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Current location: Potlandia
Member since: Fri Sep 28, 2007, 04:39 PM
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Journal Archives

Bernie Sanders' Shrewd Move That May Push Clinton Left

Bernie Sanders' Shrewd Move That May Push Clinton Left
The democratic socialist is taking a stand by running a clean campaign, and it’s already making a big impact on the race for president. By Marc Daalder * In These Times * September 27, 2015

When Bernie Sanders’ Senior Advisor Tad Devine announced in August that the Democratic presidential candidate would not be running any attack ads against Hillary Clinton, many saw the move as simply being consistent with his previous campaign strategies and his progressive platform. Sanders has said he “hates and detests these 30-second negative ads” and has never run one. He sees the ads as part of what’s broken with American politics, and his disavowal of them fits with his electoral reform policies, which condemn super PACs and the buying and sensationalizing of U.S. elections.

But Sanders’ refusal to produce attack ads has proven to be more than a matter of simple moral consistency. His pledge represented a shrewd political decision by the Sanders campaign—a decision that has now paid off.

Electoral reform is central to Sanders’ platform for president. By swearing off attack ads against his opponents and cash from super PACs which often fund such ads, he has attempted to show that unlike his opponents, he can actually carry out the ideals he speaks so often about. In fact, shortly after Bernie’s announcement, his campaign sent a cease-and-desist letter to a PAC supporting him, which was first formed by Congressional lobbyist Cary Lee Peterson to encourage the Vermont Senator to run. ~SNIP~

The political depth of Bernie’s refusal to run negative attack ads has proven far more important than revealing contrasts between the two candidates. This decision actually forced Hillary’s campaign into an incredibly difficult position. If she ran an attack ad, she risked coming off as desperate or a bully. But by not running attack ads, she would essentially render herself unable to combat any surge in the polls by Sanders.

MORE: http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/bernie-sanders-shrewd-move-may-push-clinton-left

O'Malley is right about this: "Clinton email controversy threatens to define Democratic Party"

O’Malley: Clinton email controversy threatens to define Democratic Party
By Jonathan Easley * September 27, 2015 * The Hill

Martin O’Malley said Sunday that “legitimate questions” remain about fellow 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account and server from her time as secretary of State, and warned that the issue threatens to define the Democratic Party.

“I believe that there are a lot of legitimate questions still to be answered about this particular controversy – the email, the email server, the FBI investigation and the like,” O’Malley said on CNN’s "State of the Union.”

O’Malley has been fighting for the party to expand the debate schedule beyond the six that are currently on the docket.
He argued Sunday that more debates are necessary, particularly in light of Clinton’s email controversy, because the issue threatens to swallow the race for the Democratic nomination.

“It’s so important that as Democrats we start having debates about other issues as well,” O’Malley said. “I’m not saying there aren’t legitimate questions to be answered here by Secretary Clinton, but for our part as a party, we need to talk about the things that will actually get wages to go up rather than down, that people care about around their kitchen tables…that’s why we need to have debates.”

“Otherwise, our party is being defined by Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, and it’s not good for our country,” he added.


Hillary's Fat-cat Hollywood Moguls Can't Stop Fretting: “It is something everyone is talking about”

Hillary Clinton's big donors in California have found all sorts of reasons to be nervous
By EVAN HALPER AND MELANIE MASON * Sept. 25, 2015 * LA Times

During a month in which some of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s biggest donors fretted, obsessed over and second-guessed her campaign, it wasn’t Clinton’s big policy speeches on healthcare or her vow to block the Keystone XL pipeline that helped ease nerves.

It was her several minutes of banter with “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon.

Such are the mechanics of the Clinton campaign money machine, which is driven in large part by an extremely fickle – some might argue self-important – group of California moguls. Clinton will be back in California on Sunday to collect yet more checks. And one of the toughest challenges she and her advisors face is convincing this crowd of Hollywood executives and other titans of West Coast industry that they’ve got the campaign under control.

Lately, it’s been tough. Rival Bernie Sanders – a self-described socialist – is ahead in New Hampshire. The threat of the charming and formidable Vice President Joe Biden crashing the nominating contest looms. The FBI is investigating Clinton’s email server. It has all amounted to a lot of nail-biting and hand-wringing in the cocktail lounges of Beverly Hills and beach houses of Malibu.

“It is something everyone is talking about,” said one prolific Clinton fundraiser, who asked to remain unidentified for fear of antagonizing the campaign. “Is she going to lose? What is going on? Is Biden running? Is she in trouble? Why is the campaign doing this or that?”


Rich Democrats Don’t Care About Income Inequality Any More Than Rich Republicans

Rich Democrats Don’t Care About Income Inequality Any More Than Rich Republicans
A new study questions preconceived notions about politics and income equality.
by Ethan Wolff-Mann * Sept. 23, 2015 * Time (business section)

The Democratic party might be know for promoting income equality, but according to a new study, its rich elites don’t care about it any more than Republicans.

