Monthly Archives: January 2016

Voting Bernie Removes the Choice Between Two Evils in November

Bernie this morning on Meet The Press verbalized the issue at the heart of the decision we get to make for the future of the United States, as well as the heart of the Democratic Party:

“Hillary Clinton will be the problem,” Sanders said. “Because I think our campaign is the campaign that is generating excitement and energy that will result in a high voter turnout. Republicans win when voter turnout is low. Democrats win when voter turnout is high.”

Pundits have been confused about this election year from the beginning. Over on the Republican side you have people enthusiastic about Trump, and this is in part because he is saying the things that are at the heart of the conservative electorate. That is kind of scary, but it’s true. People will support their truth enthusiastically.

And with Bernie that is what is happening with not only Democrats, but young, old, black, white, and many others. Why? Because they can look around and see the danger we are in across this nation. They don’t need Bernie or anyone else to tell them that the wealthy are getting wealthier while they are getting poorer. They don’t need to realize that the hope and change promised to them by countless politicians over the last few decades has not arrived.

And then, you get Hillary coming up and trying to sell to the electorate that a better healthcare plan, her words not mine, will NEVER, EVER HAPPEN.

Or promising them that she will tell Wall Street to cut it out, but accepting their fundraising as recent as a few days ago, with more coming soon.

Or trying to sell the people on the lie that she never even received top secret emails while they were found on her private server. How did they get there if they weren’t received?

Not to mention that issue of making such a decision in the first place, while trying to say we should pick her over Bernie because her judgement would be better.

I don’t believe I have ever witnessed a candidate that tells the voters that we cannot do this, or we are unable to do that. It shows a lack of courage on the part of the candidate as well as a lack of faith in the system on behalf of the candidate that things can be better.

It calls into question the reason behind running in the first place. Bernie is running to fix the issues he sees. Is Hillary only running to check off another item on her bucket list?

I have to have faith that those about to vote or caucus in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina and Super Tuesday will see through this as well.

I don’t want to live through another Clinton scandal. I am hoping that Taylor Gipple, the guy that asked Hillary about being dishonest, is just representative of the legion that are ready to say enough, we are better than just accepting the inevitable and ready to rise up above the fray and take back our country.

Sure, I think that if Hillary makes it to the general election she would run and defeat most of the Republicans running now. But I am tired of making the “best of two evils” decision in November. We have a better choice available.

 

Hillary, At Her Most Passionate, Tells Voters Single Payer Healthcare Will Never Happen

Hillary Clinton lacks courage.

Unless, of course, it involves her friends. Take a look at this video:

This is Hillary telling voters that Medicare for All, Bernie’s plan for Single Payer Healthcare, will “NEVER, EVER PASS!” Here is her exact words:

“I want you to understand why I am fighting so hard for the Affordable Care Act,” she said at Grand View University after hearing from a woman who spoke about her daughter receiving cancer treatment thanks to the health care law. “I don’t want it repealed, I don’t want us to be thrown back into a terrible, terrible national debate. I don’t want us to end up in gridlock. People can’t wait!”

She added, “People who have health emergencies can’t wait for us to have a theoretical debate about some better idea that will never, ever come to pass.”

Whatever happened to “Yes we can?”

I’m sorry, but let’s be honest. Our health system sucks. Hillary even had issues with it back in September 2015. Yahoo News noted this:

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton called for a repeal of the US Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s so-called Cadillac tax, marking a significant break from US President Barack Obama on his signature healthcare law.

“Too many Americans are struggling to meet the cost of rising deductibles and drug prices. That’s why, among other steps, I encourage Congress to repeal the so-called Cadillac tax, which applies to some employer-based health plans, and to fully pay for the cost of repeal,” Clinton said in a statement released Tuesday by her campaign.

But, Hillary is fighting now to keep a system that is, as Time Magazine noted in 2014:

The U.S. ranks worst among 11 wealthy nations in terms of “efficiency, equity and outcomes” despite having the world’s most expensive health care system

The U.S. health care system has been subject to heated debate over the past decade, but one thing that has remained consistent is the level of performance, which has been ranked as the worst among industrialized nations for the fifth time, according to the 2014 Commonwealth Fund survey 2014. The U.K. ranked best with Switzerland following a close second.

It’s expensive and not getting any better. Most people are happy that more are covered, but the Affordable Care Act is only a small, poorly jumbled together step in the right direction. But why would anyone want to continue the system the way it is. I think we should ask Hillary’s friends in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. Of course, she wants voters to think they are her enemies. We’ll call them frenemies.

When asked during the Democratic presidential debate what enemies she was most proud to have made, Hillary Clinton named pharmaceutical and health insurance companies at the top of her list. But that hasn’t stopped the Democratic front-runner from accepting millions of dollars in campaign cash from both industries in the course of her political career, financial disclosure records show.

Since her first bid for Senate in 2000, Clinton has accepted nearly $1 million from drug and health companies and more than $2.7 million from the insurance field and its related sectors, according to an analysis of public records from the Center for Responsive Politics. While the analysis did not include campaign finance figures for the 2016 cycle, some of the same donors and patterns can be seen in Clinton’s lone financial disclosure filed in July.

Contributions tied to some of the same firms that gave to her 2008 presidential campaign appear in the latest disclosure, including donations connected to pharmaceutical companies Pfizer Inc., Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.; and insurers Aetna Inc., MetLife Inc. and Centene Corp., the latter of which is among Clinton’s largest donors this year.

Yes, they are pouring money into her coffers and of course she would never want to stop that flow of money. Others have also pointed out that her vitriol toward single payer healthcare has something to do with the money given to her by this industry.

Hillary Clinton’s sudden attack on Bernie Sanders’ single-payer health care plan is a dramatic break with Democratic Party doctrine that the problem with single-payer is that it is politically implausible — not that it is a bad idea.

Single-payer, the Canadian-style system in which the government pays for universal health care, takes the health insurance industry out of the picture, saving huge amounts of money. But the health insurance industry has become so rich and powerful that it would never let it happen.

That was certainly Clinton’s position back in the early 1990s, when she was developing her doomed universal coverage proposal for her husband, Bill.

Here’s the thing. You cannot serve two masters. Hillary wants to have you believe that none of these donations and speaking fees from Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry, the healthcare industry, the defense industry and others will impact her decisions. She wants you to believe that she will serve the interest of the American people. But right now we are 37th in the world for health care. Thirty seven.

