2. Hillary Clinton Cries Crocodile
Tears for Latin American Immigrants
is by Meleiza Figueroa on Truthdig:
This starts as
At first glance, Thursday seemed
like a banner day for Hillary Clinton’s “minority
firewall.” Several respected leaders of Latinx
organizations offered their enthusiastic support for the Democratic
presidential candidate, while at the same time—Beyoncé-style—her
campaign dropped a new, emotionally
charged ad into the Nevada market two days before the state’s
crucial caucus event. In the ad, a 10-year-old Latina girl expresses
fear for her parents, who have just received a letter of deportation.
Clinton urges her to be “brave” and let Clinton do “all the worrying”;
the candidate chokes up as she tells the child, “I’m going to do
everything I can so you won’t be scared.”
What a hypcritical freak is Hillary Clinton -
or at least that is what I think, I suppose along with Meleiza
Indeed, here is a part from Figueroa's argument:
A look at her foreign policy
record with regard to Latin America finds plenty to be scared about.
Indeed, the very prospect of Clinton in the driver’s seat of the
American empire should trigger alarm bells in anyone who has witnessed
or lived through the consequences of Central America’s “dirty wars.”
Yes, the bloody legacy of regime change in America’s backyard started
with President Reagan, not Secretary Clinton, but two things—her
embrace of Henry Kissinger as a “friend” and “mentor” on foreign
policy and her personal involvement in the 2009 coup in Honduras
that forcibly removed President
Manuel Zelaya, a left populist, from power—reveal her commitment to
maintaining a legacy of political terror in Latin America that has
caused millions of people to flee their homelands.
And there is this is on "the benefits" of
Bill Clinton's NAFTA and CAFTA (that foreshadow the plans for Europe
once the TTIP is accepted):
How did NAFTA and CAFTA (the
Central America Free Trade Agreement) propel undocumented immigration?
In academia, we can spend years counting all the ways. But in large
part, it was because of the absolute devastation “free trade” brought
to these countries’ family-based agricultural economies. Peasants who
had supplied themselves and their communities with staple foods for
centuries could not compete when thrust into a global market against a
flood of cheap corn and wheat produced by the U.S.
government-subsidized agricultural industry. This, and the opening of
collectively held lands for sale on the private market, left millions
of peasant families broke and landless, with no choice but to go north.
There is a lot more in the article, which is
3. How the Democratic Party Got Lost
third item is by Michael Brenner on Consortiumnews:
This starts as follows:
The Clinton juggernaut is losing
traction. Powered by the full weight of the Democratic Establishment,
it was designed to smoothly carry its idol across America and into the
White House. It still may get there. But now it must traverse a far
more treacherous and uncertain route than Hillary Clinton and her
entourage ever imagined.
And while I agree that Hillary still may
win, I think that if she does (i) the only
choice left for ordinary Americans is that between which groups of
extra- ordinarily rich men is going to exploit them, and (ii) about the
only argument for Hillary is that all of her Republican
opponents have shown themselves to be loony, lying and
irresponsible extremists. (In case the choice is between Hillary
and a Republican, my advice is Hillary, but not because I like
her but because all the Republicans are more horrible than she is.)
Then there is this on the causes that made the Democratic Party loose
many of its voters, that started (according to Brenner) in the
Mondale’s defeat convinced many pols
that the future lay with the Reagan smorgasbord of discredited nostrums
and myths repackaged by skillful political craftsmen as the new
Revelation. Market fundamentalist economic models, a cartoonish version
of American individualism a la Ayn Rand, financial libertinism,
muscle-flexing abroad in the mantle of democratic proselytizing, and
anti-government demagoguery were fashioned into an intoxicating
Actually, I tend to believe more
I think a considerable part of the
Democratic Party was corrupted rather than convinced,
and my two reasons are that the neoconservatives had a lot more money
available to "convince" others of Reagan's and Rand's myths, and that
anyone who seriously believes these myths must be both quite stupid and
quite ignorant or else quite egoistic and quite rich.
But I also agree that "corruption" is a vague term, if only because
there are at least 10 lobbyists per senator, all of whom seem to
operate with a mixture of arguments and cash.
Here is how this worked out according to Michael Brenner:
Disoriented Democrats badly
miscalculated the danger, and in the process lost sight of who they
were. Most damaging, many found a comfortable niche in this new world
of hallucination. Among them are the careerists, the trendy
intellectuals, and the ambitious politicians who thought that they had
discovered the one route to recouping power and glory.
Together, they reshaped the Democratic
Party into a me-too auxiliary to a waxing conservative movement.
Again, I'd say money (corruption)
seemed to have played an important role, as indeed is pointed out
(implicitly) by the third statement in the above quote.
Finally, I quote this bit because I partially agree and partially
Only the Bush era collapse into disaster
abroad and at home made possible Barack Obama – who presented himself
not as the embodiment of Democratic values but as a transcendent
bipartisan healer — with just a few vermilion strokes. A prophet
without message or mission. Whatever liberal ideas he had sounded were
swiftly abandoned in what is surely the most shameless bait-and-switch
in American political history.
