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The art of the con lies in several factors: the sophistication and cool of the con man; the grandiosity of the scheme (if it’s big enough, no one will believe it’s actually being contemplated); and the ability to sustain plausible deniability amid suspicion. Former American president, William Jefferson Clinton is presently engaged in one of the greatest cons in recent memory. This con will continue whether or not his wife rises to the office of President of the United States. This con is grand and includes the active collaboration of the current president George W. Bush, his father and former president George H.W. Bush, the world’s two richest men – Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, and a host of others. This con is about the future of the nation, about oil, energy and the silencing of 40 million persons with a critically vested interest in the outcome. This con is about the historical positioning and vulnerability of Black elected officials. This con is about the use of long range planning to achieve an aim which is imperceptible to the naked eye.
STAGING – Horatio Alger Goes to Washington
The primary actor in this game burst on the American scene as a rags-to-riches, “Where’s my daddy?”, Rhodes scholar from Arkansas. He was not quite the rube which George Bush has chosen to put on display for the American public. Nonetheless, he arrived in the public consciousness as a flawed man with poverty and abandonment and achievement in his dossier. Clinton never attempted to appear less than intelligent, but he did seek to connect with “the masses” through his tone and mannerisms. He was not the first choice when the presidential campaign of 1992 began, but he managed to put himself in position to win. Clinton connected with people. He looked them in the eye – an essential tool of the con man, and he seduced them. He’s still got it. He grasped and extended a conversational template mapped by the Georgian peanut farmer, James Earl Carter. Clinton would become only the second President elected from the deep South in generations. His successor would masquerade as the third. George W. Bush, born in Connecticut, graduate of Exeter, Yale and Harvard donned the mask of a Texas tonto to delude Americans into embracing the public version of their dumbed down selves. It has worked masterfully. Few Americans question W’s stupidity, even though the likelihood of such a thing borders on the absurd. It is assumed that there is abundant evidence of his mindlessness – and yet, it should seem impossible that the son of a man who led both the FBI and CIA could be such an empty vessel. There is no question that accomplished men can give birth to less gifted children, but an honest look at the current president suggests he’s far smarter than the pundits who ridicule his every move.
Bill Clinton is cut from the same cloth – the cloth of deep deception. Moreover, he now enjoys close, public relations (albeit not sexual relations) with the Bush family and its reigning patriarch. Bill Clinton and George Herbert Walker Bush are now bosom buddies.
No, no, no! Closer!
Okay. That’s it. The driver and the rider – doing what a good Scottish boy should do…riding around on the links seeking counsel with a wise elder.
Of course, the nation was first given a glimpse of this surprisingly dangerous liaison in the aftermath of the levee collapse in the city of New Orleans. The collapse of levees, after continuous underfunding by the Bush 43 administration, flooded the historic Ninth Ward and much of the city subsequent to the landfall of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Bush the Elder and Bill Clinton then embarked on an international philanthropic tour to demonstrate the bi-partisan commitment of the United States of America to provide relief to those impacted by natural disasters. These two even had the generosity of spirit to fundraise for the victims of the tsunami in Asia. Of course the United States government could only pull together a measly $15M. W’s piss is worth more than $15 million. It remains unclear exactly what these two were doing aside from “priming the mark.”
The Mark – Black America
Marks are the targets of confidence games. Marks, not unlike persons in those infamous words attributed to P.T. Barnum, are born every minute. Skeptics are also born every minute. In our world, in order to overcome the tenacious work of a skeptic, a con man must dream big dreams. If it is true that you cannot steal from an honest man, then a con man must offer the world in order to entice not merely the larcenous petty criminal, but the unwitting crowd BEHIND that larcenous petty criminal. This is precisely the appeal of Three Card Monte. Pay particular attention to the final trick in the video – it’s the real deal.
