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Member since: Fri Nov 6, 2015, 07:20 AM
Number of posts: 2,352

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Top Clinton aide blasts Sanders' Wall Street proposals


A top aide to Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton on Monday criticized rival Bernie Sanders' proposals to regulate Wall Street as doing nothing to address some of the riskiest financial institutions...Clinton's chief financial officer, Gary Gensler, a former chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, said in a statement that Sanders should "go beyond his existing plans" to break up too-big-to-fail banks and endorse a risk-based approach that also deals with non-bank financial institutions.

"Any plan to further reform our financial system must include strong provisions to tackle risks in the 'shadow banking' sector, which remains a critical source of instability in our economy," Gensler said.

"This includes certain activities of hedge funds, investment banks like the now-defunct Lehman Brothers, and insurance companies like AIG," Gensler added, calling them some of the "biggest culprits" of the 2008 financial crisis.


...Sanders, who is Clinton's chief challenger for the Democratic nomination for the November 2016 election, will deliver what his campaign is calling a "major policy address" on Wall Street reform in New York on Tuesday...

"Senator Sanders won't be taking advice on how to regulate Wall Street from a former Goldman Sachs partner and a former Treasury Department official who helped Wall Street rig the system," Sanders campaign spokesman Michael Briggs said, referring to Gensler's past positions.

Michigan Supreme Court cracks down on 'pay or stay' imprisonment


The court has proposed adopting a standard rule to assess whether defendants can pay fines. In many cases, judges jail those who cannot, but the practice is illegal...Michigan's Supreme Court has proposed new regulations to determine if defendants can afford to pay court fines, which would strengthen widely disregarded laws against jailing people who cannot pay them without hardship. Critics say that the hodgepodge system for determining a person's ability to pay has created a modern-day version of debtors' prisons, which were outlawed in the early 1800s, and essentially resulted in a "pay or stay" system. People who cannot afford fines for arrests, tickets, or court fees often wind up in jail, where they accrue more costs, while they are prevented from earning money.

According to an investigation from NPR, judges across the country have adopted different standards for determining someone's ability to pay, creating unequal and often inaccurate rules that flout the US Supreme Court's 1983 ruling that judges may not imprison someone who "willfully" refuses to pay a court fee or fine.

One judge told NPR that he guesses whether a person can pay based on their clothing and appearance. Others "tell people to get the money from family members or to use Temporary Aid to Needy Family checks, Social Security disability income, veterans' benefits or other welfare checks to pay their court fees first – or else face going to jail," reporter Joseph Shapiro wrote in 2014.

"It's not that it's wrong to charge people money as a way to punish them," American Civil Liberties Union attorney Miriam Aukerman told Mr. Shapiro. "But there have to be alternatives for people who can't pay. And that alternative cannot be: incarceration if you're poor, payment if you're rich."

"Pay or stay sentencing in Michigan needs to go. Adopting this court rule would emphasize the need for equal treatment under the law for all defendants, regardless of their financial situation," the Detroit News wrote in an October editorial.

The Supreme Court proposes that judges adopt standard criteria to assess a defendant's ability to pay, considering employment, cash, and living expenses. They will accept public comment until March 1.

"We’re thrilled," Michael Steinberg, legal director of the state's ACLU, told the Associated Press. "We applaud the Michigan Supreme Court for acting to end the shameful practice."

From Trump to Clinton, the race for the White House is powered by delusion / Richard Wolffe


With the presidential primaries only weeks away, both political factions have their head in the clouds...We have reached the point of the long presidential primaries where some clarity has normally been reached. After several months of overproduced TV debates, over-hyped candidate interviews and over-examined polls, the first votes are just one month away. Several candidates have already dropped out of the race; several more donors and hacks have either jumped or been pushed out the window. As George W Bush liked to say, it’s voting time.

But instead of clarity, the invisible primaries of this cycle – the phoney war phase – have brought us to a state of delusion. The chief culprit is Trumpmania: a chronic ailment that has engulfed everyone from the voters lining up to attend his freewheeling rallies to the august pundits who lined up to dismiss the supposed fad last year; from the horrified Republican establishment to the transfixed news media and, of course, the braggadocious candidate himself. Delusion lies at the very heart of Trump’s appeal. His crowds want to believe that their country hasn’t and isn’t changing. They want to believe that the United States isn’t on a fast track to becoming a majority of minorities, and that same-sex marriage isn’t widely supported or even constitutional. They want to believe that the old economy can be pieced back together, and that technology can be turned back like Syrian refugees. That Barack Obama was nothing more than an illegitimate corruption of the American way of life. Most of all, they want to believe that a property developer-turned-TV star – who spells out his name in gold-painted letters on properties that he does not in fact own – can indeed “Make America Great Again!”


