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Member since: Tue Feb 23, 2016, 03:28 PM
Number of posts: 3,017

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Meet the lobbyists, donors and bundlers behind Hillary's $157 million juggernaut


<The superlobbyist brother of John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, he runs Podesta Group — a powerhouse firm for defense contractors (Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Bechtel), pharmaceutical and health insurance giants (Merck and Blue Cross-Blue Shield) and banking and private equity firms (Well Fargo, Credit Suisse Group, KKR). Podesta has used his D.C. mansion, famously decorated with expensive modern art, to host a Clinton fundraiser (offering fine Italian cooking by him and his brother) as well as a book party for Clinton super-PAC attack dog David Brock (co-hosted by Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias and Clinton email pal Sidney Blumenthal.) Another branch of Podesta’s portfolio: foreign governments, including several — Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Burma and the Maldives — accused by the State Department of human rights abuses. A new senior partner working on the firm’s new $1.68 million a year Saudi account: David Adams, former assistant secretary for legislative affairs while Clinton was secretary of state.>

<Two of his McGuireWoods colleagues, Andrew Smith and former South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges, are also bundlers who have raised $240,000 for the Clinton campaign while lobbying for clients that include Smithfield Foods (now owned by the Chinese-based Shuanghui Group) and Dandong Port Group, a Hong Kong-registered port and grain importing firm owned by secretive Chinese billionaire Wenliang Wang, who has donated $2 million to the Clinton Foundation.>

<After serving as Hillary Clinton’s deputy secretary of state, Nides returned through the Wall Street revolving door to become vice chairman of Morgan Stanley. A top Clinton bundler, he has helped raise $205,198 from the investment bank’s executives and employees, including donations from the firm’s chief operating officer, its chiefs of fixed income and wealth management, two managing directors and four members of its board of directors. Morgan Stanley, which last year agreed to pay a $2.6 billion fine to settle U.S. government claims over its role in the 2008 financial crisis, has donated $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation. It also paid Hillary Clinton $225,000 for a speech in 2013, two and a half months afar she stepped down as secretary of state.>

<He is the chairman of Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street colossus that last month agreed to pay a $5.1 billion fine to settle a Justice Department investigation for its role in marketing subprime mortgage bonds in the runup to the 2008 financial crisis. Among the Goldman executives who helped Blankfein’s firm profit from the crash: Donald Mullen, the former chief of its credit department, who last year made a $1 million donation to Clinton’s super-PAC, Priorities USA Action. “Sounds like we will make some serious money,” Mullen wrote in an email in the fall of 2007, after learning the subprime mortgage market was about to crash, according to a 2011 Senate report. The firm has also been the single biggest source of funds for Hillary Clinton’s post-government speaking career, paying her $625,000 for three speeches since she stepped down as secretary of state in 2012.>

<Goldman Sachs’ ties to the Clintons have been personal and political: Goldman’s executives and employees have contributed $750,000 to Clinton’s political campaigns, including $100,616 to this year’s run. The firm itself has donated at least $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation and paid $1.2 million to Bill Clinton for speeches dating back to 2001. Blankfein, who has described himself as a friend of Hillary Clinton, has lent a helping financial hand to the Clinton family: He (along with two other former Goldman executives) is among the investors in Eaglevale Partners, the hedge fund founded in 2011 by Marc Mezvinsky, husband of Chelsea Clinton, and the former secretary’s son in law.>

<An insight into Soros’ thinking was revealed in a State Department email in which a Clinton ally described a conversation in which Soros said “he has been impressed that he can always call/meet with you on an issue of policy” and that he regretted backing then-Sen. Barack Obama over her in 2008. >

And there is so much more in the article, these are only some lowlights.
Posted by BernieforPres2016 | Sun Mar 20, 2016, 10:46 AM (20 replies)

