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Member since: Tue May 13, 2008, 03:07 AM
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Sanders Within STRIKING DISTANCE of Clinton in Iowa

I recently did a piece about Sanders doing very well in New Hampshire, the nation's second Democratic primary. According to the polling firm PPP (my emphasis throughout):

There's been a big shift on the Democratic side since April as well. Bernie Sanders now leads the field in the state with 42% to 35% for Hillary Clinton, 6% for Jim Webb, 4% for Martin O'Malley, 2% for Lincoln Chafee, and 1% for Lawrence Lessig.


Now comes similar news from Iowa, the first-in-the-nation Democratic primary contest. Bloomberg:

Sanders Within Striking Distance of Clinton in Iowa

Hillary Clinton’s once-prohibitive advantage in Iowa has slipped enough to jeopardize her front-runner status and Bernie Sanders has moved to within striking distance, revealing a Democratic presidential field in unexpected flux as Vice President Joe Biden mulls whether to make a late entrance into the race.

The results of the latest Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll, released Saturday, show Clinton is now the first choice of 37 percent of likely Democratic caucus-goers in the state where the first ballots of the presidential contest will be cast early in 2016. She's followed by Sanders at 30 percent and Biden at 14 percent. It’s the first time the poll has had Clinton's support under 50 percent.

In May, the Iowa Poll put Clinton, a former secretary of state, U.S. senator and first lady, at 57 percent, Sanders at 16 percent, and Biden at 8 percent.

The rest of the poll results are interesting as well, including this:

The biggest surprise is Sanders. Unlike his recent strong showing in New Hampshire polls, his performance here cannot be dismissed as a result of the Vermont lawmaker’s regional appeal.

The survey of 404 likely Democratic caucus attendees, conducted Aug. 23-26, shows the self-declared socialist, who serves as an independent in the U.S. Senate, packing a powerful appeal in the nation's rural heartland. In the last two months, Sanders' favorability rating has jumped to 73 percent from 57 percent among likely Democratic caucus-goers.

"On paper, he’s not the kind of candidate that traditionally ends up as the nominee," Selzer said of Sanders. "But he’s making them feel good about being a Democrat."

More at the link, including some interesting graphics.




Could Hillary LOSE Iowa And New Hampshire? YOU BET.

"....Simon says: Not all that long ago, it was unthinkable that she could lose Iowa...."

In politics, the unthinkable must be thought about. Not all that long ago, it was unthinkable that Hillary Clinton could lose Iowa, the first of the 2016 presidential contests. True, she had lost the Iowa caucuses in 2008, coming in a shocking third after both Barack Obama and John Edwards. And she had had everything going for her. She had the money, she had the endorsements, she had the name recognition, and she had the demographics, i.e., there are virtually no black people in Iowa, so how was Barack Obama supposed to beat Hillary Clinton there? Obama’s people were astonished at how lightly Hillary’s people were taking Obama. “The crowds he was drawing in 2007 should have scared the shit out of them,” Bill Daley, who had run Al Gore’s presidential campaign in 2000 and had been Bill Clinton’s secretary of commerce, told me. “They should have been asking: ‘How do you take this guy out?’”

Instead, the Hillary people were vigorously fighting with each other, knifing each other in the back when they were not too busy knifing each other in the front. Daley thought the Clinton campaign wildly underestimated Obama, in part because of his race. “He’s black, start there,” Daley said. “When was the last time a black guy pulled this off? Well, never. A black guy in the Senate only three years, who had never done anything in their opinion? They felt he was just a pretty boy. They had a bloated campaign and no strategy.” “Hillaryland was about Hillary,” Daley said. “By the time they focused on , it was over. He was credible, he was real, and they couldn’t stop him.” And it was Iowa that made Obama credible and real. “If I win the Iowa caucuses,” Obama told Daley early in 2007, “I can get the nomination.”


