Monthly Archives: February 2016

The Media’s Candidates: How We Were Given Two Choices for President

From the beginning of the 2016 election, our choices for president were shaped and focused for us. Hillary was a given. She has been the candidate since 2009, and this in and of itself makes her decision to make speeches to all sorts of special interests all the more damning. Jeb Bush was the favorite for awhile, but in June, descending from the most likely gold covered halls of Trump Tower, Donald Trump entered the race.

Now  one of these was pretty much the nominee from the get-go. The fact a few others entered the race was probably seen by the Democrats as a way to legitimize their coronation. Jeb never really seemed to want to run for President, and honestly probably ran out of a family obligation. Trump, however, started becoming more and more bombastic and the news media just started giving him as much attention as they could muster.

So, we have one candidate hand picked by the Democrat’s who gets all the attention on that side. We get another candidate on the Republican side who gets all the attention because they want ratings. Why are we surprised that it is increasingly becoming more likely they will become the nominees? Of course they would be. The media shoved them down our throats.

Bernie has had an amazing campaign. And if you are a millennial or willing to get informed yourself you realized he is speaking to a lot of the issues out there. He draws huge crowds, rivaling those of Trump. He is raising all of his money from small donors. And he did ALL of this with barely any media attention.

I mean, look at the recent news of a DNC vice chair RESIGNING HER POSITION to endorse Bernie.

Flip it, and think of this happening on the Republican side. Imagine Sharon Day, the current co-chairman of the RNC, resigning her post to support Ted Cruz, John Kasich or Marco Rubio. I promise you that CNN, MSNBC and Fox would be completely flipping out and breathless in their coverage.

But Bernie gets this huge endorsement, with court intrigue, and I think over the span of listening for 3 hours straight Sunday I heard little about it. While working today I put on CNN, because why not try to depress myself, and over two hours I heard it mentioned once. Now, I heard Rubio insinuated Trump had a small penis. I heard Trump was claiming CNN gave him a bad headset so he was not aware he had to say the KKK was bad. I also heard Hillary say America was already great and had decided to ignore Bernie since he is hopeless. But they gave Bernie maybe 3 minutes the whole freaking time. Now, I did have to turn it off occasionally, so i’m sure in the 30 to 45 minute gaps throughout the day they gave him non-stop coverage. Right?

Bernie will also probably hit $40 million in small donations in the month of February today. I doubt this will get much airtime either. I mean, he has parades thrown by supporters nationwide that they ignore. Why pay attention to this any more than all the rest? Not like he’s a “real candidate.”

I’ve already wrote how the Democrat’s selection of Hillary is a nightmare. Paste Magazine had a piece today saying the Democrat’s should “Dump Hillary, and Dump Her Fast.” And the problem is not stopping there. Paul Begala notes that the enthusiasm gap between the Democrats and the Republicans keeps him up at night. And all this is enthusiasm stoked by Trump, who even the media seems to now worry about getting the nomination while they continuing to show his rallies uninterrupted. Yes, I realize it’s the car wreck effect, but you are to blame.

And the enthusiasm issue is not an issue for Bernie Sanders. It seems likely that the Democrat elites are trying to keep voter turnout down. Numerous stories about low voter turnout helping Hillary, coupled with stories about how this seems to be part of the plan to secure the election for Hillary:

Hillary Clinton is clearly the establishment candidate for the Democratic Party. Not one U.S. Senator has endorsed Bernie Sanders. Only two other congresspeople have endorsed Bernie — the rest have all broken for Hillary. Almost all of the mayors and state senators from the Democratic party have also endorsed Hillary Clinton.

As much as establishment politicians have broken for Hillary, young people under the age of 35 have broken for Bernie Sanders. Without fail, in each primary so far, in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada, young people under the age of 35 have voted for Bernie by a margin of 85% to 15%. It’s not even close.

Consequently, party leaders (again, that’s code for Hillary supporters) have seemingly hosted fewer voter registration drives. Doing so, would, in essence, be drives for Bernie Sanders. In some cases, party leaders are just skipping them altogether in many states and at college campuses.

That breaks my heart. It should break your heart to. They are committing suicide to secure Hillary the spot. And they are able to justify it by pointing to Hillary winning. And the media, who give her all sorts of attention, are able to discuss how voters just don’t know Bernie, or are unable to connect with Bernie. Well, yeah, that does seem the case. If only there was an unbiased institution that assisted the voters in getting information…

I mean, read this and ask yourself if it seems something to be excited about:

The mood was excited and merry at the Hillary Clinton’s campaign headquarters at midday, with state official reporting light turnout in Saturday’s Democratic presidential primary that likely helps her score another win.

What the hell are we doing?

I mean, I guess Sanders could start going out calling Hillary names. Or insulting minorities. Or just stop talking about the issues. All these things have helped other campaigns.

And when negatives of either of the media darling campaigns are brought up, they just bring on the respective campaigns spin doctors to wash away the sins. Hillary is seen as dishonest. Here comes someone to blame the Republicans for conspiracies against her. Donald’s racist. Well, here is his press person to say that’s ridiculous. Now, let’s join the Trump campaign to see what crazy insults he is going to say this time! Oh wait, Rubio is slinging mud. Why, we should add him to the rotation. Are we morons? Is our lust for zany antics, what is going to happen next, so high that we need this crap?