Greece, a country going bankrupt, is better than us.

Oman is better than us.

Colombia is better than us.

Saudi Arabia is better than us.

United Arab Emirates is better than us.

Costa Rica is better than us.

Why is she so scared of change? Why does she lack courage?

This is one of the fundamental differences between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Bernie points out rightly that:

If the goal of health care reform is to provide comprehensive, universal health care in a cost-effective way, the only honest approach is a single-payer approach.

Yes, ACA goes a long way toward this, and it is a definite improvement over what came before, but it is still a system that punishes the citizen to the benefit of drug and insurance companies. Bernie’s plan comes from the belief that:

Health care must be recognized as a right, not a privilege. Every man, woman and child in our country should be able to access the health care they need regardless of their income. The only long-term solution to America’s health care crisis is a single-payer national health care program.

Bernie has the courage to fight for this right for all Americans.

Hillary has the courage to fight for those willing to pay her. If you are willing, you can go to her next event in Boston hosted by Bain Capital’s CIO Jonathan Lavine for $2700.

UPDATE: /u/AllThingsBad on /r/SandersForPresident noted this eye-opening chart:

Screen-Shot-2016-01-16-at-2.45.16-PM-1000x939

$2.8 Million. Of course she doesn’t want to change the system. She is benefiting well from things staying the way it is.

Voters Must Have the Courage to Change the Direction of the US

Voters have a clear choice in the 2016 election on the Democratic side.

Hillary Clinton – an establishment candidate bought and paid for by the Wall Street elite that has rigged the US economy for their benefit.

Bernie Sanders – a candidate that has been consistent in his fight against the Wall Street elite since the 70’s.

Hillary has moved further and further left to try to take the momentum Bernie is surging with. But Hillary has started to say that she is the pragmatic candidate. Why? Because she wants to throw a blanket on the Bern to put it out.

See, Hillary’s issue is that she wants everyone to realize that Bernie’s ideas are too radical. That we cannot do them. Talking to Lena Dunham, she told young women this:

Clinton went on to urge young women to not “get turned off by the negativity and nastiness that is unfortunately too much in our politics today.”

“You kind of can cut through that and say, look, I not only have a right, I have an obligation to make a choice. That’s part of the service I pay for living in our country. So I’m going to vote for X or Y. Not because I think that person is perfect, but it’s going to be better than the alternative. If you can’t get excited, be pragmatic and do it anyway,” Clinton said.

See, all you young people out there don’t have to be excited about a candidate. Just do what you have to do. Go in, hold your nose and pull that lever for her. She described herself as pragmatic when she stated in the first Democratic debate as, “I’m a progressive. But I’m a progressive who likes to get things done.”

See, Hillary wants you to think Bernie’s ideas are pie in the sky hopes.

But, let’s look at the New Deal from FDR. It was huge, it was sweeping and it was exactly what was needed. As he told the people of the nation:

Throughout the nation men and women, forgotten in the political philosophy of the Government, look to us here for guidance and for more equitable opportunity to share in the distribution of national wealth… I pledge myself to a new deal for the American people. This is more than a political campaign. It is a call to arms.

This took courage. And at times it is pragmatic to take up the fight to do what is right. Right now we are again heading toward the nation becoming poorer and poorer, and as Roosevelt said, we the people “look to us here for guidance and for more equitable opportunity to share in the distribution of national wealth.”

Why, because the wealth of the nation is inequitably being sucked up by the rich. The rich continue to enjoy the fruits of the wealthiest nation on Earth. But come here to Baltimore and I can show you places that you may not realize exist. Stark poverty of people forgotten and ignored by politicians an hour away. Or go to Detroit. Or go to any number of communities, rural or urban, and see what the policies in place now have wrought.

But, Hillary says, let’s be pragmatic. It’s too hard. It’s not realistic.

Why? Because Hillary is part of that elite. She went and spoke to them. She went and schmoozed with them. And not just in 2013. She just went a few days ago. In fact, here is a list of 31 since April of 2015 and scheduled through this coming February.

You cannot have courage to stand up to people and do the right thing when your pockets are weighed down with their donations.

The change Bernie is proposing would be paradigm shifting. Our country is currently oligarchic and its path is set to amass more and more wealth for its masters. Bernie wants to shift this to policies that bring the middle class back into the fold.

But, it’s going to take courage. Do not be bullied into believing that Hillary is the only choice. Be excited. Be courageous.

It’s going to be hard to stand up to those wanting to reel you back in and tell you that it’s too hard. The New York Times wants to do this:

The point is that while idealism is fine and essential — you have to dream of a better world — it’s not a virtue unless it goes along with hardheaded realism about the means that might achieve your ends. That’s true even when, like F.D.R., you ride a political tidal wave into office. It’s even more true for a modern Democrat, who will be lucky if his or her party controls even one house of Congress at any point this decade.

Sorry, but there’s nothing noble about seeing your values defeated because you preferred happy dreams to hard thinking about means and ends. Don’t let idealism veer into destructive self-indulgence.

In other words, don’t get your hopes up. Be happy with what you get. Screw that. Robert Reich agrees. He wrote, in response to the NYT pundit:

The real choice isn’t “pragmatism” or “idealism.” It’s either allowing these trends to worsen, or reversing them. Inequality has reached levels last seen in the era of the “robber barons” in the 1890s. The only truly pragmatic way of reversing this state of affairs is through a “political revolution” that mobilizes millions of Americans.

Is such a mobilization possible? One pundit recently warned Democrats that change happens incrementally, by accepting half loaves as being better than none. That may be true, but the full loaf has to be large and bold enough in the first place to make the half loaf meaningful. And not even a half loaf is possible unless or until America wrests back power from the executives of large corporations, Wall Street bankers and billionaires who now control the bakery.

See, the issue is that we have no real choice at this point. We live in an era where our oligarchs have given us an illusion of choice. They are pushing hard on us to take their choices. And if she loses, there are already people talking about Democrats replacing her, forgetting Bernie is in the race. The Blaze (yes, I know) pointed out this discussion on Morning Joe:

“If Hillary loses in Iowa to Bernie Sanders, a guy that most in the Democratic establishment don’t think she should be close to right now, and then she loses in New Hampshire, you have Mr. Biden, Gore, Kerry who start moving and start saying we need to get into the race, if she loses these two states,” Scarborough said.

