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More than a few highly qualified progressives told me they would never-- or, in many cases, never again-- waste their time and resources running for Congress with Blue Dog Steve Israel anywhere near the DCCC. Technically, Nancy Pelosi replaced him with New Mexico novice Ben Ray Luján, although many observers see Luján as little more than a figurehead, with Israel still calling entirely too many shots, especially in regard to recruitment. And, as could have been easily predicted, Israel and the DCCC are failing again-- in a cycle that's supposed to be great for Democrats, a presidential year with strong Democratic presidential contenders in Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and with an insane, even horrifying array of crazy Republican opponents, from Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee to Jeb "Let's Phase Out Medicare" Bush, Scott Walker and Chris Christie. Yesterday Emily Cahn, writing for Roll Call, noted that the Democrats’ window to find strong House candidates is slowly closing. Blame Steve Israel, who is still conducting his suicidal jihad against progressives.
When former Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller passed on a bid in the Silver State’s 3rd District last week, it sent Democrats back to the drawing board again to find a nominee for this Tossup seat in 2016. Miller’s decision to sit the race out was a disappointment for national Democrats, who thought his profile would make him a strong candidate for this highly competitive seat. But it’s indicative of a larger issue Democrats face this cycle: Recruiting House candidates in 2016 hasn’t been as easy as many predicted two years ago.
More than a year from Election Day, Democrats are without top-tier recruits in five of the 11 races rated Tossups by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call. Democrats are also searching for strong recruits in at least five more of the 15 other districts rated as competitive in 2016.
The holes in the roster contrast with the message former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel pushed last cycle. In a June 2013 interview with BuzzFeed, Israel said he spoke to a number of candidates in the early days of the 2014 cycle who were reluctant to run in a daunting midterm environment. Israel said candidates wanted to wait to run until 2016-- when presidential turnout and the promise of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the top of the ticket would make for a better Democratic year.
“Whoever has the job of recruiting for the DCCC after I leave will not have a difficult job for as long as people believe Hillary Clinton is gonna be on the ballot,” Israel told BuzzFeed at the time.
Among the seats Democrats must win in 2016 if they have any shot at chipping away at Republicans’ 30-seat House majority-- but where the party still doesn’t have recruits-- is upstate New York’s 24th District. The Syracuse-based seat voted for President Barack Obama by a 16-point margin in 2012, making it one of the most Democratic districts held by a Republican in the country, but so far no candidate has emerged to take on freshman Republican Rep. John Katko.
Eric Kingson, co-founder of Social Security Works and one of the best qualified candidates running for Congress anywhere, has been blackballed as "too progressive" by Israel. The DCCC is desperately searching for a more Wall Street-friendly, pro-Big Business candidate, a DINO like Israel, to oppose Kingson in the primary. One DCCC insider told me they're running around like chickens without heads to find someone to prevent Kingson from getting the nomination. NY-24 is a D+5 district, one of the bluest held by a Republican anywhere in the country. "This should be a slam dunk," my DCCC source told me, "but Steve would rather lose the district again than see another progressive win the nomination... and the seat."
Israel and his DINO allies are working to sabotage progressives everywhere, but especially in IA-01 (Pat Murphy, despite his huge polling advantage among Democratic primary voters), CA-25 (Lou Vince), and WA-08 (Jason Ritchie). In each race, Israel is dead set on a track that will lead to a Republican victory in a blue district. People ask me if I blame Pelosi. I DO.
Posted by Segami | Thu Jul 30, 2015, 02:17 AM (3 replies)
"...This is the ultimate form of capitalism, the very heart of it. There is no excuse, but until we hold these criminals, both the recipients of these contracts as well as those who granted them, liable for their actions, not just in a civil suit but in criminal, we can only sit back and watch the world burn...."
Share with Family, Friends & VETS......
If we thought the no-bid contracts given to Dick Cheney’s company, Halliburton, were too good to be true before, just hold on to your hats. After the company lost a lawsuit over the exposure of our soldiers to carcinogens, it turns out that the contract they signed with the DoD exempts them from any damages. And this was exposed by a lawsuit by a dozen Iraq war veterans out of Oregon. Initially, the veterans could not even file suit against Halliburton. It was only earlier this year that the Supreme Court enabled these veterans, exposed to the known carcinogen hexavalent chromium to even pursue their case. The case was then found in their favor, with the jury awarding them $85 million in damages.
