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Current location: Potlandia
Member since: Fri Sep 28, 2007, 03:39 PM
Number of posts: 19,326

Journal Archives

How Hillary Clinton Loses Me More Every Day.

How Hillary Clinton Loses Me More Every Day.
By delphine * Wednesday Feb 17, 2016 * Kos

Like many Bernie supporters I spent the first few months of 2015 trying to come to terms with the fact that the “likely” candidate, the frontrunner, was not someone I’d supported in the past and that I was not “likely” to find one of her supporters who would kindly tell me why she was a good choice. No one else was running at that point, and if she was going to be the nominee, I wanted to find out more. The response was pretty underwhelming, and in some cases, insulting. “Go listen to all of her speeches!” and “I’m not going to do your research for you” — as if it were all in the bag anyway and I’d soon just find myself in a voting booth with one choice anyway.

When Sanders declared, there was a lot of scoffing. We were all delusional children who would come to our senses in a couple months. To this day, apparently many detractors don’t seem to realize what an ignorant insult it is to continue to scoff, to say that he’s “never accomplished anything” or “no one in congress likes him” or “he’s a one-issue candidate who doesn’t bother to inform himself on other issues.” Or to tell his supporters that we are delusional worshippers of unicorn dust. It’s as though these are so well accepted among some that stating it is just “truth” rather than mean-spirited, uninformed insult.

But for months all Bernie supporters have had it thrown in our face that Clinton was doubtless going to be the nominee and all that was left was for us to pledge to vote for her. Fair enough, at least from their point of view, but why? Not “scary GOP” why, because we actually think Sanders can beat the GOP. But why?

I had some real substantive policy issues with Clinton, but I figured I could vote for her in decent conscience if she is the nominee, if only to keep the GOP from gaining more power. But then Bernie started to look like he might actually have a path to winning the nomination, and suddenly, things got really ugly. And it’s more and more difficult for me to say so easily that I can vote for her “in good conscience”. There are just some really disheartening things going on with her campaign right now that it truly loses me more every day:

FIND OUT HERE --> http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/2/17/1485202/-How-Hillary-Clinton-Loses-Me-More-Every-Day

Open Discussion by & for Berners re: Funding Bernie's long-term GE win.

A group of wealthy progressives announced today their intention to form a PAC
or a 501c4 to support Bernie "whether he likes it or not":

This is EXACTLY what I was hoping would happen i.e. Wealthy people with a progressive
conscience band together to do what's allowable by law, to stand with the 99% because
they really get that we are "all in this together", not to mention because it's good for the
'little people' and ultimately the economy.

Bernie's already made it very clear that he is NOT for sale, and that any money donated
is totally to advance exactly what Bernie is saying he's going to do: i.e. his platform in it's

Not that I agree with all of Bernie's positions (guns), but on balance it's nearly an exact
replica of my own personal priorities and goals for the nation. If I had a ton of money,
but could only give $2700, why should people who have money and support Bernie's
platform should have to sit on their wallets, denied the same latitude to USE Citizens
United in an entirely clean way, i.e. in solidarity w/ We the People's Political Revolution,
i.e. Bernie's platform.

Until CU is revoked, null & void, all bets are off. Bernie can blaze the trail re
demonstrating how a principled candidate can conscientiously allow wealthy
progressives to support him within the framework of existing laws, not because
Hilary's already doing it, precisely because it IS "above board" and above being
lambasted with disingenuous innuendos i.e. 'Bernie's just as bad as Hillary"

I think there's a good case to be made here. Not sure if I'm doing it justice, but
damn .. this could easily make the difference for Bernie. PLUS, it totally destroys
the following Clinton meme, that "Bernie Can't Compete in the GE" due to not
having $uper-pac$.

From The Hill Article
A number of Hillary Clinton’s fundraisers and donors say that no matter how impressive Sanders’s small-dollar fundraising is — and many are stunned that he has managed to haul in close to $100 million in donations averaging around $30 — they remain skeptical that the small-dollar approach can work in a general election against a Republican nominee backed by numerous tycoons and likely by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch's powerful donor network.

