Jury Nullification, the “Glass Ceiling” and Clinton’s Support Base

Like many progressives who support Bernie Sanders, I have been amazed by the capacity for Clinton supporters to defend her even in the face of overwhelming and damning evidence of her faults. During the course of the Primary campaign, much of Clinton’s history, her past deeds and positions have come to light, and yet the hard core base of Hillary fans are immune to any and all proof of her having adopted, promoted and defended very illiberal positions on health care, fracking, trade, foreign policy, and so on.

Hillary's "convenience" explanation is false on its face, yet her supporters claim they believe it.

Hillary’s “convenience” explanation is false on its face, yet her supporters claim they believe it.

Moreover, I am continually astounded at the vehemence with which Clinton adherents dismiss the current FBI criminal investigations into her emails as just another “witch hunt” perpetrated by the “vast right wing conspiracy.” The fact that this is the Obama Administration, the Kerry State Department and the frigging FBI who are investigating is completely lost on them. The actions of the US Dept. of Justice under the aegis of a Democratic President – and one who had Hillary serve in his cabinet – are, in the end, no different to Clintonites than those of the slavering partisans in the GOP-controlled House committees.

Why is this?

I first attempted to describe this phenomenon in a blog post in which I talked about “RCDS” – or “Reverse Clinton Derangement Syndrome.” I believe that I correctly identified a major phenomenon of cognitive dissonance on the Left as regards Hillary Clinton, in that Clinton supporters are having to twist themselves into mental pretzels in order to claim a progressive mindset and yet support the clearly non-progressive policies of their candidate. But I could not explain WHY this was happening.

And then it hit me: what we are witnessing among Hillary supporters – especially women of a certain age – is sort of “Jury Nullification.” This is the act by which a jury finds a defendant innocent despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, and even when they may privately recognise the culpability of the defendant. Jury Nullification exists in order to right previous wrongs or fight back against an unjust legal or social order by “nullifying” the law’s intended effect on a particular defendant. The phenomenon of Jury Nullification goes back a long time historically, but was most recently seen prominently in the case of O.J. Simpson.

Lionel (Lon) Cryer, an OJ Simpson juror, who gave the "Black Power" salute just prior to the "not guilty" verdict being read.

Lionel (Lon) Cryer, an OJ Simpson juror, who gave the “Black Power” salute just prior to the “not guilty” verdict being read.

In the Simpson trial, almost all those who were watching nationwide – especially white people – simply could not understand how Simpson could be exonerated. And yet for the mostly black jury, the trial was not so much about the guilt of one man as it was about the fact that the LAPD was an extremely racist organisation filled with sadistic cops who had been unjustly persecuting people of colour for years.

I think the same is true in Hillary’s case. The people who support Hillary Clinton most adamantly are those who admire her ability to have come as far as she has, done the things that she has done, but above all for having achieved them despite the many obstacles and hindrances that were placed in her path all along the way over the past 40 years.

I first started to suspect that Jury Nullification was at work when I looked at all the female Senators that had endorsed Clinton en masse. Among them were Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, the two Senators from the State of Washington. Bernie Sanders won the Washington State Primary with 73% of the vote, but these two Clinton Superdelegates refuse to even consider moving their support away from Clinton.

Likewise, I look at Claire McCaskill and Jennifer Granholm, one a Senator and one an ex-Governor, who have both been tireless and enthusiastic surrogates for Hillary since the beginning of her campaign.

Katherine Lawrence was an HP employee credited with coining the term "Glass Ceiling" in 1979

Katherine Lawrence was an HP employee credited with coining the term “Glass Ceiling” in 1979

All of these women were born in the 50’s, and so would have been in their 20’s when the term “glass ceiling” was first coined by HP’s Katherine Lawrence in 1979. According to Wikipedia’s definition, “A glass ceiling is a term used to describe the unseen, yet unbreakable, barrier that keeps one from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of qualifications or achievements.”

The concept of the Glass Ceiling was thus something very real and very important to them. The idea that women could not succeed or rise to a prominent position either in politics or business due to unfair biases, “old boys networks” and other structural prejudices was something that directly affected them and their contemporaries. Even today there is a large group of middle aged and even younger women who realise that the Glass Ceiling still persists in many areas of endeavour, and that women continue to be judged unfairly by both their male colleagues and the mass media. Female “baby boomers” were thus predisposed to combat and destroy this “invisible barrier” everywhere they found it. It was a quest, an ethos, a crusade like any other in the Civil Rights and the woman’s movement. Yes, the gutless politicians could not pass the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment), but women themselves could certainly break those barriers in the private sector. But that still left Politics. And the greatest symbolic prize there was to elect a woman as President.

So when Hillary exhorts her followers to “help me break that last glass ceiling” she is speaking to something very deep-set and very powerful within this cohort of Democratic women. When Hillary talks about “breaking down barriers” (ass she did in her Super Tuesday victory speech), she is speaking to those ardent supporters who have been breaking down barriers their entire lives.

The Jury Nullification argument becomes even stronger when we look at the 2008 race, which was very contentious and hard- fought. Back then it wasn’t “Bernie Bros” but “Obama Boys” who were the sexist misogynists out to derail a worthy woman from her deserved destiny. The Corporate Media was also against her, and even the most energetic, vituperative and savage attacks by her husband against her opponent could not save the day.

When Hillary did concede, however, she gave a very definitive and pointed shout out to those who had watched her blaze a trail through what they perceived as a misogynistic, rigged system. She spoke in the plural and rallied her sisters thusly:

Hillary Clinton giving her concession speech, June 7, 2008.

Hillary Clinton giving her concession speech, June 7, 2008.

“Although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it’s got about 18 million cracks in it, and the light is shining through like never before, filling us all with the hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time.”

So there you have it: in 2008, Hillary declared that the “invisible barrier” was still there; she had done her best to break it, but it was not yet broken. To all those who listened that night, however, it was clear that she would be back.

And now she is back, and she is winning. And there is nothing that will stop her. That Glass Ceiling, that invisible barrier that has been blocking women for the past 40 years, will finally be shattered. And THAT is what is important.

Hillary may be an imperfect vessel; she may have faults, she may be a weak candidate and suffer the loathing and mistrust of a majority of Americans, but for that energized cohort of female Democrats who have themselves been butting their head against that Glass Ceiling for decades, it is not about Hillary Clinton per se. It is about electing a woman President of the United States.

Elizabeth Warren is a firebrand and a darling of the Progressive Movement.

Elizabeth Warren is a firebrand and a darling of the Progressive Movement.

Many Democrats, liberals and progressives would also like to see a woman in the White House – “just not that woman”. I have been on many blogs and website comments sections where Sanders supporters or Hillary detractors defend themselves by saying that they would have loved to see Elizabeth Warren run for President. Indeed, it is widely believed that had Warren run, Sanders would not have thrown his hat into the ring. But that misses the point. Warren is NOT running, and Hillary is. It is Hillary Clinton that can gain the nomination and then go on to be elected POTUS.

The foibles, the scandals, the failures, the faults and the suspected criminal activity that pertain to the specific person of Hillary Rodham Clinton are irrelevant. She could be sitting in a jail cell and there would still be people trying to get her elected, because she is the last, best hope for a female President in 2016 and, after coming so close in 2008, after having put those “18 million cracks” in the Glass Ceiling, it is more important than anything else right now to finish the job, to break that invisible barrier, to achieve what so many have fought so hard to make happen.

Ulysses S. Grant was a horrible person, and a man of many faults. But he won the Civil War, and that was what counted. Democratic dames d’une certaine age and many of their younger sisters see Hillary in much the same light, I am sure. And like those jurists in the O.J. Simpson trial, they are willing to give the defendant a pass in order to strike a broader blow for the common good.

My take-away from all this? Do not try to reason with a true Hillary supporter. Anything you say will only come across as you telling them that the Glass Ceiling is still there, and it will not be broken. For them it is all about the message, not the messenger. Hillary is not just Hillary, she is all women who have faced that Glass Ceiling, who have had to live in that rigged system, who have struggled against the sexism that does surely still exist among their colleagues. And any words against that messianic cause will be received by them as a personal afront, as if you’re saying “it’s not yet your time.” And they have waited too long to be denied again.

Posted in 2016 Campaign, Bernie Sanders, Culture, History, Politics | Leave a comment

The Clintons and their Allies, The Koch Brothers

In April 2016, Charles Koch made headlines when, during an interview with CBS, he said that he might very well support Hillary Clinton rather than any of the GOP candidates still in the running at that time.

Koch’s remarks were treated as a major surprise:

DLC_HRCHillary was very quick to denounce the half-hearted endorsement, but there is a reason why Koch’s support for Clinton should come as no surprise: the Kochs helped propel the Clintons into the White House and were a major donor and backer of Clinton’s Democratic Leadership Council (DLC).

When Bill and Hillary Clinton moved into the White House in 1992, they had a lot of people to thank. Prominent among those people were the Koch Brothers and their massive corporation, Koch Industries, Inc.