This is How Hillary Clinton Gets the Coverage She Wants


<The emails in question, which were exchanged by Ambinder, then serving as The Atlantic’s politics editor, and Philippe Reines, Clinton’s notoriously combative spokesman and consigliere, turned up thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request we filed in 2012 (and which we are currently suing the State Department over). The same request previously revealed that Politico’s chief White House correspondent, Mike Allen, promised to deliver positive coverage of Chelsea Clinton, and, in a separate exchange, permitted Reines to ghost-write an item about the State Department for Politico’s Playbook newsletter. Ambinder’s emails with Reines demonstrate the same kind of transactional reporting, albeit to a much more legible degree: In them, you can see Reines “blackmailing” Ambinder into describing a Clinton speech as “muscular” in exchange for early access to the transcript. In other words, Ambinder outsourced his editorial judgment about the speech to a member of Clinton’s own staff.>

I suspect that "transactional reporting" drives much of what we see these days that newspapers and cable TV outlets are trying to pass off as news. There is no way the negative changes in the recent NYT article on the legislative record of Bernie Sanders weren't basically dictated to the NYT. Maybe one day a Freedom of Information Act information request will provide the details.
Posted by BernieforPres2016 | Thu Mar 17, 2016, 12:39 PM (7 replies)

I'm so proud. I finally joined the club.

I responded to a post from the main page that apparently was actually a post from the Hillary group, and got banned from their group. I am happy to join so many other Bernie supporters.
Posted by BernieforPres2016 | Thu Mar 17, 2016, 10:29 AM (5 replies)

Boom times for Fracking's Toxic Wastewater Come to a Shaky End

And Hillary Clinton can't bring herself to say this rape of the environment, which she has peddled around the world, should be banned.


<For every barrel of oil produced in Oklahoma, drillers produce an average of about 10 barrels of wastewater. While other states tend to treat and recycle their oil and gas wastewater, Oklahoma has a long history of shooting it back down a hole in the ground—and forgetting about it.>

<Since 2009 the amount of waste​water disposed of in Oklahoma has increased 81 percent, to more than 1 billion barrels a year. The number of earthquakes measuring 3 or higher on the Richter scale has jumped from fewer that two to 900 in 2015. In the past year, OCC has imposed restrictions on hundreds of disposal wells, reducing the amount of water disposed underground statewide by a total of 1 million barrels a day. The actions appear to be helping in some areas. The number of earthquakes in central Oklahoma declined 27 percent from the first to the second half of 2015. “Until the earthquakes disappear, the threat level will continue,” says Matt Skinner, an OCC spokesman.

Along with lacking adequate resources to address the earthquakes (a year ago the OCC had just 1 seismologist dedicated to quakes) they have another problem on their hands: The quakes are moving, migrating across the state from east to west. In 2012, the most violent activity was southeast of Oklahoma City; today it’s in the northwestern part of the state. In a 30-minute period on Feb. 13, a trio of earthquakes registering as high as 5.1 rocked north­western Oklahoma and could be felt in seven states.

About 1,000 of Oklahoma’s 4,000 disposal wells are in the Arbuckle formation, a layer of limestone that stretches hundreds of miles across the state. The Arbuckle acts like a sponge, soaking up injected wastewater. Scientists believe that in some cases that water is increasing pressure along Oklahoma’s extensive fault lines, causing them to slip and setting off earthquakes. Blaming a particular well for a particular quake, though, is nearly impossible. “We don’t necessarily have a smoking gun that shows the mechanism of how that pressure transmits across fault lines,” says Jeremy Boak, director of the Oklahoma Geological Survey.>

This is what modern capitalism is about. Reap the short term profits, leave the rest of society to pick up the long term cost. The term for it that is "negative externalities". Bernie is fighting fracking and other types of crony capitalism with rampant negative externalities, such as Wall Street. Hillary will support these industries, or at worst look the other way, as long as she is cut in on the profits via paid speeches and contributions to her campaign, to the Clinton Foundation and to her SuperPacs.

Posted by BernieforPres2016 | Thu Mar 17, 2016, 10:21 AM (1 replies)

Hillary is now 1199 votes ahead in Missouri with 99% in

Looks like 0 for 5 tonight.