I mean, maybe Hillary is seen as dishonest because she used a private email server, something many people just don’t get and think is probably a bad idea. Maybe it’s because she gave speeches to Wall Street for millions while now telling us she’s going to reign them in. Maybe it’s because she spread all sorts of racist crap about Obama in 2008. Who knows. I mean, the American public is told different by pundits, spin meisters and politicians in 5 minute barrages of publicity junkets otherwise believed to be the news.

Earlier today, in a sad moment, Rubio’s campaign had some faceless minion on (I was actively ignoring names because why do I care) and he was asked about the “new Rubio” that insinuates Trump’s penis isn’t “winning” and his spray tan clogs his pores. The Rubio henchman said that Rubio had to do this to get the press to pay attention, and that this was the only way to attack Trump. And he’s right. And that, America, is sad.

Just an update right before I posted this: Turned on CNN and they actually mentioned the Tulsi Gabbard endorsement. They said it was today (no, it was yesterday, but you guys ignored it) and then mentioned he raised $41 million in february, noting it was huge. They mentioned Elizabeth Warren has not endorsed him, and then went to commercial. All this lasted less than a minute. Oh, before this they were watching a Clinton rally. I hate the news media.

We Are the New Scum: How We, the People, are Viewed by the Establishment

They hate us. They want us to stay in our lane, shut up unless spoken to, and show up to pull the lever or punch out the chad when expected. After that, they need us to get back in our place and shut up again.

If we speak, it better be in support of the politics and messages they approve.

They control who is elected. They have measures in place to ensure the right choice is made. On the Democrat side they have superdelegates. Why?

Unpledged delegates exist really to  make sure that party leaders and elected officials don’t have to be in a position where they are running against grassroots activist.

Wouldn’t want some upstart activists usurping the will of the party, would we?

The Republican side is looking more and more at having a brokered convention to save the party from the billionaire populist Donald Trump.

We are not in a democracy. It’s an oligarchy and they hate you.

You matter some in 2016. You are a firewall. An electorate.

In 2017, you are useless to them.

It became most apparent when Hillary Clinton, at a private $500 a head fundraiser, came face to face with a Black Lives Matter protester. She paid to gain access, which Hillary should understand and respect seeing as she has experience in these matters. She went to hold Clinton accountable. But you don’t get to do that to those in power. You only speak when they let you. Watch the video and see what happened:

Listen to how dismissive she was to this protestor.

Here are the ones hissing at this young black woman that dared to speak against her betters.

And they hate her. They hate you. Why? Because we are the scum. We don’t matter. We can’t afford to be with them, and they work hard to ensure we are never part of them. We don’t belong.

If you follow me on Facebook, or read here, plus know a bit about comics, you may have noticed my avatar. Awhile back I switched it to this:

This is Spider Jerusalem, the protagonist of a series by Warren Ellis titled Transmetropolitan. Set in a dystopian cyberpunkish future, it follows Spider, a gonzo journalist, as he tries to take down a corrupt politician. The one before wasn’t much better. But Transmetropolitan also followed the rise of those that had been oppressed and suppressed by the corrupt masters of this future nightmare. He describes them as:

These are the new streets of this city, where the New Scum try to live. You and me. And here in these streets are the things that we want: sex and birth, votes and traits, money and guilt, television and teddy bears. But all we’ve actually got is each other. You decide what that means.

And in many ways, WE are the New Scum. Hillary and all of these corrupt politicians want to keep us in our place, but we are recognizing what is happening in our country.

And we have a clear, stark choice right now. We can choose the revolution promised by Bernie Sanders to tell these assholes we are done with their crap, or we can choose Hillary Clinton. Spider speaks to this as well, in discussing revolutions:

There’s one hole in every revolution, large or small … people. No matter how big the idea they all stand under, people are small and weak and cheap and frightened. It’s people that kill every revolution.

And he’s right. We are, individually, small and weak. But we can be strong. We can rise up and tell THEM to shut up. Tell them we are tired of being pushed around. Yes, we are the New Scum but we are powerful. We must fight back against them. Why? Spider again has an answer:

Every law that curbs my basic human freedom; every lie about the things I care for; every crime committed against me by their politics; that what’s makes me get up and hound these fuckers, and I’ll do that until the day I die… or until my brain dries up or something.

It’s time to wake up. They are poisoning our kids. They are limiting our health care. They are shooting our future down in the streets. They are kicking us while we are down. And in the media they tell us how great of a nation we are. How we should hate the people over there. And we should hate each other. And they saturate the airwaves with noise and fury and useless blather. And discuss the power we have as a new president enters the scene, and a New America moves forward. Spider discussed that, too:

While you all get hard-ons about the New President and New America, and imagine that the next four years will be blindingly, luminously different from the last four years and the last few centuries and everything will be made right and there’s nothing more important than tax cuts and tits in the movies–

–be advised. This, too, is New America. The people living here are living in America too.

