Monthly Archives: February 2016

Can We Stop Insulting New Hampshire Voters by Insinuating They Picked Sanders Because He’s From Next Door?

CNN. MSNBC. And every other mainstream media outlet wants you to believe sincerely that Sanders won New Hampshire because he was from next door in Vermont. This gives him the hometown advantage because they know him better.

Oh, so do many Democratic establishment higher-ups.

It’s insulting to tell the nation that New Hampshirites are swayed by voting for the neighbor and missing out on the great package that is Hillary Clinton. Only because he’s pretty much that nice Jewish kid across the state line.

Bull crap, people!

Hillary Clinton has been in the public eye since the 1992 when her husband won the presidency and for 8 years she was the First Lady. She was then a Senator in New York and her name was often touted that she would run for President. She did that in 2008 and WON NEW HAMPSHIRE DRAMATICALLY.

She lost the primary to Obama who then made her Secretary of State and again she was often in the limelight.

New Hampshire KNOWS her.

And maybe that is the issue. Hillary is well known and the voters want change. They are tired of the same crap every 4 years and they know that is what they will get from her.

Maybe they saw the hypocrisy in her going after leaving the spotlight of public service and taking Wall Street money to talk to them, and then deny it changed her.

Maybe, they remember why they liked her in 2008 but since that time they recognize this is not the same Hillary Clinton they liked then.

Or, maybe they like Bernie and believe in his message.

The issue with Hillary Clinton is Hillary Clinton. She is discussing now, according to Politico, of shaking up her campaign. She did that in 2008, too.

But David Axelrod is very correct when he adds:

“When the exact same problems crop up in separate campaigns, with different staff, at what point do the principals say, ‘Hey, maybe it’s US?’,” the former top aide to President Barack Obama tweeted.

And that is probably the biggest issue that new Hampshire had this time, too. Maybe they said, “We’ve seen that before but the message just isn’t ringing true. It’s time for a change.”

And I think I’m right, because over on the Republican side they chose Trump over the establishment, too.

This election is becoming historic because it’s the establishment versus the change candidates. And not “change you can believe in.” They had that and want real change.

An Open Letter to Hillary Clinton on Her Reluctance to Release Her Wall Street Speech Transcripts

Secretary Clinton,

I believe you are not reading the mood of the country during the 2016 Presidential Election. People are tired of the typical, persistent politics of money that dominates politics in the United States. People are tired of dishonest politicians that discuss “evolving” positions but in the end vote to meet the demands of the rich. Then, here you are giving hugely overpriced speeches to Wall Street and being resistant to release the text of these speeches to the people you want to serve.

This, Secretary Clinton, is unacceptable.

The Bible discusses the quandary as such:

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. Matthew 6:24

It goes on to describe these as God and money. In this instance you are attempting to serve the interests of Wall Street lobbyists and the American people. These interests are at odds.

Senator Sanders message is resonating because he is right. Wealth is continuing to flow up to the top 1% while the rest of us are getting poorer. We want a champion to stop this and balance it out. It’s ok for people to get wealthy, but there must be a balance.

But, understand this. The average household income in the United States is $51,939. In one speech to Wall Street you made a little less than four times that amount. In all of your speeches to Goldman Sachs, you made more than the net worth of your Democratic opponent.

It worries people, especially those that are part of the Democratic Party, that your interests are aligned closer to the elite than the common person. As a former Democratic president, Jimmy Carter, described it, the United States is now “an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery.” Hence, when a former Secretary of State who many believe will run for President, and now is running for President, makes $2.9 million in speeches to Wall Street, many people want to know what she said to them.

You are now saying you will release your speech transcripts if your opponents will release their speeches. Currently, your opponent is Bernie Sanders. He made, according to the New York Times, Bernie made $1867.42 for 3 appearances, one on Real Time with Bill Maher.

And if you are including the Republicans running as needing to release their speeches, guess what: the Democratic primary voters don’t care. We EXPECT them to be in the pocket of Wall Street. We EXPECT that they will kowtow to their interests. We EXPECT better from you.

That, Secretary Clinton, is the problem. When you are asked about why people would see you as dishonest, you blame Republicans. You say they are the reason for the questions around the your email server. And now you demand they release the transcripts to speeches, too.

But, Secretary, you are the one that evolves on myriad positions.

