Are Voters Crashing the Party?

Follow the link below for a telling series of comments from DNC Super Delegate Howard Dean and from DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz on the process by which the Super Delegates cast their votes in the Democratic Primary. 

When challenged on his decision to cast his Super Delegate vote for Hillary Clinton in the wake of Vermont voters selecting Bernie Sanders by an 86 to 13 percent majority, Dean responded that, “Super delegates don’t “represent people” I’m not elected by anyone. I’ll do what I think is right for the country.”

Similarly, DNC Chair Schultz (an ardent Clinton supporter) has explained the role of Super Delegates as a means by which the Democratic Party is protected from grass roots candidates, you know, the ones the people actually get behind.  Far be it from the Party to allow actual voters to crash the process.

“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 activists. We are as a Democratic Party really highlight and emphasize 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. And so we separate out those unpledged delegates to make sure that there isn’t competition between them.” – DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz

More Washingtonian Double Speak.  There should be a Rosetta Stone guide to this language.  The gist of it is that the Party wants the grassroots movements, the ones that could change the direction of the party and possibly bring it into the twenty first century, to be represented like a fly in amber, but then conveniently shelved in time to name the candidate the party wanted all along.  Is the primary process just for show?  The implication is that the Party exists as a philosophical plaything of a small group of elite social planners, and that the expressed will of the citizens of this country is understood more as a hindrance to their planning than as a validation of it.

Since his campaign for President began, Bernie Sanders has reminded us that the system is rigged.  I can imagine him now, in his thickest New York accent, bending one arm upward at the elbow and shouting, “You want your rigged system?!  I got it right here!”

Once again, we are witness to an election cycle where contests are exceedingly close. This year, the opposition candidate, frontrunner Donald Trump, is bringing voters out of the woodwork like never before.  And yet, the party elders of the Democratic Party  do not see any real need to support the will of their own base.  After all, they know better than the voter what is good for the country (at least in terms of lobbyist funding for Democratic Super Pacs).  It may surprise them in November to find that the voters think otherwise.

It is very interesting to note that on both sides of the hedge, Republican and Democrat, the party leaders still fail to grasp just how disgusted with party politics the voters have become.  The grassroots movement to which they refer is spreading everywhere, on both sides of the fence.  On that first Tuesday in November, the party faithful may show up for the victory rally and wonder where the party went.

For us, the voters, it is one more example of the reasons we need to vote our conscience and disregard the media pundits, the Super Pac advertising blitzes and the proclamations from the parties, themselves.  If this country is ever to return from oligarchy to one in which the voice of the people resonates in Washington, it will be on our backs and on our votes.

Disregard the rhetoric.  Look at the records.  Decide for yourself whom this government should represent.  Do not let anyone convince you to stay home because the decision has already been reached.  Your vote matters.  Vote your conscience.

http://ivn.us/2016/03/08/former-dnc-chair-superdelegates-dont-represent-the-people-theyll-do-what-they-want/

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Best Not Be the Last Rat Off the Ship

The continuing saga that is the Republican primary process goes from cliffhanger to cliffhanger.  Last week, Mitt Romney stepped up and took a few pokes at the Donald, but failed to connect.  I’m sure that the RNC was praying for Romney to at least take a punch while landing a few of his own.  Ever the good soldier for the party, Mitt could not even rope-a-dope the guy in the clown mask.

Today, still more Republican Senators and Congressmen have stepped up, and taken great pains to show themselves backing as far away from Trump as possible.  And it is not that they believe that Trump will lose to Hillary or Bernie.  Quite the contrary, they are terrified that he will win.

Well they should be. 

Those Republicans know that in Trump, they would boast a President with zero experience of government, no knowledge of how the system that is Washington, works.  Trump insists that he is a leader and that people will follow his orders.  He does not seem to realize just how constrained the scope of the President’s power really is.  When he claimed in a recent debate that the military would obey his orders to torture prisoners or to murder the families of terrorists, he was completely oblivious to the fact that our military personnel swear allegiance not to the President, but to the Constitution.  They will not torture anyone on Trump’s say-so.  It stands to reason that Trump would experience a whole new level of frustration as a businessman in the White House, as he would have to wait on the Congress, not usher them a memo with a to-do list for the afternoon.