Also, as I understand it, for what it's worth, the nurse's union that endorsed Bernie
is also pledging to do their own thing, and i don't think Bernie has gone out of his way
to quash their support.

Comments? discussion?

Hillary Clinton's Pay-for-Play Reality

Hillary Clinton’s Pay-for-Play Reality
February 11, 2016 * by JP Settle * Consortiumnews.com

It was supposed to be a feel-good moment. The Chairman and CEO of the world’s most powerful financial institution dropped by CNBC’s Squawk Box to crow a bit about his recovery from cancer. But it didn’t quite go the way Lloyd Blankfein — or Hillary Clinton — might’ve wanted. (snip)

Lloyd revealed that Hillary Clinton isn’t the only one “feeling the Bern.” The remarkably unreflective Blankfein said the anti-Wall Street sentiment fueling Sen. Bernie Sanders’s insurgent campaign represented a “dangerous moment” for Wall Street and, by extension, for America. In that revealing moment of truth, Blankfein’s blurb not only encapsulated Wall Street’s growing discomfort with the surging candidacy of, as Blankfein put it, “another kid from Brooklyn,” but it also exposed Wall Street’s lingering detachment from the costly outcomes of its free-wheeling actions ... (snip) ... Lloyd unintentionally poured gasoline into an already white-hot news cycle that’s raced out of Hillary’s control. And it further reinforced Bernie’s case that Hillary, the former Senator from Wall Street, is just too closely linked to the “rigged economy” to actually reform it.

But perhaps the most interesting part of Lloyd’s warning centered on his concerns about the post-election political landscape and his sense that the real danger is not people with pitchforks taking to the street. Rather, Lloyd is worried that Washington’s political machine could stall if all that public anger hampers politicians by turning a demonstrated willingness to “compromise” into a political liability. And when Wall Streeters talk about “compromise,” they are referring to their seemingly innate ability to manufacture bipartisan consent in spite of the often-bemoaned acrimony that locks up Republicans and Democrats.

For example, the two big post-Crash bailouts were built on exactly this type of compromise. And yes, there were two bailouts. There was the highly-visible, widely-reported $700+ billion Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP). But there was also a host of “other,” often-secret bailouts and programs that may cost somewhere around $4 trillion to $7.7 trillion or, according to one accounting, as high as $16.8 trillion. Most Americans are unfamiliar with those side-deals built on Washington’s reliable willingness to compromise with Wall Street.

Another good example is the often-criticized and wholly-overrated Dodd-Frank law that was ostensibly designed to “rein-in” the “excesses” of Wall Street. Instead, it seems to have acted like an accelerator. Less than two years after Dodd-Frank was signed into law on July 21, 2010, Bloomberg Business reported that just five banks — JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America , Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and Goldman Sachs — saw their assets spike to $8.5 trillion. That equaled a staggering “56 percent of the U.S. economy.”


The Fundamental Problem Facing The Hillary Clinton Campaign

The Fundamental Problem Facing The Hillary Clinton Campaign
By James Kroeger * Tuesday Feb 16, 2016 * Kos

The fundamental problem Clinton’s campaign strategists are facing right now is the fact that...
When people get to know the real Bernie Sanders, they like him!

It is the KEY reality which has enabled his campaign to continue to grow in strength, to the
point where he has been able to:
1) overcome long odds to tie Hillary in Iowa
2) surge to a powerful win in New Hampshire
3) overcome the huge advantage she once enjoyed in Nevada
4) begin closing the huge advantage she once enjoyed in South Carolina
5) raise all the money he needs to be able to match/dominate her in ad buys
The formula for success has not really been all that complex.

From day one, most people have either had no opinion at all about the man because they know nothing about him, or they have acquired a somewhat negative image of him based on certain disparaging comments they’ve heard made about him.

But once his campaign acquired enough donations to be able to get his message heard in Iowa and New Hampshire, he was able to replace the dismissive/negative ‘rumors of Bernie Sanders’ they had been hearing with the inspiring reality of Bernie Sanders. It is from this simple prime directive that all of his success has flowed.

