ended the korean ar he thought illegal and wrong in two months flat and denounced korean torture of GIs, specifically waterboarding, electric shock and extended solitary and ridiculed the invalidity of ‘confessions’ gained by torture. it was ike who sent the troops into birmingham and little rock. it was that old commie eisenhower who raised the taxes on the richest, highest earners and corporate windfalls to as much as 90% (now down to 35%.) and it was eisenhower who gave the most important speech ever given by an american president: the one where he warned of he national securtity state and most famously, warned of the military-industrial complex…

the best thing bill clinton ever did was that oral sex with monica. funny that prior to bushII who committed so many criminal acts for which impeachment or charges of treason could and should have been applied… clinton’s impeachmentwas sought over this sexual escapade.

but the simple fact is that bill clinton wa a war criminal with massive crimes against humanity. clinton continued the reagan-bush backing of the guatemala genocide of its mayan natives which killed between 250-400,000 persons. clinton backed indonesia’s genocide of the penan until it became a cause celebre. clinton continued the backing of fujimori in peru who is now in prison for crimes against humanity therein. clinton backed pinochet in chile and helped protect him from charges for which pinochet was finally imprisoned. clinton ‘allowed’ hati to have elections a few years after bushI’s overthrow of aristide’s democracy and before bushII’s 2nd overthrow of aristide and his kidnapping and torture. ( dark joke obama making clinton and bush haitian ‘aid’ figures.) clinton committed massive war crimes still largely unreported in the balkans. clinton didn’t even slap the wrists of china over tienenmein square. clinton’s FBI under reno committed mass-murer at waco under false pretenses (the guns turned out to all be registere and he charges of child abuse untrue), then after illegally using CS gas (firebombs if used indoors where even static will cause them to explode as is warned on the cans), then absolves itslf of any wrongdoings. likewise the murders at ruby ridge.

but the worst of clinton’s war crimes was his backing of the bushI US-UK-UN embargo of iraq. in 1997, the UN stated and the US signed agreement that the embargo had killed some 800,000 innocent iraqi civilians, at least half a miliion of whom were children denied food, medicine, sanitation or clean water. the vicious nazi neocon secretaryof state under clinton, madeleine albright, interviewed by leslie stahl on 60 Minutes, when asked if she thought a half-million child deaths was worth the price; albright gave her best PR smile and said, quote, “yes we believe the price was worth it.” but what was gained? according to the american petroleum institute, iraq, from 1995-2003 was again the 3rd largest source of oil to america as the oil companies had ‘gotten through the loopholes in the embargo.

it is safe to say clinton was involved in the deaths of at least 2 million people. not for nothing did babs bush once hug him warmly and call him “my other son.”

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, April 24, 2010 at 4:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Blood everywhere, dead bodies piling up and Clinton says, “Gee, maybe I did something wrong here.”  He did it knowingly.  In his last weeks in office he gave interviews stating that in his view his greatest accomplishment was “making the American worker more productive and competitive.”  In other words, leveling the world wide playing field.  He knew what he was doing. 

As a former aide to several congressional democrats, all of whom supported Nafta, David Sirota sees his job as trying to persuade people to keep on cutting their throats by voting for democrats like the Clintons.

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By T. A. Madison, April 23, 2010 at 9:37 pm Link to this comment

Right facts but wrong conclusions about Clinton, I think.  I would hope people who read this ask themselves, “Who benefits from a fractious Left?”  I am not an apologist for the behavior of democrats in Congress over the last 11 years but it seems harebrained to limit derision to Clinton, as if his Presidency could be equated to the torture administration of George W. Bush. You would think that it would be someone on the Right who would prefer to vilify Clinton and Obama. Readers surely have not forgotten that it was Bush/Cheney that subverted the Constitution, undermined the Bill of Rights, suspended habeas corpus, invaded your privacy and weakened our court system by undermining Due Process and uniform standards of proof.  Well intentioned people on the Left may be justifiably disgusted with democrat policies but when it produces inertia in the huge numbers of people behind Obama who are ready to push and organize, then the Right laps it up. If people who have higher expectations of President Obama don’t grasp that there is an immense conflict underneath the headlines about democratic Rule of Law and push him and turncoat democrats Leftward toward Human Rights Law they will exhaust themselves in idealism and do nothing to correct the problems that are paving the way for our own home grown tyrant.

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By samosamo, April 23, 2010 at 6:58 pm Link to this comment

Yeah, a little late in sounding off as ‘sorry these things didn’t
work as I thought they might’ because what do you have to lose
now, absolutely nothing. Hopefully it will bring people’s
attention to your wife’s next attempt to run for president so that
we may see her chances go down in flames.  I see through your
rhetorical BS, be it far too late from my ‘please don’t let bush sr.
win because we just can’t stand another republican ignorance’
but it did wake me up enough to know it would not have
mattered if bush sr. had won. It would have turned out more or
maybe a little less as destructive as your presidency but it sure
doesn’t hide the fact from the next president, w, who was just
as destructive to the people as anyone would think a republican
would be. Now we look at a new president, o, who is doing the
same goddamn thing you did which is carrying out ‘elitist’
agendas as if there has never been a change in the person
residing in the white house.

