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The Hottest Seats in Hell

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One of the most dispiriting things about the current presidential campaign is those poseurs pretending to be “progressives” or even “leftists” who are endorsing the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. These masqueraders persist in perpetrating this charade while a primary race is taking place and her main opponent in the Democratic Party contests is a self-declared socialist. Now, people on the far Left may not agree that Bernie Sanders is actually a leftist, which is a debatable point. But be that as it may, one thing that’s factually, empirically, undeniably true is that on almost every single issue, Bernie is clearly to the left of Clinton.

Why prominent individuals who consider them self to be “progressive” would use their public platform to throw their weight behind the candidate who is so obviously to the right of the other is confounding and disturbing. Clinton’s 2002 U.S. Senate vote authorizing Pres. Bush to invade Iraq – a nation that did not attack us and did not possess those mythical WMDS – alone should, in the eyes of people who consider themselves to be “lefty,” forever disqualify Hillary from ever holding another public office, let alone the presidency (although not from being put in the public dock at a Nuremberg-type trial for crimes against humanity).

But, as if this disgraceful exercise in political expediency and war crimes wasn’t enough, Clinton has a long record of opportunism and outright reactionary stances. Did she learn from her mistaken Iraq War vote when she was the Obama administration’s Secretary of State? No, Hillary continued to pursue a reckless “regime change” policy in Libya and Syria and for good measure, also supported the coup in Honduras. (Of course, America’s political system is so corrupt and dysfunctional that the notion of exporting it abroad is hilarious – one shouldn’t even wish this system on our worst enemies.)

As a U.S. Senator this sham “champion” of human rights co-sponsored a bill to criminalize the burning of the American flag in 2005. Hillary voted in 2007 in favor of a proposed resolution that called for the Senate to “strongly condemn all attacks on the honor, integrity and patriotism” of anyone in the U.S. military. So much for that little thing called the First Amendment. Of course, Clinton’s defense of the right’s sacred cows – Old Glory and the Pentagon – was a symbolic message, dog whistling that she was hawkish, opposed dissent and would collaborate with the military-industrial complex.

People who fancy themselves to be “on the Left” – as one pro-Hillary, has-been former labor and civil rights leader described herself on a recent TV talk show – should also take note of Clinton’s outright redbaiting of Bernie during the March 9 Univision Democratic Party debate at Miami. Pandering to Florida’s reactionary anti-Castro gusano vote, Hillary attacked Bernie’s pro-Cuba comments made back in 1985, saying: “In that same interview, he praised what he called the revolution of values in Cuba and talked about how people were working for the common good, not for themselves. I just couldn’t disagree more. You know, if the values are that you oppress people, you disappear people, you imprison people or even kill people for expressing their opinions, for expressing freedom of speech, that is not the kind of revolution of values that I ever want to see anywhere.”

Now, of course, the ex-Secretary of State is quite correct in asserting that these human rights abuses take place in Cuba. However, the very worst examples there of these outrages, including torture, take place at Guantanamo Bay – which is run by the Yankees (and which Obama and Clinton failed to shut down). In any case, in 1985 Bernie was denouncing U.S. intervention in Cuba and Latin America and praising Cuba’s advances in healthcare and education. Of course, when Hillary was First Lady, her healthcare initiative was never even brought up for a vote, much less implemented – while the Cuban Revolution long ago ensured universal healthcare for all.

Criticism by Clinton and her trust fund baby Chelsea that Sen. Sanders’ proposed healthcare proposals would undo Obama Care – instead of improve and expand it to universal coverage through a single payer, Medicare-for-all system – is especially odious and just pulled out of their asses. Like Hillary’s attacks on Bernie’s free tuition for public college proposal, Clinton’s slogan should be: “No we can’t!”

Clinton’s phony “left” endorsers should also consider her March 21 pandering to the AIPAC lobby – enablers of ultra-Zionist militarism – and the Panderer-In-Chief’s denunciation of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, which opposes Israeli extremism, just as a similar BDS-type movement opposed apartheid in South Africa.

Given all of the above and so much more, it’s mystifying that people who purport themselves to be “progressive” or even “leftist” would publicly support the candidate who is so clearly, obviously, objectively to the right during the Democratic Party primary race. One such advocate formerly hosted a cable chat show called Disrupt – as if there is anything remotely “disruptive” about backing the status quo candidate, especially in this extremely anti-establishment election year. Especially one who has opposed true “disrupters,” voting to jail flag burners and condemn critics of the military and to unleash the dogs of war in Iraq. Talk about “cognitive dissonance”!

Another Hillary shill ran for president in 2004 claiming to “represent the democratic wing of the Democratic Party.” Now he obviously represents the Democratic Leadership Council centrist wing of the Democratic Party he once blasted.

