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Tom Rinaldo

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Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 06:39 PM
Number of posts: 16,830

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"Abbie Hoffman and fellow Yippies throw dollar bills at stock traders"

"Today (Aug. 24) in 1967, traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange suddenly found a much faster way of making money: picking it up off the floor.

The rain of dollar bills onto the trading floor was a theatrical protest organized by social and political activist Abbie Hoffman and executed by Hoffman and fellow members of the Youth International Party, or Yippies...

...Informing the group that staging any kind of protest would be unacceptable, the head of security asked them for a name before he would allow them to progress further....

...Instead, the group was escorted to the observation gallery above the trading floor, where they immediately began throwing dollar bills at the traders below. Hoffman later claimed they threw more than 300 dollar bills; others estimate the number at around 30 or 40.

The protesters were having a ball, laughing as they flung the money, but the reaction from the traders was mixed. Some laughed and waved, others became angry at the interruption and still others were too busy pocketing the money to display much emotion.

Hoffman, Fourrat and their cohorts were quickly removed from the building in spite of Hoffman’s explanation that they were merely depicting in more concrete terms what the traders were already doing..."
http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/930301-196/daily-twip---abbie-hoffman-and-fellow.html


Trust me, those brokers on the floor of the stock exchange in 1967 weren't women getting dollar bills thrown at them. And the central metaphor wasn't "prostitution" or anything related to sex or gender. It was all about GREED and the chase for dollars.

What do they call it when men can get treated one way, but women are supposed to be treated differently?

My Bernie Sanders Digest - Abridged

I've been writing about Bernie Sanders and his quest for the presidency all year. I've written a lot about it actually because I think this race is so fundamentally different from others in our recent history, and so critically important for our future. As I type these words the 2016 New York Democratic Presidential Primary is just days away. As a citizen of New York State myself, I will soon be casting my own vote for Senator Sanders, a man I believe in strongly. I wanted to make a final post that expressed all of the reasons why that is the case, and why I find it so important to urge others to vote for Bernie also. But that's more than I know how to do.

Then I thought, that's what I have been doing for months now already, in pieces and from different perspectives, some from my head and others from my heart. So instead I compiled and edited this; “My Bernie Sanders Digest = Abridged”. I went back and looked at all that I have already written, focusing on the essays that still, today, seem mostly relevant, with the final outcome of this contest still in doubt. I am re-posting them now as a cumulative body of thoughts, insights, hopes and dreams revolving around the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders, and what I think it means for America.

Even though I edited down each essay somewhat (note the generous sprinkling of “three dots” used below) it still ended up really long in total. I don't expect many to read much, let alone all, of this “Digest”. Some of you man have seen some of the essays that follow in their original forms. The links directly below each of them lead to their unabridged versions, each posted in a “stand alone” version. Read one or more if they interest you, I realize now that I wrote them for myself as much as for anyone else. They are offered in Chronological order:


In 2008 I was a Clinton supporter throughout most of the primary season

Thursday Jan 07, 2016 · 11:51 AM EDT

Some of you here probably remember that. I shifted my support to Obama late, after he won the Oregon primary and it became clear to me that Hillary had no real chance left of winning the nomination...

... My support first for Hillary Clinton, and later for Barack Obama, was essentially pragmatic. That doesn't mean though that I thought ill of either person, actually I admired both of them. Nor does it mean that I was unappreciative of the good things I knew both of them would sincerely strive to accomplish as President, neither am I unappreciative now of the many good things that President Obama has in fact already accomplished as President. In the big picture I saw both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as status quo politicians. .. The status quo in my mind isn't a specific set of policies or a particular political platform. It is more of an intrinsic agreement about the size and slope of the playing field that politics is played on - on where the in and out of bound lines get drawn on that field rather than which side of it a particular team lines up on...

...All status quo choices are not equal, many flow from good intentions and often do some good, many have more selfish intentions and end up harmful to the interests of most average Americans. What all status quo choices have in common though is that none of them fundamentally challenge the basic status quo.

I believe that Hillary Clinton is the current benign face of the status quo - and I do not say that in any way as an insult... She horse trades in the designated trading areas with formally recognized traders using officially accepted forms of currency with values determined by the central societal bank of the establishment. Standing on that playing field, playing by those rules, there are few as effective as Hillary Clinton is at racking up some points for our side. If the status quo can't be fundamentally changed than I want someone like Hillary Clinton fighting for our team.

But it is the status quo itself that is harming most Americans. Millions of us have been cornered by it with our backs against the wall, while millions more fall toward us threatening to crush us all under the collective weight of suffering...

...Bernie Sanders has spent a long life time preparing for this very moment. He could not be clearer on what must be done, and I can not be clearer that he is the man best prepared for the challenge in front of him, in front of all of us, in challenging the status quo .
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/01/07/1466938/--In-2008-I-was-a-Clinton-supporter-throughout-most-of-the-primary-season


The Cold Heart of the Matter

Friday Jan 08, 2016 · 2:12 PM EDT

Greed is this nation's cardinal sin; the lust for power and possessions, the addiction to conspicuous consumption, the hoarding of precious resources for the egotistical pride of ownership. Unique among the major candidates for President, Bernie Sanders fully grasps this; his whole career is a reflection of that understanding. Greed has become so ubiquitous that it is no longer recognized as unethical, let alone immoral, to embrace it. Most of the super rich believe that they deserve everything that they have, that they have in some way earned it all. And that they are fully entitled to acquire even more regardless of how much human suffering caused by basic deprivation multiplies around them. The standard by which their actions are now judged isn't ethics, it isn't morality, the standard is legislatively defined legality...

...No doubt many, but by no means all, of the super wealthy work hard in pursuit of their extravagances. No doubt many, but by no means all, of the super wealthy are subject to significant stress in pursuit of their fortunes. But most of the poor work hard in pursuit of basic survival, and are subject to significant stress in a desperate struggle to keep food on their tables and a roof over their heads. What high powered CEO working 60 hour work weeks in the throes of fierce competition faces more stress than a parent who can't assure their child of food or a place to live? ...

The last refuge of those who defend the sense of extreme entitlement that the super wealthy take for granted is the concept of some special talents, some special abilities, that make their unique contributions to society worthy of virtually unlimited levels of compensation... How much is the ability to accurately forecast a market trend worth in a year: One hundred thousand, five hundred thousand, five million, five hundred million? Or to repeatedly close complex development deals; ten million, five hundred million, more? How much is a biochemist worth who doggedly pursues a brilliant insight and pioneers a new approach to a cancer treatment? Is it anywhere in the same ball park? ...Are the efforts of one downtown land developer really worth more than the collective contribution of an entire major city fire department?

...The difference in the compensation for an average corporate worker and an average CEO continues to grow exponentially while earnings shrink for most Americans, along with the middle class itself. There is nothing about politics as usual that will fundamentally alter this trajectory. This is the status quo of deterioration, the one we have lived with for 40 years - worsening by the decade, that left unchecked ultimately leads to an implosion, an explosion, or both...

Bernie Sanders is alone in the national spotlight right now in speaking unvarnished truth to an increasingly consolidated seat of economic power. Greed is a cancer hollowing out the fiber of our nation and Bernie Sanders has the vision, fortitude, and courage to openly acknowledge and confront it...

We need a president unafraid to tell it like it really is, in the daily lives of most of our citizens; one willing to take on the full force and fury head on of those who have presided over the virtually complete transformation of our once vibrant democracy into an oligarchy. If not Bernie Sanders now, who then, and when?
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/01/08/1467380/-The-Cold-Heart-of-the-Matter


The Frog in Boiling Water Has Started Feeling The Bern.
Saturday Jan 16, 2016 · 11:51 AM EDT

OK, the actual science relating to the metaphor, of a frog allowing itself to be boiled to death if the temperature of the water in the pot in which it sits is raised slowly enough, debunks it as a myth. Frogs, it turns out, are not dumb enough to sit still for that type of treatment. Establishment politics though still operates on the premise that most Americans may be susceptible to that practice... Thomas Paine had this to say in his pamphlet “Common Sense, written at the dawn of the American Revolution:

“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.” Such voices are heard today dismissing the fundamental premise of Bernie Sander's 2016 presidential campaign, that our current political establishment, and the economic interests that own it, sells out the interests of average Americans...

Conventional wisdom says many things of course. It asserts that the only way for Social Security to remain solvent is to reduce adjustments made for inflation in payments made to beneficiaries, for example. And that Seniors should be forced to wait longer to become eligible for those benefits. This while workers in their 50's and 60's are increasingly culled from management positions and forced to compete to become door greeters at Walmart.

Conventional wisdom, at least according to Congress and most leading presidential candidates, also says that an income of a quarter million a year is middle class. This at a time when one out of six Americans, and over a fifth of children under 18, live in poverty (officially defined as an annual income of less than $18,500 for a family of three). Our political class... places a higher priority on shielding the earnings of those making hundreds of thousands a year from any additional “tax hit” than it does on eliminating the suffering of children in families earning below twenty grand a year.

Back when the Bush tax cuts were about to expire in 2012, President Obama sought to have them lapse only for income levels above the middle class. A hue and cry subsequently arose over how to define middle class income... Ultimately, after battles in Congress, that line got drawn at $450,000 for a married couple ($400,000 for an individual), below which they could keep all of their Bush tax cuts.

Simultaneous with this high profile national debate over preserving the Bush tax cut for middle class families, the Publisher's Clearinghouse launched a brand new giveaway gimmick to excite and entice the masses into subscribing to their magazines... Instead of just giving away ten million dollars like they had been previously doing, in 2012 they announced a five thousand dollars a week for life grand prize... that's the stuff that dream are made of for hundreds of millions of Americans. That happens to equal an income of $260,000 a year.

The Publisher's Clearinghouse is still selling magazines off of their fabulous $260,000 a year... grand prize, while Hillary Clinton is making new vows to shield middle class incomes up to $250,000 a year from any increase in taxes. What's wrong with this picture? Maybe it's the people who are not in it,... the ones trying to get by on something closer to the median national income of $50,000 a year. The ones for whom $250,000 is a fortune.

Tens of millions of American voices have long been ignored by the gate keepers of establishment politics... The status quo depends upon estrangement, and long has grown accustomed to elections where most potential voters stay home instead... That's what happens when people tire of voting for the lesser evil, and winning even less than that. That's what happens when the establishment's “long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right”. Tens of millions of Americans live in poverty while America’s 185 wealthiest clans are collectively worth $1.2 trillion. The system that enabled this is called politics as usual...

...If Sander's views are seen as falling outside the mainstream of American politics that's only because the stream bed is engineered and runs through concrete culverts , narrowly defined and carefully controlled by banks that direct it... It took a global financial melt down in 2008 to provide Sanders with a platform dramatic enough for his message to break through nationally. It's a message that resonates easily though when people finally hear it, because they already know it in their bones. It is a call to action, and the frog is feeling the Bern.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/01/16/1470665/-The-Frog-in-Boiling-Water-Has-Started-Feeling-The-Bern


It's not just about a legislative agenda, it's about a clear vision forward
Tuesday Jan 19, 2016 · 10:37 AM EDT

...Sanders is exhibiting the type of political courage in defense of most Americans that has so set him apart in this election year from what we have all long come to expect from our mainstream political class. He will not shy away from what he knows is right simply because it temporarily is not politically viable. Hillary Clinton believes that points to a weakness in Bernie Sanders because he likely will be unable to soon deliver on this core economic premise of his platform for America when he is inaugurated as our president. Bernie Sanders has never said that he could. That is not a weakness.

Bernie Sanders combines clear eyed realism with an uplifting vision for America, he is that political rarity - the pragmatic visionary. Martin Luther King Jr. once so famously said "I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you...". That wasn't an admission of defeat, it was clear headed idealism, what America at its best has always been about. If you can not articulate a goal you are unlikely to ever achieve it. The party of FDR was never timid about fighting for transformative social change. Is that still our Democratic Party?
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/01/19/1471749/-It-s-not-just-about-a-legislative-agenda-it-s-about-a-clear-vision-forward


Why I am All in for Sanders
Sunday Jan 24, 2016 · 12:08 PM EDT

The word authentic gets thrown around a lot as a type of short hand for what ever it is about Bernie Sanders that so many Americans find appealing... most folks prefer real to fake in just about everything, and there simply is nothing fake about Bernie Sanders. No one wonders what they will actually find if you manage to scratch his veneer. There is no veneer to scratch... . What you see is what you get. So yes the word authentic fits Bernie Sanders well. It resonates like the truth.

...For politicians who spend a lifetime perfecting the art of polish, who gravitate like moths to fire to power player circles... there must be something intrinsically unnerving about watching a man like Bernie Sanders, who has never owned a tuxedo in his life, ascending toward the pinnacle of American Power, the presidency itself.

...Americans understand intuitively that Bernie Sanders stands ready to fight hard for us, that vast majority of us who aren't a part of the one percent. We can see past the clutter of political labels directly to his substance. People recognize a good man and political ally when they see one, and we know Bernie is someone willing to tirelessly go the distance for us. So the last real question then is, can he fight effectively for us? More effectively for our interests than, for instance, Hillary Clinton?

...Some say that Bernie Sanders is outside of the mainstream of American politics, but I think that's true of most Americans. It's not so much that we travel in tributaries left or right of center, it's more like we are all up a creek without a paddle, or even worse, stranded high and dry and simply left behind... That is the status quo that Bernie Sanders, not Hillary Clinton, runs so fiercely against. His is a clarion call to action. Hers is steady as you go.

