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Frank writes: "I remember being warned by a scholar who has studied mass incarceration for years that it was fruitless to ask Americans to care about the thousands of lives destroyed by the prison system. Today, however, the situation has reversed itself: now people do care about mass incarceration, largely thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement and the intense scrutiny it has focused on police killings."

Bill Clinton. (photo: AP)
Bill Clinton. (photo: AP)


Bill Clinton's Crime Bill Destroyed Lives, and There's No Point Denying It

By Thomas Frank, Guardian UK

16 April 16

 

The former president made sure low-level drug users felt the full weight of state power at the same moment bankers saw the shackles that bound them removed

ere is an actual headline that appeared in the New York Times this week: Prison Rate Was Rising Years Before 1994 Law.

It is an unusual departure for a newspaper, since what is being reported here is not news but history – or, rather, a particular interpretation of history. The “1994 Law” to which the headline refers is the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act; the statement about the “prison rate” refers to the fact that America was already imprisoning a large portion of its population before that 1994 law was approved by Congress.

As historical interpretations go, this one is pretty non-controversial. Everyone who has heard about the “War on Drugs” knows that what we now call “mass incarceration”, the de facto national policy of locking up millions of low-level offenders, began long before 1994. And yet similar stories reporting that non-startling fact are now being published all across the American media landscape. That mass incarceration commenced before 1994 is apparently Big News.

Why report a historical fact that everyone already knows? The answer is because former president Bill Clinton, the man who called for and signed the 1994 crime bill, is also the husband of the current frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, and Democratic voters are having trouble squaring his draconian crime bill with his wife’s liberal image.

That might be the reason so many of these stories seem to unfold with the same goal in mind: to minimize Clinton’s moral culpability for what went on back in the 1990s. Mass incarceration was already happening, these stories agree. And besides, not everything in the crime bill was bad. As for its lamentable effects, well, they weren’t intentional. What’s more, Bill Clinton has apologized for it. He’s sorry for all those thousands of people who have had decades of their lives ruined by zealous prosecutors and local politicians using the tools Clinton accidentally gave them. He sure didn’t mean for that to happen.

When I was researching the 1994 crime bill for Listen, Liberal, my new book documenting the sins of liberalism, I remember being warned by a scholar who has studied mass incarceration for years that it was fruitless to ask Americans to care about the thousands of lives destroyed by the prison system. Today, however, the situation has reversed itself: now people do care about mass incarceration, largely thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement and the intense scrutiny it has focused on police killings.

All of a sudden, the punitive frenzies of the 1980s and 1990s seem like something from a cruel foreign country. All of a sudden, Bill Clinton looks like a monster rather than a hero, and he now finds himself dogged by protesters as he campaigns for his wife, Hillary. And so the media has stepped up to do what it always does: reassure Americans that the nightmare isn’t real, that this honorable man did the best he could as president.

Allow me to offer a slightly different take on the 1990s. I think today (as I thought at the time) that there is indeed something worth criticizing when a Democratic president signs on to a national frenzy for punishment and endorses things like “three strikes”, “mandatory minimums”, and “truth in sentencing”, the latter being a cute euphemism for “no more parole”. The reason the 1994 crime bill upsets people is not because they stupidly believe Bill Clinton invented these things; it is because they know he encouraged them. Because the Democrats’ capitulation to the rightwing incarceration agenda was a turning point in its own right.

Another interesting fact. Two weeks after Clinton signed the big crime bill in September 1994, he enacted the Riegle-Neal interstate banking bill, the first in a series of moves deregulating the financial industry. The juxtaposition between the two is kind of shocking, when you think about it: low-level drug users felt the full weight of state power at the same moment that bankers saw the shackles that bound them removed. The newspaper headline announcing the discovery of this amazing historical finding will have to come from my imagination – Back-to-Back 1994 Laws Freed Bankers And Imprisoned Poor, perhaps – but the historical pattern is worth noting nevertheless, since it persisted all throughout Clinton’s administration.

For one class of Americans, Clinton brought emancipation, a prayed-for deliverance from out of Glass–Steagall’s house of bondage. For another class of Americans, Clinton brought discipline: long prison stretches for drug users; perpetual insecurity for welfare mothers; and intimidation for blue-collar workers whose bosses Clinton thoughtfully armed with the North American Free Trade Agreement. As I have written elsewhere, some got the carrot, others got the stick.

