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Autumn

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Six years. Two years as the Chairman, 2013 to 2015. The VA scandal had been ongoing.

• Early 2012: Dr. Katherine Mitchell, a Veterans Affairs emergency-room physician, warns Sharon Helman, incoming director of the Phoenix VA Health Care System, that the Phoenix ER is overwhelmed and dangerous. Mitchell now alleges she was told within days by senior administrators that she had deficient communication skills and was transferred out of the ER.

• Later in 2012: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs orders implementation of electronic wait-time tracking and makes improved patient access a top priority. In December, the Government Accountability Office tells the Veterans Health Administration that its reporting of outpatient medical-appointment wait times is "unreliable."

• March 2013: The GAO's Debra Draper tells a House subcommittee: "Although access to timely medical appointments is critical to ensuring that veterans obtain needed medical care, long wait times and inadequate scheduling processes at VAMCs (medical centers) have been persistent problems."

July 2013: In an e-mail exchange among employees at the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center in Phoenix, an employee questions whether administrators are improperly touting their Wildly Important Goals program. "I think it's unfair to call any of this a success when veterans are waiting six weeks on an electronic waiting list before they're called to schedule their first PCP (primary-care provider) appointment," program analyst Damian Reese complains.


https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/05/21/veterans-healthcare-scandal-shinseki-timeline/9373227/


In spite of—or perhaps because of—his aversion to war, Sanders has a long history of committed service to veterans. He became chairman of the Senate Veterans Committee in 2013, and that is how he wound up at the negotiating table with Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida.

They were driven there by scandal. Veterans across the country were waiting months on end for appointments and the wait times were being hidden. Up to 40 veterans in Phoenix died while waiting for appointments. Hundreds never even got onto a list. And retaliation was the order of the day for those who tried to blow the whistle.

From the moment the long-gathering scandal broke into public view in April 2014, it took Congress less than four months to produce a new law—a split second by Capitol Hill standards. That it happened at all, and so fast, was a testament to the determination of Sanders and his partners to surmount the red-blue divide in American politics. It speaks volumes in particular about Sanders, who pushes for a single-payer government health system in every speech, that the law introduced a private-care option for veterans.



https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/07/how-bernie-sanders-fought-for-our-veterans-119708

I don't see why it should be a fight. Employers can offer MFA to their employees at a much

cheaper rate than insurance. And Unions can then fight for better wages for their members since insurance is offered to offset lower wages.

Joe Biden says he opposed the Iraq War soon after it started. A check of his record shows otherwise

Biden 'loose with facts' on the campaign trail

https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/04/politics/joe-biden-iraq-war-kfile/index.html


Of the 20 Democrats still running for president in 2020, only two -- Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders -- were in a position to vote on authorizing President George W. Bush to go to war in Iraq back in 2002.

Sanders, then in the House, voted no. Biden, then chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, voted in favor -- and like other Democrats who voted yes, has spent the years since apologizing for it as the conflict became increasingly unpopular with the American public and Democratic voters.

Biden, the Democratic front-runner, now faces opponents who do not have a voting record on Iraq and a Republican incumbent, Donald Trump, who too initially supported the Iraq war before turning against it, and then increasingly criticized Republican Party orthodoxy about American intervention abroad during his 2016 presidential campaign.

The Iraq issue dogged John Kerry in 2004 and Hillary Clinton in 2008, when it contributed to Barack Obama's meteoric rise, and again in 2016, when Sanders and Trump used it as a cudgel against her. Biden, who also ran in 2008, made the same claims that he's making today: He changed his mind about the invasion as soon as it happened.

Biden rejects report he flubbed details in anecdote about war heroes

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/08/29/biden-war-heroes-report-1478760?fbclid=IwAR2mAberUWTBMRvMOUoLZy0lBqFHonDyvNQ7ddZRwIqWIWIoYR8Jw3lCeqo


But The Post found after conducting “interviews with more than a dozen U.S. troops, their commanders and Biden campaign officials, it appears as though the former vice president has jumbled elements of at least three actual events into one story of bravery, compassion and regret that never happened.”

Though Biden said on Thursday that he was unaware of The Post’s reporting, he was confident that the “essence” of his stories was accurate. But in last week’s retelling in particular, the Post report found, Biden flubbed a number of details, including the location of the encounter, the period of time during which it took place, the act of heroism, the kind of medal awarded, his own role in the ceremony, and the recipient’s military branch and rank.

“I don’t understand what they’re talking about, but the central point is it was absolutely accurate what I said,” Biden told the Charleston-based Post and Courier. “He refused the medal. I put it on him, he said, ‘Don’t do that to me, sir. He died. He died.’”