...Democrats have long pursued incremental changes... It's led to a slow motion catastrophic erosion of the foundation that the Democratic Party once proudly stood on. For most of the last 30 years the Democratic Party has been playing a prevent defense... Ever since Ronald Reagan won elections by declaring government the problem Democrats have countered with an asterisk, quietly demurring that actually sometimes it isn't. Republicans so thoroughly succeeded in moving our political landscape to the right that it no longer took an accusation of harboring communist sympathies to make a Democratic politician quiver, simply being called a liberal was enough to make them sweat.

...When FDR became president he called his political vision for America “The New Deal”. LBJ later called his “The Great Society”. But gone were the days, until now, when Democrats seeking the presidency spoke with clarity and urgency about economic justice, about confronting and overturning the prevailing status quo... curtailed by an economic order that makes the very practice of politics itself dependent on the largess of a donor class... It's the preset course we've been sailing on for years but only Bernie Sanders, among those who seek our nation's highest office, is prepared to rock the boat.

Looking back now it's easy to overlook that when Barack Obama first ran for the presidency he pointedly did not do so as a progressive... Barack Obama was the man who once saluted purple state America, who sought to blur our ideological distinctions rather than campaign directly on them...

In the face of the greatest economic crisis the world has faced since the Great Depression Obama exhibited far greater common sense than his opposition. He fought for bailing out the Auto Industry along with bailing out Wall Street. He fought for extending unemployment benefits along with extending Bush tax cuts. But there was no sweeping “New Deal” agenda in response to the Great Recession. Clearly our economy needed an economic infusion and President Obama responded with a large stimulus package. Seeking bi-partisan support, the one he ultimately backed included roughly equal parts new spending and tax cuts, though most leading economists agreed that money directly spent on job creation gave a far more potent stimulus effect...

...to his credit Obama tackled the health care issue during his first term, passing landmark legislation in the Affordable Care Act . It was openly modeled on the pro private insurance approach pioneered in Massachusetts by then Republican Governor Mitt Romney, which itself was built on concepts backed by Republican Senate leader Bob Dole in opposition to a plan being advocated for by then First Lady Hillary Clinton. Millions of Americans gained new coverage under Obamacare, millions more remain uncovered. After paying for premiums, high deductibles and co-pays, further millions can't afford to use the coverage that they have.

All that occurred during our most recent Democratic Presidency. The one before that deregulated Wall Street, instituted strict welfare reforms, and pushed for mandatory sentencing… After ceding the Republicans a permanent home field advantage, whenever contemporary (previously called “new”) Democrats get to reoccupy the White House they work for incremental advances over the preceding Republican benchmark. Whenever Republicans retake the presidency we suffer massive setbacks... Republicans representing the billionaire class are seldom timid about going for the throat. One step forward, five steps back is not a winning formula for positive social change.,.. Incrementalisn won't deliver us from this crisis, it's just a slow set up for an inevitable crash.

...At best we get offered crumbs by the wealthy; a job retraining program here, lower interest student loans there, a bump up in earned income credits or penalty free IRA withdrawals. And then the wheel will spin again until Republicans manage to get their hands on all the levers for one year, and there goes Social Security and the arctic wilderness, and that is just for starts.

We've all seen this movie and we don't like how it ends, but nothing will change if we don't throw out the current script and fundamentally rewrite it… I look to the past and I see a time when African Americans were slaves – and huge wealth depended on them remaining so. I look to the past again and see a time when women didn't have the right to vote, when governments run by men could legally exclude women from that “privilege”. I look to the past, but that past has changed.

...I see younger generations of Americans taking over the reigns of leadership at every level of our society... and recognize their fight for a future that they will inhabit for better or for worse. And I know we can not morally impede their finest aspirations, nor assume that what seems impossible today will not be possible soon, in the America that they will inherit and guide forward. Who are we to tell them what can't be done? I see them supporting Bernie Sanders for President this year...
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/01/24/1474495/-Why-I-am-All-in-for-Sanders


President Sanders and a Republican Congress – The Fallacy of Conventional Wisdom
Saturday Jan 30, 2016 · 4:13 PM EDT

Republicans haven't had to deal with anyone remotely like Bernie Sanders on a national level in a long, long time. .. Conventional wisdom dictates that any agenda that a President Sanders might propose will be Dead On Arrival in any chamber controlled by the GOP... Conventional wisdom holds that Hillary Clinton, rather than Bernie Sanders, is realistic enough to actually get some things done. Conventional wisdom has been having a tough slog of it this year though, and it's beginning to show its age.

...America hasn't experienced as long a period of prolonged economic anxieties as this current one since the Great Depression, and that's when President Roosevelt instituted an economic program far to the left of anything Senator Sanders has campaigned on. Thirty years later Lyndon Baines Johnson, in many ways, governed to the left of what Bernie Sanders now proposes. But at the height of the Reagan years, most Democrats turned tail and ran away from ideological tags any further left than “moderate”, “Liberal” soon was relegating to a status not so dissimilar from “pinko” in the American political lexicon.

Actually liberal eventually grew to be more of a slur than pinko had ever been since the fifties...

...Continuing to slander the American Democratic Left as “pinkos” failed to adequately further the revised Class War narrative that the Republican Party began drafting, as it moved to secure their eagerly anticipated “New Republican Majority”. “Liberals” turned out to be a better foil for that purpose. Unlike steel workers, liberals were said to work in ivory towers. They didn't wear hard hats...

Soon the Right began railing against Latte Liberals and Limousine Liberals and all the rest of the so called Liberal Elites – derided for living in their own detached reality. In a stroke of Machiavellian genius Liberals, to hear Republicans describe them, became the real architects of class warfare, engineering a massive redistribution of wealth – from the Middle Class to the Poor. Tax and Spend Liberals... handing over the hard earned wages of America's Middle Class to shiftless lazy poor folks so the latter could live like Welfare Queens on other people's dimes. And why would liberals steel from hard working Americans like that? Because ordinary bleeding heart liberal voters were conned by unscrupulous limousine liberal politicians into letting them buy the votes they needed to entrench themselves in office by giving away “free stuff”… to people who refuse to lift a finger to help themselves.

...Recently though the tide began to turn as all tides are want to do. In a time honored youth contrarian dance – buttressed by critical thinking, millennial voters began shedding the negative connotations assigned to the word “liberal”. And then along came 74 year old Bernie Sanders, self identified as a Democratic Socialist, running to become President.

“Socialist” had for decades been reserved by the Republican Party as their EXTRA STRENTH version of “Liberal”. .. Problem was they were hard pressed to ever produce any actual socialists in American national electoral politics, aside from one obscure congressman from the small state of Vermont who… failed miserably to fit their casting call for a plausible left wing boogyman. So finally, out of an abundance of caustic exuberance, they took to calling the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, a “Socialist”.

...When our financial system cratered he didn't nationalize the banks, and the stock market rebounded fully... Is that how an American socialist acts when one finally comes into power? How scary is that? And if Obama isn't really a socialist then who the hell is, and what is it exactly that he or she stands for? And then along came Bernie, 74 year old Democratic Socialist running for President, answering the question and redefining American politics in the process.

...Bernie doesn't come across as a limousine liberal, and he's absolutely no one's idea of an elitist. Equally significant, he doesn't flinch at being called liberal...

The vaulted supposedly impregnable Republican line of defense spanning decades now could be called 50 shades of red baiting. It is their hardened battle ready position, it is their Maginot Line; so formidable, so unyielding, so entrenched - and so built on lessons learned during previous eras of combat. Like concrete embedded cannons, it became obsolete... few really noticed until somebody finally called the question; Whose side are you on?

Bernie Sanders may literally be a Democratic Socialist but his appeal is to economic populism... During the Great Depression under FDR, the Democratic Party aligned firmly with economic populism. During the late 1960's, under Richard Nixon, Republicans began to channel populism's darker sides. By the 1980's our Middle Class began to ebb, and ramped up cultural wars were needed to eclipse any attention paid to an ongoing class war...

Throughout this process the Democratic Party was defanged by the perceived need … to court political and personal sustenance directly from the hands of the wealthy donor class. It is difficult to expose thievery while your hands are outstretched to the robbers for your stipend. The political rules were tacitly set: Cultural warfare and debates over social issues were allowable, challenging an economic system rigged to enhance a growing oligarchy was not. Over time the strain of economic populism was slowly bred out of National Democrats through the process of financial selection. Then along came Bernie Sanders.

What the Right has been slow to wake up to is that populism is a double edged sword, it's been so long since it has effectively been wielded against them they've almost forgotten what that looks like when it happens...

It's been a long time since the Democratic Party offered a full throated defense of progressive taxation, but there once was a time when a clear majority of Americans understood the concept well and adamantly supported it, and Democrats proudly embraced it...

It is a myth that Americans only care about lowering their taxes: We just don't want to pay more than our fair share, and we want our taxes spent in sensible ways that produce tangible benefits to society. When a bridge is in danger of collapsing most folks are willing to raise money to replace it... Republicans have systematical rolled back progressive taxation and expanded tax loopholes for the super wealthy in the largest government engineered transfer of wealth in American history. The rich are still getting richer and the America Dream is dead. It should be no surprise then that more Americans are getting angry, and anger is the fuel that allows populism to grow.

...Despite the best efforts of those who cynically try to channel it, social populism can't be inoculated against incursions by economic strains. The Middle Class is shrinking, and most Americans feel insecure about their futures. Bernie Sanders is an unvarnished truth teller, not a slick spin doctor, and that has broad populist appeal...

...It doesn't surprise me that some Republican strategists think Hillary Clinton would be harder to defeat than Bernie Sanders. They are gauging the traffic ahead by staring at a rear view mirror. Should a President Sanders stand next year to deliver his agenda for America before a Congress partially or fully controlled by Republicans, I suspect conventional wisdom will still be in denial of what would happen next.

The Republican Party has lost control of its populist base, and it keeps scrambling to keep up with them. When President Bernie Sanders addresses the Republicans gathered in Congress, he will be talking over their heads directly to the American people, including those in the Republican populist base. Like with no Democrat before him in recent history, many struggling members of the Republican base will know exactly whose side President Sanders is on. It won't be with the super rich. It won't be with the Wall Street Banks and hedge fund managers. It won't be with the multinational corporations who are outsourcing all of our children's future...
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/01/30/1477394/-President-Sanders-and-a-Republican-Congress-The-Fallacy-of-Conventional-Wisdom



A Political Revolution IS the Pragmatic Course When the System is Rigged
Friday Feb 05, 2016 · 11:41 PM EDT

...The system our constitution attempted to enshrine once was deemed revolutionary, with populist forces carefully balanced by institutional checks and balances. Increasingly what remains of the latter are large campaign contribution checks drawn off fattened corporate balance sheets. Elections and recessions come and go, income inequality only rises. With corruption embedded in the software of democracy there is seldom the need for overt bribery. That's why searching for instances of specific quid pro quos can be fundamentally misleading.

There's little need to micro manage each politicians every move in a crooked game. When the overall system is rigged then no one vote is critical. Much like casinos in Las Vegas with their myriad slot machines, Wall Street and associates don't have to control the pull of every lever, the fix runs deeper than that... The men and women who cast their votes in Congress know which side their bread is buttered on, and where big pay checks will await them whenever they finally leave office – by choice or by defeat - unless they bit the hands that fed them.

...A rigged system is the classic closed loop, if left to run indefinitely without outside interference there is no mechanism to change it's course. Faced with an entrenched self perpetuating machine, attempting to disable it with the tools  closest at hand is not a practical approach, not if that’s a set of phillips head screwdrivers when what’s needed is a fleet of bulldozers.

...The leverage simply does not exist inside of a rigged system to alter the course that it's on. The status quo is not set up to change the status quo. Something new must intercede to counteract governing inertia, and that by nature is revolutionary.

No prescription for political change is pragmatic that doesn’t recognize the dimensions of the task at hand and embrace a viable strategy to win meaningful results. The course of least resistance offers the least resistance for a reason – the path less heavily defended seldom leads one to the core...

...Hillary Clinton is among the more astute political inside players I have witnessed in my lifetime, and clearly she possesses great personal abilities... Her campaign message in essence comes down to “I can and will fight hard for you - It's OK, I've got this.”

But even if Hillary were Super Woman, she can not manage this alone – not even with Bill at her side. It will take more than a very strong woman to reverse the effects of a system that's long been rigged against the overwhelming majority of Americans. It will take more than a village. It will take a full fledged movement.

Bernie Sanders gets that. He gets it emotionally, he gets it intellectually, and he gets it strategically...

Bernie counted on a large movement to support him reaching this point: to fund him with small donations, to organize at the grass roots level below the radar of establishment politics, and to break through the media embargo placed around his populist message through millions of tweets and posts, through viral videos shared and through word of mouth...

In 2010, two years after the Great Recession struck our nation down... talk in our nation's capital centered largely on deficit reduction. Conventional wisdom then held that entitlement spending needed to be reined in, and that cost of living increases for Social Security recipients had to be recalculated because they were too generous as they were. Debates weren't ongoing over how much to expand “food stamp” relief for the hungry, they were over how deeply that should be “trimmed” instead... Income inequality wasn't high on the national agenda, and the media and our politicians rarely mentioned it before the Occupy Wall Street movement seized our public squares...

In a similar vein repeated lethal police shootings of unarmed predominantly minority citizens never elicited much in the way sustained public attention - outside of minority communities - until the Black Lives Matter movement took to the streets... This is nothing new to anyone who has studied the role that movements play in transforming our nation, when the establishment starts out hell bent on not changing; from the Labor movement to the Woman’s Suffrage Movement, to the Civil Rights Movement, to the Anti War and Environmental movements and more.