As Robert Dreyfuss explained in The American Prospect:

“…28 giant companies found their way onto the DLC’s executive council, including Aetna, AT&T, American Airlines, AIG, BellSouth, Chevron, DuPont, Enron, IBM, Merck and Company, Microsoft, Philip Morris, Texaco, and Verizon Communications. Few, if any, of these corporations would be seen as leaning Democratic, of course, but here and there are some real surprises. One member of the DLC’s executive council is none other than Koch Industries, the privately held, Kansas-based oil company whose namesake family members are avatars of the far right, having helped to found archconservative institutions like the Cato Institute and Citizens for a Sound Economy. Not only that, but two Koch executives, Richard Fink and Robert P. Hall III, are listed as members of the board of trustees and the event committee, respectively–meaning that they gave significantly more than $25,000.”

Clinton_DLCSo there you have it. The Clintons were part of the “New Democrat” movement that was funded by Corporate America, including the Koch Brothers.

You may have noticed that Verizon Communications was also a part of the DLC Board. That is probably why it took Hillary so long to express support for the striking workers last month. Of course, Bernie was out there supporting the Verizon workers last October. Still, it must have come as quite a shock to the executives at Verizon when their old DLC comrade, Hillary Clinton, finally spent some time with the workers …

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RCDS – “Reverse Clinton Derangement Syndrome” – Its Symptoms and its Cure

Hillarty-2

There is an epidemic affecting millions of people who once described themselves as “liberal” and/or “progressive”.

I call it “RCDS” — “Reverse Clinton Derangement Syndrome.” But while this epidemic has only recently broken out, this type of affliction is not new.

Many of us are already familiar with ODS: Obama Derangement Syndrome

This disease has led many GOPers to actually OPPOSE the legislation they had introduced or favoured, such as the ACA (which was a GOP idea first introduced as Romneycare). Watching Republicans tie themselves into pretzels trying to explain why Romneycare was good but Obamacare was a disaster was really interesting — likewise with Merrick Garland: praised by Orrin Hatch who implied that the GOP would vote for Garland but Obama would never nominate him and then … bam! Now they have to be against Garland.

There have been many instances where Obama has proposed something that had been pushed by the GOP but the Republicans then had to find some reason to oppose what they had previously favoured, or to favour what they had previously opposed. All due to ODS.

It is the same with RCDS
I am sure that many if not most Hillary supporters would be the first to say that the GOP is funded by Big Oil and Big Pharma and other special interests, and that they are corrupted this way and so represent those interests. Indeed, I am sure there are many diaries from a few years ago here on DK that decried the Big Money donations that were going to the GOP.

Look, we all know that 70% of this Corporate money goes to Republicans, and 30% goes to Democrats (Barney Frank says it is 80/20, but he exaggerates). Hillary supporters would maintain however that whilst the Republican recipients of Corporate largesse do the bidding of the Corporate donors who fund them, Hillary is somehow magically immune from their influence. This particular strain of cognitive dissonance is a hallmark of RCDS.

I am sure that the Hillary supporters were OUTRAGED when Dick Cheney held “secret” meetings with the energy industry “behind closed doors” and that many of them vehemently demanded that the minutes of the Energy Task Force meetings be divulged by the Bush Administration. But Hillary’s “closed door” meetings with Wall Street? Well, that’s a different KIND of Corporate meeting. A horse of a different feather.

Likewise, I am absolutely positive that many if not most Hillary supporters were strong proponents of a Single Payer healthcare system when it was proposed by Obama and was part of the Democratic Party Platform in 2008. But now they all are convinced that a Single Payer system will just “never, ever happen” and Bernie Sanders is “unrealistic” to even propose such a thing.

Fracking, as it now appears to Hillary supporters, is not such a bad thing after all — it just needs to be properly regulated.

Lifting the cap on Social Security — bad idea …. now.

Were today’s Clinton supporters less strident on gun control when Hillary was portraying herself as “Annie Oakley” (shooting ducks, etc.) to contrast herself with the “anti-gun” Obama of 2008? I would imagine so.

I am sure also that many Hillary supporters were — at least at one time — disappointed in President Obama. His promise to fight for a Single Payer system fell by the wayside; his promise to close Guantanamo never happened, even though he does have the power to do so.

And I know many “liberal” Democrats were disappointed that no one from the Bush-Cheney Administration were prosecuted or at least called to account for lying us into a war. The greatest and most devastating fraud ever perpetrated on the American people went without any public reckoning. But that is all water under the bridge now for RCDS sufferers. Clinton has said it was a mistake, and so that is that. We must, as Obama said, “look forward, not backward,” because bringing the matter up only casts shadows on Hillary Clinton’s infamous vote, and RCDS sufferers are now honour-bound to defend that vote in any way possible.

Likewise, I am sure that at one time many Hillary supporters were against big money in politics, and they felt that the Citizens United decision was incredibly injurious to American democracy. But we don’t hear much about that any more from Clinton or her supporters. Indeed, the subject of campaign finance is a taboo among those with RCDS, because the unlimited campaign donations that Hillary is able to bring in thanks to Citizens United and McCutcheon allows her to “help” down-ballot Democrats and Superdelegates, and this is a major point of contrast and an effective attack line against Bernie Sanders.

AND THE BIGGEST EXAMPLE:
The fact that the Obama Justice Department, the FBI and the Inspector General of the State Department (who was appointed by

State Dept. IG Steve Linick was appointed by Obama and John Kerry

State Dept. IG Steve Linick was appointed by Obama and John Kerry

Obama and John Kerry) are all part of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy that is out to nail Hillary Clinton for no reason at all, and that she is being singled out by these Democrat-appointed operatives for no other reason than something John Podesta calls “Clinton Bias.”

Is there a cure for RCDS?
As Democrats we should extend our sympathy and compassion to those who live with RCDS every day. It cannot be easy to cling to these DLC-driven, centre-right corporatist beliefs in the face of the growing wave of insurgent progressivism both among Democrats and Independents.

We are already starting to see massive and epic FAILS among RCDS sufferers around Bernie’s tax returns, his putative “sexism” and his trip to the Vatican. The pathetic attempts to discredit, “disqualify and defeat” Bernie Sanders are blowing up and blowing back with increasing ferocity. W.B. Yeats could have said it: “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.” And indeed, this may be the way the world ends for centre-right DLC New Democrats and their corporate allies.

There is, in the end, only one cure for RCDS, and that is to finally give in, to let go, to surrender to the righteous cause and to finally embrace Bernie Sanders. And as Sanders supporters let us all do our part to support our benighted brothers and sisters even as we gently nudge them towards salvation.

Feel the Bern.

UPDATE 17 April:
There is an excellent article in The Guardian that covers this topic as well. Here is an excerpt:

The Clinton campaign has spent the last few weeks furiously pushing back at the criticism that she is influenced by the vast donations her campaign receives from backers in the oil and financial industries. Her supporters have been vigorously arguing there’s no evidence of a quid pro quo.

How quickly they forget. As journalist David Sirota reported earlier this week, in the 2008 Democratic primary campaign, Clinton harshly criticized then senator Obama for accepting donations from oil and gas executives – and even cut a campaign commercial about it. The kicker? It was less money than Clinton has accepted from people working for fossil fuel companies so far this campaign season.

While Clinton called the suggestion that she might be influenced by the wealthy bankers who raise money for her campaign an “artful smear” in 2016, she also had no problem hurling even stronger accusations about Obama in 2008: “Senator Obama has some questions to answer about his dealings with one of his largest contributors – Exelon, a big nuclear power company,” she said. “Apparently he cut some deals behind closed doors to protect them from full disclosure of the nuclear industry.”

Then there are the closed-door speeches that Clinton gave for Goldman Sachs and other big banks after she left her role as secretary of state. While she has steadfastly refused to release the transcripts, she’s claimed it has never affected her position on the banks one iota. Which is fine, if that’s the principled stance you want to take, but it’s not one her party has had in the past. Mitt Romney was hit hard in the 2012 presidential campaign by Democrats for the speeches he gave to financial institutions.

So which is it? Are politicians corrupt (or susceptible to corruption) if they are giving highly paid speeches behind closed doors to financial institutions, or not? It doesn’t work both ways.

Clinton has also criticized the supreme court’s ruling in Citizens United by rightly pointing out that the original case was sparked by an attempt to air a documentary that was critical of her right before an election. Yet she has reaped the rewards from the ruling – possibly more than any other candidate – from myriad Super Pacs and outside groups that have spent heavily in favor of her candidacy.

The president of Citizens United even told the Center for Public Integrity last week: “Wouldn’t you know that Hillary Clinton has become one of the greatest beneficiaries of the Citizens United supreme court decision. It is an irony that is not lost on me.”

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Here’s what will happen at the Democratic Convention in July

HillaryIn July 2016 the Democratic National Committee will hold its National Convention in Philadelphia, in the appropriately named “Wells Fargo Center.”