This turncoating even applies to individuals who have associated themselves with socialism. If one goes to the front page of the Democratic Socialists of America there is a photo of a DSA Honorary Chair who is campaigning for Clinton. When Amy Goodman asked on Democracy Now! why this Benedict Arnold, a supposed “socialist”, isn’t supporting the candidate actually running as a socialist (whose candidacy is entirely financed by small contributions) but the other contender (who receives enormous speaking fees and contributions from Wall Street, corporations and PACs), the class traitor in question expediently changed the subject. Why? Because there is no logical reason why someone associated with a socialist organization would back the capitalist candidate. (The DSA endorses Bernie.)

Just about the only claim to fame Clinton can make to being some sort of a “progressive” (other than those Johnny-come-lately positions she has been stealing from Bernie to curry favor and votes) is that she’s female. Yes, it is high time for America to have a woman leader. The real question isn’t whether the USA is ready for a female president but why half of our 44 chief executives haven’t already been women? By all means, America should catch up with much of the world – including, as Michael Moore points out in Where to Invade Next – many nations with large Muslim populations that have had female heads of government and/or of state. It’s disgraceful that America hasn’t elected any yet, unlike Pakistan, Indonesia, etc. But for those who are blinded by gender here are four words:

Margaret Thatcher are two of them. Ask the families of UK miners and Irish hunger strikers who protested in prisons and so on, if they think there was anything remotely “progressive” about the Iron Lady, who was a vicious, war mongering, union busting repressive rightwinger – even if she was born with ovaries.

The other two words are: Jill Stein. If you are truly “on the left” and want a female president, why not throw your weight behind a genuinely progressive candidate and vote for this Green Party contender?

Another point that is rarely discussed is that for the first time in U.S. history a Jew is a viable presidential candidate. Bernie is the first Jew to win a major U.S. party primary/ caucus ever. But the fact that he belongs to this minority group that has encountered so much prejudice in the U.S. over the years seems to mean nothing to Hillary’s would-be “progressive” enablers and apologists, which, in some cases, is reminiscent of the 2008 Clinton campaign’s smug anti-Obama racism.

Don’t forget Bill Clinton’s “Sister Souljah” moment when he used an African American hip-hop artist as a prop for condemning Black militancy. Or Bill’s execution of a mentally retarded Black man to signal he would not coddle African-Americans or be soft on crime in order to curry favor and votes. While the Clinton regime gutted the safety net for poor Americans it amped up mass incarceration, so that the amount of Blacks behind bars exceeded the number of slaves shortly before the Civil War. It’s a fair point that wives should not be held accountable for their husbands’ actions. But as a Black Lives Matter protester reminded us when she crashed a posh Hillary fundraiser, Mrs. Clinton supported Bill’s policies then, as her insensitive, racially-tinged comments about bringing “super-predators” to heel made while she was First Lady demonstrate..

If you think “pragmatism” outweighs “principles”, sorry, you just are just not a progressive. You may have been one once, say, back in the sixties, but you no longer are and indeed, today you are playing a righty role. Like Clinton, you are yesterday’s news, trading on whatever stature you may have earned decades ago.

But the problem isn’t just that you are kidding yourself – given the state of the low level of American political discourse in a society where the Left has been vilified and decimated by the House Un-American Activities Committee/McCarthyism era, COINTELPRO and so on – you are also kidding and deceiving the public. Of course, everyone has constitutional and human rights to endorse and vote for whomever one wants. However, in America, free speech is not absolute and has limits. There are forms of speech that are not constitutionally guaranteed. For example, incitement to violence is not protected by the First Amendment – for instance, prez-il-duce candidate Donald Trump should be charged for inciting violence at his rallies and riots at the GOP convention.

Other types of speech that are not safeguarded by the First Amendment include slander, libel, false advertising and Fraudulent Misrepresentation. According to Cornell University Law School’s website, this is defined as: “…a plaintiff can recover against a defendant on the grounds of fraudulent misrepresentation if (1) a representation was made; (2) that was false; (3) that when made, the representation was known to be false or made recklessly without knowledge of its truth; (4) that it was made with the intention that the plaintiff rely on it; (5) that the plaintiff did rely on it; and (6) that the plaintiff suffered damages as a result.”

By using their “progressive” prestige to publicly support Clinton, what these lapsed “leftists” are doing is giving the campaign of a centrist-to-right aspirant the stamp of a pseudo-lefty imprimatur and pro-change cover that will deceive Democrats, independents, etc., into voting for somebody who has a center-right record and will surely rule in that way. The damage that may result by voters relying on purported progressives to make their choices could be the election of a president under false circumstances who is alleged to be “on the left” but will rule from the right, perpetuating America’s cycles of inequality, endless war and so on.

