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imagine2015

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Chicago Tribune: Joe Biden would be an excellent 'slip-in' candidate if Hillary Clinton falters

CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Column: Joe Biden would be an excellent 'slip-in' candidate if Hillary Clinton falters
By Eric Zorn
May 27, 2016


The hopes for victory of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee ticked up slightly Wednesday when a report from the U.S. State Department's inspector general sharply criticized leading Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server when she was secretary of state.

Although the report wasn't an indictment or a game-changer in the race for the White House, it became part of the narrative of Clinton as secretive and deceptive that has kept her favorability numbers upside down.

Voters don't hate Joe Biden, 73, the genial vice president who openly agonized last year before deciding not to put himself and his family through the rigors of a presidential bid in the wake of the 2015 death of his son after a battle with brain cancer.

Not most voters, anyway. In a nationwide poll conducted in March for Bloomberg Politics, only 35 percent of respondents had a negative view of Biden compared with 68 percent who had a negative view of Trump, 53 percent who viewed Clinton unfavorably and 41 percent with a negative impression of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who also is vying for the Democratic nomination.

Biden's favorability rating in that same poll was 57 percent compared with 29 percent for Trump, 44 percent for Clinton and 52 percent for Sanders.

If Clinton's email-related problems get worse or other developments sink her popularity far below even Trump's, causing her to step aside, Biden, as a more establishment figure than Sanders, would be the party's likely choice as a "slip-in" candidate and an almost certain winner against Trump.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/zorn/ct-joe-biden-president-trump-clinton-zorn-perspec-0529-jm-20160527-column.html

CBS News: Bernie Sanders On Trump Backing Out Of Debate: "Mr. Trump, what are you afraid of?"

CBS Evening News
Bernie Sanders: "Mr. Trump, what are you afraid of?"
By Kylie Atwood
May 27, 2016


Bernie Sanders had a ready response to Donald Trump's change of heart over a proposed debate.

"Mr. Trump what are you afraid of? Why do you not want to see a debate here in California -- and obviously all across this country -- on why you think it's a good idea to be trying to divide up our people, to be scapegoating Mexicans and Latinos and Muslims and women and veterans and African-Americans," Sanders said in a fiery tone.

Trump had just declined to debate Sanders, saying in a statement that it seemed "inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher." Sanders challenged the presumptive Republican nominee saying he comes across as a "tough guy," and suggested he should prove it.

"If you're so tough, let's sit down and have that debate," Sanders said to reporters in Los Angeles, where he was touring the Inglewood Oil Field.

Sanders still hoped for another change of heart.

"I heard that he was gonna debate and now you're telling me that he is not gonna debate me. Well, you know, I hope that he changes his mind again. Mr. Trump is known to change his mind many times in a day," Sanders said.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/bernie-sanders-donald-trump-debate-what-are-you-afraid-of/

Senators Sanders, Warren, Merkley & Whitehouse Blast GOP Efforts To Block Exxon Fraud Investigation



Sanders, Warren Blast Republican Efforts to Derail #ExxonKnew Probe
Letter from progressive senators comes in response to GOP call for Justice Department to back off the fossil fuel industry
by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer
May 27, 2016


Republican efforts to stifle any federal inquiry involving climate change should be considered "Exhibit A among the reasons why the Department of Justice should take a full and honest look at possible fraud in the fossil fuel industry's climate denial operation," leading progressive senators said Thursday in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

The letter from Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) provides a counterpoint to a separate missive (pdf) issued Wednesday by five Republican senators including Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

That letter called on Lynch to drop any federal investigations into whether oil companies like ExxonMobil committed fraud when they worked to downplay the science and impact of climate change. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has suggested it is considering such a probe.

Referring to such DOJ statements as well as subpoenas issued by state attorneys general, the GOP senators wrote:

These actions provide disturbing confirmation that government officials at all levels are threatening to wield the sword of law enforcement to silence debate on climate change. As you well know, initiating criminal prosecution for a private entity's opinions on climate change is a blatant violation of the First Amendment and an abuse of power that rises to the level of prosecutorial misconduct.

But the progressive senators disagreed with the Republicans' analysis, saying "the template for the Department investigating this question, of course, is the Department's own victory in its civil RICO lawsuit against the tobacco industry."

In fact, they wrote, "The Republican Senators' letter reprises the tobacco lawsuit's own early history of efforts from Congress to discourage or interfere with that lawsuit in order to protect the tobacco industry."

?

"It would be a sorry world in which corporations engaged in fraud could pull the screen of the First Amendment over any investigation of their fraud," write U.S. Sens. Sanders, Warren, Merkley, and Whitehouse.