But while the case went through appeals, Halliburton’s former subsidy, known as KBR, already had filed suit against the veterans for legal costs. Yes, you read that right. They are suing for legal costs in a case they lost. Then, the 9th Circuit overturned the decision, claiming that it was out of jurisdiction and that the case needed to be handled in Texas instead. And now, it turns out, KBR would not have to pay for the damages in the first place. Under the contract with the Department of Defense, as revealed in a letter from Oregon’s Senator Ron Wyden with several other members of the Oregon delegation, any damages and legal costs are paid by the federal government itself.
“...As part of the original contract between the government and KBR, DoD agreed to assume all financial liability for KBR misconduct including unlimited reimbursement of KBR’s legal expenses. That contract also included a provision allowing DoD to take control of the litigation process, if necessary....”
So, someone sues KBR, the taxpayer gets to pay for it, and KBR is not liable for anything. That is sure a sweet deal given to the company once run by the then Vice President of the United States. When Obama took office, one of his first moves was the ending of these sweetheart contracts. However, KBR, like its former owner Halliburton, has blocked the implementation of these new agreements. “We see no need to change it,” according to KBR senior contracts manager Mary Wade. Of course they don’t, because it enables them to poison and kill US citizens without any culpability, all while pocketing billions in profits. Of course they see no need to change it, because they’re the ones liable. They have used lawsuits, threats, and other tricks to try and prevent any change to their contracting, but the time is running out.
Posted by Segami | Wed Jul 29, 2015, 01:35 AM (7 replies)
"....She has been characterized variously as a "contrarian academic" and a feminist " bête noire," a "witty controversialist," and a maverick, Margaret Wente has called Paglia "a writer in a category of her own... a feminist who hates affirmative action; an atheist who respects religion" and "a Democrat who thinks her party doesn't get it...."
Is there a possible coming storm brewing?........
In exclusive Salon interview, the cultural critic finds parallels between Cosby and Clinton, takes down modern p.c.
Camille Paglia, the political and cultural critic, has been a brave and brilliant provocateur on Salon for almost 20 years now. Paglia seemed to be on the winning side of the wars over feminism and political correctness in the 1990s, but recently those battles have been reopened. Suddenly we’re talking again and in very different ways about sexual culture on campus. Comedians like Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Maher talk about the return of a stifling political correctness. And we’re staring at the potential rematch of a Clinton and a Bush. There were so many stories that we wanted Paglia’s take on: Bill Cosby, Donald Trump, the state of the Democratic Party. So we spent two hours discussing all of them on Monday, and we’ll present her thoughts over the next three days. Stand back: Paglia does not hold back on anything. Over the next two days, she’ll hold forth on the GOP presidential field in devastating ways, and offer surprising thoughts on how she thinks Clinton vs Sanders will end. We start today with thoughts on Bill Cosby, Bill Clinton, campus political correctness and modern feminism.
The banner on the Drudge Report this morning is that Kathleen Willey is starting a site to collect harassment claims against Bill Clinton. New York magazine, meanwhile, has the stories of 35 women who say they were raped or assaulted by Bill Cosby. I wonder if you see a connection between the two stories: Would Bill Clinton’s exploits be viewed more like Cosby’s if he was in the White House now, instead of in the 1990s?
Right from the start, when the Bill Cosby scandal surfaced, I knew it was not going to bode well for Hillary’s campaign, because young women today have a much lower threshold for tolerance of these matters. The horrible truth is that the feminist establishment in the U.S., led by Gloria Steinem, did in fact apply a double standard to Bill Clinton’s behavior because he was a Democrat. The Democratic president and administration supported abortion rights, and therefore it didn’t matter what his personal behavior was. But we’re living in a different time right now, and young women have absolutely no memory of Bill Clinton. It’s like ancient history for them; there’s no reservoir of accumulated good will. And the actual facts of the matter are that Bill Clinton was a serial abuser of working-class women–he had exploited that power differential even in Arkansas. And then in the case of Monica Lewinsky–I mean, the failure on the part of Gloria Steinem and company to protect her was an absolute disgrace in feminist history! What bigger power differential could there be than between the president of the United States and this poor innocent girl? Not only an intern but clearly a girl who had a kind of pleading, open look to her–somebody who was looking for a father figure. I was enraged! My publicly stated opinion at the time was that I don’t care what public figures do in their private life. It’s a very sophisticated style among the French, and generally in Europe, where the heads of state tend to have mistresses on the side. So what? That doesn’t bother me at all! But the point is, they are sophisticated affairs that the European politicians have, while the Clinton episode was a disgrace.