But what is most shocking in our current journo-historical understanding of the Clinton years is the idea that the mass imprisonment of people of color was an “unintended consequence” of the 1994 crime bill, to quote the New York Daily News’s paraphrase of Hillary Clinton. This is flatly, glaringly false, as the final, ugly chapter of the crime bill story confirms.

Back in the early 1990s, and although they were chemically almost identical, crack and powder cocaine were regarded very differently by the law. The drug identified with black users (crack) was treated as though it were 100 times as villainous as the same amount of cocaine, a drug popular with affluent professionals. This “now-notorious 100-to-one” sentencing disparity, as the New York Times put it, had been enacted back in 1986, and the 1994 crime law instructed the US Sentencing Commission to study the subject and adjust federal sentencing guidelines as it saw fit.

The Sentencing Commission duly recommended that the 100-to-1 sentencing disparity be abolished, largely because (as their lengthy report on the subject put it) “The 100-to-1 crack cocaine to powder cocaine quantity ratio is a primary cause of the growing disparity between sentences for black and white federal defendants.” By the time their report was released, however, Republicans had gained control of Congress, and they passed a bill explicitly overturning the decision of the Sentencing Commission. (Bernie Sanders, for the record, voted against that bill.)

The bill then went to President Clinton for approval. Shortly before it came to his desk he gave an inspiring speech deploring the mass incarceration of black Americans. “Blacks are right to think something is terribly wrong,” he said on that occasion, “… when there are more African American men in our correction system than in our colleges; when almost one in three African American men, in their twenties, are either in jail, on parole, or otherwise under the supervision of the criminal system. Nearly one in three.”

Two weeks after that speech, however, Clinton blandly affixed his signature to the bill retaining the 100-to-1 sentencing disparity, a disparity that had brought about the lopsided incarceration of black people. Clinton could have vetoed it, but he didn’t. He signed it.

Today we are told that mass incarceration was an “unintended consequence” of Clinton’s deeds.

For that to be true, however, Clinton would have not only had to ignore the Sentencing Commission’s findings but also to ignore the newspaper stories appearing all around him, which can be found easily on the internet to this day. Here’s one that appeared in the Baltimore Sun on 31 October 1995, in which it is noted that:

Civil rights organizations had led a telephone campaign to pressure the president to veto the bill. At a rally last week in Chicago, the Rev Jesse L Jackson said that Mr Clinton had the chance, ‘with one stroke of your veto pen, to correct the most grievous racial injustice built into our legal system.’

It is impossible to imagine that Bill Clinton, the brilliant Rhodes Scholar, didn’t understand what everyone was saying. How could he sign such a thing right after giving a big speech deploring its effects? How can he and his wife now claim it was all an accident, when the consequences were being discussed everywhere at the time? When everyone was warning and even begging him not to do it? Maybe it didn’t really happen. Maybe it was all a bad dream.

But it did happen. There it is, Bill Clinton’s signing statement on the website of the American Presidency Project. Yes, the 100-to-1 disparity was finally reduced in 2010, but we liberals still can’t ignore what Clinton did back in 1995. Every historian who writes about his administration will eventually have to deal with it.

Until then, we have our orders from the mainstream media: Clinton didn’t mean it. Clinton has apologized. Things were bad even before Clinton got started.

It is a hell of a way to do history. Millions of proudly open-minded people are being asked to twist themselves into propaganda pretzels to avoid acknowledging the obvious: that the leaders of our putatively left party aren’t who we think they are.

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+47 # RMDC 2016-04-16 15:12
So Clinton destroyed lives. Why is destroying someone life not a crime. If the government harms someone's business it can be sued for restraint of trade. The new TPP gives corporatations vast powers to stop governments that harm their business operations or profits at all. But no one seems to care when governments harm people, as the GWOT is doing to muslims all over the world. Clinton should be thrown in prison for what he did to millions of people.
 
 
+47 # indian weaver 2016-04-16 15:36
If justice existed, a lot of those in power now, and earlier, would be hung to their death at The Hague. No justice exists. Dubya, Obama, Clinton, Reagan, Biden, Cheney, and many others not presidents should be indicted for Crimes Against Humanity, convicted and sentenced to be executed, were justice to exist. And these are just the Americans, not to mention their former and current genocidal worldwide allies like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UK, Germany, France, and on and on. Were Justice to Exist, ha ha. Were it only.
 