We Need to Talk About Hillary

If you turn the news on it’s been wall to wall discussion about how Hillary has pretty much sewn up the Democratic primary. I mean, she tied one state and won another by 5 points. Bernie one won by over 20 points. It’s essentially a rout. In any case, it’s news that everyone seems to think is amazingly happy for the Democrats. We all need to get behind Hillary. And remember, even if we aren’t for her, she’s for us.

Here’s the thing, however. We should not be happy about this. Democrats, looking ahead to the general election against Donald Trump (let’s be honest, he’s the nominee), a candidate that makes President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho appear reasonable, should realize a hard truth: Hillary is a nightmare candidate. Let’s take a closer look.

Now, let me make a few things clear prior to diving in here. I’m going to discuss scandals that many on the left will puff their chest out and say, “But, that’s not true.” Or, “That’s just the Republicans playing dirty.” Guess what: all bets are off in this election. Do you think Donald Trump is going to give a damn about true? Hell no. He will hit her hard, fast and dirty. Over and over again. The Democratic strategists know what is coming, and are saying Hillary will have to go “scorched earth” because of one of the first issues facing her:

In reality, nobody is that excited about Hillary Clinton, and young voters, women and men — the foot soldiers of any Democratic Party movement — aren’t coming around. She lost a resounding 82% of voters under 30 in Nevada. Her campaign now rests on the hope that voters of color like her well enough, if nowhere near as much as they like Obama. And that means that when she faces a Republican, she will have to destroy him — something the people who will be doing the destroying acknowledged when I asked them earlier this month.
“The slogan is ‘Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid,’” said Paul Begala, who is an adviser to the pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA.

Begala is very right. Hillary is looking to enter the 2016 general election as a candidate most will look at and shrug their shoulders with. In fact, I have a feeling that if there were as many candidates running on the Democrat side as the Republican side that she would have been in a similar position to Jeb Bush.

The Gallup had a recent poll that shows the biggest issue facing Hillary when Americans are prompted with her name and asked to say the first thing that comes to mind. 21% immediately had “Dishonest/ Liar/ Don’t Trust Her/ Poor Character” come to mind. Ouch. Going down the list, things don’t get much better:

In addition to the 21% of responses in the “dishonest/don’t trust her” category, another 7% of Americans use even stronger words in a similar negative vein, including “criminal,” “crooked” and “thief.” Nine percent say they dislike her. Smaller percentages (shown at the end of this article) associate her with Bill Clinton, with the controversy surrounding her use of a private email server while secretary of state and with the Benghazi terrorist attack.

This is not a new issue. Back in 2008, Hillary faced similar issues:

Lost in the Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign’s aggressive attacks on Barack Obama in recent days is a deep and enduring problem that threatens to undercut any inroads Clinton has made in her struggle to overtake him in the Democratic presidential race: She has lost trust among voters, a majority of whom now view her as dishonest.

Her advisers’ efforts to deal with the problem — by having her acknowledge her mistakes and crack self-deprecating jokes — do not seem to have succeeded. Privately, the aides admit that the recent controversy over her claim to have ducked sniper fire on a trip to Bosnia probably made things worse.

Yeah, she lied about that Bosnia sniper stuff. See, Hillary is her own worst enemy and she continues to get in her own way. Tying into the dishonesty issue is that she continues to insist that others should release their paid speech transcripts, including Republicans, before she will do so. This is in the midst of an election where Wall Street is in the crosshairs and people are suffering nationwide due to income inequality. It plays into the conversation of what she is hiding. When 1 in 5 Americans believe you are dishonest, maybe you should be transparent and let them know what you said behind closed doors to the banks that we had to bail out. Just a suggestion.

Then we go to the email server issue. In a move to make herself more comfortable, saying:

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.”

Now, if I was Donald Trump I would hit her hard on that. You mean to tell me you put national security at risk so you didn’t have to carry two phones. He’d probably harken back to asking the audience, “You know what I would tell an employee who did that in my company?” and then build up to “You’re fired!”

That’s if he even gets to debate her on it. Hillary has a slew of legal challenges coming at her over the email server issue. Again, let’s stop for a minute looking at these as critical, well-informed Democratic voters and instead view this like those who are on the periphery just turning on the news and seeing it nightly before watching Big Bang Theory and hitting the sack.  I will lay this out in bullets because this is the case against Hillary on one issue:

Let’s think about this for a minute in terms of a Republican fighting Hillary Clinton. In a year where Donald Trump is pointing to getting tough on America’s enemies do we really want to offer him up a former Secretary of State under FBI and Department of Justice investigation and facing a lawsuit over her use of a private email server she created to not have to carry a second phone. Her use of such a server, which contained top secret emails that referred to special access programs and whose release could cause “exceptionally grave” damage to national security if disclosed, was a target of hacking attempts by China, South Korea and Germany. Oh yeah, I left out this:

The contractor, SECNAP Network Security, identified the attacks, but according to internal emails cited and briefly quoted in the Johnson letter, Clinton’s server may have lacked a threat-detection program for three months, Johnson says.

That’s right, she had it improperly secured.  Oh, she also had them backed up to the cloud. Yes, we possibly had top secret emails backed up not on a secure government server but backed up to a cloud server.

A Connecticut company, which backed up Hillary Clinton’s emails at the request of a Colorado firm, apparently surprised her aides by storing the emails on a “cloud” storage system designed to optimize data recovery.

