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Gender: Female
Home country: USA
Member since: Sat Oct 17, 2015, 10:59 AM
Number of posts: 2,450

About Me

Progressive in the Midwest, a transplant from both coasts, homesick for the eastern one. Traipsing the line between calling it like I see it and knowing when to keep my thoughts to myself. *note: I slip a lot.

Journal Archives

Let's go, Indiana!!


Keeping Wall Street Speeches Secret Speaks Volumes About Hillary Clinton

Keeping Wall Street Speeches Secret Speaks Volumes About Hillary Clinton

May 1, 2016
Bill Blum

It’s been roughly three months since Hillary Clinton promised, during her Feb. 4 debate with Bernie Sanders on the eve of the New Hampshire primary, to “look into” releasing the transcripts of her paid speeches to Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street investment houses.

If you’re a stickler for details and would like to know precisely how long Clinton has delayed on fulfilling her pledge or exactly how much cash she has raked in for her speaking gigs and from whom, you don’t have to spend hours scouring the Internet. You can simply log onto two sites created by a 40-year-old Sanders supporter and web developer named Jed McChesney of Olathe, Kan.

The first site— iwilllookintoit.com—is a computerized digital clock that ticks off the elapsed time in bold red print, listing the number of days, hours and seconds. The other offers a searchable chart, published at citizenuprising.com, of 91 paid, private talks given by the Democratic front-runner from April 2013 to March 2015.

All told, according to McChesney’s meticulous research, Clinton pulled in a whopping $21.7 million in speaking fees for the two-year period. Of this amount, $3,260,000 came from 14 speeches delivered directly to financial-sector interests, including Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, and, above all, Goldman, which remitted a tidy $675,000 for no less than three chin-wags.

“I was watching the debate … when she said she would look into [releasing the speeches],” McChesney told me in an interview I conducted with him last week via email, as his phone was down as a result of a north Kansas thunderstorm. “I just knew it was a complete blow-off answer.

“I find it to be completely disqualifying,” he continued, regarding Clinton’s presidential bid. “It says a lot about our system when such brazen bribery is wholly accepted. So about … an hour or so after the debate, it just hit me to start a clock to hold her accountable.”

In terms of web traffic, the venture was an immediate success. On Feb. 19, after the Sanders campaign got wind of McChesney’s clock and tweeted out the URL to some 1.5 million followers, the website was featured on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show. Within 20 minutes, the site drew 160,000 visitors, causing it to crash and forcing McChesney to switch to a larger server. Since then, he estimates, the page views have numbered in the millions.


Even if there is no smoking quid-pro-quo gun in Hillary’s history, there is plenty to suggest Lessig’s economy of influence. From her lackluster record in the Senate as an advocate of the poor and middle class to her intervention in 2009 as secretary of state to stave off criminal prosecution of the Swiss banking giant UBS, the fundraising shenanigans of her family foundation that has netted $2 billion in donations from American corporations and foreign governments, and the millions raised by her super PACs in the current election cycle, Clinton has fostered the widespread perception that she’s become part of the oligarchy that is destroying American democracy.

Producing the transcripts of her Wall Street speeches could transform that perception into certainty. It’s easy to understand, therefore, why Clinton is stalling on her look-into-it promise.

Still, the longer Clinton waits, the greater the risk she incurs of permanently alienating a critical mass of Sanders voters,
including McChesney, whose backing she will sorely need as November approaches. As McChesney put it in our interview, “If she can’t show her real constituents simply what she said … she will never get my vote. Ever.”

(bold emphases mine)

Furthermore, refusal to produce the transcripts does transform the perception into certainty, even if she does release them after the primary.


Bernie & Supporters Should Do What Dem Party Won’t: Advocate for Candidates of Color (Bernie Group)

Bernie Sanders and His Supporters Should Do What the Democratic Party Won’t: Advocate for Candidates of Color

By focusing on supporting progressive leaders and organizations of color, they could make a mark that lasts long beyond 2016.

Steve Phillips
APRIL 29, 2016

Bernie Sanders and his supporters are uniquely positioned to advance a political revolution by doing the thing many Democrats won’t do: throwing down, in a real way, with people of color. Although for reasons relating to strategy, familiarity, and message, voters of color across the country chose Hillary Clinton over Sanders, much of the Democratic Party establishment has yet to reciprocate that loyalty in meaningful ways. Many Democratic leaders pay a lot of lip service to people of color, but the revenues rarely match the rhetoric. If Sanders focuses the forces and resources he’s accumulated in his historic campaign on supporting progressive leaders and organizations of color, he could upend progressive politics and significantly strengthen the cause of combating income and wealth inequality in America.


While much of the conversation about wealth inequality focuses on trends of the past 30 years, the roots of inequality in America stretch back more than 400 years to the arrival of the first English settlers on this continent. From the violent theft of land from indigenous inhabitants, to the creation of wealth by enslaved black bodies in chains, to the widespread and legal practice of racial discrimination in employment, hiring, lending, and housing up until 1964, economic inequity has gone hand in hand with racial discrimination and exploitation. Because of the connection between racial and economic exploitation, the struggles of people of color for equality have driven many of the most powerful periods of change in US history.

