Follow the Soapbox
Mickey Z.
World News Trust/SPN
May 11, 2015

As the predictable cycle of presidential election denial settles in, its initial focus appears to be primarily on one Hillary Rodham Clinton. Thus, I thought I’d dust off some time-worn -- and frighteningly ignored -- info on what it was like to have a Clinton, um, occupying the White House.

To begin, let’s all reflect back upon the years 1993 and 1994 -- when President William Jefferson Clinton was enjoying the "advantage" of a Democratically-controlled Congress. 

In just two years, the liberal hero abandoned his pledge to consider offering asylum to Haitian refugees, backed away from his most high-profile campaign issue: health care, and reneged on his promise to "take a firm stand" against the armed forces' LGBTQ ban. 

In 1993-94, Clinton signed a little something called the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), presided over the invasion of Somalia, increased the Pentagon budget by $25 billion, forced Jocelyn Elders to resign, dumped Lani Guinier, ordered the bombing of Iraq and the Balkans, renewed the sanctions on Iraq, and passed a crime bill that gave us more cops, more prisons, and 58 more offenses punishable by death. 

All this came before Newt Gingrich and much-hyped Republican "revolution" in 1994… and I haven’t even gotten to the environment. 

In the first three years of the Clinton-Gore regime -- two of which, I remind you, involved a Democratic House and Senate -- Bubba and his little green buddy gave us fun stuff like: The passage of the salvage logging rider, the continuation of the use of methyl bromide, the weakening of the Endangered Species Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act, the lowering of grazing fees on land, the subsidizing of Florida's sugar industry, the reversing of the ban on the production and importation of PCBs, and allowing the export of Alaskan oil.

When Clinton ran for re-election in 1996, David Brower, former president of the Sierra Club, wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times called "Why I Won't Vote for Clinton." In this piece, Brower declared that Clinton and Gore had "done more harm to the environment in three years than Presidents Bush and Reagan did in 12 years." (That’s Bush the Elder, not Bush the Lesser… for those of you scoring at home.)

I could go on and on about the rest of Clinton’s reign, like the repeal of welfare, a telecommunications bill that further narrowed the already laughable parameters of public debate, the Defense of Marriage Act, and the fact that after eight years in office with no political price to pay, he still did not pardon Leonard Peltier. But I’ll just focus on one more liberal gem: The Anti-Terrorism & Effective Death Penalty Act, signed into law on April 24, 1996. 

This USA PATRIOT Act prequel contained provisions that Clinton himself admitted "make a number of ill-advised changes in our immigration laws, having nothing to do with fighting terrorism." This unconstitutional salvo severely restricted habeas corpus and expanded the number of federal capital crimes -- and the notorious PATRIOT Act is mostly an extension its legal foundations. 

For a little more two-party context, consider that John Kerry -- Democratic presidential candidate in 2004 -- voted for the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act in 1996 and wrote parts of the PATRIOT Act in 2001, Hillary voted for the PATRIOT Act in 2001, and both she and Obama voted to reauthorize it in 2005. Hooray Democrats!

With all the public outcry that ensued for Dubya and his gang, I wonder: Where was all the outrage for Clinton? Where was the anti-war crowd when he ordered 78 days of bombing over Yugoslavia in 1999, including the use of depleted uranium? (At the time, his Secretary of State Albright asked: “What’s the point of having this magnificent military if we never use it?”)

Where were the simplistic Nazi references when Clinton blew up a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant to distract us from Monica Lewinsky?

Where were the Hitler mustaches when Clinton bombed Iraq in response to an alleged plot to assassinate Bush the Elder and ended up killing Layla Al-Attar, that country’s best-known female artist?

“I think it is dangerous to confuse the idea of democracy with elections. Just because you have elections doesn’t mean you’re a democratic country.” Arundhati Roy said that.

“If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal.” Emma Goldman said that.

“The next time someone tells you America has a two-party system, I suggest you demand a recount.” I said that.

Mickey Z. is the author of 12 books, most recently Occupy this Book: Mickey Z. on Activism. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here and here. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here.

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michael nola
05/17/2015 5:06pm

You forgot to add the Gramm Leach Bliley Act which ended the separation of commercial and investment banking and the Securities and Futures Modernization Act which Bubba signed into law in 1999 and 2000 respectively that directly led to the financial implosion of 2008.

A very bad president whom some people still adore.

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