 
-45 # rocback 2016-04-16 23:59
If you read this article it proves that the "prison population was rising" BEFORE the 1994 crime bill was passed. Bernies supporter have been claiming that IT was the reason the prison population went up. Opps.
 
 
+24 # Billy Bob 2016-04-17 08:20
If that's what you got from it, you didn't read it.
 
 
+15 # pop65 2016-04-17 08:27
And even so... throwing another log on the fire was a good idea? One of Clinton's central motivations was always to advance his brand. Hillary is no different.
 
 
-18 # rocback 2016-04-17 12:05
You need to understand the condition of the country at the time. The crime rate was the highest in history and something had to be done. Everyone, including the black pastors supported the bill because it was THEIR neighborhoods that suffered from the gang banging, drug peddling to their children, raping their daughters and wives and murdering their neighbors. (which by the way was NOT going on in the wealthy neighborhoods).

No question the bill had unintended consequences of longer than necessary sentences for some multiple offender (some also deserved it). But the bill also banned assault weapons, put 88,000 police officers in the field and in predominately poor neighborhoods to protect the inhabitants, out of the box thinking like midnight basketball games.

It worked. The crime rate started going down and continued for several years.

Does 20/20 hindsight tell us parts should have been omitted? sure but overall it was a good law for the times.
 
 
+7 # economagic 2016-04-17 08:38
Yes, and you apparently have not read what Sanders' supporters are actually saying. Neither did you proof-read your own comment. It certainly seems as if you assume that negative comments from people to whom you show no respect means that you are correct, a little like a certain clownish candidate for the presidency/
 
 
+8 # kalpal 2016-04-17 11:35
In the early 1990's an article in Forbes magazine outlined the Bureau Of Prisons business plan. It forecast-ed a 100% growth during the next decade. I guess they were right.
 
 
-24 # ericlipps 2016-04-16 21:53
Quote:
We are concerned about a recent drift towards vitriol in the RSN Reader comments section. There is a fine line between moderation and censorship. No one likes a harsh or confrontational forum atmosphere. At the same time everyone wants to be able to express themselves freely. We'll start by encouraging good judgment. If that doesn't work we'll have to ramp up the moderation.
And it'll be about time, considering the venom spewed on this site about Bill and Hillary Clinton, and against anyone who prefers Hillary to St. Bernard.

Just to be clear: I didn't vote for Clinton in 1996 (though I did in '92 to help get Poppy Bush out of the White House). And if Hillary doesn't get the nomination this year, I'll vote for Bernie Sanders, just as I did for Barack Obama in 2008. I just get ticked off at the nasty, divisive attitude of so many posters here. C'mon, do you WANT to split the Democratic Party so someone like Trump or Cruz can goose-step into the White House?
 
 
+44 # Ken Halt 2016-04-16 22:33
eric: Sorry, but I don't automatically vote the Dem party and support its preferred candidate, the Dem party has to earn my vote. From '72 to '92 I voted Dem, but 35 years of conservative ascendance, including the Clinton administrations , has made the US a third world country. Abetting a Dem establishment candidate who will maintain this status quo, which is benefitting only the 1%, is not going to get my vote. I am all in for Bernie, but if HRC is the candidate I will once again vote Green. The Dem party needs to field an authenticl opposition and reform candidate, not a Repub lite.
 
 
+16 # Billy Bob 2016-04-17 08:04
Please don't go Green. Write in Sanders. If enough people actually did this it would send a more clear message.
 
 
0 # shraeve 2016-04-17 14:44
What's wrong with the Greens? The Green Party is the party most concerned with global warming. Global warming is the most dire threat not just to the USA, but to all life on Earth.

I am a libertarian, but if the Libertarian Party does not have a candidate for a particular office and the Green Party does, I vote for the Green candidate.
 
 
+9 # Billy Bob 2016-04-17 16:36
The Greens and the Libertarians are extreme opposites in philosophy.

The Libertarians are the worst possible candidates you could imagine, unless your goal is to quicken the environmental decline associated with global warming, by completely allowing the fossil fuel industry to do whatever it wants unimpeded.