For years, William Jefferson Clinton has mislead the world, and most notably esteemed Black authors, into believing that he was an ally of the black folk, and more specifically a friend of the black elected official. Some people believe he has earned the lifelong respect and fidelity of Black America. For some, the basis of that opinion is tied his policy prescriptions while in office. For others, the opinion is based on his manner of dealing with and communicating to Black persons, elected and unelected. There are still others who can recall the personal battles waged by Mr. Clinton on the road to and through the White House. There is one problem, however, with every bit of this analysis. It ignores the single greatest fact of life as a political Democrat since 1960. The road to the White House goes through Black America. No Democrat can win the highest office in the land without the energetic and vigorous support of Black Americans, period.
The Democratic Party can always find candidates, but cannot always find men or women whose message, tenor and history invite the support of Black folks. Prior to seeking national office, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Lyndon Baines Johnson, James Earl Carter and William Jefferson Clinton all managed to secure the energetic and vigorous support of Black Americans. Each was elected to the highest office in the land. There have been a slew of other candidates like Walter Mondale, Al Gore and John Kerry who have run unsuccessfully and may have garnered high percentages of the Black vote – but they NEVER secured the energetic and vigorous support of Black America. Each of those candidates lost. Bill Clinton was well aware of the centrality of the Black vote when he sought office in 1992. He was also aware of the predispositions of black elected officials when he sought office. Though it’s been said many times, many ways, it may have been best said by a Marxist, integrationist with whom I share a few opinions (Manning Marable):
“Effective block voting for white capitalist candidates certainly changed the results of these presidential elections, but it did not represent any meaningful increase in Black political power. During Kennedy’s first two years in office, he issued a mild executive order banning discrimination in federally-financed housing [constructed subsequent to the implementation of the order], but did nothing directly to assist the civil rights social movement. Carter proved to be an even greater disappointment. Richard Hatcher (former mayor of Gary, Indiana) even admitted, “Now it’s difficult for any Black leader who pushed the election of Jimmy Carter to face the people he’s campaigned with.”
What Richard Hatcher did not say in this particular instance was that it did not matter to James Earl Carter how difficult it may have been for him to face his people. Carter had made the ascent. The same was true of Kennedy. He repeatedly urged the very people who put him in office to postpone their petitions for justice. None of this is surprising because the party of the Dixiecrat evolved into a plantation, of sorts. The options available to Black voters and candidates in the 20th century, according to Marable, had two only dimensions. In the first instance, Blacks ran candidates along third-party platforms (either in all-Black parties or in socialist/liberal parties in collaboration with whites). In the second instance, Blacks consolidated votes around white candidates when the broader American polity was split. Well for the larger Democratic party, the first instance hardly warranted a comment. And, the second instance was precisely what was desired. Bill Clinton knew this in 1992 – and he knows that his wife faces a wholly unique and unprecedented moment in 2008. More on that later.
Black America has been the mark of American political parties for decades. The Democrats have worked with indefatigable ardor to maintain their stranglehold on reliable votes. The black elected official, by and large, contributes to this intractable dilemma by pursuing two courses of action: 1) failing to devise viable national campaigns for the highest office in the land (with the notable exceptions of 1984 and 2008); and 2) failing to build the political knowledge, acumen and effectiveness of their constituents. It is precisely these two failings which contribute to the vacuums of vision in the Democratic Party where candidates like Paul Tsongas, Walter Mondale, Al Gore, John Kerry fill the breach as “the lesser of two evils” and allow arch-Republicans like Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush to seize the apparatus of the state. In other words, what is the point of being in the Democratic Party if you’re going to defer to folks like Gore and Kerry? Could you not simply resign from office and stay home? Bill Clinton understood that a Democrat who would be President had to seize the day. He couldn’t be a pushover like Gore or Kerry or Mondale or Dukakis. I remain unconvinced that any of those four actually WANTED to be President. Clinton clearly did and he hit his mark. In more ways than one.
The Stakes: Africa, Oil, the Dollar and $500 Billion
On his way out the door, Dwight Eisenhower had the following message for his fellow citizens.
Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.
In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.
I didn’t like Ike. The United States of America, under the leadership of Dwight Eisenhower played a role in the death of one of Africa’s most important freedom fighters, Patrice Lumumba. I will not recap that story here, but it is always worth noting whenever devils like Eisenhower’s name must be mentioned. Our enemies are our enemies – regardless of whom they have as friends.
Bill Clinton’s stake in all of this is very simple. It goes like this:
- The United States of America has a protection arrangement with the House of Saud in Saudi Arabia. The arrangement, negotiated by the Bush family, ensures that Saudi oil prices and its currency are pegged to the deflating dollar. In exchange for this iron clad reinforcement on the US deflationary currency, the US provides unconditional military support for Saudi Arabia. The deflating dollar essentially allows the US to tax every nation whose central bank retains large amounts of deflating dollars. Exhibit A: China. Exhibit B: Japan.
- The US, while committed to this relationship with Saudi Arabia, will continue to diversify sources of energy to ensure an adequate supply for domestic uses and to ensure price stability by limiting supplies to China, Japan, India and other nations.
- The next region with large supplies of untapped oil for the United States to claim is Africa.
- The US is embroiled in a power grab in Iraq and Iran. Saddam Hussein was a former partner in this arrangement, but apparently sought a unilateral renegotiation. Neither Kuwait nor independence from dollar hegemony were on the table for consideration. Hussein either ceased to care about or simply misunderstood the seriousness of his blood oath. Iran, of course, is seeking to liberate itself from the clutches of the West, but will be increasingly isolated in coming years. Having securing alliances with a nuclear Saudi Arabia and a nuclear Pakistan (to say nothing of a nuclear Israel), the US’ interests in the regions will be secure within five to ten years.
- Competitors in Europe will resent and resist intrusions into Africa, their former colonies, without a solid cover story and unfettered domestic support. They are likely to resist anyway, but domestic support among the white majority must be consolidated around a humanitarian cover.
The Cover Story – Emerging Infectious Diseases
This is a long con. It’s not a short con. The long con takes years and years to unfold. Of course, in the grand scheme of history, this is a relatively short con – but with respect to terms of office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, this is a truly long con. In the past fifteen years, there have been two massive genocidal events on the continent of Africa. The United States of America has not intervened in any way shape or form in either event: Rwanda in the 1990’s and today in Congo. The government of the United States does not, has not, and will not have an authentic humanitarian interest in Africa. How will “emerging infectious diseases” become a cornerstone of American foreign policy in Africa? Simple. It already has.
Nicolas King, in Security, Disease, Commerce: Ideologies of Postcolonial Global Health (Social Studies of Science, Vol. 32, No. 5/6, pp. 763-789) writes of the emergence of a “worldview” as far back as 1989 at the National Institutes of Health and Rockefeller University. In May of that year, these entities co-sponsored a conference on “emerging viruses” and the selected experts included Robert E. Shope, Joshua Lederberg and Alfred S. Evans. According to King, Shope and Lederberg would carve out leading spaces at the table in defining this issue. In 1992, they authored Emerging Infections: Microbial Threats to Health in the United States. The report argued that the US was no longer insulated from the international threat of viruses…that global interdependence, modern transportation, trade and changing social and cultural patterns were all bases for the threat. For King (who provides far more detail than space allows here), these scholarly formulations echoed the old colonial frameworks of a century ago. Moreover, these works suggested a new basis for Western intrusions into Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Quoting from King:
“To address this risk, the report recommended the expansion and financial support of public health infrastructure in four areas: epidemiological surveillance of outbreaks and infectious diseases and the emergence of antimicrobial resistance; training and basic research in molecular biology and virology; public and private development of vaccines and therapeutic drugs; and the strengthening and coordination between local, national and international public health institutions.”
