February 14, 2016

Crisis: Kasich & Clinton, Scalia's Death, Clinton's Disastrous Record
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John Kasich and the Clintons Collaborated on Law That
     Helped Double Extreme Poverty

2. After Antonin Scalia’s Death, What’s Next for the
     Supreme Court?
Hillary Clinton Is Sugarcoating Her Disastrous Record

This is a Nederlog of Sunday, February 13, 2016.

This is a crisis blog. I could not find all that much that I wish to review; it is a Sunday; and I wrote rather a lot the last week, so I am quite satisfied that today there are just three items: item 1 is about how the liars Kasich and the Clintons teamed up in the 90ies to destroy welfare; item 2 is about the sudden death of SCOTUS judge Scalia and the consequences of this; and item 3 is about an article by Ralph Nader about Hillary Clinton's rather (from a real leftist point of view) horrible political record.

1. John Kasich and the Clintons Collaborated on Law That Helped Double Extreme Poverty

This first
item is by Zaid Jilani on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
Republican presidential candidate John Kasich has promoted himself both as a friend of the working poor and as a foe of Hillary Clinton, but as House Budget Committee chairman in the 1990s, he worked with the Clintons to roll back welfare programs, helping double extreme poverty in America.

In 1996, the Clinton administration and congressional Republicans worked hand in hand to pass what they called the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, colloquially known as “welfare reform.”

The legislation famously “ended welfare as we know it,” replacing Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The newly-created TANF placed a time limit on how long the federal government would extend financial assistance to poor families.

Neither Kasich nor Clinton are real friends of the working poor, though indeed
both are lying as if they are, and indeed the above facts are quite damning for the very false pretensions of either: Together they destroyed welfare for the poor, already in the 1990ies.

Here are some of the lies by Kasich:

Kasich explained: “America has been crying for this bill now for a generation. They’re sick of generational dependency and, frankly, they wanted a fundamental change. I’m glad the President’s going to sign the bill, and I want to compliment him for that.” He concluded: “And this is one of those successes that when we get old and we’re all in our rocking chairs, we’re going to look back and say, ‘’Thank God we were able to make America a little bit better.’”
What this sick and sadistic gross liar really meant was:

"The American" rich, were "sick of" the dependency of the very poor on welfare, which they therefore sought to deny to them, in order to get even more money for themselves, which millions they loved to hand over in a system of "generational dependency" to their own very rich children, knowing full well that most riches are inherited and not made.

And this Kasich succeeded in doing, with the help of the Clintons, and therefore the number of Americans living in "extreme poverty" has doubled since 1996:

This past fall, a pair of researchers published a book looking at extreme poverty in America, defined as living on less than $2 a day. They found that 1.5 million American households — including 3 million children — are now living at or under this threshold.

While no one policy alone explains this shocking number of Americans in extreme poverty, the authors do note that the number has doubled since 1996, the year that welfare reform was signed into law.


Vote Kasich for no money to the poor!
Vote Clinton for no money to the poor!

(For more, see the last mentioned link for the

2. After Antonin Scalia’s Death, What’s Next for the Supreme Court?

The second item is by Bill Blum on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:

Justice Antonin Scalia is dead, and his passing is nothing less than a legal and political earthquake. It will have a huge impact, not only on the court’s present term but on the course of constitutional law.

Beginning with his appointment to the high court in 1986, Scalia was the intellectual leader of what I and many other legal commentators have termed a conservative “judicial counterrevolution,” aimed at wresting control of the nation’s most powerful legal body from the legacy of the liberal jurists who rose to power in the 1950s and ’60s under the leadership of then-Chief Justice Earl Warren.

I say, which I do because I did not know he died, but then he died suddenly, in his sleep, and nobody seems to have expected it.

And while the above quotation is adequate, I can supplement it with two remarks: Scalia was a very conservative Catholic, while the "wresting control of the nation’s most powerful legal body from the legacy of the liberal jurists" seems to have been initialized, as a concerted effort by conservative judges, by the conservative judge Lewis Powell Jr. who wrote a memo in 1971.

This is quoted from Wikipedia about that (initially secret) memo:

The memo called for corporate America to become more aggressive in molding politics and law in the US and may have sparked the formation of several influential right-wing think tanks and lobbying organizations, such as The Heritage Foundation and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), as well as inspiring the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to become far more politically active.

Incidentally, note that this had nothing to do with practising the law, and everything with practising politics. And while I agree these intersect, Powell's memo was quite explicitly political only.

The following bit is also quoted from Wikipedia and strongly supports what I just said:
On August 23, 1971, prior to accepting President Nixon's request to become an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Powell sent the "Confidential Memorandum" titled "Attack on the American Free Enterprise System." He argued, "The most disquieting voices joining the chorus of criticism came from perfectly respectable elements of society: from the college campus, the pulpit, the media, the intellectual and literary journals, the arts and sciences, and from politicians." In the memorandum, Powell advocated "constant surveillance" of textbook and television content, as well as a purge of left-wing elements. He named consumer advocate Ralph Nader as the chief antagonist of American business.
This gives some background to the opposition from the - conservative - lawyers and judges to "perfectly respectable elements of society: from the college campus, the pulpit, the media, the intellectual and literary journals, the arts and sciences, and from politicians": All the conservatives cared for was censoring and purging these "perfectly respectable elements", in order to secure the advantages of "corporate America" for the very rich - and indeed so they did (after they got organized to do so, it seems).