Professors from U.C. Berkeley, Boston University, Yale Law School, and University of Maryland-College Park recently set up an experiment to test how groups with varying levels of “elite” status in society would distribute wealth. There were three different groups involved in the study—one representing average Americans (roughly 50/50 Republicans and Democrats), a group of “intermediate elite” University of California-Berkeley undergrads, and a group of Yale Law students, assumed to be in particularly high positions of wealth and influence in the future.

The results of the study were summed up by two of its authors in a Slate post, when they wrote:

Regardless of party, the elite donors whose money dominates politics, and the elite officeholders
whose decisions set policy, don’t value economic equality.

The researchers came to this conclusion after a series of experiments in which participants were asked to divide money between themselves and an anonymous person in order to gauge selfishness. A second element to the study was added due to the fact that it wasn’t always free to give money. In some cases, giving was cheap — for every $1 sacrificed, $10 went to the anonymous beneficiary. In other cases, it was expensive to give. Giving away $1 only meant that the other person received a measly 10 cents. To make the experiments more realistic, the wealth redistribution was real, and participants were paid out at the end of the study based on their decisions.


Is this a new Hillary meme? "Caring what you eat, makes you anti-science"?

If I want GMO labeling -- like 65-90% of the American public want, and over 60 countries
already have -- that makes me "anti-science"

And it gets worse: Caring what you eat makes you "anti-science, just like anti-vaxers"

So, in essence, Team Hillary is telling Americans they are stupid for wanting to know what they eat?
What breath-taking arrogance.

Americans are now "like anti-vaxxers" if they don't shut-up & trust Hillary & Monsanto to
to tell them "what's good for them".

Geesh. This appears to be a new low for Team Hillary.

WTF? People From 5 States Will Soon Need Passports to Fly Within the U.S.A.

New York, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, American Samoa, and New Hampshire.

People From These 5 States Will Soon Need Passports to Fly Within the U.S.
No reason was given for why these states and regions were singled out.
By Zaid Jilani * AlterNet * September 22, 2015

Thanks to provisions in the little-known Real ID Act – passed in 2005 – five states will soon require a passport to fly even within the continental United States.

The Department of Homeland Security has named New York, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, American Samoa, and New Hampshire as locations where the residents will be required to use their passports to fly on commercial airplanes. Although there is no reason given for why these states and regions were singled out, it could possibly be because driver's licenses – the traditional form of identification used at airports – have to be compatible with Real ID requirements, and it's possible that the licenses in these states are not.

As an alternative, the Transportation Security Agency will accept Enhanced Driver's Licenses, which are used in some border states to allow travel to Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean, but few Americans have them.


Warning: TTIP Aims to Defang Local Rules Against Hazardous Chemicals

New report finds that the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership poses a threat to state regulations against hazardous pesticides, products, and fracking chemicals
by Sarah Lazare * Tuesday, September 22, 2015 * by Common Dreams

The mammoth Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) under secret negotiation between the United States and European Union is poised to slash the power of local governments to regulate toxins—from pesticides to fracking chemicals—the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) warned in a report released Tuesday.

Preempting the Public Interest: How TTIP Will Limit US States’ Public Health and Environmental Protections (pdf) is based on an analysis of the European Commission's proposed chapter on regulatory cooperation from the April 20 round of negotiations. The report follows other analyses of the text which conclude that the TTIP poses a threat to human rights, environmental protections, and democracy on both sides of the Atlantic.

Beyond the regulatory cooperation chapter, little else is known about the content of the closed-door negotiations over what is set to be the largest bilateral "trade" deal in history.

The chapter's contents, warns CIEL, highlight the direct threat the TTIP poses to public health and environmental protections on the U.S. state level. This is especially troublesome, the report argues, because federal regulations under the Toxic Substance Control Act have proven "egregiously ineffective"—and could be even further eroded, thanks to the influence of the chemical industry in Congress.

In contrast, some state governments have taken the lead in responding to the dangers posed by fracking chemicals, pesticides, and hazardous products by adopting "more than 250 laws and regulations protecting humans and the environment from exposure to toxic chemicals," the report says.

However, so-called "harmonization provisions" in the EU's proposal could force states to conform to the lowest common denominator—in this case weaker federal guidelines.