Here is what most probably will happen:

1. A political party that represents 29% of the voters will nominate a candidate to run for President.

2. That candidate will run against the nominee from another party that represents 25% of the voters.

4. The Democrats will nominate a candidate with a 46% favourable rating among voters.

5. That candidate will face an opponent who has a 35% favourable rating.

That spread, i.e., 65% unfavourable versus “only” 54% unfavourable, is what the DNC considers a “winning scenario.”

So let’s sum up:
One party, representing 1 in 3 of the nation’s voters, will nominate a candidate that more than half of all voters do not like.

The other party, representing 1 in 4 f the nation’s voters, will nominate a candidate that two-thirds of all voters do not like.

So we have two parties, neither of which represents a majority or even anywhere near half of us, choosing candidates that more than half of us do not want to vote for.

For all my friends out there who were worried about having to choose “The Lesser Of Two Evils” let me tell you the truth:

This year, we will face the Evil of Two Lessers.

The two party system is broken. We need to fix it.

And yes, since 2013 the % of voters identifying as Democrats has dropped from 31% to 29%.

And yes, since 2013 the % of voters identifying as Democrats has dropped from 31% to 29%.

Let us all hope that Bernie Sanders can help revitalise the Democratic Party and make it relevant again by attracting young people and others to the Democratic fold, so that the future DNC will be able to nominate a candidate with a “net positive” approval rating. It is not too much to hope for.

Posted in 2016 Campaign, Bernie Sanders, Politics | Leave a comment

This is what Corruption Looks Like: How Hundreds of Superdelegates were “bought” by the Clinton Campaign.

Hillary and Debbie Wasserman Schultz: More than BFFs.

Hillary and Debbie Wasserman Schultz: More than BFFs.

You know, I always thought it was somewhat strange that so many Superdelegates had endorsed Hillary Clinton even many months before the Primary race started.

As Debbie Wasserman Schultz explained to Rachel Maddow, the Superdelegates should not be treated or counted like pledged delegates. They do not have to declare their preference until the Convention.

I always thought it was strange, then, that so many Party officials and officeholders would be tripping all over each other in a mad rush to endorse Hillary, when the convention was still a year away.

Now I know why.

You see, these Superdelegates are members of their State Democratic Parties, upon whom they rely for support and funding for re-election. And the money that will be available for those re-election efforts has, in many cases, been provided by Hillary Clinton.

Clinton has provided funds for these candidates through a sophisticated system of money laundering that has allowed the Clinton campaign to funnel billionaire’s donations to State parties in return for their participation in a massive money-laundering payback system to also funnel money to the Clinton campaign itself.

Margot Kidder supports Bernie.

Margot Kidder supports Bernie.

The whole sordid affair was recently brought to light in a Counterpunch article and showcased on The Young Turks. As Margot Kidder (yes, THAT Margot Kidder) writes in Counterpunch:

In August 2015, at the Democratic Party convention in Minneapolis, 33 democratic state parties made deals with the Hillary Clinton campaign and a joint fundraising entity called The Hillary Victory Fund. The deal allowed many of her core billionaire and inner circle individual donors to run the maximum amounts of money allowed through those state parties to the Hillary Victory Fund in New York and the DNC in Washington.

Remember, this was in AUGUST — 6 months before the first vote was cast in the actual Primary. Margot continues:

The idea was to increase how much one could personally donate to Hillary by taking advantage of the Supreme Court ruling 2014, McCutcheon v FEC, that knocked down a cap on aggregate limits as to how much a donor could give to a federal campaign in a year. It thus eliminated the ceiling on amounts spent by a single donor to a presidential candidate.
From these large amounts of money being transferred from state coffers to the Hillary Victory Fund in Washington, the Clinton campaign got the first $2,700, the DNC was to get the next $33,400, and the remainder was to be split among the 33 signatory states. With this scheme, the Hillary Victory Fund raised over $26 million for the Clinton Campaign by the end of 2015.

… and the rest of the money went to the State Parties and, eventually, the candidates, including many officeholders who are Superdelegates.

These Superdelegates are actually PLEDGED — to Clinton

Many people are speculating as to whether or not Superdelegates from States that have voted for Bernie will move their support away from Bernie.

Unfortunately, that will NEVER happen.

You see, when it comes to all this money flowing in from the millionaires and billionaires who give to Hillary, the Clinton Campaign can decide which State Parties get to partake in the spoils:

The fund is administered by treasurer Elizabeth Jones, the Clinton Campaign’s chief operating officer. Ms. Jones has the exclusive right to decide when transfers of money to and from the Hillary Victory Fund would be made to the state parties.

So if a Superdelegate whose State voted overwhelmingly for Bernie switched her support to Sanders under the reasoning that she was representing the will of her State, then Clinton’s Campaign COO would shut off the spigot and all that sweet, sweet billionaire cash would stop flowing into the coffers of her State Democratic Party — and the candidate herself.

As Kidder gently puts it:

One could reasonably infer that … the super-delegates of these various partner states would either pledge loyalty to Clinton, or, at the least, not endorse Senator Sanders. Not only did Hillary’s multi-millionaire and billionaire supporters get to bypass individual campaign donation limits to state parties by using several state parties apparatus, but the Clinton campaign got the added bonus of buying that state’s super-delegates with the promise of contributions to that Democratic organization’s re-election fund.

So — there you have it. Not a pretty story. It is not just the money-laundering operation itself, which has allowed the Clinton campaign to “legally” obviate campaign finance law, but it has further allowed them to pervert the political process of the Democratic Party by “buying” the fealty of the Superdelegates. These Superdelegates are supposed to be “free to choose the best candidate” according to their own beliefs and their own conscience. But now many of them will have that choice essentially turned into a dilemma: they can support Hillary and stay in politics, or they can support Bernie and deprive both themselves and their State Party of significant funding from the Clinton campaign — thereby ending their career.

Spread the Word!

The next time you hear or read someone challenging you to prove that the DNC and/or the State Parties are “in the tank” for Hillary, or possibly doing ANYTHING to help Hillary defeat Bernie, show them this diary or the original article — or even this article on AlterNet. It is clear that it is in the direct financial interest of all these groups to have Hillary win — our at least be seen to be helping her win, so that their gravy train of Clinton campaign cash does not derail.

The next time you see Rachel Maddow or someone else criticise Bernie for not supporting down ballot candidates, and you hear them crow about how Hillary has “raised significant money” for Democrats, you should point out that that money came from billionaire donors using a clever money-laundering process to avoid campaign finance laws, and that Clinton’s “altruism” and “Party loyalty” has in fact been nothing more than a corrupt scheme to “buy” the votes of hundreds of Superdelegates and thereby subvert the political process and the will of the People.

The Rogue’s Gallery

Here is a handy list of the beneficiaries of the Clinton Victory Find scheme. Super delegates from these States will not be able to switch to Bernie if they want to keep any friends in their State Party.

Recipient Party Type** Office Sought Total Clinton, Hillary D C Pres $4,440,000 DNC Services Corp D P $2,263,436 Democratic Party of Wisconsin D P $207,278
Democratic Party of Oklahoma D P $140,000
Democratic Party of New Hampshire D P $74,700
Democratic Party of Pennsylvania D P $70,500
Democratic Party of Texas D P $69,100
Democratic Executive Cmte of Florida D P $66,200
Democratic Party of Nevada D P $66,200
Democratic Party of Colorado D P $66,000
Democratic Party of Ohio D P $66,000
Democratic Cmte of Utah D P $64,100
Democratic Party of Alaska D P $64,100
Democratic Party of Mississippi D P $64,100
Democratic Party of Montana D P $64,100
Democratic Party of Oregon D P $64,100
Democratic Party of South Carolina D P $64,100
Democratic Party of Tennessee D P $64,100
Democratic State Cmte of Massachusetts D P $64,100
Georgia Federal Elections Cmte D P $64,100
Idaho State Democratic Party D P $64,100
Michigan Democratic State Central Cmte D P $64,100
Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor Party D P $64,100
Missouri Democratic State Cmte D P $64,100
Rhode Island Democratic State Cmte D P $64,100
West Virginia State Democratic Exec Cmte D P $64,100
Wyoming State Democratic Central Cmte D P $64,100
Democratic Party of North Carolina D P $64,000 Democratic State Central Cmte/Louisiana D P $64,000 Indiana Democratic Congressional Victory Cmte D P $64,000 Democratic Party of Arkansas D P $63,000 Maine Democratic State Cmte D P $59,800 Democratic Party of Virginia D P $43,500

Source: FEC

Posted in 2016 Campaign, Bernie Sanders | 1 Comment

As Commander-in-Chief Hillary will keep us safe like no other Democrat would

Hillary and friends When it comes to foreign policy, there is no doubt that the Middle East poses the greatest challenge to any would-be American President. Hillary Clinton is in a unique position to defend both the US and our closest allies in the Middle East by virtue of her experience, her proven track record in foreign relations and her unparalleled personal connections and relationships with the major players in the region.