You are the one that decided to, for your convenience, setup a private email server.

And you chose to speak to Wall Street, making you rich and creating doubt in Democratic voters.

So, please, release the transcripts. If you continue to resist doing this you will allow your opponents to continue to question what you are trying to hide. We have no reason to question the integrity of Bernie. In this instance you would be able to put to rest one troubling question that will continue to overshadow your campaign.

Sincerely,
Nicolas Queen, MSW LGSW

Clinton and Bernie on Fracking and Why it Matters for Flint

Flint is a national tragedy. It is an example of money influencing politics and hurting people. Clinton is out in full force to gain headlines and voters:

“She’s the only one actually trying to help Flint,” said Shayne Hodges, a Flint father of three and friend of Mayor Weaver.

“Secretary Clinton has been in touch with the mayor personally and the two staffs have been in consistent contact,” Kristin Moore, the mayor’s communication director told MSNBC. “As far as I know,” she added, “Clinton is the only presidential candidate—Republican or Democrat—who has reached out.”

But what she won’t bring up is that she as secretary of state pushed fracking, which Mother Jones succinctly painted a picture of:

Shortly before Clinton arrived, tens of thousands of protesters poured into the streets carrying placards that read “Stop fracking with our water” and “Chevron go home.” Bulgaria’s parliament responded by voting overwhelmingly for a fracking moratorium.

Clinton urged Bulgarian officials to give fracking another chance. According to Borissov, she agreed to help fly in the “best specialists on these new technologies to present the benefits to the Bulgarian people.” But resistance only grew. The following month in neighboring Romania, thousands of people gathered to protest another Chevron fracking project, and Romania’s parliament began weighing its own shale gas moratorium. Again Clinton intervened, dispatching her special envoy for energy in Eurasia, Richard Morningstar, to push back against the fracking bans. The State Depart­ment’s lobbying effort culminated in late May 2012, when Morningstar held a series of meetings on fracking with top Bulgarian and Romanian officials. He also touted the technology in an interview on Bulgarian national radio, saying it could lead to a fivefold drop in the price of natural gas. A few weeks later, Romania’s parliament voted down its proposed fracking ban and Bulgaria’s eased its moratorium.

Now, I know many are going to point out that this is not the same thing. And I agree that it is not 100% the same. What it is, however, is an example of the use of money in politics to push an agenda that is at odds with the health and wellbeing of people.

Now, there is a lot of controversy surrounding whether fracking is safe. There are studies showing water has been contaminated. The EPA has said said has not led to “to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.” But InsideClimateNews points out how this was criticized by the Science Advisory Board:

The SAB’s 30 members, from academia, industry and federal agencies, said this and other conclusions drawn in the executive summary were ambiguous or inconsistent “with the observations/data presented in the body of the report.”

“Of particular concern is the statement of no widespread, systemic impacts on drinking-water resources,” the SAB wrote in a preliminary report. “Neither the system of interest nor the definitions of widespread, systemic or impact are clear and it is not clear how this statement reflects the uncertainties and data limitations described in the Report’s chapters.”

Residents in Pennsylvania are continuing to complain about the contamination of their water. Russian Times pointed out:

However, EcoWatch reports that Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has received 2,309 water complaints from 17 of 40 counties where fracking took place. Of those, 1,275 can now be viewed by the public, thanks to the investigations of non-profit Public Herald. The sheer number of complaints casts a shadow over EPA’s claims, since Pennsylvania’s official tally of water degradation is only 271 for all 40 fracking counties in the state.

Don’t worry, however, because while Hillary was fine bringing fracking to other areas of the world, she now opposes it in the US.

For now. I mean, she evolves on issues a lot.

From The Daily Caller:

Hillary Clinton was a major force behind bringing fracking to African countries during her tenure as Secretary of State, although she now opposes fracking in the United States.

Clinton made promoting fracking for natural gas in other countries a big priority during her tenure as Secretary of State. “The United States will promote the use of shale gas,” she said then.

