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Member since: Sat Sep 15, 2012, 01:49 PM
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Bernie Sanders wants normal U.S.-Cuba relations but is fuzzy on details

Bernie Sanders knows he wants the United States to treat Cuba like any other country when it comes to diplomacy. . .
What he doesn’t know is what that relationship would look like in practice.

Asked about three specific Cuba policies — the Cuban Adjustment Act; wet-foot, dry-foot; and the immigration status of Cuban nationals convicted of state and federal crimes — Sanders said he didn’t know enough about them to opine.

“I just don’t know all of the details about that,” he said. . .

On Tuesday, Sanders declined to take a position on Colombian peace talks after he was asked about the negotiations on a Miami Colombian-American radio station.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/election/article65064407.html#storylink=cpy

Maybe it's time to start working on that foreign policy team?

At least she follows existing campaign finance law

Bernie Sanders received a warning from the Federal Election Commission, citing problems with his campaign's February finance report.

The letter states the report lists amounts of contributions, receipts, expenses and disbursements that "appear to be incorrect."

The letter also cites possible impermissible contributions that exceed the allowed limit per election cycle ($2,700 for individuals) along with donations that come from outside the United States and from unregistered political committees.

The FEC sent the letter Thursday to the campaign asking for more information regarding the report filed Feb. 20. The letter warned: "Failure to adequately respond by the response date noted above could result in an audit or enforcement action."


From the FEC site, one can see the names of some of those people from whom Bernie has accepted contributions in violation of federal law. There are some interesting names on the list. In some cases, two people from the same household both contributed funds that exceed legal limits.

Nice story about phone banking for Hillary

This Saturday, as Nevada caucus results were coming in, I was at my local Clinton campaign headquarters at the Plumbers Union building making phone calls for our own upcoming caucuses. The packet of names given to me had a huge section of voters with the last name Mohammed. I was making my way through the list and was having some trouble communicating with one of the voters due to language differences. A Muslim woman, wearing a headscarf, sitting on the other side of the table said, "If you have trouble understanding anyone, I can take the call. I speak Somali." We decided to switch lists, since there were so many in my pack with Somali names.

I thought, it's really nice to work a campaign with such a diverse support base.

Later when the district field organizer heard her speaking in Somali, he invited her to participate in an upcoming Somali language phone bank. They'll be having others in Spanish. While those are only two of the many languages spoken in our area, it's nice to see not only the effort at outreach but that Clinton has enough volunteers from diverse backgrounds to be able to hold foreign language phone banks.

I did bring another volunteer who speaks her own language but also does quite well understanding English:

All paws on deck.

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you

I do very much appreciate your thoughts on the speech, and my intent here in not to try to convince you to vote for Hillary. I respect everyone's rights to support the candidate they feel best speaks to what they care about. I find it incredibly condescending when white people announce to people of color that there is something wrong with them for not supporting the white person's chosen candidate, that this or that politician is better for them, just as I resent when they tell me that I don't know who best represents my interests as a woman. I will instead share with you my views and offer both agreements and disagreements on your assessment of Clinton's speech/policy positions.

I appreciate and agree with your assessment of racism toward the most marginalized black citizens, the "corner kids" you represent as a lawyer. I likewise oppose the death penalty. I think it would be impossible to convincingly argue it isn't racist in its application and, I believe, quite likely its intent. As a historian, I've written about the relationship between the death penalty and slavery (in a country outside the US), and policing as a means of control over a 19th century population of slaves and free people of color. I have evidence in that context to link state-mandated violence to slavery and racism, and I think it likely there are similar correlations in the US.