Hillary Supports Israel 110%

hillary-netanyahu-530x306Hillary is by far the strongest supporter of Israel, our “special and irreplaceable ally” and the only theocratic Democracy in the world. Her steadfast support for the ruling Likud Party and her personal allegiance to Bibi Netanyahu is unquestioned, and she has for years supported Israel in their efforts defend themselves against the terrorists living in Palestine. For Hillary, there is no “grey area” – there is only the black and white reality that Israel is our ally and that their actions in Palestine are purely based on self defense and a desire to secure their own right to live in peace without fear of terrorist rockets or suicide bombers. In her speech to AIPAC, Hillary was clear, stating that the United States could not be “neutral” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; could not be neutral when it comes to settlements or land or the need to rout out the terrorists wherever they may hide. She railed strongly against the so-called “BDS” movement (Boycott, Divest and Sanction”) which she sees as nothing more than anti-Semitism and an unfair attack on Israel and the Jewish people.

Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, still talks about the so-called “two state solution” in which the Palestinians should have the right to live in an “economically viable” state of their own, and he is actually on the record as condemning Israeli settlements and the bombing of Gaza and various other operations that Israel has had to conduct in order to protect itself from sen-bernie-sandersthe terrorists living in Palestine. His positions on these issues clearly put Bernie out of touch with the modern Democratic Party. Indeed, his views are a throwback to the 1970’s and the naïve peacenik policies of Jimmy Carter, who recently has even gone so far as to call the Israeli administration of Palestine an “occupation” and “a modern apartheid.”

Clearly, politicians like Bernie Sanders and Jimmy Carter simply do not understand the realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as they have evolved over the past years, and how the situation has become more grave and more dangerous for Israel since the Likud Party has taken control of the Jewish State. Hillary knows that without the firm and unrelenting leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu Israel would find itself in a very different situation today, and so her strong and unswerving personal loyalty to the Israeli Prime Minister has gained her his trust and his thanks. Having Hillary in the White House will re-establish warm, friendly and close ties with Netanyahu and the Likud Party, which have grown tenuous and weak under President Obama – and would certainly become even more contentious under a President Sanders.

Hillary has a Proven History of Working with our Arab Allies

HRCarabsHillary’s close ties and unqualified support for Israel has not kept her from developing equally close ties with our greatest Arab allies. As Secretary of State she moved decisively to push the Obama Administration to overthrow the Libyan government and remove Muamar Gaddafi from power. The US support for the bombing campaign that ultimately killed that despot was critical to the success of that mission, and Hillary herself described the overwhelming victory when she said “we came, we saw, he died.”

This action was not just a humanitarian mission, however. It was also something that our Arab allies in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and elsewhere desperately wanted to see happen, and Hillary’s strong leadership in this action earned her the respect and the thanks of the ruling families of those kingdoms. Hillary was also able to cobble together support for the move to overthrow Assad in Syria, something both the Israelis and the Saudis wanted to see happen. Clinton thus proved capable of working with our two closest Middle Eastern allies in an effective way that reflects well on both her ability to get things done as well as her skill in keeping such initiatives “under the radar” in order to cloak the involvement of our allies and therefore spare them any embarrassment.

Hillary Occupies a Unique Position in World Affairs

Hillary cemented her personal ties with many Arab and Muslim leaders around the world by masterfully leveraging her position in government. Every arms deal must be approved by the State Department, and Hillary made sure that no weapons shipment was made without first ensuring that America and the world would benefit from the transaction.

HillaryCGIAlongside her duties as Secretary of State, Hillary also championed the charitable activities of the Clinton Global Initiative, deftly using her arms negotiations with over 20 countries to cajole sizeable donations from the recipients. While some have criticised her for this, it is obvious that any negotiation resulting in such a “win-win” scenario can only serve to strengthen Hillary’s credibility and hence her ability to get things done with our Arab allies. In this way Hillary is uniquely positioned to succeed in enforcing her policies in the Middle East through leverage she can exert both through official channels as well as non-official and even private sector engagement. She is truly a “triple threat” in the world of Realpolitik.

Hillary is Right on Anti-Terrorism

snowdenAs a US Senator, Hillary Clinton was and remains a staunch supporter of the Patriot Act, having voted for it in 2001 and again to re-authorise it in 2006, when she proclaimed “We understood then, as we do now, that these tools are important in our fight against terrorism.” Democrats need to be strong in this regard, and the good work that is being done by the NSA and other Government agencies are needed to keep us safe. This is the Democratic position.

Bernie Sanders has adopted a radical opposition to the original Patriot Act and its reauthorisation, and in this he is in the company of such Republicans and Libertarians as Rand Paul. Again, Sanders is tone deaf to the position of both the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton in realising the danger in having such people as Edward Snowden breach our national security without facing the consequences. While Bernie Sanders seems to want to extend leniency towards Snowden, Hillary will be steadfast and forthright in demanding that the criminal Snowden “face the music” for his traitorous activities.

What Hillary will get done in Foreign Policy

Hillary will continue to be the lion-hearted crusader in Foreign Policy that she has always been. Hillary is not afraid to take on the enemies of America and our key allies like Israel, and she will not hesitate to use America’s military might to extinguish any perceived threat to us or our friends, and she will be pro-active in pursuing a policy of international engagement that fits America’s unique position as the world’s lone Superpower and the “indispensible” country when it comes to international security. Henry Kissinger, though not a Democrat, is still one of the most venerated statesmen in America, and he has rightly praised Hillary for her handling of foreign affairs while at State. This is because Hillary, like Kissinger, understands that America occupies a unique position in the world in terms of its military capability as well as its innate moral superiority.

neocon_monstersHillary has a proven track record of bipartisanship in getting things done on Foreign Policy. Kissinger is not the only Republican to have praised Hillary’s performance as Secretary of State: John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Condoleeza Rice, Cory Gardner and even Jim Demint have all praised Hillary’s leadership while at State.

Indeed, Hillary maintains a “massive” stable of advisors including such luminaries as Robert Kagan as well as Kenneth Pollack and Martin Indyk, who share Hillary’s determination to assert America’s rightful position on the world stage as well as to stamp out terrorism and defend Israel at all costs. If elected President there is no doubt that Hillary will indeed “get things done” in the foreign policy arena.

Posted in 2016 Campaign, Bernie Sanders, Politics | Leave a comment

Democrats should Embrace the “Bernie or Bust” Crowd

UnknownThere has been an awful lot of vitriol and haranguing among the ragged ranks of the Left lately. Purity versus fealty is now turning into a sort of 30 Years War among Democrats, supporters of Bernie Sanders battling it out with those of Hillary Clinton.

The latest battle is raging around the so-called “Bernie or Bust” movement that has taken hold among a very dedicated cohort of Sanders supporters. The adherents of this movement swear that if Hillary becomes the Democratic nominee, they will “write in” Bernie’s name for President.

First, Don’t Freak Out

Hillary supporters are losing their sh$t and screaming that these Berners are not “real Democrats”, and that they are acting from a vile position of “privilege” in which they somehow will not suffer personally from the extreme depredations that will be visited upon the American people should Donald Trump win the White House. Others maintain that a Trump Presidency will make the sarandongeopolitical disaster that was the George W. Bush Presidency look like a picnic compared to the Apocalypse that will surely follow if Trump is sitting in the Oval Office.

Please can we step back and look at this thing logically and intelligently?

1) YES, the Bernie-or-Bust people are probably not normal Democrats, and

2) YES, they probably would not even vote if Bernie were not running, and

3) YES, that makes them immune to exhortations by Democrats to vote for Hillary and “toe the party line” if Bernie loses.

BUT — these three attributes actually explain WHY we should all be working on trying to bring these people into the Democratic fold, not alienate or exclude them through savage attacks and haughty condemnations. Indeed, even dismissive snark should be ruled out in this case as it will only serve to further frustrate and irritate people who are already massively pissed off and feeling hard done by the Democratic “Establishment.”

What Bernie Has Wrought

It is no secret that voter turnout in the USA is abysmal, and that young people as well as blue collar middle class Americans have given up on the political process. Even the most rabid of Hillary surrogates are quick to acknowledge the fact that the Bernie Sanders campaign is hitting a nerve with these groups, and literally bringing masses of them into the political process in a way we have not seen since 2008 or even earlier.

Indeed, Democrats have been presented with an amazing gift this election season: namely, the opportunity to increase the ranks of the Party and become a truly overwhelming Majority that can dominate US politics and policy for decades to come.

WHY, then, would any true-blue Democrat wish to drive these people AWAY from the Party and back into the shadows of apathy and cynicism?

WHY would anyone put a cult of personality – whether it be for Clinton or against Trump – ahead of the greater good that can be easily realized in victorious Congressional, Senatorial and Statehouse races that could result when such “new Democrats” go to the polls in November?

Those who are dumping on the Bernie or Busters have allowed themselves to become obsessed either with a love of Hillary Clinton or a fear of Donald Trump – or both.

Likewise, the Bernie or Busters have become so focused on the Man himself that they cannot think about anything but the office to which he aspires, the winning or losing of which will have an irreversible and Manichean impact on the rest of their lives.