If you believe that what's needed to undo the damage caused by our rigged economic and political system is to install a strong experienced and dedicated woman as our next President – then Hillary Clinton may have the skill set you are looking for. If instead you believe that it will take a strong and sustained movement that will not disband after election day... then Bernie Sanders has the demonstrated skill set needed to mobilize and engage one for that effort. Failure is never the pragmatic choice, no matter how incremental it may be...
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/02/06/1480621/-A-Political-Revolution-IS-the-Pragmatic-Course-When-the-System-is-Rigged


They, the gatekeepers of officially sanctioned political reality, are running low on excuses

Wednesday Feb 10, 2016 · 8:44 PM EDT

They are the professional opinion makers plying a discussion framing trade in the media - some well intentioned and others not. They are the career politicians acclimated to playing by traditional rules on a field of conventional wisdom assumptions - some well intentioned and others not. They are the current donor class long grown accustomed to and comfortable with being the King (and Queen) makers in politics - some well intentioned and others not.

They all have minimized Bernie Sanders' message for all of his long career. They said he was on the fringe, and that his views didn't resonate with average Americans. They used him as a caricature to represent the furthest pole possible in American leftist thinking short of literal Marxism. After Sanders announced for President they all but totally ignored him - despite him being a sitting United States Senator. Then they waited for Bernie to be swept away by America's voters as they had concluded he must be.

Now they awake to find Bernie Sanders winning a landslide of historic proportions in the nation's first primary against the no longer presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party, and they are down to essentially their last excuse. They say Bernie Sanders has tapped into a deep vein of public resentment against the status quo. They say the electorate is in an angry mood. They say that support for Bernie Sanders is a message to the establishment,.. Implicit in that assessment is a belief that someone other than Bernie Sanders, someone with, they would say, a more realistic platform, will find the right words to acknowledge the public's dissatisfaction...

What they do not yet say, and remain unwilling to say unless absolutely forced to by the dawning of a new political day in America, is that maybe, just maybe, voters are actually embracing Bernie Sanders FOR the things that he believes in for America, because they believe in them also.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/02/11/1483178/-They-the-gatekeepers-of-officially-sanctioned-political-reality-are-running-low-on-excuses


Since when do we let Republican politicians decide what is and is not possible for America?
Monday Feb 15, 2016 · 1:45 PM EDT

The literal answer to that question can be debated. At one end of the possible spectrum it could date back to when LBJ buried the dream of The Great Society under a mountain of death in Vietnam. Or one can argue that the final tipping point was the Supreme Court decision on Citizens United. In between we saw the conservative movement sweep to power under Ronald Reagan in 1980, and Democrats respond with the Democratic Leadership Council and Bill Clinton's centrist steeped “New Democrats” ... Whatever the literal moment of retreat, at heart the question is rhetorical, and can be boiled down to a three letter abbreviation; WTF?!?

Social change has never been about having realistic goals in the short term. It has never been about negotiating compromises that can win the support of those who embody the status quo now. When that is the benchmark used to calibrate fundamental justice we end up with agreements like a written Constitution that defined resident African American slaves as 3/5ths persons when it came to drawing up Congressional districts.

Negotiation and compromise concerning justice in any form represent at best a temporary stage in an ongoing larger battle; an argument that half a loaf is better than none. Some times it may be, other times not, but never is a half loaf reason to disavow the need for a full one if that in fact is what is truly needed. Republican politicians seem to grasp that fact more clearly than do most of our Democratic leaders... Conservatives will never convincingly repudiate their vision for privatizing Social Security no matter how often Democrats beat them back on it....

The Republican Right never used the fact that Democrats held a decades long near institutional lock on majorities in the House of Representatives as a reason to abandon their own extreme vision for America... They still haven't abandoned their call to gut progressive taxation, for another example. Each presidential election cycle one or more of their leading candidates offers up a new version of a “flat tax” scheme, calling it a “tax reform”. While they haven't fully gotten there yet they sure as hell have their half a loaf already.

Republicans began fighting to privatize public education at a time when even the concept of that seemed foreign to most Americans... they just kept advancing the notion until they gained some foot holds they could build on. Tuition free public colleges and universities may sound pie in the sky now, but they once were well established in many places, including California. That was at odds with the vision though of Ronald Reagan and the conservative movement behind him. Here is one summary of what happened to those tuition free public institutions:

"California’s public-university system, still the largest in the nation, abolished tuition three months after it was founded in 1868, implementing instead a fee for additional services, such as health care, that at first was tiny.

The era of free tuition ended, ironically, with the student movement of the 1960s, just as campuses were getting more populous, diverse, and democratic. Ronald Reagan made the University of California a major punching bag of his 1966 campaign for governor of California, with the encouragement of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, who saw campus peace activists as dangerous subversives. Upon taking office, Reagan managed to have UC president Clark Kerr fired—he had been the architect of mass higher education not just in California, but across the country—and hiked fees at the UC colleges to the approximate levels of tuition charged elsewhere."
http://college.monster.com/news/articles/1064-whatever-happened-to-when-college-was-free

...It is one thing to mobilize your forces for some Congressional battle on an issue you believe in, only to then fall short of fully prevailing. The more extensive your mobilization, the better compromise you are likely to achieve regardless. It is another thing to fall to mobilize and fight for what you believe in because you can not clearly identify a sure path forward to certain victory. Even worse is a basic lack of faith that what may indeed be impossible today can in fact become possible tomorrow if the battle is fully joined.

...We would all be working 60 hour weeks today if a bunch of Wobblie organizers looked at the strength of the Mill Owners who opposed them and said "You better go home to your families, boys" rather than "Which side are you on?"
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/02/15/1485548/-Since-when-do-we-let-Republican-politicians-decide-what-is-and-is-not-possible-for-America



The Political Naivety of Millennials
Thursday Feb 18, 2016 · 9:16 AM EDT

Naivety. It's a theme usually slipped between the lines by surrogates for Hillary Clinton, trying to explain why millennial voters so strongly back Senator Bernie Sanders over the former Secretary of State. At least one of her high profile supporters though, Democratic Rep. George Butterfield, chose to go there boldly. Rep. Butterfield is a Hillary Clinton ally from North Carolina who is also the Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. Speaking at an event announcing an endorsement for Clinton by the CBC PAC, Butterfield, as reported by The Hill, made these comments: “I hope the students would understand the big picture, and that is, Sen. Sanders’s message might be appealing, but is it realistic?” Butterfield said Wednesday.

...“Many of these are first-time voters, and Sen. Sanders’s message resonates with a younger generation because of the promises that he’s making,” Butterfield said. “It’s not a disparagement on the new voters. It’s the fact that many of them are inexperienced and have not gone through an election cycle before.

“You listen to the message, and then you make a second evaluation about whether it’s realistic.”
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/04/15/1515713/-Only-One-Candidate-Fully-Gets-The-Urgency

...That's code talk for all of that so called “free stuff”. The Hillary Clinton campaign has to be artful in the way they make the charge that young folk really only support Sanders because he is offering them the promise of “free stuff” because a) directly saying that would exacerbate their current problem with millennial voters and b) they are counting on the support of millennial voters in the General Election... But someone like Rand Paul, when he was still in the Republican race, was freer to spell it out clearly, in comments like this one made at a Heritage Action for America presidential forum:

“Alright, Bernie Sanders is offering you free stuff. He wants to give you free healthcare. He’d give you a free car. He’d give you a free house. But guess what. There is no free lunch.” ...Free stuff is unrealistic, got that? Even if the lure of lots of free stuff is downright exciting. And that of course leads right into another classic excuse made by the Clinton campaign to explain why Hillary is getting trounced by millennial voters. Campaigning for his wife in Florida, Bill Clinton recently said the following:

“...both primaries have been dominated by very emotional campaigns that I think are the product of people’s doubt about whether they can claim that future.” He also said this; “We are too politically polarized and we keep rewarding people who tell us things they know they can’t do because it pushes our hot button.” ...

So in summary then, millennial are responding with their hearts, not their heads, when they flock to Bernie Sanders (you've heard that line before too, haven't you?) Because of their inexperience and youthful emotions, they truly believe that getting all of that exciting free stuff is actually possible, despite all evidence to the contrary. Just because most of them graduated from public high schools after twelve years of public education, without incurring any personal debt in the process, or that most other advanced nations offer 16 years of tuition free public education to their citizens, is no good reason to believe that America is capable of pulling something like that off here...

Bill and Hillary Clinton both know personally how unrealistic the expectations of youth tend to be before they mature and learn to be pragmatic about what is really feasible. A millennial, as defied by Merriam Webster, is “a person born in the 1980s or 1990s —usually plural. ” Using that definition everyone with an age between 17 and 36 today is now a millennial. When Bill Clinton was himself a mere 30 years old he became the Attorney General of Arkansas. When Hillary Clinton was herself a mere 26 years old she was a member of the impeachment inquiry staff in Washington, D.C., advising the House Committee on the Judiciary during the Watergate scandal.

When Martin Luther King Jr was 26 he led the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott. By the time he was 28 he had helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, serving as its first president. When John Lewis was 23 he was the Chairman of The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Bobby Kennedy would be considered the equivalent to an older millennial today at 36, when he became the Attorney General of the United States and the closest Advisory to his brother the American President. Bill Gates was 20 when he co-founded Microsoft, and Steve Jobs was 21 when he co-founded Apple.

One could argue that passion got the best of all of the people mentioned above, before they could internalize what was deemed possible to achieve by the establishment of their youth. You could say the same about much of a whole generation that engaged in the struggle to end Segregation in America, to end the war in Vietnam, to move feminist concerns into the foreground of public debate, to instill environmental consciousness into a disposable society and more. Young people by and large, all too naive to understand what couldn't be accomplished. All too impatient to change the world to accept that it couldn't be done, except incrementally, through a realistic pragmatic approach...
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/02/18/1487047/-The-Political-Naivety-of-Millennials


Standing With Invisible People
Wednesday Feb 24, 2016 · 2:02 PM EDT

Our world is inhabited by invisible people. I am one of them and so probably are you. Andy Warhol once famously said "In the future, everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes" but he was only off by a factor of several billion. Most of us only show up as an occasional blur. Fly a blimp over a football stadium, or a Civil Rights March on Washington, and we can be viewed en masse, individually indiscernible in a crowd. To the establishment we are as faceless as a sea of extras assembled for a film shoot. To them we primarily exist as demographics, grouped together by the tens of thousands when we are noticed at all.

Who is the establishment? For the most part they are the visible ones, known beyond their neighbors, families, friends and coworkers. Even when they move anonymously their reputations precede them. The rich and powerful are in the establishment, but they aren't alone there. Much like a college football dynasty, the cheerleaders are part of it too. At the state and national levels, America's major political parties are in the establishment as well, branches of Phi Beta Dogma irregardless of the ideologies each may express. In a seen and be seen world, membership is determined by the company you keep, who you know and how you know them. There is an in crowd, and then there's the rest of us. Hillary Clinton is embedded in that in crowd, Bernie Sanders - not so much.

People still talk about a Washington bubble, but that bubble has grown until geography no longer matters. Washington now is a state of mind at the intersection of wealth and power. Always kissing cousins, the two have interbred, and the result is a bastardized democracy. Regardless of where they call their home, politicians spend less time now with people who elect them and more with those who fund elections. Inside of an establishment bubble it's hard to see outside it. Surrounded by its members, their routines define reality. It's less about distinguishing right from wrong, it's more about familiarity and what is viewed as normal, which truths are recognized and which aren't: Who is visible and who isn't. Living in a bubble good people get separated from their roots.

I believe that Hilary Clinton is a very good person, I honestly do. But though that is meaningful it's no longer the point. She is out of touch with the pain of most Americans. How powerful is the bubble she's in? Strong enough that Hillary literally couldn't intuit why earning $21,648,000.00 in speaking fees between 2013 and 2015 would cause political problems for a Democrat running for President in 2016. http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/05/politics/hillary-clinton-bill-clinton-paid-speeches/

When Bernie Sanders reminds the public that since the great recession 99% percent of all new income is going to the top 1%, he is describing Hillary Clinton – literally. How badly did she need that money? Even without those speaking fees the net worth of Bill and Hillary Clinton in 2015 would still have placed them in the top one tenth of one percent for all Americans. “The top 0.1% (consisting of 160,000 families worth $73m on average) hold 22% of America’s wealth, just shy of the 1929 peak—and almost the same share as the bottom 90% of the population.” http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-11-11/fed-won-americas-01-are-now-wealthier-bottom-90

I believe that Hillary Clinton is at her best right now, during the midst of a difficult primary contest for the Democratic nomination for President, when the bubble that surrounds her is at its thinnest, when some of the people standing outside of it become visible to her at Town Hall meetings, where they can personally gain her attention. But Bernie Sanders has stood with invisible people for his entire life in politics. That helps explain why Bernie was so dimly seen by the national establishment before his insurgent run for President. To them he has seemingly come out of nowhere. But that's where most of America lives.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/02/24/1490393/--Standing-With-Invisible-People


MEMO TO MATHEWS: "It's the only way change happens in America"
Friday Feb 26, 2016 · 12:37 PM EDT

Bernie Sanders said that to Chris Mathews about Social Change Movements when Mathews fixated, during their interview, on the impossibility of winning 60 votes in the U.S. Senate next January for a progressive legislative agenda.

MEMO to Chris Mathews:

Not only is Bernie Sanders right (it doesn't just take a village, it takes a movement to bring about real change) but those of us who know radical change is essential in America won't be judging progress towards it by some Senate vote count in January.

The Republican opposition doesn't care how reasonable the next Democratic President may seem if we elect one this November - they will obstruct the same regardless...

