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Bjorn Against

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Member since: Mon May 22, 2006, 07:07 PM
Number of posts: 11,209

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Last month Hillary hired a major Keystone XL lobbyist to her campaign

Hillary Clinton's Newest Consultant Was A Major Keystone Lobbyist
Posted: 06/25/2015 12:34 pm EDT Updated: 06/25/2015 2:59 pm EDT

The newest hire for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign is a longtime strategist who played a key role in her 2008 primary defeat while working for then-Sen. Barack Obama.

He’s also a Washington lobbyist who lobbied the State Department -- led, at the time, by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- on behalf of the company seeking to build the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.


Berman lobbied the House, the Senate and multiple federal agencies. In the second and fourth quarters of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011, the State Department was among the agencies that he lobbied. Clinton was running the department at the time.


There is also concern about Clinton’s position on the matter. Because the pipeline would cross an international border, the State Department is charged with deciding whether it would be in the national interest to grant a permit to the project. While secretary of state in 2010, Clinton said the department was "inclined" to sign off on the pipeline. On the campaign trail, however, Clinton has declined to comment on Keystone one way or the other. And since then, there have been accusations that she's been the object of influence peddling. Two Canadian banks "tightly connected" to promoting the pipeline have paid her $1.6 million for just eight speeches.


Posted by Bjorn Against | Tue Jul 28, 2015, 10:55 PM (11 replies)

We need to stop tearing each other apart over an issue most of us are in agreement on

As a person who has marched with Black Lives Matter on several occassions and am also currently volunteering for the Bernie Sanders campaign I have a lot of conflicting emotions about what happened at Netroots Nation. I feel sympathy for a number of people on both sides of the debate but I have also seen some incredibly divisive and ignorant comments on both sides of the debate.

I feel like there are a lot of people who are fighting right now that should not be fighting. I think that most Bernie supporters also support the goals of Black Lives Matter and we would love to see them work with the Bernie campaign to incorporate those goals into his platform. I would like to see Hillary, Bernie, and O'Malley all come together on this and declare that they stand together on this issue. While none of the candidates are perfect when you look at what the three of them have said on this issue in recent months there is really not much difference between them at all, in fact when it comes to this issue their stances are nearly identical. There are other areas in which they have big differences, but the issue of police shootings is an area in which they all seem to be in agreement.

We are tearing each other apart over an issue in which ultimately the large majority of us are in agreement. These fights are not helping anyone, they not are not helping Black Lives Matter, they are not helping Hillary, they are not helping Bernie, the only people they are helping are the real racists who are dancing with glee as they watch us tear each other down.

We need less shouting and more listening on both sides. People have a negative reaction to shouting, that is just human nature. Just because someone has a negative reaction when they feel they have been shouted at does not mean they are your opposition.

I don't claim innocence here, I know I have gotten angry and shouted people down before as well. I need to do better and we all need to do better, I am not just talking to one side because I personally think that neither side has handled this debate particularly well.

We can disagree on who the best candidate for President is but let us all agree on one thing, black lives do matter and we all need to stand together to protect those lives.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Mon Jul 20, 2015, 09:41 PM (9 replies)

When you see Bernie's huge crowds consider how many volunteers can be recruited for the campaign

This weekend it is looking like Bernie Sanders is going to attract more huge crowds, but this time those huge crowds will be in the red states of Arizona and Texas which the naysayers insisted Bernie had no support in.

The pundits will no doubt be telling us that crowd sizes don't translate to votes, but they could not be any more wrong. These huge crowds are going to win millions of votes for Bernie and this is how they will do it.

The Sanders campaign is not just holding these rallies to get people to cheer for their candidate, they are using these rallies to build an army of volunteers. At all of these rallies they have people going around with clipboards and signing people up to get involved in the campaign.

I was at the rally in Minneapolis last month when they signed me up to volunteer and I was not alone. They signed up hundreds of people at that event who have already participated in activities with the campaign. There are already plans to bus Minnesotans down to Iowa to door knock and get people out to the caucuses, the names that were gathered at that rally are going to help to fill multiple buses of people to Iowa. The Sanders campaign has already built a large organization in the state and the Minneapolis rally played a large part in building that organization.

The event in Phoenix will be particularly important as it is happening at the same time as Netroots Nation and will be attended by many bloggers and people who have a lot of influence on social media. If you can get the bloggers enthused and you can get social media to spread those blogs that means the campaign gets some great free advertising.

These rallies are building large networks of volunteers as well as a lot of free advertising through social media, anyone who tries to tell you that will not translate to votes is flat out wrong.