Realistically, unless the far right manages to seize the bulk of the open seats in the House and Senate within the next couple of years, Trump will enjoy less support than any President since Jimmy Carter, and many of us remember how poorly the country faired under his administration.  And I’m not knocking Carter; I believe that unlike Trump, Carter is a very fine human being.

As a nation, we would be faced with absolute grid-lock in the House and Senate, blustering, Mussolini like postures from our President, the gilding of the White House, photo spreads of the First Lady in Maxxim, chaos in foreign policy, the loss of faith of our most trusted allies, and a President played for a fool by our nation’s enemies.  The Supreme Court could be in line to receive three and maybe four new justices.  Whose interests or prejudices would they represent?   This is a train wreck, just waiting to happen.  And so it is from that impending train wreck that we can not avert our eyes.

And, after four years (and maybe less, couldn’t that be interesting?), Trump’s supporters would scurry back under their porches, and he’d be roundly voted out of office – taking the rest of the Republican party with him. The Senators and Congressmen flinging themselves from the halyards of the ship of state and into the ocean are doing so in the desperate hope that it will save their political lives.  It may not.

That is not the kind of future for which any of us should hope.  A shattered Republican party is not healthy for our country.  We need two good parties, different ideas from which to choose what is best, a far left and a far right, and a very strong, moderate base in each party. 

The rats are fleeing Trump’s ship, whether it be sinking or not.  The question now is whether or not they can swim to shore, regroup and take back the control of this election before November.

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The Present has Roots in the Past

It was a spirited and at times subtle debate this evening in Flint, Michigan, between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.  Hillary is a very skillful speaker and has a well earned reputation for choosing her words very carefully.  Bernie remains a man of the people, clearly not a member of the elite Washingtonian set.  Both candidates made some good points and delivered what is now a well rehearsed synopsis of their campaigns as they made sure to differentiate themselves from each other.

One recurring motif during the night was that Hillary repeatedly bemoaned Bernie’s focusing on the politics of the 1990’s.  It was rather clear that she really did not want to go there.  And of course, there is the presidency of her husband.  No, there were no forays into the sexual peccadillos of the then president.  But Bernie did successfully draw attention to the disastrous trade agreements that began under her husband’s tenure in office (NAFTA in 1994) , and which she has continued to support as Senator and Secretary of State (CAFTA, Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China, Trans Pacific Partnership), though from which she is now attempting to distance herself as candidate.

What will dog Clinton throughout this election cycle is that she is on record in the senate and on video tape, supporting those trade deals.  And in that way, today’s present has its roots in a past she no longer wishes to discuss.  During her husbands’ presidency, Hillary was often dispatched as First Lady to speak with the press as cheerleader for the President’s economic plan.  And yes, in the early days of those deals, the economic future of America looked pretty bright.  But Bernie Sanders stood in opposition to them then and has been proven right some twenty years later.  The inescapable truth is that the trade deals into which the US government has entered have been catastrophic for American working people.  NAFTA alone cost American working people 850,000 jobs and the Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China has cost us 3.2 million more.  Since 2001, some sixty thousand factories in the United States have shut down as our industry continues to be outsourced into the third world. 

All of this is part of a larger, still evolving picture.  When Bernie Sanders draws attention to Hillary’s ties to Wall Street and the $15 million she has raised through those ties for her campaign, he puts her squarely in the camp of the people who profited through the outsourcing of American jobs.  Her refusal to release the transcripts of her speeches to Goldman Sachs is not helping her case.  She can continue to assert that she will release hers when the Republican candidates release theirs, but the Republican candidates are not hiding from their support of big business.  Their platforms consistently call for even less regulation of Wall Street and of big business in this country.  Hillary alone seems to want to have it both ways.  She wants to be seen as the defender of the middle and working classes and hard liner against Wall Street’s transgressions, yet she takes money from Wall Street and gives those two hundred thousand dollar speeches.  If she will not produce the transcripts, we are forced to come to our own conclusions regarding just what is in them.