But Grist noted that at the National Clean Energy Summit that Clinton appeared to be supportive of fracking while never using the politically charged word:

Now part of that bridge will certainly come from natural gas. There are challenges here to be sure, but the boom in domestic gas production is an example of American innovation changing the game, and if we do it right, it can be good for both the environment and our economy. With the right safeguards in place, gas is cleaner than coal. And expanding production iscreating tens of thousands of new jobs. And lower costs are helping give the United States a big competitive advantage in energy-intensive energies. …

But to capitalize on this boom, we have to face head-on the legitimate, pressing environmental concerns about some new extraction practices and their impacts on local water, soil, and air supplies. Methane leaks in the production and transportation of natural gas are particularly troubling. So it’s crucial that we put in place smart regulations and enforce them, including deciding not to drill when the risks are too high.

But let’s compare some pictures of water from Flint:

With water from fracking:

What is wrong with us in the US that we are ok with water being contaminated, and we have a Secretary of State out in the world pushing a process that has the potential to contaminate more?

Mother Jones, and please I urge you to go read the whole thing, does a good job summarizing the issue:

The episode sheds light on a crucial but little-known dimension of Clinton’s diplomatic legacy. Under her leadership, the State Department worked closely with energy companies to spread fracking around the globe—part of a broader push to fight climate change, boost global energy supply, and undercut the power of adversaries such as Russia that use their energy resources as a cudgel. But environmental groups fear that exporting fracking, which has been linked to drinking-water contamination and earthquakes at home, could wreak havoc in countries with scant environmental regulation. And according to interviews, diplomatic cables, and other documents obtained by Mother Jones, American officials—some with deep ties to industry—also helped US firms clinch potentially lucrative shale concessions overseas, raising troubling questions about whose interests the program actually serves.

And this is why Bernie’s attacks on Hillary and her Wall Street ties matter. What if they come calling holding lucrative benefits to a Clinton administration. Is she going to stand up to defend what is in her best interests or instead bow to them? Bernie, in the response to Hillary saying he was artfully attempting to smear her, said:

Let’s talk about issues. All right, let’s talk about why, in the 1990s, Wall Street got deregulated. Did it have anything to do with the fact that Wall Street provided—spent billions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions? Well, some people might think, yeah, that had some influence. Let’s ask why it is that we pay, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, and your medicine can be doubled tomorrow, and there’s nothing that the government can do to stop it. You think it has anything to do with the huge amounts of campaign contributions and lobbying from the fossil fuel industry? Let’s talk about climate change. Do you think there is a reason why not one Republican has the guts to recognize that climate change is real and that we need to transform our energy system? Do you think it has anything to do with the Koch brothers and ExxonMobil pouring huge amounts of money into the political system?

And that is the issue. Bernie was able to turn her claim of him focusing on her and instead point out the whole, entire system is rigged. This fracking issue and the Flint water issue are two instances of a national epidemic. Bernie says it is time to get money out of politics, and this whole issue is a good example. The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington says:

The fracking boom is yielding gushers of campaign contributions for congressional candidates from districts containing hydraulically fractured wells. A new CREW analysis of federal campaign contribution data tracked by MapLight found contributions from the industry to House and Senate candidates from districts and states home to fracking activity rose by 231 percent between the 2004 and 2012 election cycles.  In contrast, industry contributions to candidates from nonfracking districts rose by 131 percent, over the same time period.

Mother Jones also noted the links to lobbyists raising money for Hillary Clinton:

A list of 40 registered lobbyists that the Clinton camp disclosed to the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday revealed a number of Democratic Party lobbyists who have worked against regulations to curb climate change, advocated for offshore drilling, or sought government approval for natural gas exports.

And this is how Washington works. On the other side, where a candidate stands that is not being bought and paid for by corporate interests, is Bernie Sanders. According to H.A. Goodman, writing for Huffington Post:

Bernie Sanders never accepted money from corporations involved in fracking, and certainly never accepted money from prison lobbyists. His challenger, on the other hand, is linked to oil and gas contributions that span across the globe.

And here is Bernie saying how proud he is that Vermont banned fracking:

And he sponsored the Climate Protection Act of 2013 which does this:

Amends the Safe Drinking Water Act to repeal the exemption from restrictions on underground injection of fluids or propping agents granted to hydraulic fracturing operations relating to oil and gas production activities under such Act.

Requires state underground injection programs to direct a person conducting hydraulic fracturing operations to disclose: (1) before the commencement of such operations, the chemicals intended for use in underground injections; and (2) after the end of such operations, the chemicals actually used.

