Don't worry, you can trust me. I'm not like the others.

Banned In China

Friday, September 16, 2011


I finally  figured out linking to Hulu which turns out not to be hard at all.  I will say that after watching Moore, his statement seems more dumb than racist to me, but then I'm white.

I'm home this morning and I think I'll see how blogger works today.  The last post had a number of problems that I just couldn't figure out, including a back color on the writing that I finally had to completely do over from scratch, different size and font writing that I also couldn't figure out how it happened.  But at any rate there is:  a poor thing, but mine own.  (It appears that if I copy from google docs. and paste here that has an effect on the formatting, so that is one thing.)

OK this has been going on with both computers for some time I will hit the Enter key and just delete the previous paragraph, very irritating   Try again.  Then some sort of interference and I had to emergency shut down the computer.  Yesterday, it just shut down itself.

It appears that Michael Moore has said a terribly racist thing, quoting Bill Maher who is also a bad person and not worthy of out respect.  That is Moore said :  "I went into the polls voting for the black guy and what I got was the white guy."

Is that racist?  It is an interesting question and I must ask my black friend what he thinks.(Is this comment racist enough for you?)

Balloon Juice with Angry Black Lady led the way followed up by Ta-Nehisi Coates at TNR.

After thinking about Moore's statement, I can certainly see it as racist. It assumes that all black people because of generations of being screwed over by the white ruling classes would not in fact identify with that class, but rather identify with the abused and under classes of whatever race.  But what the statement presumes is that all African Americans should react in the same way to oppression. It denies the individual the opportunity to be an individual and a prick and screw over those who haven’t made it to the top once they do.

The commentators are interesting, particularly at TNR since there are a number of those there who are more than happy to bash Moore and call into question everything he has done.  He isn't, what?  One of us?  I don't know.  None of them managed to hop into the Way Back Machine and go all the way to 2008 to remember how hard Moore worked for Obama and how much energy he put into that campaign.  

I made an abbreviated version of my comment above at a comment thread at Lawyers Guns and Money and was accused of being a racist (or at least harboring racist thoughts myself) because I cannot imagine a black person being part of the ruling class.  I guess the problem is that there are a lot of racists out there who hate Obama because he is black.  (And let's face it he is black under the strange rules that apply in this country as to the pigeon holing of people into racial categories.  The fact that his mother was white and he was raised by white grandparents for a large part of his youth doesn't count.)  That those of us who hate Obama because he is incompetent and and owned by Wall Street, can be tarred with that same racist brush.

Well, it may be racist. And since I voted for him assuming that he was someone who would be different, I guess that makes me racist. I kind of thought he would be more like Martin Luther King rather than Barry Goldwater.  Perhaps I didn’t look far enough beyond his skin color to see a paid up member of the plutocracy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

More frustration

So I went to Lawyers Guns and Money to get my fair share of abuse.  Once again Lemieus is arguing that the presidency is in fact very limited in its powers domestically and that what Obama did with his health care legislation was all he could have done.  Lemeius’s posting is in response to Atkins at Hullabaloo.

This defense of Obama by Lemieus and other is always that Obama didn’t have the votes for something that he never tried.  Why didn’t he try it?  Because if he had tried it he would have lost and then it woud have been a disaster for the democrats and progressive politics in general.  This argument works for everything apparently:  the stimulus for instance could not have been bigger because then it would not have been passed and things would be really badright now.  It goes on and on.
These arguments are nuts. Among the very first people Obama appointed were Summers, Geither, and Emmanuel. What does that tell one? That he had progressive goals?  None of Obama's policies in my mind were ever developed as anything other then massive wealth redistribution upwards to the rich.
Well that is what he did and he did it such a ham handed fashion that he gave the country back to the republicans just two years after his “land slide.”
I like to think of Obama as the 1919 Chicago Black Sox or if one wants to be more generous as someone who rides to work every day on the short bus

Of course the other response to this entire argument is that it really doesn't matter if Michelle Bachmann is president, if what they argue is true.

UPDATE:  I went back and commented on Obama's choices of Emmanuel, Summers and Geither as his top advisers as far as economics and domestic matters went.  Pointing out that these should have showed us all just what Obama was about and that his real goal was to transfer money into the hands of the wealthiest.  One person pointed out that was OT, which is more or less correct, although I would now think that in fact it really isn't since LG&M argument is that Obama was trapped by circumstances into do what he has done with most of his domestic stuff.  This would indicate that is just what he really wanted to do.  

However, what was more interesting was at three (I haven't bothered to go back since last night, so it might be more now) people said that really those were the people that he needed to choose since he needed people who had the expertise in Wall Street and had the Street's confidence.  I did ask if they were sure that Krugman wasn't available, but that was really just snark.  The more I think about it the more I think that it is impossible to have a rational discussion with people who think that way.  

Obama appoints two people (more but let's talk about only Geither and Summers) one of whom let the crash happen on his watch the other of which was working for those industries that caused the crash, not to mention that Summers has his own issues with equality of the sexes.  In other words Obama dug deep into the effluvium of the ruling class to get his most trusted advisers and these posters are cool with that.

ONE LAST DAMNED UPDATE AND THEN TO WORK:  I did make the mistake of going back and reading more comments.  The arguments seem to be that he couldn't have done anything else and these were the best people he could have really gotten. That's it.   And if I believe anything else, even for a second then I just do not understand what goes on in the real world.

