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30 April, 2018

Alert: The Clintonian empire is still here and tries to steal the popular vote through agents masked as progressives

Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing


During the 2016 Democratic party primaries we wrote that what Bernie achieved, is to bring back the real political discussion in America, at least concerning the Democratic camp. Bernie smartly "drags" his primary rival, Hillary Clinton, into the heart of the politics. Up until a few years ago, you could not observe too much difference between the Democrats and the Republicans, who were just following the pro-establishment "politics as usual", probably with a few, occasional exceptions. The "politics as usual" so far, was "you can't touch the Wall Street", for example.

Bernie continuously forcing Hillary to appear apologetic about her campaign funding from big financial interests. She tries hard to persuade the public that she will not serve specific interests. Her anxiety can be identified in many cases and it was very clear at the moment when she accused Bernie of attacking her, concerning this funding. Hillary was forced to respond with a deeply irrational argument: anyone who takes money from big interests doesn't mean that he/she will vote for policies in favor of these interests!

Bernie drives the discussion towards fundamental ideological issues. He forced Hillary to defend her "progressiveness". She was forced to speak even about economic interests by names. A few years ago, this would be nearly a taboo in any debate between any primaries.

After the disastrous defeat by Trump in 2016 election, the corporate Democrats realized that the progressive movement, supported mostly by the American youth, would not retreat and vanish. On the contrary, Bernie Sanders' popularity still goes up and there is a wave of progressive candidates who appear to be a real threat to the DNC establishment and the Clintonian empire.

It seems that the empire has upgraded its dirty tactics beyond Hillary's false relocation to the Left. Seeing the big threat from the real progressives, the empire seeks to "plant" its own agents, masked as progressives, inside the electoral process, to disorientate voters and steal the popular vote.

Eric Draitser gives us valuable information for such a type of candidate. Key points:

One candidate currently generating some buzz in the race is Jeff Beals, a self-identified “Bernie democrat” whose campaign website homepage describes him as a “local teacher and former U.S. diplomat endorsed by the national organization of former Bernie Sanders staffers, the Justice Democrats.” And indeed, Beals centers his progressive bona fides to brand himself as one of the inheritors of the progressive torch lit by Sanders in 2016. A smart political move, to be sure. But is it true?

Beals describes himself as a “former U.S. diplomat,” touting his expertise on international issues born of his experience overseas. In an email interview with CounterPunch, Beals describes his campaign as a “movement for diplomacy and peace in foreign affairs and an end to militarism…my experience as a U.S. diplomat is what drives it and gives this movement such force.” OK, sounds good, a very progressive sounding answer. But what did Beals actually do during his time overseas?

By his own admission, Beals’ overseas career began as an intelligence officer with the CIA. His fluency in Arabic and knowledge of the region made him an obvious choice to be an intelligence spook during the latter stages of the Clinton Administration.

Beals shrewdly attempts to portray himself as an opponent of neocon imperialism in Iraq. In his interview with CounterPunch, Beals argued that “The State Department was sidelined as the Bush administration and a neoconservative cabal plunged America into the tragic Iraq War. As a U.S. diplomat fluent in Arabic and posted in Jerusalem at the time, I was called over a year into the war to help our country find a way out.

This is a Master’s class in blatant historical revisionism and outright dishonesty. Beals was not a soldier unwillingly drafted into service, but an intelligence officer who voluntarily accepted an influential and critically important post for the Bush Administration in its ever-expanding crime against humanity in Iraq.

Moreover, no one who knows anything about the Iraq War could possibly swallow the tripe that CIA/State Department officials in Iraq were “looking to help our country find a way out” a year into the war. A year into the war, the bloodletting was only just beginning, and Halliburton, Exxon-Mobil, and the other corporate vultures had yet to fully exploit the country and make billions off it. So, unfortunately for Beals, the historical memory of the anti-war Left is not that short.

It is self-evident that Beals has a laundry list of things in his past that he must answer for. For those of us, especially Millennials, who cut our activist teeth demonstrating and organizing against the Iraq War, Beals’ distortions about his role in Iraq go down like hemlock tea. But it is the associations Beals maintains today that really should give any progressive serious pause.