This sucks.
Posted by BernieforPres2016 | Wed Mar 16, 2016, 12:47 AM (6 replies)

I guess Bernie should stay in the race until the convention

As Hillary reminded us in 2008, Robert Kennedy was assassinated in June.
Posted by BernieforPres2016 | Tue Mar 15, 2016, 10:35 PM (23 replies)

Mayor Bernie Sanders on CSPAN, 1988

I have enjoyed going back and looking at Bernie's House and Senate speeches on YouTube. Here is the link to a CSPAN appearance by Bernie from 1988 when he was mayor of Burlington, VT. He was talking about the same issues then as he is now, but now the problems are much worse. He also gets into some of the things his administration was doing in Burlington to improve the lives of its citizens. I thought some others here might find it interesting and enjoyable.

He says he ran for mayor in 1980 at the urging of a friend, won by 14 votes initially and by only 10 votes after a recount. But for those 10 votes, we probably wouldn't be seeing him as a Presidential candidate today.

Posted by BernieforPres2016 | Mon Mar 14, 2016, 02:43 PM (2 replies)

How Wall Street Screws Municipal Governments

In all of the misdeeds of Wall Street over the last decade, until Bernie Sanders brought up what interest rate swaps sold by Wall Street to the city of Chicago have done to the finances of Chicago in his meeting at a Chicago church on Saturday with Jesse Jackson, I had forgotten all about them. Some might not be familiar with them. Many cities and counties have been badly damaged by products Wall Street sold to them without properly disclosing the associated risks. Jefferson County, AL, home of Birmingham, the largest city in the state, filed for bankruptcy several years ago in large part due to an interest rate swap gone bad.

As Bernie pointed out, while cities like Philadelphia and Detroit have sued or threatened to sue Wall Street and recovered part of their losses, former Wall Streeter and Clinton protege, mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, has closed large numbers of Chicago public schools (and mental health facilities) due to budget shortfalls while dutifully paying $36 million per year to Wall Street banks on interest rate swap products that have gone bad. Emanuel, who doesn't hesitate to employ bare knuckle tactics with the Chicago teacher's union (which had endorsed Bernie), won't go after Wall Street, which still favors him with campaign contributions.

Here is a link to a 16 page paper (in PDF form) that is a very good summary of how Wall Street screws municipal governments and what kinds of changes need to be made, along with a few short excerpts. This is another example of the Wall Street greed and corruption that Bernie Sanders is campaigning against as Wall Street funds SuperPacs for Hillary Clinton.


<There is a saying that a budget is a moral document. If that is true, then cities like Detroit are bankrupt in more ways than one. Across the country, elected officials in financially distressed cities and states are cutting essential community services like mental health clinics and public schools in order to address budget crises, but they are faithfully paying Wall Street for predatory financial deals. In public budgeting parlance, funding for services is called discretionary spending but payments to Wall Street are considered mandatory.

Most people would agree that the most important debt that a school system owes is to students, to provide them with a decent education. In reality though, school districts like Philadelphia’s are routinely forced to increase class sizes, lay off teachers and guidance counselors, and close schools to pay predatory debts to Wall Street. The financialization of the United States economy over the last 35 years has distorted our social,economic, and political priorities. The primary function of government is to provide services to residents (e.g., streets, schools, fire protection, national defense), not to provide a profit to Wall Street. However, in the financialized economy, Wall Street profits trump all other priorities.>

<The current Wall Street business model is premised on extraction. The more money bankers can extract from the economy, the bigger their end of year bonuses will be. In municipal finance, this means diverting public dollars that are supposed to be spent on Main Street back to Wall Street. As tax rates for corporations and top income-earners have declined over the past 35 years, cities and states have been forced to take out debt to pay for things they used to be able to afford. This has provided banks with the opportunity to extract vast amounts of taxpayer dollars. Outstanding municipal bond debt has grown tenfold since 1981, from $361 billion to $3.7 trillion.>

