Lizzie, I understand your point of Hillary not having earned your vote.
N. Belt-Ahar0n

I looked at your links on Honduras, and yes, they’re troubling. It’s not for nothing that Clinton’s book is called Hard Choices. But we must consider the US’ options on Honduras:
a) Accepting the coup while calling for new elections soon to give the people a voice. (What she did).

She funded the fascist coup and then “accepted” corrupt elections which did not give the people a voice due to overwhelming media blackouts, no international oversight, and the assassination of anti-coup activists who were speaking out against the overthrow all along.

“With the coup, Clinton had a real opportunity to do the right thing and shift US policy to respect democratic processes,” added Alex Main, an expert on US policy in Central America at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, after being told of the program. “But she completely messed it up, and we’re seeing the consequences of it now.” — The Nation

More reading — Why Activists Aren’t Buying Hillary Clinton’s Justification for the Honduras Coup

In describing her own role, you don’t seem bothered by her description of her involvement explicitly as an effort to “render Zelaya moot.” She did not “accept” a coup, she wanted Zelaya gone.

The coup in Honduras did the opposite of what you think it did. Rather than overthrowing a dictator and establishing democracy, it overthrew democracy and established a dictator. One rejected by the people, whose outcries for justice have gone largely unreported in the U.S.

What I need to ask now is — is there anything you are willing to hold Hillary Clinton accountable for? The harshest criticism you have accepted of Hillary Clinton is that she had “hard choices” to make. I can’t help but wonder why someone who would like to see an end to corporate money in politics, presumably because they understand the influence of special interest money on Republicans, at the very least, would not understand the same corruption happens to Democrats who claim to be champions of its reform.

I recommend this read from The Nation: The Problem with Hillary Clinton Isn’t Just Her Corporate Cash, It’s Her Corporate Worldview”

This next article goes too far, I think, hyperbolically, to call the assumption of Hillary Clinton critics as “Donald Trump supporters” — particularly in reference to this conversation, in which you have done no such thing — silencing, but it is helpful to understand why we must hold Hillary Clinton accountable and why closely examining her choices in the past is essential.

Libya = Iraq (I disagree).
In Iraq there was no imminent humanitarian disaster. In Iraq the plan was to commandeer the country and exert influence — imperialism if you will. The US did not do the same in Libya.

What I’m trying to explain is that the motive is a matter of public relations until we learn otherwise, and we can never truly discern intent, but that is why human rights laws and international rules of war exist — that the U.S. does not follow, has no interest in following, and yet holds others accountable to.

What I am suggesting is that we invaded Libya after supporting Gaddafi for years because they were going to throw a wrench into the international monetary system that relies on the U.S. dollar and the Euro reigning supreme, despite them being inferior currencies by the gold standard.

Gaddafi wanted Africa to claim African liberation from the IMF and if you don’t think we attempted to exert influence, I am interested to hear why you think we invaded with no war authorization as well as why we bombed infrastructure like a multimillion dollar irrigation system, hospitals, schools, roads, etc. despite that being against the Geneva Conventions and the Nuremberg principles.

We don’t get to claim to be doing the right thing when we consistently violate the rules we hold others accountable — they exist because they need to — for the protection of vulnerable developing nations who do not have military prowess to defend themselves. Be it sanctions — which can be even more harmful than war — or outright invasion, we cannot claim to be the world’s police while we insist on remaining unaccountable to the rules of war everyone else is expected to be accountable to. That is American Exceptionalism, something Clinton has completely done a 180º on in claiming this election, as it used to be a scoffed-at principle of Republicanism.

In Libya, for example, we flew in foreign mercenaries and called them “freedom fighters.” Why would we do something like that? Mercenaries work for the highest bidder, not for causes — and not for nothin, many of those mercenaries were offered better deals that appealed to their sense of justice by ISIS — who are seen by many as “freedom fighters” for those who feel wrongfully invaded by the U.S. Their numbers grow not because Donald Trump is used in recruiting videos, but because their homelands have been decimated by State Department after State Department after State Department, Hillary Clinton’s included.