Anyway, my comment isn't about the Greens. It's about sending a message. Voting for the Green Party won't send the message people think it will. It will only send the message that you wouldn't have voted for a Democrat under any circumstances, and the party is pretty much free to be hijacked by neo-cons, as far as you're concerned, because you're no longer involved enough to protest. A write in vote for Sanders, on the other hand, would send the message that you refused to vote for the Democratic candidate - ONLY because the Democratic Party refused to nominate a candidate that represented you and has been hijacked by people who don't have your best interests in mind.

Same protest, but a whole lot more effective.

That said, like Ken said, let's get Sanders elected, so we don't have to have this discussion.
 
 
+5 # Ken Halt 2016-04-17 15:12
BB: Yes, might do that but all I'm thinking right now is to get Bernie nominated! If he gets it I'll be all in for his election, if not there is time enough to consider alternatives but it won't include a vote for a neocon or a neolib.
 
 
+9 # Billy Bob 2016-04-17 16:31
I understand completely. I'm getting a little sick and tired of Clintonites lecturing us to give up on Sanders, when we're in the equivalent of the 3rd quarter, and only behind by a touchdown.
 
 
+23 # CL38 2016-04-17 00:13
I don't think you see the larger issues here.

“[Bernie] is running to take the Democratic Party back from an establishment that ignores the fundamental systemic economic problems that lead to wage stagnation and economic crisis.”

“The last time a democratic primary was this important, it was 1976. ... The chance may not come again for quite some time.”

"This is about whether the Democratic Party is going to care about inequality for the next decade."

Why Bernie vs Hillary Matters More Than People Think, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/benjamin-studebaker/bernie-vs-hillary-matters-more-than-people-think_b_9209940.html
 
 
+25 # jdd 2016-04-17 05:23
Bernie's mass support is a reaction from the FDR-pro labor impulse in the Democratic Party against the Wall Street faction lead by the unreconstructed "Goldwater Girl" of 1964.
 
 
-15 # rocback 2016-04-17 12:09
"mass support". Puleeze. If Bernie has mass report, Hillary must have super mass support since she is beating him by 2.4 million votes.
 
 
0 # SHK 2016-04-19 11:57
She cheats. viz: Massachusetts.
 
 
+17 # Dred Pierce 2016-04-17 04:45
How do you pleasantly critique the words, thoughts and deeds of psychotic sociopaths on fire with unbridled GREED? I would like to know. The neoliberal branch of the Democratic Party will cease to exist or we will. Ready for TPP? If you need medication to deal with the real world, they are available. To try and avoid confronting the thoroughly corrupt political situation we are in is suicidal.
 
 
+25 # Merlin 2016-04-17 06:01
ericlipps 2016-04-16 21:53
“C’mon, do you WANT to split the Democratic Party so someone like Trump or Cruz can goose-step into the White House?”

As a matter of fact I want more than that splitting of the party as you put it. I want the total demise of the current neoliberal, DLC, Third Way, corporatist supporting, so called “Democratic Party.”

The Clintons represent this current Blue Dog, Republican Light “Democratic Party.” They do not represent Progressives, The People, or FDR Democrats like me. They represent the oligarchs. I want no part of either of them.

Do I want to see Trump as President? No, I don’t. I want Bernie Sanders. He is the only reasonable choice of the candidates running. Do I want Hillary as President? Absolutely not! I will not vote for her either, should she be the nominee.

Frankly, I believe Hillary would be worse in the WH than Trump. Why? The People will rise up against him because he is so obviously skewed. Hillary, like Obama, will appear much more sane and be accepted as the lesser of 2 evils. The People will not rise up, and the status quo will be maintained. With Hillary, the oligarchs will have their programs pushed without much reaction by The People and the result will be much worse for the 99%. (Think of the possibility of war with Iran and the passing of the TPP both of which Hillary approves, as examples.)
 
 
-11 # rocback 2016-04-17 12:13
That's the kind of thinking that got Bush elected when Nader siphoned off just enough votes from Gore to cost him New Hampshire and made Fla close enough to let Bush steal it in Bush v Gore.

And THAT is what gave us Alito and Roberts and the 5-4 Citizens United decision.

And THIS time there will be probably MORE Sup Ct seats affected.

WAKE UP!
 
 
-12 # Bic Parker 2016-04-17 16:25
AND Bernie voted for the 1994 crime bill.
 
 
+5 # Billy Bob 2016-04-17 16:37
Repeating spin over and over doesn't take away the basic lie behind it. We've already explained this whole thing to you before, but you refuse to read our responses. The only thing you deserve is silence and thumbs down. If you can't pay attention, there's no reason for us to give you any attention.
 