Posted by Bjorn Against | Sat Jul 18, 2015, 12:19 AM (20 replies)

Should Bernie allow members of the general public to submit resumes to apply to be his VP pick?

Generally Vice Presidential candidates have been selected among a small pool of elite politicians, but I think it might be time to change that.

I believe that there are a fairly large number of Americans who are well versed on the issues, show strong leadership skills, and would be more than capable of performing the duties of the Vice Presidency.

I personally think it would be awesome to see someone like a high school history teacher or a social worker get selected as the Vice Presidential nominee. A candidate like this would have far more understanding of the struggles that the common citizen faces because they have actually lived the life of the common citizen.

While a move like this might be risky, I think most Americans would find it very refreshing. Many people are turned off by politicians in the political establishment and I really think they would love to see a complete outsider picked.

A bold move like this would really solidify Bernie's status as a candidate of the people and I believe it could also get us an amazing VP pick. There are so many people in this country who have done amazing things and I have no doubt that a lot of genuinely great people would apply for the position.

I have never heard anyone propose this before so I was wondering what other people think of the idea. Do you think it would be a good idea for the Bernie campaign to put out a call asking for people to submit their resumes to apply for the position of Vice President of the United States?

I will be curious to see what people think.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Thu Jul 9, 2015, 10:46 PM (13 replies)

I am proud to have a candidate who is not afraid to call himself a democratic socialist

Many people have been trying to suggest that the fact that Bernie Sanders calls himself a democratic socialist is a negative against him, this could not be further from the truth.

I don't know about everyone else, but I am happy to be able to vote for someone who speaks the truth about what socialism is and does not allow the fear of right-wing propagandists make him run away from speaking that truth.

I am proud to support a candidate who openly talks about redistributing the wealth because the reality is that a massive redistribution of wealth is desperately needed. We have a few billionaires at the top hoarding our nation's resources while others can not even afford to buy food or pay the rent. We have people working full time and still living in poverty while racist assholes like Donald Trump sit on billions of dollars without making any sort of positive contribution to our society.

As a Bernie supporter I will not run away from the socialist label, instead I will embrace that label.

I will embrace that label because the people who have worked so hard to poison that label have continually shown us that their system of cut-throat capitalism has not benefitted the people. Their system has created an economy where nearly all the wealth is concentrated in the hands of a very few while the workers who created that wealth struggle to get by. They have produced a system where racist hiring practices are common and people of color are often unable to find a job. Their system has brought us into unnecessary wars which have left millions of people dead and countless lives shattered.

The right-wing forces who have told us that socialism is such an awful thing have brought harm to our nation and to our planet in so many different ways, they have been wrong about damn near everything and they are wrong about socialism as well.

The fact that we have a candidate who will not accept the right-wing propaganda and will embrace a term that has been unfairly demonized should not make us afraid, it should make us proud.

I want a socialist in the White House, I want the wealth to be redistributed so all of our nation's people can live with economic security, and I want a President who understands that if we want a better world we can not keep living in fear of the right-wing propagandists who demonize those who want to break free of a system that only works for the wealthy interests.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Fri Jul 3, 2015, 02:15 PM (26 replies)

I have some tragic news to report.

Five years ago I told the story of Liam to DU and received all kinds of love and support from the community here, sadly I am going to have to ask for your support once again.

Liam passed away over the weekend at the age of five.

I can't even begin to describe the pain the family is going through right now. Liam was like a son to me, he lived with me for a year and I played a major role in helping to raise him. Liam and his mother moved out a few years ago but we have remained not just friends but family. I have continued to care for Liam, he was literally the most important person in the world to me and I can't even imagine what life is going to be like without him.

Liam lived a challenging life but he managed to stay happy through most of it despite the enormous obstacles he faced. Liam was only six weeks old when he suffered a traumatic brain injury at the hands of an abusive "father". Liam nearly died when he was an infant, but he managed to hang in there and he made a pretty miraculous recovery. His brain injury prevented him from ever learning how to walk or talk, but it did not prevent him from showing everybody how much he loved them. Liam was filled with laughter and smiles, he loved to give kisses, and while he never learned to talk he did learn to hum along with songs and he sang to us regularly.

Last year Liam's little sister Autumn was born and as she started to learn new things he would follow suit. Once she learned to stand he started to stand up on his own, Autumn was helping to teach him new things in a way no adult could ever do and we were totally thrilled with the progress he was making.

Everything seemed fine, and then Friday night he went to bed and he never woke up again the next morning.

The medical examiners have not completed their report yet so I can't say anything about the cause of death, but I am convinced that it is related to the brain injury that Liam suffered as an infant. There is a possibility that murder charges could be filed against the monster that assaulted him but we have to be able to prove that the death was related to the brain injury so charges will be dependent on how conclusive the medical examiner's report is.