If you support Hillary Clinton, with her Super PACs and oodles of Wall Street cash and corporate contributions during the Democratic primaries, when she is self-evidently running against a candidate who is obviously to her Left, sorry, but you are not a progressive or “on the left.” And you are certainly, most definitely, NOT a socialist. You may have been one back in the day, but you no longer are. Now, you are a P.I.N.O. – a Progressive In Name Only.

As such, you should stop muddying the water and confusing the American people, who are constantly lied to and barraged with disinformation and don’t need any more deceitful propaganda. What you are doing is unethical, harmful and undermines the chances of those to the Left of the would-be Triangulator-In-Chief, such as Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein (who, like, you know, is a woman). Furthermore, what you are doing in perpetrating this hoax is also against the law.

If you still have a shred of the idealism and morality that once motivated you and you persist in backing Clinton, in all fairness, what you should publicly do is announce that you are no longer “on the left” and are now supporting the centrist candidate for president. That is an honorable thing to do and well within your human and constitutional rights – whereas aiding and abetting Fraudulent Misrepresentation is actually, in fact, illegal. Because you simply cannot be a leftist and back Hillary over Bernie in this primary race, just as it is a law of physics that two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time.

Who knows why you are perpetrating this hoax, advocating for the machine instead of the movement? Maybe you’re being paid off or want some media attention or some future position of power and privilege. Or are just deluded. Who knows why you’re a shill for Hill? But no matter what your motivation is, if you do not cease and desist and stop purporting yourself to be “progressive” or “Left” or, laughably, “socialist,” while supporting the center-right candidate against a self-professed advocate of democratic socialism during the primary season, true leftists should hold you accountable and sue you for Fraudulent Misrepresentation.

The hottest seats in hell are reserved for these cause and class traitors and collaborators who so flagrantly misrepresent themselves and increase the confusion of an already disinformed electorate during a primary season when they have other choices who are so obviously to the Left of Clinton and her DLC brand of politics.

In any case, with sincere apologies to Phil Ochs, composer of “Love Me, I’m a Liberal” (hear him perform this sixties song at: https://vimeo.com/32056274), here are lyrics just for you sellouts in that Ochs radical tradition, sung to the same tune:

Love Me, I’m a Pseudo-Lefty Hillary Hack

I cried when they shot Michael Brown
Tears ran down my spine
I cried when they choked Eric Garner
As though I’d lost a father of mine.

But Qaddafi got what was coming
He got regime change this time
So love me, love me
Love me, I’m a Pseudo-Lefty Hillary Hack.

I go to Clinton rallies
And I put down the old KKK.
I love Kobe and Jay-Z and Denzel
I hope every Black boy becomes a star.

But don’t talk about “political revolution”
That’s going a little bit too far
So love me, love me
Love me, I’m a Pseudo-Lefty Hillary Hack.

I cheered when Hillary was chosen
My faith in the system restored
And I’m glad the commies were thrown out
Of the Hollywood studios.

I love farm workers and sharecroppers
As long as they don’t move next door
So love me, love me
Love me, I’m a Pseudo-Lefty Hillary Hack.

The people who vote for Trump
Should all hang their heads in shame
I can’t understand how their minds work
What’s the matter don’t they watch MSNBC?

But if you ask me to back Black Lives Matter
I hope the cops take down your name
So love me, love me
Love me, I’m a Pseudo-Lefty Hillary Hack.

Yes, I read New York Times and Washington Post
I’ve learned to take every view
You know, I’ve memorized Brock and Finney
I feel like I’m almost cool.

But when it comes to burning the flag
There’s no one more red, white and blue
So love me, love me
Love me, I’m a Pseudo-Lefty Hillary Hack.

I vote for the Democratic Party
They want drones to be strong
I attend all the Katy Perry concerts
She sure gets me singing those songs.

And like Wall Street I’ll send money Hil asks for
But don’t ask me to “feel the Bern”
So love me, love me
Love me, I’m a Pseudo-Lefty Hillary Hack.

Sure once I was young and impulsive
I wore every conceivable pin
Even went to the socialist meetings
Learned all the old union hymns.

Ah, but I’ve grown older and wiser
And that’s why I’m turning you and my principles in
So love me, love me
Love me, love me, love me, I’m a Pseudo-Lefty Hillary Hack.

More articles by:

Ed Rampell is a contributor to the new book on America’s former Poet Laureate “Conversations With W.S. Merwin” and co-author of “The Hawaii Movie and Television Book“.

CounterPunch Magazine

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