A cigar and the intern is certainly the opposite of sophisticated. Absolutely! It was frat house stuff! And Monica got nothing out of it. Bill Clinton used her. Hillary was away or inattentive, and he used Monica in the White House–and in the suite of the Oval Office, of all places. He couldn’t have taken her on some fancy trip? She never got the perks of being a mistress; she was there solely to service him. And her life was completely destroyed by the publicity that followed. The Clinton’s are responsible for the destruction of Monica Lewinsky! They probably hoped that she would just go on and have a job, get married, have children, and disappear, but instead she’s like this walking ghoul. Fifteen years later, that’s still the sad role left for her to play. Yes, it’s like something out of “Wuthering Heights” or “Great Expectations”–some Victorian novel, where a woman turns into this mourning widow who mopes on and on over a man who abused or abandoned her. Hillary has a lot to answer for, because she took an antagonistic and demeaning position toward her husband’s accusers. So it’s hard for me to understand how the generation of Lena Dunham would or could tolerate the actual facts of Hillary’s history.
So have the times and standards changed enough that Clinton would be seen as Cosby, if he was president today? Oh, yes! There’s absolutely no doubt, especially in this age of instant social media. In most of these cases, like the Bill Clinton and Bill Cosby stories, there’s been a complete neglect of psychology. We’re in a period right now where nobody asks any questions about psychology. No one has any feeling for human motivation. No one talks about sexuality in terms of emotional needs and symbolism and the legacy of childhood. Sexuality has been politicized–“Don’t ask any questions!” “No discussion!” “Gay is exactly equivalent to straight!” And thus in this period of psychological blindness or inertness, our art has become dull. There’s nothing interesting being written–in fiction or plays or movies. Everything is boring because of our failure to ask psychological questions. So I say there is a big parallel between Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton–aside from their initials! Young feminists need to understand that this abusive behavior by powerful men signifies their sense that female power is much bigger than they are! These two people, Clinton and Cosby, are emotionally infantile–they’re engaged in a war with female power. It has something to do with their early sense of being smothered by female power–and this pathetic, abusive and criminal behavior is the result of their sense of inadequacy.
Posted by Segami | Tue Jul 28, 2015, 07:18 AM (12 replies)
"....As far as I can see there's a gathering storm that represents the zeitgeist, and this was a little twinkling premonition out there at the house party in Iowa...."
A lesson in today's skim-the-headlines world of social media. Read the full article folks. From the Sunday NY Times article, “Stung in 2008, Hillary Clinton Builds Formidable Team in Iowa,” this little gem had me chuckling and to my mind really just about sums up the hapless fortune of this wooden, forced and Wall St-funded campaign:
The careful, ground-up organizing seems designed to counter the kind of threat to Mrs. Clinton that has emerged from Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, whose hard-left policies have inspired huge crowds at rallies. Many at the Clinton house party in Newton said Mr. Sanders was the candidate they were most drawn to. “I like everything he says,” said Dean Lane, who farms 1,800 acres of corn and soybeans.
“I’m a pretty wealthy farmer,” he added. “I think it’s ridiculous the way we treat poor people. Nobody wants to pay a dime in taxes.”
Few of the 45 in attendance signed the Clinton commitment cards or said they were ready to volunteer for her.
Ostensibly this was to be a bold-faced, "we're serious about not letting this happen again," but it turned out that, as many Clinton supporters here have readily admitted, there's just not a lot of enthusiasm for her candidacy. And if Sanders loses there will be even less if she gets the nomination, and that should deeply concern the Dem party machine. Oh yes, there's plenty of name recognition. And there's many, including myself, who'd love to see a female President. But when you add it all up, the First Lady from 23 years ago and well-known corporatist and war monger represents a very damaging case. Like it or not, she will be the face for continued monarchy in the United States, and she also wears the vest of Protectorate for her biggest donors on Wall St, and not for the vast 99% on Main St still slogging through this grinding economic crisis. This will be all too abundantly clear once the public begins seeing them side by side and determining which of the two is more believable and genuine.