No matter what happens however, the loss of Liam has had a devastating impact on Liam's mother and his new father Brandon, a person who has shown Liam an enormous amount of love ever since he came into his life. Brandon served as a Personal Care Assistant for Liam and a very large chunk of the family income came from the PCA hours that he received. Not only has the family lost a child, but they lost half their income as well and are now trying to figure out how they will be able to keep their home.

I have never asked for donations on DU before but this time I need help. If anyone can afford to donate please follow the link to the GoFundMe page I have provided below. I understand that many people can't afford a donation themselves, but if you could please share the link with anyone who might be able to help it would be very much appreciated.

Thank you all in advance for your support during this very difficult time.


Posted by Bjorn Against | Mon Jun 22, 2015, 05:28 PM (64 replies)

Today I stood in the longest line I have seen in years to see Bernie Sanders speak

Today I stood in the longest line that I have seen since Barack Obama was in town to declare his victory in the primaries seven years ago.

When I arrived at the Bernie Sanders event in Minneapolis this morning the line was already stretched for several hundred feet all the way up the block and that line only continued to rapidly grow after I stepped into it. I could not even see the end of the line once they started letting people in but it went back a long ways, it was easily two to three city blocks long.

I just barely made it inside, they had to close the doors shortly after I entered because they could not fit any more people. They had to set up speakers outside so that the people who could not get in were able to hear the speech.

The event was originally going to be held at a union office that can hold no more than a couple of hundred people, once they realized that was not going to be big enough they moved it to a gymnasium at the Native American Center, but this was not even close to being big enough either. When Bernie took the stage he had to apologize to the crowd for running out of food, he was not expecting a crowd of this size and he promised to be more prepared the next time. I don't think anyone who was there was bothered by this however, if the biggest problem an event is facing is that they get too many people to show up the organizers of that event should be very happy.

Bernie delivered an excellent speech that drew several standing ovations, it is rare to see this kind of excitement at political rallies these days but I think Bernie is really speaking a message that people have been wanting to hear for a long time. People are excited to see a candidate who is able to speak out against the corporate interests because he has not taken money from them.

When I saw the massive turnout for a rally that was originally intended to be a small event I had to wonder what the Koch Brothers are thinking right now. They can spend their billions but they can't get this many people to show up for their candidates, instead people are showing up to rally around the candidate who is doing more than any other to challenge the corporate interests that are trying to buy our elections.

Some have been trying to dismiss Sanders as a fringe candidate, but if he keeps attracting the number of people to his events that he attracted today anyone who tries to claim he is fringe will get laughed at.

Bernie Sanders has a voice that appeals to mainstream Americans. Bernie is not the fringe, the 1% is the fringe. The Koch brothers are the fringe. The bankers are the fringe. The average American has far more in common with the people who want higher wages for workers than they do with the people whose primary goal is to increase the Koch family fortune.

When Bernie comes to your town make sure to show up because if we can get turnouts like this at all of his events we will prove to the world that we are the mainstream Americans that are going to take on the Koch brothers fringe.

Check the links in the OP, he has been addressing these issues in the campaign

In fact he has been addressing these issues more vocally than any other candidate in the race.

The claim that he has not been addressing these issues in the campaign is clearly false as evidenced by the links in the OP, all of which are less than a year old.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Fri May 29, 2015, 12:49 PM (1 replies)

No other candidate in this race has been as strong of an advocate for racial justice as Bernie has

There has been a lot of misinformation on this site lately suggesting that Bernie Sanders has been ignoring issues of race. I intend to prove in this post beyond any reasonable doubt that not only has Bernie Sanders talked about racial issues, but he has been a true champion for civil rights. Every example I am providing below of Bernie Sanders speaking out on racial issues is from the past year, I could go back to the 60's when Bernie was involved with the SNCC and marching with Martin Luther King but I don't need to go back that far. In recent months Bernie has spoken out far more than any other candidate on these issues, and here is the proof:

In the wake of continuing unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, Sen. Bernie Sanders said on Wednesday that he will introduce legislation to address the national crisis of black youth unemployment. In a letter to Senate colleagues, Sanders called for a thorough federal investigation of the Aug. 9 death of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, who was shot by a police officer in the St. Louis suburb. “We also must recognize, however, that there is an economic crisis facing our nation’s youth, particularly young African-Americans,” Sanders said. In the St. Louis metro area, almost half of young African-American men are unemployed, Sanders said. Nationwide, the youth unemployment rate today is more than 20 percent and African-American youth unemployment is nearly 35 percent.