At the end of the day, before the United States government enters permanent shut down during some prolonged budget crisis, some compromises will be reached and no one will be happy with them... After the forces on both sides are fully marshaled, after all the fiery speeches are made and the behind the scenes maneuvers executed, we will all do the math and take the best deal we can get for now. That will be the case whether it is Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton who is sitting in the oval office. If anything I would suggest that by asking for more to begin with we will end up with more at the finish..

Whoever we elect our next President will have the same intrinsic powers of the Executive Branch. They each will have a veto pen, they each can issue executive orders. They each will staff the executive branch with people who share their priorities for America. While a Republican opposition in Congress can make a show of resisting some high profile presidential appointments, there will be a Democratic administration put in place which will work to implement Democratic objectives through rules and regulations. And unless we elect a Democratic majority House and a Democratic super majority in the Senate in November, Republicans will retain their ability to obstruct...

With all due respect Chris you have fundamentally missed the point. We aren't playing a short game here, we are playing a very long one. Your most basic miscalculation is apparent in how you framed your verbal challenge to Bernie Sanders. You asked him what he can possibly achieve as President next January when you can barely understand yourself how he got to the place where that concept is even conceivable...

...If your political world view holds up through the current election cycle, there won't be a President Sanders in office come January to propose any legislative agenda for Republicans to obstruct. But what will have to happen for Bernie Sanders to actually win the Presidency and then confront the congressional obstacles you envisioned? The answer is a political revolution that you couldn't see any hint of as recently as last summer, one that in your estimation is still insufficient to win Bernie Sanders the Democratic Party nomination for President ...but what if you are wrong, what would that say about America and the political power of a social movement for change? You are gaming a 2017 political battle map based on conventional 2015 political intelligence, so I'm not surprised by the conclusions you reach.

...There is something happening in America that is upsetting all conventional political thinking, but it may not be advanced so far as to elect a President Sanders now after first having to defeat the most sophisticated and entrenched political machine in Democratic politics. The fact that Bernie has already gotten this far though should stop and give you pause...

So no I don't expect a President Bernie Sanders to rapidly move a progressive agenda through Congress with strong Republican opposition. I expect him to continue to catalyze a social change movement that is rapidly growing in this nation while moving to the fore. Bernie has the power of a message whose time has come Chris, but someone had to pierce the cone of silence that was preventing it from being heard... Sanders, with the help of a movement growing behind him, has already rewritten the political agenda in this county... How far back do you have to go to find issues of burgeoning poverty and income inequality dominating a national election campaign like they are now? That's not Hillary Clinton's doing.

How long did it take for segregationists to lose control of the United States Senate Chris? ...when JFK defeated Richard Nixon for president in 1960 few could foresee that, less than four years later, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would pass through the United States Senate. During those few intervening years an awful lot was going on outside the Halls of Congress. It's the only way change happens in America.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/02/26/1491765/-MEMO-TO-MATHEWS-It-s-the-only-way-change-happens-in-America


Where is the Quid Pro Quo?
Tuesday Mar 08, 2016 · 10:14 AM EDT

Hillary Clinton claims she represents only the voters, that her public record is transparent, and that there are no quid pro quos for the vast quantity of money she takes in. You can't find them because they are not there, she says, and in a legal sense I don't doubt her.

This is taken from "The Legal Dictionary": "...an elected official might promise favorable governmental treatment to a person in exchange for something of value. This form of quid pro quo would be a violation of the law. On the federal level, the Hobbs Act (18 U.S.C.A. § 1951 ) makes it a felony for a public official to extort property under color of office. Trading campaign contributions for promises of official actions or inactions are also prohibited under the act." http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Quid+pro+quo

It's all very specific, very concrete, very traceable in an evidentiary sense. There are politicians who illicitly make such arrangements, but Hillary Clinton isn't one of them. She isn't corrupt, and neither is President Obama for that matter, who Hillary Clinton is quick to point out received huge sums of money from Wall Street during his 2008 presidential campaign. That's not the same as saying, however, that she like so many others, isn't corrupted by the influence of money – in the larger, not the legal, sense of that word. . when she raises money from big donors for her campaigns, it is all perfectly normal, well within the letter of the law. The law was written to allow for that behavior, and then further expanded on by the Supreme Court in its Citizens United decision.

But we see the quid pro quos even though they are “legal”. They are hiding in plain sight, and not confined to one politician or political party. Unspoken quid pro quos are why America's greatest financial institutions could crash the world economy and get fined billions for doing so without a single top executive going to jail. They are why the Trans-Pacific Partnership was swarmed over by industry representatives for years during its drafting, while our elected Representatives had to wait to make an appointment to read over it in a small windowless room without clearance to make copies. They are why Senators and Congressman have job security for life: If they should lose an election there is always a corporate board or well paid lobbyist position awaiting them - if they were “business friendly” while in office. These non specified quid pro quos are why both political parties spent most of the last few decades appealing to voters predominantly on the battleground of social issues, while our middle class spiraled into steep decline and became an endangered species...
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/03/08/1497923/-Where-is-the-Quid-Pro-Quo


Advantage: Sanders
Wednesday Mar 09, 2016 · 12:06 PM EDT

...The numbers vary from state to state, but overall Bernie has done better with male voters, with white voters, with young voters, with working class voters, with Independents, with strong progressives, and with voters outside of the South. Hillary has done better with minorities (African Americans in particular - Latinos somewhat less so), with older voters, with moderately liberal voters, with women, and with Southern voters.

Bernie always does better with voters under 30, but often he triumphs with all voters below 50. Plus he's held his own with women in some contests. The Southern blow outs for Hillary tend to skew the overall results somewhat when looking at general demographics - for example her overall strength among women is buttressed by massive support for her by African American women who voted for Clinton in southern states.

When it comes time to run against Trump, what are the implications for the trends that we've seen so far? It's simple: Sanders is the candidate best able to win demographic groups that Democrats need but can't reliably count on. And he does so in the states that we must carry to win the electoral college, without losing the votes of typically reliable Democrats in the process.

With the voter groups where Hillary has an advantage so far... they are pro Clinton voters, and that reflects well on her. But there are few anti Sanders voters in those ranks ...it is much more a matter of them just preferring Hillary... By and large, outside of feverish activist enclaves, registered Democrats feel positively toward both of our candidates... Notably both Hillary and Bernie have strong platforms and voting records that resonate with minorities and women.

...No matter who we run we can count on African Americans, and especially Latinos, tuning out in force to defeat Donald Trump. The same is true for women who understand that reproductive rights, to name just one major concern, are at stake in the fall election.

Young voters have a lot to lose if Republican win in the fall... they should turn out in force regardless of which candidate Democrats run, except that history says otherwise. Repeatedly voters below 30 have been under represented in the electorate, often dramatically so. That was less true in 2008 than usual, when Barack Obama inspired a whole new generation of voters to participate. That type wave of enthusiasm is evident again during this election cycle, but only for one candidate; Bernie Sanders.

Progressives too should be counted on in force to vote Democratic...and I believe they will no matter who we nominate. But progressives traditionally have been among the most fervent grass roots activists and volunteers... in that sense we fight above our weight class. Progressives will vote Democratic... but how much blood sweat and tears they invest in the struggle is partially a by product of enthusiasm. And the progressive base, as evidenced by Move On and Democracy for America endorsements among others, tends to be far more enthusiastic for Bernie Sanders.

When it comes to other demographics however, an overall Democratic advantage is far less assured... Independents are a much larger voting block than either registered Democrats or Republicans. Two candidates have so far shown a consistent ability to attract excitement and interest from that critical mass of voters: Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. If nothing else is clear this year one thing should be; establishment candidates like Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Hillary Clinton have not been wining the Independent vote.

Donald Trump... will be going after (white) working class voters in the Mid West and North East. He will be trying to flip some blue states red while pulling purple ones like Ohio into his column also. He will specifically be appealing to male so called Reagan Democrats... Trump will campaign against Free Trade. Trump will campaign against adventurist wars. He counts on winning the Deep South no matter how impressive Hillary Clinton's primary wins were there.

Hillary Clinton is vulnerable to Trump's strategy in ways that Bernie Sanders is not...
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/03/09/1498612/-Advantage-Sanders



Creating a Progressive Future: The Sanders Effect

Tuesday Mar 15, 2016 · 11:12 AM EST

I keep watching the flood of inspirational campaign ads and powerfully progressive campaign speeches released by the Sanders campaign daily, and pinch myself to see if I'm dreaming, then happily wince to know that I am not. No, this isn't a dream, it is really happening... To finally witness an election campaign fought over the issues that fundamentally matter to the vast majority of our citizens, with wealth inequality for example not merely referenced in passing... but instead forcefully condemned as the malevolent goal of an economic oligarchy is, frankly, mind blowing. So is the Sanders full throated and unapologetic shout out to all of America's better angels; peace, compassion, inclusion, justice, equity and fair play.

Bernie may be a Democratic Socialist but there is nothing foreign about his appeal. His belief in what makes us great is as American as apple pie, and people across our political spectrum are buying it, socialist label and all, which is frankly, yes, mind blowing.

Myths get shattered daily. Is a Super PAC essential to a Presidential campaign? Not when you appeal directly to the public. Is a major media news blockade fatal to a Presidential candidate? Not when social media goes over, under, and around it. Does it take a powerful political machine to take on a powerful political machine? Not when a powerful message and a movement is on your side. Are the young too flaky to propel a political revolution? HELL NO!

Can we make it over the top this time around? Stay tuned, To Be Announced, but the trend line now is unmistakable... and the demographics have spoken; America's future will be progressive. With every day that the Bernie Sanders campaign surges the message it carries propagates further. The progressive genie is out of the bottle and is out there pressing flesh. Issues are boldly spoken of on a national stage that are usually confined to PBS documentaries: Institutional racism, universal access to higher education, single payer health insurance, poverty rates in America, climate change, retirement with dignity, corporate friendly trade polices, the list goes on and on...
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/03/15/1501592/-Creating-a-Progressive-Future


"But Sanders hasn't been attacked by Republicans yet!"

Tuesday Mar 22, 2016 · 1:08 PM EST

Yes, he may be polling stronger against all of the Republican candidates for President than Hillary Clinton does, but wait until the Republicans attack him. Yes, Sanders may have the highest favorability ratings of any major candidate for President, but you know, Republicans haven't attacked him yet. Yes, Sanders appeals strongly to Political Independents, who are more numerous than either Democrats or Republicans, but only because so far the latter haven't attacked him. Yes, the Presidential campaign has been going on now for almost a year, and the more the public finds out about Bernie Sanders the more they tend to like him, but just wait for those Republicans attacks. The fact that Bernie's won hundreds of thousands more youth votes than Hillary and Trump combined so far means nothing before Republican attacks. And the fact that Sanders wins sky high approval ratings from the voters in his home state where he repeatedly wins easy reelection, well that's only because Republicans there have never attac... umm, scratch that last one - everyone knows that Vermont doesn't really count.

Sanders hasn't been attacked by the Republicans yet? Oh, really? Bernie Sanders has spent his entire political career to the left of the Democratic Party. It's not exactly a secret. And the mainstream media was positively gleeful about introducing Bernie Sanders to those Americans who didn't already know him as "the Socialist Senator from Vermont." Bernie Sanders is the living breathing representation of the Republican sponsored Red Scare that's run nonstop for the last half century, that cat is already out of the bag, and you know what? Bernie doesn't scare anyone except the Super Rich.

If the Presidential election were held today in the neon red state of Utah, UTAH, Sanders would beat Trump there by double digits, while Clinton would be locked in a statistical tie. Bernie doesn't have sex scandals, he doesn't have money scandals, and he can't be ridiculed as a flip flopper because he's been so damned consistent for so damned long. You can't catch Sanders saying one thing to voters and another to his financial backers, because they are actually one and the same, and Bernie proudly says the same thing to everyone. He spins about as much as a Pre Global Warming glacier. AND Bernie opposed the Iraq War, damned straight he did.

But he'll melt when Republicans attack him. Uh huh.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/03/22/1504880/--But-Sanders-hasn-t-been-attacked-by-Republicans-yet


Hillary's Surge Protector: Early Voting and the Sanders Campaign

Wednesday Mar 30, 2016 · 12:02 PM EST

So far analysts covering the Clinton - Sanders fight for the Democratic nomination have poured a lot of effort into viewing the race through some now standard prisms in an attempt to explain both candidate’s shifting fortunes. Patterns that emerge are used to forecast likely outcomes in upcoming primaries and caucuses. Some of those patterns have held up better than others. Once it was said that Bernie Sanders only performed well in states that were small, rural, and overwhelmingly white. That prognosis now has been battered.

Washington and Michigan are neither small nor rural, for example, nor are they overwhelmingly white. Alaska and Hawaii are among the most racially diverse states in the nation in fact, with whites accounting for less than 22% of the Hawaiian population. While the Hispanic vote has favored Clinton overall, Sanders has come out ahead in that demographic on a number of occasions, so Clinton's advantage there has not yet proven decisive. Her strong showing with African Americans to date however has been pronounced and constant, even though Sanders has cut into her margin with that group somewhat in northern states.

So the presence of large numbers of Black voters in a state does indicate a clear advantage to Hillary Clinton as we move forward on the election calendar. Clinton has also been dominant in the South, but the bulk of Southern contests are behind us. Sanders has done well in the West, with California and Oregon still yet to come. First though loom a slew of states that don't allow early voting. Why that is significant I'll explore more below.
...Many have correctly noted that Hillary Clinton tends to do better in closed contests where only registered Democrats participate, while Sanders gains an advantage when Independents are able to take part too. Hillary Clinton has also run up a pretty good track record of victories in primaries, and Bernie Sanders has done the same in caucuses.