But delusion also fogs the Democratic view of the landscape. Many Democrats watch smugly as Hillary Clinton holds the centre ground of American politics. After all, her unlikely challenge from the Senate’s sole socialist, Bernie Sanders, is now dying in Iowa and struggling in New Hampshire...Many of those Democrats mistake the weakness of the rest of the field as proof of the strength of the former secretary of state. Like Trump, Clinton seeks to attract the “squeezed” middle class, but it isn’t yet clear whether she can truly deliver that middle-class message. She has a 25-point economic plan to help them. But can she feel their pain, as Bill Clinton did? The evidence is not promising. Clinton has styled herself as a compassionate grandmother, but the reaction has not been warm and cuddly. Her media team targeted Latino voters last month with a listicle about the seven ways the no-nonsense former diplomat was just like your abuela...The result was multiple postings from real Latinos about how she was nothing like their grandmother, along with the hashtag #NotMyAbuela.

Turnout will be key for Clinton, and apathy – or downright disbelief – remains her greatest opponent. She will need the Democratic abuelas and the party’s African-American base to show up in numbers sufficient to swamp what is now overwhelmingly the Republican support base: of white voters without a college education. This is why Clinton’s best political friends are Trump and Obama: for both, in different ways, can drive minority voters to the polls – and towards a Democrat ticket – much more effectively than she can.



My commentary: a quick look at the author's bio: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Wolffe will convince you that he's anything but non-partisan. He's a Third Way all the way, in the bag for the corporate side of the Democratic Party, if in fact he's eligible to vote at all...

His cavalier dismissal of Bernie Sanders continues the MSM blackout. No surprise there.

I hope that he never gets the egg off his face come Super Tuesday...


I've got to think the teeth-grinding in Admin is escalating to dangerous heights over Bernie

For when a site that has sold its soul to one candidate finds that its success, fame, and its very economic survival hinge upon the opponent's supporters, something has to give.

The first thing that on DU gave was civility, with the Swarm, the alert-abuses, the nitpicking PC vigilantees and the intimidation practiced daily.

The second thing that gave was the equitable treatment written in the Terms of Service, where people go MONTHS waiting for "review in 3 days" that never comes. There's formal "tombstoning", and then there's the "benign neglect" form. Neither of these is administered in a non-partisan, reasonable way, and bring no credit to the Admin or their lackeys.

What will be the NEXT inhospitality inflicted upon the visiting public? People who posted here for a decade no longer visit, even to say Hi. Some have died, but the others have been banned or quietly (or not so quietly) left in disgust. DU is bleeding of self-inflicted wounds, losing some of the most thoughtful, articulate and committed people any political party would be glad to have on their side.

It is social Darwinism at work...and while one would hope that people who could imagine a place like DU would be able to sustain the principles that made it what it was, all evidence to the contrary suggests that extinction is coming for this once reputable, proud and worthy website.

It's like cancer at Stage 4. No hope of recovery.

What is DU going to do when Bernie wins the nomination, and then the White House? Ever heard of the Black Swan event?

A Black Swan event is an event in human history that was unprecedented and unexpected at the point in time it occurred. However, after evaluating the surrounding context, domain experts (and in some cases even laymen) can usually conclude: “it was bound to happen”.

The US has been peltered by a continuous migration of black swans this century....and Bernie is the logical outcome of them all.

At Stake in 2016: Ending the Vicious Cycle of Wealth and Power Robert Reich


What’s at stake this election year? Let me put as directly as I can. America has succumbed to a vicious cycle in which great wealth translates into political power, which generates even more wealth, and even more power...The way to end this vicious cycle is to reduce the huge accumulations of wealth that fuel it, and get big money out of politics. But it’s chicken-and-egg problem. How can this be accomplished when wealth and power are compounding at the top?

Only through a political movement such as America had a century ago when progressives reclaimed our economy and democracy from the robber barons of the first Gilded Age. That was when Wisconsin’s “fighting Bob” La Follette instituted the nation’s first minimum wage law; presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan attacked the big railroads, giant banks, and insurance companies; and President Teddy Roosevelt busted up the giant trusts. When suffragettes like Susan B. Anthony secured women the right to vote, reformers like Jane Addams got laws protecting children and the public’s health, and organizers like Mary Harris “Mother” Jones spearheaded labor unions. America enacted a progressive income tax, limited corporate campaign contributions, ensured the safety and purity of food and drugs, and even invented the public high school.