So what did slick willie get done that probably overshadows any
good he did in office.

Signed into law the FCC act that set up the current conservative
ownership of the msm by 4 or 5 neocon types that have a
tremendous strangle hold on information in america.

Gutted the Glass Steagal act that has allowed the unfettered
grand larceny of america.

Signed NAFTA that sent just about the rest of america’s
manufacturing base out of the country.

Just those ‘acts’ while president, for me, gives him as lowest
ratings of a president from woodrow wilson, who signed into
law the federal reserve act of 1913, to our now current version
of a corporate lackey.

So don’t go expecting for o to ‘see the light’ and start firing
those leftovers from slick willie’s terms because it is all just the
same since deregulation became the big game in town and how
to rob the treasury blind by subverting all the controls,
regulating and oversight to allow the unfettered robbery of this
country and the world.

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By rjg1971, April 23, 2010 at 5:43 pm Link to this comment

“I would like to add a further comment to my
previous one especially in light of the entry from
rjg1971.  I am not in any way a fan of corporate
culture or mult-nationalism. However, it seems to
me when the left faults democratic presidents
since Johnson there is rarely a reference to
politics…..”

As Reverend Wright said before his former
parishioner was elected president, regardless of
what happens on election day, Obama will go on
being a politician and Rev. Wright will go on
being a preacher of liberation. This is why I
like and respect Wright and despise his former
parishioner President Obama.

Unfortunately, the left really likes to makes excuses for Democrats in Washington. They really
want to do the right thing, you see, but those evil Republicans just won’t let them.

I see things in a much different way. No Democrat
makes it to the White House without being a firm
believer in the American Empire and what he
believes is his divine right to kill in its name.
I think the documentary record makes this very
clear. In his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech
Obama openly disowned Martin Luther King’s
principled anti-war legacy. What he was basically
saying is that his job dictates that he must
behave like a gangster towards a hapless punching
bag like Afghanistan and, therefore, he’s not
going to do the right thing by withdrawing all
U.S. forces from Afghanistan. He is a coward and
scum of the lowest sort. I have no respect for
him. 

Apologizing for what he is doing in Afghanistan
now, say, ten years later looks really lame from
the moral world view of somebody who doesn’t
believe in imperial gangsterism. It would take
absolutely no courage on Obama’s part because as
an ex-U.S. President he has defacto immunity from
ever facing prosecution or any civil litigation by
the powerless people in the countryside of
Afghanistan he is harming today.

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By T. A. Madison, April 23, 2010 at 4:38 pm Link to this comment

I would like to add a further comment to my previous one especially in light of the entry from rjg1971.  I am not in any way a fan of corporate culture or mult-nationalism. However, it seems to me when the left faults democratic presidents since Johnson there is rarely a reference to politics.  Presidents must play to competing constituencies to get anything done.  Often they must, jujitsu like, play them against one another if they are skillful while trying to overcome gridlock and being played the same way themselves.  To criticize the position of a President as if he was an autocrat is to ignore the context he must work within.  I raise this as a practical rather than ideological concern.  Suppose you are President.  Do you think you could do away with any institutional structure without making it worth while to a momentarily more powerful constituency?  Democratic minded citizens must form alliances among ourselves and even with those we disagree if we are to stand any chance against the rising tide of authoritarianism.

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By rjg1971, April 23, 2010 at 3:07 pm Link to this comment

Dave, I am little bit older than you. The ‘92
election was the second national election I was old
to enough to vote in and my first presidential
election. All I can say to you is, how could you
not see the snake oil oozing from Clinton’s pores?
I knew he would govern from the right and pick up
where Reagan/Bush left off. It’s just much easier
for a smooth talking Democrat to get NAFTA and
Welfare Reform passed than it is for a Republican
to do the same thing.

As far as Clinton’s “contrition” is concerned, all
I have to say is that talk is cheap. He made an
apology during his presidency to the people of Guatemala who were terrorized for the better part
of four decades by the U.S. back military junta
that overthrew Arbenz in 1954. So what? Where was
the closing of the School of the Americas and
reparations to the overwhelmingly indigenous people
of the countryside who suffered so badly at the
hands of that murderous government? Talk is cheap,
action is priceless.

Let me know when Clinton turns up on the other side
of the barricades at all these meetings global
elites hold, like WEF, WTO and G8, to talk about
the latest swindles they hope to pull off. When he
actually attempts to undue his dreadful legacy with
real action, then let me know.

Also, Clinton’s policies weren’t “mistakes”. They
were crimes in my view. It is simply criminal to
insist that a small, poor country like Haiti
destroy its rural economy by forcing it to accept
highly subsidized U.S. agricultural exports, while
insisting that local government can do nothing to
help its own farmers. These policies are aimed at
destroying a way of life so that people who don’t
live in Haiti can profit from the misery of farmers
ruined by this policy. Just straight up gangsterism
on the part of the U.S. and the other wealthy
nations. 