The firm, Datto Inc., said Wednesday that it turned over the contents of its storage to the FBI on Tuesday.

Raise your hands if you see how this could be a huge problem in a general election. If you raised your hand, you are following along well. But, we aren’t done.

The State Department has issued subpoenas concerning Huma Abedin who was concurrently employed by the State Department, the Clinton Foundation, Hillary Clinton’s personal office and a private consulting firm with ties to the Clintons. This could possibly be tied to criticisms that donations given to the Clinton Foundation allowed special favors and access to the State Department via Hillary. Let’s dig in, again with some bullet points!

So, to sum this part up, there is significant evidence that donations from foreign governments to the Clinton Foundation possibly influenced Hillary’s State Department in granting approvals of weapon deals, sales of uranium and mining concessions. 181 companies who donated to the Clinton Foundation also lobbied the State Department under Hillary. While not illegal, it calls into question if there was overlap.

And under ALL of this is the point at the beginning which is people think Hillary is DISHONEST. Let’s think at how this would play out when Trump attacks her about any of this, even a fraction. A populist candidate with growing support who “tells it like it is” would batter her relentlessly.

Of course, they will bring up even more. Benghazi, Bill Clinton’s past indiscretions and the cadre of women ready to support Trump by pointing out how they never supported them, her Wall Street speeches, and countless other scandals tied to the Clintons. Again, will the Republicans play as fair as Bernie?

Here’s the question we all need to ask ourselves: Are we willing to take the candidate I just laid out a portion of the current issues with into a general election? Is this a gamble we should take with the White House on the line? Are you 100% confident in her ability to stand up to relentless attacks with this baggage behind her in the general election?

 

No, Hillary, Young People Don’t Want Free Stuff; They Want Change

Hillary Clinton really does not understand the youth of America. She also just does not understand the appeal of Sanders and why the momentum is behind him. In winning Nevada tonight, she took a swing at getting young people to come to their senses and back her instead of Bernie:

I want to say this to all the young people out there. I know what you’re up against if you left college with a ton of loans, it’s not enough just to make college more affordable. You need help right now with the debt you already have.

That’s why I have a plan to cut your interest rates and cap payments so you never have to pay more than you can afford.

But I want you to think about this. It can’t be just about what we’re going to give to you. It has to be about we’re going to build together. Your generation is the most tolerant and connected our country has ever seen. In the days ahead, we will propose new ways for more Americans to get involved in national service and give back to our communities, because every one of us has a role to play in building the future we want.

Here’s the thing: the future the young people of America wants is not represented in Hillary Clinton.

They want a future where money does not dominate our politics.

They want a future where Wall Street is reigned in and politicians stand up and tell them that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

They want a future where education and healthcare are seen as human rights.

They want a future.

And Hillary’s campaign is dominated by money from the wealthy, she stands up to Wall Street only when they pay her to speak to them. She continues to say “no we can’t” while hugging close to the president who ran on “yes we can.”

Bernie is the true heir to the ideals behind yes we can. Bernie sees a future where money does not dominate politics, where Wall Street is reigned in, and where banks are broke up and He has fought consistently against all of this his entire career.

The only consistency with Hillary is her evolution.

We Are a Movement and Must Keep Moving Forward to Take the Victory

Tonight in her victory speech after being declared the winner of Nevada, Hillary Clinton told the youth of America, “It can’t be just about what we’re going to give to you.” She’s right. Right now we are fighting against years of corruption fueled by a system that is self-perpetuated by policies, money and the media. No one is going to give us a victory.

We must take it.

No one would have thought we would be where we are now but to move forward, we have to keep our eyes on the true prize. Yes, the primary goal is electing Bernie Sanders but overall our goal is systemic change.

Across the country, Bernie’s message is gaining momentum. To continue this momentum we must realize that the system will attempt to dampen our passion. They will see the revolution is over. They will say Bernie has no path to victory. They will try to spin that Hillary’s victory is historic. They will try to bully us into giving up.

We must have the courage to show them we are a revolution and that revolutions do not roll over because we lose one state by such a small margin that we were told was a firewall.

The system has needed money on top of money to win by that margin. They needed to steal our stump speech. They needed to parrot our message. And even then the firewall barely held.

Let’s dispel with the notion that it will be easy. It won’t. We will have to fight for every inch. Phone banking. Donating. Canvassing. Whatever it takes.

And in the end one of two things will happen.

If we win the primary, we then must take on whoever the GOP sends our way.

If we lose the primary, we must not allow the progress we have made to go away.

In either circumstance the fact remains that this is the START of the revolution and that the revolution is bigger than any one person. As Bernie says: Not me. US.

 

 

Hillary in Response to Call to Release the Transcripts: “…I’ve been in public standing there the whole time.” Except When Speaking to Wall Street

Very interesting exchange tonight at the Democratic Town Hall tonight between Joe Sacco, a realtor in Las Vegas, and Hillary Clinton:

Joe Sacco: Secretary Clinton, I do respect you very much. In fact, only a decade ago I was a very big supporter of yourself and your husband. It actually broke my heart when you said marriage was between a man and a woman. How can we trust that this isn’t just more political rhetoric? Please just release those transcripts so that we know exactly where you stand.