Requires the applicable person using hydraulic fracturing, when a medical emergency exists and the proprietary chemical formula of a chemical used in such hydraulic fracturing is necessary for medical treatment, to disclose such formula or the specific chemical identity of a trade secret chemical to the state, the Administrator, or the treating physician or nurse upon request, regardless of the existence of a written statement of need or a confidentiality agreement. Authorizes such person to require the execution of such statement and agreement as soon as practicable.

Directs the Administrator to prescribe an underground injection control program for a state, if the Administrator disapproves a state’s program. Repeals provisions concerning optional demonstrations to the Administrator by states that show the effectiveness of such state programs relating to oil or natural gas.

Authorizes civil penalties for violations of underground injection requirements.

And Hillary, let me remind you, pushed fracking worldwide. There is a difference.

UPDATE: Meg Bones on Facebook linked me to this, which could very well tie these completely together:

In July of 2014 I interviewed Flint attorney Alec Gibbs about the state takeover of Flint, why it happened, and the damage that, by that point, was already underway. It was a great discussion. And, because Gibbs got into a lot of depth not only about what had happened in Flint, but the history of the Emergency Manager law in Michigan, I find myself revisiting our conversation often. Well, when reading through it this afternoon, I found something interesting that I had’t noticed before. Toward the end of our interview, Gibbs mentions that the decision to move Flint off of Detroit water, and instead build a pipeline from Lake Huron, was likely made in part because Snyder and the Republicans wanted to bring water west from Lake Huron in order to service fracking operations along that route.

 

Hillary’s War on Women and Why Young Women Support Bernie

Another day and another outraging statement from Hillary or someone who supports her. I just can’t get over how infuriating this one is. And coming from someone that should probably know better. Let’s just get to the statement:

Former secretary of state Madeleine Albright introduced Hillary Clinton at an event in New Hampshire on Saturday, telling the crowd and voters in general: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!”

In polling, Clinton trails the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire by an average of around 17 points. She leads him nationally by 15 to 20 points. In this week’s Iowa caucus, which Clinton won narrowly, the former secretary of state led Sanders among women by 53% to 42% but lost out among younger voters.

Are you kidding me? Essentially this is a former secretary of state damning women to hell for not supporting Hillary. Let that sink in.

I am flabbergasted because to me this is the complete opposite of what I have always been taught feminism stood for. Wikipedia says this about feminism:

Feminism is a range of movements and ideologies that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve equal political, economic, cultural, personal, and social rights for women.

Guess what right women should have? TO SUPPORT WHOEVER THE HELL THEY WANT TO. Women can support other women, men or a combination. They can even support Republicans. Or Communists. Or decide to not vote at all. But just because they have a uterus and Hillary also shares this biological feature doesn’t mean they need to go like a drone and vote for her.

But I think there is an insidiousness here that also is an prod at another popular woman that leans more ideologically his way: Elizabeth Warren. I pointed out yesterday that female Senators are pressuring her to heed the biological feminine imperative to blindly support Hillary despite the issues Warren has had with her in the past.

Not to worry though, because Gloria Steinem, a feminist icon, came out to defend these women who are supporting Bernie:

“I don’t mean to over-generalize … but men tend to get more conservative because they gain power as they age, and women get more radical because they lose power as they age,” Steinem responded.
“So it’s kind of not fair to measure most women by the standard of most men, because they’re going to get more activist as they get older,” she added.
“And when you’re young, you’re thinking, ‘Where are the boys?’ The boys are with Bernie.”
Wait, what?
Let me try to figure this out because I think I am losing my mind. Between Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright I believe I have figured out that young women are boy crazy and since they are seeking men out they are going over to Bernie to get them some Bernie Bros. As such, they are condemned to the fiery pits of hell.
Have I lost my mind? Is this feminism?
I like to think women are smarter than this. They are able to think rationally, look at both candidates and decide that one of them are better representative of their values and beliefs. When they look at Bernie they see someone they feel can best represent them in the White House.
He has a lifetime pro-choice record and co-sponsored the Freedom of Choice Act in 1993.
He supports a living wage, which is maybe a bit important to these young women because 2/3 of pregnant adolescent women live under the poverty level.
And, on top of those issues important to women, he also supports campaign finance reform, single payer health care, and income and wealth inequality.
Essentially, they are supporting a candidate that shares their values. They are not drones that see a woman running for president and ignores everything else to fall in line. That is intimidation, and those statements are meant to shame them.
Women, you have come a long way to be where you are today. There is still work that needs to be done. I will not shame you into voting for Bernie. Above is a list of his plans. Like them? Vote for him. Go see her plan. Like it? Vote for her. Don’t like them. Well, there are Republicans you may like better. Even a woman one. But, it’s your right.
I promise you that you will not go to hell for voting for someone that isn’t Hillary. Also, I believe you have a good head on your shoulders and not boy crazy and supporting Bernie to find guys. Even typing that makes me sick.
Shame on you Madeleine Albright and Gloria Steinem.
Update: Another thought on this from a discussion I had on Facebook earlier.
Back when I was in grad school we studied feminist therapy where you approach the problem faced by the client from the perspective that they are in a disadvantaged position due to gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race and so forth. You would assist the client in facing the forces disempowering them and work to empower them against those forces. But here you see two women that are essentially removing the power these women have in making choices. It’s sickening. 

