I have frequently paid attention to the recurring memory of an anecdote the late Christopher Hitchens once scribbled delectably about Hillary Clinton. It originated from her first-lady goodwill tour of Asia in April 1995. Mrs. Clinton had the good fortune to travel somewhat in Nepal, and while so doing had a brief and expensive visit with the late Edmund Hillary, the renowned explorer of Mount Everest. Ever the politician, Mrs. Clinton elected to reveal that her mother had, in fact, named her after the great man. The problem with her revelation, however, is that it did not cut much ice, as it were. Clinton was born in 1947, and the late Mr. Hillary and his partner Tenzing Norgay, did not themselves ascend Mount Everest until 1953. Mrs. Clinton's public relations person, as one should assume, made a rather leg-tailed response.
Anecdote aside, it was yesterday, to my eternal frustration, that the media as it ever seems to do, ventilated a lot of inaccurate reporting regarding an interview actress and activist Ms. Susan Sarandon done with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, on Monday night.
Many publications seemed either to have misheard or, more likely, manipulated something Sarandon said. Specifically, this actual quote:
"Some people feel that Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately if he gets in, things will really explode."
There then followed a wave of inaccurate and untrue accusations of what Ms. Sarandon said. Including some apologies.
Commentators, those ever precious chatter-boxes, began to accuse and insinuate that Sarandon was in fact, allowing her opinion that Trump may be preferable to Clinton. This interpretation is, quite simply, stupid. Sarandon has been, and continues to be, an outspoken critic of Hillary Clinton and a vocal supporter of Bernie Sanders. Stating plainly that she wants to be on the right side of history, indeed a quite reasonable charge, for Bernie Sanders is undoubtedly to any seriously progressive mind, the most sensible and credible candidate. Smearing, however, is something the American Media is accustomed to. And precious, in more than one sense, the commentators fumble and distort away. In order to give Ms. Sarandon something of a fair hearing regarding the interview, perhaps it would not be altogether wasteful to examine some of her points.
Regarding Monsanto, which has been in some quarters, labeled the the most evil corporation in the world," Mrs. Clinton seems to have quite considerable associations. Clinton spoke to thousands at the BIO International Convention - (BIO is short for the Biotechnology Industry Organization, a monster-esque Washington-based trade group for the biotech industry) - on June 25, 2014, at the San Diego Convention Center. Clinton there did casually express her support for genetically modified organisms, or what we know as GMOs.
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) has urged doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets for all human patients. They cite animal studies showing some of the most harrowing and ghastly side-effects. Including, and, as you might imagine, not limited to; organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system disorders, accelerated aging, and infertility. Equally lethal to the Environment, GM crops and their associated herbicides can harm birds, insects, amphibians, marine ecosystems, and soil organisms. Supporting these kind of things is not very clever for a person who nominates "health issues" as a strong point.
Let's follow the money, and see how Sarandon shapes up regarding those claims. When it comes to funding, Wall Street, and Super PACs, exactly from where does Bernie and Hillary's money derive? According to Open Secrets, we can break it down. Bernie's largest demographic of donations comes from men spending between $200 - $499. Hillary, however, her largest demographic of donations comes from a mixture of men and women who are spending $2700+ PER DONATION. Instantly, one can see that these people are most definitely not your average American, whatever the hell that actually means. According to the most recent Census ACS survey, the median household income for the United States in 2014 was $53,657. I doubt Tom and Mary are spending that much on Mrs. Clinton.
In corollary, let's take a look at who the largest contributors to each candidate actually are. Bernie's three largest contributors are Alphabet Incorporated at $254,814, University of California at $139,633, and finally Microsoft Corporation at $95,296.
Meanwhile, Hillary's largest contributors are Soros Fund Management at a whopping $7,039,800, Laborers Union at $4,000,250, and Euclidean Capital at $3,502,700. Hillary is waving in millions from grandiose corporations compared to the students and retirees that are funding Bernie's campaign. The two largest industries Bernie receives money from, are those retired, and those whom are currently students. Hillary's largest donations are coming from Securities and Investment.
Then, on her next charge, Sarandon is also correct, regarding the minimum wage. Bernie has advocated raising that figure to $15, in order to maintain a living wage. Hillary has advocated for a more more prudent $12 minimum wage. A living wage is something that drastically needs to be implemented, considering that millions of Americans work a chunky 50 or 60 hour week while receiving no overtime pay. Republicans seem not to want to raise the minimum wage whatsoever. They are, of course, the more conservative of the two right wings of the one party system. That party being, as the late Gore Vidal identified, the property party.
When it comes to Fracking, Sarandon is correct again. As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and the State Department worked closely with energy companies to spread fracking around the globe, as Mother Jones recently chronicled regarding Bulgaria in particular. This was part of a broader push to fight climate change, boost global energy supply, and to initiate a pre-emptive strike in competition with Russia and China. Clinton sent a cable to US diplomats asking them to collect information on the potential for fracking in their host countries. It should not go unreported that Clinton also supported offshore drilling and sided with Congressional Republicans by voting to help open up Gulf Coast areas to the process.
31 times Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders disagreed by how they voted compared to one another whilst both Senators. Including the blocking the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to American prisons. Bernie voted for the transfer, Hillary voted against. Bernie voted against the 2008 Defense Budget Bill, and Hillary voted in favor of it. In 2007, Bernie opted to prevent a vote on the Bill ending the debate on immigration reform legislation, Hillary voted in favor of this. In October 2008, Bernie voted against passing the Bank Bailout Bill, whereas Hillary supported it. Bernie voted against estate tax changes to add up to $45 billion in estate tax exemptions over five-year period, Hillary voted for the changes.
Let's take another accurate quote from Ms. Sarandon:
"The status quo is not working and I think it is dangerous to think we can continue on the way we are with the militarised police force, with privatized prisons, with the death penalty, with the low minimum wage, with threats to women's rights, and to think you cannot do something huge to turn that around. The country is not in good shape. If you're in the middle class it is disappearing."
Isn't it something curious, that the commentators, in their faceless many, chose not to take a quote such as this one? Frightening diagnosis.
And before I alight from my sally, I want to address the despicable, shameful, and dangerous complimentary rapport Clinton has with war criminal Henry Kissinger. Filthied in reputation, surely, for his complicity in the Nixon and Watergate scandal, and for the exposure of his war crimes and crimes against humanity in Indochina, Chile, Argentina, Cyprus, East Timor, and elsewhere. What sort of women would place kisses upon the face of such a man at press events, review favorably his discreditable opinions in his slimy books, and speak well of someone so unwell in so many disrespects?
I can tell you what sort of woman wouldn't.