From participating in civil-rights struggles in the 1960s to being one of the few white politicians in America to endorse Jesse Jackson’s 1988 presidential bid, Bernie has been on the right side of history. Those who marched, sacrificed, and fought for civil rights and voting rights in the 1960s created the conditions for the passage of the Voting Rights Act and Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which opened the doors of civic participation and citizenship to tens of millions of people of color. That demographic revolution made it possible to elect and reelect a black man as president of a country that formerly held black folks in human bondage.

In 2012, people of color accounted for fully 46 percent of Democratic voters, yet the modern Democratic Party is appallingly slow to properly embrace and invest in the fastest-growing parts of the US population. This year, top party leaders abandoned or, worse, outright blocked progressive champions of color, such as Donna Edwards in her bid for the Maryland Senate seat and Lucy Flores in her Nevada congressional campaign.


Backing individual candidates of color like Flores could just be the beginning. One of the most significant legacies of Jesse Jackson’s 1980s presidential campaigns is that they catalyzed the careers of warriors for justice such as Congresswomen Barbara Lee and Maxine Waters who have championed justice and equality for the past quarter century. Sanders’s support of Flores; Washington State Senator Pramila Jayapal, an Indian-American activist; and progressive New York activist Zephyr Teachout may also yield similarly promising results. And, looking ahead, his national surrogate Nina Turner, an African-American former state senator in Ohio, is poised to become the next mayor of Cleveland in 2017.

Elevating the right candidates into elected office is only part of the battle. Ultimately, the entire Democratic Party needs to be transformed. The only Democratic National Committee Chairperson of color in history has been Ron Brown, an African-American who came out of Jesse Jackson’s 1988 campaign. After Howard Dean’s inspiring 2004 candidacy, Dean took control of the Democratic Party, appointing people of color to the very top leadership posts, and implementing the 50-state strategy. The Sanders movement can and should focus on pushing the party back towards the people by insisting on the hiring and promotion of leaders of color and a massive financial commitment to grassroots organizing and infrastructure, especially in the growing communities of color that make up nearly half of Democratic voters.

Approaching the end of the Obama era, the Democratic Party is at a crossroads. The Sanders campaign has already made history, and going forward, by doing what too many Democrats won’t, Sanders is poised to make a mark that lasts long beyond 2016, fosters truly revolutionary change, and moves the country closer to income and wealth equality.


Chicago as a microcosm - its local elections look an awful lot like the presidential primary

The Donor Class That Buys Chicago's Elections Is Overwhelmingly Rich and White — Unlike the City
These big donors have a hankering for austerity.

By Sarah Lazare / AlterNet May 2, 2016

The windy city’s political donor class is disproportionately and overwhelmingly made up of rich, white men with a penchant for austerity and budget cuts, according to the first-ever municipal-level study of race, class and gender disparities in buying elections.

Sean McElwee of the public policy organization Demos found that, during the 2015 mayoral race, candidates received “more than 92% of their funds from donors giving $1,000 or more.” A stunning 88 percent of these big donors were white, in a city where white people comprise just 39 percent of the population. It is worth noting that big donors to the widely-reviled Rahm Emanuel skewed very white—at 94 percent. This compares with 61 percent for his unsuccessful rival Chuy García.


Here, however, is the real catch. Surveys show that the political goals of wealthy Chicago residents diverge dramatically from those of the broader population. The 2012 Chicago-based Survey of Economically Successful Americans found that the city’s wealthy residents, two-thirds of whom are political donors, were far less likely to support a higher minimum wage or “decent standard of living for the unemployed.” They were also far less likely to agree with the statements that the federal government "should spend whatever is necessary to ensure that all children have really good public schools they could go to" and make sure "everyone who wants to go to college can do so.


“The current path Chicago is following, with cuts to mental health services, infrastructure and public schools, is responsive to the preferences of the donor class, not average Chicagoans,” writes McElwee. “Chicago has closed 49 schools, predominantly in black neighborhoods. In addition, the city has closed six of the city’s 12 mental health clinics, which was supposed to pull in $2.2 million in savings, though the city then paid $500,000 to private facilities in order to meet demand. A recent wave of spending cuts hit Chicago State University, the only state college that predominantly serves Black students, particularly hard.”

These findings are relavent in the context of the 2016 presidential race. According to a recent study from the Washington Post, nearly half of the money raised for super PACs by the end of February came from “just 50 mega-donors and their relatives.” And a separate study released by the New York Times last year found that only 158 families “provided nearly half of the early money for efforts to capture the White House.” These families are “overwhelmingly white, rich, older and male,” the probe notes. (emphasis mine)


Sanders Fights On for ‘the Strongest Progressive Agenda That Any Political Party Has Ever Seen’

Sanders Fights On for ‘the Strongest Progressive Agenda That Any Political Party Has Ever Seen’:
Platform fights have always mattered.

