Why Bill Clinton’s Apology and Barack Obama’s Prison Drive-By, Token Clemencies Are Cynical Election Year Posturing

[Beware, the electoral season is upon us and the masters of political deception and fraud are invading every home.  In the US, every four years, presidential elections are theatrically staged, designed to confuse and disrupt popular movements against class exploitation and racial oppression, and other democratic movements. The elections claim to be “the way democracy works”, and people “must vote” for politicians to represent their interests. Whoever wins, the people’s interests are lost in the shuffle, and their independence and political initiative and action has been suffocated or destroyed.  Both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have in their Presidencies continued the mass incarceration, predominantly black and brown men and women, at world-record levels, and now they have made a dramatic last minute cosmetic relief to cleanse their legacy, at least rhetorically, so that Hillary Clinton’s campaign may not have to apologize to potential black voters for the Bill and Barack legacies.  They cannot avoid blame for things too many know.  —  Frontlines ed.] 
A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon, 07/17/2015

Ten whole years ago, back in July 2005 when the Black Agenda Report crew was still at Black Commentator, I wrote that

With under 5 percent of the world’s people, the US accounts for 25 percent of the planet’s prisoners.  More than half its 2.2 million prisoners come from the one eighth of its population which is black.  Today, an astounding 3 percent of all African Americans languish in prisons and jails, and nearly as many more are on probation, parole, bail, house arrest or court supervision… Right now, the shadow of prison squats at the corners of, and often at the center of nearly every black family’s life in this nation.”

Yesterday President Obama repeated some of these same figures, and they are pretty much the same. Total US prisoners are still 2.2 or 2.3 million, and a slight drop in the black incarceration rate makes us now a little less instead of a little more than half, but the overall picture is unchanged in a decade. The president then announced the release of forty-some nonviolent federal drug offenders out of a total of about 70,000, and stopped in at a federal prison Thursday. The same day, ex-president Bill Clinton offered a half-hearted “apology” for his 1990s crime bills, which he admitted “set the stage” for state and federal governments to nearly double the US prison population.

Why? Why did President Obama wait six and a half years into his presidency to say the basic damning numbers and free a token handful of drug war prisoners? And how come Bill Clinton, fifteen years out of office chose this week to publicly admit that black mass incarceration was maybe not the best public policy?

Continue reading

The Onion: The parts left out of the official transcript of Obama’s praise of George W. Bush

President Barack Obama shakes hands with former President George W. Bush, as former President Bill Clinton applauds at right after Obama spoke at the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, April 25, 2013.

President Barack Obama shakes hands with former President George W. Bush, as former President Bill Clinton applauds at right after Obama spoke at the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, April 25, 2013.

[Not all our readers may know, The Onion is a satirical newspaper in the US, which through its humorous twist on events manages to reveal the many essential truths that lurk beneath the surface of the official stories. — Frontlines ed.]

http://www.theonion.com/articles/obama-orders-reinvasion-of-iraq-after-illuminating,32202/

The Onion • ISSUE 49 •17 • Apr 25, 2013

Obama Orders Reinvasion Of Iraq After Illuminating Trip Through Bush Presidential Library

Obama says the case for war outlined in the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum is “clear and undeniable.”

DALLAS—After taking an “eye-opening” tour of the newly dedicated George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas Thursday, President Barack Obama reportedly ordered the United States military to reinvade Iraq.

The president told reporters that the museum’s numerous displays provided illuminating information concerning the ongoing threat posed by Iraq and the necessity of re-deploying combat troops in order to bring stability and lasting democracy to the troubled country. Continue reading

Obama and Clinton, the Evil Twins

Posted on Black Agenda Report, 12/14/2010

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The two corporate political twins, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, held forth at a joint White House press conference – so tightly matched that no light could be seen to shine between them. Obama soon ceded the room to his comrade in collaboration with Republicans, the senior triangulator.

Although competitors, Obama and Clinton “emerged from the same political system, and fed at the trough of the same wealthy individuals and corporate campaign check bundlers.”

It is rare for the corruption of the American political system to be revealed openly and clearly, but that is exactly what took place at a White House press briefing last week. The sight of the current president ceding the spotlight to a former president and one time rival was indeed unique, but its significance was not mere theater.

The 2008 election, which pitted Barack Obama against Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries, was despite the sound and fury, a fight amongst political twins. The Clinton/Obama press conference proved that beyond a doubt.

When Obama made common cause with Republicans and renewed tax cuts for the wealthiest people in the country, he made it clear where his sympathies lie, and they are not with the plight of working people. The tax capitulation was blatant and the president made his situation worse by openly insulting any Democrats who dared to question him.

Barack Obama’s ability to get unqualified support from Democratic progressives is officially toast, and his dependence on Bill Clinton to get him out of the doghouse is proof. His high handed and dismissive behavior of Democratic critics was the last straw for many people who had previously been his defenders. Continue reading

Rapper is No Friend of Haiti — Wyclef Opposed Aristide

[The struggle for self-determination of Haitian grassroots forces has been a long and difficult one.  Largely built in and around the Lavalas movement, these forces have faced obstacle after obstacle–from the US and France with the overthrow of President Aristide (whose administration at least provided some maneuvering room for grassroots initiatives); then with the comprador power relations set with the present President Preval (and enforced by the brutal “humanitarian” occupation of UN forces led by Brazil); then with the earthquake disaster bringing back the open face of US military occupation (and the foreign NGO administration of “aid” which has systematically prevented local grassroots initiatives and maintained Haitian dependency on foreign powers).  Now, to give a confusing “local” disguise to this dis-empowerment, rapper Wyclef Jean has declared his candidacy for Haiti’s next president.  This article, by a US advocate of the Haitian people’s struggle, breaks it down.-ed.]

Bill Clinton and Wyclef Jean

by Charlie Hinton

San Francisco Bayview

August 2, 2010

To cut to the chase, no election in Haiti, and no candidate in those elections, will be considered legitimate by the majority of Haiti’s population, unless it includes the full and fair participation of the Fanmi Lavalas Party of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Fanmi Lavalas is unquestionably the most popular party in the country, yet the “international community,” led by the United States, France and Canada, has done everything possible to undermine Aristide and Lavalas, overthrowing him twice by military coups in 1991 and 2004 and banishing Aristide, who now lives in South Africa with his family, from the Americas.

A United Nations army, led by Brazil, still occupies Haiti six years after the coup. Their unstated mission, under the name of “peacekeeping,” is to suppress the popular movement and prevent the return to power of Aristide’s Lavalas Party. One must understand a Wyclef Jean candidacy, first of all, in this context. Continue reading

Netanyahu: I Deceived US To Destroy Oslo Accords

Netanyahu and Clinton, 1988

By Jonathan Cook

19 July, 2010

Countercurrents.org

Nazareth: There is one video Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, must be praying never gets posted on YouTube with English subtitles. To date, the 10-minute segment has been broadcast only in Hebrew on Israel’s Channel 10.

Its contents, however, threaten to gravely embarrass not only Mr Netanyahu but also the US administration of Barack Obama.

The film was shot, apparently without Mr Netanyahu’s knowledge, nine years ago, when the government of Ariel Sharon had started reinvading the main cities of the West Bank to crush Palestinian resistance in the early stages of the second intifada. Continue reading