Stop It, Hillary: You ARE a Member of the Establishment and You ARE Beholden to Wall Street

I was discussing my dog with someone the other day and they made a point I had heard before. Dogs intuitively know if someone is good or bad. They will snarl at someone they perceive as bad while running over to get petted and snuggle up to a person they perceive is good. I’m not sure if I wholly buy it as my dog snarl at every man he meets but loves women. Actually, maybe they do…

Regardless, I’m starting to think voters have this sixth sense concerning BS and Hillary reeks of it. The truth is this:

She IS part of the establishment and she IS in the pocket of Wall Street.

Hillary, why not embrace it? You worked for years to become part of the establishment of power in DC, and if it wasn’t that all the rest weren’t just as tainted it wouldn’t be an issue. Also, you had no issue cozying up to Wall Street when they came calling, singing the siren song of cold, hard cash. It’s only when it hurts your poll numbers when you push them away. I’ve seen this sort of before, some sort of attachment issue.

In any case, you had all sorts of fun, laughable lines that we should look at. How about this one at the CNN Town Hall:

“Look, I made speeches to lots of groups,” Clinton explained to Cooper. “I told them what I thought. I answered questions.”

“But did you have to be paid $675,000?” Cooper persisted.

“Well, I don’t know,” Clinton fumbled. “That’s what they offered. You know every secretary of state that I know has done that.”

I want to examine that “every secretary of state that I know has done that,” line. We can actually look at that! Back in 2013, Neon Tommy examined speaking fees of politicians. Before we delve in, let’s think of the value of what some of these people could speak about. Wouldn’t you think a President would draw more than a Secretary of State? I would. Wouldn’t Bush or Powell demand more because, heck, I want to hear about 9/11 (Hillary likes to discuss that) and Hillary was only a Senator then. I think what is most telling in the price tags is the potential for each. I think we should look at this as investing and hoping for a return. So, who demanded the most money? In the list Neon Tommy noted, it was Hillary. Her husband was next at $195,000.

From there, the drop off is steep. George W. Bush, the president during 9/11 was $110,000 but I agree he also sucks at speaking. Colin Powell, was paid between $100,000 to $150,000 a speech. This is a former 4 star general, Secretary of State, the first African-American Joint Chief of Staff, a former National Security Advisor and a Commander of the US Armed Forces. Lots of knowledge there. Compare that to a two term senator, Secretary of State and former First Lady. The biggest difference was potential. She was going to run again. Everyone knew it. And those savvy investors decided to invest into a person many seemed positive would be president. They also gave to others that were seen to be potential presidents. Smart investors diversify.

A newer, and maybe better source, confirms this. In fact, Donald Trump tops that list with $1.5 million per speech. I mean, really? This story, however, reminded me of the controversy surrounding Hillary speaking at UNLV for $225,000. Just a reminder, for those who forgot:

Hillary Clinton is appearing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas this October and her speaking fee – $225,000 – has sparked an outcry that seems to be getting louder.

The fee has led to calls by UNLV students for Clinton to either speak for free or donate the money back to students. Nevada political journalist Jon Ralston has been among those leading the charge against UNLV’s decision.