“Those close to John Kerry and Joe Biden have said specifically that, if she loses Iowa and New Hampshire, they are going to have to take a much closer look — and the entire Democratic Party — and then expect Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren or John Kerry and Elizabeth Warren to have further discussions about running for the nominations,” Scarborough said, indicating that Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) is being discussed as a possible running mate for one or more potential Clinton replacement candidates.

Even this is a ploy to dampen the enthusiasm for Bernie. They are scared and spreading fear. We must be courageous.

Is it a January Surprise? Clinton’s Email Problem Just Got a Whole Lot Worse

Hillary Clinton’s email scandal has always seemed a little odd to me. Her initial response was one that seemed flippant, and maybe even one that others could relate to:

In a press conference at the United Nations earlier this month, Clinton explained that she used a personal email because she only wanted to have one phone, not two.

“When I got to work as secretary of state, I opted for convenience to use my personal email account, which was allowed by the State Department,” Clinton said, “because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two.”

She added: “Looking back, it would’ve been better if I’d simply used a second email account and carried a second phone, but at the time, this didn’t seem like an issue.”

Look, I am someone that right now carries two phones, my personal one and a work phone. heck, there are days when I have two computer and two phones.

At the same time, however, I have to worry about HIPAA for my clients. There are certain functions I can and cannot do on my private devices. At the end of the day, I understand this as part of my job. It is necessary for me to ensure the safety and security of the information of my clients.

While it may not be the best analogy, I think it works. Hillary was tasked as Secretary of State as handling the foreign affairs of the nation. With this job she handles at times secrets of the state. The issue is over whether her having of these emails on her private server was a violation of State Department protocols and procedures as well as Federal laws and regulations.

On Hillary’s side, she has hedged her answer about the scandal. The New Yorker in August 2015 noted her evolving position:

Her answer to that question has evolved. Clinton first said, “I did not e-mail any classified material to anyone on my e-mail. There is no classified material.” More recently, she said, “I did not send nor did I receive material marked classified.”

This was not true, however. CNN in July 2015 noted this:

The inspector general for the intelligence community has informed members of Congress that some material Hillary Clinton emailed from her private server contained classified information, but it was not identified that way.

Because it was not identified, it is unclear whether Clinton realized she was potentially compromising classified information.

And CNN also asked her about it in an interview in July 2015:

KEILAR:  One of the issues that has eroded some trust that we’ve seen is the issue of your email practices while you were secretary of state.  I think there’s a lot of people who don’t understand what your thought process was on that.

Can you tell me the story of how you decided to delete 33,000 emails and how that deletion was executed?

CLINTON:  Well, let’s start from the beginning.  Everything I did was permitted.  There was no law.  There was no regulation.  There was nothing that did not give me the full authority to decide how I was going to communicate.  Previous secretaries of state have said they did the same thing.  And people across the government knew that I used one device – maybe it was because I am not the most technically capable person and wanted to make it as easy as possible.

KEILAR:  But you said they – that they did the same thing, that they used a personal server and –

KEILAR:  – subpoena deleted emails from them?

CLINTON:  You know, you’re starting with so many assumptions that are – I’ve never had a subpoena.  There is – again, let’s take a deep breath here.  Everything I did was permitted by law and regulation.  I had one device.  When I mailed anybody in the government, it would go into the government system.

Now I didn’t have to turn over anything.  I chose to turn over 55,000 pages because I wanted to go above and beyond what was expected of me because I knew the vast majority of everything that was official already was in the State Department system.

And now I think it’s kind of fun.  People get a real-time behind-the-scenes look at what I was emailing about and what I was communicating about.

This all gets us to where we are tonight. Those emails that Hillary has said were not “classified” actually did contain information that is classified. Actually, it’s a bit worse than that.

The Obama administration confirmed for the first time Friday that Hillary Clinton’s home server contained closely guarded government secrets, censoring 22 emails that contained material requiring one of the highest levels of classification. The revelation comes three days before Clinton competes in the Iowa presidential caucuses.

State Department officials also said the agency’s Diplomatic Security and Intelligence and Research bureaus are investigating if any of the information was classified at the time of transmission, going to the heart of Clinton’s defense of her email practices.

The department published its latest batch of emails from her time as secretary of state Friday evening.

But The Associated Press learned ahead of the release that seven email chains would be withheld in full for containing “top secret” information. The 37 pages include messages a key intelligence official recently said concerned “special access programs” -highly restricted, classified material that could point to confidential sources or clandestine programs like drone strikes.

“The documents are being upgraded at the request of the intelligence community because they contain a category of top secret information,” State Department spokesman John Kirby told the AP, calling the withholding of documents in full “not unusual.” That means they won’t be published online with others being released, even with blacked-out boxes.

Department officials wouldn’t describe the substance of the emails, or say if Clinton sent any herself.

Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner, insists she never sent or received information on her personal email account that was classified at the time. No emails released so far were marked classified, but reviewers previously designated more than 1,000 messages at lower classification levels. Friday’s will be the first at top secret level.

Even if Clinton didn’t write or forward the messages, she still would have been required to report any classification slippages she recognized in emails she received. But without classification markings, that may have been difficult, especially if the information was publicly available.

Wow.

Let’s examine a bit. So far, there have been a lot of emails released. The Obama administration, however, is saying that this is an email chain, which is typically  a back and forth. That would mean, at the very least, that Hillary was carbon copied into the exchange. If she actively engaged in the chain, she would have engaged in the exchange of this top secret information. Remember, as noted above, Clinton said:

“I did not send nor did I receive material marked classified.”

This, in either case, is a lie.

Also, the story from the AP notes that these emails were concerning:

The 37 pages include messages a key intelligence official recently said concerned “special access programs” -highly restricted, classified material that could point to confidential sources or clandestine programs like drone strikes.

While not the best sort, Wikipedia provides an example of the level of programs classified as “special access programs.”

  • Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI), national intelligence information concerning sources and methods which is protected by control systems defined by the Director of National Intelligence. Note that SCI markings are separate from those of other SAPs.
  • Single Integrated Operational Plan-Extremely Sensitive Information (SIOP-ESI, replaced by NC2-ESI), the national plan for nuclear war. Note that SIOP-ESI was listed among non-IC dissemination control markings on classified documents, not with other SAPs.
  • Presidential support activities
  • Nuclear Weapon Personnel Reliability Program
  • Chemical Personnel Reliability Program
  • Access to North Atlantic Treaty Organization classified information at the staff level

Fox News also noted the extreme sensitivity of this information:

Intelligence from a “special access program,” or SAP, is even more sensitive than that designated as “top secret” – as were two emails identified last summer in a random sample pulled from Clinton’s private server she used as secretary of state. Access to a SAP is restricted to those with a “need-to-know” because exposure of the intelligence would likely reveal the source, putting a method of intelligence collection — or a human asset — at risk. Currently, some 1,340 emails designated “classified” have been found on Clinton’s server, though the Democratic presidential candidate insists the information was not classified at the time.

“There is absolutely no way that one could not recognize SAP material,” a former senior law enforcement with decades of experience investigating violations of SAP procedures told Fox News. “It is the most sensitive of the sensitive.”

The Clinton campaign has continued to downplay this, stating:

In a statement, Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said, “This is the same interagency dispute that has been playing out for months, and it does not change the fact that these emails were not classified at the time they were sent or received. It is alarming that the intelligence community IG, working with Republicans in Congress, continues to selectively leak materials in order to resurface the same allegations and try to hurt Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Which attempts to echo that their is a vast right wing conspiracy hounding Clinton. But, let me point out the issue with this from all the way at the top of the AP story:

The Obama administration confirmed for the first time Friday that Hillary Clinton’s home server contained closely guarded government secrets, censoring 22 emails that contained material requiring one of the highest levels of classification. The revelation comes three days before Clinton competes in the Iowa presidential caucuses.

Yes, Obama, the very epitome of the vast right wing conspiracy. Hillary has a problem. What’s more, the problem may very well be bigger than it appears. The Washington Times notes that:

More than one in four of the emails the State Department released late Friday from former Secretary Hillary Clinton’s cache of messages were deemed classified or secret, marking a massive hike in the scope of potential wrongdoing the Democratic presidential frontrunner engaged in during her time in office.

The department released more than 900 pages — just a small fraction of the total it was supposed to produce under a court order — and of those, 229 were deemed to have information needed to be redacted because it was rated classified, and another 11 were rated “secret.”

Those are in addition to the 22 messages the department acknowledged earlier in the day contain “top secret” information and cannot be released at all because they are so sensitive.

So, what might be the impact on the 2016 Presidential election.

Actually, wait. What are we talking about here? People, this is not a sex scandal. This is not a candidate flip flopping or evolving on an issue. This is about a high level US official that, for her own convenience, used a private server to run her official email that contains, and allow me to quote again from a few different sources:

highly restricted, classified material that could point to confidential sources or clandestine programs like drone strikes.

and

More than one in four of the emails the State Department released late Friday from former Secretary Hillary Clinton’s cache of messages were deemed classified or secret, marking a massive hike in the scope of potential wrongdoing the Democratic presidential frontrunner engaged in during her time in office.

This is bigger than a race for the White House. Clinton should not even be considered for this. She placed our nation at risk because she wanted to carry one device, not two.

And, this is coming out after the White House Press Secretary had seemed to indicate that no charges may come. Here is what Josh Earnest said:

“That will be a decision made by the Department of Justice and prosecutors over there,” said Earnest. “What I know that some officials over there have said is that she is not a target of the investigation. So that does not seem to be the direction that it’s trending. But I’m certainly not going to weigh in on a decision or in that process in any way. That is a decision to be made solely by independent prosecutors but again, based on what we know from the Department of Justice, it does not seem to be headed in that direction.”

One would imagine that this latest news contradicts this. Or, Hillary will not be indicted because of who she is. Why? Because she is part of the elite and we let them get away with things in America.

An Analysis of the Media Spin About Bernie Since the CNN Town Hall

Since the CNN Town Hall on Monday night, the media have been busy framing the message against Bernie Sanders toward Hillary Clinton. I figured it would be a good idea to take a look at what is happening in medialand.

First, and as I previously discussed yesterday, the CNN Town Hall was a clearly slanted platform to promote Hillary. The biggest difference was the approach that Cuomo had between Hillary and Bernie.  For anyone that watched the town hall, it was apparent that Cuomo wished to get a “gotcha” with Sanders, asking him to say he was going to raise taxes, despite Sanders already explaining what he was going to do, asking Sanders if his presidency would usher back in the era of big business and basically just badgering him on almost every question. When Hillary came out he immediately lavished praises on her, even saying Obama had practically endorsed her.

The clips made to advertise it afterward also tried to paint another picture. here’s an example from the Situation Room’s Facebook page, which takes a clip of Bernie answering the question of whether Hillary Clinton is better prepared than him. It has him standing up, praising Hillary and then it cuts off. Amazing. CNN’s Facebook page had the same video.

Away from CNN, other media outlets have also took shots. Time Magazine posted an article with the title “Bernie Sanders Struggles to ‘Champion Women’ like Hillary Clinton” despite, as they bury down the page, Bernie’s stellar record on women’s issues:

This is all complicated by the fact that Sanders’s voting record is solidly pro-choice. In 1993 he was one of 142 co-sponsors of the Freedom of Choice Act, which did not pass. He’s repeatedly voted to allow women to travel interstate to get abortions, to provide federal funding for organizations that provide abortions, and to increase access to family planning. He has a 100% voting rating from NARAL, and a 0% voting record from National Right to Life. “We are not returning to the days of back-room abortions, when countless women died or were maimed,” Sanders wrote in a 2012 article on the Huffington Post. “The decision about abortion must remain a decision for the woman, her family and physician to make, not the government.”

Time instead tried to paint Bernie’s discussion on Planned Parenthood and their endorsement of Hillary as him targeting them:

Bernie Sanders supports abortion rights. He just doesn’t support them quite enough for reproductive rights groups.

The Vermont Senator was on the defensive at the CNN Town Hall Monday night when an audience member asked him about his assertion last week that Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign are part the “establishment” he plans to bring down.

The View aired the Sanders comment on raising taxes, with Whoopi Goldberg saying Bernie “fessed up” about it. Despite the panelists clearing up some of the particulars about Sanders saying his plan would save people money, they used the title “Bernie Sanders Says He Will Raise Taxes.”