Politicians listen to the voices of people talking to them.

So, do you have a problem with Princeton’s statisticians as well, then? What part of “no statistical correlation” between legislation and the will of the people is confusing? They do not listen to the voices of people talking to them — they do not listen to protesters, individuals who “lobby” the government, or groups that have collective organizing power like Black Lives Matter or Fight for $15. They listen to corporations and corporate lobbyists, time and time again, consistently over the last 20 years, at least (the period of the research study).

Incidentally, that’s one thing I love about Clinton. While most politicians see campaigning as an opportunity to go out and preach their message in rallies, Clinton makes a point of doing smaller, more personal events, and listens to lots of ordinary people instead of just talking.

More personal events with ordinary people? How many ordinary people can afford to pay $2,700 just to see a contender for public service speak? I strongly urge you to consider if the same were applicable to Donald Trump — if Donald Trump had not held a press conference in nearly a year, if Donald Trump did not speak to the people, but spoke to small groups of high rollers instead, allowing his attention to be bought and sold like a commodity — if he were doing that, along with the way you already feel about him because of partisanship and media manipulation and his own buffoonery, I suggest you would feel very differently. Hillary Clinton does not give herself an opportunity to listen to the needs of ordinary people because she is inaccessible to them, unless they can afford these ludicrously expensive entry tickets for fundraisers.

Working poor in worse trouble than 30 years ago (I agree). I would blame this on Bush and Reagan pushing for deregulation, and Bill Clinton going along with it.

Why are you so inherently willing to offer benefit of the doubt to Democrats? Bill Clinton cut welfare and doubled extreme poverty. Bill Clinton signed and he and Hillary both campaigned for the 1994 crime bill responsible for many of the issues with racially-motivated mass incarceration — it was racist in intent “Superpredators” and racist in result. Bill Clinton repealed Glass-Steagal. You seem to me to offer far too much credit to politicians based on a little blue D by their names and little else.

You may say that the economic recovery under Obama is just GDP, not actual improvement, but I’ve seen a real upswing both in the working class town where I teach, and my own family which is, in pieces, upper income (parents), middle class (me), and lower middle class (one of my siblings) over the past 4 years. Is it different elsewhere?

What I am suggesting is that middle class and upper middle class knowledge workers (not the blue-collar, working class, working poor, or impoverished) are doing fine under all of these administrations. That’s how they get away with what they get away with —(you might remember a poem from the Holocaust titled, “First they came for…”) — without noticing that a “gig economy” has taken over much of the working and lower middle classes, resulting in fewer benefits, lower pay, economic insecurity and the inability to afford basic needs like utilities, food, health care, gas, etc. Meanwhile, many of the “job numbers” that have “improved” during Obama’s two terms have been part-time, benefits-less, minimum wage jobs that are not providing livable wages for people. What good are “more jobs” when they are not providing basic needs, yet demanding 30 hours per week of a human being’s life?

Politicians almost all being corrupted by money (I disagree). I would hardly call Warren corrupt.

I never said Warren was corrupt and I said that some of them were corrupted by money — namely, the ones who accept millions of dollars in special interest money like Hillary Rodham Clinton. Like Barack Obama. Like Ted Cruz. Like Jeb Bush, who coincidentally, shared more than 60 million-dollar-donors with Hillary Clinton. What about business makes you think that they make investments without ROI? Political campaign donations are not tax deductible or writeoffs. Business leaders are not stupid. When billionaires or corporate donors make million dollar contributions to candidates, they expect to see return on that investment. When they do it repeatedly, it is because they are seeing return on that investment.

Here is a helpful study on why corporations spend so much lobbying the government (what they get in return — a 22000% return on investment when it came to a 2004 tax bill) — it was covered in NPR here.