The election variable that seldom if ever gets much analysis is whether a State makes it easy or hard for voters to vote early, rather than wait for election day. All caucuses, it should be noted, are essentially election day only voting contests. The reason why the early voting variable matters so much for Democrats in choosing a candidate during the 2016 primary season can be boiled down to a pair of critical dynamics and the natural interplay between them: Voter Familiarity and Momentum.

Hillary Clinton has been a dominant force on the national political stage for decades now. She occupied the White House for eight years and is now campaigning in her fourth presidential election - twice for her husband and twice for herself. This is a first for Bernie Sanders however, who previously was known as the little known Democratic Socialist Senator from the small state of Vermont... In every contest in every state, be it a primary or caucus, Bernie has started out far behind. And in every state that he has seriously contested (with New Hampshire, and to a lesser extent Iowa, being the only exceptions) it has taken Sanders until the last week or so to significantly close that gap with Clinton, and in some cases actually surge ahead, in the final waning days and hours.

...The fore mentioned Iowa and New Hampshire stand out as being unique, not just because of their rural white demographics, but also because for up to a year they are the only election games in “town” preceding the commencement of actual voting. Sanders was able to devote almost his full attention to those two states for months, and thereby break through a virtual media blockade against him through scores of personal appearances.

Bernie Sanders needed strong early showings in his race for President not only for the delegates they netted him, but also for the credibility they won him... Fortunately for Bernie, he virtually tied in Iowa and won resoundingly in New Hampshire. Unfortunately for him though he would no longer have the luxury of ample time to introduce himself to voters in upcoming states before their own election days came due.

Lets look at what happened subsequently, when the pace of the elections began to accelerate rapidly... Though there was little early polling for Nevada, whatever polling there had been before the Iowa and New Hampshire contests put Clinton up by strong double digits. With his attention freed to devote to the Nevada caucus, plus some positive momentum behind him, Sanders closed that gap, ultimately losing Nevada by only five and a half points - after Clinton got a last second tactical assist there from Harry Reid. Sanders contested Nevada hard until the caucuses closed their doors. There was no early voting to help Clinton bank an early lead there fully weeks in advance. But with his narrow Nevada loss, most of Sander's momentum was blunted heading into South Carolina and the Super Tuesday multi-state marathon that followed, terrain that was always more favorable to Clinton.

Sanders concentrated on five states that day where he thought he stood a chance. He didn't have the resources, with time being the most precious of them, to stretch further than that. Bernie ultimately won four contests... Some questioned why Sanders didn't try harder to narrow Clinton's margin of victory in the Southern states that she swept, if for no other reason than to deny her some delegates. The answer to me is obvious. At that point his viability as a candidate depended on being able to put some W's on the board...

Momentum is a critical and frequently underestimated aspect of this Democratic primary season. It is anything but intangible, it is as concrete as it gets. Momentum for Bernie Sanders is an ability to show that he can defeat Hillary Clinton, one on one, in elections. When it starts to seem like he can't, virtually all serious media interest in him starts to dry up immediately. When he shows that he can, Sanders lives to fight on for another week in the media mind... …

...Just one week later though, Sands pulled off probably the biggest upset of the year so far in the primary state of Michigan, where he campaigned strenuously up until the vote, overcoming a strong double digit deficit in the process. Fortunately for Bernie Sanders there were just two contests up that week, and he ignored the one in Mississippi so that he could spend more of his time in Michigan. Fortunately too for Sanders, Michigan didn't allow for early voting. If it did he would have lost that primary too and with it any remaining chance to win the nomination. Bernie was able to generate a very late surge in Michigan that narrowly carried him across the finish line. Virtually all of Michigan's voters voted on election day.

So what happened the next week when five more states came up in the rotation? Sanders lost all of them, though two of them only narrowly. Sanders entered that week polling far behind in each, prior to reaping some momentum rewards from his surprising showing in Michigan. Of those five states however just one of them did not allow early voting; Missouri, where Sanders only lost by one fifth of a percentage point. In OH, voting began 28 days before election day, in IL and FL it was 15 days prior, and in NC twelve. Voting was already going on in those states when the national media was filled with reports of Clinton victories and Sanders losses, before Sanders had a chance to campaign inside of them in earnest ...

Consistently Bernie Sanders outperforms expectations among voters who experience the full campaign inside their states before voting on Election Day itself. Hillary Clinton only won North Carolina among voters who voted on election day by four points – she won that state overall by almost 14 points. The same pattern held true in Arizona. Bernie Sanders came out ahead there with election day voters (those who managed to have their votes cast and counted in all of that confusion), while losing by 17 and a half percent overall – because of early voting. There are other examples but those sufficiently make the point: Sanders closes strong. Where Hillary Clinton eked out her narrowest victories they were in states, with the sole exception of Illinois, that don't allow early voting: the Nevada and Iowa caucuses and the Missouri and Massachusetts primaries.

...When viewed though the prism of momentum and early voting the next phase of the struggle between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party presidential nomination begins to look more favorable to Senator Sanders than most analysts have previously recognized. The Wisconsin primary falls a full 10 day after the Western Saturday caucus states that Bernie Sanders swept in massive landslides, after he had won three of the four contests in the week prior. For only the third week this year momentum now is clearly favoring Sanders (the others being the short one week windows after his New Hampshire and Michigan primary wins). So although Wisconsin allows for early voting, that does not work against Sanders in the same way that it has in prior contests.

...Wyoming follows with a caucus on Saturday April 9th which should be favorable to Sanders, and no other states will vote again until Tuesday April 19th when New Yorkers will be the only ones going to the polls. That means that Bernie Sanders won't have to constantly hop scotch from one state to another in the run up to the Wisconsin and New York primaries like he had to during the crowded Super Tuesdays that happened in March. Bernie can more narrowly target his campaigning now to each state next up on the calendar – and that is when he always surges
.
New York does not allow for early voting (though like virtually all states it maintains specific provisions for absentee balloting). Of the states that vote a week later on April 26th, neither do CT, DE, RI and PA. Only Maryland allows early voting for its primary held on that date. It begins on April 14th well after the Wisconsin results are in. But even though it's likely momentum will favor Sanders during the first days of early voting in Maryland, it still means voters will begin casting ballots there before Sanders finds much time to campaign in their state. Which is why it overall still favors Bernie Sanders that, aside from Wisconsin and Maryland, all of the contests in April are ones that are decided on Election Day only. If Bernie soundly beats current expectations in New York, the surge will be on. Just when Hillary's surge protector will largely be disabled.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/03/30/1508030/-Hillary-s-Surge-Protector-Early-Voting-and-the-Sanders-Campaign


About Hillary's boast of being 2.5 million "popular votes" ahead of Bernie
Friday Apr 01, 2016 · 2:08 PM EST

First, the obvious: Clinton is mixing apples and oranges by conflating caucus totals with primary totals. Sanders has been winning most of the caucuses to date and Hillary has won most of the primaries. For many reasons caucus vote totals are always suppressed by that specific format compared to voter participation in a primary, starting with the fact that voters must be present at their caucus site at a specific hour rather than having the entire day to make it to their polling place during a primary. We actually have a good case in point of the difference it makes in turn out: Washington State.

For some reason, Washington actually holds both a Democratic caucus and a primary. The caucus comes first and that's where delegates really are won, the primary comes later and is only a "beauty contest". In 2008 Barack Obama won both of them. But even though the 2008 Washington State Primary was essentially meaningless, Obama still collected ten times as many popular votes in the Washington primary than he did in the Washington caucus. Obviously Clinton got more popular votes in the primary than she did in the caucus there also - but factored in sheer raw numbers Obama defeated her by far higher popular vote numbers in the primary than in the caucus - in the same state. Though his ultimate winning percentage may have differed, either higher or lower, had the states that Bernie won in caucuses held primaries instead, there is no plausible reason to believe that the outcomes would have been different - Sanders has been winning those states in massive blow outs...

Second, the actual math. ...the first half of the schedule strongly favored Clinton with its emphasis on Southern states voting early. ...If one were to predict Clinton's 2016 results based on 2008 outcomes, she would be the one well behind in popular votes now based on Obama's 2008 performance in Southern states. Every election cycle is unique.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/04/01/1509058/-About-Hillary-s-boast-of-being-2-5-million-popular-votes-ahead-of-Bernie


7,145,011 Voters -The Superdelegate Offset
Saturday Apr 02, 2016 · 3:52 PM EST

Seven million, one hundred and forty five, and eleven citizens. That's how many Americans cast their ballots in the 2016 Democratic primaries that were held this year in the following eight states: New Hampshire, Georgia, North Carolina, Vermont, Michigan, Arizona, Illinois, and Massachusetts. Those 7,145,011 citizens in those eight states collectively got to decide how to divide up 716 pledged delegates, between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, to the Democratic Convention that will be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania this summer.

Somewhere between 715 and 719 unpledged delegates (commonly known as superdelegates) will also cast a vote at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. They get to decide for themselves who they want to elect to be the Democratic Party presidential nominee. Each one of them has roughly as much say in that decision as ten thousand regular voters who went to the trouble of voting in the eight primaries listed above. Ten superdelegates will collectively have more influence choosing the Democratic nominee than everyone who voted in the New Hampshire Democratic Primary... If each and every one of the almost 20,000 people, who showed up in the South Bronx for the recent Sanders rally there, could and did vote in the upcoming New York State Democratic Primary, their votes could be zeroed out by just two of New York’s superdelegates.

Of the 715 to 719 unpledged Democratic delegates, 435 are elected members of the Democratic National Committee (including the chairs and vice-chairs of each state's Democratic Party). Those 435 individuals, who did not have to run for any public office... will have more power at the Convention than the delegates selected by all of the primary voters of Illinois, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Tennessee combined...

Here is how the race for the nomination currently stands with unpledged superdelegates:

Hillary Clinton 469
Bernie Sanders 31

Aren't you glad that we are talking about the Democratic Party?
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/04/02/1509541/-7-145-011-Voters-The-Superdelegate-Offset



The Big Reasons for Bernie
Monday Apr 04, 2016 · 1:10 PM EST

...Both Hillary and Bernie have long records of public service. Far as I'm concerned, at the very least, each of them more or less agrees with me on most of the major issues at least most of the time. Granted, that leaves a lot of wiggle room, but that's how it's always been for me when it came to presidential politics so far. I look for the Democrat with the best record of those who have a decent chance of winning, knowing she or he will have many flaws, knowing she or he will still serve my interests more than will any Republican in the race...

It's easy to get lost in the granular detail of competing policy proposals when they all speak toward promoting similar laudable goals, just via different means. The devil it, is said, lies in the details. Well, while the people who generally say such things have a good record of usually being right, for the sake of discussion here I'm going to differ. I think vision, motivation, and conviction mean a whole lot more than the details... If the final blueprints get it wrong than a structure can collapse. But blueprints can and usually do change. Just like this essay that you're reading, my first draft used many different words than these.

That's almost always the case with legislation introduced in Congress... There is horse trading. And pig trading. Hillary Clinton has proposals to achieve goals that I support. Bernie Sanders has proposals to achieve goals that I support. Between proposals and final legislation a whole lot of other people will have their say in it too. The Obamacare we ended up with is different than how it started. Bernie and Hillary both understand how it works, neither of them are exactly rookies at this.

But before any blueprint comes the vision, and I'll take that one step further. Before the vision comes the visionary. One can only see what one is open to seeing. The eye picks up more data than the mind can ever use, so the latter screens out most of it... By and large our government views reality through the mind of the status quo. The leader who we need now, at this point in our history, needs to view things differently...

...today we must see the forest far more than the trees. There are two huge issues plaguing the world we know, and each fundamentally impacts almost every problem facing us: Climate change and income inequality. They may not always be the root of all our social ills, but when not they exasperate them. National Security? What threats are we protecting ourselves from, loss of life and limb? Cancer from a polluted environment and diabetes from poor nutrition are invading us, taking that toll already... When those at the top hoard resources needed by all, famines and wars tend to occur, triggered directly or indirectly by the inability or disinterest of governments to ensure all citizens receive the essentials of life.

Even wars in distant lands cascade across borders now effecting us here in America when the global village convulses. As our climate warms catastrophic weather events multiply, destabilizing whole regions and threatening all coast lines. Floods of refuges come on the heels of tidal surges. Only a tiny fraction of one percent of humanity profits from the practices that cause all this, and they keep pushing fossil fuels.

...They can outsource their wealth as easily as they can outsource our jobs. Right wing paranoids have it all wrong. The one world government they fear is seated in the international banking system, overseen by interlocking corporate boards. They are a law onto themselves and increasingly governments exist primarily to serve them. Today we fight to preserve the original mission of the government we are poised to elect the President of...

The massive leak of the Panama Papers is only just starting to play out, but they only reveal details of a pattern we already know to be true. We are about to elect a president, we need one who is not only free from the tentacles of world wide concentrated wealth, but one with a dedicated life long record of fiercely opposing it...

And in regards to the climate? The New York Times published a story today called ‘Fractivists’ Increase Pressure on Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in New York.

Here is a small exert from it:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/05/us/politics/hillary-clinton-bernie-sanders-climate-change.html?ref=politics&_r=1

“Since the start of the campaign, Mrs. Clinton has moved strikingly to the left on climate issues,...