Is this new? "How CNN Doctored up a 'Hillary Bounce' and Got Away with it"

How CNN Doctored up a “Hillary Bounce” and Got Away with it
September 22, 2015 * Accidental Socialist

Like many firm supporters of Bernie Sanders these days,one of my first activities after rolling out of bed is to Google Bernie’s name and click the “news” tab. I woke up today to the top story from CNN titled “Poll: Hillary Clinton’s lead over Bernie Sanders Grows.” Having become used to this type of treatment of Bernie from the corporate media, I clicked it to read and examine whether the headline actually matches the content. My first impression was that this “lead growth” isn’t really very conclusive. Then I looked more closely at the data, and I realized something I could hardly believe – they skewed the results.

The gist of the story was that Clinton’s lead over Sanders, which had been 37% to 27% in this poll, had grown to 42% to 24%. However, the story went on, when Biden is not included on the ballot, that lead balloons to a whopping 57% to 28%. Initially I was willing to take these figures at face value because they comported with the facts that I believe to be true at the moment. The CNN poll has a margin of +/- 5% for this particular question, and both Hillary’s and Bernie’s numbers were within those margin. Secondly, other polls had demonstrated that Joe Biden’s support has significant overlap with Hillary Clinton’s and that his candidacy siphons far more votes away from Clinton than Sanders.

However, something just didn’t sit right with me. Since the previous CNN poll had been taken, Bernie Sanders didn’t have a noteworthy gaffe, and Hillary Clinton didn’t leave a particularly positive impression either at an interview or at a town hall meeting. In fact, most of the news coverage has been on the Republicans because, thanks to our illustrious DNC Chair, the Democrats are receiving a fraction of the media attention due to a limited number of debates. That’s why I decided to delve into the details of the poll, the numbers behind the numbers, and compare the old poll released September 10th and this new one with Clinton’s allegedly increased lead.

Like any respected poll, CNN lays out its methodology to tell you who they interviewed, how many of each group (Democrats, Republicans, independents and so on) and the margins of error. Both polls are prefaced by this statement. Read this one carefully because it contains the key to understanding what CNN did here.

“Crosstabs on the following pages only include results for subgroups with enough unweighted cases to produce a sampling error of +/- 8.5 percentage points or less. Some subgroups represent too small a share of the national population to produce crosstabs with an acceptable sampling error. Interviews were conducted among these subgroups, but results for groups with a sampling error larger than +/-8.5 percentage points are not displayed and instead are denoted with “N/A”.


The Intercept debunks a Yahoo "study" that claims "big donors don't matter"

The Intercept article lists "four reasons" Yahoo's study is bogus on it's face, and I'll add another:
* Big donors typically 'hedge their bets', giving to candidates on BOTH sides of the isle to insure that they buy the support they are seeking for their particular corporate special interest.

Yahoo Finance Drops in From Mars to Explain Big Money Hasn’t Bought U.S. Politics

A recent New York Times/CBS poll found that 84 percent of Americans think money has too much influence in U.S. politics, and 85 percent want the campaign financing system completely rebuilt or at least fundamentally changed. Even politicians themselves will tell you that big money controls most of what they do.

Yahoo Finance, however, has done a study on money in politics, and determined that everyone else in America is wrong:

With so much concern about democracy for sale, Yahoo Finance set out to ask a basic question: Are rich donors buying election results? We scrutinized thousands of federal records on campaign donations in presidential and congressional campaigns in 2012 and 2014, and came up with this simple answer: no.

What Yahoo did was simple and straightforward: Look at the top 10 individual donors to campaigns and Super PACs, as well as the top 10 biggest Super PACs, and then check to see how often the candidates the donors and Super PACs supported won.

And it turned out that big money’s candidates didn’t win every time! For instance, the candidates of the top individual donor, casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, won only 56 percent of the time. The candidates of the biggest-spending Super PAC, Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, only won 51 percent of their races.

So case closed, according to Yahoo: “The return on investment to big donors appears to be less than the fretting over the health of democracy suggests.”

Of course, the flaws in Yahoo’s study are as painfully glaring as the lens flare in a J.J. Abrams Star Trek reboot. Here are the top four, from least important to most:
• Yahoo doesn’t know who the top individual donors were and how much they gave — because nobody does.
• Giving lots of your money to losers isn’t a sign of failure.
• There’s a political spectrum beyond the one between corporate Republicans and corporate Democrats.
• There’s much, much more to money and politics than elections.

All in all, Yahoo clearly fell victim to what scientists call the “streetlight effect”: that is, drawing conclusions just from what’s easy to measure, rather than everything about reality. The streetlight effect is named after this old joke.

Late at night a policeman finds a drunk man crawling around on his hands and knees under a streetlight. The drunk man tells the policeman he’s looking for his wallet. When the officer asks if he’s sure this is where he dropped the wallet, the man replies that he thinks he probably dropped it across the street. The confused policeman asks, “Then why are you looking over here?” The drunk man explains: “Because this is where the light is.”

Yahoo is the drunk guy.


Toon visual of 2016 Election

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