Like how she doesn’t really like campaigning. As Katie Glueck of POLITICO wrote on Aug. 16 during Clinton’s visit to the Iowa State Fair: “While Clinton is notorious for avoiding big crowds, she walked around the fairgrounds talking to anyone who approached her or asked to snap a picture.” Stop the presses! Hillary talks to people! Read all about it! I would say a presidential candidate who is “notorious for avoiding big crowds” is a presidential candidate who is in the wrong business. Running for president is often about talking, meeting with and winning over big crowds, the bigger the better, in fact. But who is attracting the big crowds this time around? You guessed it: Bernie Sanders. He draws very, very big crowds. In Los Angeles in mid-August, Sanders drew a crowd of 27,500 people, which The Washington Post pointed out was “about five times as large as any crowd that has turned out for Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton.” This was not good news for Clinton, but the real body blow came this weekend:

The highly respected Iowa Poll came out and for Clinton --the news ran from bad to worse. The poll said:
“Clinton has lost a third of her supporters since May, a trajectory that, if sustained, puts her at risk of losing again in Iowa.” Clinton is below the 50 percent mark for the first time, while “Bernie Sanders, riding an updraft of insurgent passion in Iowa, has closed to within 7 points of Hillary Clinton.” “‘This feels like 2008 all over again,’ said J. Ann Selzer, pollster for the Iowa Poll.” Only 8 percent of likely caucus goers have a negative view of Sanders, while 19 percent have a negative view of Clinton.



Bernie Sanders’s Surge in Iowa from Attractiveness of His Ideas: Poll

Phil Mattingly | Bloomberg Business |

“Hillary Clinton saw her support in Iowa dwindle as voters boosted Bernie Sanders in the latest Bloomberg Politics/ Des Moines Register poll that also found a bipartisan dislike for the state of politics in the United States. Bloomberg’s Phil Mattingly reports on “Bloomberg Surveillance.”



Sanders is being buoyed by a coalition that looks uncannily like the one that helped Barack Obama topple Clinton from the front of the Democratic field in 2008: young people, liberals and first-time caucus-goers. Sanders draws 50 percent of the support of likely Democratic caucus-goers under the age of 45, well above Clinton’s 27 percent and Biden’s 8 percent. Sanders has a five percentage point lead over Clinton among self-described liberals. Among Democrats who plan to attend their first caucus in 2016, Sanders is the first choice of 43 percent, Clinton of 31 percent.

Clinton leads with a small group of self-described conservatives among likely Democratic caucus-goers (44 percent to Sanders’s 5 percent); Sanders has a 5-point lead among liberals. Support for other Democratic presidential contenders—Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb, and Lincoln Chafee—remains in the low single digits, the poll showed. Asked to identify their second choice for president, respondents divided their preferences essentially evenly among Biden, Clinton and Sanders.

Nearly all Sanders supporters—96 percent—said they are motivated mostly by support for him and his ideas rather than by opposition to Clinton. While Clinton posts a slightly higher overall favorable rating than Sanders, 77 percent compared with 73 percent, Sanders counts a considerably higher share who rate him as “very favorable,” the most positive of the favorability rankings, at 39 percent compared with Clinton’s 27 percent.

"For the last six months, there hasn’t been another contender, but recently Joe Biden and, most importantly, Bernie Sanders has shaken things up," said Bryce Rodgers, 28, a software developer from Iowa City, who still counts Clinton as his first choice but says Sanders may yet steal him away. "People talk about how they’re more excited about Bernie Sanders," said Rodgers. He's weighing that versus the question of electability. "It bothers me that she’s a little bit more entrenched in the status quo where Bernie has zero problem upsetting the status quo. But on the flip side I think that also could be an advantage" for Clinton in terms of money and organization.



Bernie Clarifies: That IS NOT Hillary Clinton's Position


Sunday morning Bernie was on CNN's State of the Union with Jake Tapper. Right from the beginning of the interview Tapper tried getting Bernie to attack Hillary, which he has refused to do. His standard answer is usually that he knows her, likes her and respects her, even if they differ on several issues that are crucial to America's working families. Tapper did manage to get Bernie to lay out some key examples of policy positions where there is a clear contrast with Clinton's neo-liberal-- if not corporatist and Wall Street-inspired-- agenda.

The Hillary machine responded to the growing Bernie threat by having a spokesperson go out and tell the media he's pro-gun or some such nonsense. He has a lifetime NRA rating of D-minus. The irony is that Hillary spent part of the weekend in Ohio campaigning for conservaDem fossil Ted Strickland, who has been endorsed by the NRA over Republican John Kasich. Strickland, whom Hillary endorsed, rather than the progressive Democrat running for the seat, PG Sittenfeld, has an A+ from the NRA, a higher rating than most Republicans.