I support Clinton despite my opposition to the death penalty because the president has at most a marginal impact on capital punishment. Most executions are done at the state level, something a president has no power over. Their fundamental influence is in the appointment of SCOTUS judges, and liberal justices a President Clinton is likely to appoint (given her commitment to judges disposed to overturning Citizens United, Buckley, and related cases as well as her unyielding commitment to women's reproductive rights and voting rights) would, I believe, be disposed to rule that the death penalty constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Ultimately, I don't believe her personal views on the death penalty play a significant role in the duties of the presidency. I also disagree that her position on that one issue means she doesn't address racism because if that were true it would mean a president, any president, could have very little impact on racism. Obama opposes the death penalty, but he has not taken action against it. It simply isn't within the purview of the presidency.

Your point about Clinton's use of the term non-violent is one I hadn't considered but I think is well taken.

I do disagree with you on a few points of your assessment of her speech and policy positions. I do not agree that she ignores the poorest and most marginalized black citizens you represent in favor of those who have overcome racism. Rather, she takes, in my opinion, a more comprehensive and nuanced approach to the subject than Sanders. In her speech, she talks about prison reform and jobs programs targeted at the poorest inner city and rural areas, with particular attention to young adults. Those are policy positions he has advanced since the beginning of her 2016
campaign: https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/criminal-justice-reform/
She certainly played a role in creating the carceral society that dominates the US today, as she advocated for the crime bills passed under her husband's presidency. Bernie, however, voted for those bills, which makes him as much if not more responsible, in my opinion.

I see the fundamental difference between Clinton and Sanders on the issue of racial equality is that she does not see racism as the result of class inequality. https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/racial-justice/ Ultimately, Sanders maintains a worldview in which class is at the center, and he has incorporated some appeals to people of color and women within that existing framework. Hence his focus on prison reform and unemployment, positions he has articulated for years but has injected African Americans into his preexisting conceptual framework. Here is the problem. Jobs programs and free college in a racist and sexist society will disproportionately benefit white men. The same racism that keeps employers from hiring African American youth will not disappear because the minimum wage increases. The same sexism that means that 85% of jobs in infrastructure related development go to men will continue even if trillions of dollars are injected in the system. The courts have worked to maintain white supremacy in particular by making Affirmative Action anemic and essentially non-existent. That is particularly true in regard to higher education, Bernie's much touted "free college," where race-based preferences have been struck down by courts.

Clinton specifically addressed the vast inequities in K-12 education that cement generations of poverty. https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/k-12-education/ Bernie has no such proposal. (Or at least he didn't as of about 10 days ago). Without serious attention to inequality in K-12, children in poor communities, which are disproportionately non-white, will not be in a position to take advantage of "free college."

Also note that Clinton's plans provide for tuition free college for poor and middle-class families. https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/college/ She does not, however, support those same benefits for families with incomes over $250k a year. She also proposes that students work 10 hours a week to contribute to their own education. I see nothing wrong with that. I myself grew up in a poor urban area, and I worked from age 10 and earned W-2 income from age 13. As a poor student who earned good grades, I benefited from a lot of scholarship money, but I also held work study jobs, which is extremely common for college students. Frankly, I see no reason why college students should not work 10 hours a week. What they should not have to do is work 40 hours a week while trying to go to school full time, which happens a lot now.

There is no question that particular attention is needed to address the poverty and lack of opportunity faced by the corner kids you represent. Jobs programs, while essential, won't solve racism. Sanders comments about how he would be better than Obama on solving racism because "kids wouldn't be on the corners" struck me as problematic, and I know some other African Americans have found it so. The problem is not that he isn't right to focus jobs programs on those young people, but hanging out on a corner is not a cause of racism. Unemployment is a problem, but high black unemployment is the result of racism. Additionally, kids can and do hang out on corners when they have jobs or after school. There is nothing illegal or illicit about their doing so. There is, however, something problematic with a societal notion that sees any group of black youth as criminal or dangerous. I see a troubling assumption in Sanders rhetoric that associates blackness and criminality. Obviously you see it differently, or you wouldn't be supporting him.

I also think Clinton's speech makes some important points about, for example, environmental racism, the sort of thing that results in the city incineration facilities being placed in North Minneapolis and never more affluent white neighborhoods, or VT's waste being shipped to poor Hispanic communities in Texas.

