Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Clintons: From the Plantation to the White House

Clinton: From the Plantation to the White House

If it were 200 years ago, it's not difficult to imagine the Clintons as very wealthy southern plantation owners in the Territory of Arkansaw (now the State of Arkansas) — and that their slaves would probably trust them more than some damn Yankee from the northern State of Vermont.

But was William "Bill" Jefferson Clinton really named after President Thomas Jefferson — and is Jefferson really Bill Clinton's putative great-great-grandfather? If so . . .

Over his lifetime Thomas Jefferson owned about 600 slaves; he inherited about 175 while most of the remainder were born on his plantations. Jefferson purchased slaves in order to unite their families, and he sold about 110 for "economic reasons".

Many historians described Jefferson as a benevolent slave owner who didn't overwork his slaves, provided them log cabins with fireplaces, food, clothing and some household provisions.

Jefferson allowed them to grow gardens and raise their own chickens. The use of the whip was usually employed only in rare and extreme cases of fighting and stealing. Slaves were given Sundays and Christmas off and had more free time during the winter months.

But some scholars doubt Jefferson's benevolence, noting cases of excessive slave whippings in his absence and that his nail factory was worked by slave children, and who were often promoted to supervisory and other positions on the plantation. Historians are divided on Jefferson's commitment to end slavery, as he was silent on emancipation during his presidency.

After the Civil War, Hillary Clinton might have been giving speeches to Marcus Goldman himself.

For some reason, it's easy to imagine Hillary and Bill Clinton as owners of a plantation.
Bill and Hillary on the plantation

If it were 1948, would the Clintons have been Dixiecrats? — the segregationist political party that originated as a breakaway faction of the Democratic Party, who were determined to protect what they portrayed as the southern way of life beset by an oppressive federal government?

The Dixiecrats and their supporters assumed control of the state Democratic parties (in part or in full) in several Southern states. The States' Rights Democratic Party opposed racial integration and wanted to retain Jim Crow laws and white supremacy in the face of possible federal intervention.

The Dixiecrats began the weakening of the "Solid South" (the Democratic Party's total control of presidential elections in the South). The term "Dixiecrat" is sometimes used by Northern Democrats to refer to conservative Southern Democrats from the 1940s to the 1990s, regardless of where they stood in 1948.

This was when Strom Thurmond (the Senator from South Carolina) ran for president in 1948 as the States Rights Democratic Party candidate, receiving only 2.4% of the popular vote when running against the progressive Democrat Harry Truman and the Republican Tom Dewey (who had lost to FDR in a the previous election, who had won by a huge landside).

1948 election results

Thurmond represented South Carolina in the United States Senate from 1954 until 2003 (at first as a Democrat, and after 1964, as a Republican). Four years later Thurmond held the South for Richard Nixon's nomination and election after assuring Southerners that Nixon, as president, would go easy on civil rights.

Later, would the Clintons have supported The Southern Strategy? It was a strategy by the Republican Party for gaining political support in the South by appealing to racism against African-Americans.

During the 1950s and 1960s, the African-American Civil Rights Movement achieved significant progress in its push for desegregation in the Southern States. This was during the time when Bernie Sanders had marched on Washington DC with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963 — when MLK gave his famous "I have a dream" speech. (Here's a video of Senator Bernie Sanders in 2016 with Cornel West, Killer Mike and Nina Turner recalling the legacy of Dr. King).

The following year, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (and later, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in particular) largely dismantled the system of Jim Crow laws that had enforced legal segregation in the South since the end of Reconstruction Era.

During this period, Republican politicians such as Presidential candidate Richard Nixon was working to attract southern white conservative voters (most of whom had traditionally supported the Democratic Party) to the Republican Party.

In the 1964 presidential election, Senator Barry Goldwater won the five formerly Confederate states of the Deep South: Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina (similar to Hillary Clinton's "firewall" today). During this time, Hillary Clinton (as a Republican) had campaigned for Barry Goldwater, who had promised to overturn the Civil Rights Act.