Ken. Clerk DEFIES Supreme Court, DENIES MARRIAGE LICENSES To Same-Sex Couples ‘Under God’s Authority'

Kentucky county clerk defied a U.S. Supreme Court order and refused to issue marriage licenses to two same-sex couples. The top court ruled Monday evening that Kim Davis, the Rowan County clerk, could not be excused from following the law on religious grounds. The clerk arrived at her office Tuesday morning just after 7 a.m., and a couple attempted to obtain a marriage license shortly after 8 a.m. Another couple was refused about a half hour later. An employee in the county clerk’s officer denied a marriage license to the same-sex couple, who had previously attempted to obtain one three times.

The employee said Davis was unavailable to meet with the couples because she was “doing reports.” However, the clerk eventually emerged and said she would not issue the licenses to same-sex couples, and they asked under whose authority she could make that decision. “Under God’s authority,” Davis said. “I’ve asked you all to leave, you’re interrupting my business.” The county attorney’s office last week referred an official misconduct charge against Davis, who is represented by the conservative Liberty Counsel, to the Kentucky attorney general’s office. “I pay your salary,” said David V. Moore, who has attempted several times to obtain a marriage license from the clerk’s office. “I pay you to discriminate against me.”

Moore told Davis he had been with his partner, David Ermold, for 17 years and challenged her to tell him the longest relationship she had ever had, as a friend began laughing. “I’m going to ask you all to leave,” Davis said, but the men refused. “You all are more than welcome to stay, just push back away from the counter.” Davis retreated to her office, and the group began chanting “do your job” as Moore dared the clerk to call the police.


Bernie Sanders Gives 6 HUGE REASONS To Pick Him Over Hillary

"....Bernie Sanders is a simple guy and always has been. Instead, of eating his meals in the formal Senate dining room, he chooses to hang out in the basement cafeteria and discuss politics with lower-level interns. That really says a lot about him. He enjoys talking to and meeting new people and doesn’t have an ego, unlike so many other people in power..."

Bernie Sanders is gaining some tremendous momentum with his poll numbers, and picking up a lot of ground on Hillary Clinton. A new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll has the Senator only seven points behind Hillary Clinton leading up to the Iowa caucus, and there’s still a lot of time left to pick up more ground. Support has practically been dropping for Clinton like flies. In the last eight months, Hillary has lost nearly 20% of her support. People are starting to realize that not only is there not just one default candidate, but there are some major stark differences between the two leading Democratic candidates running for President.

Bernie Sanders is doing his best to identify those differences. He spoke to CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday and listed six that everyone needs to be aware of:

1. “I believe that, when you have so few banks with so much power, you have to not only reestablish Glass-Steagall, but you have got to break them up. That is not Hillary Clinton’s position.

2. “I believe that our trade policies, NAFTA, CAFTA, PNTR with China, have been a disaster. I am helping to lead the effort against the Trans-Pacific Partnership. That is not Hillary Clinton’s position.

3. “We have to be aggressive in transforming our energy system away from fossil fuel, and defeat the Keystone pipeline. That is not Hillary Clinton’s position.

4. “I believe that, as opposed to my Republican colleagues who want to cut Social Security, I believe we should expand Social Security by lifting the cap on taxable income. That’s not Hillary Clinton’s position.

5. “I believe that we have got to raise the minimum wage over a period of several years to $15 an hour – not Hillary Clinton’s position.

6. “I voted against the war in Iraq. Hillary Clinton voted for it.”

Bernie Sanders is not your big establishment candidate. He doesn’t hang out with the “rich crowd.” In fact, he is one of the least wealthy candidates running for office. According to his latest tax filings, he has an average net worth of $330,507 as compared to that of Hillary Clinton, who along with her husband, earned $30 million over the last 16 months alone.



Hillary Clinton 'CAN BE BEATEN' as Sanders Shows New Surge in Iowa

Clinton's favorables drop to lowest point yet in key state as populist message of the U.S. senator from Vermont continues to attract new supporters

Matching trends previously seen in New Hampshire, a new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll released Saturday shows that Sen. Bernie Sanders is trending upwards in the key early primary state as he closes the gap with Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

As the Register reports:

Liberal revolutionary Bernie Sanders, riding an updraft of insurgent passion in Iowa, has closed to within 7 points of Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential race.

She's the first choice of 37 percent of likely Democratic caucusgoers; he's the pick for 30 percent, according to a new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll.

But Clinton has lost a third of her supporters since May, a trajectory that if sustained puts her at risk of losing again in Iowa, the initial crucible in the presidential nominating contest.