The Clinton campaign’s response to this success has been to try to hold on to her support by attempting to create a negative image of Bernie in the minds of Hillary-leaning Democrats....snip...

But negative campaigning is only effective if:
1) the allegations that are being made are accurate, or if
2) the innocent target of the negative attacks does not have the $$ to be able to defend herself from the accusations with ad buys.

Bernie has been able to continue to grow his campaign in spite of Hillary’s utter reliance on negative campaigning at this point because he is not actually guilty of the misrepresentations that are being made of his agenda/history/ integrity, and... he has the money to be able to replace the rumors with the reality of his true character. If you are not actually guilty of the attacks that your opponent has made about you AND you have the $$ to be able to defend yourself in the next contested states, then your opponent’s attacks are actually a blessing.


Why Isn't Bernie Jumping On This? To ask for a debate on Healthcare?

... with these 20,000 Physicians as Hosts and as part of the discussion?

Doctors group welcomes national debate on ‘Medicare for All’
Nonpartisan physicians group calls single-payer reform ‘the only effective remedy’ for nation’s continuing health care woes and urges focus on facts, not rhetoric

Contact: Mark Almberg, PNHP communications director, (312) 782-6006, mark@pnhp.org

Physicians for a National Health Program, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of 20,000 doctors who support single-payer national health insurance, released the following statement today by its president, Dr. Robert Zarr, a Washington, D.C., pediatrician.

The national debate on single-payer health reform, or "Medicare for All," that has emerged in the course of the presidential primaries is a welcome development. But unfortunately a number of misrepresentations about single-payer national health insurance – and the prospects for its attainment – have crept into the dialogue and are potentially misleading the public.

Most of these misrepresentations, or myths, have been decisively refuted by peer-reviewed research.

Myth: A single-payer system would impose an unacceptable financial burden on U.S. households. Reality Single payer is the only health reform that pays for itself. By replacing hundreds of insurers and thousands of different private health plans, each with their own marketing, enrollment, billing, utilization review, actuary and other departments, with a single, streamlined, tax-financed nonprofit program, more than $400 billion in health spending would be freed up to guarantee coverage to all of the 30 million people who are currently uninsured and to upgrade the coverage of everyone else, including the tens of millions who are underinsured. Co-pays and deductibles, which have been rapidly rising under the Affordable Care Act, would be eliminated. Further, the single-payer system’s bargaining clout would rein in rising costs for drugs and medical supplies. Lump-sum budgets for hospitals and capital planning would control costs even more.

A recent study shows 95 percent of U.S. households would come out financially ahead under an improved version of Medicare for all. The graduated, progressively structured tax burden would be based on ability to pay, and the heavy cost to average U.S. households of private insurance premiums, co-pays, deductibles, and many currently uncovered services would be eliminated. Patients could go to the doctor or hospital of their choice, and would no longer be restricted to proprietary networks. Multiple studies over a period of several decades, including by the General Accountability Office and the Congressional Budget Office, show that a single-payer system would provide universal coverage at a much lower cost, per capita, than we are spending now. International experience confirms it. Even our traditional Medicare program, which falls short of a true single-payer system, has much lower overhead than private insurance, and shows that publicly financed programs can deliver affordable, reliable care.

A single-payer system would also greatly diminish the administrative burden on our nation’s physicians and hospitals, freeing up physicians, in particular, to concentrate on doing what they know best: caring for patients.

Covering everyone for all medically necessary care is affordable; keeping the current private-insurance-based system intact is not.

Myth: The U.S. has a privately financed health care system.
Reality: About 64 percent of U.S. health spending is currently financed by taxpayers. (Estimates that are lower than this exclude two large sources of taxpayer-funded care: health insurance for government employees and tax subsidies to employers and individuals for purchasing private health plans.) On a per capita basis, the amount of government-funded health care in the U.S. exceeds the health spending of nations with universal health systems, e.g. Canada. We are paying for a national health program, but not getting it.

