Hillary Blames Bernie for an Old Clintonite Hustle, and
That’s a Rotten Shame
2. In Landmark Ruling, U.K. Court Affirms
3. Meet Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s First-Ever
Challenger: Tim Canova
4. Most Shocking Part of Global Wealth Study:
It's Not Just
That 62 People Own as Much as
3.6 Billion Poorest
5. Who Lost the White Working Class?
6. Merkel's Last Stand? Chancellor Running Out of Time on
This is a Nederlog of Wednesday, January 20, 2016.
This is a
crisis blog. There are 6 items with 6 dotted links: Item 1 is about a very dirty very big lie Hillary Clinton gave to Bernie Sanders; item 2 is about an English judicial ruling that journalists aren't terrorists (I am a bit less optimistic than the article); item 3 is about the Repucrat sorry Demopublican Schulz who excels at helping the rich and at nothing else (for very good pay, also); item 4 is (mostly) about Oxfam's opinions (which I generally support, and to whom I monthly contribute); item 5
is about an article by Robert Reich who asks who lost the working
class, and answers that was mostly the Democrats Clinton and Obama,
with their pro-rich, pro-bankers, pro-spying policies that turned out
to have been no better than Republicans, and that turned away the
working class; and item 6 is about Merkel's problems with refugees.
Hillary Blames Bernie for an Old Clintonite Hustle, and That’s a Rotten
And I did survive the dentist the day before yesterday, though with a tooth less, and
probably soon will write a bit more about my (mostly Dutch)
autobiography, and probably also about real and quasi leftists, and
real and quasi liberals: These items will not be crisis items.
by Robert Scheer
(<-Wikipedia) on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
The Clintons have no shame, that
much you can count on. That stupefying arrogance was on full display in
the most recent presidential campaign debate when Hillary Clinton
countered Bernie Sanders’ charge that she was compromised by her close
ties to Goldman Sachs and other rapacious Wall Street interests with
the retort: “Sen. Sanders, you’re the only one on this stage that voted
to deregulate the financial markets in 2000, ... to make the SEC and
the Commodity Futures Trading Commission no longer able to regulate
swaps and derivatives, which were one of the main causes of the
collapse in ’08.”
In fact, Hillary Clinton's retort was an extremely
dirty and extremely dishonest "answer", as Robert Scheer proceeds to
This is why Clinton's retort was extremely dirty and extremely
dishonest - and she knew
it very, very well.
Hillary knows that the disastrous
legislation, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act (CFMA), had
nothing to do with Sanders and everything to do with then-President
Bill Clinton, who devoted his presidency to sucking up to Wall Street.
Clinton signed this bill into law as a lame-duck president, ensuring
his wife would have massive Wall Street contributions for her Senate
Sanders, like the rest of Congress, was
blackmailed into voting for the bill because it was tucked into omnibus
legislation needed to keep the government operating. Only libertarian
Ron Paul and three other House members had the guts to cast a nay vote.
The measure freeing Wall Street firms from regulation was inserted at
the last moment in a deal between President Clinton and Senate Banking
Committee Chairman Phil Gramm, R-Texas, who had failed in an earlier
attempt to get the measure enacted. Clinton signed it into law a month
before leaving office.
Sanders soon figured out that he and
almost all other Congress members had been tricked into providing a
blank check for the marketing of bogus collateralized debt obligations
and credit default swaps made legal by the legislation, of which a key
author was Gary Gensler, the former Goldman Sachs partner recruited by
Clinton to be undersecretary of the treasury.
As to what the Clintons are, here is the last bit of Scheer I'll quote:
Who are these Clintonites who now
have the temerity to blame Sanders for the economic hustles they
Gensler in 1999 testified before Congress
in support of the total deregulation of toxic derivatives
Along with Gensler, Robert Rubin, who was
Clinton’s treasury secretary and a former Goldman Sachs chairman, and
Lawrence Summers, a Rubin aide who succeeded the treasury secretary
before the bill was passed, engineered this legislation, which became
law and which Hillary Clinton now has the effrontery to blame on Bernie
Sanders. The same Rubin-Summers wrecking
crew had also destroyed the sensible restraints on Wall Street greed,
implemented as the Glass-Steagall Act by the administration of Franklin
Roosevelt in response to the Great Depression. Hillary Clinton defends
the repeal of Glass-Steagall’s separation of commercial and investment
banking, while Sanders wants it reinstated.