Biden’s numerous misstatements during this presidential campaign have come under heavy scrutiny as the septuagenarian frontrunner’s mental acuity has been questioned by President Donald Trump and even some Democrats. Trump, of course, has an extensive record of making misstatements and spreading falsehoods himself. And Biden dismissed concerns about his fitness for office as “ridiculous.”

Bernie Sanders tells Sacramento rally he won't settle for defeating Donald Trump

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders campaigns at Cesar Chavez Park in Sacramento on Friday, August 22, 2019, as 4,000 supporters fill the park.

https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/election/presidential-election/article234294242.html

Vermont senator and 2020 presidential contender Bernie Sanders drew an overflow crowd to his downtown Sacramento rally on Thursday evening, part of a multi-day swing through California as he vies for the Democratic nomination to take on President Donald Trump next year.

“I’m here this evening to ask for your help to win the Democratic primary in California,” Sanders boomed to a fired up crowd filling Cesar Chavez Plaza — a diverse mix of young people, parents with children, men and women in business attire, and retirees in wheelchairs.

But Sanders said he was also asking for more from his area supporters.

“It’s not just good enough to defeat Trump, he said. “We have to take on Wall Street. We have to take on the insurance companies. We have to take on the drug companies. We have to take on the fossil fuel industry. We have to take on the prison-industrial complex. We have to take on the military-industrial complex. We have to take on the whole damn one percent!”

Sanders’ rally marked the first time one of the top 2020 presidential candidates has held a public event in Sacramento. California Sen. Kamala Harris spoke to California Labor Federation members in April.



"HE'S FLAWED": IS MAYOR PETE'S BEAUTIFUL 2020 DREAM ALREADY KAPUT?

Black voters, the backbone of the Democratic Party, are skeptical of the police situation in South Bend, and some are put off by his sexuality. But “you can’t poll future state of mind,” says a top Democratic strategist. “If he performs in Iowa and New Hampshire, he’s totally viable in South Carolina.”
Pete Buttigieg.
BY MARK PETERSON/REDUX.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/08/is-mayor-petes-2020-dream-already-kaput?fbclid=IwAR25J2CgPdXMwC7I9Ck5kKMUu-X4bHxWnNX4o_AxGGtLIPr8Sr3moIrR5QI

Talk about your inverted yield curve. Or maybe the better borrowed financial-world term is poor return on investment. Either way: Pete Buttigieg continues to rake in the campaign contributions, with his $32 million raised through June trailing only Bernie Sanders ($46.4 million) and Elizabeth Warren ($35.7 million). Yet Buttigieg’s poll numbers badly lag those two rivals, as well as those of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, with the most credible national surveys showing Mayor Pete drawing support in the middle single digits. And a sizable portion of that depressing math can be traced to one, possibly crippling, weakness.

“The energy for Pete is still strong. He’s still raising a bunch of money. He’s still the intellectual liberal’s candidate right now. And he is the candidate of the Democratic donor class,” says Rufus Gifford, who was a top fund-raiser for Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns and who has maxed out his donations to five Democratic contenders, including Buttigieg, this time around. “He can speak to the progressive, as well as the business community, in meaningful ways. So I still think he’s right there in contention. Whether or not he can actually put together a coalition to win—I think that’s still a long shot. If you are polling at zero or low single digits in South Carolina with black voters, you just can’t pull it off, unless there’s somehow a 10-way split. And even then, that’s not a strong position to be in.”

When it comes to attracting black voters, who make up 61% of the Democratic electorate in the crucial early primary state, Buttigieg shares a few hurdles with many of his competitors: Unlike Biden, they haven’t been on the political scene for decades, and they weren’t Obama’s vice president for eight years; unlike Harris and Cory Booker, they’re white. Warren, for all her momentum, is also grappling with a large disparity in racial support. But Buttigieg has an extra difficulty: It appears most South Carolina voters don’t know much about him, and what they do know they don’t seem to like. As mayor of South Bend, Buttigieg bungled the removal of the city’s black police chief just before a local protest of Trayvon Martin’s killing in Florida.

“Mayor Buttigieg might be as close as anyone in this field to having the charisma, the magic, that a presidential candidate needs,” says Cornell Belcher, a pollster on both of Obama’s successful White House runs. “But he’s flawed because of the police situation in South Bend. To a lot of African Americans, it’s damn near disqualifying, because it’s a front and center issue that’s on the minds of a lot of African American voters and Hispanic voters. And if you can’t keep that situation under control in that pissant town, why on earth are we gonna put you in the presidency?”



The article points out that his campaign will soon be hiring a “director of black engagement” to help boost his efforts. It can't hurt.