“If we are going to address the issue of crime in low-income areas and in African-American communities, it might be a good idea that instead of putting military style equipment into police departments in those areas, we start investing in jobs for the young people there who desperately need them.”

The legislation would provide $5.5 billion in immediate funding to states and localities to employ 1 million young Americans between the ages of 16 and 24.

Under the bill, the U.S. Department of Labor would provide $4 billion to states and local governments to provide summer and year-round employment opportunities for economically disadvantaged youth. The measure also would award $1.5 billion in competitive grants to provide work-based training to low- and moderate-income youth and disadvantaged young adults.


For those interested in reading Bernie's letter calling for a jobs program to benefit African American youth just follow the link below.


Just earlier this month Sanders spoke out on Baltimore as well...

And in April he spoke extensively about Civil Rights...

And in March he participated on the March on Selma...

Can anyone honestly look at these links and continue to claim that Bernie Sanders has been ignoring people of color?

Yes, Bernie can win.

I have heard many people say that Bernie Sanders does not have a chance, I am here to say that those people are wrong. I won't deny that Hillary is starting the race with huge advantages in money, name recognition, and polling numbers. If the election were to be held today she would easily win, I certainly can not deny that reality. While reality does tell us that Bernie would not stand a chance against Hillary if the election were held today, reality also tells us that the election is not being held today and a lot can happen between now and election day.

Here is what needs to happen for Bernie to pull off one of the greatest upsets in American political history.

First Bernie has to start closing the gap in polling numbers between himself and Hillary, a gap that is admittedly massive. The good news for Bernie however is that this gap is almost certain to shrink, Hillary's support has most likely already peaked. When you start out polling as highly as she did the pool of additional voters that she could win over is very small. Many of her current supporters are people who voted against her in 2008, if they voted against her before it is not at all unreasonable to think another candidate could win them over in this election.

It appears inevitable to me that Hillary's polling numbers will drop, of course they have to drop a huge amount for her to fall behind so there is no doubt that closing the gap will be very difficult but Bernie does have a couple of things going for him.

First Bernie's supporters are very passionate and he has a huge presence on social media. This is going to be extremely important because no matter how many small donors Bernie is able to receive assistance from he will never have the funds that Clinton has. With a committed group of volunteers and a big social media presence however it is possible to reach a lot of people without spending a lot of money, if Sanders and his supporters can really tap into social media they can overcome big money as you get far more bang for the buck when you can get volunteers to spread your message for you than you get from relying on ad agencies.

Bernie's history as an independent Senator who is widely respected by Democrats and even some Republicans puts him in a very good position to reach out to a wide range of voters. As much as the media tries to dismiss him as a fringe candidate the fact is he won his last election with 71% of the vote, I realize that it is Vermont but even in Vermont you don't reach 71% of the vote without winning over a broad range of people. Most Vermonters do not consider themselves socialist, yet 71% of them have shown that the word socialist does not scare them. The cold war is over and the word socialist does not carry the sting it once did, Bernie has already shown that by getting elected by huge margins while proudly calling himself a Democratic Socialist.

The fact is that most Americans are not super partisan, huge numbers of Americans consider themselves independents and Bernie's own history as an independent will be valuable in reaching out to these potential voters.

Speaking of reaching out to potential voters, let's face it Bernie has been doing far more to reach out to voters than Hillary has in this campaign. Hillary has not even been talking to the media, and while they try to claim she is bringing her message to voters directly that claim is really just a talking point with little basis in reality. My guess is that most people reading this are voters, I am also quite certain that most of you won't see Hillary reaching out to you directly. Sorry, but speaking to a small group of people in Iowa will not get your message out to the majority of voters.

While most of us have serious problems with the press, the fact is that the press does still play a major role in informing people about the election. Voters generally don't like to see candidates refuse to submit themselves to questions by the press and if Hillary continues to give the impression that she is running away from the press it will backfire on her.

Bernie on the other hand has handled the press beautifully, he has given numerous media interviews over the course of the last month and in all of those interviews he has answered all of the questions without letting the media bait him into focusing on gossip. He has clearly articulated his positions, and while he has managed to use the media to get his message out he has also taken the opportunity to call out that same media for their obsession with gossip over policy.

While I don't deny that Bernie Sanders has a huge mountain to climb, I also think that he is doing a far better job at presenting his message than Hillary is. I may be being optimistic, but I really believe that as long as Bernie can maintain a passionate and commited group of supporters who will help him get his message out he can win. If you want to see that victory then don't let anyone tell you that it can't happen, it may be a tough battle ahead but we can't bring about real change if we don't fight those tough battles.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Thu May 28, 2015, 12:20 AM (43 replies)
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