Hillary Clinton: You know where I stand because I’ve been in public standing there the whole time.

Again, Hillary is missing the point. The question itself points out the problem that she WAS NOT IN PUBLIC. The worry is that you are telling us what we want to hear but promised them, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, something else. You were NOT standing in public, and by not releasing these speeches you are continuing to not stand in public with full disclosure.

This was his redirect from the first part of his question, where he asked her to release the transcripts and she responded with a canned answer she has said before:

Hillary Clinton: I am happy to release anything I have when everyone else does the same, because every other candidate in this race has given speeches to private groups, including Sen. Sanders.

Well, Bernie replied pretty quickly on Twitter:

And, of course, everyone realizes that the Republicans are pretty much known to be in the pocket of the rich Wall Street tycoons but expect more from a Democratic presidential candidate. And she tries to spin it to her favor by continuing that:

I was the candidate who went to Wall Street before the crash. I was the candidate who said to them, ‘You are wrecking our economy.’

But it continued and is still continuing. Why did it not stop? Were you ineffective? And why should we pick you over the guy who is NOT receiving Super PAC money, Wall Street speaking fees and donations from bankers, private prison firms, big pharma and on and on? Bernie speaks truth to the concerns of this generation. They did not pay Hillary to speak. They bought a potential president.

Bernie’s Not a Single Issue Candidate: Why It is Still the Economy, Hillary!

Hillary Clinton wants you to believe that the Bernie Sanders campaign is a one note candidacy that focuses on only economics. This is, of course, an untrue assertion though even I will admit that Bernie is extremely passionate and willing to discuss it at all times. But, there is a reason for that: the subversion of our economic system and infection of our political system via money directly affects most if not all of the issues we deal with today. Because the rigged economy is held in place by a corrupt campaign system. And that is all underpinned by the hate perpetuated by those in media and in power.

Hillary has missed the point in how income inequality is closely related to racism and sexism in our country. While at a church where her and Sanders both spoke to the congregation, she noted the following:

“Because if we were to achieve everything about banks and money in politics, would that end racism? Would that make it automatically going to happen that people would be able to get the jobs they deserve, the housing they need, the education their children need to have?” Clinton asked.

Sanders has noted the problems are parallel, and indeed one must consider how the disproportionate power held by those who are able to pay for access to the powerful in Washington affects those unable to access a job at or above minimum wage. Let me ask you to consider whether such a disparity, which affects minorities more, would work to keep those minorities without power.

Bernie Sanders wants to confront this disparity. It is, as is becoming clearer and clearer, an issue that Hillary Clinton as well as the Republican candidates are willing to address. I personally agree with a model that Michael Reich, a Professor of Political Economy at U. C. Berkeley, proposed that makes sense in what we are seeing increasingly today. Reich wrote in 1974 that:

Through racism, poor whites come to believe that their poverty is caused by blacks who are willing to take away their jobs, and at lower wages, thus concealing the fact that a substantial amount of income inequality is inevitable in a capitalist society. Racism thus transfers the locus of whites’ resentment towards blacks and away from capitalism.

Consider today that this has continued, only now we are adding Latinos and other immigrants. We have Republican candidates currently rabble-rousing that Mexicans are coming to take their jobs and that they are to blame for many of the ills that we have to deal with daily. And Reich is not alone. Dedrick Muhammad, Director of the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative and Host of the Race and Wealth podcast of CFED wrote that:

Racial inequality, then, has always been defined by economic inequality. As historian Eric Williams succinctly puts it: “Slavery was not born of racism; rather, racism was the consequence of slavery.” Specifically, throughout American history, racism has always been motivated by and defined as a way for white elites to control an unequal share of property — whether African-Americans could be bought as property, were outright forbidden to own property or were racially targeted for toxic loans when trying to buy property.

The ways in which African-Americans have been economically disenfranchised are too numerous to list here — suffice it to say that generations upon generations of discriminatory hiring practices, unequal access to quality education, housing segregation, voter disenfranchisement and scores of other inequities have helped form the many disparities that still persist today.

The masters of the system in place today wants to continue to profit from the system they have designed. To do that, they cannot allow the system to change. This is done by money, which gives them access to candidates. Indeed, the elite and candidates are forming a symbiotic relationship that shuts out the ability for the regular citizen, the 99%, to have any influence over their government and, increasingly, their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Consider Flint. You continue to hear that it went on for so long. How could we not know about it? Why was nothing done? Because they had no voice in the exchange of political ideas.

Consider the decimated urban neighborhoods nationwide, or even the small local communities in rural areas that are dying. Both suffer because they have no way to have their voice heard.

Why is that? Because in a world where corporations and the elite are allowed the ability to pour money into the political process, amplifying their voice to levels no individual citizens can reach, as well as no poor neighborhoods can rival, they are the ones that have their issues heard. The candidates need the money to run increasingly more expensive campaigns. The corporations need the candidates to keep things either they way they are or to continue to improve their ability to earn higher and higher profits.