Full article at:
http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/05/27/sanders-warren-blast-republican-efforts-derail-exxonknew-probe

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sanders, Whitehouse, Warren, Merkley Slam GOP Attempt to Block Fossil Fuel Fraud Investigation

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Washington, May 26 – In a letter sent to Attorney General Loretta Lynch today, Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) slammed a GOP effort to cut off any federal investigation into possible fossil fuel industry fraud. Recalling the successful Department of Justice lawsuit against the tobacco industry during the Clinton and Bush administrations, the Senators write that such an effort “reprises the tobacco lawsuit’s own early history of efforts from Congress to discourage or interfere with that lawsuit in order to protect the tobacco industry.” They also note how such an effort could serve as “Exhibit A among the reasons why the Department of Justice should take a full and honest look” at the fossil fuel industry’s climate denial efforts.

Whitehouse, Sanders, Warren, and Merkley were responding to a letter sent to the Attorney General earlier in the day by Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), David Vitter (R-La.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.), in which the Republicans attempt to cast any investigation or inquiry involving climate change as an infringement upon First Amendment freedom of speech. In reply, Whitehouse, Sanders, Warren, and Merkley write that it is “settled law that fraud is not protected by the First Amendment” and “whether what the fossil fuel industry is up to is ‘core political speech’ or whether it is downright fraud is precisely the question which the investigation should answer.” They add that “it is noteworthy how public reporting shows the fossil fuel industry to be a dominant funder – if not the dominant funder – of the Republican Party. The Republican Senators’ letter comes to you laden with that conflict of interest.”

The text of the Whitehouse-Sanders-Warren-Merkley letter follows.

Dear Attorney General Lynch,

We write today to urge that you view the Republican Senators’ May 25 letter as Exhibit A among the reasons why the Department of Justice should take a full and honest look at possible fraud in the fossil fuel industry’s climate denial operation.

The template for the Department investigating this question, of course, is the Department’s own victory in its civil RICO lawsuit against the tobacco industry. The Republican Senators' letter reprises the tobacco lawsuit's own early history of efforts from Congress to discourage or interfere with that lawsuit in order to protect the tobacco industry.

The Republican Senators' letter also reprises arguments made in the press against bringing the tobacco lawsuit, and made in court against that lawsuit: to wit, that the First Amendment should prevent the investigation or determine the litigation. This argument was soundly rejected by the Department, and then by Judge Kessler, and then by the United States D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. It has always been and remains good law that fraud is not protected by the First Amendment. It would be a sorry world in which corporations engaged in fraud could pull the screen of the First Amendment over any investigation of their fraud.

The Republican Senators’ letter ignores the considerable academic and journalistic research into the fossil fuel industry climate denial operation. Over and over, the researchers on their own advert to the similarity between the tobacco industry’s fraudulent conduct and the fossil fuel industry’s conduct which they are investigating. This is predication, at least, for the Department to take its own hard and fearless look.

It is perhaps noteworthy in evaluating the merits of the Republican Senators’ letter that their concern over investigations in this arena only appears when the subject is the fossil fuel industry. When the Attorney General of Virginia harassed a UVA climate scientist (to the point where the University went to the Virginia Supreme Court, which stopped the abuse), or when a Republican Senator called for criminal investigation of scientists in the so-called “ClimateGate Scandal” (which after six thorough investigations proved to be no scandal at all), or when Republican committee chairmen relentlessly pursue climate scientists with government subpoenas, there has not been a peep of objection from them.

There has been an outburst of editorial opinion against investigation that has significant earmarks of orchestration: the posts and editorials almost all confuse criminal and civil investigation; they almost all fail even to mention the tobacco lawsuit; they all have only one or two degrees of separation from the fossil fuel industry and its climate denial outlets; and they refuse to acknowledge the settled law that fraud is not protected by the First Amendment. The Republican Senators’ letter has all those same earmarks.

Finally, it is noteworthy how public reporting shows the fossil fuel industry to be a dominant funder -- if not the dominant funder -- of the Republican Party. The Republican Senators’ letter comes to you laden with that conflict of interest.

The question whether what the fossil fuel industry is up to is “core political speech” or whether it is downright fraud is precisely the question which the investigation should answer. To say at the outset that it is entirely the former is premature, at best; if there is fraud, that fraud merits thorough and fair investigation.

Sincerely,

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

Senator Bernie Sanders

Senator Elizabeth Warren

Senator Jeff Merkley

Sanders Has Always Wanted to Debate Trump—or Any Other Representative of the ‘Billionaire Class’



Sanders Has Always Wanted to Debate Trump—or Any Other Representative of the ‘Billionaire Class’
by John Nichols
May 27, 2016


Bernie Sanders relishes ripping on Donald Trump, describing the billionaire as “someone who must never become president of this country.”

No surprise there.