 
+1 # shraeve 2016-04-17 13:52
@Merlin Good idea. But let's also bring about the demise of the Republican Party. Both the Republicans and the Democrats have become hopelessly corrupt.

The Democrats and the Republicans should go the way of the Federalists and the Whigs. They should be replaced by the Libertarians and the Greens.
 
 
+31 # dipierro4 2016-04-16 22:02
...the Rev Jesse L Jackson said that Mr Clinton had the chance, ‘with one stroke of your veto pen, to correct the most grievous racial injustice built into our legal system....

And not long before that, Sen. Sanders had delivered Vermont for Presidental candidate Rev. Jackson.

And now Rev. Jackson maintains his silence, tacitly supporting Ms. Clinton, along with the vast majority of his community -- including others who campaign openly for her, e.g., Rep. John Lewis and, most recently, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, among many others. Sad and troubling.
 
 
+22 # CL38 2016-04-17 00:05
The MSM continues to whitewash the Clinton's history of failed policies that damaged millions of lives and families. Bill Clinton's deregulation bill led directly to the '08 financial crisis (scams) that cost millions their homes, health insurance and retirement. Bill's trade agreements, including NAFTA, cost millions of middle class citizens their livelihood, homes, etc. Hillary supported each of these disastrous policies.

Then there's the Clinton debacle of the Crime Bill and Welfare Reform that set us up for the enormous increase in the numbers of people in our prison system. How many for drugs??


Let's hold both Clinton's accountable. Let's NOT vote for the supposedly "lesser evil" the DNC & MSM are pushing to continue the status quo... and control over our lives.

The only progressive honorable candidate is Bernie.
 
 
-12 # Rain17 2016-04-17 04:12
Could it be that maybe it's because the Clintons have developed relationships with their communities--an d Sanders didn't? Could it be that maybe, during the Clinton years, black employment and home ownership reached record highs? Could it also be maybe because blacks don't like being told that their votes don't matter in primaries where they were the majority of voters because they live in the south? Could it also be due to the attacks on people like John Lewis, who risked his life during the civil rights movement, for endorsing Clinton?

Maybe it's also because of the condescending, dismissive tone of some Sanders supporters. In another thread last week someone called southern blacks "ignorant" because they didn't vote for him. Maybe I'm totally wrong, but calling people stupid or ignorant because they don't agree with you isn't going to get them to change their minds. Whatever the case they aren't going to listen to some condescending Sanders supporter lecturing them on what they should do because, in your view, they're apparently incapable of figuring it out for themselves and need to be saved from their "ignorance" by a Sanders supporter who, by virtue of his/her education or just being more "enlightened", knows better and what's best for them.

"You're ignorant and don't know any better. You should listen to me" is not a winning message.

Continued in next post. . .
 
 
+15 # Dred Pierce 2016-04-17 04:54
Face the fact that the states where Hillary got the most votes are the very same states that have the lowest SAT scores in the nation and have been doing social promotion for years now to avoid making it even harder for the poorly educated to survive. Southern Blacks and Whites ARE more ignorant than other parts of the country. The statistics do not lie. Ignorant states were targeted by Clinton. The Clinton's policies have destroyed more Black Lives than the KKK. Mississippi is still bitching and moaning about the budget shortfalls they are facing because of insufficient numbers of mostly Black people in prison. Yes, lots of people from many races are poorly educated, even stupid and have been corrupted. Unfortunately, they still support the people who destroy them.
 
 
-5 # kalpal 2016-04-17 11:39
Strange that Trump adores the poorly educated who apparently live in states that score highly on their SAT's or maybe because you are a fool?
 
 
+4 # Blackjack 2016-04-17 16:06
The states that HRC won also are, for the most part, states that no Dem is going to win anyway. . .the Old Confederacy. If the DNC had a lick of sense or courage they would realize that Bernie will get votes in places where HRC won't--in swing states! DNC is stupid (and biased) beyond belief.
 
 
+4 # reiverpacific 2016-04-17 09:42
Quoting Rain17:
Could it be that maybe it's because the Clintons have developed relationships with their communities--and Sanders didn't? Could it be that maybe, during the Clinton years, black employment and home ownership reached record highs? Could it also be maybe because blacks don't like being told that their votes don't matter in primaries where they were the majority of voters because they live in the south? Could it also be due to the attacks on people like John Lewis, who risked his life during the civil rights movement, for endorsing Clinton?