This was predictable. After all, he
thrice cited Ronald Reagan as the man who most influenced his view of
the Presidency. His administrations arguably were oriented to the Right
of Richard Nixon – on civil liberties as well as on economic and social
programs. Look it up.
I agree that Obama was one of "the most shameless bait-and-switch"
politicians in American history, and that his recipe is quite simple: Always
say what you believe those who may vote for you desire
to hear; and normally do whatever pleases your financial
But I don't quite agree that this "was predictable" - or if it was, it
was mainly for journalists and intellectuals who read all his speeches
and who were prepared to believe he was very dishonest.
Anyway, this is an interesting article
that is recommended (though I don't agree with everything).
4. The Conundrums of Justice Scalia
The fourth and last item today is by Ralph Nader on Common Dreams and
originally on his site:
This starts as follows:
I didn't know that (and this is very long ago
as well). Even so:
The passing of Supreme Court Justice
Antonin “Nino” Scalia evoked widespread commentary about how outspoken
he was both on the Court and at law schools and other forums where he
often lectured and sometimes tangled with audiences. Knowing of Justice
Scalia’s unusual expressiveness for a jurist, my colleague Robert
Weissman and I wrote him a challenging letter
in 2006, starting with these words:
We are writing to inquire as to how
the application of the Bill of Rights and related constitutional
protections to the artificial creations known as corporations can be
squared with a constitutional interpretation theory of “originalism.”
We referred to the Supreme Court case which
was falsely reported to have decided that a corporation is a person.
This was the 1886 case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific
Despite this fraudulent
representation of the Court’s opinion, subsequent Supreme Court cases
started extending Bill of Rights protections to corporations. Nowhere
in the Constitution is there any mention of the words “corporation” or
“company.” The word “person” meant to the Framers in those early days a
human being; the Framers never said a company or corporation is a
person. The Preamble of the Constitution, we should remember, starts
with “We the People,” not “We the People and the Corporations.”
This is no minor distinction.
Corporations have seized on this equivalence with being a “person,” to
escape health and safety regulation, consumer and labor rights, and
even strong regulation or prohibition of tobacco advertising that
pushes a product known to take 400,000 American lives a year.
Yes indeed, though I fail to see the
reasoned connection between (i) a falsely reported SCOTUS decision from
1886 and (ii) the utter semantical bullshit that
corporations are persons: This is just baloney.
In fact, one of the most important things
about corporations is that they are not persons and therefore
limit the financial responsibilities of the persons who enter into an
agreement to work together.
Here is my favorite English writer William
Hazlitt (<- Wikipedia) in his "On Corporate Bodies"
from 1822 (!!), that starts as follows:
Corporate bodies have no soul.
bodies are more corrupt and
profligate than individuals, because they have more power to do
mischief, and are less amenable to disgrace or punishment. They feel
neither shame, remorse, gratitude, nor goodwill. The principle of
private or natural conscience is extinguished in each individual (we
have no moral sense in the breasts of others), and nothing is
considered but how the united efforts of the whole (released from idle
scruples) may be best directed to the obtaining of political advantages
and privileges to be shared as common spoil. Each member reaps the
benefit, and lays the blame, if there is any, upon the rest. The esprit
de corps becomes the ruling passion of every corporate body,
compared with which the motives of delicacy or decorum towards others
are looked upon as being both impertinent and improper.
There is a
lot more in the original (on my site) and it is all highly recommended.
I completely agree - and again point out that
William Hazlitt thought little different in 1822.
In 1988, I wrote a New York Times
op-ed with public interest lawyer Carl Mayer. In this opinion piece
are Not Persons” we argued that:
The corporate drive for
constitutional parity with real humans comes at a time when
legislatures are awarding these artificial persons superhuman
privileges. Besides perpetual life, corporations enjoy limited
liability for industrial accidents such as nuclear power disasters, and
the use of voluntary bankruptcy and other disappearing acts to dodge
financial obligations while remaining in business.
The legal system is thus creating
unaccountable Frankensteins that have human powers but are nonetheless
constitutionally shielded from much actual and potential law
enforcement as well as from accountability to real persons such as
workers, consumers and taxpayers.
There is one thing that I may disagree with Nader, for I don't think
Scalia was much of a "conundrum". Here is part of my reason, in Nader's
He was a major force in Bush
v. Gore’s 5-4 majority opinion that stopped the Florida Supreme
Court’s ongoing order for a full state recount. In an utterly specious,
brazenly-political opinion by the five Republicans on the Court, the
recount was stopped and George W. Bush was “selected” as President by
five unelected lawyers. When questioned in public about this decision,
he replied injudiciously “get over it.”
For me, lawyers who do that - whoever they
are, also - are only doing law because it permits them to give
expression to their political or religious opinions, which in Scalia's
case were conservatism and catholicism. That is, they ceased
to be real lawyers, for real lawyers - whatever their religion or
politics - serve the law rather than their own private political convictions.
But this is an interesting and recommended article.