<As public officials have been forced to increase borrowing to keep up with the growing demands of their communities, Wall Street firms have taken advantage of this crisis by steering municipal borrowers toward more complex debt deals that generate more fee revenue, turning a plain vanilla corner of banking into a complicated goldmine for bankers. The financialized economy allows Wall Street to extract wealth out of every transaction. Whether a parent takes out a loan to send a kid to college or a public agency issues a bond to pay for basic services, banks get to take a cut through fees and interest. This enriches the financial sector at the expense of working families, contributing to the growing inequality in our country.>

<In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Board of Education voted to close 50 schools in 2013, the largest mass school closing in American history. This displaced 30,000 students, approximately 90 percent of whom were African American. Chicago Public Schools (CPS) claimed each school it closed would save the district $500,000 to $800,000 annually. Altogether, this means that the school closings would save the district at most $40 million. CPS pays $36 million a year on interest rate swap deals, enough money to keep at least 45 schools open. But instead of spending its money running schools, CPS is forced to prioritize payments to Wall Street ahead of children’s education. Parents and teachers have called on the Mayor and the Board of Education to challenge the legality of the swap deals on the grounds that the deals likely violated the MSRB’s fair dealing rule (see above), but to no avail. >

<Opacity is a threshold problem in municipal finance. Not only do financial institutions purposely obscure the terms and provisions of complicated financial contracts, but it can also be nearly impossible to get a full accounting of all the money that taxpayers are spending every year for financial services. Public officials are often contractually prohibited from disclosing fees and fee structures to the general public, sometimes in direct conflict with state open records laws. Banks and other Wall Street firms, especially private equity firms and hedge funds, fight to maintain a shroud of secrecy over fees in order to hide arbitrary and disparate fee structures. This makes it difficult to bring any accountability into the system or to have effective taxpayer oversight over financial deals.

Between cash management, debt management, and investment management for state and local governments, school districts, public agencies, and public pension funds, taxpayers do trillions of dollars in business with Wall Street firms every year. We deserve to know how our money is being spent and where it is going, and we should be able to evaluate the terms of all financial transactions.>
Posted by BernieforPres2016 | Mon Mar 14, 2016, 11:47 AM (10 replies)

Hillary on why she's the candidate to defeat Trump

1. I'm the only candidate who has gotten more votes than Trump, 600,000 more votes than Trump.
2. Convince people this is the highest stakes election they've ever been involved in and even if they've never voted before they need to come out and vote for me and against Trump. Because I do have more votes than anybody I believe I do have the base to do that.
3. One of my advantages is that the Republicans have been after me for 25 years and there isn't anything they haven't already said about me and I have developed a pretty thick skin. I am not new to the national arena and I think whoever goes up against Donald Trump better be ready and I think I am the best prepared.
4. There are going to be a lot of arguments to be made against him and I am not going to spill the beans. But because of my background as Secretary of State is what his Presidency would mean to our country and our standing in the world. I am already receiving messages from foreign leaders asking if they can endorse me. Lots of time I think foreign policy does not play as big a role as I think it should. Only the really hard decisions come to the President. If the decision is not really hard somebody along the way has a chance to make the decision. So when you end up in the Situation Room on a really serious foreign policy decision like I was there with that small group advising the President whether to go after Bid Laden, it takes incredible seriousness, diligence, judgment, a temperament that is not going to be pushed one way or the other based on who said what to you today and I believe I will have an opportunity to focus in on how dangerous a Donald Trump Presidency would be for our standing, for our safety, for the peace of the world and I think we could be successful doing that.

Comments? I have some thoughts but this is long enough already so I will respond.
Posted by BernieforPres2016 | Sun Mar 13, 2016, 10:43 PM (14 replies)

A Chant just broke out at Ohio State during Bernie's speech

"Bernie Sanders has our back! We don't need no SuperPac!"

Anybody who is not watching and listening to Bernie's campaign events is underestimating what is going on in this country right now. The political revolution has begun.
Posted by BernieforPres2016 | Sun Mar 13, 2016, 06:29 PM (133 replies)
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