That is, translated in my terms: The Clintons are the very willing handimen of the
richest few, and deregulated major parts of the US economy to give all
freedoms to exploit to the rich, while lying through their teeth to
defraud the people that elected them, who were nearly all screwed.
And they made $120 million, by a few speeches, so their future is firmly assured.
Landmark Ruling, U.K. Court Affirms ‘Journalism Isn’t Terrorism’
is by Nadia Prupis on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
written about David Miranda (the partner of Glenn Greenwald) in August 2013,
and will suppose that my readers know the case in outline.
In a landmark ruling, a British appeals
court on Tuesday found that the UK’s terrorism law violate the
European Convention on Human Rights—a decision that came in the case of
David Miranda, who was detained and searched at London’s Heathrow
airport in 2013 while carrying encrypted documents related to U.S.
whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The ruling means
will have to reevaluate a controversial provision in the Terrorism Act,
known as Section 7, which gives law enforcement officers
the power to stop, question, detain, and search people in airports and
certain other transit areas, whether or not they are suspected of
Individuals who refuse
questions or hand over any requested documents or information may be
fined, imprisoned up to four months, or both.
And I like the decision of the court:
It is a gain, although I should add
that - alas, alas - I don't think it is a major one, simply because the
English government and its secret GCHQ have far too many powers
anyway, and this will remain the case as long as the Conservatives
“If journalists and
their sources can
have no expectation of confidentiality, they may decide against
providing information on sensitive matters of public interest,” the
ruling states. “The court of appeal ruling rejects the broad definition
of terrorism advanced by government lawyers. The correct legal
definition of terrorism, the court of appeal has now ruled, requires
some intention to cause a serious threat to public safety such as
The decision was handed
down by Lord Dyson,
the court’s most senior judge.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s First-Ever Primary Challenger: Tim Canova
This is from near the
third item is by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
She is widely
perceived to have breached
her duty of neutrality as DNC chair by taking multiple steps to
advance the Clinton campaign, including severely limiting the number
of Democratic debates and scheduling them so as to ensure
low viewership (she was co-chair of Clinton’s 2008 campaign). Even
her own DNC vice chairs have publicly
excoriated her after she punished
them for dissenting from her Hillary-protecting debate
limitations. She recently told Ana Marie Cox in a New
York Times interview that she favors ongoing
criminalization of marijuana (as she receives large
financial support from the alcohol industry). She denied opposing medical
marijuana even though she was one of a handful of Democratic
legislators to vote
against a bill to allow states to legalize it, and in her interview
with Cox, she boasted that her “criminal-justice record is perhaps not
as progressive as some of my fellow progressives.” She also excoriated
“young women” — who largely
back Bernie Sanders rather than Clinton — for “complacency” over
is this Republican horrror? I'm sorry, she poses and lies as "a
Democrat". Here is Glenn Greenwald about her strengths:
Wasserman Schultz is the
living, breathing embodiment of everything rotted and corrupt about the
Democratic Party: a corporatist who overwhelmingly
relies on corporate money to keep her job, a hawk who supports the
most bellicose aspects of U.S. foreign policy, a key member of the “centrist” and “moderate” pro-growth
New Democrat coalition, a co-sponsor of the failed Stop Online Piracy
In brief, she is one of the most dishonest
Democrats (and also has a truly awful face, in my opinion).
was “heavily backed by D.C. favorites including the U.S. Chamber of
Commerce and the music and motion picture industries” and which, if
enacted, would have allowed extreme government and corporate control
over the internet.