“You could give scholarships to thousands of students, benefit research on campus, give more students grants for research and studying,” Daniel Waqar, Student Relations Director for the UNLV Student Government told Ralston this week.

” Tuition just went up seventeen percent. It’s gone up a hundred percent over the past decade or so. We think that students could really use this support from the $225,000-and greatly benefit from the scholarships-from the speaking fee, Waqar said.

Indeed, Nevada higher education officials signed off on a plan to hike undergraduate tuition at UNLV by 17 percent (roughly 4 percent a year for the next four years), complicating the optics for Clinton’s payday.

And while looking at this, I came across another story where she was teasing the 2016 run, this from September 2014:

“I’m ba-ack!” With those words, Hillary Clinton announced Sunday her return to Iowa, the state that derailed her last presidential run and will be critical to a second one, if she decides to take the plunge. And almost all of the 7,000 die-hard Democrats here at the Iowa Steak Fry — 2,000 more than expected — seemed ready to welcome her.

It is malarky for her to tell people her speaking fees were her new career and she had no plans to run again. She knew and she used that potential to tweak her fee up to as high as she could. They were buying access to a woman who would be the most powerful politician in the world. She is lying if she says otherwise.

And she also tries to say none of this has changed her votes. This, also, is a lie. Elizabeth Warren, who I trust a hell of a lot more than Hillary, pointed this out in an interview with Bill Moyers:

ELIZABETH WARREN: As Senator Clinton, the pressures are very different. It’s a well-financed industry. You know a lot of people don’t realize that the industry that gave the most money to Washington over the past few years was not the oil industry, was not pharmaceuticals. It was consumer credit products. Those are the people. The credit card companies have been giving money, and they have influence.

BILL MOYERS: And Mrs. Clinton was one of them as senator.

ELIZABETH WARREN: She has taken money from the groups, and more to the point, she worries about them as a constituency.

Please go and watch the whole exchange. It’s enlightening to see how the system really works.

Her other assertion was one concerning her being unable to be part of the establishment because she is a woman running for president. I mean, come one Hillary. You aren’t stupid by any means. You know what the establishment is. If not, Wikipedia actually has an article about it:

The Establishment generally denotes a dominant group or elite that holds power or authority in a nation or organization. The Establishment may be a closed social group which selects its own members (as opposed to selection by merit or election) or specific entrenched elite structures, either in government or in specific institutions.

Her exact words were:

“I’ve got to just jump in here because, honestly, Senator Sanders is the only person who would characterize me a woman running to be the first woman president as exemplifying the establishment,” Clinton said to applause.

Sanders had defined clearly that Hillary had the support of the establishment, listing:

“I will absolutely admit that Secretary Clinton has the support of far more Governors, Senators, Mayors, members of the House,” Sanders said at Thursday’s debate hosted by MSNBC. “She has the entire establishment or almost the entire establishment behind her. That’s a fact. I don’t deny it. I’m pretty proud that we have over a million people who have contributed to our campaign averaging 27 bucks a piece.”

But Hillary, you have worked for years to become part of this group. When the Clintons rose to national fame in 1992 as Bill fought to rise up from Little Rock to DC, he was NOT part of the Establishment. Now, they are the epitome if not the definition of one of the great families.

Clinton.

Bush.

Kennedy.

These names conjure up power and wealth. And let me say they worked hard to get there and get access. Why not embrace it? The media sees it:

The Atlantic:

I don’t think Hillary Clinton is unaware that she’s a part of the establishment. Rather, I think that she was willing to feign offense to deflect from a charge that she knows to be true. “She has the entire establishment or almost the entire establishment behind her,” Sanders declared, and she “does represent the establishment.”

That is absolutely correct. See for yourself.

In all this, she is not alone.

There are politicians aplenty who have played outsized roles in shaping U.S. politics and policy who nevertheless deny that they are, in fact, part of the establishment. In so doing, they avoid grappling with their roles in national failures. That sort of nonsense deserves to be called out.

And the Atlantic rightly points out that Sanders, a long time Senator, is also part of the Establishment. I think the difference is that he, being an independent Senator who has pushed away the money that would probably flow his way considering his success so far in this campaign has helped him to remove that label.

The Washington Post:

The problem with the remark is obvious. Clinton does not merely exemplify the establishment. She and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, are the Democratic Party establishment. We’re in the realm of description, not characterization. That candidate Clinton could deliver her line with a straight face goes to the heart of her trustworthiness problem.