Maybe it's also because of the condescending, dismissive tone of some Sanders supporters. In another thread last week someone called southern blacks "ignorant" because they didn't vote for him. Maybe I'm totally wrong, but calling people stupid or ignorant because they don't agree with you isn't going to get them to change their minds. Whatever the case they aren't going to listen to some condescending Sanders supporter lecturing them on what they should do because, in your view, they're apparently incapable of figuring it out for themselves and need to be saved from their "ignorance" by a Sanders supporter who, by virtue of his/her education or just being more "enlightened", knows better and what's best for them.

"You're ignorant and don't know any better. You should listen to me" is not a winning message.

Continued in next post. . .


The only "Communities" that pair have developed are in Wall Steet!
 
 
-13 # Rain17 2016-04-17 04:15
Continued from last post. . .

And the other point is that, when Sanders has talked about race, it is usually in the same context as mass incarceration and welfare. The fact is that most minorities are not in the criminal justice system, nor are they are all on welfare. There are other issues that matter to them too.

Overall this is maybe why minorities have largely rebuffed the Sanders campaign. If this is how they've reached out to these communities it's no wonder why they've failed to get much support.
 
 
-8 # rocback 2016-04-17 12:14
Well said, Rain.
 
 
+9 # rradiof 2016-04-16 22:22
Cuck Flinton.
 
 
-26 # rocback 2016-04-17 00:00
That's a typical Bernie supporter. And probably a spoiled white rich kid going to college on his daddy money.
 
 
+10 # tedrey 2016-04-17 04:12
If it weren't for vitriol and unsupported ad hominem assumptions, you'd have little to say here. If I add statements which a few minutes of research prove false, I find nothing left of the last dozen of your postings. My claim itself is not unsupported; I've just read them.
 
 
+5 # jdd 2016-04-17 05:24
You mean like Hillary and Chelsea?
 
 
+8 # economagic 2016-04-17 08:45
"That's a typical Bernie supporter."

No it's not. Read the comments to which you respond, and count the ones with such childish drivel against the ones that consist of well constructed arguments based on specific facts. Otherwise you are open to the charge of being essentially what you call rradiof.
 
 
+3 # Blackjack 2016-04-17 16:10
Where in the name of all that's holy do you come up with these inane ideas, rocback? Surely not from any credible sources. "Spoiled white rich kid going to college on his daddy money." That would be the Trumpsters, all except for the college part. They see no need for that because money will get them what they want. And besides, they likely wouldn't be accepted anywhere legitimate unless they could buy acceptance.
 
 
+9 # Dred Pierce 2016-04-17 04:34
The Clintons are the most destructive force to hit this country since WWII and they did it all pretending to be one of us. They both are serial liars, serial killers, (especially Killry)and are still pretending to be one of us. They are not like us, they are more like the Ku Klux Klan. Bill Clinton is from the DEEP IGNORANT SOUTH from a dysfunctional redneck family and he has destroyed countless more BLACK lives than the Ku Klux Klan. Problem is that the people they screwed are no longer in the dark. We have a face to attach to the murder of the people of Honduras, Libya, Iraq, Yemen and our own inner cities. Put that same face on the collapse of the economy in 2007/8. The Clintons are Public Enemy Number One. I am not trying to 'preserve' the Democratic Party of the Clintons. The truth, as ugly and uncomfortable as it is must sink in. We as a nation have a chance to STOP EVIL in it's tracks. They and their cohorts can expect nothing but hassle and stress for what they have done but we now have the opportunity to STOP THEM. If the Killer steals the election by taking advantage of ignorant Blacks (learned as first lady of Arkansas.) If these people get away with the intentional atrocities they have committed, AmeriKKKa will win the Presidency. Bernie Sanders 2016
 
 
-1 # Caliban 2016-04-17 14:20
Really, Dred?--"by taking advantage of ignorant Blacks" is more racist than anything you claim the Clintons have said. Shame.
 
 
-3 # rocback 2016-04-17 17:27
Dred this from a fellow progressive:

All bank people are not crooks, all doctors are not frauds, all Republicans are not evil — and all Democrats/Progr essives/Liberal s are not perfect.

