Yeah, the shake out that has started as a result of the Trump election is daily heartburn.
As a Bernie supporter, an early one—who gave, too—it’s like we’re suffering a triple disappointment. On the one hand, we didn’t get the candidate we wanted. But then, we didn’t get the candidate that Bernie said for us to (and so many of us did) get behind.
The third disappointment is that the guy who did win took a lot of our main issues BUT has no intention of following through on them. They said TPP is dead, but watch it pop up again in the middle of the night in 2017. The authorizing language allowed Congress to do its fast track for several years, not just until the end of this 114th Congress.
We are all looking around, trying to figure out who the head of the party is. Yes, Barack Obama, but he is a so-called private citizen the afternoon of January 20, 2017.
Some people say Elizabeth Warren, but she has no leadership position in the Senate and really is just our dynamic speaker for things like the AFL-CIO get-together last week.
Some people say Bernie, but Bernie Sanders just endorsed Keith Ellison for DNC head and the establishment types are already putting up a fight. Bernie has a lot of credibility with US, but the Clinton cronies are also blaming him for Hillary’s defeat. (As well as blaming the FBI, which for a strong case can be made that the FBI is politicized.)
It is time we are done with Clintonism. Clintonism, which was a variant of McGovernism, was just a failed strategy that only worked in 1992 because the recession then was so bad. That is, as recessions went prior to our nowadays Great Recession and weak recovery.
Are we all done with the Clintons? Are we?
So now we have Chuck Schumer. He will be the highest ranking Democrat when (if?) he becomes Senate Minority Leader later this month.
Is Chuck Schumer any good? I’m not so sure.
Let me tell you how Chuck Schumer has personally affected me. When I was suing IBM and IBM Japan after it eased out all the westerner non-Japanese in Cognos here in 2008, the federal judge up in New York who got assigned the case was the Honorable Cathy Seibel, who still serves. Seibel is a Republican Bush appointee who was wholeheartedly endorsed by Chuck Schumer when she got Senate confirmation.
Now whether Senator Schumer has Robert Reinstein disease or not, I leave that out. Schumer might be into Identity Politics, but there’s really no evidence, and he probably endorsed Seibel because of supposed qualifications and not other reasons. Plus, it was New York, and I don’t think Identity Politics plays the same in all places.
But the fact is, I don’t think Schumer did the right research when he got behind a pro-business, anti-ordinary American ideologue like Cathy Seibel. Judge Seibel is anti-progressive. She is against us who are unconnected Americans and she is extremely pro-business. I remember when the case was active, I did some “Googling” of Seibel, and a lot of the criminal defense bar and those who are civil plaintiffs had negative comments about her. They pointed out that she had to “hang up her ADA suit and put on the robe”, which I take to mean that she had to realize that she was no longer a U.S. assistant district attorney and in fact a judge who was commissioned with protecting the rights of the accused.
When I waited for a civil hearing in Westchester one afternoon a few years ago, I appreciated what that anonymous lawyer was saying, because she seemed really a throw-the-book-at-them type, focusing on every corner of the law in a way that seemed too restrictive to me. (Like she wasn’t bringing real-life judgment into the deciding.)
One of the attorneys there asked me if my client was “facing life”, and I explained that I had a pro se civil case, and it was just taking my life, since the issue had already gone on for four years. But I appreciated the low opinion that certain members of that local bar already had for Cathy Seibel.
Getting back to the Googling of opinions about her, which is what substitutes for an editorial page in our wacky 21st century world: another commenter simply said, “Chuck!”
That was it.
Now, to the uninitiated, a word simply like “Chuck!”, says nothing.
But if you follow politics, that one word says a hell of a lot.
What it is says was:
“Senator Schumer, when you had the opportunity to prevent this Federalist Society ideologue, career prosecutor, (who treats civil case or civil rights plaintiffs like the accused,) from being a granted a lifetime appointment on a federal district court in your state—where were you? Did you vet Cathy Seibel, or did you just go “oh, O.K.” and head off to the next fundraiser or event where the people around you are going to stroke your ego and tell you how great you are and hand you money? Did you really get a sense of what Cathy Seibel was all about? Did you? Did you ask yourself how this person was going to help your constituents, be they New Yorkers or ordinary Americans who rely on federal protections throughout the country? Did you? ……….. Really? Really?”
Where were you, “Chuck”?
The federal court system long ago forgot the ordinary American, buried deep in criminal matters that it has to take ahead of civil ones. Elizabeth Warren and a number of the more reputable progressives have been pointing this out. The strong sense I have is that Chuck Schumer doesn’t give a shit. And so how confident does that make me that he would the be de-facto head of any Trump/GOP/Mike Pence K-street lobbyist buddy resistance?
Progressives are tired of being made fools out of by the establishment Democratic Party. Last Tuesday, as I emphasize, we were TRIPLE losers. We had lost Bernie being in, who would have won if Bloomberg didn’t block him with a third party run. We lost because our newfound “friend” Hillary lost the electoral college. And we lost because our themes got adopted by the opposition who has no intention of following through on any of it.
When I heard Lawrence O’Donnell go off the other day with an Identity Politics description of why Chuck Schumer was so great as Senate Minority Leader, I just got really depressed. Chuck Schumer is going to sell us out left and right, just like he did when he let Cathy Seibel slip through.
With Chuck, we’re screwed. Just watch.
[Update: the same day that Judge Cathy Seibel ruled on one of my critical IBM case issues, she also ruled against a woman who lost a finger in an industrial accident in Ohio, preventing that woman’s lawyer from suing the manufacturer on some technicality.
(I think for me, that was the ruling on a motion where she ignored Japanese labor law that had been 100% in my favor. That made my case substantially weaker, and Judge Seibel probably knew that.)
When Judge Seibel screwed over the accident victim in Ohio, it was a similar thing where she rushed to use a “Rule 12(b)(6)” motion and something referred to as “Twombly/Iqbal” or “plausibility standard” from allowing the Ohio woman’s case from moving forward.
Plausibility standard is something that the Roberts Supreme Court invented in the late Bush years (maybe 2007, refined in 2009) to shut ordinary people out of federal court if you can’t buy an attorney or law firm with the heft to convince a judge to let a case go forward. Before that time, it was “Conley notice pleading”, from 1937 and refined in the 1950s, which simply allowed you to plead out your main case and if you could plead out facts and law that you should go forward, you were allowed to.
Twombly pleading short circuits this, because if the judge doesn’t like the contours of your case, they simply ignore what doesn’t fit their decision making and dismisses you. Conley required them to acknowledge all the pleading of the case, not just the parts they liked or didn’t like. Twombly also allowed cover for judges to use bias in deciding cases, but that is for some other post.]