In the 1968 presidential campaign, Nixon won Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee — all former Confederate states, contributing to the electoral realignment that saw many white, southern voters shift their allegiance from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party during this period.

Arkansas State flag

In 1987, Governor Bill Clinton signed Act 116 reaffirming the Arkansas state flag design that included a star symbolizing the state’s membership in the Confederacy. Hillary Clinton was the state’s first lady at the time. The law passed unanimously — 29-0 in the state Senate, 93-0 in the House. Now Hillary Clinton praises South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s call for the rebel flag to be taken down from the capitol grounds in that state.

In 1988, then Burlington Mayor Bernie Sanders endorsed the Reverend Jesse Jackson for President of the United States. That same year, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton had nominated Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis (when incumbent Vice President George H. W. Bush had won the Republican nomination).

What have the Clintons really done for the African-American community on their way from the plantation to their first term in the White House: from the governorship of Arkansas, up until their race for a third term in the White House in 2016? Was it the 1996 crime bill? Companies like Goldman Sachs are among those who competed to underwrite prison construction with private, tax-exempt bonds (where no voter approval was required).

And since the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (aka the welfare reform act) in 1996 had been passed, the number of families in extreme poverty has doubled according to Senator Bernie Sanders — although some have claimed an increase as high as 150%. As First Lady at the time, Hillary Clinton was instrumental in rounding up the votes to ensure the bill’s passage, which her husband Bill Clinton had signed into law.

Bernie Sanders recently said: "I spoke out against so-called welfare reform because I thought it was scape-goating people who were helpless, people who were very, very vulnerable. Secretary Clinton at that time had a very different position on welfare reform. She strongly supported it and worked hard to round up votes for its passage." (Here is a video of Bernie Sanders in 1996 blasting this bill.)

A Hillary Clinton spokesperson responded that Hillary has long said she would work to address the welfare law's shortcomings, including the 5-year lifetime limit, and added: “When it comes to lifting more African-Americans out of poverty, it has been Hillary Clinton, not Bernie Sanders, who has put forward bold plans to create good-paying jobs, dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline, and remove barriers to sustainable home ownership.”

Oh really? Here's a quick re-cap: Clinton passed NAFTA and PNTR for China — trade bills that offshored millions of our good-paying jobs; Clinton passed the 1996 three-strikes crime bill that greatly expanded Black prison populations (Hillary called young Black men "predators"), while Hillary received donations from for-profit prison lobbyists; and as a senator in 2001, Hillary voted for a bankruptcy reform act; and in 2007 Hillary said home borrowers should share the blame for getting in over their head. (This is the short list.)

Hillary Clinton wrote in her 2004 memoir regarding the 1996 welfare bill: "I agreed that Bill Clinton should sign it and worked hard to round up votes for its passage — though he and the legislation were roundly criticized by some liberals, advocacy groups for immigrants and most people who worked with the welfare system."

Both Clintons signed off on the welfare reform bill — shortcomings and all — in part because they wanted to deny the GOP a potent wedge issue in Clinton’s 1996 reelection campaign (former administration officials have admitted this over the years).

Why Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote: In his 1996 State of the Union address, given during his re-election campaign, Bill Clinton declared that “the era of big government is over” and immediately sought to prove it by dismantling the federal welfare system known as Aid to Families With Dependent Children (AFDC). The welfare-reform legislation that he signed (which Hillary Clinton ardently supported then and characterized as a success as recently as 2008) replaced the federal safety net with a block grant to the states, imposed a five-year lifetime limit on welfare assistance, added work requirements, barred undocumented immigrants from licensed professions, and slashed overall public welfare funding by $54 billion.

Watch what Elizabeth Warren had to say about Hillary Clinton signing a bankruptcy reform bill in 2001, that disproportionately hurt Blacks, and especially poor Black woman — Hillary Clinton's biggest supporters today! (Both the Republicans AND the Democrats have been known to "dumb down" the population to get them to vote against their own best interests.)

