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Clintonian Political Calculus And The Culture Of Hooey

By       Message Linn Washington       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

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opednews.com Headlined to H2 4/19/16

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Hooey -- silly talk/nonsense -- frequently has slimy characteristics and slime is slippery.

Former President Bill Clinton recently slipped on some silly talk when trying to dance around a slime trail oozing from his presidency during the 1990s.

This hooey moment came during Bill Clinton's finger-wagging attempted smack down of a Black Lives Matter activist who called-out Clinton during a campaign event for the destructive impact the 1994 federal anti-crime bill he sought and signed had on black communities nationwide.

Hey Bill and Hillary: When You Point A Finger, Three Point At You
Hey Bill and Hillary: When You Point A Finger, Three Point At You
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Bill Clinton, when he dressed down the BLM activist with delight, defended his backing of that mass incarceration accelerating/police abuse aggravating measure. He defended his wife Hillary tagging many black teens as "super predators" during her anti-crime lobbying as First Lady.

And Bill Clinton shoveled such hooey as his assertion that BLM activists defend criminals and BLM activists are obstructionist in ways comparable to GOP members in Congress.

Bill Clinton's defense of his 1994 crime bill came during a recent political campaign appearance for his wife Hilary in Philadelphia, Pa. Philly is the same city where Bill Clinton in July 2015 had apologized for the damage done to blacks by that '94 bill during a speech before the NAACP, America's oldest civil rights organization.

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During Bill Clinton's 2015 NAACP speech he said that 1994 bill "made the problem worse." Yet, eight months later Clinton is scolding BLM with the contention that his 1994 bill improved conditions in black communities.

Clinton's 2015 mea culpa to the NAACP and his indignant 2016 'mind your business kiddies' to BLM activists bristled with industrial strength hooey.

One significant reality that has fallen off the political radar screen is Bill Clinton badly muffed addressing the racism that infects law enforcement -- from police brutality to bigoted Drug War enforcement -- during his presidency.

Civil rights leaders had begged Bill Clinton to address policy brutality throughout his presidency. Had he responded to those calls, abusive policing would have abated, thus minimizing that volatile issue years later that gave birth to the Black Lives Matters moment over a dozen years after the Clintons left the White House.

Frustration with Bill Clinton's inaction on police brutality forced African-American, Asian, Jewish and Latino leaders to hold a March 1999 press conference in Washington, DC. Those leaders requested action from Clinton on the 'shameful epidemic' of abusive policing. One requested action was withholding federal funds from police departments with documented patterns of abuse.

Although Clinton called police brutality a "critical" issue, he failed to take strong action like withholding federal funding to abusive police departments.

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The National Urban League, one of the organizations that participated in that 1999 press conference, had called on Clinton in December 1996 to convene a national summit on police misconduct. Clinton did not act on the NUL's request.

In 1998 the Human Rights Watch organization issued a massive report on police abuse in the United States that examined 14 of the nation's largest cities. According to that HRW report police brutality was "one of the most serious, enduring and divisive human rights violations" in America. That 1998 HRW report faulted top officials -- federal and state -- for their failures to hold abusive police accountable. Those failures, the HRW reported stated, guaranteed police "impunity" for abuse from false arrests to fatal shootings.

The failures of Bill Clinton to act against police brutality, while shocking, are not surprising from this conservative leaning politician seasoned in the practice of political calculus steeped in callousness.

Remember that Clinton, when a presidential candidate in 1992, had indicated support for addressing the then roiling issue of racial profiling. Yet as president Clinton did not take up the racial profiling issue until late in his second term and then only tepidly. Racial profiling was something Clinton clearly knew about, not just from protests and news accounts but also from his time as governor of Arkansas. While governor of Arkansas a federal judge fined that state's state police for violating a court order to stop profiling non-whites.

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Linn Washington is a weekly columnist for the Philadelphia Tribune and This Can't Be Happening. Washington writes frequently on inequities in the criminal justice system, ills in society and failings of the news media. He teaches multi-media urban (more...)
 

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