April 27, 2015


The optics of Loretta Lynch's slow confirmation are great for Democrats. It makes them look like the party of change--they're making history by nominating the first black, female Attorney General. How progressive of them! But those nasty, obstructionist Republicans blocked the vote on her just like they do everything. Good Dems! Bad Repubs! There's an election coming up and we now know who stands with women and blacks, don't we? No, we don't.

Too bad there's no liberal voice in this, just as there is no liberal candidate in our presidential election. Loretta may be historic and I'm all for breaking down barriers for women and people of color. But what is she actually for? All we know is that the idiotic Republicans filibustered her nomination despite the fact that she's considered a highly skilled prosecutor. They even had the nerve, MSNBC will tell you, to delay her vote the last time by tying it to a sex trafficking bill. While Ms. Lynch is known for effectively prosecuting sex-trafficking cases. Oh, the hideous irony! And during earlier confirmation hearings, those crazy Republicans hated current Attorney General Eric Holder so much that they actually asked her "You're not Eric Holder, are you?" To which I wish she's whipped off her wig, slapped on a mustache, vogued right up to the C-Span camera and said Yesth, gurl!

We got so wrapped up in the delay that no one mentions the down side of her confirmation. The UK's Guardian called her "often noncommittal in fielding questions." (Sounds like Hillary.) Because who doesn't want noncommittal justice? Her more committal statements are surprisingly conservative on several issues. She disagrees with Obama that alcohol is more dangerous that marijuana. She supports capital punishment--which is a position more likely to be held by a Republican than a Democrat. She defends the NSA surveillance on US citizens as "constitutional and effective". Yeah, well I'm sure it is effective but Americans happen to like their privacy. When leaks by Edward Snowden made it clear to what degree we were being spied on, Obama was forced to make a speech in 2014 promising a "new approach" and "greater limits" on surveillance than just nabbing all of our data at all points and keeping it forever. Of course, his speech sounded concerned but did little to curb the NSA's growing role--a continuation of the policy of that popular visionary George W. Bush. I'm glad that Ms. Lynch, in such a position of authority to mete out justice to the entire nation, sides with Obama and Bush against the wishes of the American people on the degree that the government is spying on us.

But that ain't, all folks! While serving as US attorney for eastern NY, Lynch negotiated a $1.9 billion fine for HSBC bank after they were caught money-laundering for Mexican drug cartels. Many consider this fine, with no chance of criminal charges, as the equivalent of an expensive slap on the wrist. With her confirmation, have we moved even closer to connected Wall Street cronies in Obama's revolving Cabinet door for Wall Streeters as the Democrats moved further away from progressives like Elizabeth Warren?

GUARDIAN: "Obama’s nominee for attorney general negotiated a deal with HSBC two years ago that saw it avoid criminal charges but Lynch says DoJ still has powers to act.

Her confirmation by the Senate had been considered all but guaranteed, but the renewed focus on the settlement she reached with HSBC two years ago has created an unexpected challenge. In 2012, lawmakers from both parties criticised the deal, under which HSBC controversially escaped criminal charges and kept the banking charter that allows it to operate in the US.

One of the most outspoken critics of the deal at the time, Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren, returned to the fray on Tuesday, saying prosecutors must “come down hard” on HSBC if the bank is found to have colluded with US tax dodgers.

“The government comes down hard on individuals who break the law time after time, and it should do the same for large financial institutions,” the Massachusetts senator said in a statement to the Guardian.

“The new allegations that HSBC colluded to help wealthy people and rich corporations hide money and avoid taxes are very serious, and, if true, the Department of Justice should reconsider the earlier deferred prosecution agreement it entered into with HSBC and prosecute the new violations to the full extent of the law.”

Stephanie Taylor, the co-founder of Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a national grassroots organisation and leading voice on Wall Street reform, said: “These revelations put Elizabeth Warren’s question about HSBC back on the table for Congress, regulators, and Loretta Lynch: what illegal activity does it take to shut a bank down? The public wants accountability for corporate crime.”