And this actually points up the single major problem behind this whole mess: the complete and utter disregard for the Legislative Branch. Somehow both sides of this debate refuse to realize that the President cannot act unilaterally by fiat or decree. My God, how is it that so many people who have bemoaned the utter inability of Obama to get anything done during his second term somehow ascribe dictatorial powers to the next President, whoever that may be??

Hillary supporters are quick to warn that “the Supreme Court is on the line” in this election. Indeed it is. But the SCOTUS will not be repopulated solely according to the wishes of the President. If that were the case, then we would already be looking forward to the seating of Merrick Garland. Indeed, the nominee would probably not even be Merrick Garland but rather a more liberal appointee who did not have to weather the storm of a Republican Senate approval process.

The Senate is in many ways just as important as the Presidency in this election, at least where the matters of domestic policy are concerned. Indeed, I am sure that virtually all of the Democratic Party faithful who are wringing their hands over the prospect of a Trump Presidency have also spent the past 6 years bemoaning the fact that the Republicans in Congress have prevented Obama from doing all the myriad wonderful and progressive things that he had promised. Republican “obstructionism” has been the bête noir of the Democratic Party for many years, and yet – AND YET – being craven Democrats, they cannot possibly imagine fighting back in kind against the GOP.

This Election is about MORE than the Presidency

The Senate must be recaptured. And the Bernie or Bust voters can be a BIG HELP in doing that. When engaging in an anti-Clinton Sandernistas, avoid the Presidential race. Query them about other Democratic races. Surely they do not plan to “write in” Bernie’s name for every office down ballot. Depending on where they are from, you might ask:

“Will you help us defeat [INSERT SENATOR HERE] in November? Whoever is ion the White House, whether it is Bernie or Hillary, they will need to have a Democratic Senate, and your vote for [GOP SENATOR]’s Democratic opponent will help us give our new Democratic President a partner in the legislature, and if a Republican wins, a Democratic Senate will keep them from doing irreparable harm to our country and the Supreme Court.”

Here is a list of Senators you can use in that argument, BTW:

• Kelly Ayotte (New Hampshire)
• Roy Blunt (Missouri)
• John Boozman (Arkansas)
• Richard Burr (North Carolina)
• Dan Coats (Indiana) retiring in 2016
• Mike Crapo (Idaho)
• Chuck Grassley (Iowa)
• John Hoeven (North Dakota)
• Johnny Isakson (Georgia)
• Ron Johnson (Wisconsin)
• Mark Kirk (Illinois)
• James Lankford (Oklahoma)
• Mike Lee (Utah)
• John McCain (Arizona)
• Jerry Moran (Kansas)
• Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
• Rand Paul (Kentucky)
• Rob Portman (Ohio)
• Marco Rubio (Florida) retiring in 2016
• Tim Scott (South Carolina)
• Richard Shelby (Alabama)
• John Thune (South Dakota)
• Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania)
• David Vitter (Louisiana)

Keep your eyes on the prize, Democrats.

Do not make your dogmatic doom-saying turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy by alienating and rejecting the very group of people who could help turn Congress blue again and make the Democratic Party a true and virtually perpetual majority in American politics.

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Bernie Sanders Rapid Response Library ver. 4.0 (12 March 2016) – facts, figures, comebacks and zingers to fight against the misinformation!

150429103321-ernie-sanders-gallery-photo-4-super-169Tired of conservatives, Hillbots and Clintonista trolls posting smack about our guy? Wish you had some statistics and facts to combat their BS?

Here is my own “Rapid Response Library” to use as a reference – some facts, figures and opinions – use whatever you think makes sense to you. Cut and paste, modify as needed to shoot down the nattering nabobs of negativism and the Clintonista shock troops wherever they may rear their ugly heads…

Just click the link below to download the PDF.
Bernie Sanders Rapid Response Library ver. 4.0 (PDF)

Or click here for the Word doc:
Bernie Sanders Rapid Response Library_4.0 (Word)

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Trump v. Clinton – for Progressives, a Tougher Choice than You Might Think

I believe that the Democrats will take back the Senate in the 2016 elections. This will put a halter on anything that Trump wants to do should he become President. This will also force Trump to nominate moderates to the Supreme Court and other positions requiring Senate confirmation.

Indeed, there are really only 2 areas where a President can act unilaterally with some degree of autocracy: Trade and Foreign Policy. I find Trump’s views and positions on both these issues to be much more in line with my own (and those of most Sanders supporters) than those of Hillary Clinton.

If Clinton wins, I am confident that there will be an almost immediate escalation of our involvement in Syria, greatly exacerbating a bad situation and generations even more anti-American sentiment. I am also pretty sure that a Clinton Administration will throw our move towards detente with Iran in reverse and would not be surprised if we are bombing Iran by the end of her first term. In sum, I am sure that a Clinton Presidency will have disastrous consequences for America lasting decades into the future. Trump has criticised the Iraq war and opposes “stupid” interventionist wars that simply do not make financial sense to him. He espouses a more restrained foreign policy and has even expressed a willingness to negotiate or even collaborate with Putin and Russia. He has also said that he will honour the nuclear deal with Iran.

On Trade, I am likewise 99.9% sure that a President Clinton will not only green-light the TPP but will actively promote it, just as she has for so many years. This will be a domestic disaster of epic proportions that will have repercussions extending far beyond the term of her Presidency. Trump opposes “disastrous trade deals” just like Sanders – albeit in a more crude fashion. Trump puts it into the frame of “winning” ands “losing” but the message is the same: these trade deals have been a disaster for the American middle class, and he opposes the TPP.

Trump is scary, but more scary to me is getting a phony corporatist Democrat in the WH. If Trump is elected, he will be a one-term President, and will hopefully be defeated in 2020 provided that the Democrats put up a TRULY progressive candidate and not a Corporatist Wall Street tool like Clinton. Hillary, however, would use her first term in office to consolidate her political power and further cultivate powerful allies and forces in the American corporate community. She will be unbeatable in re-election, and so the cause of Progressivism will be set back for decades. This, combined with a disastrous trade policy and an irresponsible and aggressively adventurist neocon foreign policy make her for me the less attractive candidate.

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The Disturbing Truth Behind Bernie’s “Negative Ad” on Wall Street

Two-Visions-Bernie-Sanders-TV-ad

On the Rachel Maddow show on January 14, Hillary Clinton tried to defend her attacking Bernie Sanders for running a so-called “negative ad” about Wall Street, and what Bernie sees as two different attitudes towards Wall Street that exist within the Democratic Party. In her interview with Rachel, Hillary says the following:

“So, what I think people reacted to is that it was a very broad assertion that caught up all Democrats. I mean, basically, it`s also a very direct criticism of President Obama, who you may recall took a lot of funding from the financial industry when he ran in 2008. That didn’t stop him for fighting for the hardest regulations on Wall Street since the Great Depression, signing Dodd/Frank, getting everything he could get out of the Congress at the time.

So, there is a difference. I think that, you know, the president and many Democrats who support Dodd/Frank, we are fighting to prevent it from being turned back and eviscerated by the Republicans, you know, are saying, wait a minute, this is hard work. And what the president got done and what the Democrats who stood with him got done is a pretty important accomplishment if we`re going to rein in the excesses on Wall Street.”

Firstly, Bernie is not talking about “all Democrats.” He is referring to the Democratic Leadership Council and the New Democrat Coalition, the “corporatist” Democratic Establishment who have been the tools of Wall Street for the past 35 years. And in doing this he is most definitely referring to Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and yes, even Barack Obama.

Dood-Frank-in-2010Secondly, Dodd-Frank does not go nearly far enough in regulating Wall Street. Chris Dodd (my own former Senator) was the very embodiment of a corrupt Wall Street dominated political class. He was in bed with Angelo Mozilo of Countrywide and got sweetheart mortgage loans from Countrywide as part of the “Friends of Angelo” program.

Barney Frank, for his part, has joined the revolving door club and has now taken a lucrative position on the Board of a $29 Billion Wall Street bank.

But forget Dodd-Frank. Let’s look at Obama and what he did and did not do. Obviously, Obama signed the Dodd-Frank bill. Good for him, but Presidents do not make laws. They DO have the SEC, and under Obama the SEC has been toothless and weak, as expressed in a letter of outrage by Sen. Elizabeth Warren to Mary Jo White, Obama’s choice to head up the SEC. According to an article in The New Republic entitled Democrats Are Fed Up with the SEC’s Weak Financial Crimefighting:

“Enforcement, where White at least had some background, has been even more unsatisfactory, with White ignoring pervasive misconduct, tallying up few big cases and often siding with Republican commissioners to lighten punishment. Stein, the more blunt of the two Democrats, has repeatedly spoken publicly against the agency waiving automatic penalties for companies convicted of criminal fraud, most recently for Deutsche Bank after they pled guilty to rigging the benchmark LIBOR interest rate. “It was a complete criminal fraud upon the worldwide marketplace,” Stein said, yet Deutsche Bank was allowed to retain business lines they are supposed to lose after criminal convictions.”