When asked by CounterPunch whether he has any connections to either Bernie Sanders and his surrogates or Hillary Clinton and hers, Beals responded by stating: “I am endorsed by Justice Democrats, a group of former Bernie Sanders staffers who are pledged to electing progressives nationwide. I am also endorsed for the Greene County chapter of the New York Progressive Action Network, formerly the Bernie Sanders network. My first hire was a former Sanders field coordinator who worked here in NY-19.

However, conveniently missing from that response is the fact that Beals’ campaign has been, and continues to be, directly managed in nearly every respect by Bennett Ratcliff, a longtime friend and ally of Hillary Clinton. Ratcliff is not mentioned in any publicly available documents as a campaign manager, though the most recent FEC filings show that as of April 1, 2018, Ratcliff was still on the payroll of the Beals campaign. And in the video of Beals’ campaign kickoff rally, Ratcliff introduces Beals, while only being described as a member of the Onteora School Board in Ulster County. This is sort of like referring to Donald Trump as an avid golfer.

Beals has studiously, and rather intelligently, avoided mentioning Ratcliff, or the presence of Clinton’s inner circle on his campaign. However, according to internal campaign documents and emails obtained by CounterPunch, Ratcliff manages nearly every aspect of the campaign, acting as a sort of éminence grise behind the artifice of a progressive campaign fronted by a highly educated and photogenic political novice.

By his own admission, Ratcliff’s role on the campaign is strategy, message, and management. Sounds like a rather textbook description of a campaign manager. Indeed, Ratcliff has been intimately involved in “guiding” Beals on nearly every important campaign decision, especially those involving fundraising.

And it is in the realm of fundraising that Ratcliff really shines, but not in the way one would traditionally think. Rather than focusing on large donations and powerful interests, Ratcliff is using the Beals campaign as a laboratory for his strategy of winning elections without raising millions of dollars.

In fact, leaked campaign documents show that Ratcliff has explicitly instructed Beals and his staffers not to spend money on food, decorations, and other standard campaign expenses in hopes of presenting the illusion of a grassroots, people-powered campaign with no connections to big time donors or financial elites.

It seems that Ratcliff is the wizard behind the curtain, leveraging his decades of contact building and close ties to the Democratic Party establishment while at the same time manufacturing an astroturfed progressive campaign using a front man in Beals.

One of Ratcliff’s most infamous, and indefensible, acts of fealty to the Clinton machine came in 2009 when he and longtime Clinton attorney and lobbyist, Lanny Davis, stumped around Washington to garner support for the illegal right-wing coup in Honduras, which ousted the democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya in favor of the right-wing oligarchs who control the country today. Although the UN, and even U.S. diplomats on the ground in Honduras, openly stated that the coup was illegal, Clinton was adamant to actively keep Zelaya out.

Essentially then, Ratcliff is a chief architect of the right-wing government in Honduras – the same government assassinating feminist and indigenous activists like Berta Cáceres, Margarita Murillo, and others, and forcibly displacing and ethnically cleansing Afro-indigenous communities to make way for Carribbean resorts and golf courses.

And this Washington insider lobbyist and apologist for war criminals and crimes against humanity is the guy who’s on a crusade to reform campaign finance and fix Washington? This is the guy masquerading as a progressive? This is the guy working to elect an “anti-war progressive”?

In a twisted way it makes sense. Ratcliff has the blood of tens of thousands of Hondurans (among others) on his hands, while Beals is a creature of Langley, a CIA boy whose exceptional work in the service of Bush and Clinton administration war criminals is touted as some kind of merit badge on his resume.

What also becomes clear after establishing the Ratcliff-Beals connection is the fact that Ratcliff’s purported concern with campaign financing and “taking back the Republic” is really just a pretext for attempting to provide a “proof of concept,” as it were, that neoliberal Democrats shouldn’t fear and subvert the progressive wing of the party, but rather that they should co-opt it with a phony grassroots facade all while maintaining links to U.S. intelligence, Wall Street, and the power brokers of the Democratic Party.






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