Monday, April 11, 2016

Warrior Empress of Austeria

Before she became a progressive for purposes of collecting votes, Secretary Hillary Clinton traveled the globe for the purposes of collecting a record number of frequent flyer miles in the service of banks and multinationals.

Reading a blog-post by her staunch surrogate Paul Krugman the other day, about how those crazy Republicans try to sell such bogus products as "expansionary austerity" for the masses in order to jump-start economic growth, I was reminded of the time in 2011 when Hillary Clinton went to Greece and compared austerity to life-saving chemotherapy.

As if that rhetoric was not slimy enough, she also praised the failing, cash-strapped, indebted Greek government for devoting its scarce resources to helping her bomb the hell of Libya, and also for militarily preventing a humanitarian aid flotilla from leaving port to deliver lifesaving supplies to the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Even then, the Empress-in-Waiting wore three crowns: neoliberal scold and protector of Big Global Finance; staunch friend of the right-wing Israeli government and punisher of starving Palestinians; and hawk extraordinaire who never met a regime she didn't want to change or a war she didn't want to fight.

What was kind of unusual is that she would tout all three sadistic credentials in  just one short speech. In light of her and Bill's past domestic record now coming under some much-deserved scrutiny, I think it's worth taking another look at this episode in her international antics as well.

When the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and Goldman Sachs load corrupt governments up with debts that they can never repay, the result is always the same. The creditors, back up by the governments who serve them, impose draconian cuts in social programs for the citizens of said country, and then allow the predators to swoop in and seize everything from water to electricity to ports to real estate to oil to precious historical artifacts and monuments.

Hillary Clinton, in a sort of job interview/debut for all those post-State lucrative, boosteristic speeches she gave at Goldman Sachs and other companies, performed perfectly to all their specifications in July 2011:
The steps ahead will not, they cannot, be pain-free, but there is a path forward to resolve Greece’s economic stability and to restore Greece’s economic strength. I have faith in the resilience of the Greek people and I applaud the Greek Government on its willingness to take these difficult steps. Greece has inspired the world before, and I have every confidence that you are doing so again. And as you (addressing her Greek foreign minister counterpart) do what you must to bring your economy back to health, you will have the full support of the United States.....
 We believe that the recent legislation (another bailout for Eurozone banks and the global investor class predicated on austerity for working people) that was passed will make Greece more competitive, will make Greece more business-friendly. We think that is essential for the kind of growth and recovery that is expected in the 21st century when businesses can go anywhere in the world and capital can follow. We think that will provide a firm financial footing on which Greece will be able increasingly to attract businesses and create the jobs that Stavros said are absolutely important for the Greek people. Because businesses seek consistent, predictable regulatory and taxation regimes. Investors seek a level playing field. They expect transparency, streamlined procedures, protection of commercial and intellectual property rights, effective contract enforcement, all of which was part of your reform package.
 Therefore, I am not here to in any way downplay the immediate challenges, because they are real, but I am here to say that we believe strongly that this will give Greece a very strong economy going forward. There are lots of analogies – having to take the strong medicine that tastes terrible when it goes down and you wish you didn’t have to, or the chemotherapy to get rid of the cancer. There are all kinds of analogies. But the bottom line is this is the best approach and we strongly support it.
If this speech sounds familiar to readers of this blog, it's because I also wrote about it last summer. But in light of her current populist message, I think her pro-business message bears repeating. Once an austerian and friend of the banks, always an austerian and friend of the banks. As much as Krugman loves to rail against Paul Ryan and the scamming Republicans as the causes of all that ails us, the GOP could never survive without Democratic complicity. The Duopoly serves identical plutocratic masters.

Unfortunately for some private investors in Clinton World, however, the betting on Greece didn't pay off particularly well. A hedge fund owned by son-in-law Marc Meszvinsky, a Goldman Sachs alum, lost a ton of dough betting on Greek debt and beaten-down bank stock. Oh well... maybe there was a hedge fund betting against the hedge fund for all we know.

  Although Krugman's main thrust in yesterday's post was how wrong it is to criticize Donald Trump solely about his protectionism, I seized upon Krugman's parochial blaming of horrible austerity policies on just the GOP: (and got plenty of pushback for my efforts; read the replies from the usual suspects if you have any time to kill.) My published New York Times response:
The Democrats might boast of being a big tent for a coalition of liberal policy wonks, but let's not forget that they, too, got caught up in the "expansionary austerity" craze not too many years ago.
Before Hillary Clinton became a born-again populist, she, too, dictated pain as a cure. And I'm not just talking about the domestic welfare "reform" of the 90s which plummeted millions of women and children into permanent poverty, or her foisting of partial blame for the housing collapse on subprime mortgagors/evictees.
As Secretary of State, Clinton also assigned blame to the victims -- not the plutocratic perpetrators -- of the entire global financial meltdown. In Greece, in 2011, she grotesquely likened austerity to "chemotherapy" which not only kills unhealthy cells but is a magical elixir which will help the body economic to grow.
 When she started running for president, she quickly changed her tune and said oh dear, what a Greek tragedy, as though it were never orchestrated by the IMF, the oligarchs, the big banks and the wonks of the rentier class.
Yes, Republicans are scary dudes, especially Cruz. But let's not limit the critique to them. There's plenty of pathology to go around. All around the world, where 80 billionaires own as much wealth as the bottom half combined.
(When the Syriza Party was elected on its anti-austerity platform, Clinton wasted no time pivoting from her gushing support of the deposed Papandreou government to pretending to lecture the Troika on its responsibilities to suffering Greeks. It was all part of the co-optation of that particular populist uprising while waiting for even more austerity measures to be imposed. The power players always must be perceived as having "tried." That is their passive-aggressive modus operandi. And as State Department emails reveal, their concern was geared more toward geopolitical war strategy than toward the suffering of Greek citizens. They were worried about a possible Grexit and potential collapse of the Eurozone and exodus of their fig-leaf NATO allies --  for purely profit and power-driven reasons, of course.)

Meanwhile, back in 2011, Clinton was commending Prime Minister Papandreou for helping her help the Libyan people to "secure a better future" by way of NATO-bombing the country into an anarchic band of extremist factions. This was before she uttered her bone-chilling words on the gruesome death of Qaddafi: "We came, we saw, he died."

And she'd concern-trolled the Papandreou's blocking of the aid flotilla (including one ship called The Audacity of Hope!) bound for Gaza by saying: "We commend the Greek Government for seeking a constructive approach in consultation with the United Nations to addressing the humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza and working to avoid the risks that come with attempts to sail directly to Gaza."

Apparently those risks included about a million Palestinian families getting some desperately needed food and medicine. Too audacious for words. 

When I refer to Hillary Clinton as the Empress-in-Waiting, I am not kidding. 

When our rigged, super-delegated, brokered convention political system "elects" a president, the multinationals are indeed anointing the leader of their free world. 

Since the world is their oyster, no wonder they're clutching their pearls over an upstart named Bernie Sanders.


annenigma said...

Hillary sounds a lot more like a Secretary of Commerce than Secretary of State.

Dave Madeloni said...

How about Secretary of Shock Doctrine?

Carol S. said...

Wow! Thanks, Karen!