I think most people are okay with the system we have as long as it isn’t irrevocably rigged in…
Lizzie Maldonado 🌹

Lizzie, I understand your point of Hillary not having earned your vote. There are points where I disagree with you, and others where I agree with you. First of all, I understand what you see:

American imperialism = 30 million deaths (I mostly agree), and Carter = Reagan = Obama = Clinton when it comes to imperialism (I disagree). 
Libya = Iraq (I disagree).
Corporate interests dominating America (I neither agree nor disagree).
Working poor in worse trouble than 30 years ago (I agree).
Politicians almost all being corrupted by money (I disagree).
Corporate politicians run a tight ship (I disagree).

I will talk to these points, and I will also ask you whether Jill Stein, or any candidate, local or national, has earned your vote. I will also address problems I have with some of your sources. Then I have two postscripts.

American imperialism = 30 million deaths (I mostly agree), and Carter = Reagan = Obama = Clinton when it comes to imperialism (I disagree).

I absolutely see the invasion of Iraq as American imperialism (I was 19 at the time), and got madder as it went on and we learned more. In the cold war we backed friendly dictators in Latin America and should not have gone into Vietnam.

But not every intervention is imperialism (Kosovo, Somalia). Yes, I’m sure if you looked you might find something that might be construed as an imperialist incentive for the US to get involved in each (I bet you can also get from Elizabeth Warren to Hitler in 3 links), but no half-competent forecaster could think there would be financial benefit from going into Somalia! You give these imperialist corporate interests way too much credit when it comes to competence running US politics, but way too little when it comes to actually making sound business sense.

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).

b) Invade Honduras to restore the president, fighting the army and supreme court. Result: Something Iraq-like. I wouldn’t think Obama would have supported that. I don’t think you would have supported that, either.

c) Fund presidential loyalist insurgents. Result: Civil war in Honduras, with no certainty of a win for the former president. Not better than option A.

d) Call the coup illegitimate while not taking action. Would decrease US influence in the region. Influence that could be used to, say, call for new elections.

e) Call the coup illegitimate and cut off trade. Result: ??? Maybe something like pre-reform Myanmar? It might disincentivize future coups, but considering that the junta in Myanmar didn’t suffer as much as its people did and how long it lasted, it might do the opposite.

I don’t know if Obama/Clinton made the best call. But I defy you to make a call that would be unambiguously better.

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.

Corporate interests dominating America (I neither agree nor disagree).

Politicians listen to the voices of people talking to them. Unfortunately, when it isn’t election time, most regular constituents don’t write in to express their opinions. I write to politicians only infrequently, when issues of importance to me come along in the news. Maybe I should take my own advice. Also unfortunately, when they go looking for advice from experts, the places they look are universities and people they know. And people with money always have the ability to speak louder and more often through the simple expedient of paying people who agree with them (or worse are willing to be paid to agree with them) to go to wherever the politicians go and talk to them.

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.

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. I would blame it on predatory business practices, and think we need more Democratic supermajorities so we can do more things like Dodd-Frank (Barney Frank was also my congressman for a while). The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Elizabeth Warren’s brainchild, was part of that bill.

I would blame it on a weaker social safety net, too. Bill Clinton was essentially a moderate president working with a very conservative congress. But I don’t equate Bill with Hillary. My impression is that from health care reform to pushing women’s rights, she was always to his left. Which would be exactly what you’d expect, given that women in general are farther left than their husbands.

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?

Politicians almost all being corrupted by money (I disagree).
Obama had Warren on his team. When Dodd-Frank passed, he wanted her to run the consumer financial protection bureau. When congress wouldn’t confirm her, basically the entire Democratic establishment backed her for Senate in Massachusetts in the primary (most of her potential primary opponents backed out early after they couldn’t get any traction with either the establishment or rank and file), and Warren got help from the national party, too. I would hardly call Warren corrupt.

Corporate politicians run a tight ship (I disagree).

Look at the leaked video tape from that Romney fundraiser where he talked about the 47%. Look at how when the FBI looked at Clinton’s private server, they said it wasn’t secure enough and could totally have been hacked (had foes known where to look).

Let’s talk specifically of this claim of election fraud. You say there’s evidence of fraud in the study you cited. But the election results matched the pre-election polling pretty darn well. So are pollsters like Gallup and Ipsos part of the conspiracy? Those companies make most of their money by doing market research for other companies, and the election is their big opportunity to show companies that their work is accurate. According to your theory, those companies are in cahoots with the fraud, knowing about it and being able to predict it. News sources like the Washington Post, NY Times, and MSNBC, not to mention Huffington Post or Mother Jones have also not taken a flyer on the study you cited. That suggests that they either don’t think it’s credible (in my opinion) or that they’re all part of the conspiracy, too. Hardly a tight ship.

So yes, my opinion of that study is similar to my opinion of Illuminati theories and Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion theories. Here’s my opinion of conspiracy theories.

Regarding Jill Stein and whether she’s earned your vote:

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?

Regarding some of your sources and why I don’t take them seriously:

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.

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.

The report you cited is not linked to by either of the statisticians whose names are mentioned therein. I googled them. All it says in the study is that they had a conversation with Fritz Scheuren, not that he participated in the study at all or what they told him. When I see Fritz Scheuren promote this study that he theoretically worked on, I’ll listen. I mean I can claim that Bill Nye is my research assistant, but until Bill Nye says so, you should treat my claim with limited credibility.

P.S. I’m sorry, but with the school year starting tomorrow, I won’t be able to correspond at length, only in shorter bits. But if you’d like to correspond with me further, I’d be happy to. Maybe elsewhere, if Lena Danger is tired of seeing these here. Lena? Are you still reading?

P.P.S. Regarding Israel. I don’t vote for or against folks over the Israel issue for many reasons. From personal conflict of interest to a president’s job being primarily taking care of this country here. That said…

Hamas and Fatah are not like Mandela. One cannibalizes its people’s limited infrastructure to basically shoot spitballs at Israel, the other is led by a man whose doctoral thesis was holocaust denial, and yet I won’t write him off as a peace partner.

As long as the militant parts of both societies are ascendant, peace will not happen. And while Israelis vote for their leaders, the Palestinians don’t. Work needs doing on both sides before peace will be possible.

I have a lot of family over there. They are almost entirely left wing voters. One mentioned that s/he personally boycotts products coming out of the settlements. All of them favor giving the Palestinians their own state. Alas, many Israelis, nearly a majority, disagree.

It is important to try to convince and pressure Israel to pursue policies that can lead to peace. Policies like cutting off funding for settlements and not building new ones. And helping to economically develop the West Bank.
It is important to try to convince and pressure Hamas and the PA to stop building munition factories and teaching hate and glorifying violence in their schools. But making daily life more expensive for my family won’t do that.

It’s harder to pressure the Palestinian organizations, though, and that’s one of many parts of the intractable problem.

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