The truth about the accomplishments of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders can, and are being twisted, stretched, and omitted in effort to make each look better or worse. Many titles I see these days about our Democratic candidates are sensationalized , mean-spirited, exaggerated and/or blatantly false. The thing is, our liberal sites and social media networks reach millions. We can disgrace ourselves to the country and resort to Tea Party/FOX tactics — or we can do this thing right. I’m not talking about political correctness. I’m searching for responsibly to the truth. Somewhere in my life, someone told me, “When you hear something negative about someone, consider the source.” As Liberals, Progressives and Democrats most of us know, way down deep, we know — #WeAreBetterTha nThis
 
 
+16 # Realist1948 2016-04-17 06:27
'Shortly before [the 1994 crime bill] came to [President Clinton's] desk he gave an inspiring speech deploring the mass incarceration of black Americans. “Blacks are right to think something is terribly wrong...” '
Note that the meaning of Clinton's assertion depends on what the meaning of "is" is.

My point here is not simply to jest. Both Bill and Hillary have a tendency to say things that they don't really mean, or are not actually true. In the case of Hillary (a one-time board member of Wal-Mart, the epitome of wage and wealth inequality), these include mere lip service to the economic concerns of our shrinking middle class.

In foreign affairs, the lip service for human rights has not always matched her deeds. For example, with the 2009 military coup in Honduras, Hillary supported the overthrow of an elected president. And although U.S. embassy staff in Honduras called the Honduran president's overthrow an illegal military coup, Hillary denied this was the case. She denied the facts because for Hillary's agenda, the coup was an inconvenient truth. See

http://www.democracynow.org/2016/4/13/shes_baldly_lying_dana_frank_responds

...
 
 
-5 # mmc 2016-04-17 11:05
What is important is that the problems facing our country demand our focus, not rehashing what or who may have caused them decades ago. Many Democrats have been fighting hard for the past several years to reform the criminal justice system, reduce the prison population and de-criminalize so many petty things that end up in long prison sentences. The personal vitriol that is hurled at anyone who even politely questions anything most of this cite's posters say is appalling: if you substituted "Trump" and "Cruz" for "Hillary" and "Sanders" this cite would look no different than something operated by Fox "news".
 
 
+2 # shraeve 2016-04-17 13:45
Non-violent crimes such as fraud should be punished by confiscating a portion of the offender's assets. Victim-less "crimes" such as drug use and prostitution should not be punished at all.

But the lives of violent criminals SHOULD be destroyed. Murderers and rapists should not be released from prison until they are senior citizens. If they are ever released at all.
 
 
+5 # newell 2016-04-17 16:14
It's always easy for the rich (Clinton's 150 million) to incarcerate the poor. they are numbers, stats and "it will teach them a lesson". Funny that the cultures we demonized, decimated and stole their land, culture and pride had no cages to put others in.
 
 
-4 # Bic Parker 2016-04-17 16:27
And in case you missed it in this long thread,

Bernie voted for the hated crime bill.
 
 
-4 # Robbee 2016-04-17 17:18
fallen behind the times! - says poor - # Merlin 2016-04-17 06:01
"... Think of the possibility of war with Iran and the passing of the TPP both of which Hillary approves ..."

hill toes obama's carefully-limit ed-engagement line almost as carefully as bernie does - all the rest is hype! and GOP envy!

we live in war-mongering times - with a war-mongering public eager to war on muslims!

if hill clears bernie, she will be our nation's "peace" candidate - that is, unless the repugs nominate someone other than crud or rump, or another warhead!

behind door #1! - “i will carpet-bomb isis into oblivion!"

behind door #2! - "i will bomb the shit out of isis! - on my first day in office, i will tear up the (no-nuclear-bom b-making) treaty with iran! ... a bad deal! the worst ever!” - meanwhile note that bernie and hill both support obama’s iran treaty!

behind door #3! - "war is never a first choice!”

- what passes for intelligent comment around here is falling into the trap of thinking that, if hill becomes our dem nominee, she will not be our nation's "peace" candidate!

unsaid above, we all prefer bernie's muslim armies plan! - but bernie is not our nation's only "peace" candidate! - go bernie! - then, whether bernie or not, go dem nominee!

some here wring their hands and ask "in what world is hill a peace candidate?" - well! only in america! sorry!

moreover, after chatting with union hnchos, hill now opposes tpp! sorry!
 