He adds later in his paper:
“Determining exactly how and why the emerging diseases worldview had such widespread appeal is beyond the scope of this paper, but one of the most prominent strategies employed by its backers was explicitly to associate infectious diseases with American economic and security interests. Doing so allowed campaigners to make a case for federal funding not only through traditional health institutions, but also to take advantage of ‘trickle down’ funding through the Defense Department.”
As it happens, “in June 1996, President Clinton issued a Presidential Decision Directive calling for a more focused US policy on infectious diseases. The State Department’s Strategic Plan for International Affairs lists protecting human health and reducing the spread of infectious diseases as US strategic goals,and Secretary Albright in December 1999 announced the second of two major U.S. initiatives to combat HIV/AIDS. The unprecedented UN Security Council session devoted exclusively to the threat to Africa from HIV/AIDS in January 2000 is a measure of the international community’s concern about the infectious disease threat.” (Global Infectious Disease Threat and Its Implications for the United States. January 2000 National Intelligence Estimate). Oddly enough, the 1996 Presidential Decision Directive was announced by the Vice President, Al Gore. This is the same Al Gore who founded the internet, led the fight to end global warming and sat silent on the floor on the United States Senate as Black elected officials stood on his behalf and on behalf of the disenfranchised voters in Florida who delivered the popular vote to the Democratic nominee in 2000. It’s the same Al Gore who has presented himself as a disinterested arbiter of a pending dispute between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton over the nomination of the party in 2008.
The 1996 PDD set six policy goals and established 8 new U.S. government roles and responsibilities. Perhaps most importantly of all, it EXPANDED the MANDATE of the United States Department of Defense. Looking back to Nicolas King’s research, we find that a public health policy paper written in 1992 advocated for epidemiological surveillance. Under Bill Clinton, the Department of Defenses’ mission was simply expanded to include surveillance – among other things. Consider this, the first new government role and responsibility:
“The Federal government, in cooperation with State and local governments, international organizations, the private sector, and public health, medical and veterinary communities, will establish a national and international electronic network for surveillance and response regarding emerging infectious diseases.”
There isn’t a single word about international governments such as those on the ground in Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania or South Africa. There is, however, a great deal about likely coordination between, for example, the Federal government, the State of Florida or the State of Texas and the local government of the city of New York or the city of Chicago, and private sector firms like GlaxoSmithKline and public health communities like the NIH or even international organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Each of these disparate entities is to have a role in establishing a national and international electronic network to surveil and respond to emerging infectious diseases.
Consider that the 2nd of three bullets, under the 8th and FINAL item calls for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to “continue to address the root causes of emerging diseases through its ongoing portfolio of assistance to developing countries.”
The final bullet expands the mission of the Department of Defense to include “support of global surveillance, training, research, and response to emerging infectious disease threats. DoD will strengthen its global disease reduction efforts through: centralized coordination, improved preventive health programs and epidemiological capabilities; and enhanced involvement with military treatment facilities and United States and overseas laboratories.” This isn’t much to hang your hat on – but this 1996 initiative is organically tied to the biggest budget item under consideration by Hillary Clinton that is not named defense or social security. Have you seen her $50 billion plan for addressing HIV/AIDS in Africa?
Note: Please note the use of the word “global” in these documents and on the web sites of many international health and policy advocacy organizations. The word “global” refers usually to Western (US or European) organizations operating outside of the West for a specific purpose. It is to be contrasted with the word “international” which refers to nation states and government entities operating on a global basis. Therefore “global surveillance” specifically excludes the “home government” from all that is being surveilled if the entity conducting that surveillance so chooses. As all of these activities are to be conducted under the guidance of the United States Department of Defense, the combating of emerging infectious diseases is effectively no longer under the control of the governments of African nations who have any working relationship with a US-based global organization. Simply put, Bill and Melinda or whomever else operates an NGO under this and related programs will run the show wherever their dollars are on the ground and a Marine gunship is in the air.
In Part II: The Players, the Money and Rise of Barack Obama.