Eric-Holder-DOJ-620x435Presidents also have the power to prosecute through the FBI. But Obama chose Eric Holder as Attorney General, and Holder has built a reputation on being reluctant to prosecute important bank executives. Indeed, the so-called “Holder Doctrine” of protecting banksters who commit crimes dates back to a 1999 memo that he wrote as Deputy Attorney General in which he set out the precepts for the Holder Doctrine. Let’s see … who was President when Holder came up with that idea to not prosecute Wall Street criminals? That’s right — none other than Bill Clinton.

So while Bush may have given us “too big to fail” it was Clinton and Obama who gave us “too big to jail.”

When it comes to Wall Street, Bill Clinton embodied the right-leaning Democratic Leadership Council and the New Democrat Coalition — the ones who wanted to play ball with Wall Street rather than manage and regulate them. We all know that Clinton supported and pushed for Wall Street deregulation. He kept on the Ayn Rand loving Reagan appointee Alan Greenspan at the Fed. THAT should have been a red flag. Why on earth would a “progressive” Democrat want the same Fed Chairman as his supply-side ultra conservative predecessor? I will tell you why: because the DLC was pro-corporatist and pro-Big Money interests, and that is what Bernie is talking about in his ad.

But let’s get back to Obama. To say that Obama’s taking money from Wall Street interests did not prevent him from going after those interests is pure HOOEY. The two Obama Administrations have been well-populated with Goldman Sachs executives, who come through the revolving door that has existed between the White House and Wall Street since the Clinton Administration. Indeed, the practice of putting these bankers in charge of the Treasury and other levers of government has become so routine that banks like Citi, Goldman and MorganStanley actually have career paths structured around “government service” — allowing their executives to hop over to government jobs while still making the obscene amounts of money they would have made had they stayed with the bank.

This practice of putting bankster foxes in charge of the country’s financial henhouse has flourished under Obama. Just look at the overlap between various Democratic Administrations and Goldman Sachs ALONE:

Goldman Sachs

The Revolving Door of obscene and disgraceful Wall Street-White House Careers

You may not like it, but it is a fact: ever since Bill Clinton and the DLC took over, the Establishment faction of the Democratic Party has become the party of Wall Street, not Main Street.

THIS is what Bernie is talking about in his ad, and he is backing it up with a promise. In his Wall Street Address on January 5, Bernie stated clearly:

“Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street banks will not be represented in my administration.”

Voters have a choice: go with the Party Establishment, who will undoubtedly continue to place Goldman Sachs executives in positions of power within their Administrations; continue to coddle bankers and bail them out and protect them from prosecution — or you can join Bernie and support his movement to rein in and reform Wall Street and force the banks to go back to what they are supposed to do, which is to finance and support American businesses and not act solely on their own behalf to build up their own enormous wealth at the expense of the American people.

Posted in 2016 Campaign, Bernie Sanders, Economics, Politics | Leave a comment

Hillary Goes Full-On Rovian

Clinton Campaign Attacks Sanders for Being the First Candidate to “Go Negative”

“We were very surprised today to see that Bernie Sanders had launched a negative television advertisement against Hillary,” said Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, in a conference call with reporters Thursday. “We were particularly surprised because he had personally pledged and his campaign had pledged to never run a negative advertisement.”
The ad in question does not name Hillary personally, and talks in generalities about choices in approaching Wall Street.

On another conference call with press, Clinton strategist Joel Benenson said that in discussing his view toward Wall Street and how it differs from other view within the Democratic Party, Bernie had “decided to do something that he had said so proudly he would never do.” This is first of all total BS, but the fact that Benenson is the one to rebut the ad is deliciously ironic. Because when he is not “advising” the Clinton campaign, Benenson advises JPMorgan and Bank of America.

The Rovian Strategy Explained

Hillary is using the classic Karl Rove technique of attacking an opponent on their biggest strengths.
A prime example of the “Rovian” strategy was the Bush campaign’s attacking the much decorated war hero John Kerry as a dishonorable vet whom other vets disdained. Bush himself avoided service in Vietnam with his cushy Air National Guard gig in the so-called “Champagne Squadron” for rich Texas kids, and even then he was AWOL for a year. Kerry was also a child of privilege but went to Vietnam anyway. That should have been a big difference between the two candidates, but by mounting that successful “swift boat” attack, Rove managed to take that whole subject of military service off the table.
Now Hillary is trying to take on the thing that most differentiates the two candidates: INTEGRITY.
If she can take the whole discussion of integrity, honesty and fair play off the table, then she will have greatly hurt Bernie.
Of course, this is not the first Rovian broadside that Hillary has delivered. It started almost immediately, right after the first debate, when Hillary attacked Bernie for, of all things, being RACIST. Bernie, who literally marched with MLK, who was arrested for protesting segregation, who supported and helped Jesse Jackson win Vermont in his Presidential bid, was now just a run-of-the-mill racist:
‘There are some who say that it is an urban problem,’ Clinton stated. ‘Sometimes what they mean by that is: It’s a black problem. But it’s not. It’s not black. It’s not urban. It’s a deep profound challenge to who we are.’

Ridiculous on its face. But that was not the only Rovian smear that the Clinton campaign was able to create out of whole cloth from the first debate:
“You know, I’ve been told to stop, and I quote, ‘shouting’ about gun violence. Well, first of all, I’m not shouting. It’s just [that] when women talk, some people think we’re shouting.”
Again — message clear: Bernie, who has stood for women’s rights, abortion rights, ERA, equal pay for decades, is really nothing more than an old-fashioned sexist who cannot stand or even understand strong women.
This week saw another Karl Rove masterpiece: Hilary is attacking Bernie on one of his core principles and one of his most passionate aims: single payer health care as a right. Hillary wants to keep allowing private insurance companies to make a profit on sick Americans. Bernie wants to make it an entitlement. And that basic philosophical difference is resonating with voters — so, taking another page out of Karl Rove’s playbook, Hillary is literally trying to scare voters about Bernie’s plan:
“His plan would take Medicare and Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Affordable Care Act health care insurance and private employer health insurance and he would take that all together and send health insurance to the states, turning over your and my health insurance to governors,” Clinton said. “We had enough of a fight to get to the Affordable Care Act. So I don’t want to rip it up and start over.”

​This is really starting to get bizarre. But apparently the Clinton camp will adhere to the Rove strategy to the bitter end.
The latest barrage, namely attacking Bernie’s integrity, is the final straw. Bernie has always maintained that he has never run a negative ad, and that has been a hallmark of his campaign and a cornerstone of his reputation among the voters. To attack Bernie’s integrity and his honesty (“he is not levelling with the American people”) is to attack the very foundation of the Bernie Brand.

Hillary, the stench of desperation hangs thick in the air around you. You are running against the most popular US Senator in the county, the man with the most positive “net favorable” ratings of all the candidates, the man who calls out Pope Francis as his fellow traveller, and you think you can win by portraying him as a sexist, a racist and a liar. Good luck with that.

Posted in 2016 Campaign, Bernie Sanders, Politics | Leave a comment

Hillary v. Bernie: A Very Short Comparison

I promised this would be a very short comparison. So here goes:

Hillary Supported the Racist Right-Winger Barry Goldwater

Hillary Clinton was “Goldwater Girl”. Her father was a right-wing racist and so Hillary followed suit. Here is a quote from her book, Living History:

” I liked Senator Goldwater because he was a rugged individualist who swam against the political tide. Years later, I admired his outspoken support of individual rights, which he considered consistent with his old-fashioned conservative principles: “Don’t raise hell about the gays, the blacks and the Mexicans. Free people have a right to do as they damn please.” When Goldwater learned I had supported him in 1964, he sent the White House a case of barbecue fixings and hot sauces and invited me to come see him. I went to his home in Phoenix in 1996 and spent a wonderful hour talking to him and his dynamic wife, Susan. ”
Hillary Clinton was President of the Young Republicans Club at Wellesley College.
Hillary is still listed among the Notable Young Republican alumni.

Bernie had a very different experience in the 60’s.

Bernie Sanders was marching with Martin Luther King while Hillary was out canvassing for Barry Goldwater.

While in college, Bernie was leading sit-ins to protest segregate housing at the University of Chicago. He was even arrested for his activities.

Why bring this up?

I am fully expecting that the Clinton attack machine will try to paint Bernie as a radical leftie because of his earlier political beliefs and activities. I just think it is important for everyone to know that these two candidates started out at polar opposites on the political spectrum,

So ask yourself: do you prefer a Goldwater Republican that moved toward the Democratic Party from the Right, or a liberal agitator and socialist who came to the Democratic Party from the Left?

For me, the answer is clear.

#FeelTheBern

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Bernie’s Plans on Climate Change Will Take America Back to its Position as Global Leader

I grew up in the 70’s when America was leading the world in green technology and environmentalism. The ozone layer was disappearing, and we solved the problem by leading the world in eliminating CFC’s.

Jimmy Carter had a program under which homeowners would get a tax deduction for installing solar hearting panels on their roof. While in college I actually had a summer job selling these systems. They were very popular! And our President led by example as well: Carter installed solar heating panels on the roof of the White House.