In a debate last month in Flint, Mich., she said she would severely regulate fracking.
“By the time we get through all of my conditions,” she said, “I do not think there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place.” But Mr. Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, had a snappy retort: “My answer is a lot shorter. No, I do not support fracking.” The absolutism of Mr. Sanders’s position on this and other climate issues — as well as the fact that Mrs. Clinton arrived at her views under pressure from the left — has made many activists mistrustful of her and supportive of Mr. Sanders.”

You can count me among them. On climate. On income inequality. On the future of America.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/04/04/1510181/-The-Big-Reasons-for-Bernie


OK, I'll Say It. Big Wall Street Donations Compromise President Obama
Tuesday Apr 12, 2016 · 3:27 PM EST

In defending herself against the argument that it is inherently problematic for a Democratic Party candidate for President to raise millions of dollars from Wall Street interests; through speaking fees, bundled campaign contributions, and through Super PACS, Hillary Clinton likes to bring up and compare herself to President Obama. "President Obama took more money from Wall Street in the 2008 campaign than anybody ever had,” she says, “and when it came time to stand up to Wall Street, he passed and signed the toughest regulations since the Great Depression, with the Dodd-Frank regulations." True enough, as far as that goes.

...I am sympathetic to President Obama. For one thing, our economy was going under for the proverbial third time when he took office, and Obama saved us from the abyss... I do believe that he cares about “people like me”... But Barack Obama got himself elected President, in part, by playing ball with a rigged campaign finance system.
Sarah Silverman, comedian extraordinaire, talked about playing ball in a crooked system on an episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher”:

“You know, all the baseball players use steroids... so they can compete. And, that’s how I think of Citizens United. You know, Hillary takes money from banks and big business and Super Pacs. So did Barack Obama. She’s no different than anybody else. She was the best choice, I thought, considering they all do it.

Then someone came along who doesn’t take steroids, who is not for sale” (that someone, of course, was Bernie Sanders).

...Big money has become to winning political campaigns what steroids was to winning baseball championships... does it really matter? What about Hilary’s point that Wall Street gave Barack Obama tons of money and he still “signed the toughest regulations since the Great Depression...

...the Great Recession was, after all, the biggest economic downturn our nation and the world has suffered since the Great Depression... After the latter, our government responded with the... Glass-Steagall Act which prohibited commercial banks from engaging in the investment business, after the failure of nearly 5,000 banks during the Great Depression. It worked pretty darned well until it was repealed under the Clinton Administration in 1999. So how does Dodd-Frank stack up? The Web site bankrate.com actually issued it a report card in December 2015, as part of a report: “Dodd-Frank rules: Late and watered down” wherein it says:

“Enacted in mid-2010, Dodd-Frank was part of the government's response to the 2008 financial crisis and Great Recession. Four years later, the law is still controversial.

Dodd-Frank encompassed 2,300 pages and required 398 new federal rules. Of that total, 231 rules have been finalized, 83 have been proposed and 94 have not yet been proposed, according to law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell.”

Overall they gave Dodd-Frank a grade of “C”... Specifically regarding the often cited Voicker Rule, that limits bank's involvements in hedge funds, private equity funds, and trading in the stock market for their own profit, bankrate.com gave that a grade of “C Minus”, writing: “several major exception have been written into the rule for banks and other financial institutions.”
http://www.bankrate.com/finance/banking/dodd-frank-rules-late-and-watered-down.aspx

Do a Google search for "watered down" "Dodd-Frank", and you will get over 17,000 hits... While some focus on weaknesses inherent in the original legislation, much of what comes up concerns what has become of it's regulations since original passage. David Primo, a professor of political science and business administration at the University of Rochester, had this pithy observaion.

… "Big banks will be able to maneuver around the complex rules with the aid of very smart lawyers and financial wizards, But I'm concerned that with all these exceptions being put in place for some of the rules, it will be easier for rogue bankers to create problems at the bigger banks."
http://www.cnbc.com/id/100784177

When Professor Primo expressed concern... he was talking about those “398 new federal rules” referenced above that regulate Dodd-Frank, where it was noted “231 rules have been finalized, 83 have been proposed and 94 have not yet been proposed”. ...those are in the realm of Obama Administration appointees to draft and oversee. Any Administration that starts out having “friends on Wall Street”, ends up with “friends of Wall Street” in that Administration...

I accept the more or less consensus that having Dodd-Frank... is better than not having Dodd-Frank. I also appreciate that a Republican President, unlike Obama, would not have signed Dodd-Frank, warts and all... What I do not accept however is that a deluge of millions of dollars in special interest funding simply washes off the backs of fine Democratic Presidents, leaving absolutely no trace. To accept that requires more than a suspension of disbelief, it requires placing your brain in cryogenic storage.

Why is it, do you really think, that after the entire world economy was brought down to it's knees... that no high level Wall Street or banking executive went to jail over the underlying fraud involved? There was a legal and political precedent to policing the aftermath of the Great Recession, it happened after the S&L crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, when 1,043 out of the 3,234 savings and loan associations in the United States failed between 1986 and 1995.

Joshua Holland of Moyers & Company, interviewed William K. Black about that. He is a former bank regulator who played an integral role in throwing a number of high-level executives in jail for white-collar crimes during the savings and loan crisis...

“The savings and loan debacle was one-seventieth the size of the current crisis, both in terms of losses and the amount of fraud. In that crisis, the savings and loan regulators made over 30,000 criminal referrals, and this produced over 1,000 felony convictions in cases designated as “major” by the Department of Justice... we, the regulators, worked very closely with the FBI and the Justice Department to create a list of … the 100 worst fraud schemes. They involved roughly 300 savings and loans and 600 individuals, and virtually all of those people were prosecuted. We had a 90 percent conviction rate...

In the current crisis, that same agency, the Office of Thrift Supervision, which was supposed to regulate, among others, Countrywide, Washington Mutual and IndyMac — which collectively made hundreds of thousands of fraudulent mortgage loans — made zero criminal referrals. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which is supposed to regulate the largest national banks, made zero criminal referrals. The Federal Reserve appears to have made zero criminal referrals; it made three about discrimination... ”

And what are the implications of the lack of any high level criminal prosecutions looking forward? According to Black:

“...The failure to prosecute under any theory of economics and any theory of criminality means that the next crisis is far more likely, and that it’s going to be far larger, because this accounting control fraud recipe is a sure thing that guarantees that you will be made wealthy... and there will be no risk — zero. Not a single elite banker who caused this crisis is in prison, period. “
http://billmoyers.com/2013/09/17/hundreds-of-wall-street-execs-went-to-prison-during-the-last-fraud-fueled-bank-crisis/

The causes of the Great Recession didn't happen on Obama's watch, but the failure to criminally prosecute a single CEO who made obscene profits while fraudulent housing schemes destroyed the American economy, most certainly did happen on Obama's watch... after, in the words of Hillary Clinton: "President Obama took more money from Wall Street in the 2008 campaign than anybody ever had,”

...I actually like President Obama. I think he has tried to, and in many way has succeeded at, doing a good job for the American people. I assume that Hilly Clinton would try to do the same. But I will not subscribe to the fiction that obscene amounts of campaign donations from America’s most powerful business sectors, corporations, and individuals, have no tangible effect on how political policies and priorities are set and pursued by our political leaders. The only way to avoid what I believe is an inevitable and corrosive effect on our democracy, is to have political leaders who are beholden to the American people, not to America's oligarchy, for the funding they need to run their campaigns...

I am proud also to here note that the above quoted William K. Black is now an official economic adviser to Senator Bernie Sanders
http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/4/12/1514351/-OK-I-ll-Say-It-Big-Wall-Street-Donations-Compromise-President-Obama


Only One Candidate Fully Gets The Urgency

Friday Apr 15, 2016 · 12:44 PM EST

Both of the Democratic candidates for President believe in the science on Global Warming. Both believe that human activity is driving it, that it poses a threat to humanity, and that it is necessary that we do something to counter it... differing only on which approach can best reach that goal. To me it is the issue that most starkly illustrates the true fundamental difference between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, between an approach sometimes characterized as pragmatic incrementalism, and bold action. ..

Our planet no longer has the time needed for incremental changes to rectify the crisis we are in. While the ongoing collapse of the American Middle Class conveys a similar message in regards to our own economy, nothing has reached as undeniably a catastrophic turning point as that presented by the imminent collapse of Earth's polar ice sheets.

Bernie Sanders... is not hesitant to speak of it in the most urgent of terms...

SANDERS: ...Now, what I think is when we look at climate change now, we have got to realize that this is a global environmental crisis of unprecedented urgency.
(APPLAUSE) (CHEERING)

And, it is not good enough. You know, if we, God forbid, were attacked tomorrow the whole country would rise up and say we got an enemy out there and we got to do something about it. That was what 9/11 was about. We have an enemy out there, and that enemy is going to cause drought and floods and extreme weather disturbances. There's going to be international conflict...

LOUIS: I have a question for you. You've said that climate change is the greatest threat to our nation's security. You've called for a nationwide ban on fracking. You've also called for phasing out all nuclear power in the U.S. But wouldn't those proposals drive the country back to coal and oil, and actually undermine your fight against global warming?

SANDERS: No, they wouldn't. Look, here's where we are. Let me reiterate. We have a global crisis. Pope Francis reminded us that we are on a suicide course. Our legislation understands, Errol, that there will be economic dislocation. It is absolutely true. There will be some people who lose their job. And we build into our legislation an enormous amount of money to protect those workers. It is not their fault that fossil fuels are destroying our climate. But we have got to stand up and say right now, as we would if we were attacked by some military force, we have got to move urgency -- urgently and boldly...

SANDERS: What you do do is say that we are going to have a massive program -- and I had introduced -- introduced legislation for 10 million solar rooftops. We can put probably millions of people to work retrofitting and weatherizing buildings all over this country.
(CHEERING)

SANDERS: Saving -- rebuilding our rail system.
(APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: Our mass transit system.
(APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: If we approach this, Errol, as if we were literally at a war -- you know, in 1941, under Franklin Delano Roosevelt, we moved within three years, within three more years to rebuild our economy to defeat Nazism and Japanese imperialism. That is exactly the kind of approach we need right now.

BLITZER: Thank you. (APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: Lead the world.

What I find most striking here is the direct comparison Bernie Sanders makes between our current need... and the need America faced to mobilize against the Fascist threat in World War II. Sanders made more than a mere comparison, he drew a direct equation.. The United States of America did extraordinary things to confront the existential threat posed to it by World War II. The people of the United States of America made an extraordinary effort...

Not only did millions of men and women enlist in the military to serve their nation in time of war, but scores of millions of Americans rationed gas, rationed rubber, and rationed various foods. Millions of Liberty Gardens were planted, millions of Liberty Bonds were purchased. Our entire manufacturing infrastructure was totally transformed from a peace time to a war time setting in less than the time that it takes to launch and pursue most modern presidential campaigns.

America did all of that under the leadership of Franklin Delanor Roosevelt, the very same President who rallied the American people to overcome the devastating effects of the Great Depression through his own bold vision, through the dramatic new programs he ushered in to confront America's challenges, and through the sweeping changes he introduced to regulate the American economy and protect American families.

... Virtually none of the ground breaking programs that he introduced, nor any of the heroic sacrifices he called on our people to shoulder, would have been thought of as “realistic' by the pundits of those times prior to Roosevelt's presidency. But they were exactly what those times called for, and America had it in it to rise to the occasion. Bernie Sanders asks no more, and no less, from our nation now. And shame on those who say that we just don't have it in us.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/04/15/1515713/-Only-One-Candidate-Fully-Gets-The-Urgency

Only One Candidate Fully Gets The Urgency

Both of the Democratic candidates for President believe in the science on Global Warming. Both believe that human activity is driving it, that it poses a threat to humanity, and that it is necessary that we do something to counter it. It qualifies as another of the issues where it is said that both Democrat candidates share a similar goal, differing only on which approach can best reach that goal. To me it is the issue that most starkly illustrates the true fundamental difference between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, between an approach sometimes characterized as pragmatic incrementalism, and bold action.To me it strongly illustrates the insufficiency of the former, and the necessity of the latter.

Our planet no longer has the time needed for incremental changes to rectify the crisis we are in. While the ongoing collapse of the American Middle Class conveys a similar message in regards to our own economy, nothing has reached as undeniably a catastrophic turning point as that presented by the imminent collapse of Earth's polar ice sheets.

Bernie Sanders clearly appreciates the severity of the environmental threat facing us and the potential consequences of it. He is not hesitant to speak of it in the most urgent of terms. Here is some of what he just said regarding it at the Brooklyn Democratic Debate (emphasis added):

SANDERS: ...Now, what I think is when we look at climate change now, we have got to realize that this is a global environmental crisis of unprecedented urgency.
(APPLAUSE) (CHEERING)

And, it is not good enough. You know, if we, God forbid, were attacked tomorrow the whole country would rise up and say we got an enemy out there and we got to do something about it. That was what 9/11 was about.
We have an enemy out there, and that enemy is going to cause drought and floods and extreme weather disturbances. There's going to be international conflict
...

LOUIS: I have a question for you. You've said that climate change is the greatest threat to our nation's security. You've called for a nationwide ban on fracking. You've also called for phasing out all nuclear power in the U.S. But wouldn't those proposals drive the country back to coal and oil, and actually undermine your fight against global warming?

SANDERS: No, they wouldn't. Look, here's where we are. Let me reiterate. We have a global crisis. Pope Francis reminded us that we are on a suicide course. Our legislation understands, Errol, that there will be economic dislocation. It is absolutely true. There will be some people who lose their job. And we build into our legislation an enormous amount of money to protect those workers. It is not their fault that fossil fuels are destroying our climate. But we have got to stand up and say right now, as we would if we were attacked by some military force, we have got to move urgency -- urgently and boldly...