If the argument is that a president (black or white) other than Obama couldn't have done more and gotten better people than it is bullshit.  If the argument is that Obama couldn't have done more or gotten better people then I'll buy it.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

All Righty Then

Obligatory 9/11 Post Because I would Be A Traitor If I Didn't

This isn't the guy?  Are you sure?

Happy 9/11 Day.  Does that sound just weird?

We could have gone in an taken out the people responsible for the whole thing within a year, but we choose to invade another country and began (accelerated?)  the destruction of our own country and what was left of our own ideals instead.  Although to be honest I'm thinking we were so far gone by 2001 that there was no going back and people just started to notice after a while.

Let us not forget that the president we had in 2001 actually lost that election and there were no real protests when he was appointed by his dad's buds.  Not that the other guy was any prize winner.

So we continue in Afghanistan because we can't leave (yet), we try to continue in Iraq because we can't leave, we will probably be putting money into Libya because NATO can't leave and they have their own economic problems and since they are marginally more intelligent than us they are going to insist that we help them out financially.  I guess it is possible that the Libyan oil will pay for it, hahahaha.

So although he is now dead Bin Laden has pretty much accomplished everything he hoped to accomplish after all, so I guess somebody should be celebrating.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned

Darrow with the McNamaras
Three posts in a row about books, I must be really depressed and trying to avoid the world.

So this time it is Clarence Darrow:  Attorney For the Damned by John A. Farrell.  Fortunately or unfortunately I wasn't able to avoid the current world with this book.  Since Darrow represented labor in many of his major cases and since the book tells one about the era that saw his most important labor cases.

I've said before that these kind of books, biographies or histories and even historical novels not only tell about the period written about by the author, but also about the period the author is living through.  That is certainly the case in this book.  The first part of the book deals (after the childhood stuff) with Darrow's involvement with the labor movement and his defense of various labor leaders.  The Pullman strike leaders.   Most famously Big Bill Haywood and the murder of the former governor of Idaho, Steuenberg.  He got blowed up by a guy who claimed that he was hired by the Western Federation of Miners, of which Big Bill was an officer.  He negotiated for the boys who worked in the mines for a shorter work week. He was every where and involved in many of the most important labor battles. 

Right up until he was charged with jury tampering for trying to fix the McNamara's trial in California.  He beat that rap, but he essentially stopped being a leading attorney for labor.  Not so much because he was accused of jury tampering, but because he pled his clients to the bombing of L.A. Times.  By so doing seriously damaged labor's cause.  The description of Darrow's trial and the antics of his defense lawyer Earl Rogers was fascinating.  At varoius stages of the trial they had to find Rogers and dry him out so he could continue.  Times sure was different.

Darrow was in his middle 50s at that time, but  went on to cases he is most remembered for now: the Loeb Leapold Thrill Murder and The Monkey Trial.

He also defended Dr. Ossian Sweet during this period.  The Doctor was an African American charged with killing a white man in Detroit while protecting his home and family after he moved into a previously all white neighborhood.  Of course the labor cases and this case do not get the press the famous two get. 

All the while representing crooked politicians, gangsters and just ordinary people getting divorces, or shooting the spouse in court as one of his client's did.

One of the things the author spends time doing in the book is justifying Darrow's taking money making cases:  the crooked politicians and gangsters.  I guess one has to do that for the civilian; almost any attorney understands, you go where they pays ya and you try not to cross whatever moral line you may have.  The one area that people do not cross over to the other side though is in labor law, you are either a lawyer for the workers or a lawyer for the bosses, still.

I would guess that anyone who isn't a criminal defense attorney would look a little differently at the number of pretty obviously guilty clients Darrow got off.  I'd also guess that someone who isn't a cynical radical would look with disdain at a lawyer who knowingly allowed jurors and witnesses to be bought.  The point the author makes (and I agree with) is that Darrow knew the system was already bought by the big money boys (sound familiar) and he was not above what he considered evening the scales in some of the very high profile labor cases he handled.

One of the unending positions Darrow had was his absolute opposition to capital punishment.  Some of his last cases were for poor men who had been condemned to death.  He was able to prevent their execution.

I had always thought of Darrow as a trial attorney and he certainly was that, but he took a large number of cases (both ones he had tried and ones others had tried) to the appellate  and some times state supreme court level and often won them there.  Having lost a number of appellate cases recently, I am certainly envious.

This book has access to a number of documents which were not previously available.  People seem to be convinced that Darrow, or someone working for the defense at least bribed jurors in the Haywood trial.   Serious questions remain about the McNamara charges.  It is probably true that by delaying some of the gangster cases and crooked politician cases Darrow gave his clients (with out his "knowledge") the ability to assist witnesses with their memories.  Darrow is definitely not a person the main stream bar would embrace if he were practicing today. 

I am not so naive as to think that the sort of things Darrow did and fought against are gone, not so.  I do think that the ruling class of the bar would make sure that any attorney accused of what Darrow was accused of wouldn't long be practicing today.  Still, he was usually on the side of the angels.  And always fought for the little guy, unless he really needed the money and even then never fought against the little guy.

I really liked this book.  Although reading about the late 19th and early 20th centurys does not take one away from what is going on today.   In fact the similarities are striking.   It just reinforces the belief that as they say justice is a constant struggle.