Recently, during the 2016 Democrats primary, despite the Clinton's past history of promoting laws the disproporatially harmed African-Americans (welfare and bankruptcy reform bills, trade bills, and crime bills), they voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton in South Carolina.

Not only did black voters make up a greater share of the electorate in South Carolina’s Democratic primary than they did eight years ago, but preliminary network exit polls show that Clinton actually won the crucial constituency by a wider margin than Obama did in 2008. She lost South Carolina to Obama by 29 points in 2008 and recently beat Bernie Sanders by 47.5 points. This totally defies all logic, especially when they could have voted for that damn Northern Yankee — Senator Bernie Sanders.

Since this nation was first founded, it has always been the rich and powerful white men* who have oppressed and exploited African-Americans — and today, it's these very same people who are now contributing to Hillary Clinton's campaign. (Goldman Sachs was Obama's top donor when he first ran, but Senator Bernie Sanders doesn't take money from the big banks).

* Many well-known companies and financial institutions benefited from the trans-Atlantic slave trade. They include Lehman Brothers (which went bankrupt in 2008), J.P. Morgan Chase, Wachovia Bank of North Carolina, Aetna Insurance, Bank of America, and the Royal Bank of Scotland. Banks, such as Wachovia’s predecessors Bank of Charleston, South Carolina, and the Bank of North America, and J.P. Morgan Chase’s predecessor banks, made loans to slave owners and accepted slaves as “collateral”. When the slave owners defaulted on their loans, the banks became the new owners. The Lehman family members who established Lehman Brothers started their company to trade and invest in cotton, a cash crop produced by African slaves. Aetna sold insurance to slave owners who wanted to protect their investments in slaves aboard slave ships in case one of them died (this was a very common occurrence as millions of African slaves died on ships carrying them from Africa to the Americas). The insurance company’s policies compensated slave owners for the loss of people who were considered “property”. To this day, there are lawsuits against these corporations to seek reparations for their participation in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

But who are Blacks voting for today? Hillary Clinton, who Dr. Cornel West calls a "Wall Street Democrat". If it were 200 years ago, the Clintons might be plantation owners today..

> Please leave a comment below that shows what legislation that Bill or Hillary Clinton specifically introduced and/or successfully passed (such as LBJ, who Hillary Clinton campaigned against) that was specifically meant to improve the racial and economic conditions of the Black community in all their combined time in public service. And then list all the promises they made to get the Black vote ... like they're doing now.

Clinton-Gore Confederate campaign logo


  1. Superdelegate Rep. Alan Grayson endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders

    376,000 voted at > The results: Sanders 86%, Clinton 14%

    Every on-line poll shows similar results. Why don't results like this show up in the voting booths? (My guess is, younger people are more active on-line and use mobile devices.)

  2. Defending what Hillary Clinton has called his "pie-in-the-sky" ideas, yesterday Bernie Sanders told a crowd of 6,500 people in Fort Collins, Colorado:

    “I believe that if you start your campaign and run on a platform calling for a full loaf, at worst you’re gonna get a half loaf. If you start your campaign talking about a need for a half loaf, you’re going to get crumbs. And the American people today do not want, do not need crumbs. They need the whole loaf.”

    With the Clintons, South Carolina will get crumbs.

  3. Hillary Clinton leads Sanders by about 2-1 in all three southern states:

    She's at 64 percent to Bernie’s 30 percent in Georgia.
    She's at 60 percent to Bernie’s 34 percent in Tennessee.
    She's at 59 percent to Bernie’s 38 percent in Texas.

    "The South will Rise Again!"

  4. 7th Democratic Debate: Best Recaps not on Cable News

    The best 26 most relevant minutes of the 7th Democratic debate on March 6, 2016 in Flint, Michigan.
    There are two separate videos, each 13 minutes long, embedded at the bottom of this post.
    They include many highlights that they aren't showing on the cable news stations (CNN, MSNBC and Fox News)
    Fighting the media black out of Bernie Sanders