Response to The New York Times’ Julian Bond Obituary is also Post-Mortem On Bill Clinton, Good Guy

Many people rightly took The New York Times to task for its obituary of Julian Bond last week.  His great-grandmother, a slave, could not have been a “mistress” of his white great-grandfather, her owner.  The power dynamics of slavery allow only for rape.

This week marks 17 years since Bill Clinton’s admission of a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky.  It occurs to me that Clinton’s lecherous persona would not be tolerated in the Office of President, in primaries, on social media, were he rising now. That the Left gave him an intentional pass was, of course, the chorus of Clinton-hating conservatives then.  That progressives today question the possibility of consent when one party is the Most Powerful Man in the World is important, not just because it births another irony about the daylight between them and reactionaries regarding sex in general.  More to the point:  The Bill Clinton presidency would be impossible as a native development now.  By 2015’s standards, he is a predator.  The degree to which his inherent power muted the personal agency of Miss Lewinsky is a debate worth having, considering the limitations it assumes for the later.  There are implications for feminism here, of course, but also for the wider issues about cycles of power and abuse.

Hillary and the Clinton-Industrial Complex

By now, you’ve likely heard about the interaction between Hillary Clinton and Black Lives Matter advocates that took place over the weekend.  The advocates rightly questioned Clinton on her support (and her husband’s implementation) of policies that led to the mass incarceration of more black men than ever lived under slavery in this country in what has become the prison-industrial complex’s near-final solution to the natural outputs of centuries of systemic racism and injustice as praxis.

While Bill and Hillary Clinton gained political capital through their expertly cynical navigation of the so-called third way New Democrat ethos (a tough, Nixonesque liberalism that seldom met a Republican proposal it didn’t like, consume, and implement), hedge fund managers gleaned more concrete riches from the transformation of America’s penal system into a network of privately held plantations.

Some, like George Zoley, give to Republican causes and candidates (Marco Rubio is a Zoley favorite).  Others, like Jeremy Mindich, masquerade as progressives. $32,400 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee?  Another $32,400 to the DNC Services Corp?  He even supports ActBlue.  (Credit to this piece at Vice for concisely connecting these dots.  Click through to learn how you, too, are probably investing in for-profit prisons without even knowing it).

For Americans living in poverty, the Clintons’ 90s were a race to mandatory sentencing, three-strikes-you’re-out law and order.  For the Clintons themselves, not so much.  Hillary Clinton is so far above the strictures of law, she saw fit to keep state secrets on private email servers, shielding them, perhaps, from the prying eyes of our first Black president, a man she necessarily and clearly resents, all the while risking national security because she simply couldn’t be bothered to do otherwise.  Is it any wonder China reads the email of top US officials the way Ted Cruz reads The Drudge Report?

In good 90s fashion, the irony of the Clintons’ role building up the prison industrial complex is staggering.  So too Hillary’s detachment, encountering the Black Lives Matter movement with the same wonder with which George H. W. Bush scanned his first campaign-trail groceries.  Three weeks to speak out on Ferguson.  That’s apparently how long it takes to convene a focus group.  How about a grand jury?

New Zealand is Picking a New Flag

You know what doesn’t happen very often?  The rebranding of entire countries.

The move to change the New Zealand flag comes from various post-colonial realizations.  I’m an outside observer and a big fan of redesign: from baseball uniforms to business logos to superhero costumes and, naturally, flags.

What’s interesting to me is the conscious effort to remove vestiges of empire (even as the nation remains part of the Commonwealth, which is somehow still a thing) and replace them with New Zealand iconography honoring the modern county’s indigenous and imperial roots.  The designs vying for adoption almost all seek to depict what proponents see as the confluence of native and not-so-native-then but native-now peoples into a unique, distinct, modern nation-state.

I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting New Zealand, but we have NZ readers here.  If you’re one of them, I’d love to hear from you about the degree to which the last sentence of the second paragraph captures what people are looking for, and the degree to which it reflects the reality of multiculturalism and race relations in your beautiful country.  photo CC James Duncan Davidson

Emailing Jeff Bezos About “Callous” Practices; Amazon As The New Atlantis

Jeff Bezos Says Amazon Won’t Tolerate ‘Callous’ Management Practices – The New York Times.

First Things has this to say, likening the Amazon ethos to Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis:  Amazon is Cruel to Be Kind.  You know that one was sitting in an editor’s hopper somewhere, waiting for other shoes to drop, maybe, after Spencer Soper’s expose about Amazon warehouse conditions a few years ago.  On that note, my email, dateline Allentown, PA, this morning, to Jeff:

Hi Jeff,

You seem sincere in your message to Amazonians re: the NYT piece.

I’m not an Amazonian, but the issue hits close to home because I live
in the Lehigh Valley and spend time advocating for the working poor.

I’m sure you remember the story from a few years ago about the Lehigh
Valley fulfillment center. If that was how management/culture treats a
workforce that, let’s be honest, has next to zero access to the
management bubble (let alone a shot at moving up the corporate
ladder…they’re mostly temps, and that’s intentional), then why would
it be shocking that the culture in other parts of the company might be
similarly toxic?

I applaud your personal efforts to ensure a progressive and fair
workplace for people at all levels…even temps.

all best,

Chris Cocca,

Allentown, PA

photo: CC James Duncan Davison

Almost Every Major Poll Shows Bernie Sanders Challenging or Defeating Clinton and Republicans. Here’s Why | H. A. Goodman

Hillary Clinton is one of the most cynical choices for president in at least a generation.  H.A. Goodman does a good job explaining why.

Almost Every Major Poll Shows Bernie Sanders Challenging or Defeating Clinton and Republicans. Here’s Why | H. A. Goodman.

An aside:  The FBI investigation is going to so thoroughly compromise Clinton’s campaign, it’s not outlandish to think that the real contest a few months from now will be between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden.  That’s a contest Sanders wins going away.  Even if Clinton stays in the race, the Bernie movement is only just beginning.  Clinton lost this way to Obama 7 years ago without the burden of a shady record in the executive branch and an email scandal that in every way imaginable precludes her for the office she feels destined for.  Sorry not sorry, Madame Secretary.


Speaking of that War on Women: 56 Million Women Aren’t Working

A few notes:

  • Brietbart is a conservative outlet, so know that going in.  I consider myself progressive.
  • I don’t consider most pro-life stances to be anti-woman by default.  That’s not part of this article, but it is part of the overall conversation.
  • The jobs numbers, overall, look bad.
  • We still fall short on equal pay for equal work.

Why are we hitting an all-time high of woman not in the workplace? We suck at family leave, but that’s not the only answer.  Compared to places like Scandinavia, our capitalism seems not only lacking any true generative qualities, but is, essentially, toxic.

Record 56,209,000 Women Not in Labor Force – Breitbart.