These policies were not a “failure”. They were implemented to help the rich get richer and the
poor get poorer, and they worked exactly as
intended.

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By T. A. Madison, April 23, 2010 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment

I agree with Mr. Sirota.  This is a significant for former President Clinton to do - even if it could be construed as insincere.  Though I think this is a sincere gesture it is important for cynics to consider the kind of floodgates that President Obama is attempting to hold back.  All you have to do is consider the implications of torture. The people who want to enable that are still around. These issues after all are not about money even when that is the central subject.  They are about influence and whether citizens can be aligned and organized enough to inhibit authoritarianism.

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thecrow's avatar

By thecrow, April 23, 2010 at 10:11 am Link to this comment

Who was a party to this “mistake”?

http://michaelfury.wordpress.com/2010/04/16/valor/

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By RdV, April 23, 2010 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

‘“Smart people learn from their mistakes. But the real sharp ones learn from the mistakes of others.”
— Brandon Mull (Fablehaven)

Are you listening, Mr. President?’

People always ask where the voices of the Left are, well, for the most part they are being played as suckers, looking under every grain of sand to give their side a pass for things they would never tolerate from the other side.

  What Clinton is more than anything else is a slick politician. He is well-aware of the obvious that no one else will openly acknowledge: Obama is a failure in part by continuing Clinton’s centrist policies and corporate pandering. It is politically advantageous for Clinton to distance himself from all that while he doesn’t have to play the game. It is no different than the idealistic rhetoric he spewed that left the young Sirota so starry-eyed only to become cynical—but not cynical or wanting enough to actually hold true for real change—because here he is falling for the same old politician’s spin again.
  The quote is more an apt a reflection of Clinton’s studied observation of Obama’s decline rather than Obama’s opportunity to finally pull out of mediocrity.

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By par4, April 23, 2010 at 9:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

At least he’s admitting his mistakes,and they were big ones.

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By jackwbarnes1, April 23, 2010 at 8:40 am Link to this comment

IT SEEMS BILL CLINTON WILL FOLLOW IN THE STEPS OF JIMMY CARTER
AND REALLY SHOW HIS A—. ITS A CRYING SHAME HE DOSEN’T FOLLOW
THE TEACHINGS OF OUR GREAT PRESIDENTS, BECOME A STATESMAN AN
KEEP HIS MOUTH SHUT

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By rudyspeaks1, April 23, 2010 at 7:13 am Link to this comment

The pattern for 1st world heads of state, followed by (now very wealthy)
Clinton, and more recently by obedient lap dog Blair is 1) do what the
banker/corporatists tell you, 2) leave office and get money shoveled to you in
appreciation, in “speakers’ fees” and do-nothing seats on corporate boards. I
don’t know if they get told, on assuming office, “You’ll leave this office rich or
dead"or if they show up already understanding that. Clinton isn’t contrite, he’s
“cooling the mark” as the con-game term goes, still providing a valuable
service to the Ruling Class. Sirota swoons when Clinton says, “It was a mistake
that I was a party to. ... I had to live every day with the consequences of the
loss of capacity to produce a rice crop in Haiti to feed those people because of
what I did.” I retch. HE doesn’t “live with the consequences” of neo-liberal
policy caused starvation everyday! Haitians do! Why doesn’t he tap his ill-
gained millions and DO something more than bite his lip and look rueful? Think
of what YOU could do in his position and compare his paltry mea culpas to
that… PS don’t stop voting! It’s the only power you have. 3rd Party Rebellion!

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By balkas, April 23, 2010 at 6:55 am Link to this comment

It wld be of much benefit if clinton wld tell us who the advisers were, whom they in effect represented, how they became advisers, and why they became so powerful?

Do we have the same situation now? In efffect a privatization of governance?
Cannot clinton or sirota see that those people [?two-percenters] who own 98% of america, own also the governance of which a govt is an integral part along with judiciary,WH, and congress?

Or are clinton and sirota once again selling us some snake oil? Or are we that naive to expect a pol to teach, care for us, or to proffer us an enlightement?
Tnx

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By anonymous, April 23, 2010 at 5:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yea! I’m less cynical than somebody!  I think there’s a chance that
Clinton’s heart attack might have made him really care about something
besides gettin’ some.

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By KISS, April 23, 2010 at 5:50 am Link to this comment

Just when I think you are squared away from politics you come away as a big pussy. When will you learn that William Jefferson Clinton is the total confidence man? He sucked you in like a cat opening the cage that houses Tweety Bird. If you think he gives a rat’s ass over Hatti I want to sell you prime beach front land in Arizona. His apologies are like tears from crocodiles. Than there is Waco and Ruby Ridge and worse of all, brother George…David you are such a sucker!

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RAE's avatar

By RAE, April 23, 2010 at 4:03 am Link to this comment

“Smart people learn from their mistakes. But the real sharp ones learn from the mistakes of others.”
— Brandon Mull (Fablehaven)

Are you listening, Mr. President?

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