Myth: A single-payer system would overturn the gains won under the Affordable Care Act and provide inferior coverage to what people have today.
Reality: A single-payer system would go far beyond the modest improvements that the ACA made around the edges of our current private-insurance-based system and ensure truly universal care, affordability and health security. For example, H.R. 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, would guarantee coverage for all necessary medical care, including prescription drugs, hospital, surgical, outpatient services, primary and preventive care, emergency services, dental, mental health, home health, physical therapy, rehabilitation (including for substance abuse), vision care and correction, hearing services including hearing aids, chiropractic, durable medical equipment, palliative care, podiatric care, and long-term care. It would eliminate financial barriers to care like co-pays and deductibles and eliminate restrictive networks. It would end the steady erosion of job-based coverage under our current arrangements and disconnect insurance coverage from employment. H.R. 676 currently has 61 sponsors.

Myth: The American people don’t support single payer.
Reality: Surveys have repeatedly shown that an improved Medicare for All is the remedy preferred by about two-thirds of the population. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey yielded similar results, showing 58 percent of Americans support Medicare for All. A solid majority of the medical profession favors such an approach, as well, as do more than 600 labor organizations, and many civic and faith-based groups.

Myth: The goal of establishing a single-payer system in the U.S. is unrealistic, or “politically infeasible.”
Reality: It’s true that single-payer health reform faces formidable opposition, especially from the private insurance industry, Big Pharma, and other for-profit interests in health care, along with their allies in government. This prompts some people to conclude that single payer is out of reach and therefore not worth fighting for. While such moneyed opposition should not be underestimated, there is no reason why a well-informed and organized public, including the medical profession, cannot prevail over these vested interests. We should not sell the American people short. At earlier points in U.S. history, the abolition of slavery and the attainment of women’s suffrage were considered unrealistic, and yet the movements to achieve these goals were ultimately victorious and we now wonder how those injustices were allowed to stand for so long.

What is truly “unrealistic” is believing that we can provide universal and affordable health care, and control costs, in a system dominated by private insurers and Big Pharma.

We call upon our nation’s lawmakers and the political leaders of all political parties to heed public opinion and to do the right thing by acting swiftly to bring about the only equitable, financially responsible and humane cure for our health care ills: single-payer national health insurance, an expanded and improved Medicare for all.

Physicians for a National Health Program (www.pnhp.org) has been advocating for single-payer national health insurance for three decades. It neither supports nor opposes any candidates for public office.


Does Hillary stand with Obama & American Voters, or with DNC's Sell-out to Corporations?

