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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Colorado Republicans cancel 2016 presidential caucus vote

Source: Denver Post

Colorado will not pick a Republican candidate for president in its 2016 caucus after party leaders approved a little-noticed shift that is likely to diminish the swing state's clout in the most open nomination contest in the modern era.

The GOP executive committee voted Friday to cancel the traditional presidential preference poll at the caucus after the national party changed its rules to require a state's delegates to support the candidate that wins.

The move makes Colorado the only state so far to forfeit a role in the early nomination process, according to experts, but other states are still considering what to do.

"It takes Colorado completely off the map" in the nomination process, said Ryan Call, a former state GOP chairman.

Read more: http://www.denverpost.com/politics/ci_28700919/

Fear of Trump?

After 23 years, scandalmongers still torment Hillary Clinton


Hillary Rodham Clinton does not look as if she is having fun. No matter what message she wants to deliver, reporters insist on peppering her with questions about her email server and, if not her email, then what she thinks of Donald Trump.

With congressional investigations droning on and the conservative media chewing on the issue like a pack of pit bulls, the brouhaha inspired by Clinton’s handling of her public and private email during her service as secretary of State threatens to be a nagging distraction throughout the presidential campaign. Not unlike the kerfuffle over the firing of a few White House travel office employees in the opening months of Bill Clinton’s first term as president — Travelgate! — the email controversy falls far short of high crimes and misdemeanors once you dig into the details, but the murk of tedious technical issues and bureaucratic rules and regulations just enables those on the right who have built themselves lucrative careers by concocting lurid conspiracy theories about the Clintons. They do not have to prove anything, they only have to raise doubts in the minds of voters who do not take the time to separate facts from aggressively partisan gasbaggery.

The latest to join this game is Meghan McCain, Arizona Sen. John McCain’s daughter. Using her dad’s fame and the lovely blond hair she inherited from her mother, the young McCain has turned herself into what is vaguely described as “a media personality.” McCain is a more zaftig version of the many interchangeable blond hotties that Fox News impresario Roger Ailes has assembled to deliver the Republican spin on his cable channel. No surprise then that McCain appeared on Fox last Wednesday to opine that the Clinton email server problem “could be our generation’s Watergate.” McCain also offered a harsh assessment of the attire the former first lady chose to wear at her most recent news conference. "She looks like she’s in a prison jumpsuit,” McCain said. “It’s all orange.”

Hillary Clinton knows something about Watergate; she was a junior member of the House Judiciary Committee’s legal staff that conducted the impeachment probe of President Richard Nixon. She also knows that she will forever be the target of enemies who want to ensnare her and Bill in a Watergate-level scandal. The closest these Clinton antagonists have come to success was when they uncovered Monica Lewinsky’s semen-stained blue dress. That led to Bill Clinton’s impeachment, but also to the voters pummeling Republican congressional candidates for their overreach.

The majority of voters have never bought into the scandalmongering. Like Bill, Hillary can get the best of her foes simply by winning an election, even if she cannot get rid of them.


If Carly Fiorina ran the U.S. the way she ran HP, we'd be doomed


Sometimes, when I'm watching Carly Fiorina during her presidential bid, I ask myself if I'm in an alternate universe.

Fiorina — widely regarded in Silicon Valley as one of the worst tech CEOs of all-time — seems to be not just running on her past disastrous tenure as CEO of Hewlett-Packard, but to convince the public that this record is good enough to make her a contender for President.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Fiorina's time at HP was an unmitigated disaster that helped propel HP, one of the most iconic companies in American history, into a tailspin.

It's important to focus on the realities behind Fiorina's tenure as CEO. They don't hold up as her campaign speeches would have one believe.

much more


Jimmy Carter’s Unheralded Legacy

AUG. 25, 2015

WASHINGTON — AS Jimmy Carter moves into the twilight of his life, it is enormously frustrating for those of us who worked closely with him in the White House to witness his presidency caricatured as a failure, and to see how he has been marginalized, even by his fellow Democrats, since he left office in 1981.

His defining characteristic was confronting intractable problems regardless of their political cost. His closest aide and confidant, Hamilton Jordan, ruefully joked that the worst argument to make to President Carter to dissuade him from action was that it would hurt him politically.

A former one-term governor of Georgia, Mr. Carter won with a colorblind campaign, and in office he stayed faithful to his message of uplifting the poor of all races at the risk of losing his white Southern base.

Mr. Carter understood that, after Watergate, trust in government needed to be restored. He imposed gift limits and financial disclosure rules on his appointees; slowed the revolving door of officials departing to lobby their former departments; and appointed inspectors general to root out fraud and mismanagement.