There is a lot more in the article, and indeed less about Schultz than
about a new Democratic opponent of her, Tim Canova, who also gets
interviewed by Glenn Greenwald in the article.
I leave the rest to your interests, and it is recommended because of
the light it sheds on Republican rightist defenders of the very rich,
who these days are in fact heading the Democrat party - or so it seems, at least.
4. Most Shocking Part of Global Wealth Study: It's Not Just
That 62 People Own as Much as 3.6 Billion Poorest
fourth item is by Steven Rosenfeld on AlterNet:
is from near the
beginning (and is a good article with many good quotes from Oxfam):
“The gap between rich
and poor is
reaching new extremes,” Oxfam said. “The richest 1 percent have now
accumulated more wealth than the rest of the world put together…
Meanwhile, the wealth owned by the bottom half of humanity has fallen
by a trillion dollars in the past five years.”
This gap “is just the
that today we live in a world with levels of inequality we may not have
seen for over a century,” they said. But the fine print of Oxfam's
analysis of wealth trends between 2010 and 2015 finds the poor are
getting much poorer.
“The wealth of the
richest 62 people has
risen by 44 percent in the five years since 2010—that’s an increase of
more than half a trillion dollars ($542 billion), to $1.76 trillion,”
Oxfam noted. “Meanwhile, the wealth of the bottom half fell by just
over a trillion dollars in the same period—a drop of 41 percent. Since
the turn of the century, the poorest half of the world’s population has
received just 1 percent of the total increase in global wealth, while
half of that increase has gone to the top 1 percent.”
Oxfam continued, “The
income of the poorest 10 percent of people in the world has risen by
less than $3 each year in almost a quarter of a century. Their daily
income has risen by less than a single cent every year.”
I'll leave the rest to
your interests, except for the ending:
“Our world is not short
Oxfam concluded. “It simply makes no economic sense—or indeed moral
sense—to have so much in the hands of so few. Oxfam believes humanity
can do better than this, that we have the talent, the technology and
the imagination to build a much better world. We have the chance
to build a more humane economy, where the interests of the majority are
put first. A world where there is decent work for all, where women and
men are equal, where tax havens are something people read about in
history books, and where the richest pay their fair share to support a
society that benefits everyone.”
Quite so - but unfortunately this
now is a desire of the intelligent minority, which I know in
part because I am a regular contributer to Oxfam since years.
This is a recommended article.
5. Who Lost the White Working Class?
The fifth item is by Robert Reich on his site:
This starts as follows:
Why did the white
working class abandon
The conventional answer
skillfully played the race card.
All true, but this isn't the whole story. Democrats also abandoned
the white working class.
That is quite true, though
the story is more complicated than Reich outlines.
But he is right in this:
Precisely. Where these
betrayals of the working and the middle class all?
But they’ve done nothing
to change the
vicious cycle of wealth and power that has rigged the economy for the
benefit of those at the top, and undermined the working class. In some
respects Democrats have been complicit in it.
Both Bill Clinton and
ardently pushed for free trade agreements, for example, without
providing the millions of blue-collar workers who thereby lost their
jobs any means of getting new ones that paid at least as well.
They also stood by as
trade unions, the backbone of the white working class. Clinton and
Obama failed to reform labor laws to impose meaningful penalties on
companies that violated them, or enable workers to form unions with a
simple up-or-down votes.
Far from it:
In short, both Clinton and Obama served
the rich, desired to serve the rich (because these reward their
service with hundreds of millions after they ceased being presidents),
and did everything to shaft the poor and the middle class (while
pretending to act for them):
In addition, the Obama
protected Wall Street from the consequences of the Street’s gambling
addiction through a giant taxpayer-funded bailout, but let millions of
underwater homeowners drown.
Both Clinton and Obama
antitrust enforcement to ossify – with the result that large
corporations have grown far larger,
and major industries more concentrated.
Finally, they turned
their backs on campaign
What happens when you
trade, shrinking unions, Wall Street bailouts, growing corporate market
power, and the abandonment of campaign finance reform?