I reckon your goal is to elect politicians who have shown that they can’t be corrupted by financial incentives. How has Jill Stein, who hasn’t held office, met that criteria?

Jill Stein has earned my vote by being a long-time activist of environmental issues, social and economic justice, standing with disenfranchised peoples when she had no financial incentive do so. Hillary Clinton, by contrast, has made herself a multi-millionaire from her “advocacy” and her platform, even if I believed she intended to follow through on a word of it, even if I met you there — is not progressive enough to battle the urgency of climate change, the urgency people are facing who cannot afford basic necessities, and the urgency of millions of people abroad who live in fear of American terrorism daily. Jill Stein has earned my vote by being Hillary Clinton’s opposite in actions, as well as a true progressive in platform and rhetoric. She has rejected corporate money, despite facing major fundraising obstacles when the mainstream “progressive” candidate is accepting millions of dollars in corporate money and the other mainstream candidate has the weight of the Republican party and the appeal of supposed populism behind him. Gary Johnson is also struggling to fundraise and his rejection of corporate money is also commendable, the only reason he has not earned my vote is that I do not believe in his vision for America’s improvement.

Chris Hedges basically ran through my childhood nightmares (not an enjoyable experience) and then segued, with no logic or evidence or comparison, to talking about corporate hegemony.

I apologize that you have nightmares about atrocities that others experienced — I assume the realities of The Holocaust hit your family much closer than mine, however what he is talking about is related as it pertains to the current atrocities that make up the nightmares of the living who are currently experiencing them as a result of corporate hegemony.

You are not going to get a full explanation of the inner workings of hegemony in one article. That was one article and what he was talking about was how it looked very different to the people involved, how difficult it was to convince people that it was happening when they were losing their rights, and how true activists were discredited as loonies for trying to sound the alarms. Corporate hegemony was also involved in the Holocaust, with IBM making millions from the systems they created to track people throughout the camps and BMW profiting from the official transportation of the S.S. Today, with advertising, we allow these corporations, legally people, if you remember, to make it sound as though they are known as being “The Ultimate Driving Machine” and not for their participation in arguably the greatest human atrocity of the 20th century. I spent five years in advertising, eventually as a director-level at a Fortune 1000 corporation, and I do understand how advertising works to manipulate markets. I left the field despite being renowned as an expert nationally because I disapprove of the practice in its entirety. In the process, I gave up a six-figure income at the age of 26 and started working for myself, putting my journalism degree to use. I understood from personal experience the phenomenon I later read described by Noam Chomsky (we’ll get there) as “internalizing the values of the owners” in order to be promoted in business. I was promoted because I “understood” that mass layoffs while $3 million bonus checks were being written to executives was justifiable and “good business.” I was promoted because I was willing to “spin” messages to the public about the corporation’s involvement. When I questioned the practice, I left, realizing everyone involved was simply looking out for themselves, not part of a sinister conspiracy or anything, but simply allowing survival mechanisms to inform their professional decisions. I always empathized with the decisions of the executive leadership whom I was in direct, daily contact with. I understood why they did not see themselves as part of the problem, because I did not either. I saw myself as self-preservational, earning money to provide for my family’s future, and using advertising jargon to justify what I was slowly beginning to understand to be disparaging actions on behalf of the company in the name of profit.

Chris Hedges has dozens and dozens more articles as well as numerous books on how corporate hegemony works. How much more example do you need that it exists than your homegirl’s co-authored Trans-Pacific Partnership, which offers corporations the right to interfere with the laws of sovereign nations when they impact even projected profits, not to mention actual profits. Under the TPP, should a developing nation included in the agreement get any ideas about better wages for their people or protection of natural resources, they could be made to answer to autocratic, unaccountable corporations. THAT IS CORPORATE HEGEMONY. And its disastrous results may not make up your childhood nightmares, but rest-assured, they are the stuff of nightmares in Syria, Libya, Honduras, Ukraine, Russia, Iraq, Iran, and so. many. more. countries. where children are as liable to see Barack Obama’s or Hillary Clinton’s face in their nightmares as they did George W. Bush’s and Dick Cheney’s.

