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Wash Post: Bernie Sanders is the realist we should elect

By Katrina vanden Heuvel

As the Iowa caucuses near, Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have released TV ads that together echo a popular theme in the mainstream media. Clinton’s ad depicts the job of the presidency as tough and change as hard. You need someone experienced who can face down foreign adversaries and stand up to reactionary Republicans. Sanders’s ad — with Simon and Garfunkel’s “America” stirring memories — offers the romance of the United States coming together. Many of the pundits agree — this is a choice between head and heart. If Democrats think with their heads, they will go with Hillary; with their hearts, with Bernie.

But this conventional wisdom clashes with the reality that this country has suffered serial devastations from choices supported by the establishment’s “responsible” candidates. On fundamental issue after issue, it is the candidate “of the heart” who is in fact grounded in common sense. It wasn’t Sanders’s emotional appeal, but his clearsightedness that led the Nation magazine, which I edit, to make only its third presidential endorsement in a primary in its 150-year history.

For example, foreign policy is considered Clinton’s strength. When terrorism hits the headlines, she gains in the polls. Yet the worst calamity in U.S. foreign policy since Vietnam surely was George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq. Clinton voted for that war; Sanders got it right and voted against. Clinton has since admitted her vote was a “mistake” but seems to have learned little from that grievous misjudgment. As secretary of state, she championed regime change in Libya that left behind another failed state rapidly becoming a backup base for the Islamic State. She pushed for toppling Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war and lobbied for arming the Syrian opposition, a program that ended up supplying more weapons to the Islamic State than to anyone else. Now she touts a “no fly zone” in Syria, an idea that has been dismissed by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as requiring some 70,000 troops to enforce, and by President Obama as well. People thinking with their heads rather than their hearts might well prefer Sanders’s skepticism about regime change to Clinton’s hawkishness.

The worst economic calamity since the Great Depression came when the excesses of Wall Street created the housing bubble and financial crisis that blew up the economy. Clinton touts her husband economic record, but he championed the deregulation that helped unleash the Wall Street wilding. The banks, bailed out by taxpayers, are bigger and more concentrated than they were before the crash. Someone using their head — not their heart — would want to make certain that the next president is independent of Wall Street and committed to breaking up the big banks and shutting down the casino. But Clinton opposes key elements of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) rational reform agenda for the banks, and her money ties to Wall Street lead any rational observer to conclude she’s an uncertain trumpet for reform.



Tuesday Toon Roundup 2: The Rest







Tuesday Toon Roundup 1- GOP surprises

Tuesday Bernie Group Toons

Why Is Hillary Clinton Using Republican Talking Points to Attack Bernie Sanders?

In a troubling failure of imagination, her campaign paints Sanders as naive for wanting to pursue better relations with Iran.

by Ali Gharib

Campaigning in Iowa recently, Hillary Clinton, who is facing tightening primary races in key early states, made a shift. She went after her rival for the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders, and she hit him on foreign policy. “Senator Sanders doesn’t talk very much about foreign policy,” Clinton told the crowd in Iowa. “And when he does, it raises concerns because sometimes, it can sound like he hasn’t really thought it through.”

So far, I’m in agreement with the former Secretary of State. Sanders doesn’t talk much about foreign policy. Who, for example, are Sanders’s foreign policy advisers? I pay some attention to these things, and I have no idea. When he’s asked about global affairs, Sanders often steers his answers back to his domestic bêtes noires, such as inequality, and applies the concepts abroad. Not the worst sin in the world—certainly, issues like inequality affect global and geopolitics as much or more than then do at home—but the lack of depth about the specifics of global affairs has long been on display.

The Clinton attack, however, went farther, hitting Sanders on the topic of Iran. Her campaign released an ad featuring Clinton foreign policy adviser Jake Sullivan almost mockingly describe Sanders’s various position on Iran. The ad raises three issues: Sanders’s purported proposal to invite Iran to send more troops to Syria to battle the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS); his notion of an anti-ISIS coalition that would include Iran and Saudi Arabia; and his comments during last weekend’s Democratic debate calling for moving toward warmer relations with the Iranians.

Without delving into the details, on the first score, the Clinton camp is basically right; on the second, they’ve got a point. But they fail on the third point, which seems to be based on a willful distortion of Sanders’s position.



Elizabeth Warren Sinks Clinton's Hopes for Endorsement

Liam Miller

In a speech before the Senate Thursday, on the sixth anniversary of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, Elizabeth Warren made clear - for those with ears to hear - that she will not endorse Hillary Clinton.

If you have observed how closely Warren's and Bernie Sanders' messages line up, it is hard to imagine that she would endorse Clinton over him, anyway. Even so, the question has remained. But now, were there any question about whether or not Clinton is truly a Progressive, Elizabeth Warren - with her extraordinary, precise eye for the heart of an issue, and her unsurpassed clarity of expression - has answered it.

The first ten minutes of Warren's speech address corruption in campaign finance, and the impact of Citizens United. She lists seven steps we could take right now, including six actions - bills before Congress, executive action, and powers already within the purview of the FEC and the SEC; and the seventh, a Constitutional Amendment to restore federal and state authority to regulate campaign contributions.