Each of the candidates sees the need for intervention in Flint and Detroit to help two crumbling cities and so many people in dire need.  What Hillary will have a hard time escaping is the understanding that her husband’s trade agreements and her support of them and of others, is in large part what doomed those cities in the first place.  Flint’s lead crisis is in part due to the fact that it has been one of the most economically devastated cities in North America.  Had it remained the vital and prosperous city it once was, it would have had a tax base in place to be used for infrastructure repairs.  And when the Secretary tries to point to her support of the Auto Manufacturers bailout, it should and probably will fall on many deaf ears.  The reality is that the bailout helped the ownership, not the workers.  In Flint, Michigan, there had been some 80,000 jobs in the auto industry.  Now there are barely 5,000 left.  The bailout, once again, allowed the ownership of an American company to send jobs overseas.  And that bailout was paid for by you and me and the people of Flint, Michigan.

When the subject of hydraulic fracturing arose and Anderson Cooper begged the candidates’ position on it, Hillary was typically equivocal and Bernie was typically not.  Where she laid out the scenarios under which she would oppose fracking and said that there would not be very many where she would support it, Bernie uttered a clear, one word answer.  No, he does not support it.  When Hillary stated that she would demand that corporations engaged in fracking tell the government just what they were pumping into the ground, she already knew that thanks to Dick Cheney and his connections to and ongoing support of Haliburton, that is considered a trade secret.  There is already a law in place, passed under the George W. Bush administration, which prohibits our government from requiring that information of Haliburton.  They can pump what they damn well please.

Bernie used the opportunity of speaking about Hillary’s time in Europe as Secretary of State to segue into the issue of guaranteed health care and here again, there was subtle distinction between the candidates that has a lot to do with the choice of language.  Bernie asserted that like the countries of Europe, we should guarantee health care as a right to each and every American citizen.  Hillary’s response was that we were well on the way to doing just that, with almost 90% of our citizens covered under health insurance. 

Health care and health insurance are two different animals.  Hillary wants to continue with a program by which all Americans are required to have health insurance, provided by our long established health insurance companies.  That same insurance which keeps going up in cost while it drops in coverage, with higher deductibles and higher out of pocket maximums.  Who benefits from that?  Who benefits when a person has health insurance yet can not afford to go to the doctor because he or she can not pay the deductible?  If you do not go to your doctor, the doctor does not get paid.  So where would that money go?  Obviously, it stays in the pocket of the health insurance company.

Bernie, instead, wants us to have health care.  And it is the health care that we really need.  His single payer system will rein in the staggering costs of health care in this country and put us on a system similar to that which is already in place in the rest of the industrialized world (so please do not tell me that it can not work).  Hillary wanted to paint a similarity between her position and that of Bernie Sanders, but the two are actually very, very different.

As Hillary rightfully pointed out, this election is for the presidency which is here and now.  We have problems in the here and now and we must deal with those problems in the here and now.  But Bernie Sanders wants us to see that those problems have roots in the trade agreements, bailouts and legislation which have made it easier for corporations to move their workforces to the third world and their money offshore.  And those roots go back to the 1990’s and the first Clinton administration.  Both candidates have their rhetoric and both candidates have their records.  Hillary’s rhetoric may be timely, but her record is one of supporting decisions which ultimately have destroyed our economy and the lives of millions of Americans.  Bernie Sanders has a record that is now some fifty years in the making and has consistently been on the side of the middle and working classes of this country.  He has released all of his speeches to Wall Street.  We know just whose side he is on.

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Why Do You Keep Voting For These Guys?

In the clip from Rachel Maddow’s show below, Bernie asks and answers this all important question, one which we all have to ask of ourselves.  Why do we keep voting for people who drive our country further into the hole?  Our political process, much like society itself, has devolved into a stream of vacuous soundbites, personality cults, fear mongering and knee-jerk responses to what are more often than not, the wrong questions.  And from that, we somehow are expected to find our leaders?

While Bernie’s response in the clip below is focused primarily on the phenomenon that has become Donald Trump, it really is a plain spoken assessment of what we as receptors have allowed the senders to accomplish as a means to their own ends.  We are afraid of the now and even more so of the future.  We have become powerless against the demons under the bed, monsters which most likely would vanish in the light of day.  But the curtains are held closed, the light extinguished, and those who profess to hold the answers keep pulling the covers over our heads.