Sadly, this is something the media will harp on and could potentially hurt Sanders. Political minded individuals will remember the Mondale line that he will raise taxes. To quote him,”By the end of my first term, I will reduce the Reagan budget deficit by two‑thirds. Let’s tell the truth. It must be done, it must be done. Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won’t tell you. I just did.”

Sure, this was honesty, and many are unfamiliar with this from a candidate, but it was seen by many as his sinking his own campaign. The media were also quick to latch onto this. The Washington Post, in an article titled Read his lips: Bernie Sanders is going to raise your taxes, echoing Bush Sr.’s famous “Read my lips, no new taxes” line:

Sanders isn’t the first presidential candidate to propose higher taxes for at least some Americans. President Obama likes to say wealthy Americans should “pay their fare share,” while Hillary Clinton recently came out in favor of the “Buffett rule,” which says the wealthy should pay the same tax rate as middle-income Americans. The big difference with Sanders: His plan would likely raise taxes for Americans across the board.

What Sanders may be forgetting, though, is the last Democratic nominee to suggest raising taxes, Walter Mondale. In his acceptance speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention, Mondale was very blunt about his plan, saying, “Mr. Reagan will raise taxes. So will I. He won’t tell you. I just did.” Mondale went on to win just 13 electoral votes – from the District of Columbia and his home state of Minnesota — while Reagan swept up every other state. It was the worst loss by a Democrat in the history of presidential elections.

Raising taxes isn’t popular with voters and isn’t popular with Congress, either. Just about every congressional Republicans signs Grover Norquist’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” promising to oppose any tax hikes on businesses or individuals.

And CNN Money did also jumped on the Mondale train, stating:

It had been more than 30 years since a Democratic presidential candidate said he’d raise taxes on all Americans.

Walter Mondale had been the last. In 1984, accepting his party’s nomination he said: “Taxes will go up …  It must be done. Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won’t tell you. I just did.”

It didn’t work out so well for Mondale, who was trounced in that election by President Ronald Reagan.

Ever since then, Democratic candidates have been scared to broach the topic, said Joseph Thorndike, a historian with Tax Analysts, which publishes tax information.

Until Monday night, when Bernie Sanders told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that he would raise taxes to pay for his universal health care plan.

“We will raise taxes. Yes we will,” Sanders said at the Democratic Town Hall, explaining that Americans would ultimately save money because they’d no longer pay private insurance premiums.

All of this is to say that Bernie will not get a fair shake from the media. His supporters must carry the torch and his true message to the people. Sanders has clearly laid out how he will pay for his policies. For those reading this, and unsure of his policies, please go here and inform yourself.

Also, take a look at this analysis of the proposed tax brackets for income, with thanks to the SanderForPresident subreddit:

The Case Against Hillary: Taxation with Unequal Representation

I have already discussed previously how much Hillary received speaking to Wall Street. Its an amazing look at how someone who was a First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State went and spoke to the rich and powerful, yet wants you to believe she will hold these same people she schmoozed with accountable.

Let’s be honest. She does not want you to focus on this. Heck, she doesn’t want you to know what she told them. Daily Caller says that:

Reporters were routinely prohibited from covering former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speeches before some of the nation’s most exclusive Wall Street financial investment firms, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation.

The list of Wall Street firms that barred reporters from covering her speeches reads like Who’s Who of the country’s largest and most prestigious wealth management companies. Those confirmed by TheDCNF to have excluded reporters include: the Goldman Sachs Group, UBS Wealth Management, Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts and Company, the Carlyle Group, Apollo Management Holdings, Fidelity Investments, Morgan Stanley and Golden Tree Asset Management.

Combined, the companies represent $10.5 trillion of assets under management.

The issue here is that these wealthy, powerful Wall Street entities hold inordinate political power. They can afford to bring people that are looking at White House runs, as well as other offices, to speak with them. The speech is not the important part, however. Wall Street wants to back a winner that they feel won’t screw up with the slot machine that keeps giving them a jackpot. Politico noted this in 2014:

But here’s the strange thing: Down on Wall Street they don’t believe it for a minute. While the finance industry does genuinely hate Warren, the big bankers love Clinton, and by and large they badly want her to be president. Many of the rich and powerful in the financial industry—among them, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman, Tom Nides, a powerful vice chairman at Morgan Stanley, and the heads of JPMorganChase and Bank of America—consider Clinton a pragmatic problem-solver not prone to populist rhetoric. To them, she’s someone who gets the idea that we all benefit if Wall Street and American business thrive. What about her forays into fiery rhetoric? They dismiss it quickly as political maneuvers. None of them think she really means her populism.

Although Hillary Clinton has made no formal announcement of her candidacy, the consensus on Wall Street is that she is running—and running hard—and that her national organization is quickly falling into place behind the scenes. That all makes her attractive. Wall Street, above all, loves a winner, especially one who is not likely to tamper too radically with its vast money pot.

The fact is, Wall Street is not paying Hillary. They are buying influence. Wall Street is many things, but they know a good investment. And the influence they have on the decision makers that will be tasked to possibly reign them in is disproportionate to the influence the middle and lower class holds. Americans for Tax Fairness notes these facts:

The richest 1% of Americans own 35% of the nation’s wealth. The bottom 80% own just 11% of the nation’s wealth.

In the 1950s and 1960s, when the economy was booming, the wealthiest Americans paid a top income tax rate of 91%. Today, the top rate is 43.4%.

The richest 1% pay an effective federal income tax rate of 24.7% in 2014; someone making an average of $75,000 is paying a 19.7% rate.

The average federal income tax rate of the richest 400 Americans was just 20 percentin 2009.

Taxing investment income at a much lower rate than salaries and wages are taxed loses $1.3 trillion over 10 years.

1,470 households reported income of more than $1 million in 2009 but paid zero federal income taxes on it.

CEOs of major corporations earn nearly 300 times more than an average worker.

30 percent of income inequality is due to unfair taxes and budget cuts to services and benefits.

The largest contributor to increasing income inequality has been changes in income from capital gains and dividends.

Do those at the top want to change this? No

Do those at the top want to help those being oppressed and unequally represented? No

There is a quote from Scott Adams of Dilbert fame about the advice of successful people:

Beware the advice of successful people; they do not seek company.

The rich are the same. If others are able to gain equality in wealth, their wealth will go down. If they give up power to others, their power will diminish.