Mr. Carter established the Department of Education and increased college tuition grants for needy students. He ended federal price regulation of trucking, interstate buses, railroads and airlines.



Bringing Bernie Back Home

by Kaitlin Campbell

The other day, as I was heading home to my apartment in Washington Heights—a small, somewhat close-knit neighborhood, geographically isolated from the tourism and crowds generally associated with Manhattan—I encountered a young man and woman with clipboards, gently trying to intercept passersby. "Hey," the man made eye contact, "have you heard about Bernie Sanders?" "Yeah,” I said, giving a thumbs-up and walking on, proud I'd been able to answer them in the affirmative. But they both lunged toward me, and started speaking very quickly. "Awesome! Are you registered? Do you know about our group? Are you interested in participating in our events? Do you want to volunteer?"

Brooklyn native Bernie Sanders currently doesn't have a New York City campaign office because, as I was to learn in the course of my encounter, he "didn't think people would like him this much." And so groups like the one I ended up learning about that day—Washington Heights for Bernie Sanders (they call themselves Bernie WaHi)—are getting ready for when he sets one up.

"We realized that the campaign didn’t have the structure yet in New York or as much funding as some other candidates,” said Adam Masser, one of three Sanders organizers who facilitate events and volunteer assignments in Northern Manhattan. Masser and his friends saw a "real opportunity to get the word out on behalf of Bernie and start organizing." So they started inviting their friends, and then their neighbors, to mobilize fellow Bernie supporters while also cultivating new ones.

Still a problem for Bernie at the moment is name recognition: “Bernie Sanders” doesn’t register with the same immediacy that “Hillary Clinton” does. So Bernie WaHi will focus on that, while also hosting more events and recruiting more volunteers. Voter registration is also part of the plan: Supporters are seeking to sign up people who’ve never voted, and to get registered Independent and Green Party voters to register as Democrats before the October 9 deadline.



Giant Coal Company Bankruptcy Reveals Secret Ties to Climate Denial, GOP Dark Money Groups

Alpha Natural Resources, one of the largest coal companies in America, was a player in major congressional election efforts last year — but you won’t find records of their corporate donations on the Federal Election Commission website or in any public record.

You will, however, find signs of the Virginia-based coal giant’s secret political activities buried in a creditor document filed last Thursday. The recent downturn in coal prices and high debts forced the company to seek bankruptcy protection earlier this month.

The filing lists organizations with which Alpha Natural Resources had any kind of financial transaction, including recipients of grants, creditors and contractors. The filing does not list amounts given or owed by Alpha Natural Resources. A spokesperson for the firm did not respond to a request for comment.

Alpha Natural Resources gave money to an array of nonprofit entities that are not required to report donor information. These groups were pivotal in helping Republicans maintain control of the House of Representatives and in electing the new GOP majority in the Senate.

The corporation helped fund the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, a secretive nonprofit group that refused to disclose any donor information during the election last year. The Kentucky Opportunity Coalition was the largest outside campaign entity in the Kentucky senate race, spending over $14 million on television and radio commercials to successfully reelect Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in his campaign against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.



American devotion to order over justice must end

by Chaumtoli Huq

Last summer, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, I stood on the sidewalk in Times Square while my husband took my kids to use a restroom in a nearby restaurant. We had just left a rally for Palestinian children killed in Gaza. As I waited alone, a police officer monitoring the rally ordered me to move. I did, stepping back towards the restaurant wall. This was not good enough for him. In seconds, he flipped me, pushed me against the wall, pressed his body on mine and while I was handcuffed, said I was resisting arrest. Photos later revealed his arms bulging with the ferocity of the arrest.

As a lawyer, I have done “Know Your Rights” trainings on this very police tactic: bootstrapping charges to justify arrest. As I was being arrested, I began to repeat in a monotone voice, “I am not resisting arrest,” to which the officer responded, “Shut your mouth.” When I objected to him going through my purse and pulling out my photo I.D., he said, “I can do whatever I want, because you are my prisoner.” At that moment it was true. It didn’t matter that I had been appointed in January 2014 as top counsel to New York City’s Public Advocate, the first Bangladeshi-American to reach that level of city government and one of few Muslim Americans in the newly elected administration.

The command “Shut your mouth” stuck out for me, because it is symbolic of how our legal and political system views and expects people of color to behave: quietly. Sandra Bland asked why she was being arrested. Asserting her rights as a woman of color to a white male officer was seen as disruptive and met with an aggressive response. Wearing my traditional South Asian tunic, visibly an immigrant, my mere presence was disruptive as well.