If Sanders continues to get the kinds of support he keeps building day by day, week by week, then the Dem party chiefs are going to have to contend with a very serious dilemma, should they have already decided to throw all their weight behind Clinton. Her negatives will continue to rise, I predict, inversely to Sanders' positives which will increase at 2 or 3x that. At some point the few sane and rational ones will have to stand up and ask the old guard if they're prepared to go down with the ship and blow a huge opportunity to return this party back to its roots. Middle America is opening their arms to Sanders in a big and impassioned way. If all that energy gets supplanted by Wall St and corporate campaign donors and the Machine doubles down on the Monarchy Candidate we will hear the greatest, penetrating sucking-sound of a vacuum ever heard. What about the numbers showing Clinton way ahead of Sanders? I think they're going to drastically change once folks get to finally see Sanders, while at the same time having to see yet more and more of Clinton. I predict then the changes in poll numbers will be dramatic and fast.
Posted by Segami | Mon Jul 27, 2015, 12:15 PM (166 replies)
Back in April, Clinton delivered a speech on the topic of criminal justice reform, the entirety of which can be read here. On the topic of the disproportionate number of persons of color incarcerated in our for-profit prison system, she stated:
There is something profoundly wrong when African American men are still far more likely to be stopped and searched by police, charged with crimes, and sentenced to longer prison terms than are meted out to their white counterparts.
There is something wrong when a third of all black men face the prospect of prison during their lifetimes. And an estimated 1.5 million black men are "missing" from their families and communities because of incarceration and premature death.
There's more, it's not a bad speech, and it should be read in its entirely. But the one glaring omission I found was any mention of how the privatized prison system, which encourages judicial corruption (we've seen judges who have taken kickbacks from the for-profit prison industry and doling out draconian sentences to juvenile offenders, and the like) and fosters the type of system where people are, once again, viewed as a product or commodity to meet bottom line corporate profits. How can such a system be even remotely fair and just?
Perhaps one of the reasons Clinton didn't mention the for-profit prison industry in her speech about criminal justice reform is because she is a recipient of campaign funds originating from the for-profit prison industry, and therefore, it could be a big conflict of interest to bring it up. But if she can't even bring up the for-profit prison industry, and the corruption it engenders, how will she be able to act on it? If people are to believe that Hillary Clinton is the best candidate to represent persons of color, then she should make persons of color a real priority, not just lip service. With Deep Ties to Politicians, Private Prisons Have Exploded As Profit Centers.
Prisoners can’t vote in the United States and as a result they don’t have much sway over public policy decisions. But private, for-profit prison companies do, their voices amplified by big campaign contributions and millions spent on lobbying. Ahead of the 2016 presidential election, some of the candidates’ ties to the prison-industrial complex raise a lot of questions.
For example, the GEO Group has contributed heavily to campaigns of Florida senator and Republican contender Marco Rubio. And Republican candidate Jeb Bush’s support of for-profit prisons goes back to the 1990s, when he oversaw prison privatization as Florida governor.
Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton is calling for criminal justice reform, which would reduce profits for private prisons and reduce mass incarceration. The election offers voters a choice between candidates who support the current system that allows corporations to profit from the misery of the inmates and those committed to fundamental reform, which includes changing inflexible sentencing laws and ending the for-profit prison system.
I suggest that any campaign contributions Clinton receives from the for-profit prison industry and/or their lobbyists and lobbyist law firms should be publicly returned with a statement. I would like to see Hillary Clinton tell the for-profit prison bundlers "Thanks, but no thanks!" and show us that important issues that affect persons of color really are a priority for her, and not just campaign rhetoric. In order for us to take her seriously on the issue of criminal justice reform, we need assurances that she won't be beholden to the for-profit prison industry which profits by unjustly putting and keeping people of color in cages.
Posted by Segami | Sun Jul 26, 2015, 01:05 AM (16 replies)
Good Evening viewers, this is Ellen Stephanopolus of Time-Warner-Disney-Comcast-Viacom-Fox World News Service reporting to you from Paraguay at the estate of Madame President Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton. Madame President Clinton has just published her 3rd in a series of 5 memoirs, this one titled The Clinton Dynasty: Who Could Have Known! . It is being published on the eve of her daughter Chelsea Clinton's announcement of her agreement to run to be the 50th POTUS.
ES: Madame President, it is so good to see you again. My father sends his regards.
HC: Oh Elliott, please, give my warmest to George. And, you know, just call me Hillary.
ES: Well, Hillary, can you tell us what prompted you to write this book?
HC: Well as you know Chelsea has agreed to be coronated, er, I mean decided to run for POTUS and Bill suggested that I smooth over a few tiny mistakes I may have made those many years ago. Bill did the same for me before my coron -- , sorry -- before my 2nd presidential campaign and it really just erased any ill will from the people we inconvenienced or slighted or for that matter who were incarcerated or maybe lost their little home.