 
-4 # Robbee 2016-04-17 17:25
merlin and i have argued over whether progressives owe each other any duty other than to vote for their perfect candidate, even if it means throwing away a vote on a 3rd-party candidate, who can't win

and in support of his position, merlin says that there is no significant difference between hill and jeb! - and that hill cannot be influenced to be any better person than she was before

and i counter that there is a significant difference between hill and any gop slime merlin can name - that bernie, warren, reich and other progressives should influence hill to be a better, more progressive, person than she was before

i believe that as progressives our 1st goal has to be to convert america to progressive ideals - our 2nd goal has to be to take over the dem party - both of our goals involve converting hill and everyone like or unlike her

at stake here is more than manners or how sore you get about us arguing over the movement - we argue whether a progressive owes any other person any progressive behavior - or are we all islands who owe no one but ourselves anything?

i don't blame merlin for being pissed off at dems in general or hill in particular - i am too - what i am urging all here to do is to do something constructive about our rigged-against- us-government - the aim of greens and of pledgers to write-in is to throw away progressive votes, to do nothing, thanks for nothing!
 
 
+2 # Merlin 2016-04-18 09:28
Robbee 2016-04-17 17:25

Yes, Robbee, we have our differences.

My take on our differences is that we are having an apples and oranges discussion. We are talking about different things when we address the same issue. Take the Hillary/Jeb issue you brought up. I feel you are talking about policy differences, while I am talking about political philosophy.

Yes, there are policy differences, but policies and how a candidate talks about them are very fluid. They both change “as the wind blows and the newspaper directs” to quote Emerson. Obama is a classic case of the candidate’s words and his later actions in office being different. Words can’t be used to accurately assess how a politician, especially one running for office, will act. The closest we can come to an accurate assessment is to understand their philosophy. And that philosophy is determined by a persons actions over time.

People rarely change their philosophy, and your goal of “converting hill and everyone like her” is just not going to happen. The view that Bernie is “influencing” Hillary, and she is seeing the light and moving left, is an illusion. What we are seeing in any “change” is a political move to win votes. Her philosophy remains unchanged.

Continued below
 
 
+2 # Merlin 2016-04-18 09:30
Continued:

With Jeb and Hillary, it is in their philosophies that I see little difference. In my view, they are both supporters of the oligarchs, and any difference is in the degree of their actions. When in office they will follow the oligarch line, and not represent The People. The TPP is a good example. Hillary is for it (she considered it the gold standard of trade agreements in 2009.) This issue is arguably the most important oligarch issue there is. Her walking that back by saying essentially “if a few things are changed it will be OK” is not a change at all. She still supports it, as she did NAFTA back when. That support is her philosophy talking.
 
 
+1 # wmarcelle@earthlink.net 2016-04-19 11:00
Like they say -- HINDSIGHT is a MOFO. When one thinks about the fact that in the last 35 years the AMERICAN PRESIDENCY was populated by REAGAN, TWO BUSHES, CLINTON, and currently by OBAMA (who is obviously a tool of the OLIGARCHS -- which is a requirement of the position), the steep decline of this NATION is apparent. And who may be the likely elected PRESIDENT this year? Another CLINTON. Why? Because people are deluded enough to call the U.S. a DEMOCRACY!
 
 
0 # wmarcelle@earthlink.net 2016-04-19 16:16
CALIBAN -- I understand where you're coming from, but -- giving DRED PIERCE the benefit of the doubt -- his statement about BLACKS was not RACIST, but unfortunately TRUE! I'm AFRICAN AMERICAN and it is correct that the CLINTONS are taking advantage of BLACK VOTERS who are IGNORANT of their true record concerning BLACK PEOPLE. Many of them are indoctrinated and deceived by a CORPORATE MAINSTREAM MEDIA which paints PERCEPTION as REALITY. I had to read MICHELLE ALEXANDER'S excellent book "THE NEW JIM CROW" in order to learn about how BILL CLINTON contributed to the MASS INCARCERATION of BLACKS in this country through his omnibus crime bill. Due to massive racial disparities in the American educational system, huge numbers of black people do not read. This makes them particularly vulnerable to lies by the STATE and the MAINSTREAM MEDIA.
 
 
0 # Vardoz 2016-05-09 13:32
Bill Clinton should be charged with crimes against humanity. Why blacks like him is beyond my comprehension.
 

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