CNN adds:

Sanders' support owes more to voters' enthusiasm for his candidacy than opposition to Clinton, the poll found. A whopping 96% of his backers say they support him and his ideas, with just 2% saying their vote is motivated by a desire to stop a Clinton candidacy. As for the controversy surrounding Clinton's use of email while leading the State Department, 61% of likely Democratic caucusgoers say the issue is not important to them.

Sanders has a deeper reservoir of support, the poll found. Thirty-nine percent of likely caucusgoers say their feelings about Sanders are very favorable, with just 8% having a negative view of him. That's a sharp contrast to Clinton: 27% view her very favorably, but 19% view her negatively.

Saturday's poll marks a remarkable eight-month climb for the self-proclaimed Democratic socialist from Vermont, who is garnering support in part from his anti-establishment rhetoric. Back in January, half of likely Democratic caucusgoers were unfamiliar with Sanders, and he was pulling in just 5% of support.

"What this new poll shows is that the more Iowans get to know Bernie, the better they like him and what he stands for. We've seen the same thing in New Hampshire and across the country," Sanders campaign spokesman Michael Briggs said in a statement.


Two recent polls out of New Hampshire showed that Sanders is now the presumed frontrunner in that state. Responding to the latest survey in Iowa, Steve McMahon, a Virginia-based Democratic strategist who has worked on presidential campaigns dating to 1980, said the latest numbers "suggest that she can be beaten." On Friday, both Sanders and Clinton spoke at the Summer gathering of the Democratic National Committee, a summit for party insiders and delegates where Sanders warned attendees that unless Democrats can arouse genuine enthusiasm among voters based on serious policy solutions they will have no chance of winning elections in 2016.

"Let me be very clear," Sanders said. "Democrats will not retain the White House, will not regain the Senate, will not gain the House and will not be successful in dozens of governor’s races unless we run a campaign which generates excitement and momentum and which produces a huge voter turnout." He added, "With all due respect, and I do not mean to insult anyone here, that will not happen with politics as usual. The same old, same old will not be successful."



Time To REMOVE Debbie Wasserman Schultz As DNC Chair? WAY PAST TIME!

There are far too many self-serving careerist Democrats in politics to be able to say Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the worst. But people do say it. And she is certainly one of the worst. When she was a state senator in Florida she cut a gerrymandering deal with the Republicans that gave her an unassailably Jewish congressional district made for her forever. In return the GOP got far more narrowly safe congressional seats than their share of the statewide vote would make reasonable. And in the state legislature, as in Congress, she was and has been a deal-maker with all the worst crooks with special interests they needed taken care of-- from the private prison industry to the Fanjul brothers and their sugar empire.

Politically, her conservatism has been a catastrophe for Florida Democrats. As the head of the DCCC's Red to Blue program, she endorsed three corrupt conservative Republicans instead of their Democratic challengers! She has been disrespectful-- and downright evil-- towards Democratic candidates who were not conservative self-funders. A New Dem sleazebag, she is constantly pushing the Democratic Party to the economic right from within. And she's been rewarded for her efforts with the chairmanship of the DNC.

As chair of the DNC she has raised immense sums of money for herself and has undermined Democratic Party values and principles and pushed her own reactionary agenda, giving credence to right-wing nonsense from the "dangers" of medical marijuana to the "dangers" of opening up to Cuba. Yesterday Dan Balz and Philip Rucker reported in the Washington Post that Wasserman Schultz used her position as party chair to block a resolution at the DNC conclave in Minneapolis backing Obama on the Iran deal.

Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz prevented consideration of a resolution at the party’s summer meeting here that praised President Obama and offered backing for the nuclear agreement with Iran, according to knowledgeable Democrats.

The resolution was drafted with the intention of putting the national committee on record in support of the agreement as Congress prepares to take up the issue when members return from their August recess.

As a fallback, James Zogby, the co-chair of the Resolutions Committee, led a move to prepare a letter of support for the president and the Iran agreement that eventually gained signatures from a sizable majority of the members of the national committee. Zogby said Saturday that, in the end, this produced a satisfactory outcome.

“We wanted to show support for the president,” he said. “We found that the best way to show support was a letter that members would sign on to, and the overwhelming majority of DNC members signed onto the letter. This is the President Obama we elected in 2008 who said, ‘I choose diplomacy over conflict,’ and he did it.”

...Some Democrats on the national committee who were unhappy that the resolution did not come up for consideration said that, as DNC chair, Wasserman Schultz owed her allegiance in this instance to the president, regardless of her own local political considerations.


MoveOn.org had a petition up within hours to remove her as DNC chair. You can read it and sign it here.