SANDERS: What you do do is say that we are going to have a massive program -- and I had introduced -- introduced legislation for 10 million solar rooftops. We can put probably millions of people to work retrofitting and weatherizing buildings all over this country.
(CHEERING)

SANDERS: Saving -- rebuilding our rail system.
(APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: Our mass transit system.
(APPLAUSE)

SANDERS:If we approach this, Errol, as if we were literally at a war -- you know, in 1941, under Franklin Delano Roosevelt, we moved within three years, within three more years to rebuild our economy to defeat Nazism and Japanese imperialism. That is exactly the kind of approach we need right now.
BLITZER: Thank you.
(APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: Lead the world.

What I find most striking here is the direct comparison Bernie Sanders makes between our current need to mobilize to fight Climate Change and the need America faced to mobilize against the Fascist threat in World War II. Sanders made more than a mere comparison, he drew a direct equation, and that equation could not be more revealing. The United States of America did extraordinary things to confront the existential threat posed to it by World War II. The people of the United States of America made an extraordinary effort, complete with requisite personal sacrifices.

Not only did millions of men and women enlist in the military to serve their nation in time of war, but scores of millions of Americans rationed gas, rationed rubber, and rationed various foods. Millions of Liberty Gardens were planted, millions of Liberty Bonds were purchased. Our entire manufacturing infrastructure was totally transformed from a peace time to a war time setting in less than the time that it takes to launch and pursue most modern presidential campaigns.

America did all of that under the leadership of Franklin Delanor Roosevelt, the very same President who rallied the American people to overcome the devastating effects of the Great Depression through his own bold vision, through the dramatic new programs he ushered in to confront America's challenges, and through the sweeping changes he introduced to regulate the American economy and protect American families.

FDR neither ran nor governed as a pragmatic “progressive”, pursuing “realistic” incremental changes. Virtually none of the ground breaking programs that he introduced, nor any of the heroic sacrifices he called on our people to shoulder, would have been thought of as “realistic' by the pundits of those times prior to Roosevelt's presidency. But they were exactly what those times called for, and America had it in it to rise to the occasion. Bernie Sanders asks no more, and no less, from our nation now. And shame on those who say that we just don't have it in us.

Faux outrage campaigning is so 20th Century, can we break free from that past?

Seriously, it's an old stale dog and pony show perfected in the Atwater era, a staple of negative campaigning used to dominate spin for a 24 our news cycle rather than illuminate real issues - starting first and foremost with whatever real issues are being distorted into faux outrage for immediate political gain.

It's the comment artfully taken out of context, the supposed "snub" that supposedly says volumes about what a candidate really values, the garbled comment uttered at the end of yet another 14 hour day, the poor choice of words by a candidate surrogate suddenly elevated into a scandal...

It's not apologizing enough, or apologizing too much. It's not wearing a flag pin, or not remembering the name of a local football franchise quarterback. It's body language or hair style, being too high or too low energy. It's being caught smiling at some private something, somewhere, on a day when our nation is feeling grief. It's not using the preferred words to condemn something bad fast enough, or to acknowledge something good soon and well enough.

It makes people really tired of politics. It demeans the profession of public service. It makes people want to give up on changing anything beyond their most personal realms. That's not an accident, that's the intent. Republican aren't the only ones who practice voter suppression, all negative campaigning is focused precisely on just that: Secure your base then depress the hell out of most voters so that they will fall away, leaving your guy or gal the last one standing in the mud.

And it is practiced nowhere more fervently than on discussion boards like DU. Has it become blatant enough yet for it to be seen for what it is, a perverted orchestrated parody of real political discussions? Talking points scream from the subject lines of OP's here in eerie twelve part harmony, echoing the latest take downs of the day being pushed by campaign spokespersons across a broad multi-media spectrum.

Is it too soon to say; enough is enough?

OK, I'll Say It. Yes, Big Wall Street Donations Compromise President Obama

In defending herself against the argument that it is inherently problematic for a Democratic Party candidate for President to raise millions of dollars from Wall Street interests; through speaking fees, bundled campaign contributions, and through Super PACS, Hillary Clinton likes to bring up and compare herself to President Obama. "President Obama took more money from Wall Street in the 2008 campaign than anybody ever had,” she says, “and when it came time to stand up to Wall Street, he passed and signed the toughest regulations since the Great Depression, with the Dodd-Frank regulations." True enough, as far as that goes.

For the record, I am sympathetic to President Obama. For one thing, our economy was going under for the proverbial third time when he took office, and Obama saved us from the abyss. For another, in the immortal words of pollsters, I do believe that he cares about “people like me”, folks who are barely getting by. But Barack Obama got himself elected President, in part, by playing ball with a rigged campaign finance system.

Sarah Silverman, comedian extraordinaire, talked about playing ball in a crooked system on an episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher”:

“You know, all the baseball players use steroids... so they can compete. And, that’s how I think of Citizens United. You know, Hillary takes money from banks and big business and Super Pacs. So did Barack Obama. She’s no different than anybody else. She was the best choice, I thought, considering they all do it.

Then someone came along who doesn’t take steroids, who is not for sale” (that someone, of course, was Bernie Sanders).

So there we have the crux of the matter, neatly presented in a baseball metaphor. Big money has become to winning political campaigns what steroids was to winning baseball championships. But the question remains, does it really matter? What about Hilary’s point that Wall Street gave Barack Obama tons of money and he still “signed the toughest regulations since the Great Depression, with the Dodd-Frank regulations"?

Well for starters the Great Recession was, after all, the biggest economic downturn our nation and the world has suffered since the Great Depression. It would have been blatantly irresponsible to have done nothing about the circumstance that caused it. After the latter, our government responded with the since repealed and not yet restored Glass-Steagall Act which prohibited commercial banks from engaging in the investment business, after the failure of nearly 5,000 banks during the Great Depression. It worked pretty darned well until it was repealed under the Clinton Administration in 1999. So how does Dodd-Frank stack up? The Web site bankrate.com actually issued it a report card in December 2015, as part of a report: “Dodd-Frank rules: Late and watered down” wherein it says:

“Enacted in mid-2010, Dodd-Frank was part of the government's response to the 2008 financial crisis and Great Recession. Four years later, the law is still controversial.

Dodd-Frank encompassed 2,300 pages and required 398 new federal rules. Of that total, 231 rules have been finalized, 83 have been proposed and 94 have not yet been proposed, according to law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell.”

Overall they gave Dodd-Frank a grade of “C”, saying in way of summary: “Dodd-Frank has tightened controls on U.S. financial companies, though many of the provisions were watered down or late in coming”. Specifically regarding the often cited Voicker Rule, that limits bank's involvements in hedge funds, private equity funds, and trading in the stock market for their own profit, bankrate.com gave that a grade of “C Minus”, writing: “several major exception have been written into the rule for banks and other financial institutions.”
http://www.bankrate.com/finance/banking/dodd-frank-rules-late-and-watered-down.aspx

Do a Google search for "watered down" "Dodd-Frank", and you will get over 17,000 hits, many of which are quite substantive. While some focus on weaknesses inherent in the original legislation, much of what comes up concerns what has become of it's regulations since original passage. David Primo, a professor of political science and business administration at the University of Rochester, had this pithy observaion.

"If Congress really wanted to deal with the problems in the financial system, it would not have a disjointed regulatory process with competing and unclear jurisdictions," said Primo. "Big banks will be able to maneuver around the complex rules with the aid of very smart lawyers and financial wizards, But I'm concerned that with all these exceptions being put in place for some of the rules, it will be easier for rogue bankers to create problems at the bigger banks."
http://www.cnbc.com/id/100784177

When Professor Primo expressed concern over “all these exceptions being put in place for some of the rules” he was talking about those “398 new federal rules” referenced above that regulate Dodd-Frank, where it was noted “231 rules have been finalized, 83 have been proposed and 94 have not yet been proposed”. Those rules aren't in the domain of Congress, those are in the realm of Obama Administration appointees to draft and oversee. Any Administration that starts out having “friends on Wall Street”, ends up with “friends of Wall Street” in that Administration. Friends refer friends, that's simply how politics works.

I accept the more or less consensus that having Dodd-Frank, even in a watered down version from what was initially touted, is better than not having Dodd-Frank. I also appreciate that a Republican President, unlike Obama, would not have signed Dodd-Frank, warts and all, unless it was watered down even further. What I do not accept however is that a deluge of millions of dollars in special interest funding simply washes off the backs of fine Democratic Presidents, leaving absolutely no trace. To accept that requires more than a suspension of disbelief, it requires placing your brain in cryogenic storage.

Why is it, do you really think, that after the entire world economy was brought down to it's knees, and tens of millions lost their jobs, their homes, and all of their retirement savings, that no high level Wall Street or banking executive went to jail over the underlying fraud involved? There was a legal and political precedent to policing the aftermath of the Great Recession, it happened after the S&L crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, when 1,043 out of the 3,234 savings and loan associations in the United States failed between 1986 and 1995.

Joshua Holland of Moyers & Company, interviewed William K. Black about that. He is a former bank regulator who played an integral role in throwing a number of high-level executives in jail for white-collar crimes during the savings and loan crisis. Read what he has to say about the legal response to that economic crisis compared with the legal aftermath to the Great Recession.

“The savings and loan debacle was one-seventieth the size of the current crisis, both in terms of losses and the amount of fraud. In that crisis, the savings and loan regulators made over 30,000 criminal referrals, and this produced over 1,000 felony convictions in cases designated as “major” by the Department of Justice. But even that understates the degree of prioritization, because we, the regulators, worked very closely with the FBI and the Justice Department to create a list of the top 100 — the 100 worst fraud schemes. They involved roughly 300 savings and loans and 600 individuals, and virtually all of those people were prosecuted. We had a 90 percent conviction rate, which is the greatest success against elite white-collar crime (in terms of prosecution) in history.

In the current crisis, that same agency, the Office of Thrift Supervision, which was supposed to regulate, among others, Countrywide, Washington Mutual and IndyMac — which collectively made hundreds of thousands of fraudulent mortgage loans — made zero criminal referrals. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which is supposed to regulate the largest national banks, made zero criminal referrals. The Federal Reserve appears to have made zero criminal referrals; it made three about discrimination. And the FDIC was smart enough to refuse to answer the question, but nobody thinks they made any material number of criminal referrals ”

And what are the implications of the lack of any high level criminal prosecutions looking forward? According to Black:

“...The failure to prosecute under any theory of economics and any theory of criminality means that the next crisis is far more likely, and that it’s going to be far larger, because this accounting control fraud recipe is a sure thing that guarantees that you will be made wealthy immediately as the controlling officers, and there will be no risk — zero. Not a single elite banker who caused this crisis is in prison, period. “
http://billmoyers.com/2013/09/17/hundreds-of-wall-street-execs-went-to-prison-during-the-last-fraud-fueled-bank-crisis/

The causes of the Great Recession didn't happen on Obama's watch, but the failure to criminally prosecute a single CEO who made obscene profits while fraudulent housing schemes destroyed the American economy, most certainly did happen on Obama's watch. And that was all after, in the words of Hillary Clinton: "President Obama took more money from Wall Street in the 2008 campaign than anybody ever had,”

Let me make this as clear as I possibly can. I actually like President Obama. I think he has tried to, and in many way has succeeded at, doing a good job for the American people. I assume that Hilly Clinton would try to do the same. But I will not subscribe to the fiction that obscene amounts of campaign donations from America’s most powerful business sectors, corporations, and individuals, have no tangible effect on how political policies and priorities are set and pursued by our political leaders. The only way to avoid what I believe is an inevitable and corrosive effect on our democracy, is to have political leaders who are beholden to the American people, not to America's oligarchy, for the funding they need to run their campaigns. Unfortunately that did not include Barack Obama then, and it does not include Hillary Clinton now.

I'll close by quoting Sarah Silverman again talking about her choice this year, talking about Hillary and why she is backing Bernie: “She was the best choice, I thought, considering they all do it. Then someone came along who doesn’t take steroids, who is not for sale”.

I am proud also to here note that the above quoted William K. Black is now an official economic adviser to Senator Bernie Sanders

I would suggest we all blunt the political edge while discussing Sanders and the Vatican Conference

It is a real and substantive event. Yes politics is swirling around, maybe on two continents, but there is a world beyond politics also, and this conference is about that world. It wouldn't surprise me if there were some located at the Vatican who are profoundly suspicious of the motivation of all politicians - having no doubt met quite a few of them. And yes there are ideological divides that play out in Rome as well, where some American Cardinals might express strong feelings. We should not let that obscure the purpose of this conference.

I am proud that a candidate who I support for President wants to be in attendance there. But that doesn't mean that Hillary isn't supportive of the conference goals just because she won't be there also. I would be proud were I a Hillary supporter if she were attending an international conference on Woman's Rights now, which I know is something she has done before and no doubt will do again in the future. Should she do so without Sanders also being present I would not employ that as evidence that he didn't care about that cause either.

Yes Bernie is in the middle of an election campaign, but he is not running just to win elections. He has his own sense of his life mission, and attending this conference is consistent with that. Should he become our next President or even if he doesn't he needs to extend his personal connections to other leaders, both political and otherwise, in the world who also care deeply about the issues that most concern him. He should attend events like this, and I have no problem admitting that Hillary Clinton at this stage in her career no doubt has a wider web of international connections than does Bernie Sanders. So it is appropriate that he make this trip and advance his process of hopefully becoming a world and not just national leader - whether or not he wins the Democratic nomination for President. I believe he will come home profoundly moved by this experience, and that will be to the betterment of all of us.