Tom's priorities to address the climate crisis



https://www.tomsteyer.com/climate-justice/?utm_campaign=debate&utm_source=tw&utm_medium=social&utm_term=20190730_climate&fbclid=IwAR2qua41OyB8dQldwADMX_LwILhRsi751yUaUmndH-9RRov0RjRPxxpyey4

We are in a global climate crisis, and we need solutions that reflect the scale of the problem.

Justice-Based Pollution Reduction Targets and Actions
Asthma-inducing air pollution is a pervasive problem that affects low-income, indigenous, and communities of color first and worst. Tom’s plan to neutralize global warming pollution by 2045 starts by prioritizing the creation of good jobs while ensuring every American can breathe clean air by 2030. We will establish climate-smart transportation, and construct and retrofit buildings to be cleaner and safer.

Community-Led Civilian Climate Corps
The people closest to the problems understand the solutions that will work best in their communities. Tom’s plan will lift up local voices and build a Civilian Climate Corps — a combined service, training, and job creation effort — to implement tailored solutions specific to the needs of individual communities.

A Regenerative Economy
Our government should hold our public lands, waters, and skies in trust for the American people — not as a stockpile of future profits for big polluters. Tom’s plan honors people in legacy energy industries who have devoted their lives to keeping our lights on and our vehicles moving by offering a $50 billion investment program to build up local economies and protect worker’s wage benefits. This plan will invest in local economies, end government giveaways to big polluters, and restore and expand public nature areas, working lands, and parks.

Climate-Smart Infrastructure
Our use of taxpayer dollars must align with our climate targets, protect workers, and help Americans build inclusive and prosperous communities. That’s why we will shift the way we invest in our infrastructure to be smarter about climate change, prioritize clean manufacturing, and require companies to disclose and internalize the costs of their risky fossil fuel holdings.


Much more at the link.

Well for sure we can't count on McCain. I'm of the mind that his thumbs down

was because he was dying and Trump was being his usual nasty self trash-talking McCain. If Joe tearfully pled with him, good for him. I missed that event but it certainly highlights what a racist McCain was since he was willing to work with the white VP but not a black President attempting to help the American people with healthcare, that benefited a lot of his very own constituents. In fact, McCain said even Obama called to express gratitude for McCain’s vote against the Republican repeal bill. His comment on that was:

I was thanked for my vote by Democratic friends more profusely than I should have been for helping save Obamacare,” McCain wrote. “That had not been my goal.”



Do you think that will work with the remaining living Republicans?

Sanders Says If Israel Wants to Ban Members of Congress, It Should Not Receive Billions in

in US Military Aid

"The idea that a member of the United States Congress cannot visit a nation which, by the way, we support to the tune of billions and billions of dollars is clearly an outrage."
byJake Johnson, staff writer


Sanders said Thursday that "the idea that a member of the United States Congress cannot visit a nation which, by the way, we support to the tune of billions and billions of dollars is clearly an outrage."

"And if Israel doesn't want members of the United States Congress to visit their country to get a firsthand look at what's going on—and I've been there many, many times—but if he doesn't want members to visit, maybe [Netanyahu] can respectfully decline the billions of dollars that we give to Israel," Sanders added.

Progressives applauded Sanders' remarks, noting that the senator's willingness to challenge U.S. military aid to Israel makes him unique in the 2020 Democratic presidential field.

"People have been asking how Bernie can distinguish himself from rivals who at least profess agreement on domestic issues," tweeted HuffPost reporter Daniel Marans. "This is one area where the distinction is clear."


https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/08/16/sanders-says-if-israel-wants-ban-members-congress-it-should-not-receive-billions-us?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=facebook&fbclid=IwAR3wpgkqdtXhni7pHuhQ5ycGSnZGDCEBF--E_OIRJaQQ_ickoLmmN30jjgc

Biden camp jumped into damage control after upsetting Latino leaders

Biden echoed a conservative talking point in the last Democratic debate, saying undocumented illegal immigrants need to "get in line."

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign is quietly playing cleanup with dozens of immigration activists and Latino leaders — weeks after upsetting them by using what they considered loaded language to describe his views on immigration policy.

Biden said at the July 31 Democratic debate that undocumented immigrants need to “get in line” and that the country has been right to “cherry-pick” high-skilled immigrants, notably those with advanced degrees.


That language, more commonly used by conservatives, triggered widespread criticism from immigrant rights activists, some of whom said the former vice president was echoing “Republican talking points” on how migrants are admitted to the United States.

The campaign quickly embarked on damage control. Aides assuaged aggrieved activists, and Biden had a closed-door meeting with Latino leaders in San Diego before his speech at the UnidosUS conference last week.


https://www.politico.com/story/2019/08/14/joe-biden-latinos-immigration-2020-1461341
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