ES: So you wrote in your book that you were sorry you backed the TPP.
HC: Well, how could anyone have known! I was just at the club and ran into Jamie, Lloyd and Bob. You know, those guys... they are really some of the smartest finance whizzes I know-- serious people you know. We were chatting about those good ol days in my first administration when we'd knock ideas around to the wee hours. I have to tell you, they still think the TPP was a great idea.
But you know, I have thought about it and I am so sorry that milliions of Americans lost their jobs and that the race to the bottom resulted in lower wages, higher prices for medications and loosened regulations on environmental laws. I have evolved on this issue and I'm wiser now and I am sure Chelsea will be too.
ES: You have several chapters on the Keystone Pipeline debacle. Tell us what you regret about approving the go-ahead for the Keystone Pipeline?
HC: Well I don't think anyone could have predicted that a pipe would burst and those twenty, hmmm, maybe it was 200 or so quaint little mid-western towns would have to be abandoned.
And gosh, you know, no one knew at the time that extracting those tar sands would tilt us into full on, accelerated climate change. So to all the Washingtonians and Manhattanites, and friends on Nantucket and South Hampton who had to move to higher grounds when the ocean moved in -- so sorry -- thank goodness for your 2nd and 3rd homes! I am wiser now and I am sure Chelsea will be too.
ES: You didn't mention the Ogallala aquifer, the US's and once one of the world’s largest underground sources of fresh water. Do you have any regrets that the rupture of the Pipeline those 50+ times -- plus the acceleration of fracking during your administration-- has now contaminated that water for the forseeable future?
HC: Now really Ellen, no one could ever have predicted this could happen. Sure, back then a few radicals like, what was his name? Oh - Prof John Stansbury - came a out with some malarkey, but our friends at TransCanda assured us that it was bad science. Anyhow, I am sure we will figure out a way to make those billions of gallons of water potable again. Any day now. Promise. Chelsea has a great relationship with the water purification industry and they are working overtime on solutions.
And thankfully, in the intervening years, our long and close relationship with Monsanto here in Paraguay has assured Americans a wheat supply for their daily rations of bread.
ES: Oh, ok then. Let's just move along. Please speak to us about your decision to get involved with Syria. Any regrets as we are now in our 15th year there with no end in sight and it is more than 30 years that we have had troops in Afghanistan and Iraq?
HC: You know Ellen, nobody could have known that this area is a tinderbox with ever changing alliances. We understood that we could insert boots on the ground there and be out quickly -- a military surgical strike. Unfortunately that is not quite what happened. So I want to apologize to the American people for this less than stellar judgement and to anyone who was inconvenieced or injured. On the upside, people should note that with continual warfare our friends in the Defense Industry are supplying lots of jobs. I think voters can be assured that I am wiser now and I am sure Chelsea will be too.
ES: Thank you Madame President. We are going to take a quick break and we'll be back with your thoughts on continued Israeli settlements in disputed regions.
Posted by Segami | Sat Jul 25, 2015, 11:16 PM (5 replies)
As immigration and incarceration issues become central to the 2016 presidential campaign, lobbyists for two major prison companies are serving as top fundraisers for Hillary Clinton. Corrections Corporation of America and the Geo Group could both see their fortunes turning if there are fewer people to lock up in the future. Last week, Clinton and other candidates revealed a number of lobbyists who are serving as “bundlers” for their campaigns. Bundlers collect contributions on behalf of a campaign, and are often rewarded with special favors, such as access to the candidate. Richard Sullivan, of the lobbying firm Capitol Counsel, is a bundler for the Clinton campaign, bringing in $44,859 in contributions in a few short months. Sullivan is also a registered lobbyist for the Geo Group, a company that operates a number of jails, including immigrant detention centers, for profit.
As we reported yesterday, fully five Clinton bundlers work for the lobbying and law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private prison company in America, paid Akin Gump $240,000 in lobbying fees last year. The firm also serves as a law firm for the prison giant, representing the company in court. Akin Gump lobbyist and Clinton bundler Brian Popper disclosed that he previously helped CCA defeat efforts to compel private prisons to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests.