As someone who has lived in the inner city most of my life, I think the issue of gun control is a crucial one that Clinton is right on and Sanders is wrong. I also see this as about race. I believe US gun policy is racist, that far too many are comfortable with gun violence in inner city neighborhoods and that the deaths of people in communities like mine simply don't rate. I believe that the tendency to uphold the rights of gun zealots and the NRA, an overwhelmingly white and frankly racist organization, over the rights of urban communities to establish their own regulations to diminish gun violence is problematic and frankly borders on genocidal. I've lived with far too much gun violence--shots outside my window far too many nights, bullets sprayed in front on my house, at my car, and in the windows of the houses on my block. Then we see legislation like Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrines which are increasingly used to justify the murder of black men. I have been an advocate for greater gun control for some time now, and I am familiar with not only the voting records of the various candidates but the code words used by pro-gun advocates. I disagree strongly with Bernie on gun control, and the issue is a very important one for me.

I thank you for your thoughts on the speech and found especially interesting your discussion of the young people you represent as a lawyer.

That information is contained in the article

He got tens of thousands every year, the same as the rest of the Senators.

He has claimed over and over again he doesn't raise money from Wall Street banks. This information demonstrates that claim to be false. He hosted fundraisers, brought in and received money.

He is also benefiting from more Super Pac and dark money spending than Clinton, this despite his misleading claim "I don't have super pacs." In the last debate, he announced "we decided not to do a Super Pac." Such statements assume Americans neither know nor care about campaign finance law. It falsely implies that candidates directly form Super Pacs, when that is in fact illegal. It also ignores the fact that his campaign does in fact benefit from Super Pacs and authorized PACs. One Super Pac formed in order to promote Sanders is run by a former Sanders campaign Staffer.

But Sanders hasn't always ruled out super PAC support. And, like many of his foes, he's likely to get a little help from a super PAC run by a friend and former campaign aide.

When Sanders last ran for reelection, in 2012, then-Seven Days political columnist Andy Bromage asked if he'd "ever accept help from a super PAC."

"I certainly would prefer not to," Sanders responded, calling it "a hypothetical question."

"But we can chat about it if, six months from now, many, many millions of dollars are coming in attacking me," he said in the February 2012 interview.

"If it was a last resort?" Bromage pressed.

"That's something we would look at," Sanders said, adding that he hoped he wouldn't have to.

Ah. So the senator opposes super PACs unless they're necessary to win?

Indeed. Just a week before the interview, President Barack Obama's aides announced that he would accept support from a major Democratic super PAC, Priorities USA Action, in his 2012 reelection race. Sanders defended the president's choice at the time.

"Should you be principled and allow your opponent to spend huge sums of money and you say, 'Well, I'm a principled guy and we're going to get outspent 5-to-1, and I'm going to lose the election?'" the senator asked.

The Atlantic reports, "Bernie Sanders Super Pacs."


Nor will he tell them not to spend money on his behalf. http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/23/politics/bernie-sanders-super-pac-nurses/

Now, people may say a union super pac is okay and one funded by George Soros isn't. They are still Super Pacs, and Sanders has sworn time and time against that he "doesn't have Super Pacs"--a technically true statement for him, just as it is for Clinton, Bush, Cruz or anyone else because candidates do not form or "do" Super Pacs. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_action_committee

He also benefits from more dark money and Super Pac spending that any candidate in the race, in part because Karl Rove's American Crossroads is commitment to ensuring Sanders be the GOP's opponent in the general election.

The problem is systemic. It's subverts democracy at all levels, and pretending it is about one candidate not taking "super pacs" or certain kinds of money (especially when there is evidence that claim isn't true) trivializes it. It takes a systemic problem and reduces it to an opportunistic political slogan. I find his statement incredible and that, combined with what I see as a series of empty campaign promises, is why I find him incredible.