As such, they will fight tooth and nail to keep this power. This is why you won’t see them inviting Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to speak to them. Bill and Hillary, however, are more than welcome.

Bernie Sanders has discussed that the solution to this is to break up the banks. In his policy statement on reforming Wall Street, Bernie discussed that:

The six largest financial institutions in this country today hold assets equal to about 60% of the nation’s gross domestic product. These six banks issue more than two-thirds of all credit cards and over 35% of all mortgages. They control 95% of all derivatives and hold more than 40% of all bank deposits in the United States.Meanwhile, the rest of us will continue to enjoy taxation with unequal representation.

This is counter to what Wall Street wants. This is why you will not see Wall Street supporting a Sanders campaign. They will not support Warren, either. Meanwhile, Wall Street is continuing to support Clinton, including at a gala event today in Philadelphia, according to the Intercept:

Clinton will appear in Philadelphia at a “gala” fundraiser hosted by executives at Franklin Square Capital Partners, a $17 billion investment fund. Rocker Bon Jovi will reportedly play an acoustic set for “friends” who pledge $1,000 and hosts who bundle up to $27,000. (Giancarlo Stefanoni, a Clinton campaign staffer, confirmed that as of Tuesday afternoon, the event is still on.)

The Philadelphia Inquirer notes that “Franklin Square employs Ivy League-educated money managers and salespeople with experience at big Wall Street firms — plus four personal trainers and a dietitian to keep staff happy and productive amid the gym, yoga and nap rooms, Sol LeWitt art installations, and fancy cafeteria.”

In comparison, Bernie Sanders is headlining an event in Minnesota:

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders energized a crowd of about 6,000 people at a campaign stop here Tuesday, days before voters in the Iowa caucuses and potentially give the Vermont senator a jolt of momentum.

“There’s nothing more in this life that I would look forward to than running against Donald Trump,” Sanders told the crowd, referring to one of the GOP front-runners.

Sanders, who is battling former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the party nomination, stuck to his campaign-tested message of curbing growing income disparity in the country. In the hourlong speech, he bemoaned “the grotesque level of wealth and income inequality in America today.”

The choice in this election year is clear. One candidate is fighting and talking directly to the people, discussing issues important to the future of our nation. The other is speaking directly to those who own her, paying her exorbitant speaking fees and $1000 a plate dinners to get access.

Wall Street has their candidate, their access and their influence. Meanwhile, the rest of us will continue to enjoy taxation with unequal representation.

CNN, Your Bias is Showing, or How You Just Tried To Fix Hillary’s Ship

I am sitting here watching the CNN Democratic Town Hall and I am flabbergasted. Absolutely stunned. Let me paint a picture.

First up is Bernie Sanders. Moderator Chris Cuomo tries repeatedly to set him up to say he will raise taxes, that he will make the government bigger and then even tries to hit him on being too old. He throws questions back at him repeatedly. After every question.

Oh, I almost forgot, they PLAYED A DAMN HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN AD IN THE MIDDLE OF BERNIE’S TIME! They asked him to address it. Let me note, so far this has not happened to Hillary. Never happened to O’Malley.

UPDATE: Yes, they finally did play a Bernie ad but notice how she was asked about it. She was given an opportunity to rate it. There were so many questions to ask, many centering around the passion of his supporters and how she could overcome that.

On Martin O’Malley, they let him answer questions, no pushback and it was done. he did well, but struggled a bit. Cuomo did ask him a process question, trying to have him pick who his caucusgoers show swing to since they don’t have a chance. It was awkward.

And then Hillary. Before she even sat down Cuomo was lavishing praise on her. He said that Obama endorsed her (he didn’t) and just threw her softball after softball. One of the questioners was already a supporter and threw her another softball, not before making sure to let the viewers know that he watched all 11 hours of the Benghazi hearing and Hillary swung him her way during it.

So far, as of 10:47 PM EST Cuomo has only gave her a redirect question one time. (OK, 10:52 PM there was another one). Once. He has allowed her to go on and on in answering, whereas he stopped Sanders and O’Malley often. This is ridiculous.

Let’s call a spade a spade. Clinton was horrible the last debate. She exited it and everyone was saying it was 2008 all over again. It surely seemed that way. What happened almost immediately? CNN threw together a town hall. Let’s call it what it is. It was a showcase. Here is Hillary one more time, without detractors. Remember how much you like her?

UPDATE at 11:02 PM

OK, so they played Bernie’s ad and she responded that she liked it. Cuomo could have given her questions on it, but nah. Why do that.

Then, we get an interesting question that is more interesting for how the kid verbalized it. he said, “I can see why they gave you this question.” Wait, what? No, you are supposed to be the one that came up with the question. CNN billed this as the residents of Iowa giving questions to the candidates. Did this guy just expose CNN?

Update 3:

And here is the video of the question and comment from the guy above.

Another Look at Hillary’s Speaking Fees (And Bill’s too!)

Hillary has been trying to distance herself from the speaking fee issue, and for good reason. It calls into question who owns her and the focus of her policies. I think you need to look at not only who has paid her, but also Bill Clinton. Why? Because, let’s be clear. He will be with her and providing guidance at times on issues. If you get Hillary, you get Bill, just like when he was President. Let’s take a look!

Back in 2006, The New York Times noted that the “Clintons Say Their Income Topped $8 Million Last Year”, noting:

One major source of income was the speaking fees Mr. Clinton collected. The statement showed that he earned more than $7.5 million for 43 speeches that he gave to groups as varied as the Goldman Sachs Group, the Lancaster, Pa., Chamber of Commerce, the Young Presidents’ Organization and Leading Minds in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

The $7.5 million far surpassed the $875,000 he earned for speaking engagements in 2004, when his speaking schedule was slowed because he was busy releasing his memoir, traveling around the nation promoting it, opening his presidential library in Arkansas and undergoing heart surgery.

In 2003, he earned more than $4 million for speeches given worldwide.

This was while she was in the US Senate. CNN’s Political Ticker in 2013 noted that:

As former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton embarks on her new career as a paid speaker, she joins a lucrative family business that already has earned her husband more than $100 million since leaving office in 2001.

According to a CNN analysis of 12 years of federal financial records, former President Bill Clinton had his most active and profitable year on the lecture circuit in 2012, delivering 73 speeches for $17 million from mid-January 2012 through mid-January 2013. That brought his total haul in speaking fees since leaving the White House to $106 million. His previous record for annual speech income was $13.4 million in 2011.