Has Hillary joined Sanders yet, for upholding Obama's wise and noble rule to ban contributions from political action committees?

~~~ * ~~~ * ~~~ * ~~~ * ~~~ * ~~~ * ~~~ * ~~~ * ~~~ * ~~~ *

Sanders pushes back on DNC reversal on contributions
By Rebecca Savransky * February 15, 2016 * The Hill

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders launched a petition on Sunday urging the Democratic National Committee to reverse its decision to lift a ban on campaign contributions by lobbyists, according to the International Business Times.

Sanders called the rollback "an unfortunate step backward," the news outlet reported, adding that the Vermont senator called President Obama's decision in 2008 to ban contributions from political action committees and lobbyists a "noble step."

The senator's campaign also urged rival Hillary Clinton to push back against the DNC's decision.

“We support the restrictions that President Obama put in place, and we hope Secretary Clinton will join us in supporting the president,” campaign representative Michael Briggs told the IB Times.

“If we are to restore a vibrant democracy in this country, it is long past time to break the link between money and special-interest favors in politics,” campaign manager Jeff Weaver said in an email sent to supporters, according to the outlet.


Why Does Hillary Keep Lying about Bernie's healthcare plan?

Hillary, last night in the Las Vegas suburbs (as reported by Washington Post):

We both share the goal of universal health-care coverage, but he wants to start all over again," Clinton said. "And he wants to have a new system that would be quite challenging because you would have to give up the insurance you have now, and it would cost a lot of money.

Are you kidding me? Here we go again. It never ends.

One candidate is principled, stalwart and honest to a fault.

The other candidate trots out a falsehood, gets slammed for it, walks it back. Then she trots out her daughter to trot out the same falsehood, who gets slammed for it, then vanishes back into suspended animation, no doubt on some private island in a far-flung sea.

Then the falsehood goes quiet for a week or so.

Welp. It’s back.

Why vote for a candidate who lies repeatedly, nakedly, and openly?


Happy Valentines Day & thanks to those who gave me a heart.

I'm having heart surgery soon, so every one is very much appreciated.

Bernie’s 'Political Revolution' is Actually Happening, but M$M Won’t Tell You That

Not to mention that Rachael's 'analysis' totally ignores the Independent voters who turned out
in YUUGE numbers.

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Bernie’s 'Political Revolution' is Actually Happening, Although the Corporate Media Won’t Tell You That
Don't rely on the media to tell you what's going on.
By Thom Hartmann * AlterNet * February 14, 2016

Bernie Sanders has made voter-turnout history, getting about a third more votes than any other primary candidate in the history of New Hampshire primaries, but much of our media is reporting the opposite; that it’s no big deal what he’s accomplishing. ~snip~

It turns out that fewer people showed up to vote Democratic in New Hampshire and Iowa this year than they did in Obama’s 2008! If that’s the case – and it is – then how could Bernie possibly claim that he’s “energizing” “new” people? He must be running a con on us, or he’s just a deluded old man who dreams of revolution but nobody’s really showing up.

Time to doubt both Bernie and his ideas, right?

After all, as Rachel points out, “40,000 fewer people voted in this year’s New Hampshire Democratic primary than did in 2008,” she said. Adding, for emphasis, the three-word sentence: “Forty thousand less!” ~snip~

Clearly Bernie’s campaign is running a scam, right? The entire rationale for his candidacy is built on sand. His “revolution” isn’t happening so far, so why might it happen later? Time to doubt that Bernie’s claims of political change are even possible, much less reasonable.

However… Rachel missed a few facts – something unusual for her usually brilliant political analysis.

First, Bernie’s main premise wasn’t that he could get more people to vote for him (although he’s asserted that and is actually doing it, as I’ll get to in a moment). His main premise is that, unlike President Obama, he will ask the American people to be very, very, very involved in the political process. He’s talked over and over about how if, as president, when he’s trying to get meaningful legislation through, he’ll invite millions of people to come to DC to let Congress know what they think.

But more importantly, in this story (played out in other media as well as MSNBC) the numbers were passed along to us from their source in an astonishingly confusing fashion, given their context.


Rob't Sheer: W/ Nomi Prins re the Connection Between Washington & Wall Street

Robert Scheer Speaks With Nomi Prins About the Connection Between Washington and Wall Street
by Robert Sheer * Feb. 11, 2016 * TruthDig.com

In this week’s “Scheer Intelligence”—the Truthdig editor-in-chief’s podcast on KCRW—author, journalist and former investment banker Nomi Prins explains the culture of Wall Street and its influence on government.

Prins worked as a managing director at Bear Stearns and Goldman Sachs for several years before leaving the financial sector around the time of the Enron crisis to become one of its sharpest critics. She has written several books about the relationship between Washington and Wall Street, including “All the Presidents’ Bankers: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power” and “Other Peoples’ Money: The Corporate Mugging of America.”

Scheer and Prins discuss that relationship and the players who have kept it going in spite of devastating effects on many Americans. In addition, Prins talks about the lack of an “accountability gene” within many in the finance industry. Lastly, we hear about how Wall Street has influenced and may continue to influence the presidential candidates and outcome of this year’s election.