I was separated from my family and funneled through the criminal legal system, which black and Latino communities sadly know too well. After 9/11, the Muslim American community experienced aggressive surveillance and policing, by both state and federal authorities. Black Muslims have borne the brunt of both racial and religious profiling.



How “Brother” Bernie Is Making Labor’s Day


If it wasn’t for the Democratic presidential primary race now underway, Labor Day 2015 might be just another annual occasion for union mourning rather than celebration.

American workers have lost far more battles than they’ve than won recently. Further legal or political setbacks could be on the way, thanks to the Obama Administration and U.S. Supreme Court.

This spring, President Obama, big business, and their Republican allies in Congress won approval for a “fast-track” vote on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), when that controversial free trade deal is ready for ratification. Labor critics predict the TPP will undermine workers’ rights, environmental standards, and efforts to regulate multinational corporate activity.

This coming winter, the Supreme Court may rule that public employers and unions are barred, by the First Amendment, from requiring workers who benefit from collective bargaining to help pay for its costs. This case, involving California teachers, could weaken public sector unions even more than the TPP will hurt private sector ones.

Because of such political threats, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, former Senator Hillary Clinton, would normally be taking labor support for granted, while waltzing toward a first-place finish in the 2016 primaries.



3 reasons Bernie Sanders is now the Democratic front-runner

By H.A. Goodman,

In 2008, Hillary Clinton lost the Democratic nomination to then-Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.). In 2015, another senator is giving the Clinton campaign a headache; however, this election cycle has an additional cast of characters that normally isn't a part of any presidential rivalry. Because of a federal judge, the FBI and Justice Department investigations, and an energized base of progressive voters throughout the nation voting for Sanders, it's evident Clinton has lost her status as the leading presidential candidate for Democrats. Although many Democrats still won't admit the obvious, below are three reasons why Sanders has become the new Democratic front-runner in 2016.

1. Within a surprisingly short time period, increased name recognition and an energized base of Democratic voters have allowed Sanders to compete and even surpass Clinton in various polls.

Sanders formally announced his run for the presidency on May 26, 2015. Since then, Clinton's lead in nationwide polls has dwindled. This paradigm shift has been fueled primarily because of scandals, Clinton's inability to answer questions in a forthright manner, and the energy exhibited by Sanders's supporters. Furthermore, CNN cites a recent Franklin Pierce University/Boston Herald poll that reports Sanders ahead of Clinton in New Hampshire. Even when acknowledging that Clinton still leads Sanders in various other polls, CNN writes that "polling has also shown Clinton's vulnerabilities as voters question her honesty and trustworthiness." Echoing CNN, Quinnipiac University issued a report in July titled "Clinton In Trouble In Colorado, Iowa, Virginia, Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll Finds." This Quinnipiac poll explains that Sanders now performs as well, or even better than Clinton, in various scenarios:

In several matchups in Iowa and Colorado, another Democratic contender, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, runs as well as, or better than Clinton against Rubio, Bush and Walker. ...

Clinton gets markedly negative favorability ratings in each state, 35-56 percent in Colorado, 33-56 percent in Iowa and 41-50 percent in Virginia.

'Hillary Clinton's numbers have dropped among voters in the key swing states of Colorado, Iowa and Virginia. She has lost ground in the horserace and on key questions about her honesty and leadership,' said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

True, there is a poll among Democrats where Clinton still has a wide lead, however, this poll doesn't ask voters about "honesty." Whenever a poll is narrowed down to issues like trustworthiness, then data from Quinnipiac University's Swing State Poll and CNN's findings illustrate that voters in swing states (Democrats can't win the White House without winning a majority of swing states) simply do not trust Clinton.



Europe Doesn’t Share U.S. Concerns on Iran Deal

PARIS — Given the sound, fury and millions of dollars swirling around the debate in Washington over the Iranian nuclear deal, the silence in Europe is striking. It’s particularly noticeable in Britain, France and Germany, which were among the seven countries that signed the deal on July 14.

Here in France, which took the toughest stance during the last years of negotiation, the matter is settled, according to Camille Grand, director of the Strategic Research Foundation in Paris and an expert on nuclear nonproliferation.

“In Europe, you don’t have a constituency against the deal,” he said. “In France, I can’t think of a single politician or member of the expert community who has spoken against it, including some of us who were critical during the negotiations.”

Mr. Grand said the final agreement was better than he had expected. “I was surprised by the depth and the quality of the deal,” he said. “The hawks are satisfied, and the doves don’t have an argument.”


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