Under Carter, America started to move to smaller, more fuel-efficient cars, and lead-free gasoline was introduced to work together with catalytic converters to lower the pollution caused by automobile exhaust.

Then Ronald Reagan was elected. Almost on the first day, he ripped out the solar panels on the White House and set about getting America back into the fossil fuel camp. SUV’s were introduced, and the size of American cars swung to the other end of the size spectrum.

When I graduated college, I got my first job as European Sales Representative for Allied Signal, an American company that made catalysts for automobiles. The US was 15 years ahead of Europe in clean-car technology, and we sold our catalysts to Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Renault, Peugeot and FIAT. I must say it was a wonderful feeling to be respected as an American by my colleagues and customers: respected for the technology that only America could have pioneered.

Sadly, those days are gone. America is now “Number 1” among advanced countries only in areas like gun violence, obesity, military spending and of course the denial of Climate Change.

Bernie Sanders has a plan to take America back to our rightful place as a pioneer and an innovator in clean technology. Under Bernie’s leadership, the US will lead the world once again in stewarding the planet. America can and will become the “indispensible nation” not just in terms of military security but also in climate security. The world needs radical change in terms of our relationship with the planet and our environment; the world is counting on America not just to develop the technologies we need, but also to once more provide a shining example of what can be achieved when American ingenuity is combined with sensible public policy. #FeelTheBern – Bernie2016!

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Bernie Sanders Rapid Response Library ver. 3.0 (30 Nov 2015) – facts, figures, comebacks and zingers to fight against the misinformation!

150429103321-bernie-sanders-gallery-photo-4-super-169Tired of conservative and Clintonista trolls posting smack about our guy? Wish you had some statistics and facts to combat their BS?

Here is my own “Rapid Response Library” to use as a reference – some facts, figures and opinions – use whatever you think makes sense to you. Cut and paste, modify as needed to shoot down the nattering nabobs of negativism and the Clintonista shock troops wherever they may rear their ugly heads…

Just click the link below to download the PDF.
Bernie Sanders Rapid Response Library 3.0

Or click here for the Word doc:
Bernie Sanders Rapid Response Library 3.0

Posted in Politics | Leave a comment

Why Bernie Will Win – Part 5: His Pro-Business Agenda

In his recent speech at Georgetown, Bernie Sanders “buried the lead” to some extent while mounting his defense of Democratic Socialism: his vision for America is, in many ways, a Conservative one, in the sense that he is proposing what is in essence a uniquely and strongly “pro-business” agenda for the 21st century.

Bernie is often criticised for holding up Denmark as a country we can learn from. Pages and web sites are filled with conservatives screaming about how Denmark is filled with lazy people living on the dole and it has a decrepit, top-heavy socialist government that taxes its citizens into poverty, burdens business and smothers entrepreneurship in its cradle.

Even Hillary Clinton was quick to assert in the first Democratic Debate that “we are not Denmark” and to launch into a defense of America by saying: “when I think about capitalism, I think about all the small businesses that were started because we have the opportunity and the freedom in our country for people to do that and to make a good living for themselves and their families.”

What if she were wrong? What if America in the 21st century were not such a great place to start a business? What if there was a country that was more business friendly, a country that was NOT America, but which was named by Forbes Magazine as the “Best Country For Business”-?

There is such a country. It is called DENMARK.

DenmarkThe latest rankings from Forbes for the “Best Countries for Business” ranked Denmark No. 1. And this is not a fluke – Denmark recently captured the title of No. 1 best country for business for three straight years, from 2008-2010 (yes, while America was in the throes of an economic meltdown).

The Forbes article points out a few aspects of the Danish system that make it particularly good for business:

“One of the keys to Denmark’s pro-business climate is the flexible labor market known as “Flexisecurity,” where companies can easily hire and fire workers with out-of-work adults eligible for significant unemployment benefits. Unemployed workers are also eligible for training programs. It creates one of the most productive workforces in Europe. “The model encourages economic efficiency where employees end up in the job they are best suited for,” says Weis. “It allows employers to quickly change and reallocate resources in the workplace.”

Stop and think about that for a moment: the government provides significant unemployment benefits and training programs, and in return, businesses can hire and fire more easily. It is, in a way a perfect trade-off. Business gets the flexibility it needs whilst workers are guaranteed that they won’t be in a crisis if they do lose their job and have to find another one.

Denmark, of course, shares another business-friendly advantage with every other industrialized country except the US – universal “single payer” health care. This is one of Bernie’s centerpiece proposals, and it is one that would rejuvenate and transform American business and turbocharge American entrepreneurship.

Small business’s share of the U.S. economy is slowly shrinking and is less significant than in Denmark as well as many other European economies. This is because of crony Capitalism and “laissez-faire” attitude that believes in the so-called “Free Market” – when there is no such thing. Europe’s political and economic system is much more modern than America’s. Viewed in those terms, it is not hard to believe that the European-style “Democratic Socialism” that Bernie is pushing is the way to go for entrepreneurs and believers in free enterprise.

But don’t take my word on it – this is all from BusinessWeek.

Moreover, the advantages of a Social Democratic system don’t just accrete to small businesses. Large industries can also benefit. Let’s face it, the main reasons for joining a union these days are a decent (if not “Cadillac”) health care plan and substantial retirement and other benefits. Many large organizations, from automakers to airlines, have to negotiate with unions who seek to secure expensive benefits for their workers. Adopting a Social Democratic system, where the government provides decent health care, a dignified retirement, paid medical and family leave and so on removes these burdens from the company balance sheet, making them even more competitive in the worldwide marketplace. This is how European companies like BMW, Mercedes and others are able to compete while still affording their workers a high quality of life even as their salaries remain modest.

In the Forbes study, the US ranked 18th, behind all of Scandinavia, most of Europe, Australia and Canada – in other words, all Democratic Socialist countries with national single payer health care and strong worker benefits and retirement programs. Bernie is right when he says that we can learn from these countries, but what needs to be stressed is the “win-win” scenario for both workers and business owners that can result from adopting such programs.

No, Hillary, we are not Denmark. But if we heed Bernie Sanders and emulate what the Danes have done, maybe we can become more like them – at least enough to get into the top 10 on that Forbes list.

And what pro-business conservative could argue against that?

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The Bernie Sanders Rapid Response Library ver. 2.10

Bernie_JJTired of conservative and Clintonista trolls posting smack about our guy? Wish you had some statistics and facts to combat their BS?
Here is my own “Rapid Response Library” to use as a reference – some facts, figures and opinions – use whatever you think makes sense to you. Cut and paste, modify as needed to shoot down the nattering nabobs of negativism and the Clintonista shock troops wherever they may rear their ugly heads…

New Topics include The Jefferson Jackson Dinner, Cuba, Postal Banking and the real differences between Bernie and Hillary. The gloves are off so we have to be respectful but forceful, with facts to back us up.

Just click the link below to download the DOC or the PDF.

Bernie Sanders Rapid Response Library 2.10 – MS Word DOC

Bernie Sanders Rapid Response Library 2.10 – Adobe PDF

NOTE: Available also as .HTM but by request only.

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Why Bernie Will Win – Part 4: The BIG Difference (Continued)

WilhelmII-GeorgeOk – snap quiz – who are these two gentlemen pictured on the right?
Hint: One was King George V of England and the other was Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. You may be forgiven if you cannot tell which one is which – they were, after all, first cousins. But these two cousins presided over one of the bloodiest catastrophes the world has ever seen. Georgie and Willy sent their brave soldiers into battle against each other in World War I, and 17 MILLION PEOPLE DIED.

For those of you who know your history, forgive the recap – but I think it has bearing on our situation today. My earlier post explained how Hillary Clinton was for all intents and purposes a part of the “billionaire class” that Bernie Sanders is running against. The point I am making here is that the ruling political and socio-economic elite is like the network of monarchies that ruled Europe in the 19th century – yes, they had superficial differences, but in the end, it was really all about keeping the status quo as it was, and keeping the rabble down.

Folks, this is EXACTLY the kind of sh*t the Founding Fathers were trying to get away from!!

And yet, here we are.

clinton-bush-article-display-bPlease, please understand that the Clintons and the Bushes and the Trumps are FRIENDS. Their children are friends, they swim in the same waters, go to the same restaurants, tan on the same beaches – and all rendezvous at Martha’s Vineyard, the Hamptons and so forth for recreation.

We need to break the grip of the ruling political elite – and that is what Bernie Sanders wants to do. Make no mistake – the “Billionaire Class” is a ruling elite in America, and it actually has its supporters among the American populace. During the 2000 Presidential Election, the media was all aflutter, wondering whether the Bush family would have a “frosty” Thanksgiving dinner if Jeb, who was Governor of Florida at the time, would fail to deliver Florida for his older Brother George in the November election. How difficult for them!!

150818211835-ivanka-trump-hillary-clinton-friendship-serfaty-dnt-erin-00020909-exlarge-169And the prospect of a Clinton-Trump race would also bring no doubt concern over whether the two daughters would have their friendship put to the test as their parents fought it out to see who would be the leader of the free world. My goodness, if Hillary won maybe Chelsea would have to “un-friend” Ivanka!

