Archive for the ‘general’ Category
Corey Robin has some choice anecdotes from the recent book Speer: Hitler's Architect, by historian Martin Kitchen. The book deflates what's left of Speer's rep as the "good Nazi."
As Minister of Armaments, Speer relied extensively on slave laborers from concentration camps to work in the factories. In 1944, he fell ill for an extended period of time. Himmler seized on the opportunity of Speer’s absence to remove those laborers from the factories -- at the pace of roughly 40,00 per month -- and send them back to the camps. Back at the office several months later, Speer complained about the “kidnapping” of his workers.
Robin also found in Kitchen's book a 1944 quote from German exile journalist Sebastian Haffner:
[Speer] symbolises indeed a type, which among all the belligerents has become increasingly important: the pure technician, the classless, brilliant man without a background, who knows no other goal than to make his way in the world, purely on the basis of his technical and organisational capabilities….This is his age. We can get rid of the Hitlers and the Himmlers, but not the Speers. Whatever may be the fate of each individual man, they will be with us for a long time.
Update: I read Kitchen's book on Speer and highly recommend it. The first part closely follows the architect's day-to-day life as an ambitious Nazi scum, based on Kitchen's careful study of the available documentation, and then the second half explores Speer's self-mythologizing after his release from prison. The first part effectively undercuts the claims in the second, and then the reader gets to enjoy watching the Speer myth begin to fall apart in the last few years of his life, as evidence he assumed was buried or destroyed began to surface.
For the rightwardly inclined, the Clinton email scandal is about "Benghazi" and national security. For normal people, the issue is Clinton Foundation corruption. Erasing all the "personal" emails could have zapped any evidence of improper dealings between the Clintons and various "donors" hoping to influence policy while Mrs. Clinton was Secretary of State. See Michael Hudson [Real News / YouTube] and Greg Palast.
See also Clinton Foundation Timeline.
Bernie Sanders was the only decent alternative to more years of icky Clintons and you'd be forgiven for having a sick feeling in pit of your stomach when he endorsed them ahead of the Dem convention.
We've been talking about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a pro-globalist treaty that Pres. Obama wants Congress to approve after the election, during a lame duck session (I assume this still means he wants "fast track authority" to sign it without Congressional interference). The Clintons supported TPP before they stopped supporting it, clearly for the sake of election appearances, when Bernie Sanders made it an issue. Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich posted on his Zuckerberg Hoodie page (link via Naked Capitalism) the following conversation with a former fellow Clintonite. A good explanation of what's wrong with the treaty and why Dem fixers want it:
An acquaintance from my days in the Clinton administration, who has been advising Hillary, phoned this morning.
ACQUAINTANCE: “Don’t you think your blog post from last night was a bit harsh?”
[ROBERT REICH]: “Not at all. The Democratic Party is shooting itself in the foot by not officially opposing the Trans Pacific Partnership.”
ACQ: “But you know why. The Party can’t take a stand opposite the President’s. He’s the leader of the Party, for chrissake. And he wants the TPP.”
RR: “Yeah, because he sees the TPP as a way to limit China’s economic influence. So he made a Faustian bargain with big global corporations who want more protection for their foreign investments. But he’s wrong. The TPP won’t crimp China. Global corporations will give China whatever it wants to gain access to the Chinese market. The TPP ….”
ACQ: “Look, it doesn’t matter what you or I think. The President wants the TPP, and the Party isn’t going to oppose him.”
RR: “You mean Hillary won’t oppose him.”
ACQ: “Hillary won’t, and Debbie [Wasserman Schultz] won’t, and neither will Nancy [Pelosi] or Harry [Reid] or Dick [Durbin] or Chuck [Schumer].
RR: “But it’s terrible policy. And it’s awful politics. It gives Trump a battering ram. Obama won’t be president in six months. Why risk it?”
ACQ: “They don’t see much of a risk. Most Americans don’t know or care about the TPP.”
RR: “But they know big corporations are running economic policy. They think the whole system is corrupt. Believe me, Trump will use this against Hillary.”
ACQ: “He can’t. She’s inoculated. She’s come out against the TPP.”
RR: “But it’s her delegates who voted not to oppose it in the Democratic platform. Her fingerprints are all over this thing.”
ACQ: “I think you’re being too cynical.”
RR: “Actually, the real cynic is you.”
Rupert Murdoch's New York Post has long had it in for the Clintons but lately the criticisms don't seem so outrageous. See Clinton Foundation Timeline. Bill thinking it's OK to lobby the Attorney General on the email scandal exemplifies the sleaziness and sense of entitlement that has turned lefties as well as righties against the power couple from hell.
