Addendum to Clinton Uranium

The section titled “Nuclear Regulatory Commission” is an important one for understanding whether or not, as is strongly implied in case being made against the Clintons, uranium mined in the U.S. under the deal would fuel the Russian nuclear arsenal.

Clintons and uranium deal

Two things about what is said in this article.  First, it appears that Hillary is exonerated by the facts but, the article suggests too that there is room left for legitimate suspicion, of the kind and enough that I have to think that if those who oppose Donald Trump had the same information as this article reports on Donald, they just might want an inquiry.

That Bill Clinton had ties, some kind of ties, to Russians who were tied in some way to the company that would own uranium mines in the United States, this seems true.  That Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation took money from Russians tied, in someway or another, to the uranium company involved in the matter, according to the article, is true.  Again, in my mind, this is grounds for suspicion, grounds enough to make the request for further inquiry, motives aside, a legitimate one.

Did the Clintons do anything wrong?  As the article points out, they did not make the deal and, it appears, with or without Hillary’s approval, the deal would have gone forward.  But there is legitimate reason for suspicion that Russian generosity to the Clintons, in the form of the generous fee paid Bill for a speaking engagement, and gifts to the Clinton family Foundation.

So, as I have said before, I do think that those who oppose the idea of an investigation into the uranium story stop opposing for opposing an inquiry will provide those whose real motives are to divert attention away from Trump’s Russia problems greater legitimacy in that opposition will create the appearance (at the least) that there is something to hide.

 

Two House committees have said that they will investigate the Obama administration’s approval of a deal that gave Russia a financial interest in U.S. uranium production. We covered the issue during the 2016 presidential…

Illiberal is Neoliberalism and too many are in prison because of it, more to come with Trump.

This article is very much relevant to a few of the themes that have been on my mind recently.  The relationship of our current capitalism to humane treatment of human beings is one and here, the profit motive is sound business motive for advocating (and using money gained from the business to advocate loudly) for more sentences and longer sentences.  We already have one of the highest, if not the highest, incarceration rates in the world, many there, by the way, because a president from the lefter side of the spectrum decided to show that a democrat could be bad ass on crime, too, and initiated harsher sentencing guidelines including the “three strikes” mandates.

So, human beings are being locked up and American corporations profit by their being locked up and such a thing has been allowed to happen in the name, ironically, of a free market.  What could be wrong with doing what has to be done to keep stock holders happy, even if it means there are prison money backed lobbyists in the back rooms (I think they might be able to come out now) doing deals to insure a growing clientele.

Another theme has concerned the danger of neoliberalism.  Mr. Clinton was very much a neoliberal and his administration’s policies certainly were something other than a decent liberal would approve, for one the dealings with laws pertaining to businesses, particularly the banking sector where rather lenient and that push for loosening did have something to do with bankers, mortgage lenders, and stock trading companies feeling liberated enough to do what they were doing when the economy fell apart at the end of the George W. Bush’s administration.

Neoliberal have avoided taking any blame for what happened just before Obama took office and, too, do not like it mentioned that the Clinton era get tough on criminals policies have much to do with the numbers of people in prison, so many that Obama was trying to let some out because the population was so outnumber what jails were capable of holding that conditions within became so bad that some were beginning to recognize that inhumane treatment of human beings within these institutions was not the exception but the rule.

What should become an iconic example of the neoliberal mind at work is to be found in this passage from the story:

Alex Friedmann, who is an associate director with the Human Rights Defense Center, a prisoner advocacy group, and an activist shareholder in GEO Group, said the company has worked to amass political influence because public contracts are its lifeblood. ‘They have to lobby and curry political favor because that’s what their business model is based on,’ he said.”

I do not think I need to explain.

A Trump administration policy change helped reverse the fortunes of GEO Group and others in its industry.
WASHINGTONPOST.COM

When others own our lives

This man expresses a notion of the employer/employee that are rather common and that have much to do with how deeply engrained in the American psyche is the notion that a worker is never the equal of his boss and in ways that go beyond management of a business. The “owner,” in our world where business is one of the most powerful forces shaping the lives of individuals, power in the hands of the bosses can be a very dangerous thing and ownership of people, the power to profoundly affect another’s livelihood and the life that individual is able to live, if we are humane, has to be seen as a clear and present danger of the most consequential kind.

McNair’s players considered walking out of practice over his remark, which suggested that letting N.F.L. players sit or kneel during the national anthem…
NYTIMES.COM

We need more investigations

Thinking more about it (a lot of time to think these days), I want to call for even more investigations.  There are a lot of things that have happened in recent and not so recent years that really do deserve scrutiny, not for the game of gotcha, but to once and for all come to terms with what actually happened, who was involved and, if there is culpability, who was culpable for what happened and if crimes were committed that deserved punishment, the latter not necessarily to actually punish anyone, but to know the kind of deeds done that broke the law, or didn’t break the law because there were, are no rules in place even if the deeds should be punishable under reasonable laws and their proper application.