Noam Chomsky’s Ph.D. was in linguistics. He’s as qualified to talk about politics as my own grandfather, whose Ph.D. is in Biochemisty, or my grandmother, whose was in French Literature. He could be right, but then so could my grandma.

Please tell me this is a joke. If it is, get serious. Are your grandparents professors at M.I.T? Have your grandparents written more than two dozen books on political philosophy and foreign policy? They are equally qualified to talk about politics — as is everyone — but whether or not they have astute, internationally-recognized perceptions of politics is a different matter. Chomsky has been awarded the Sydney Peace Prize, Kyoto Prize, and the APA Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions — awards, surely, your grandfather would be eligible for as well if he were actively contributing to life-changing work in the sciences.

“If anybody thinks you should listen to me because I’m a professor at M.I.T., that’s nonsense. You should decide whether something makes sense by its content, not by the letters after the name of the person who says it. And the idea that you’re supposed to have special qualifications to talk about things that are common sense, that’s just another scam — it’s another way to try to marginalize people, and you shouldn’t fall for it.” — Noam Chomsky, 2002, Understanding Power

George Orwell is a favorite — his short book Politics and the English Language — goes a long way to explain how language and politics are intertwined — as does John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice.

This article explains quite a bit more about why Noam Chomsky is considered America’s “number 1 public intellectual” and why he is a respected voice in foreign policy and understanding systems of power. Regarding his PhD in Linguistics — the scientific study of language — he published Manufacturing Consent in the 1980s, which is a textbook for mass media manipulation in the U.S. on the subject of language influencing popular support for political action — I am nearly 75% through the book now and have read six of his prior. Before you dismiss him out of hand for having the “wrong” accreditation, according to you, I suggest you read a little of what he has to say.

Also, according to your prior pattern of responses, I’ll tell you that Noam Chomsky wrote a brief titled “Lesser Evil Voting” for this election that advocated voting for Clinton, especially in swing states — a position I do not personally agree with, given the argument, but since support for Clinton seems to be a flag you raise with progressive heroes, here is another true progressive who stands behind a neoliberal candidate, given the alternative.

What I don’t understand is the neglect to see patterns in funding fascism when it is convenient (Honduras, Ukraine), then claiming that countries need democracy before peaceful solutions can be reached. Do you not understand our military action in Syria and the Ukraine to be directly related to our overall antagonism of Russia? Russia experienced the highest losses in World War II, then the Cold War came and sanctions that devastated their economy and security, and today, we have NATO troops lining their borders while our media antagonizes them with little evidence to justify provocation. We denounce Russia’s actions in Syria, citing shell-shocked children as the effects of their military action, but they are also the effects of our military action. If we are going to use human rights violations as justification to invade or intervene in sovereign nations, certainly we can understand that our own human rights violations leave us open to the same justification — in the same way considering civilians collateral damage leaves our civilians open to being considered collateral damage in the future.

I am, in no way, claiming Russia is an inherently benevolent nation either, my argument is intended to say we really should not be so quick to assume that there were “no other options” regarding military involvement from the U.S. — not with millions suffering as result and with millions more destined to suffer from future wars until we start holding the U.S. government accountable for its violations of international human rights laws.

For me, that accountability says, “If you have already violated the same international human rights laws I clamored for Bush and Cheney to be held accountable for (considering civilians collateral damage, invading nations without proper authorization or deceptively-gained authorization, destroying infrastructure, and profiting from wars instigated by you), you do not deserve a promotion to the highest office in the land.

Best of luck in the new school year! Feel free to take as much time as you need in responding, if you find the time to at all — I’m not goin’ anywhere.