This stuff is all too important for Sanders supporters to try to make political hay over, or for Clinton supporters to try to denigrate because it involves her current political rival. It may or may not help or hurt Sanders for him to be outside of New York during a critical day and a half in Europe when he could be staging rallies and talking to local media. That's not the point though - it is good that he is going there either way. It only cheapens the meaning of this event for Bernie supporters to act elated over it thinking he can score some political points, or for Hillary supporters to look for a way to play this all to her advantage instead.

It's not her style to own a smear while she helps advance it.

Is Barack Obama a Christian? "As far as I know" Hillary replied.

That is her style. So while others in 2008 portrayed Obama as somehow alien and not American enough to be President, while literally disputing his self professed faith - no Hillary didn't go there - not exactly. But did she accept Obama's own word on his own faith, well no - not exactly. As far as Hillary knew Obama was a Christian but, you know, there just might be some other information out there that she didn't know about yet that could prove he was a secret Muslim. Feel free to look into it further if you want to, maybe Google "Obama Secret Muslim" for leads, but as far as Hilary knew just then, Obama was Christian. Other opinions may differ, but Hillary wasn't the one who flat out called him Muslim. Nope, not her style.

Is Bernie Sanders qualified to be President? Hillary couldn't even bring herself to say "As far as I know" this time when she was asked that question directly. Let the voters decide, she opined, “but he's been talking for more than a year about doing things that he obviously hadn't really studied or understood, and that raises a lot of questions".

Questions about what? About whether Sanders is qualified to be President one has to imply because that is what she was asked to comment on. But did Hillary flat out call Bernie unqualified to be President? Nope, not her style.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are both running to be the Democratic candidate for President. In so doing Sanders officially declared himself to be a Democrat, and he affirms that he is a Democrat now to anyone when asked. So is Bernie Sanders a Democrat? There's that nagging doubt again. Hillary just doesn't know:

“He’s a relatively new Democrat,” Clinton said. “I’m not even sure he is one. He's running as one. So I don't know quite how to characterize him. I'll leave that to him.”

God forbid she take him at his word, or even accept the legal filings that now certify Sanders as a Democrat. Nope that's not her style, at least not when she thinks she can gain votes by sowing doubt. Of course if she thinks there might be votes to gain, she takes a different tack, like she did here:

Clinton to campaign for Crist
09/22/14 07:56 PM EDT
“Hillary Clinton will headline a fundraising dinner for Florida Democratic gubernatorial Charlie Crist next month, putting her in a key presidential state in the midterms battle, according to an invitation.
Crist, a Republican turned Democrat running for his old job, is in one of the toughest gubernatorial races in the country.”
http://www.politico.com/story/2014/09/hillary-clinton-charlie-crist-campaign-florida-111229

Maybe Hillary was somehow unclear about Crist's full throttle Republican past when she fully embraced him as a Democrat. But then what about Arlan Specter, who Hillary Clinton served with in the United States Senate for eight years; she in the Democratic Caucus (alongside Bernie Sanders for part of that time), he in the Republican Caucus. Then one day in 2009 Specter declared himself a Democrat instead, and the entire Democratic Party – Hillary Clinton included, rushed to embrace him as a Democrat with arms fully extended. One thing you did not hear Hillary Clinton say when Specter sought reelection to the Senate as a Democrat in 2011 was anything remotely akin to: “He’s a relatively new Democrat. I’m not even sure he is one. He's running as one. So I don't know quite how to characterize him. I'll leave that to him.” No, that would not have served her interests, so that would not have been her style.

On the very night when Clinton suffered an electoral setback in Wisconsin, CNN broke with an anonymously sourced CNN report claiming her campaign was planning to "disqualify him, defeat him”. Now that is more Hilary's style, no one heard her say that. No one heard Hillary repudiate that report either. True, Hillary Clinton did not technically call Bernie Sanders unqualified to be President, but she persistently refused to shoot down that meme after her own campaign injected the belief that Sanders will soon be disqualified into the political discussion. She didn't technically say it but that's what she wants people to believe.

Well, it's not Bernie's style to stand down before innuendos, or third party character assassins who ply their trade in acidic talking points from a Super PAC's short arms length away - to allow for plausible deniability. There is no real debate about who is literally qualified to be President, the United States Constitution settled that matter centuries ago, both Hillary and Bernie are “qualified”. The debate is over who Americans should entrust with that high position, and why. That is what this rhetorical argument is about except that Hillary, as usual, is being circumspect while Bernie, as usual, is straight forward.

It was Hillary Clinton who started on this path of playing with political fire. Even after that anonymously sourced CNN report became public she could easily have snuffed out almost all the resulting flames by simply answering that fellow Democrat Bernie Sanders, who millions of Democrats have supported over her, was indeed qualified to be President. That is not a significant point for Hillary to concede while reserving the right to argue that she is the more qualified of the two. But no, that's not her style. She somehow couldn't bring herself to say that, and so she invited this fire storm upon us.

Bernie now is cutting to the heart of the matter, he's not artfully hiding behind technicalities. The latter is the Clinton brand, not his. If Hillary wants to go beyond the constitutional requirements and debate what it takes for someone to qualify as a good President for the United States, the response Sanders gave her was 100% fair game.

Could Hillary recite logistic details for how to "get Bin Laden" in advance?

Full credit where credit is due. When the experts came back to President Obama and his advisors, including Secretary Clinton, with a detailed plan on how to kill or capture Osama Bin Laden in his Pakistan compound, Hillary supported that approach, and it worked. That is called a specific judgment call and in that instance she made the right one. The decision to make targeting Osama Bin Laden a top national security priority of the United States was of a different order. It was a policy directive approved by two American Presidents, first Bush and then Obama. No offense to either man but frankly it was a no brainer, most policy decisions are not such obvious calls.

It appears less obvious to some though whether the United States needs to break up some banks that have become too big to fail. If either the current or a future president determines that mega banks pose too great a risk to our economy in their current form, breaking them up will become a policy directive that will set some actions in motion.

In the case of Bin Laden, the objective of eliminating the threat he posed was tasked by President Obama to experts in the appropriate arms of government. Those experts in turn assessed the means at their disposal to accomplish that goal. When the time was right, specific plan options were presented to Obama and his security team for review. The choice was made, the deed was done.

Hillary Clinton has many skills but she didn't know in advance exactly how the United States would actually get Bin Laden until specific plans were prepared and presented to Obama for review and approval. She is not, for example, a Special Forces planner. The United States government is pretty darn large and it employs thousands of specialists in virtually all fields. Our President doesn't do their jobs for them, he or she does his or her own; assess threats, set policy, engage policy experts to develop plans, review plans and then finally approve one.

Bernie Sanders has a better grasp now on specific methods to employ to break up too large to fail banks than Secretary Clinton did then on how to catch Bin Laden when she became Secretary of State. The Senator's level of understanding is made clear in this piece from the Roosevelt Institute:

"Let’s Dispel Once and for All With This Fiction that Sanders Doesn’t Know How to Break Up Banks

Bernie Sanders gave some fairly normal answers on financial reform to the New York Daily News editorial board. Someone sent it to me, and as I read it I thought “yes, these are answers I’d expect for how Sanders approaches financial reform.”

You wouldn’t know that from the coverage of it...

...Sanders has a clear path on how he wants to break up the banks which he described. Breaking up the banks doesn’t require, or even benefit from, describing the specifics on how the banks would end up, neither for his plans or the baby steps Dodd-Frank has already taken."

There's much more at the link:
http://rooseveltinstitute.org/sanders-ending-tbtf/

The first job of a President and top administration officials is to recognize what is in the interests of the American people, and then set policies consistent with that recognition. Beyond that they must employ the best experts possible to develop policy implementations options, and finally they need the wisdom and judgement required to choose the best plan available from those options ultimately presented to them. And that is exactly what President Sanders will do regarding the American banking industry.

Until we have a President willing to break up too big to fail banks, the rest is academic.



The Big Reasons for Bernie

Like in every presidential election I suppose, there are many issues in play this year when it comes to deciding who to support for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016. Both Hillary and Bernie have long records of public service. Far as I'm concerned, at the very least, each of them more or less agrees with me on most of the major issues at least most of the time. Granted, that leaves a lot of wiggle room, but that's how it's always been for me when it came to presidential politics so far. I look for the Democrat with the best record of those who have a decent chance of winning, knowing she or he will have many flaws, knowing she or he will still serve my interests more than will any Republican in the race. A lot of people who I know are fed up with that type of decision making process, and I get it. I am fed up with it too, though I still use it when I have to. I'm glad that this year I don't have to.

It's easy to get lost in the granular detail of competing policy proposals when they all speak toward promoting similar laudable goals, just via different means. The devil it, is said, lies in the details. Well, while the people who generally say such things have a good record of usually being right, for the sake of discussion here I'm going to differ. I think vision, motivation, and conviction mean a whole lot more than the details. Ultimately details matter of course. If the final blueprints get it wrong than a structure can collapse. But blueprints can and usually do change. Just like this essay that you're reading, my first draft used many different words than these.

That's almost always the case with legislation introduced in Congress. Coming and going it almost never looks the same. There are these things called hearings, and the amendment process. There is horse trading. And pig trading. Hillary Clinton has proposals to achieve goals that I support. Bernie Sanders has proposals to achieve goals that I support. Between proposals and final legislation a whole lot of other people will have their say in it too. The Obamacare we ended up with is different than how it started. Bernie and Hillary both understand how it works, neither of them are exactly rookies at this.

But before any blueprint comes the vision, and I'll take that one step further. Before the vision comes the visionary. One can only see what one is open to seeing. The eye picks up more data than the mind can ever use, so the latter screens out most of it. Put it another way. If the eye takes information in that fails to fit with preconceived notions the mind tends to sort it until it does. By and large our government views reality through the mind of the status quo. The leader who we need now, at this point in our history, needs to view things differently. The status quo is failing almost all of us.

I believe it is true to say that today we must see the forest far more than the trees. There are two huge issues plaguing the world we know, and each fundamentally impacts almost every problem facing us: Climate change and income inequality. They may not always be the root of all our social ills, but when not they exasperate them. National Security? What threats are we protecting ourselves from, loss of life and limb? Cancer from a polluted environment and diabetes from poor nutrition are invading us, taking that toll already. Greed and concentrated capital are driving both of those, when decisions that benefit the few take precedence over the many. When those at the top hoard resources needed by all, famines and wars tend to occur, triggered directly or indirectly by the inability or disinterest of governments to ensure all citizens receive the essentials of life.

Even wars in distant lands cascade across borders now effecting us here in America when the global village convulses. As our climate warms catastrophic weather events multiply, destabilizing whole regions and threatening all coast lines. Floods of refuges come on the heels of tidal surges. Only a tiny fraction of one percent of humanity profits from the practices that cause all this, and they keep pushing fossil fuels.

The hyper wealthy cross all national lines. They can outsource their wealth as easily as they can outsource our jobs. Right wing paranoids have it all wrong. The one world government they fear is seated in the international banking system, overseen by interlocking corporate boards. They are a law onto themselves and increasingly governments exist primarily to serve them. Today we fight to preserve the original mission of the government we are poised to elect the President of. That is what the Democratic primary fight comes down to for me. Who is embedded in the status quo and who is not?

The massive leak of the Panama Papers is only just starting to play out, but they only reveal details of a pattern we already know to be true. We are about to elect a president, we need one who is not only free from the tentacles of world wide concentrated wealth, but one with a dedicated life long record of fiercely opposing it. We don't have the luxury to wait any longer for that.

And in regards to the climate? The New York Times published a story today called ‘Fractivists’ Increase Pressure on Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in New York.

Here is a small exert from it:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/05/us/politics/hillary-clinton-bernie-sanders-climate-change.html?ref=politics&_r=0

“Since the start of the campaign, Mrs. Clinton has moved strikingly to the left on climate issues, including opposing the Keystone XL pipeline, offshore drilling and, indeed, most forms of fracking, a drilling technique also known as hydraulic fracturing.

In a debate last month in Flint, Mich., she said she would severely regulate fracking.
“By the time we get through all of my conditions,” she said, “I do not think there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place.”

But Mr. Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, had a snappy retort: “My answer is a lot shorter. No, I do not support fracking.”

The absolutism of Mr. Sanders’s position on this and other climate issues — as well as the fact that Mrs. Clinton arrived at her views under pressure from the left — has made many activists mistrustful of her and supportive of Mr. Sanders.”

You can count me among them. On climate. On income inequality. On the future of America.

New Account from Oregon: "My party affiliation was changed in the last 3 days."

This was originally written on April 1st and posted on another site. I just got permission from the author to share it on Democratic Underground as well:

"I live in Oregon. Here we vote by mail, and we can check and update our voter registration online (not sure if you can register online, but once you are registered you can access & change your file ). We also have to be registered as affiliated with the Democratic party to vote in the Democratic Primary.

On 3/28/2016 I checked my registration because I was concerned after hearing reports of party affiliations of Bernie voters being changed. My registration listed me as affiliated with the Democratic Party as it should. I took a screen shot, half in jest, but just to be sure.

Today, 3/31/2016, my Voter Notification Card arrived in the mail. It has me listed as unaffiliated.

Now, there is still time, and I have updated my registration to list me as affiliated with the Democratic Party. But, it seems clear that something odd is happening..."

OK that is the clearly objective information part of what was posted, along with a warning that everyone needs to check their registration status prior to any upcoming primary or caucus as soon as possible.

The full post also contains speculation on what might be going on behind the scenes:

http://jackpineradicals.org/showthread.php?7879-My-party-affiliation-was-changed-in-the-last-3-days&p=45642#post45642
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