Here is some background on Scalia's very own judicial style:

But Scalia was also an unvarnished, intemperate and intolerant ideologue, railing against same-sex marriage, voting rights, Obamacare, affirmative action and other progressive causes. In recent years, often finding himself in dissent, he became unhinged at times, ridiculing his more moderate colleagues for engaging in what he called analytical “argle-bargle” and “interpretive jiggery pokery,” and for doling out legal benefits to allegedly undeserving litigants that he called “pure applesauce.”

Now for the reason Scalia will be missed (by conservatives):

The impact of Scalia’s death will be felt immediately in a number of pending high-profile cases, transforming anticipated 5-4 conservative rulings into 4-4 stalemates. Under the court’s rules, 4-4 decisions carry no precedential weight and leave intact the lower-court rulings under review.

There is a considerable amount of speculation about the nomination of the next Supreme Court judge. The main difficulty is that Obama is expected to nominate a non-conservative judge, while the Senate, that now is in majority Republican, will oppose this as much as they can, and indeed eventually until the next president is elected in the end of 2016. (This was never done before, but is now being threatened by the Republicans.)

Here is Bill Blum's judgement:

At the same time, the future of the Supreme Court—always an issue in presidential campaigns—will move front and center. Assuming that GOP senators will filibuster any Obama nomination—as I think probable—voters will be asked to contemplate what the future of America will look like with a court molded by a President Trump or Cruz, or a President Sanders or Clinton. The choice facing voters will be stark.

I guess that is correct, though indeed another Supreme Court judge may die (there are quite old ones there), which would make it even more uncertain (especially if that were to be another conservative judge).

But so far that is a mere if.

3. Hillary Clinton Is Sugarcoating Her Disastrous Record

The third and last item today is by Ralph Nader on Truthdig, and originally on his website:

This starts as follows:

Bernie Sanders is far too easy on Hillary Clinton in their debates. Clinton flaunts her record and experience in ways that Sanders could use to expose her serious vulnerabilities and disqualifications for becoming president. Sanders responds to Clinton’s points, but without the precision that could demolish her arrogance.

For example, she repeatedly says that Sanders has not levelled with people about the cost of full Medicare for all, or single-payer. Really? In other countries, single-payer is far simpler and more efficient than our present profiteering, wasteful, corporatized healthcare industry. Canada covers all of its citizens, with free choice of doctors and hospitals, for about $4,500 per capita, compared to the over $9,000 per capita cost in the U.S. system that still leaves tens of millions of people uninsured or underinsured.

As to Bernie Sanders: I think that so far he is doing quite well (simply judging by his results) and while indeed he always may be better than he is, part of the
reason he is not may be that he decided to debate politely.

I am not saying this is the reason (I don't know), but this certainly is a difference with all the other presidential candidates.

As to Hillary Clinton's record, there is this:

As one 18 year-old student told the New York Times recently about Clinton, “sometimes you get this feeling that all of her sentences are owned by someone.”

This protector of the status quo and the gross imbalance of power between the few and the many expresses perfectly why Wall Street financiers like her so much and prove it with their large continuing monetary contributions.

The 18 year-old simply spoke the truth if Hillary Clinton got the many millions she did get from the big banks (mostly) for her services rendered to them - which seems to be the normal business model in present-day American politics, where big money now controls things, mostly because the rich givers of big money were legally set free to do so by the Supreme Court's "Citizens United" decision.

Here I have a remark: I do not like Hillary Clinton at all, but here she seems to be one of the many: Only Bernie Sanders is different. (That is: He is not being
paid by the very rich, all other candidates are being paid by the very rich.)

This is about Hillary Clinton's politics:

Whether as Senator on the Armed Services Committee or as Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton has never met a war or raid she didn’t like, or a redundant, wasteful weapons system she was willing to aggressively challenge. As president, Hillary Clinton would mean more wars, more raids, more blowbacks, more military spending and more profits for the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower so prophetically warned about in his farewell address.

I think that is a fair expectation. Finally, I quote this on the same subject:

In a devastating recounting of Hillary Clinton’s disastrous war-making, Professor of Sustainable Economies at Columbia University, Jeffrey D. Sachs concludes that Clinton “is the candidate of the War Machine.” In a widely noted article Professor Sachs, an advisor the United Nations on millennium development goals, called her record a “disaster,” adding that “Perhaps more than any other person, Hillary can lay claim to having stoked the violence that stretches from West Africa to Central Asia and that threatens U.S. security.”

And while I do not think Hillary Clinton did ("Perhaps") "more than any other person" to stoke "the violence that stretches from West Africa to Central Asia", simply because Bush Jr., Cheney and Rumsfeld started the wars there, she did not do much to try to lessen the violence after it was started.


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