Warren is eloquent, moving, and on topic as always. Right at the end, however, she changes gears. I almost missed it; what she had said up to that point was so compelling that my mind was ringing. It was only on the second listen that I caught them: three sentences that leapt from the specific (campaign finance reform) to the general (Progressivism itself):

A new presidential election is upon us. The first votes will be cast in Iowa in just eleven days. Anyone who shrugs and claims that change is just too hard has crawled into bed with the billionaires who want to run this country like some private club.



Restaurant manager responds to jerk church who left fake tip

On Wednesday, we brought you the story of a restaurant employee in Charlotte, North Carolina who got cruelly stiffed by a religious pamphlet disguised as a twenty dollar tip.

The employee’s manager, the perfectly named Penny Craver, issued a righteous response to the proselytizing jerks who left her server the fake tip. After looking up the Harbor Baptist Church, which had printed its name on the pamphlet, Craver fired back with a letter to the church’s pastor Kenneth Simmons. Craver’s response highlighted the exact problems with the fake tips –they’re not money and they’re incredibly pretentious – and put it all in biblical terms that these sanctimonious church trolls can understand.

Pastor Simmons:

I am the general manager of Dish (restaurant) in Plaza Midwood. Imagine one of my server’s surprise when she received a small pamphlet (Every one of us will face eternity one day) instead of a tip when she served what I assume was one of your congregation. H er particular religious beliefs are not discussed at work; however, I do know that this pamphlet can not pay her mortgage or her electric bill. It concerns me that someone would consider a pamphlet fair monetary exchange. Suppose your congregation felt it was sufficient to tithe their personal writings instead of 10% of their income. Your church wouldn’t be paying their bills for very long. I think it would be great if you used this in a sermon. Pride, one of the 7 Deadly Sins, is considered, on almost every list, the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins: the source of the others. It is identified as believing that one is essentially better than others, failing to acknowledge the accomplishments of others, and excessive admiration of the personal self (especially holding self out of proper position toward God). I think it could be educational for at least one member of your congregation. Thank you very much for your time.


Craver says this was the third or fourth time that particular employee had received one of the trollish fake tips and she felt she had to stand up for her.


Oregon Militia member loses mind, challenges Chris Christie to sumo wrestling match

Things are getting a little weird at the Malheur National Wildlife Preserve. One of the militia members donned an improvised mawashi and filmed himself challenging failing presidential candidate Chris Christie to a sumo wrestling match.

New militia member Kelly Gneitling uploaded the video to YouTube in response to Christie’s comments stating that law enforcement should end the Oregon standoff. He calls himself the governor’s older brother, referring to him as “little Chrissy,” and says that he “wants to see who the real sissy is.”

“You know what I want to see? I want to see you come over here and disperse me, your older brother, in the dojo,” Gneitling said. “Woo-hoo, little Christie!”

“Let’s go to war over the constitution, and for momma’s love,” he added.

He then outlines the challenge. If Christie can win one of 10 matches, the whole militia will leave. Seems promising!

“Bring that big ol’ belly over here, and let’s slap bellies. I’m talking about 10 bouts. You win one out of those 10, and me and these other good, constitutional folk … we’ll disperse,” he said. “But if I win all 10, I get to roll you down the stairs in that sleeping bag again.”

more (warning image that may never be unseen)


A remarkably moving thing happened at a Bernie Sanders rally today in Iowa

Bernie Sanders did a town hall event Monday morning in Iowa Falls, Iowa. He asked the crowd for testimonials about the difficulties of sustaining a life off of $12,000 a year.

What happened next is both hard to watch/listen to and important. A woman is called on and she emotionally tells the story of her life -- minimum wage jobs despite a degree, on disability and living with her parents. Here's a snippet of what she said:

It’s so hard to do anything to pay your bills, you’re ashamed all the time...when you can’t buy presents for your children it’s really really really hard – and I work 3, 4, 5 jobs sometimes, always minimum wage, I have a degree, divorced and it’s just I’m waiting for disability to come through so my parents have to support me – it’s just hard.

Sanders thanked her and the crowd applauded. Then he said this: "It is not easy for people to stand up and say that but the truth is that until millions of people who are experiencing what you’re experiencing do say that we don’t make change."



Top Sanders surrogate fires back at Obama

By NICK GASS 01/25/16 12:42 PM EST

One of Bernie Sanders' top advisers fired back at President Barack Obama's remarks about the state of the 2016 presidential race, saying that the president's characterization to POLITICO that Hillary Clinton stands at a disadvantage in contrast to a "bright, shiny object that people ... haven't seen before" sounds awfully familiar.

"Well, I think that’s the parallel to his own journey eight years ago, and I was actually supporting him then, that he offered hope," senior campaign adviser Larry Cohen, a former labor leader, told CNN. "And I think Bernie and actually all of the Democratic candidates are about a positive vision of the future. Bernie’s is about change, not just continuity in the similar way that then-Senator Obama was talking about change. And Bernie’s talking about, why can’t we have higher education that doesn’t leave our kids burdened with ridiculous debt? And why can’t we have Medicare for all? And why can’t we, even though the path would be difficult, imagine a country where people are working and they’re looking forward to a better America."

Cohen remarked that in selecting her as secretary of state, the president "made a political decision after that election to unite with that part of the Democratic Party."

"And I would say to him, with all due respect, Mr. President, the same kind of change that you had hoped to work for, Bernie is trying to continue on that path, not go back to the 1990s of President Clinton," he said.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/01/bernie-sanders-obama-politico-interview-218191#ixzz3yHbUATpF

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