Sanders has run his entire 2016 presidential campaign in opposition to plutocracy, oligarchy, and billionaire-dominated politics—proudly declaring that his run is paid for by small donors and “not the billionaires.” In fact, Sanders has run his entire political career in opposition to plutocracy, oligarchy, and billionaire-dominated politics. He has, as well, spent decades critiquing a media system that pays more attention to “lifestyles of the rich and famous” celebrity than the real-world issues facing working-class Americans. That’s made Trump, a billionaire byproduct of the media’s cult of celebrity, a preferred target for the senator, who rips the Republican’s rhetoric as “shameful” and complains that “every day he comes up with another stupid remark, absurd remarks.”

That makes sense for the senator, as his campaign could only benefit from a clash with Trump—drawing attention to an uphill run and helping Sanders make a case that he is best prepared to battle the Republican.

It makes less sense for Trump, as Sanders would give the billionaire no quarter. Ultimately, that could end up helping Clinton, the Democrat Trump expects to be running against in November.

Sanders has always relished debating Republicans to “expose them for their subservience to the billionaire class.”

For Sanders, of course, this is about more than Trump.

He has always been excited by the prospect of one-on-one debates with Republicans.

A year ago, when Sanders spoke to The Nation about the campaign he had just launched, he was pushing for more Democratic debates. But he was also talking about broader debates. Asked if he would as a Democratic contender be willing to engage in a one-on-one debate with a Republican contender, he answered, “Of course I would.”

“I would like as many debates as possible, and I would also like to break new ground and have debates with Republicans and Democrats. I think that will be very positive for the American people in that we’ll be able to focus on issues. Let the Republicans defend why they want to give tax breaks to the billionaires and make massive cuts in Medicare. I would love to hear it,” said Sanders. “The most serious political problem facing this country is that we don’t discuss the serious issues facing this country. And the American people are becoming increasingly alienated from the political process; 63 percent of the American people didn’t vote last November. I’m looking for ways to bring them into a serious discussion about serious issues. When we do that, the Republican agenda will be exposed for the disaster it is.”

“I’m the ranking member on the Budget Committee. The Republican budget gave over $200 billion in tax breaks over a 10-year period to the wealthiest two-tenths of 1 percent—massive cuts in Medicare, massive cuts in Medicaid, massive cuts in education, threw 27 million people off their health insurance. That is the Republican budget. That is what they believe.… That’s exactly what their budget did. The Republicans get away with murder because what they do and what they want is not seen, is not understood by the American people, because it’s not talked about,” Sanders said last year. “So I think the more that we can confront Republicans about their ideology of tax breaks for the billionaires and cuts to every program that is a benefit to the American people, and can expose them for their subservience to the billionaire class—I think that wins for us every single time.”

Read the full article at:
http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/05/27/sanders-has-always-wanted-debate-trump-or-any-other-representative-billionaire

Trump following Hillary Clinton's lead chickens out of debate with Sanders!


WASHINGTON, May 27 (Reuters) - U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said on Friday he would not debate Democrat Bernie Sanders ahead of California's June 7 primary.

"Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged ... it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher," Trump said in a statement.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Trump would much rather face Hillary in a debate. imagine 2015

Hillary Clinton should withdraw from the race now for the good of the nation. Put the people first,

not her personal ambitions.

Washington Post: Why the new report on Hillary Clinton’s email is so damning

Washington Post
Why the new report on Hillary Clinton’s email is so damning
by Dana Milbank
May 27, 2016

The report on Hillary Clinton’s email by the State Department’s inspector general this week was devastating — not because of how she handled email but because of how she handled investigators.

.... what’s damning in the new report is her obsessive and counterproductive secrecy:

The Office of the Inspector General said it “interviewed Secretary Kerry and former Secretaries Albright, Powell, and Rice. Through her counsel, Secretary Clinton declined OIG’s request for an interview.”

“In addition to Secretary Clinton, eight former Department employees [most of them Clinton aides] declined OIG requests for interviews.”

“Two additional individuals did not respond to OIG interview requests.”

“OIG sent 26 questionnaires to Secretary Clinton’s staff and received 5 responses.”

The stonewalling creates a firm impression, well captured by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer this week when he interviewed Clinton’s spokesman, Brian Fallon: “If she didn’t do anything wrong and she had nothing to hide, why didn’t she cooperate with the inspector general?”

There is no good answer to this. And that’s why the IG report was just another of Clinton’s self-inflicted wounds, stretching back a quarter century, caused by her tendency toward secrecy and debilitating caution.

The inspector general’s bottom line wasn’t good: “She did not comply with the department’s policies.” But the description of Clinton’s secrecy was worse. When one State staffer raised concern about Clinton’s private email, this person was told “that the secretary’s personal system had been reviewed and approved by department legal staff and that the matter was not to be discussed any further.” Investigators found no evidence of such a review.