By John Nichols
APRIL 29, 2016
The Nation


Sanders made it clear that his campaign—which has won 18 contests and 1,355 delegates and has the potential to win more primaries and delegates—would go on. “The people in every state in this country should have the right to determine who they want as president and what the agenda of the Democratic Party should be. That’s why we are in this race until the last vote is cast,” said the senator. Then he offered a framework for how that campaign might influence the direction not just of the party but of politics in the years to come. “[This] campaign,” said Sanders, “is going to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia with as many delegates as possible to fight for a progressive party platform that calls for a $15 an hour minimum wage, an end to our disastrous trade policies, a Medicare-for-all health care system, breaking up Wall Street financial institutions, ending fracking in our country, making public colleges and universities tuition free and passing a carbon tax so we can effectively address the planetary crisis of climate change.”


“Let me make this clear, so there is no confusion: We are in this campaign to win, and become the Democratic nominee,” Sanders told the students in Indiana. “We are in this campaign to win, but if we do not win, we intend to win every delegate that we can so that when we go to Philadelphia in July, we are going to have the votes to put together the strongest progressive agenda that any political party has ever seen.”

On Thursday in Eugene, Oregon, and again on Friday at the Indiana statehouse, where he rallied with steelworkers whose plants are threatened with closure as part of a corporate relocation to Mexico, Sanders made trade policy central to his demand for a new politics that champions working families over CEOs.

“The Democratic Party, up to now, has not been clear about which side they are on, on the major issues facing this country. You cannot be on the side of those workers who have lost their jobs, because of disastrous trade agreements, and support those corporations who have thrown millions of our workers out on the street,” Sanders told the crowd of 8,000 in Oregon.

“The Democratic Party has to reach a fundamental conclusion: Are we on the side of working people or big money interests?” the senator thundered. “Do we stand with the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor or Wall Street speculators and the drug companies and the insurance companies?”


Political and media elites, whose default position is to focus on the horse race (and the personalities associated with it), are quick to dismiss fights over agendas and platforms. With no sense of history, they imagine politics as little more than a progression from one dominant figure to the next. Movements, and the political trends and progressions that extend from movement-oriented campaigns, are invariably dismissed.

But it was a movement, and a movement politics, that forced the Democratic Party to embrace a more muscular civil-rights platform than Harry Truman wanted in 1948; it was a movement, and movement politics, that began to open up the Democratic Party in ways that Lyndon Johnson had resisted in 1964. And it was the dismissal of movements, and movement politics, that proved to be disastrous for the Democratic Party in 1968.


But no one should buy into the fantasy that this discussion is inconsequential. Platform debates always matter. That’s why the candidates (front-runners and challengers) always take them seriously; that’s why key players in political parties (governor, mayors, legislators, union leaders) participate in them; that’s why interest groups try so hard to influence them.

Platforms define parties, not just for the purposes of a campaign but for the future. It mattered when the Democratic Party embraced civil rights in a meaningful way in 1948, and in a more meaningful way in 1960 and 1964. It mattered in the 1980s when the Democratic Party moved (at the behest of the Rev. Jesse Jackson and his “Rainbow Coalition” campaigns) toward more aggressive opposition to South African apartheid, and when it moved (at the behest of the Jackson and Gary Hart campaigns of 1984) toward an embrace of the principle that the United States should work with allies rather than engage in unilateral military action. It mattered when the Democratic Party began to embrace LGBTQ rights in a meaningful way in its 1980 platform, and when it embraced marriage equality in 2012.

And it matters, now, that Sanders is talking about “put[ting] together the strongest progressive agenda that any political party has ever seen.”


What was true three decades ago remains true now: Platform fights on issues of conscience and consequence, inspired by insurgent campaigns and insurgent movements, are always worth waging.

*(all bold/underline emphases mine)

Read in full:

Incremental Change vs. Structural Change

It's not that Bernie supporters are against incremental change, it's more about structural change, slow and quick, big and small. Why limit ourselves? It's about changing the system's infrastructure itself rather than making a few adjustments from within it.

The only people that are invested in, or benefit from, the incremental approach are people who have "made it," regardless of race - most of these people are older. But the democratic party is supposed to be for everyone, especially the struggling, is it not?

To aim for minor adjustments around the edges (as if they'd get done at all) is to delay justice. There's nothing wrong with a policy centered approach, but it's not enough. Not even close, it's a band aid to a gaping wound.

There are two articles to read and possibly share about Bernie

I'm short for time at the moment or I'd get them out there.

Check out The Nation and Alternet

Can we please stop bullshitting about party unity and stopping Trump

If unity and stopping Trump were what everybody really wanted, Bernie would already be the nominee.

Stop the lying, it's embarrassing.

Anyone else having formerly blocked users show up as unblocked?

I have blocked the same people multiple times now.

I'm flattered, but no.

They are being paid to demoralize us

Please keep that in mind.

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