This is madness, and it is sick. And we should consider it in the context that the cousins Willy and Georgie no doubt exchanged very stilted holiday greetings in the Christmas of 1918, as millions of poor soldiers buried in Flanders and the Somme lay covered in snow.

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Why Bernie Will Win – Part 4: The BIG Difference

This post is a very easy one to write, because it is, in effect, a simple question: Will Hillary Clinton represent the interests of the working people of America?

Hillary private jetHillary: here is a woman who has “served” as First Lady of Arkansas, then First Lady of the USA, and then as a Senator, and then as Secretary of State. Her professional life has, for all intents and purposes, been a purely political one. And yet, through her connections, her contacts and her skill in manipulating the system, she has managed to parlay this “political career” into a fortune worth $32,000,000.

Bernie_middleBernie Sanders, on the other hand, has been a “real” political animal. During the same period that Hillary was amassing her fortune through an “establishment” political career, Bernie served as a city Mayor, a Congressman and a Senator, all the while running on his famous “Democratic Socialist” platform. The result? Bernie has a net worth of just $330,000.

So here is the question: how is it that two candidates, who many claim have the same priorities and the same goals, could both dedicate their lives to politics, to “fighting for the working families” – and yet one ends up with $32 million, and the other ends up with just $330K?

I think this is a big part of the reason that people do not like the Clintons. They are a political family., they have been making their living in political “service” to their state and then their country for virtually all of their adult lives and yet they have managed to amass an incredible fortune while supposedly “serving” the public.

No one begrudged the Roosevelts their wealth, nor the Kennedys theirs. Even Mitt Romney was generally considered to have “earned” his fortune. And Donald Trump has become famous almost solely for his success as a businessman. In other words, they “earned” their money in the American way.

la-la-na-trump-and-clintonaf-wre0030099313-20141110But the Clintons? They are simply “America’s Political Family.” They have never done anything else. And yet they travel in the same circles as the Trumps and the Romneys, the Kennedys, etc.. Indeed, it is now widely known that the Clintons went to Trump’s last wedding, and Trump’s daughter Ivanka is best friends with Chelsea Clinton.

And this brings us to the Big Difference. Bernie Sanders is a true believer. He is motivated by a genuine desire to help people, to speak truth to power, and as he says so often in his speeches, he wants to use his political position to “take on the billionaire class.”

Clinton-TrumpHillary Clinton, on the other hand, has used her political positions to become PART of that “billionaire class.” And she revels in it. And that is, I think, why people in the US don’t like her. She literally embodies all that is wrong with the calcified, corrupt and money-driven political system that is running America today.

She is, in essence, the poster-girl for Bernie’s “political revolution” and that fact will come out over the course of the campaign.

Feel The Bern!!

NOTE: this post is continued in a very important way HERE.

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Why Bernie Will Win – Part 3: Foreign Policy

No one needs to discuss the differences on Foreign Policy that exist between Bernie and the Republican candidates. Those should be treated as a given. What has not been discussed publicly, however, and what bears real examination, is that these same policy differences exist between Bernie and Hillary Clinton.

Kerry Confirmation Hearing For Secretary of StateHillary often boasts that she had wide and deep support from Republicans when she served as Secretary of State. Given the reactionary and militaristic views of the Republican Party when it comes to Foreign Policy, such a claim should immediately raise red flags for any Democratic voter.

In addition, it is well-known that Hillary voted to support the Bush Administration’s disastrous invasion of Iraq. She has since “admitted” that this was a mistake, and that she had been fooled like so many others. But what if Hillary’s Iraq vote was not a lapse in judgment but rather an expression of her deeper convictions, specifically her support for the neoconservative interventionist policies of Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz and others? What if Hillary voted “yea” not because of possible WMD, but because deep down she thought that the US had the right – indeed the responsibility – to invade Iraq and install a “friendly” government that would serve America’s strategic aims in that region?

Hillary was a staunch member of the Democratic Leadership Council, an organisation of so-called “New Democrats” of which Bill Clinton was Chairman. The DLC rejected economic populism and believed in “triangulation” – i.e., the co-opting of Conservative social and economic positions in order to win votes among what they perceived to be a conservative-leaning electorate. The DLC was fully behind the disastrous domestic policies that the Clintons pushed (Tough On Crime Bill, DOMA, Destruction of Welfare/dissolution of AFDC). But on Foreign Policy, the DLC was also very conservative, and the DLC signed on with and supported the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) – the cabal of neoconservatives that were behind the Iraq War. And indeed, support for Bush’s invasion of Iraq was the official policy position of the DLC!

In this way, we can say that Hillary’s vote for the Iraq War was not a “blip” or a “mistake” – she was not fooled or bamboozled into voting for war. She was simply voting in the manner in which the DLC and the PNAC wanted her to.

neocon_monstersRobert Kagan, a well-know neocon and one of the architects and proponents of the Iraq war, was one of the principal adherents to the PNAC. This organisation called for the USA, as the sole superpower, to pursue an aggressive program of military intervention and to project “hard power” everywhere to secure America’s preeminent place in the world.

Kagan is a real fan of Hillary, and speaks glowingly about her willingness to pursue interventionist policies. In a 2014 interview with the New York Times, Kagan said of Clinton: “If she pursues a policy which we think she will pursue …it’s something that might have been called neocon, but clearly her supporters are not going to call it that; they are going to call it something else.”

201132163646881140_20Indeed, whenever there has been a choice between diplomacy and war, Hillary has pushed for a military solution. She was the one that urged the US attacks on Libya; she was for being more militarily involved in Syria, arming the so-called “moderate” rebels and even putting in American “advisers.” More recently, she has called for a “No Fly Zone” over Syria – and we know from our experience in Iraq that such as step usually ends up being a prolonged lead up to war.

There were also other telltale votes in the Senate. When a bill came up to limit the use of cluster bombs in heavily populated civilian areas, she crossed the aisle to vote with Republicans against it.

She also joined Republicans in voting against transferring Guantanamo detainees to the US so that the prison could be closed (Bernie voted for it).

Likewise she voted to “Set policy to “combat, contain, and roll back” violent Iranian activities in Iraq – a major increase in military operations in Iraq (Bernie opposed it).

Hillary voted for the incredibly bloated $500 billion Defense Spending Bill in 2008, which Bernie opposed so eloquently and vehemently (see video)

hillary-netanyahu-530x306Let’s make no mistake -Hillary has as much as told us that she would be to the right of Obama on Foreign Policy. She has opposed him numerous times, not just on Syria but also as regards Israel. Hillary has condemned Jimmy Carter’s assessment that the occupied territories represent a new “apartheid”. She has also worked to block Palestine’s recognition as a state in the UN.

And of course she supports the NSA’s spying and thinks Edward Snowden is a traitor that needs to “face the music.”

I don’t know if Clinton’s bellicosity arises from a fear of being perceived as “weak” or “womanish” on foreign policy, or whether she is just another Israel-loving neocon who believes that the US should intervene wherever it wants to. But one thing is sure, and that is she is always the first to push for a military option, and in this way she is a true student of the neoconservatism. If she is president, it is most likely, as Kagan says, that she will pursue what the PNAC called a “Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity.”

Hillary_Clinton_with_the_troops_550President Obama recently announced that he will not be bringing the troops home from Afghanistan. The next President will thus need to decide whether or not to leave a permanent military presence in that country or indeed to “double-down” on our commitment with even more troops. There is no doubt also that Iraq will continue to be a cauldron of violence and instability. How will a President Clinton handle these situations? Unfortunately, if past is any prologue, we know that Hillary will listen to the other war hawks and choose the military solution.

When it comes to foreign policy, Bernie can always be expected to give the line that he delivered in the Democratic debate: “I happen to believe from the bottom of my heart that war should be the last resort.”

Many may be tempted to dismiss this statement as simple oratory or expressing a sentiment rather than arguing a position. But in reality, when Bernie is up there compared with Hillary Clinton, we must realize that it is not a platitude but rather a serious declaration of a major difference in their approach to Foreign Policy. That simple belief that “war is a last resort” may seem axiomatic to Bernie and to us, but it is by no means a given with Hillary Clinton.

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Bernie Sanders Rapid Response Library ver. 2.0 (14 Oct 2015) – facts, figures, comebacks and zingers to fight against the misinformation!

DebateTired of conservative and Clintonista trolls posting smack about our guy? Wish you had some statistics and facts to combat their BS?

Want to set the record straight about Hillary and the First Debate in Las Vegas?

Here is my own “Rapid Response Library” to use as a reference – some facts, figures and opinions – use whatever you think makes sense to you. Cut and paste, modify as needed to shoot down the nattering nabobs of negativism and the Clintonista shock troops wherever they may rear their ugly heads…

Just click the link below to download the PDF.

Bernie Rapid Response Library 2.0

Posted in 2016 Campaign, Bernie Sanders, Politics | Leave a comment