Thursday, June 23, 2016

Are you ready for it?

Occupy Wall Street, protesting corruption, the buying off of our political system, and the massive redistribution of wealth from the workers who made wealth possible to the super-wealthy, the big banks, stockbrokers and CEO's.

Arab Spring, the protest expressing deep-seated resentment toward Arab dictatorships, anger at the brutality of the security apparatus, unemployment, rising prices, and corruption that followed the privatization of state assets in some countries.

Black Lives Matter, a response to the racism that is endemic in many aspects of our society, but most especially to the fact that police brutality affects black people more than any other ethnic group in America.

Tiananmen Square, the 1989 protests in China against inflation, limited preparedness of graduates for the new economy, and restrictions on political participation.

What do these have in common? At their heart, they are all a coming together of mostly young people who have decided that it's time for  change toward real progress in human societal evolution.  And the struggle continues. 

The United Kingdom just voted to leave the European Union.

And here in the United States, a huge majority of Republican primary voters has chosen Donald Trump as their presumptive Republican nominee for President of the United States.  And on the Democratic side, 45% of primary votes counted so far have been for Bernie Sanders, a Democratic Socialist whose stands on issues are reminiscent of the liberal policies of the Democratic Party of decades past while the present Party is run by corporatists masquerading as liberals, what have been called Neoliberals and New Democrats.

But that's not all.  Many, many voters were disenfranchised as the Democratic Party adopted and adjusted Republican/Conservative/Tea Party tactics to prevent Sanders supporters from voting.  There are official inquiries and even lawsuits about election fraud springing up, as the Media, allegedly in cahoots with the Democratic National Committee, downplayed at almost every turn the progress being made by the Sanders campaign, which began at a serious disadvantage and pulled within a few points of the Establishment favorite, Hillary Clinton, before the primaries were over, taking 22 states and, when all of the mail-in and provisional ballots are finally counted, perhaps more.  

What does it all mean?  Consider that a majority of Republicans chose an anti-candidate, one who is neither respected nor wanted by the Party elites.  And nearly half of the Democratic voters chose a candidate who has eschewed Party membership while harkening back to a truly liberal and progressive stance that the Party's top echelons have apparently forgotten.  Then consider that this accounts for roughly half of the membership of of both Parties who voted in their respective primaries.  Add to that that about 40% of registered voters in the United States are either independent or support a third party. 

This speaks to that same dissatisfaction that led to the four groups mentioned at the beginning of this  More and more people are openly coming out against business as usual and want to see real progress in human affairs. 

As Cenk Uygur of the Young Turks Network just said tonight, "Buckle up.  Here comes the revolution."

© 2016 Donald C. Rice Jr.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Hillary Clinton's Rape Case

Everyone who knows me and/or follows me, in real life or on social media, knows that I do not like or trust what I see and hear of Hillary Rodham Clinton, the "presumptive" nominee for the Democratic run for the Presidency of the United States.  However, in an effort to be as impartial as possible, allow me to present my analysis of one particular aspect of why I don't trust her.

There is a meme running around the Internet about a rape case she handled as a young attorney on Arkansas:

While the meme grossly misrepresents the facts of the case, what stands out in my awareness is that Hillary laughed about lie detector test:

"I had him take a polygraph, which he passed,
which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs."

She also laughed about saying to prosecutor,
"Well, this guy's (a well-known and highly respected forensics expert) ready to come from New York to prevent this miscarriage of justice."

Here is the report from CNN that includes those excerpts:

What happened in Hillary Clinton's 1975 rape case?

These facts, all by themselves, show clearly what she thought about the case.  She clearly thought the man was guilty.  Did she know he was guilty?  We may never know the answer to that question; it's not one she is ever likely to answer.  But it's clear that she believed he was.  He passed the polygraph, and that destroyed her faith in the test.

In Clinton's defense, she was appointed as the man's lawyer.  That made her responsible for defending him to the best of her ability.  She did that, admirably, within the system as it was at the time.  She didn't get the guy of completely, but plea bargained the case down so that, instead of being sent to prison for life, he spent a year in the county jail for "fondling".

It must also be acknowledged that the prosecution massively bungled their side of the case.  They lost the actual evidence, the piece of the underwear with the blood and semen stains, and offered Clinton the remainder of the garment as what they had for evidence. 

Apparently they also failed to bring forth the witness statement that the man got on top of the girl and a short time later pulled up his pants. 

So what it comes down to is that Hillary's supporters are going to
 ignore her own clearly demonstrated attitude toward this case.  But her detractors err in the opposite direction, failing or refusing to acknowldge that she had a job she was required by law to do, defend the accused to the best of her ability, and she did that job quite thoroughly.  She can't be faulted for that, because if it ever came out that she didn't offer up her best defense, she could have been disbarred, meaning she would not be permitted to practice law again in Arkansas and perhaps in other places as well.

The CNN report on this issue closes by noting that, according to Clinton, the case inspired her to start the first rape hotline in Arkansas.  Was this a political calculation, as some might say?  I doubt it.  She was a new lawyer just getting started at 27 years old.  I don't believe political calculation applied at all at that time in her life.  But again, I don't think we'll ever really know for sure.

It should be noted, however, that she declined to address the question of her smearing of the rape victim when specifically asked about it.  One can only speculate about that while understanding that this was accepted practice across the country in those days.  It's much less common now due to "shield laws", but it still happens, in court and out.  It's called "blaming the victim", it's a despicable practice that needs to end, and Hillary Clinton engaged in it as a defense attorney.

Here is the clip, again from CNN.  Note how the anchors mention that aspect but don't pursue it at all, concluding that Clinton gave a well-thought-out answer:

Clinton stands by defense of child rapist in the 1970s

In conclusion, while she may have done the legally correct thing in this case, it was not the *right* thing.  Yes, she got her client a reduced charge and a greatly reduced sentence resulting from that reduced charge.  Her methods, while perfectly legal, were counter to the concept of seeking the truth in the matter.  When questioned, she deflects blame and responsibility from herself.  This is not someone I would want to trust in the highest office in the land.

© 2016 Donald C. Rice Jr.