As Scalia said, when writing in support of the Citizens United ruling in the Supreme Court:

Indeed, to exclude or impede corporate speech is to muzzle the principal agents of the modern free economy. We should celebrate rather than condemn the addition of this speech to the public debate.

The issue with the addition of free speech is that it is from a source that drowns out the voices of everyday citizens. Meanwhile, the other voices that muddy the water focus everyone on other concerns.

“Immigrants want your jobs.”

“Look at what the Kardashians are doing now.”

“Blacks are killers and thugs.”

“Whites are rednecks and racists.”

“Mexicans are rapists.”

“All Arabs want to kill us.”

And while this all keeps us distracted, they keep the system chugging along and profits are at all time high. And people make less and less. And work more and more. Or, not at all. And we blame the people unable to make if for being on welfare and taking all of our money while instead a huge chunk of our money goes to corporate subsidies and grants. And none of this takes into account the taxes that many avoid paying.

But, Hillary is probably right when she says the reality is that Washington won’t allow us to change. True, in the current state we will get nowhere. But if we support a presidential candidate like Bernie Sanders who recognizes the issues we are facing it will signal that we are tired of the way things are. And if we support other candidates who also recognize this needs to change then we can start making a difference.

Or, we can support the status quo and allow it to continue. I promise you that if we vote in Hillary Clinton or the Republicans that it will also send a message to Washington:

We aren’t ready for change.

Clinton Wants Voters to Believe She Stands up to Money in Politics But She’s No Bernie

Hillary Clinton has continued to frame the money in politics issue to her favor, but continues to miss the point. She even tried to throw President Obama into the mix last night, saying he also took on Wall Street, but that “When it mattered, he stood up and took on Wall Street.”

Then, Bernie schooled her:

“Why in God’s name does Wall Street make huge campaign contributions? I guess just for the fun of it, they want to throw money around,” he said. “Why does the pharmaceutical industry make any contribution? Any connection to our people paying the highest amount of money for prescription drugs? Why does the fossil fuel industry pay huge amounts of money in contributions? Any connection to the fact that not one Republican candidate for president thinks and agrees with the scientific community that climate change is real and we have got transform our energy system?”

On the topic of Dodd-Frank, Sanders said he supported the legislation Obama signed into law in July 2010, but added that “it doesn’t go anywhere near far enough.”

“Major banks have paid $2 billion in fines since the great crash,” he said. “No Wall Street executive has been prosecuted.”

I mean, what exactly does Clinton want us to think Wall Street is trying to accomplish? They are investors. They are paid to invest in things that will have a strong return on investment. And they have continued to bet big on Clinton. ThinkProgress has more on why Dodd-Frank just really didn’t work, including the shocking truth that 5 big banks control 44% of all US banking assets, making them still too big to fail.

But the money in politics issue continues to grow. Hillary was also asked by the moderators:

Secretary Clinton, your campaign has recently ramped up criticism of Sen. Sanders for attending Democratic Party fundraisers from which you say he benefited. But nearly half of your financial sector donations appear to come from just two wealthy financiers, George Soros and Donald Sussman, for a total of about $10 million. You have said that there is no quid pro quo involved. But is that also true of the donations that wealthy Republicans give to Republican candidates, contributors including the Koch brothers?

And Hillary attempted to distance herself from them. But, really, she cannot do this. New York Times itself noted, in May 2015, that Hillary courted them to support her:

Hillary Rodham Clinton will begin personally courting donors for a “super PAC” supporting her candidacy, the first time a Democratic presidential candidate has fully embraced these independent groups that can accept unlimited checks from big donors and are already playing a major role in the 2016 race.

Her decision is another escalation in what is expected to be the most expensive presidential race in history, and it has the potential to transform the balance of power in presidential campaigning, where Republican outside groups have tended to outspend their Democratic counterparts.

Mrs. Clinton’s allies hope that with her support, the top Democratic super PAC, Priorities USA Action, will raise $200 million to $300 million. That is on par with what the largest Republican organizations, such as the Karl Rove-backed American Crossroads super PAC and its nonprofit affiliate, spent in 2012.

That would be Priorities USA, set up in 2011 to support Obama’s reelection bid. Clinton had this to say today:

Are you referring to a Super PAC that we don’t coordinate with, that was set up to support President Obama that has now decided they want to support me? They are the ones who should respond to any questions.

Notice the bold I added to the New York Times story. This is critical. Hillary did not expect to have to run from big money in politics and positioned herself to benefit from it instead. This is why the Wall Street speeches matter. But it continues. While trying to paint herself as willing to stand up to money from corporate interests, she continued to seek it:

“You’re not going to find anybody more committed to aggressive campaign finance reform than me,” Clinton said, promising to “crack down on corporations that game the system.”

Only days later, Clinton’s campaign is launching a fundraising blitz that includes events with representatives of industries that have significant business interests before the federal government. An International Business Times review of fundraising invitations found that the Clinton campaign’s nationwide tour includes events with corporate officials from the food, investment and energy sectors — all of which have vested financial interests in the policies that the next presidential administration will decide.

And then today it was disclosed that the DNC has rolled back the restrictions Obama put in place to ban money from lobbyists. I wonder who that will help?

The Democratic National Committee has rolled back restrictions introduced by presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008 that banned donations from federal lobbyists and political action committees.