Read the full article at:
http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/opinion/why-the-new-report-on-hillary-clinton%e2%80%99s-email-is-so-damning/ar-BBtyGcL?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=iehp

NEW YORK TIMES by the EDITORIAL BOARD: "Hillary Clinton, Drowning in Email"

New York Times
Hillary Clinton, Drowning in Email
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
MAY 26, 2016


Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the presidency just got harder with the release of the State Department inspector general’s finding that “significant security risks” were posed by her decision to use a private email server for personal and official business while she was secretary of state. Contrary to Mrs. Clinton’s claims that the department had “allowed” the arrangement, the inspector general also found that she had not sought or received approval to use the server.

So far, no security breaches have been reported; a separate F.B.I. investigation is looking into that. But above and beyond security questions, the inspector general’s report is certain to fuel doubts about Mrs. Clinton’s trustworthiness, lately measured as a significant problem for her in public polls.

This defensive posture seems at play in the email controversy, as well as her refusal, for that matter, to release the lucrative speeches she made to Wall Street audiences. The reflex she is revealing again now — to hunker down when challenged — is likely to make her seem less personable to many voters, and it will surely inflame critics’ charges of an underlying arrogance.

Donald Trump, her Republican rival, will be merciless in swinging the inspector general’s report like a cudgel. Accordingly, Mrs. Clinton now faces a measurably greater challenge in proving that she is the well-qualified politician her supporters know her to be, based on her varied career as a senator, secretary of state and first lady deeply involved in public life. This is a challenge to be faced not with a contrived campaign makeover, but with a far greater investment of candor before the public.

When Republicans first questioned the propriety of using her own home-based server over a year ago, Mrs. Clinton sought to finesse the matter as partisan flak. Under pressure, she eventually apologized for a “mistake,” while insisting she had done nothing wrong and would cooperate fully with investigators. But she did not honor that promise, according to the report, which noted that she declined to be interviewed by the inspector general, Steve Linick, or his staff.

When State Department staff members questioned her use of a nongovernmental email address in 2010, the report said, they were instructed by superiors “never to speak of the secretary’s personal email system again.”

.... the nation should not be judging leadership as a measure of who is less untrustworthy. Mrs. Clinton has to answer questions about the report thoroughly and candidly. That is her best path back to the larger task of campaigning for the presidency.

Read the complete editorial at:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/27/opinion/hillary-clinton-drowning-in-email.html?ref=opinion

NEW POLL MAY 26: National: Clinton 40% Trump 39% North Carolina: Trump 42% Clinton 38%



LATEST POLL

Thursday, May 26

General Election: Trump vs. Clinton Rasmussen Reports Clinton 40, Trump 39 Clinton +1

North Carolina: Trump vs. Clinton Civitas (R) Trump 42, Clinton 38 Trump +4

New York Times: California Looking Less Like a Sure Thing for Hillary Clinton

The New York Times
California Looking Less Like a Sure Thing for Hillary Clinton
By AMY CHOZICK
May 27, 2016


On Wednesday, after days of looking, Karen Furia, 65, finally found what she was searching for: a “Hillary” bumper sticker, at a Clinton campaign rally in Salinas, Calif.

“I keep hearing Bernie, Bernie, Bernie, or seeing Bernie fliers,’’ said Ms. Furia, a retiree. “I am sort of tired of hearing him.’’

She was referring, of course, to Senator Bernie Sanders, Mrs. Clinton’s Democratic opponent, who is pouring energy and resources into California’s June 7 primary.

His efforts appear to be paying off.
For months, the Clinton campaign exuded confidence about California, a diverse state in which 30 percent of the Democratic electorate is Latino, with a primary rather than a caucus, a format that tends to favor Mrs. Clinton. She defeated Barack Obama there by 8.3 percentage points in 2008 and had hoped the state could serve as the victorious bookend of a turbulent primary race.

But now, Mrs. Clinton’s lead in California has evaporated, going from seven percentage points over Mr. Sanders in March to two percentage points, within the margin of error, in a poll released Wednesday night by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California.

.... losing the most populous state, the birthplace of political movements and trends that often shape the rest of the country, would deal Mrs. Clinton a tremendous blow and send her hobbling to the Democratic National Convention in July.

Another factor helping Mr. Sanders is that nonwhite voters here tend to be younger than elsewhere in the country, and more receptive to Mr. Sanders. While Mrs. Clinton had strong support among minority voters in previous primary states, the Public Policy poll showed the two candidates splitting the nonwhite vote.

Read the full article at:
http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/california-looking-less-like-a-sure-thing-for-hillary-clinton/ar-BBtxzXo?li=BBnb7Kz
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