CounterSpin interview with Adele Stan and Elliot Mincberg on John Roberts’ nomination to the Supreme Court
Janine Jackson revisited CounterSpin‘s July 2005 interview with Adele Stan and Elliot Mincberg about John Roberts’ nomination to the Supreme Court for the July 8, 2022, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.
Janine Jackson: “The Lonely Chief: How John Roberts Lost Control of the Court.” That was the plaintive headline of Politico’s June 25 report explaining that Roberts, along with his “middle of the road” approach on abortion, would likely be a casualty of the court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health ruling.
In July of 2005, on the occasion of Roberts’ nomination to the court, CounterSpin host Steve Rendall and I spoke with journalist Adele Stan and with People for the American Way’s Elliot Mincberg about what was known then about Roberts’ record and what he might mean for the court. We’re going to start with my introduction.
JJ: Many in the news media seemed to breathe a sigh of relief at the news that George Bush was nominating conservative Washington insider John Roberts to the Supreme Court. And not just the folks you’d expect, like Brit Hume at Fox News, who shared a chuckle with congressional correspondent Brian Wilson and White House reporter Carl Cameron when he noted that Bush had named a white male “just like all of us.”
Well, even while admitting that Roberts’ record is sketchy on some issues, many mainstream reporters seem to emphasize the reassurance that he is not a right wing trench dweller like some others who were thought to be on Bush’s short list of prospective nominees.
Who opposes democracy? None, but the anti-people, retrogressive forces oppose democracy. They carry on the job sacred to them.
Despite wide preference for democracy as a political system, or process, it has got some problems; and the problems begin with its definition.
With the term democracy, the general perception is bourgeois democracy, which is nothing but dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Lenin exposed this fact decades ago. Mao had a long discourse on the issue in the perspective of the pre-1949-China. Yet, illusions and misperceptions persist, as the aspects/perspective Lenin and Mao discuss are either missed or ignored.
Incidents that go on almost daily, in legislative assemblies, and in acts of executive and judiciary tools of state machine, in advanced bourgeois democracies are eye-openers to perceive the character and nature, to be specific class character and class nature, of bourgeois democracy. Here, the problem is with propaganda and scholarship.
The Biden Administration stealthily hiked Medicare premiums to their highest prices ever while simultaneously pushing to funnel even more money into the private health insurance industry, further privatizing the government insurance program. It’s also important to note that Biden took around $47 million on legalized bribes from health care executives during his 2020 presidential campaign. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian discuss on The Young Turks.
“Last week, the Biden administration quietly reaffirmed its decision to enact the highest Medicare premium hikes in history right before this year’s midterm elections. At the same time, President Joe Biden is endorsing a plan to funnel significantly more Medicare money to insurance companies and further privatize the government insurance program for older Americans and those with disabilities. In effect, the higher premium increases will subsidize the larger payments to — and profits for — private insurance corporations. This comes after Biden raked in roughly $47 million from health care industry executives during his 2020 campaign. The Biden administration announced on May 27 that due to “legal and operational hurdles,” Medicare recipients won’t see their premiums lowered this year, even though that rate was originally hiked last November in large part due to the projected costs of paying for a controversial Alzheimer’s drug that Medicare now says it generally will not cover. The administration’s announcement comes as Biden officials move forward with a jolting 8.5 percent hike in payments made to private insurers operating Medicare Advantage plans next year.”
“The failure lies in the fact that Western Liberal Democracy simply is not a democracy, in the sense that neither majority rule nor the supreme rule of the people is ever achieved…”
(This is the fifteenth chapter in a new book, France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values. Please click here for the article which announces this book and explains its goals.)
People often do not realise what a historically recent concept this is in human society – the primacy of the people and not just a person.
Perhaps the biggest change for the average Frenchman in the changeover from Charles X of the Bourbons to Louis-Philippe of the House of Orleans in 1830 is that the latter accepted to be the king “of the French” instead of the king “of France”. This brand change did nothing on a practical level but it reflected the legacy initiated in 1789: the people’s newfound sense that only they bestow legitimacy, instead of a claimed divine theocratic right. Louis-Philippe would be the last unelected royal in France, but it took World War I to wipe away arrogant, unelected royalty in most of Europe (12 monarchs still reign in Europe, which has about 45 nations). Thus the change from millennia of a falsely divine monarchy is a very historically recent one, and much this book aims to remind that the cultural traits of autocracy – for those who cannot divine it in the governance style of Emmanuel Macron – is pernicious and pervasive today, still.
The arc of coverage of 2020 congressional redistricting went from speculation that Republicans would end up with a massive advantage—because they controlled significantly more state legislatures—to surprise that Democrats managed to gerrymander their way to roughly the same number of seats as Republicans. This result was deemed good news, as announced for instance in this news “analysis” from the New York Times (3/10/22): “A Potential Rarity in American Politics: A Fair Congressional Map.”
Thousands of Bolivians, who undertook a 180-km and seven-day-long journey on foot from the town of Caracollo in the Oruro department under the banner of ‘March for the Homeland,’ arrived in the capital city La Paz on November 29. The historic march, which was organized in defense of democracy and in support of President Luis Arce’s government, concluded with a massive rally at the San Francisco plaza in La Paz.
Over 1.5 million workers, women, students and peasants from across Bolivia joined the rally in the capital and expressed their approval of the national government of the ruling Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) party, and their rejection of the destabilization attempts by the far-right opposition sectors. Holding national flags, Indigenous Wiphala flags, placards demanding justice for Sacaba and Senkata massacres’ victims, respect for the 2020 election results, rejecting coup attempts by the right-wing forces, hundreds of thousands of Bolivians flooded the plaza and the surrounding streets for several blocks.
Producing a critical review of a scholarly book is often a daunting prospect, given the responsibility placed on the reviewer to give a fair representation of the author’s work and to find ways to criticise it productively. It is more daunting still when the book under consideration is itself an omnibus collection of critical reviews, and even more challenging when the author is one of the most important voices in debates over the state of modern capitalism. The author in question is the German economic sociologist Wolfgang Streeck, formerly director of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, and the book is Critical Encounters: Democracy, Capitalism, Ideas, a collection of fifteen separate reviews released previously in such publications as New Left Review and the London Review of Books. Perhaps anticipating a review such as this, Streeck prophetically offers some guidance in the introduction on how he approaches the task. Reviewing a book, he says, ‘requires deep reading, beginning usually with the last chapter, then the introduction, then several expeditions into the interior’ (ix). He continues:
Evoking the thinking of Comandante en jefe Fidel Castro Ruz, who defined the Party as “the soul of the Revolution,” the 8th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, began today in the capital’s Convention Center, presided by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Party Central Committee; José Ramón Machado Ventura, second secretary; and Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Republic; among other leaders of the Party and government.Read More »
Daniel Giovanaz, reporter with Brasil de Fato, talks to Peoples Dispatch about the overturning of all convictions in former Brazilian president Lula da Silva’s case. He talks about the case, the impact the convictions had on the Brazilian elections in 2018 and on Brazilian society, how the mainstream media’s coverage impacted the image of Lula and his party, and what this step could mean for the country’s future.Read More »
Venezuela has received more than 200 offers of foreign investment after the approval of the Anti-Blockade Law, said the President of the Republic, Nicolás Maduro, this Monday in an interview with Brazilian journalist Breno Altman.