Unsurprisingly, your response is to post a meme, the internet equivalent of the bumper sticker. You would do well to keep in mind you are not conversing with someone who is persuaded by sloganeering or memes.

One key difference between Clinton and Sanders is that Clinton doesn't pretend to be above the current campaign system. She doesn't repeatedly make claims that play to the ignorance of voters about campaign finance, or work to convince them that the issue is about personal integrity, when the candidate himself doesn't live up to those claims. Clinton abides by current campaign law and proposes to change it through the Supreme Court and legislation banning dark money.

Meanwhile, Sanders doesn't even follow existing campaign finance law.

The Federal Election Commission has asked the presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont to re-examine contributions from more than a hundred donors who appear to have given more than the legally permissible amount.

The vast majority of the donors gave several small contributions to Mr. Sanders for the Democratic primary that eventually totaled more than the $2,700 limit, according to a letter the election commission sent to Mr. Sanders on Thursday.

Such glitches are common in political campaigns, which are required to track small donors and begin itemizing their contributions when their total reaches $200. That can be harder when donors use slightly different variations of their names or contribute from more than one address. Mr. Sanders’s campaign may choose to refund the excess contributions or re-designate the excess for use in a general election campaign, when candidates can accept another $2,700.

The FEC letter is here: http://docquery.fec.gov/pdf/988/201602110300034988/201602110300034988.pdf

This is the second FEC inquiry into Sanders in this election cycle for failing to abide by simple reporting criteria. The first involved an affiliated PAC run by a Sanders staffer. Despite having been chartered in 2004, it failed to file the required quarterly disclosure of donors in 2015 and was fined as a result.

Here we have a candidate who repeatedly claims he doesn't raise money from Wall Street firms, when he clearly has. His campaign and associated PACs don't follow existing and all too meager campaign finance law, yet we are to believe he is the only one who will reform the system. The argument strains credulity.

I prefer a candidate who doesn't repeatedly make false statements about her fundraising and actually follows the law, while recognizing that the system needs to be changed. Whereas many Sanders supporters repeat his slogans and show no concern about what he actually does. Politicians will say anything, and the more people let them get away with it, the more empty claims they make. Sanders has built an entire presidential campaign around that very premise. Responses by his supporters here show they aren't concerned with his actual fundraising record or Super PAC and dark money expenditures on his behalf. Undeterred, you all continue to repeat the same slogans, even when presented with evidence that proves the claims false. Ultimately I believe that is because too many care far more about speeches than action, prefer a president who tells them what they want to here and accomplishes nothing than one who accomplishes a good bit but doesn't feed into their anger.

I find it unfortunate, but I can't convince others to care about accomplishments or policy. I will, however, point out false claims when I see them.

The Democratic Party is unfair to Bernie Sanders

They refuse to change the rules for selecting a nominee that have been in place since 1968. Truly it's a travesty. A proud independent for many decades, Sanders decided to run as a Democrat, making him eligible to use the party structures for his campaign. Now that we've had just two states cast their preferences, the party refuses to change the rules mid-election in order to favor him and his supporters, people clearly superior to the rest of Americans who fail to support the only man who can save America from oligarchy, fascism, and corporate control (except for the gun industry the MIC, which as capitalists who profit from death are superior to the financial sector).

After the 1968 Democratic National Convention, the Democratic Party made changes in its delegate selection process, based on the work of the McGovern-Fraser Commission. The purpose of the changes was to make the composition of the convention less subject to control by party leaders and more responsive to the votes cast during the campaign for the nomination.

Some Democrats believed that these changes had unduly diminished the role of party leaders and elected officials, weakening the Democratic tickets of George McGovern and Jimmy Carter. The party appointed a commission chaired by Jim Hunt, the then-Governor of North Carolina, to address this issue. In 1982, the Hunt Commission recommended and the Democratic National Committee adopted a rule that set aside some delegate slots for Democratic members of Congress and for state party chairs and vice chairs. Under the original Hunt plan, superdelegates were 30% of all delegates, but when it was finally implemented for the 1984 election, they were 14%. The number has steadily increased, and today they are approximately 20%.

