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Archive for March 8th, 2010

Which side is Hillary on?

Posted by Charles II on March 8, 2010

I’ve written about how Hillary seems to have sided with the most retrogressive forces in supporting the Honduras coup. I had ascribed that to her DLC leanings.

But as I read Jeff Sharlet’s The Family, I begin to wonder whether she is not part of it. For those who are not familiar with The Family, it was established to influence political, religious and financial leaders. Nominally fundamentalist Christian, it has embraced dictators and unrepentant criminals of all stripes, from Charles Colson of Watergate fame to Indonesia’s mass murderer, Suharto, to Siad Barre, the butcher of Somalia, whose shipwreck of that country was the precursor to the pirates attacking American shipping today. The Family has no trouble with non-Christians like Suharto: it imagines that it is working God’s will through their crimes. And The Family is mainstream. It runs a number of members of Congress, including Bart Stupak, who is presently single-handedly denying American health insurance knowing that thousands will die as a result.

There is plenty of material in Sharlet’s book to lend credence to the view that Hillary Clinton is under the sway of The Family, although the careful nuance Sharlet provides makes it clear that she is almost certainly not in the inner group. However, neither does she seem to be an opportunist who simply uses political contacts in The Family for her own ends. Instead, she seems to be one of those many benighted people who believes that God gives power to people because He approves of their actions… and thereby gradually becomes corrupted. A couple of excerpts:

The Family works through the men and women who we put in power. Sam Brownback. Hillary Clinton. Pick your poison. In the calculus of party politics, these two do occupy distant coordinates, but in the geometry of power politics, the Family knows, they are on the same plane, and the distance between them is shrinking. They mean well, both of them, and I’m more partial to the views of one of them, but I can’t help looking at that narrowing spectrum and wondering, This is an awful tight space in which to fit a democracy. (p. 284)

Hillary may well be God’s beautiful child, but she’s not a member of Coe’s Family. Rather, I’ve been told at Ivanwald, she’s a “friend,” less elect than a member, but more chosen than the rest of us. A fellow traveler but not a sister. Her goals are not their goals; but when on occasion they coincide, Hillary and the Family can work together…. The theology of Jesus plus nothing [but lacking any of the teachings of Jesus and the Church] is totalitarian in scope, but diplomatic in practice. It doesn’t conquer, it “infects,”…. (p. 272)

“Infected” seems like a good description of US Honduras policy.

Posted in Christianity, Hillary Clinton, hypocrites | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Honduran dictatorship, day 41

Posted by Charles II on March 8, 2010

David Jessup of Stabroek News has a fascinating piece on Petrocaribe. Some excerpts:

No one should be in any doubt about the critical importance of Venezuela’s PetroCaribe programme. If it were not for the energy lifeline that it has provided to every Caribbean nation other than Trinidad and Barbados, much of the region would by now be in economic free-fall.

Despite criticism from those outside the Caribbean who do not like the implied political leverage the programme gives to Caracas, no other nation at this time has the political will to provide this level of support to Caribbean states. So much so that the US in particular is now faced with the paradox of needing Caracas’s continuing commitment to maintaining PetroCaribe’s programmes in the region if it is to have any guarantee of economic and social stability in the region.

According to newspaper reports, the nation’s Energy Minister, Rafael Ramírez, has said that a reduction in the export of oil products “may indeed occur in 2010 because our priority is the domestic market.” [i.e., power shortages, which the government hopes to alleviate with petroleum-fired generators]. However, officials of the state oil company, PDVSA, say privately that a cut in exports is inevitable.

One would guess that Honduras is not high on the list of countries that Petrocaribe will provide subsidized oil.

Via Adrienne, Mark Weisbrot in The Guardian says that Clinton continues to bungle:

Hillary Clinton’s Latin America tour is turning out to be about as successful as George W Bush’s visit in 2005, when he ended up leaving Argentina a day ahead of schedule just to get the hell out of town….she has been even more diplomatically clumsy that Bush, who at least recognised that there were serious problems and knew what not to say. “The Honduras crisis has been managed to a successful conclusion,” Clinton said in Buenos Aires, adding that “it was done without violence.”

This is rubbing salt into her hosts’ wounds, as they see the military overthrow of President Mel Zelaya last June, and subsequent efforts by the US to legitimise the dictatorship there as not only a failure but a threat to democracy throughout the region.

It is also an outrageous thing to say, given the political killings, beatings, mass arrests, and torture that the coup government used in order to maintain power and repress the pro-democracy movement. The worst part is that they are still committing these crimes.

Clinton will meet on Friday with “Pepe” Lobo of Honduras, who was elected president after a campaign marked by media shutdowns and police repression of dissent. The Organisation of American States and European Union refused to send official observers to the election.
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