President Clinton’s speaking fees were detailed Wednesday in a financial disclosure report that his wife was required to file after resigning as secretary of state.

Now, let me be clear that its not unusual for former presidents to go out and speak and make money. Still, it’s something we need to consider when that former president’s spouse is possibly going to be president. ZeroHedge has a breakdown of who both Bill and Hillary have spoken to, and earned from, since 2013. Let’s first look at some of Bill’s speaking engagements:

  • Samsung Electronics for $450,000
  • Kotak Mahindra Bank for $500,000
  • Zurich Financial for $285,000
  • UBS Wealth Management for a combined $850,000
  • Handelsbanken Capital Markets for $850,000
  • Media Control GMBH for $300,000
  • Goldman Sachs for $200,000
  • JP Morgan for $300,000
  • Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association for $250,000
  • Global Alliance of SMEs for $500,000
  • SEEC Media Group for $500,000
  • SAP Global Marketing for $700,000
  • Thomas Lloyd Global Asset Management for $200,000
  • Bank of America for $500,000
  • Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP for $500,000
  • SCIP Capital Management for $250,000
  • Deutsche Bank for $270,000
  • Veritas Capital Fund Management for $250,000
  • Citadel for $250,000

His combined total, noting that ZeroHedge covered these from 1/9/2013 to 5/14/2015 was $26,630,000.

Now, Hillary began speaking after leaving her position as Secretary of State. Politico noted her entering the speaking circuit back in February of 2013, stating:

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will hit the paid speaking circuit this spring (likely April or May) and has selected the Harry Walker Agency, which represents President Clinton, as her agent. Industry officials expect that she will be one of the highest paid speakers in the history of the circuit, with fees well into the six figures in the United States and abroad. Secretary Clinton will likely do some speeches for no fee for causes she champions, and expects to occasionally donate her fees for charitable purposes.

ZeroHedge also took note of her speaking engagements. Let’s take a look:

  • Morgan Stanley for $225,000
  • Deutche Bank for a combined total of $505,000
  • Fidelity Investments for $225,000
  • Apollo Management Holdings for $225,000
  • Itau BBA USA Securities for $225,000
  • Sanford C. Bernstein and Co. for $225,000
  • Goldman Sachs for a combined total of $675,000
  • Spencer Stuart for $225,000
  • Society for Human Resource Management for $285,000
  • Boston Consulting Group for $225,000
  • Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Company for $225,000
  • UBS Wealth Management for $225,000
  • Global Business Travel Association for $225,000
  • SAP Global Marketing for $225,000
  • Accenture for $225,000
  • Golden Tree Asset Management for $275,000
  • Bank of America for $225,000
  • CB Richard Ellis for $250,000
  • CME Group for $225,000
  • Press Ganey for $225,000
  • Salesforce.com for a combined total of $450,500
  • Novo Nordisk for $125,000
  • Marketo for $225,500
  • GTCR for $280,000
  • Ameriprise for $225,500
  • Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP for $225,500
  • Advanced Medical Technology Association for $265,000
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce for $150,000

If you look through this list, you’ll see that Goldman Sachs was just the tip of the iceberg. ZeroHedge notes her total from all of her speaking fees (again, he has the whole list. I cherry picked, so go see) is $21,667,000.

This from a Hillary Clinton that defended her high speaking fees by saying the following to Diane Sawyer:

“We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt,” Clinton told Sawyer, referring to the hefty legal fees incurred during their White House years. “We had no money when we got there, and we struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages, for houses, for Chelsea’s education. You know, it was not easy.”

This is something Politifact found Mostly False, stating that:

A few weeks before they left the White House, the Clintons were able to muster a cash down payment of $855,000 and secure a $1.995 million mortgage. This hardly fits the common meaning of “dead broke.”

Here is one of the takeaways from all of this. Bill and Hillary are out of touch with the plight of the common person. I am supporting Bernie because not only is he more in touch with what middle class citizens (those who are left) may be experiencing, but also because he hasn’t been paid to the tunes of millions for someone to come and speak to them. It matters because they are paying not only for them to speak but also to have access to power brokers that will influence them.

Bernie’s net worth, according to MoneyNation, is $528,014. In a couple of days, heck a couple of hours, Hillary would have almost that much in her coffers from speaking. And that is the problem.

So, here is the question: who do you trust to hold Wall Street accountable?

The Fallacy of Getting Free Stuff From Uncle Bernie

Let’s discuss the argument that was mentioned in a comment on my first post and is echoed all over the internet. Let me quote the comment I am discussing:

So, basically you were never a conservative and now you think Uncle Bernie is going to fart money to make everything free so your voting for him.

I’ll ignore the first part. Maybe I wasn’t. maybe I supported Bush but was still trying to find myself. Lots of people do this.

The second part is what I am curious about. First, the implication is that I want free stuff. The two main items floating around are free healthcare and free college. Let’s go one at a time.

Well, I work hard and pay for my insurance currently. I pay a lot for this (or my wife does. We use her companies because my workplaces insurance is horrible). And honestly, under the Affordable Care Act my insurance went up. A lot. Let’s look a bit at Bernie’s plan for this. First, what is single payer healthcare? NPR actually just had an article on this

A single payer refers to a system in which one entity (usually the government) pays all the medical bills for a specific population. And usually (though, again, not always) that entity sets the prices for medical procedures.

A single-payer system is not the same thing as socialized medicine. In a truly socialized medicine system, the government not only pays the bills but also owns the health care facilities and employs the professionals who work there.

FeelTheBern does a good job breaking down the ideas behind Bernie’s plan, and if you want it from the campaign directly go here. Needless to say, the plan itself would save taxpayers money. The link to the campaign breakdown of the plan explains:

Last year, the average working family paid $4,955 in premiums and $1,318 in deductibles to private health insurance companies. Under this plan, a family of four earning $50,000 would pay just $466 per year to the single-payer program, amounting to a savings of over $5,800 for that family each year.

And the second part of the plan that is “free” is the college tuition plan. As discussed on the campaign website, this is not a radical idea:

This is not a radical idea. Last year, Germany eliminated tuition because they believed that charging students $1,300 per year was discouraging Germans from going to college. Next year, Chile will do the same. Finland, Norway, Sweden and many other countries around the world also offer free college to all of their citizens. If other countries can take this action, so can the United States of America.