Hillary Clinton has a complicated history with incarceration. As first lady, she championed efforts to get tough on crime. “We need more police, we need more and tougher prison sentences for repeat offenders,” Clinton said in 1994. “The ‘three strikes and you’re out’ for violent offenders has to be part of the plan. We need more prisons to keep violent offenders for as long as it takes to keep them off the streets,” she added. In recent months, Clinton has tacked left in some ways, and now calls for alternatives to incarceration and for greater police accountability. And while Clinton has backed a path to citizenship for undocumented people in America, she recently signaled a willingness to crack down on so-called “sanctuary cities,” a move that could lead to more immigrant detentions.
The future of both criminal justice reform and immigration are critical for private prison firms. The Geo Group, in a disclosure statement for its investors, notes that its business could be “adversely affected by changes in existing criminal or immigration laws, crime rates in jurisdictions in which we operate, the relaxation of criminal or immigration enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction, sentencing or deportation practices, and the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by criminal laws or the loosening of immigration laws.”
Posted by Segami | Thu Jul 23, 2015, 08:59 PM (20 replies)
This is an interesting find. The underlying article is from U.S. News, as is the graphic above, and underlying that is analysis by Crowdpac, a "San Francisco-based political data-mining firm which analyzed the July presidential campaign finance reports." There's a nice interactive graphic on their site if you're inclined to play with the data.
First, from the article; dKos diarist LieparDestin;
Obama's Donors Flocking To Sanders, Romney's Going To Rubio
Bernie Sanders is drawing more of Barack Obama's 2012 campaign donors than Hillary Clinton.
And Marco Rubio is scoring the biggest share of Mitt Romney's contributors thus far.
These are the findings of Crowdpac, a San Francisco-based political data-mining firm which analyzed the July presidential campaign finance reports.
The Vermont senator has already received contributions from 24,582 of Obama's donors; whereas Clinton has only tapped just over 9,000 of them. Martin O'Malley, the former Maryland governor, has grabbed 383 Obama donors.
That means Sanders has nabbed 72 percent of the 34,340 Obama donors who have given to a candidate in 2016, according to Crowdpac.
There's interesting analysis of donor moves on the Republican side as well, but I'll let you click to read it. I found this both fascinating and confirming: And then there's the surprising.
There's 276 Romney donors who have given to Sanders, and 280 who have given to Clinton.
And just to show the dizzying breadth of some people's choices, Crowdpac discovered that five contributors to Michele Bachmann – one of the most conservative candidates in the 2012 GOP field – sent money to Sanders, the self-avowed socialist.
Which leads to this set of thoughts... Is Sanders a Stronger Candidate in the General Election than Clinton? It's always been my sense that while Clinton would likely inspire Republicans to vote against her (not her fault, it's just that '90s history and the right-wing's ready hatred of what they presume is the Clintons' hippie past) — Sanders would inspire Republicans to vote for him. After all, he's really talking the talk I personally hear from "tea party" voters all the time. Literally, all the time. (Ask any one of your right-wing relatives what she thinks of the bank bailout of 2008?) Put another way, if you're just into electoral strategizing, it's been my sense that to some degree, Clinton will depress the Democratic turnout relative to Sanders (because of all those Warren wing types who have had it with "TPP presidencies," to apply just one label); at the same time she will perhaps increase turnout against her (again, not her fault).
I suspect Sanders, on the other hand, would keep all of Clinton's voters in the general election (because, "Republicans!" don'tcha know) and pick up some Republicans that can't stomach the Trump or the Bush or the Bailout. Which leads me to two thoughts. One, let the Democratic candidates duke it out; that's why we have primaries. But make it a fair fight. After all, if Chuck Schumer–Democrats (the Wall Street–wing players who have power) do to Sanders what they do to almost all progressives — and Clinton loses — that lose is on them. And two, if I'm right, Sanders' more difficult battle is the Democratic primary, not the general election. Partly because Hillary Clinton is indeed a "formidable opponent" (in Stephen Colbert's formulation), and because of the above — because the Chuck Schumers of the world may very well prefer to lose to an insider Republican (with whom they can deal on all issues related to money) than win with an anti-money Democrat. Watch out for that. The bipartisan Wall Street wing is not to be trusted.
Posted by Segami | Thu Jul 23, 2015, 07:06 PM (3 replies)
What do you think about the idea of drug testing police who use their service weapons in officer-involved shootings and other fatalities?