Isn't one Republican Party enough?


Sen. Schumer Opposes Iran Deal, DISQUALIFYING HIM From Any Leadership Position

Just as Steve Israel will go, so too will go Chuck Schumer, who was widely expected to be the Democrats' choice as Harry Reid's replacement -- a choice this Democrat now openly opposes after his stated opposition to the Iran deal.

Advocates on both sides have strong cases for their point of view that cannot simply be dismissed. This has made evaluating the agreement a difficult and deliberate endeavor, and after deep study, careful thought and considerable soul-searching, I have decided I must oppose the agreement and will vote yes on a motion of disapproval.


The truth is, he may have "carefully considered" the deal through the lens of AIPAC, but he didn't think about what it means to the ordinary Americans who will end up fighting another meaningless war with truly frightening consequences in that region. Schumer is in the top 10 when it comes to Senators receiving support from AIPAC. But interestingly, his counterpart from New York -- Kirsten Gillibrand -- has actually received more than he has, and has decided to support the deal. One can only assume that Schumer waited until he had the space or knew the veto wouldn't be overridden before declaring his intention to oppose the deal. It doesn't really matter whether it was donations or paranoia that drove his decision. What does matter is simple enough: He has chosen to actively oppose the leader of his party and support Israel rather than the foreign policy of the country in which he serves as an elected official.

That disqualifies him from all consideration for leadership. Dan Pfeiffer, former aide to President Obama, said it well.

Dan Pfeiffer @danpfeiffer Dan Pfeiffer retweeted Sam Stein

The base won't support a leader who thought Obamacare was a mistake and wants War with Iran Dan Pfeiffer added,

That's the bottom line here. Chuck Schumer made his decision; now I make mine. I will be making as much noise as I possibly can and will actively oppose any attempt he makes to become Harry Reid's replacement. If he cannot be bothered to consider the safety of our country and our military, and cannot be bothered to support our President, that's his choice. Mine is to use whatever voice I have to actively oppose any hopes he has for ascendance to a higher position of leadership, and argue that he should step down from the position he has now. We don't need another Joe Lieberman leading Democrats.



Hillary Has Some Serious Explaining To Do

In one of the most spineless news dumps ever, Chuck Schumer announced his plans during the GOP debate to join the Republicans in undermining the President and pushing us towards war towards Iran. At the exact same time, an billionaire named Haim Saban also released a statement saying he opposed the deal and would fight it. What do these people have in common? They are top-tier Hillary Clinton surrogates. Chuck Schumer endorsed Hillary's 2008 run in 2006, and her 2016 run in 2013, the first senator to do so in both cases. Saban is a top donor to Clinton's Super PAC, having given $2m thus far.

Hillary was quite responsible for our first foray into the Middle East, duly joining George W. Bush and the neocons in a yes vote for an irresponsible and pointless war. Now, it appears she is sitting idly by as her highest level surrogates are ready to lock arms with Republicans and fight the President in favor of yet another war. She herself has given the most tepid possible backing to the deal, and has shown zero inclination toward fighting for votes to support the president. Here's the thing - Republicans really, really want a war with Iran. John McCain sang his cute little "bomb Iran" song 7 years ago, and nothing has really changed. Jeb Bush has surrounded himself with all the neocons who trumped up the circumstances for the Iraq war in 2003, and if you don't think they've already got the next war planned, you're delusional.

In 2003 we learned a lesson the hard way that if one party is really itching for war, and the other is split and/or muted in response, then we're getting war. Hillary herself claims to have learned her lesson from her disastrous vote to enable Bush's war. So why is it starting to look like the same story all over again? There is zero chance that Chuck Schumer, who is about to ascend to Democratic leadership of the Senate and is the Senate's most staunch Hillary supporter, did not consult with Clinton about what he was about to do. Same goes with one of her most prolific funding sources. So where is her leadership? How did she not learn from her previous mistake that giving the Republicans the Middle East war they crave is not going to end well?

There is no place for a Democratic presidential candidate who surrounds herself (or himself) at the highest levels with warmongers who look to undermine a Democratic president, as well as 5 other countries, in keeping peace while denying Iran nuclear weapons. Hillary Clinton needs to forcefully declare that she supports the President and the Democratic party in preserving peace. Inaction and/or more muddled statements while her surrogates beat the war drums will serve to show that she has learned absolutely nothing since 2003.

The ball is in your court, Hillary. It's time to see if you have really changed.

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