Christopher Hitchens, because no one else would, tried Henry Kissinger for war crimes and others and presented a very good case, I think, for finding Kissinger guilty.  That Kissinger and others responsible for the Vietnam war, McNamara, for example, Nixon, LBJ, for example, committed crimes or what the law should address in criminal terms, are pretty evident in the historical records if, for instance, ordering others to kill and be killed for no legitimate reason, should be taken to be a criminal act.

Those who sponsored the wars in Iraq, particularly the second one, were never held accountable for sending human beings to war—to kill and be killed—for reasons that have already proven to be fraudulent and, there is very good reason to suspect, considering the ties of the suspects to individuals and companies that benefited enormously from the wars, that a lot of people were killed and otherwise harmed for the purpose of enriching some others.

The reason the truth has not been prosecuted in regard to these matters is worthy of investigation itself because failure to investigate is one reason why the public does not trust its government.  How can one trust government if the government hides truths for the purpose of protecting a certain grade of criminal and certain kinds of crime but never explains the criteria for reprieve.  It does seem that, in the United States of America, some are above the law or, the law does not pertain to a certain class of person, those persons holding the highest offices in the land.

That there has been no full-throated investigation of the financial fiasco at the end of the George W. Bush administration stinks of cover-up and should raise many questions about the possibility that bribery of all kinds was taking place with all kinds of people involved—bankers, stock traders, corporate heads, regulators, law enforcement officials, presidents, members of congress from both parties, members of parties in leadership positions in the parties, even certain individuals contemplating running for the office of president who did not want those who would fund their campaigns treated as the criminals they were.

As for the investigations currently in progress and those recently finished (Bengazi, Clinton e-mails), I think it the only sensible path for true democrats to take—true to the cause of establishing a truly democratic government—is to let investigations go forth.  Let the innocent have the opportunity to clear the record and the guilty be made responsible for their crimes.  Where there is smoke and no fire, no harm done in being circumspect.  Where there is fire, the causes need to be understood and means for prevention put in place.

To friends and those with whom I am not so friendly involved in social sciences research

The chunk of text below is taken from an article about a Harvard social scientist who gained wealth and fame by proving “scientifically” that she had a method of behavior by which, when properly learned (she offered to teach) would help them to acquire what they wished to have, most wanting, well, wealth and power.

Having worked in a College of Education for many years and watched how certain practices were “scientifically” proven to be properly “effective,” I came to understand that so much of what was said to be science was pure bullshit, its odor masked by a spray of methodology.

The book upon which I am currently working will say much about how bullshit deodorized for human consumption has guided educational practices that, themselves are not just bullshit but terribly harmful to human beings.  The main claim for the efficacy of the instructional methods mandated under George W. Bush’s “reform” program, No Child Left Behind, was that they were “research based” and any method maker who could not prove that his or her method was research-based was said to be, in the educational community, of no worth, the methods proffered not to be used in any classroom in any school that wished to collect federal educational funds.

So, when I saw this today, because the issue is one of the most important discussed in the book, I felt it worthy of sharing.

And, while there are a host of people I know who really do not like it when I say that our “based in science,” college of education certified methods do not work, I say that the reason that schools do not work to prepare students for lives as effective members of a DEMOCRATIC  society, is because the researchers do not acknowledge that in order to have research that leads to effective instruction, on first has to have a profound knowledge of what it means to be properly educated.  The discussion of proper education does not happen because the means of discovering what is proper cannot be based in science, but in theory and philosophy, from good reasoning rather than analysis of numbers.

 

From, “When the Revolution Came for Amy Cuddy.

Good science would follow if there were a proper conversation devoted to developing a good notion of good education.  Why this discussion, if it takes place at all, is not a primary part of the expected work of the educator, seen often by administrators and faculty as a waste of time.

But since 2015, even as she continued to stride onstage and tell the audiences to face down their fears, Cuddy has been fighting her own anxieties, as fellow academics have subjected her research to exceptionally high levels of public scrutiny. She is far from alone in facing challenges to her work: Since 2011, a methodological reform movement has been rattling the field, raising the possibility that vast amounts of research, even entire subfields, might be unreliable. Up-and-coming social psychologists, armed with new statistical sophistication, picked up the cause of replications, openly questioning the work their colleagues conducted under a now-outdated set of assumptions. The culture in the field, once cordial and collaborative, became openly combative, as scientists adjusted to new norms of public critique while still struggling to adjust to new standards of evidence.

Cuddy, in particular, has emerged from this upheaval as a unique object of social psychology’s new, enthusiastic spirit of self-flagellation — as if only in punishing one of its most public stars could it fully break from its past. At conferences, in classrooms and on social media, fellow academics (or commenters on their sites) have savaged not just Cuddy’s work but also her career, her income, her ambition, even her intelligence, sometimes with evident malice. Last spring, she quietly left her tenure-track job at Harvard.

Some say that she has gained fame with an excess of confidence in fragile results, that she prized her platform over scientific certainty. But many of her colleagues, and even some who are critical of her choices, believe that the attacks on her have been excessive and overly personal. What seems undeniable is that the rancor of the critiques reflects the emotional toll among scientists forced to confront the fear that what they were doing all those years may not have been entirely scientific.