After all, how many times are citizens held to rigorous, if not completely invasive measures to test for substances, especially while targeted during the so-called War on Drugs. Someone need not show any signs of illicit drug use in order to have all rights waived out the window. They may go to prison for defending their home from what they think is a middle-of-the-night invasion - while no drugs were ever present. Seeing as police killed more Americans in 2014 than all U.S. mass shootings combined, getting to the bottom of the problem and increasing accountability are more important than ever. Drug testing police involved in shootings is an argument up for debate in the state of North Carolina - at least it is currently up for scrutiny and speculation. An investigation conducted in part by Greensboro's News & Record found that it is incredibly rare for a North Carolina officer to have a drug test after an officer involved shooting - even the fatal ones.
First, reports hit the web that she ingested a "large" amount of marijuana in her system. A very tightly controlled narrative is being crafted by the Texas county where she was arrested. And for some reason, one of their local judges is releasing information to the media directly in an attempt to influence the case. It reminds one of the Ferguson city officials that continually leaked info on Mike Brown's alleged crimes/character traits in order to sway public opinion.
Since there is no scientific link between adults over 25 using marijuana and suicide, any more than, say, alcohol use....it's clear why this local judge is trying to influence the case. Set the narrative. Given all the attention given here and elsewhere to the fact that the sheriff of Waller County was already fired for racism, it's hard to believe this crafted narrative being pushed by local officials of a corrupt precinct.
The Daily Kos recovered old Chronicle reports on Thursday showing that in 2007, R. Glenn Smith, then police chief of Hempstead, was suspended for two weeks by the Hempstead City Council after they " videotapes and allegations of racism from local residents against him and ... four officers." Hempstead was 50% black and 43% white at the time. Smith was then required to undergo anger management classes for the next six months as a condition of his probationary period. He was fired the following year.
Posted by Segami | Thu Jul 23, 2015, 05:48 PM (17 replies)
"...So what do all these flip-flops say about Hillary Clinton? The takeaway message is that while she is angling to appeal to the more liberal wing of the Democratic party, progressives should not trust Clinton to follow through if she is elected President, as she has a history of changing her mind on issues at politically convenient times...
-....Such is the case with Hillary Clinton. She may cast herself as a progressive, but her prior history and propensity to flip-flop say otherwise...."
As a strong challenge from the Left emerges in the form of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, who was once thought to be headed for a coronation in the Democratic presidential primary, has tried to recast herself as a progressive champion. However, in her mad dash to the left, Clinton cannot escape her history of supporting, as the First Lady and then as a senator, the decidedly centrist and corporate-friendly policies of her husband, President Bill Clinton. The contrast in views espoused by First Lady/ Sen. Clinton, versus 2008, and to a greater extent, 2016 presidential candidate Clinton, could emerge as a major problem for her campaign. Although Clinton has been extremely close-lipped to the media thus far in her latest bid for the Democratic nomination, by attempting to portray herself in speeches as a progressive during a time in which the political winds of the millennial generation are blowing left, Clinton has unwittingly shown herself to be a consummate flip-flopper who takes the positions that are most likely to return her to the White House.
A run-through on a litany of issues important to progressives reveals a candidate in Clinton who once held decidedly anti-progressive views on many of the important questions of the day.
Few issues in recent memory have prompted as great a reversal of public opinion in as short a time as same-sex marriage. Between 2003 and 2013, the proportion of Americans supporting marriage equality rose 21 points nationwide, from 32 percent to 53 percent. As recently as May 2015, before the historic Supreme Court ruling that made same-sex marriage legal across the country, 57 percent of Americans were supportive of marriage equality.
Clinton came out in favor of marriage equality in 2013, after a majority of Americans had already indicated their support. To be fair, she was not the only prominent politician to withhold their approval until it was clear public opinion had shifted. President Barack Obama waited until 2012 to come out in favor of marriage equality, following Vice President Joe Biden’s comments supporting same-sex marriage.
But it is telling what Clinton’s views on the issue were back in 2000 when the electorate was still squarely against marriage equality. Clinton stated gay couples had no place in the institution of marriage, and said she would have voted for the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman.
“Marriage has got historic, religious and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time and I think a marriage is as a marriage has always been, between a man and a woman,” Clinton said in 2000.
One of Clinton’s most conspicuous and recent flip-flops is on the issue of “free trade.” As President Obama sought fast track authority from Congress to pursue the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal — TPP — Clinton was pressured by Sanders to take a stance on the deal, one that Sanders and many progressive activists and labor groups are vehemently opposed to.
In a move consistent with her attempt to portray herself as progressive, Clinton said she had doubts about the trade deal and stated if she were voting, she would most likely not have supported the trade package moving through Congress at the time, which gave Obama fast track trade authority to negotiate the deal.