The progressive era welled up in the last decade of the nineteenth century because millions of Americans saw that wealth and power at the top were undermining American democracy and stacking the economic deck. Millions of Americans overcame their cynicism and began to mobilize. We may have reached that tipping point again. Both the Occupy Movement and the Tea Party grew out of revulsion at the Wall Street bailout. Consider, more recently, the fight for a higher minimum wage (“Fight for 15”). Bernie Sander’s presidential campaign is part of this mobilization. (Donald Trump bastardized version draws on the same anger and frustration but has descended into bigotry and xenophobia.)

Surely 2016 is a critical year. But, as the reformers of the Progressive Era understood more than a century ago, no single president or any other politician can accomplish what’s needed because a system caught in the spiral of wealth and power cannot be reformed from within. It can be changed only by a mass movement of citizens pushing from the outside. So regardless of who wins the presidency in November and which party dominates the next Congress, it is up to the rest of us to continue to organize and mobilize. Real reform will require many years of hard work from millions of us. As we learned in the last progressive era, this is the only way the vicious cycle of wealth and power can be reversed.


The seventh row of the periodic table is officially full.

On December 30, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry announced that a Russian-U.S. collaboration had attained sufficient evidence to claim the discovery of elements 115, 117 and 118. IUPAC awarded credit for the discovery of element 113 to scientists at RIKEN in Wako, Japan (SN Online: 9/27/12). Both groups synthesized the elements by slamming lighter nuclei into each other and tracking the decay of the radioactive superheavy elements that followed.

Researchers at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, which are among the institutions credited with elements 115, 117 and 118, had also laid claim to element 113 after experiments in 2004 (SN: 2/7/04, p. 84) and 2007. But garnering recognition for the three other elements softened the blow, says Dawn Shaughnessy, who leads the experimental nuclear and radiochemistry group at Livermore. “I’m personally very happy with IUPAC’s decision,” she says.

Published reports on the newly recognized elements will appear in early 2016, says IUPAC executive director Lynn Soby. Official recognition of the elements means that their discoverers earn the right to suggest names and symbols. Element 113 will be the first element discovered and named by researchers in Asia.


The little-told story of how the U.S. government poisoned alcohol during Prohibition.


It was Christmas Eve 1926, the streets aglitter with snow and lights, when the man afraid of Santa Claus stumbled into the emergency room at New York City's Bellevue Hospital. He was flushed, gasping with fear: Santa Claus, he kept telling the nurses, was just behind him, wielding a baseball bat.

Before hospital staff realized how sick he was—the alcohol-induced hallucination was just a symptom—the man died. So did another holiday partygoer. And another. As dusk fell on Christmas, the hospital staff tallied up more than 60 people made desperately ill by alcohol and eight dead from it. Within the next two days, yet another 23 people died in the city from celebrating the season.

Doctors were accustomed to alcohol poisoning by then, the routine of life in the Prohibition era. The bootlegged whiskies and so-called gins often made people sick. The liquor produced in hidden stills frequently came tainted with metals and other impurities. But this outbreak was bizarrely different. The deaths, as investigators would shortly realize, came courtesy of the U.S. government.

Frustrated that people continued to consume so much alcohol even after it was banned, federal officials had decided to try a different kind of enforcement. They ordered the poisoning of industrial alcohols manufactured in the United States, products regularly stolen by bootleggers and resold as drinkable spirits. The idea was to scare people into giving up illicit drinking. Instead, by the time Prohibition ended in 1933, the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, had killed at least 10,000 people...


Bernie Sanders: Audit Department Of Defense, Contractors Wasting Money While Soldiers On Food Stamps


video at link

BERNIE SANDERS: The day before 9/11 -- September 10, 2001, this guy that I have nothing to do with, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, he gave a speech and he said that there are trillions of dollars in the Dept. of Defense that we can't account for.

That was Rumsfeld the day before 9/11 -- the speech never got a lot of attention.

The Department of Defense is the only agency of government, to my knowledge, that cannot sustain an independent audit.

You go to them and ask how many private contractors we have. Well, they really don't know. It's so complicated, a huge complicated system.

I believe when we talk about making government more cost effective, it doesn't simply mean cutting Medicaid and food stamps.

What it does mean is taking a hard look at an agency which recieves $600 billion per year where there is an immense amount of waste and fraud.

And while we have massive cost overruns with defense contractors, we've got deployment after deployment for our soldiers, and we've got military families on food stamps. So maybe we want to change that.

for the latest stats on police murders of the people, go to


The most accurate, most comprehensive and always up-to-date list of people killed by U.S. law enforcement officers.
Est. May 1, 2013

Make a small donation while you are there.

Total recorded for 2015: 1199

For December: 108

For a poetical description of the process at work, see:

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