You shift political and
to the wealthy, and you shaft the working class.
Again, here is another
truth: This also started in 1980 - and it totally corrupted the vast
majority of Democratic Congressmen:
Meanwhile, as early as
the 1980s they
began drinking from the same campaign funding trough as the Republicans
– big corporations, Wall Street, and the very wealthy.
Here is a question with
which Robert Reich ends:
In fact, I think the answer is very easy:
They may, if Bernie Sanders is elected president. Otherwise, it is a
very safe bet the Demopublicans aka the Repucrats will govern on for
the rich few. They have 35 years of training and money to have learned really well how they can profit the most. (And see item 3.)
But to do this Democrats
would have to
stop obsessing over upper-income suburban swing voters, and end their
financial dependence on big corporations, Wall Street, and the wealthy.
Will they? That’s one
of the biggest
political unknowns in 2016 and beyond.
6. Merkel's Last Stand? Chancellor Running Out of Time on
sixth and last item today is by Spiegel Staff on Spiegel International:
near the beginning:
But then came New
Year's Eve in
Cologne, and since then everything has
changed -- both in Merkel's party and across the country. The
occasionally shrill debates in talk shows, on the Internet and on the
streets have become even shriller. Among politicians in Berlin, calls
for something to be done have grown both in number and volume. And
within the population, where attitudes toward Merkel's policies have
for months wavered between sympathy and skepticism, concerns are
growing: Will the effort to integrate more than a million refugees
overwhelm German society? Can the government still guarantee the safety
of its citizens? Is the state failing?
Well... let me start with answering the last
three questions, followed by a - sort of - defense of Merkel's policies
with regards to the refugees.
First, Germany is rich enough to take care of more than million
refugees - provided that both the German population and the refugees
behave well, on average and in considerable majority. Second, of course the government can
guarantee the safety of its citizens, though it would be very desirable if the
refugees do not break German laws. Third, the state is not failing
of the refugees, though it did act unwisely.
As to Merkel, here is Spiegel International:
decision to offer shelter to the
greatest possible number of refugees from the horrors of
the Syrian civil war remains the correct
one. And it is understandable that Merkel is hesitant to close
Germany's borders because of the danger that such a move might spell an
end to border-free travel in Europe.
If maintaining "border-free travel in Europe" was Merkel's end, she is silly, since this
cannot be done, and is not done on its borders, in Greece, Italy and
and also not by other countries, like Slovakia, Poland and Hungary.
In fact I suppose that an important part of her motives were that she
has been educated in the GDR (that collapsed in 1989) and for that
reason is more positive about "refugees" than many of her Westgerman
Then again, while I sympathize with that, it is also true (as I said
refugees started flowing into Europe): You simply cannot welcome
who wants to live in Europe, whether refugee or not, because then
overflooded by poor non-Europeans, which will simply be the end of
But I do not know how to resolve the refugee crisis. Here is a last bit
conservatives are no longer willing
to simply hope the refugee influx will slow on its own. Just how bad
the mood has become became apparent last Monday in Berlin, when
Bundestag members from Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg held a joint
meeting. One parliamentarian after the other demanded stricter border
controls and an upper limit to the number of refugees Germany can
I agree, though I don't often
agree with the right: You cannot accept everybody who
wants to move to Germany because the living there is so much better
than outside Europe, indeed whether or not they also are political
refugees, for there are many millions of legitimate refugees outside Europe who would want to come if given a chance. 
 I'll put it thus: I think Germany is rich enough to provide homes, money, education and jobs to a million refugees (with whom it also will very probably have considerable problems), but not
for five million, ten million or thirty million refugees - not only
Syrians, but Iraqis, Tunesians, Libyans, Nigerians, Somalis etc. etc. all of whom do lead far more dangerous and far poorer lives than ordinary Germans do - whereas there certainly will be as many refugees, mostly legitimate as well, if Germany simply opened its borders to anyone who wants to take refuge there.