She really believes she can put a line like that over on us?

And The Washington Post again:

There are those who insist that race, gender and any other aspects of identity which are immutable or visible are held in one’s pocket — or somehow cease to exist until such time that individuals elect to pull them out and “play” them like some kind of cultural ace card. These people are, to put it very simply, plain wrong — or, at least, fortunate enough in their own social standing to remain blissfully unaware.

So, Clinton’s fundamental claim that her status as a precedent-setting candidate — the first woman with a real and solid chance at a major party’s presidential nomination — is not the problem here. She is who she is. This is a statement of fact.

The problem is what followed — the “exemplifying the establishment” and the “quite amusing” parts. She all but said that a woman cannot be a part of the establishment.

And this, we must say, is simply false.

But the best evidence comes from what happens when you start making a member of the establishment look bad. They attack you, as an article from the Hill titles “Democratic Establishment Starts to Gang up On Sanders” states:

Democratic lawmakers on both sides of the Capitol are turning their fire on Bernie Sanders as he marches toward a big win in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary.

Embrace your friends Hillary! They got your back!

My hope is that Elizabeth Warren will finally stand up with Bernie and endorse him. Right now though she is getting peer pressure from other female Democratic ESTABLISHMENT Democrats to endorse Hillary out of obligation to some sisterhood, female ideal. I hope she digs deeper into her progressive values and sees Hillary for what she is. I just can’t see Warren backing someone that she clearly pointed out above is a hypocrite.

The Problem with Hillary when Compared to Bernie (and others)

You know, sometimes I think if Hillary would just stop the BS and try, TRY, to be genuine that I could support her, but this whole CNN town hall proves that she just has too much staging and consultants and listens to the polls and has to say just the right thing. Plus, her baggage is just too much.

That is really sad. I think when Bill ran he had those moments where you really could just want to go and hangout with him. Not so with Hillary. I could go and just talk small talk with Bernie and enjoy my time with him. No politics, no pressure. I feel with Hillary she would sit and just calculate the best thing to say to get the upper hand.

Same thing, at times, with Trump. You’ve heard people say he comes off as your crazy, drunk uncle. Sure, but people love their crazy, drunk uncle. You know who he is. He may be racist, but he doesn’t hide it. You can disagree, he will argue with you but at the end of the day he isn’t couching his discourse to gain support. This is a problem.

And its a problem Cruz has, too. You just hear people saying they don’t like her. A Cruz vs Clinton ticket would have terrible general election turnout.

Here’s the thing. She is not a progressive. Embrace that Hillary. Will you be a progressive if you are the nominee? No, you won’t be. Why? Because you will then need to be more moderate because polling will tell you that it’s what you need to do to win in November.

And that is the problem. You evolve more than a Pokemon. You have to change your spots constantly to meet the metric being forced on you by handlers. We need to get away from this and get back to less money and more honesty in politics.

Time to Move On: Iowa is Over And NH, NV and SC are Next. Let’s Look at NH!

OK, Iowa ended in a virtual tie. As much as Hillary and her compatriots want to frame this as a huge victory, and it’s not, Bernie showed that he has the ability to win. It’s going to be a long fight. As such, it’s time to move on. Fighting for Iowa is essentially us getting bogged down for one or two delegates. In all, 108 delegates are up for grabs. It’s time to get busy.

Personally, I want to look at the issues important to each of these states. This will be the first of three blog articles discussing these next three states.

First, let’s look at New Hampshire. The polls and media are saying this state is a Bernie should win easily. Still, this means it’s his to lose.

One of the issues I was actually very surprised to see as a primary issue for voters in New Hampshire was drug abuse. NHMagazine noted that:

In 2016 the New Hampshire primary might be putting another issue on the national agenda: opiate drug abuse.

The first question that perceived Republican frontrunner Jeb Bush was asked at his first town hall event was about the issue. He said he was surprised to hear the issue come up again and again on the campaign trail. He later learned that a campaign staffer’s brother died from an overdose.

Democratic frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton notes that a question about opiate addiction was also the first question she was asked when she began campaigning for president in the state. Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, a Republican candidate, used to never talk about her daughter dying from a drug overdose, but she does so now. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is now holding events solely highlighting the issue and what he has done in his state to address the problem.