The decision, which may provide an advantage to Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, was viewed with disappointment Friday morning by good government activists who saw it as a step backward in the effort to limit special interest influence in Washington.

“It is a major step in the wrong direction,” said longtime reform advocate Fred Wertheimer. “And it is completely out of touch with the clear public rejection of the role of political money in Washington,” expressed during the 2016 campaign.

So, who let me ask you: who do YOU believe will rein in Wall Street and fix money in politics?

Why Henry Kissinger Matters in 2016 and Why Bernie is Right to Question Hillary on Embracing Him

Hillary Clinton has said the following on Henry Kissinger when reviewing his book, World Order:

Kissinger is a friend, and I relied on his counsel when I served as secretary of state. He checked in with me regularly, sharing astute observations about foreign leaders and sending me written reports on his travels. Though we have often seen the world and some of our challenges quite differently, and advocated different responses now and in the past, what comes through clearly in this new book is a conviction that we, and President Obama, share: a belief in the indispensability of continued American leadership in service of a just and liberal order.

And:

Even when there are tensions between our values and other objectives, America, he reminds us, succeeds by standing up for our values, not shirking them, and leads by engaging peoples and societies, the sources of legitimacy, not governments alone.

Kissinger has always been someone that invokes strong emotions. It is true that he, through the policy of Realpolitik, opened diplomacy with China and assisted with easing the oil crisis by diplomatic means of having Israel partially withdraw from the Sinai Peninsula. He also, however, was a bit brutal and many feel he committed war crimes. But what do you expect from a man that said this about Soviet Jews after the Holocaust:

“The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy. And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.”

Or on how horrible it is that we can’t use assassination:

“It is an act of insanity and national humiliation to have a law prohibiting the President from ordering assassination.”

On how high of regard he holds the military in:

“Military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy.”

On how to unite people behind George W. Bush, said in 2000:

“I can think of no faster way to unite the American people behind George W. Bush than a terrorist attack on an American target overseas. And I believe George W. Bush will quickly unite the American people through his foreign policy.”

On his willingness to do illegal and unconstitutional things:

 “The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.”

On depopulation, which means reducing the population in an area by means I will leave to your imagination:

“Depopulation should be the highest priority of foreign policy towards the third world, because the US economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries.”

On the willingness to take the rights of a foreign nation’s people to chose for themselves the government they wish to have:

“I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.”

And showing contempt over the fall of the Pakistani army collapsing in Bangladesh:

“That means no one can bleed anymore about the dying Bengalis.”

Or his willingness to embrace the Cambodians, despite them being “murderous thugs,”:

“How many people did (Khmer Rouge Foreign Minister Ieng Sary) kill? Tens of thousands? You should tell the Cambodians (i.e., Khmer Rouge) that we will be friends with them. They are murderous thugs, but we won’t let that stand in the way. We are prepared to improve relations with them. Tell them the latter part, but don’t tell them what I said before.”

But have no worries. Kissinger himself was complicit in his own murderous acts. WarIsCrime explains this well:

Mr. Kissinger’s most significant historical act was executing Richard Nixon’s orders to conduct the most massive bombing campaign, largely of civilian targets, in world history. He dropped 3.7 million tons of bombs between January 1969 and January 1973 — nearly twice the two million dropped on all of Europe and the Pacific in World War II. He secretly and illegally devastated villages throughout areas of Cambodia inhabited by a U.S. Embassy-estimated two million people; quadrupled the bombing of Laos and laid waste to the 700-year old civilization on the Plain of Jars; and struck civilian targets throughout North Vietnam — Haiphong harbor, dikes, cities, Bach Mai Hospital — which even Lyndon Johnson had avoided. His aerial slaughter helped kill, wound or make homeless an officially-estimated six million human beings**, mostly civilians who posed no threat whatsoever to U.S. national security and had committed no offense against it.

There is a word for the aerial mass murder that Henry Kissinger committed in Indochina, and that word is “evil”. The figure most identified with this word today is Adolph Hitler, and his evil was so unspeakable that the term is by now identified with him. But that is precisely why it is important to understand the new face of evil and moral depravity that Henry Kissinger represents. For evil not only comes in the form of madmen dreaming of 1000 year Reichs. In fact, in our day, it is more likely to be committed by sane, genial and ordinary careerists waging invisible automated war in far-off lands against people whose screams we never hear, whose faces we never see, and whose deaths go unrecorded and unnoticed. It is critical to understand this new face of evil, for it threatens not only countless foreigners but Americans in coming years. And no one has embodied it more than Henry Kissinger.

And in tonight’s debate, Bernie Sanders brought up the spectre of Kissinger who Hillary embraced often in the past.

“I find it rather amazing, because I happen to believe that Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country,” Sanders said. “I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend.”

Sanders went on to single out Kissinger’s widely condemned secret invasion of Cambodia during the Vietnam War.

“And in fact, Kissinger’s actions in Cambodia, when the United States bombed that country, overthrew Prince Sihanouk, created the instability for Pol Pot and Khmer Rouge to come in, who then butchered some 3 million people, one of the worst genocides in the history of the world,” Sanders said.