In 1984 only state party chairs and vice chairs were guaranteed superdelegate status. The remaining spots were divided two ways. The Democrats in Congress were allowed to select up to 60% of their members to fill some of these spots. The remaining positions were left to the state parties to fill with priority given to governors and big-city mayors. In 1988, this process was simplified. Democrats in Congress were now allowed to select up to 80% of their members. All Democratic National Committee members and all Democratic governors were given superdelegate status. This year also saw the addition of the distinguished party leader category (although former DNC chairs were not added to this category until 1996, and former House and Senate minority leaders were not added until 2000). In 1992 was the addition of a category of unpledged "add-ons", a fixed number of spots allocated to the states, intended for other party leaders and elected officials not already covered by the previous categories. Finally, beginning in 1996, all Democratic members of Congress were given superdelegate status.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superdelegate

It truly is a travesty that the super delegate structure devised by the McGovern-Fraser Commission and implemented at the Democratic Convention of 1968 is not immediately abandoned--mid-primary--in order to suit the interests of those who insist the Democratic Party is a corrupt organization that fails to represent them above Democrats who have participated as party activists for decades. If the party truly were "democratic," it would recognize that the demands of some Americans simply matter more than others. The base is not composed of people who reliably vote Democrat, who volunteer or work for the party at the local level to strengthen it. It is not represented by those groups who most reliably vote Democrat. Instead, the only true Democrats are the ones who swear they will not vote for the Democrat unless their guy is selected as the nominee, who swear that generations of young voters care not about a slate of issues or reforms but that their engagement hinges exclusively on Bernie Sanders rightful and just ascent to the presidency.

Now, some might ask if these voters truly are the base of the Democratic Party, why haven't they gotten involved in the party organization and worked to eliminate the Super Delegate system prior to the beginning of this electoral cycle? Such a question is unreasonable, clearly a Clintonian effort to distract from the Bernie's rightful place atop the political establishment by interjecting logic. Logic, along with science and math, are corporate plots that must be defeated at all costs. That the existing rules don't favor Bernie is reason enough they be changed, mid-election. The reason for doing so is straightforward: Bernie.

Now, some might ask what happens if not just the Super Delegates but the popular vote favors Clinton? if lesser Americans vote for another candidate, that itself is evidence of massive fraud because the only acceptable goal for any true Democrat is to elect Bernie Sanders.

If the Democrat Party dares to adopt any policy positions Sanders has articulated, that is fraudulent and unacceptable. The point, after all, is not reform but Bernie as President. Nothing else is acceptable. Any other outcome is illegitimate.


Sanders adviser was convicted of union embezzling

Chuck Rocha pleaded guilty in 2013 to stealing funds from the United Steelworkers union.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/02/bernie-sanders-union-embezzle-campaign-consultant-218567#ixzz3zndl4WpO

A consultant for Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign was convicted of embezzling money from a labor union three years ago, after he was caught stealing funds from the United Steelworkers, according to court records.

Chuck Rocha, whose firm Solidarity Strategies has brought in $204,000 from the Sanders campaign, was hired to extend the Vermont senator's reach into the Latino community. Court and Labor Department records claim that he used the union's money to buy Stanley Cup Finals tickets and pay for golf trips to Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Florida.

Rocha pleaded guilty in 2013 to one felony count of union embezzlement for stealing funds from the United Steelworkers union in 2008 and 2009, when he was its political director. He also “acknowledged responsibility for the other 17 counts,” according to the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. His plea deal barred him from working as an officer or agent at a labor organization until 2026.

Rocha wasn't a merely a rank-and-file member of the Steelworkers back then: Political directors are the main points of contact between union leadership and policymakers, and they often have unfettered access to union coffers. Rocha managed a $30 million budget in his position, according to an online biography.

Hillary Clinton Goldman Sachs speech

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