This is actually an issue I know a lot about. I have worked for over six years in social work, first at a crisis stabilization unit that dealt a lot with opiate abuse. The treatment at this agency was suboxone along with an intensive outpatient treatment. My personal experience with seeing people go through this is mixed. It could definitely be improved. My next job was in child protective services and I many of the families I dealt with were affected by drug abuse, with the majority being opiates. And my current job has shown me the continued impact of drug abuse on families.

Bernie has a solid drug policy outlined. He has outlined how the war on drugs has been a failure and impacting the productivity of America, noting:

“If you do not believe that there is a correlation between high youth unemployment and the fact that this country has more people in jail than any other country on Earth, you would be wrong. Now, how does it happen that in this great nation, we have more people in jail than the communist authoritarian country of China, which has over three times our population? And in my view — and I feel this very, very strongly — instead of locking up our young people, maybe it’s time we found jobs for them and education for them.”

Not to mention costing the US $51 billion annually. That is crazy for the return on investment we don’t get. Also, the 700% increase in prison population since 1970.

Bernie also agrees with the decriminalization of marijuana, a huge step in the right direction:

“Let me just say this — the state of Vermont voted to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana and I support that. I have supported the use of medical marijuana. And when I was mayor of Burlington, in a city with a large population, I can tell you very few people were arrested for smoking marijuana. Our police had more important things to do… Colorado has led the effort toward legalizing marijuana and I’m going to watch very closely to see the pluses and minuses of what they have done. I will have more to say about this issue within the coming months.”

I very much agree with Bernie on this population needing treatment but having trouble getting this treatment, stating:

“We are unprepared for the epidemic in terms of our mental health capacity to treat people who need treatment. And one of the problems in Vermont is you have waiting lists of people who want to break the habit, want to break their addiction, and we can’t treat them when they want to do it.”

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration notes that, “Only 11% of the 22.7 million Americans who needed drug or alcohol treatment in 2013…” and I can relate to this. Often there are issues with access to insurance, people trained and able to help and then just stigma alone. Very often, those in need of drug abuse treatment are dealing with comorbid mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, mood disorders or psychotic symptoms. At times, they are turning to drugs to self-medicate themselves. Sure, it doesn’t work but it makes the horror of living day to day easier to deal with.

And yes, there are options for treatment but at times those options are unavailable in some areas or are just extremely expensive. Bernie has attempted to deal with this in the Senate, joining Maryland’s Elijah Cummings in writing:

“The opioid abuse epidemic is a public health emergency that must be addressed, and no company should jeopardize the progress many states have made in tackling this emergency by overcharging for a critically important drug like naloxone,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to the National Governors Association and National Association of Attorneys General.

Other treatments are also shown to be effective but there are some issues with these. Many have stringent rules and some of these rules are at times not based in the best literature available. At times, the stigmas against drug users are held by those treating them and used against them. Let’s be clear: relapse will happen but if forced out of care for relapsing you aren’t exactly helping them. I’ve seen this happen more times than I can count. They need support, but the combination of insurance and human incompetence combined is enough to stop that.

Bernie is also right that we lack the resources and infrastructure in this country to deal with this problem. He said as such speaking after the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman:

So I think the issues there are several-fold. The first and fundamental issue is, why is it that so many people, not just young people, gravitate toward opiates and toward heroin? Why? Why? What’s going on in our culture, where people know that taking powerful drugs — you gotta know it’s not good for you, and you gotta know that when you do these things they become addictive, and certainly most people know that heroin is a killer. Once you’re into heroin, it’s either jail or death. And, why? Second of all is, we are unprepared for the epidemic, in terms of our mental health capacity to treat people who need treatment. And one of the problems in Vermont is you have waiting lists of people who want to break the habit, want to break their addiction, and we can’t treat them when they want to do it. So you tell them, come back in six months. Well, in six months, they might not be prepared to take that step. I will tell you that in Vermont it is a very, very serious problem.

I see this problem as one of us misallocating our resources. We throw $51 billion to the war on drugs, plus into prisons and other punitive measures to punish an epidemic that is multifaceted and growing daily. It is time for a new strategy.

Tomorrow, we will look at South Carolina.