Now, tonight the pundits have laughed at this exchange and wondered why both candidates stayed on Kissinger for so long. I believe, however, it is vitally important. Hillary has long embraced a hawkish view of the world and foreign policy and her embrace of Kissinger is extremely troubling. The fact that Sanders is able to look at him and say that is not someone he would seek counsel from matters. As Sanders has stated, the US should not be the policemen of the world. Under Kissinger the US was often the bully and strongman.

Again, the stance Bernie takes here in contrast to Hillary is of paramount importance. She has the experience but we must question her judgement of embracing, let’s call it what it is, a horrible man that lacks morality in his decisions and judgement.

Hillary has already discussed in her book how she received guidance from Kissinger, stating:

“Henry Kissinger checked in with me regularly, sharing astute observations about foreign leaders and sending me written reports on his travels.”

Excerpt From: Hillary Rodham Clinton. “Hard Choices.”

The Nation also pointed out the similarity between Clinton and Kissinger:

Clintonism is largely an extension of Kissingerism, so Clinton’s cozy relationship to Kissinger shouldn’t come as a surprise. Both Clintons have excelled at exactly the kind of fudging of their public-private roles that Kissinger perfected. Kissinger, the private consultant, profited from the catastrophes he created as a public figure. Beyond his role in brokering NAFTA, in Latin America his consulting firm, Kissinger and Associates, was a key player in the orgy of privatization that took place during Clinton’s presidency, enriching itself on the massive sell-off of public utilities and industries, a sell-off that, in many countries, was initiated by Kissinger-supported dictators and military regimes. The Clintons, too, both as private philanthropists and private investors, are neck deep in corruption in Latin America (especially in Colombia and Haiti)–corruption made worse, à laKissinger, by the policies they put into place as public figures, including the free trade treaties and policies that Hillary helped push through, first as senator and then as secretary of state.

When it comes to coups and bombing, too, Clinton follows Kissinger’s lead. Clinton’s role in legitimating the catastrophic 2009 coup in Honduras was pure Machtpolitik, the kind Kissinger deployed in Chile, Uruguay, Bolivia, Argentina, and elsewhere.

Then there’s Libya. Kissinger has long had the secular radical Muammar Qaddafi in his crosshairs (Kissinger, a close ally of Saudi Arabia, prefers to work with Wahhabi theocrats).

It should come as no surprise to anyone, then, when Kissinger himself embraced Hillary and her possibility of being president when he said:

I know Hillary as a person. And as a personal friend, I would say yes, she’d be a good president. But she’d put me under a great conflict of interest if she were a candidate, because I intend to support the Republicans. …

Yes, I’d be comfortable with her as the president.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Just Gave the Weirdest Answer About Superdelegates on CNN; Are They Clinton’s Firewall?

I was just listening to CNN while out running errands and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC chair, was on talking to Jake Tapper. He asked her to explain superdelegates to ease the mind of young voters to not think “it’s all rigged” and, well, here is her response:

Let me make sure I can clarify exactly what was available during the primaries in Iowa and in New Hampshire. The unpledged delegates are a separate category. The only thing available on the ballot in a primary and a caucus is the pledged delegates, those that are tied to the candidate that they are pledged to support and they receive a proportional number of delegates going into our convention. Unpledged delegates exist really to  make sure that party leaders and elected officials don’t have to be in a position where they are running against grassroots activist. We are, as a Democratic party, really highlight and emphasis inclusiveness and diversity at our convention and so we want to give every opportunity to grassroots activists and diverse committed democrats to be able to participate, attend and be a delegate at the convention. So we separate out those unpledged delegates to make sure that there isn’t competition between them.

Mediaite has the video up and I typed it in. If I got a word wrong here or there I apologize. I’m not a transcriptionist!

In any case, what exactly is she saying? Remember, this is in the context of Bernie and Hillary, but also a system created after the 1968 election when  Humphrey got trounced by Nixon.

Note: I mentioned McGovern before and was a little confused. He actually was one of the chairs of the commission that led to superdelegates being added. See here.

But, listen to what she says: “Unpledged delegates exist really to  make sure that party leaders and elected officials don’t have to be in a position where they are running against grassroots activist. We are, as a Democratic party, really highlight and emphasis inclusiveness and diversity at our convention and so we want to give every opportunity to grassroots activists and diverse, committed democrats to be able to participate, attend and be a delegate at the convention.” My emphasis, of course.

Now, who exactly might she be referring to? Remember, Bernie was an independent that, while caucassing with the Democrats was not a true member of the party in allegiance. Despite this he has received funds from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which seems like they were ok thinking of him as a Democrat. But, that is neither here nor there.

No, the issue here is that she sees the superdelegates as the buffer to ensure that the party is the decider when it matters. It will prevent the whims of grassroots activism taking over the people and in the end not being the direction the party wants it to go. They welcome their input, but they also need to know their place. The only way to prevent the party stepping in is to really overwhelm them with Bernie getting landslide support. We do this by ignoring the superdelegates right now and winning each and every primary and caucus we can win!

But, no, this answer is not going to assure anyone that the system is not rigged. It’s a poor answer and shows where her mindset is. Jake tapper agreed, saying “I’m not sure that answer would satisfy an anxious young voter.”