In fact, it’s what many of our colleges and universities used to do. The University of California system offered free tuition at its schools until the 1980s. In 1965, average tuition at a four-year public university was just $243 and many of the best colleges – including the City University of New York – did not charge any tuition at all. The Sanders plan would make tuition free at public colleges and universities throughout the country.

We can go into both of these more in depth later, but this is about me wanting free stuff from Uncle Bernie. The statement itself ignores that we all already pay a lot in taxes and get a lot from the government. What Bernie supporters are seeking is for their money already being taken by the US government to be spent on the things that matter. Many want you to think that we spend all sorts of money on social programs already. Not so! ThinkByNumbers notes:

About $59 billion is spent on traditional social welfare programs. $92 billion is spent on corporate subsidies. So, the government spent 50% more on corporate welfare than it did on food stamps and housing assistance in 2006.

And The CheatSheet notes the list of the biggest recipients of this, including Boeing at $13.18 billion a year, Alcoa at $5.64 billion and Nike at $2.03 billion. They note the total of these subsidies is likely over $110 billion. I doubt anyone is going to Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump or other candidates supporters and saying:

You just want to vote for Auntie Hillary so she will fart money and give Goldman Sach free stuff.

Wait, they already do? According to Policy.Mic they received over $660 million. No wonder they can afford to pay such high speaking fees and I’m sure expect NOTHING in return.

So, no. I expect to continue paying my fair share but I want my tax dollars to go to a better investment. I want to invest in the future of our nation by increasing the number of well educated students and ensuring the health of our citizens is taken care of.

How I Switched From a Conservative Bush Supporter to a Progressive Bernie Supporter

I find myself in an odd position starting a blog from a progressive point of view. Why is that? Well, for a good amount of time I was a conservative blogger. In fact, back in 2004 I was even featured in the San Diego Tribune supporting Bush.

For liveblogger Nick Queen, the point is mainly to record immediate, pre-spin impressions so they’re preserved for readers to weigh later.

“Mostly I expect my regular visitors to watch the debate and visit my blog afterward (as well as) several others to see what we thought and caught,” says Queen, a college student and Bush supporter in Wheeling, W.Va.

His site, Patriot Paradox (patriotparadox.mu.nu), is billed as “a conservative Christian weblog on life, liberty and politics.”

For a blogger mostly focused on after-the-fact readers, Queen was startlingly quick with some fact-checking during Wednesday’s debate.

Within minutes of Kerry’s mention of some tax statistics, Queen had posted links to Kerry’s own Web site and the Yahoo Tax Center to rebut the argument.

Now, over ten years later I can say that life experiences and more knowledge of politics and policy have brought me to where I am today. I am definitely not a conservative. I am also not a liberal. As my blog title itself suggests, I am now a progressive. What exactly does this mean? ThinkProgress quoted “Progressive Thinking: A Synthesis of Progressive Values, Beliefs, and Positions in What it Means to Be Progressive: A Manifesto, saying:

Our approach is simple to summarize and is built upon the ideas of generations of progressives from Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Barack Obama:  everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does his or her fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules. As progressives, we believe that everyone deserves a fair shot at a decent, fulfilling, and economically secure life.  We believe that everyone should do his or her fair share to build this life through education and hard work and through active participation in public life.   And we believe that everyone should play by the same set of rules with no special privileges for the well-connected or wealthy.

In today’s political climate this is a more important idea than ever before. Wealth inequality is at an all-time high. Poverty is spreading like an epidemic and there are no signs of it ending anytime soon. But, how did I get to where I am today?

Well, back in 2004 I was a college student working toward a bachelor in secondary education. I graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education in English and Social Science. In my last semester I realized I disliked teaching. I went into the labor market looking for something, anything that would allow me to help others but also I would enjoy. I started working at a community mental health agency in Wheeling, WV. It was an eye-opening experience.

Up to that point I knew there was poverty in the United States. It is one thing to know something, but another thing to see it. Heck, i wasn’t exactly rolling in money. I was living in section 8 housing but overall was doing OK. Some of the places I went working this job were bleak. People living lives with no hope and you could just see it in their eyes.

My first job at this community mental health center was working with children and their families. I soon transitioned into working at a crisis stabilization unit. In this job, I worked closely with the homeless, substance abusers, clients experiencing psychotic breaks and everything in between. It was an interesting job and I learned a lot.

First and foremost, I saw the effects of bad policy. I realized that my belief system up to that point was not one that would effectively fix the problems I witnessed. While working this job, I made the decision to go for my Master degree in Social Work. In 2011, I entered West Virginia University to start working toward this degree. In 2012, I began working with child protective services in West Virginia. This continued educating me on the perils of drug use, poverty and bad policy.

When I say bad policy I am discussing many things. First and foremost, how this nation addresses homeless and poverty. At times, the cards are stacked against people to get out of poverty. Conservatives will point toward people who work hard and crawl out of the gutter by the skin of their teeth. It’s commendable, but there are some who are unable to do this. Some are suffering from mental illnesses that prevent them from accessing work. Others are in situations where life is stacked against them. Single mothers who have to choose work or taking care of their children. People who need medication to survive but have no way of paying for it. People who could not afford to even access healthcare.

Affordable Care Act helped some but also increased prices for others. Even then, the process to sign up for it was arduous. Some made enough money that they would not get it for paid for, and then had to take money from a paycheck that was already too small and have to choose to pay or be penalized.

All of this is stuff we can get into later. The fact is that the conservative values that I long held did little for them.

Now some would argue that one should still stick with the Republicans or conservative to protect the innocent babies the liberals want to kill by millions. These same conservatives wish to also cut funding to food stamps, housing and medical care for those same children. I have seen this happen.

I still struggle with abortion issues. I understand both sides of the argument and honestly don’t feel the need to argue it. I will argue this, though. You cannot protect the rights of unborn babies but then allow them to be born into poverty, be willing to cut their resources and still say you support their rights. You don’t. You are fine with them being born but deprive them of the necessary essentials to live that life.

As such, in 2016 I find myself supporting Bernie Sanders. On a larger scale, I find myself a progressive and one that will support these views to improve my nation and the lives of those here regardless of the amount of wealth they have. All should have the chance to live fulfilled lives.