“At this point, probably not,” she said when asked if she would have voted to give Obama fast track authority. However, in 2012, while serving as Secretary of State, Clinton spoke about the TPP in much more glowing terms.
“We need to keep upping our game both bilaterally and with partners across the region through agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP,” Clinton said “This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field. And when negotiated, this agreement will cover 40 percent of the world’s total trade and build in strong protections for workers and the environment.”
Clinton, and to be fair many Democrats, flip-flopped on the Iraq War, but her change of view is indicative of her tendency to take the politically popular view of the time. In 2002, when Clinton voted to give President George W. Bush the authorization to use military force in Iraq, public opinion was still squarely in support of the war. In a 2002 speech on the floor of the Senate, Clinton said she supported the measure to authorize force because of Iraq’s dictatorial ruler Saddam Hussein.
“Intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al-Qaeda members,” Clinton said.
Clinton went on to say in her Senate floor speech that if left unchecked Hussein would “continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.” In a meeting with CODEPINK in 2003, Clinton also furthered the since debunked storyline that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
Crime is another policy area in which Clinton’s rhetoric has changed dramatically from her days in Bill Clinton’s White House. In fact, Clinton has made a new approach to dealing with those who commit crimes a central part of her campaign, calling for an “end to the era of mass incarceration.”
During her latest campaign, Clinton has been an outspoken critic of the current criminal justice system. “We have allowed our criminal justice system to get out of balance, and these recent tragedies should galvanize us to come together as a nation to find our balance again,” Clinton said.
Clinton is right, the current criminal justice system and approach to dealing with crime is inherently counterproductive. But she hasn’t always felt that way. Back when the more popular political school of thought was to be “tough on crime,” Clinton displayed a much more aggressive approach to punishing those who commit crimes. During Bill Clinton’s presidency, Hillary Clinton supported his tough on crime policies and a 1994 law “that among other things, has increased untold numbers of prison sentences by encouraging states to drastically reduce or eliminate parole and early release.”
In 1994, Hillary Clinton’s quotes about crime sound very different from her 2016 campaign when she talks about the problem of mass incarceration. “We need more and tougher prison sentences for repeat offenders,” she said in 1994. “We need more prisons to keep violent offenders for as long as it takes to keep them off the streets.”
Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants
A clear and recent example of a Clinton flip-flop is her stance on providing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. During her quest for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Clinton generated headlines when she said she would not support a proposal put forward by then-New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer to provide driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants that pass a driving test. This came after criticism that her position on the issue was not clear.
When Spitzer eventually abandoned the driver’s license proposal, Clinton praised the decision. “I support Governor Spitzer’s decision today to withdraw his proposal,” she said in a statement. “As President, I will not support driver’s licenses for undocumented people and will press for comprehensive immigration reform that deals with all of the issues around illegal immigration, including border security and fixing our broken system.”
This put her in clear contrast with then Sen. Barack Obama, who was supportive of the idea of providing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants who passed a driver’s test. However, in her second bid for the Democratic nomination, Clinton has done a 180 on the issue. Clinton indicated the change in her position through a campaign spokesperson who said “Hillary supports state policies to provide driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. This is consistent with her support for the president’s executive action.”
Perhaps the most egregious Clinton flip-flop came on an issue that’s not on most of the country’s radar screen: ethanol. However, this issue tends to come up time and time again in presidential primaries/caucuses because of its importance in Iowa and the sway that state holds in the presidential primary process. An examination of Clinton’s rhetoric on ethanol indicates her support for the controversial fuel source has changed at politically convenient times. An article by The Daily Beast explored Clinton’s position on ethanol and examined how, and likely why, she flipped so dramatically on the issue.
“In 2002, Clinton opposed the mandated use of just two billion gallons of ethanol per year,” the article stated. “But a mere five years later, after seeing that she had to go through Iowa — which produces more ethanol than any other state — to return to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, she was advocating the use of 18 times that quantity of biofuel.”
Additional proof of her anti-ethanol history is Clinton’s participation in writing a 2002 letter about mandates in ethanol use. The letter stated that an ethanol mandate would add “an astonishing new anti-consumer government mandate — that every US refiner must use an ever-increasing volume of ethanol.” The Daily Beast also reported that while serving in the Senate, Clinton voted against measures supportive of ethanol 17 times.
Posted by Segami | Wed Jul 22, 2015, 10:07 PM (18 replies)