RS: Hello. I’m Robert Scheer, and welcome to Scheer Intelligence, my podcast in collaboration with KCRW in which I talk to people I consider to be American originals. My guest today is Nomi Prins, definitely an American original. She started out working on Wall Street, worked for Goldman Sachs at one point, and then has emerged as one of the major critics of the big banks and what they did to bring about the Great Recession. She is currently a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Public Policy Think Tank DEMOS; she is also the author of several books, including “It Takes a Pillage” and, most recently, “All the President’s Bankers.” And, full disclosure, she served on Senator Bernie Sanders’ Federal Reserve Advisory Council. I’m going to ask you what that’s all about. But I want to get an objective appraisal of this democratic election, because we’re being frightened with some image of the greater evil of the Republican Party, and there’s a lot of evil there to talk about. But once again, we’re being urged to think uncritically about the Democrats. And I want—you know, your, “It Takes a Pillage” is, after all, a play on Hillary Clinton’s “It Takes a Village”; it’s a terrific book, I use it in teaching in my job at USC, and I’ve had you in my class, and I have great respect for your analysis. So why don’t we begin there? You were working at Goldman Sachs, and what has brought you to this place, and what is your evaluation of the choices we face?

NP: First of all, thanks a lot for having me, Bob. I did work in Goldman Sachs, and did leave to become a journalist and an author. And mostly that was because of what was my own moral obligation percolating within me to leave a very corrupt environment and seek the reasons for it, and also to share the analysis of what I could bring from my experience to the rest of the world. And at the time I left, it was in the wake of the Enron crisis, which at this point’s an old crisis; but a lot of the reasons for that crisis had to do with banks, had to do with how financing works in this country, and it has only gotten much worse and, as we know, more—because of the banking system and the political system that allows it to have become what it is—than ever before, with the financial crisis of 2008 and now what we see as what will be a prolonged global crisis.

RS: Let me jump in there, since you brought up Enron, which a lot of people forget about. But the collapse of Enron destroyed the life savings of all sorts of people, quite a few who worked for Enron and one of its subsidiaries, but also, and their investors who thought, my goodness, this big company—which was extremely well-connected in Washington, and not only to the Bush administration, but before that to the Clinton administration. And in fact, it should have come up recently in the news, because in the debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and—it came up when Hillary accused Bernie Sanders of having voted for this terrible piece of financial deregulation, which is known as the Commodity Futures Modernization Act. And it’s true Sanders voted for it, as did everybody else except four members of the House, libertarian Ron Paul; but they did so because it was tucked into an omnibus bill, and it was written by Bill Clinton’s administration, it was signed by Bill Clinton; it was Bill Clinton’s legislation. The reason I’m bringing it up now is there is something called the “Enron loophole” in the Commodity Futures Modernization Act that Clinton signed as a lame duck president. And that loophole allowed Enron to go absolutely berserk in marketing energy derivatives and so forth. And so maybe you could begin there, because it’s all part of a whole; it’s manipulating the financial system to benefit Wall Street and screw Main Street, is of course, not only the slogan, but it’s an accurate description, and it’s been done by Republicans and Democrats. And so why don’t we begin with the Democrats and the financial deregulation that happened under Bill Clinton?

NP: Sure, I will unpack that. And also, the “Enron loophole” and how it was created was not just by Enron; it was by bankers at the time. In fact, during the period of the Clinton administration in the late nineties, when energy deregulation had just occurred in 1996—which effectively allowed energy companies to become bigger than they were and take on little energy companies and control more of the energy environment than they had before, of which Enron was a major recipient—the financial element of that, where they got to also trade in energy futures and derivatives and all sorts of complex financial securities that had nothing to do with extracting and distributing oil or creating an energy flow for a population; it had everything to do with trading and simply making money off of speculative transactions. Goldman Sachs, which is the company I worked for, had been a part of fighting for that “Enron loophole” during the Clinton administration years, as well as had Enron. So here you had a company that was run by Republicans, who had a big bank that was, at the time, run by a Republican, Hank Paulson; but you also had people on both sides of the aisle, Democrats and Republicans, pushing for this idea of ensuring that derivatives that were associated with energy would not have to be transparent to anyone else who was examining the markets. So effectively they were deregulated; they were taken out of the purview and control of regulators. And what this meant was, not just Enron but its banking partners like Goldman Sachs, like Merrill Lynch at the time, which became later part of Bank of America during the last financial crisis, were able to basically be copartners in creating a very opaque trading environment around energy.

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