Donald Trump is an ogre but his campaign talking points about the Clintons aren't wrong. As summarized by Lambert at Naked Capitalism, they are:
1. Rigged System (Trump: "It’s rigged by big donors who want to keep wages down. It’s rigged by big businesses who want to leave our country, fire our workers and sell their products back into the United States with absolutely no consequences for them.")
2. Corruption ("Together, she and Bill made $153 million giving speeches to lobbyists, CEOs and foreign governments in the years since 2001. They totally own her and that will never ever change, including if she ever became president, God help us.")
3. TPP ("This is the latest Clinton cover-up and it doesn’t change anything. If she is elected president, she will adopt the Trans-Pacific Partnership and we will lose millions of jobs and our economic independence for good. She’ll do this, and just as she has betrayed the American worker on trade at every single stage of her career, and it will be even worse than the Clintons' NAFTA deal, and I never thought it could get worse than that.")
4. Email ("To cover up her corrupt feelings [sic], Hillary illegally stashed her State Department e-mails on a private server. She’s under investigation, but it seems like nothing is going to happen. Even though other people who have done similar things, but much — at a much lower level, their lives have been destroyed.")
...sang DEVO, in 1980, and 36 years later it's still true! Meet the Brand X and Brand Ecch of Election '16:
photo via Stop Me Before I Vote Again
Meanwhile, Benjamin Studebaker analyzes the logic of the "unite behind Clinton" pressure Democrats will be feeling from now to November.
A Democratic voter concerned about the Clinton e-mail scandal has created a timeline website -- based on public sources -- that attempts to keep all the facts straight. A big part of the story is The Clinton Foundation (Bill's charity), which was very popular with foreign governments and investors while Mrs. Clinton was Secretary of State. The Foundation has its own skeptical timeline [part one / part two]. Read it and tell me you want these people back in the White House.
1. Hellery or Hitlery
...frequently used by left-leaning bloggers, ironically appropriating rightwingers who fear the Clintons for different reasons
2. Imelda Clinton
...via naked capitalism commenter "polecat"
What’s to say, after the presumed anointment of Imelda Clinton, that she doesn’t start to escalate the Ukraine clusterfuck to 11 on the dial, so as to direct scrutiny elsewhere, ... igniting the big one ??
duck n cover-----------
3. Crooked Hillary
...Trump's name for her on Twitter -- say what you will about him, he's not wrong
4. Queen of Chaos
...from roadrider. Seems harsh but Killary did say "we came, we saw, he died"
[Y]our conscience should know that a decision not to vote for Hillary, should she become the Democratic nominee, is a de facto decision to help Donald Trump...
[M]y morsels of advice may be hard to swallow...
But swallow it you must -- not just for the good of the Democratic Party, but for the good of the nation. [emphasis added by TM]
And Markos Moulitsas, who has been bossing Daily Kos readers around for years, lays down the law for 2016:
I will no longer tolerate malicious attacks on our presumptive presidential nominee...
Constructive criticism from the Left is allowed. There’s a difference between constructive and destructive criticism. Do I need to spell it out? ... In general, if you’re resorting to cheap sloganeering like “oligarch” or “warmonger” or “neocon”, you might want to reframe your argument in a more substantive, issue-focused and constructive matter...
Saying you won’t vote, or will vote for Trump, or will vote for Jill Stein (or another Third Party) is not allowed...
If you are going to be pessimistic, you better support it... Rank, unsupported pessimism is anathema to our data-driven, reality based culture.
If you are a Clinton supporter, spiking the football in the face of Sanders supporters isn’t a productive way to move us forward. After March 15… such spiking [is] bannable. [emphasis added by TM]
Lambert Strether sums up the Clinton "win" on Naked Capitalism:
Clinton’s presumptive nomination comes with a number of key policy decisions that liberals must own “going forwards,” as we say:
1. Corruption. To protect Clinton, liberals have adopted the majority doctrine in Citizens United: Only a quid pro quo is proof of corruption.
2. Transparency. To protect Clinton, liberals maintain that high government officials can, at will, privatize their communications to shield them from FOIA.
3. Militarism. To protect Clinton, liberals minimize her AUMF vote, ignore Libya, ignore Honduras, ignore Ukraine, and treat unwavering support for [US nuclear-armed mideast ally] as an unqualified good.
4. Health. To protect Clinton, liberals reject Medicare for All.
5. Working Class. To protect Clinton, liberals deny that there is or can be a working class electorate. The electorate is only to be viewed through the prism of identity politics. Two category errors follow: The “white working class” is deemed to be racist, by definition, and the non-white working class is erased. Consequently, it’s impossible to think through the universal effects of the FIRE sector on the working class, [and] its differential effects on particular working class identities. This is not an accident.
For "liberals" one could substitute "Democrats."