The American people, the real people of this country, are indeed in trouble.  This has become the first generation who will undoubtedly be providing their children with a lower quality of life than they had, themselves.  It is hard to be all you can be when you are just barely hanging on.  We are working harder, and for increasingly less, but never quite for nothing.  And that is significant.  For, as the old song goes, if we had nothing, we’d have nothing to lose.  Instead, the power brokers and institutions who benefit from the rest of us following blindly like sheep are sure to leave us with just enough that we fear that someone will come and take it.  Why do we keep voting for these guys?  We have been conditioned to respond to that fear by electing, time and again, the man with the plan, the candidate with the answer to the very fear he or she has been spreading across the countryside.  It is as though the knight in shining armor has arrived in our town, bringing his own dragon, just in case we don’t have one of our own.

It is easy to blame the far right for their calculated use of fear as motivator for their brand of conservatism.  They taught us to be afraid of women taking men’s jobs, blacks  moving into white neighborhoods, gays becoming teachers in our schools, the government coming to take our guns and drive our religious beliefs out of our culture, Mexican rapists crossing our borders with drugs, and Muslim terror cells waltzing into the country on refugee visas.  But the Democrats are as much to blame in the dispensation of fear, teaching us to be afraid of conservative Supreme Court justices taking away women’s rights to control their own bodies, the imposition of an Evangelical belief system upon our laws, and a government of the corporation, by the corporation and for the corporation.  In short, both sides have taught us to fear the other.

These architects of fear have become the builders of our modern political system.  I’ve said this part before, but I believe it bears repeating.  We need to understand that in America, our politics have come to function as a form of religion.  And it is an Old Testament style of religion, built on fear from a house of cards.  Our politics are like a religion in that increasingly, they are built upon assumptions that are unproven or unprovable.  Candidates from each party rail against perceived injustices and Machiavellian designs of the other party, but seldom, if ever, is any injustice really probed, does any design really come to fruition. 

Without the pudding, we never experience the proof.  But there is reason for that, as well.  Just like a religion, if any of our unprovable assumptions were to become provable and demonstrated to be unfounded, that part of the house of cards collapses and possibly takes the rest of the structure with it.  Here we have two churches, Republican and Democrat, and each holds their congregants in large part through fear of the other.  But each instructs those congregants not to look too closely at those fears, not to test the waters of their fear to judge the depth.  As a result, Washington is more devoted to posturing than a Vogue runway.  Very little of substance is attempted or accomplished for fear that if it works, the party that suggested it is validated and the party that feared and opposed it has another wall removed from its own house of cards.  Similarly, if a bill is passed and the results of it merit a failing grade, we pull a card from the stack of the party that suggested it in the first place.  Thus we have replaced bustle with monolith.

An interesting manifestation of this development of the “immovable object” as government can be found  in the candidates running for President.  If you dare not risk validating the ideology of the other church, you do not want to run a candidate who has had much experience mingling with its congregation.  And so we see many candidates for office who have very little real experience of government, very little experience of real political compromise, very little experience of getting legislation passed into law.  The one thing they know is that the fault lies somewhere in the other party.

By way of example, here are the political tenures, at a national level, of the major candidates we have seen thus far (with a couple of ringers thrown in for good measure):

Marco Rubio – one term in the Senate

Ted Cruz – one term in the Senate

Donald Trump – zero political experience

Ben Carson – zero political experience

Carly Fiorina – zero political experience

Rand Paul – one term in the Senate

Interestingly enough, we used to elect former governors to the Presidency, in large part because we found them to have had a great deal of relevant administrative experience and of having worked across the aisles in their own states to get things done.  Aside from John Kasich, who is still trying to get a leg up in the Republican party, three others have run during this election cycle.  All three washed out fairly early on:

Jeb Bush – two terms as governor

Chris Christie – two terms as governor

Martin O’Malley – two terms as governor

Beyond Martin O’Malley, the Democrats present a somewhat different resumé:

Hillary Clinton – one and a half terms in the Senate, four years as Secretary of State

Bernie Sanders – sixteen years in the House, two terms in the Senate

Jim Webb – one term in the Senate

Barack Obama (remember him?) – one term in the senate

John F. Kennedy (remember him??) – one term in the House, one term in the Senate

Why would either political party want to run candidates with little to no demonstrable experience of government?  Perhaps they fear that experience makes agnostics of us all.

Now we are down to five candidates.  On the Republican side, the front-runner has no experience of government, though he does have numerous bankruptcies and a track record of failed business schemes to his credit.  The two candidates chasing him each have one term in the Senate to their credit.  What did they actually manage to accomplish?  Not a whole lot.  Ted Cruz sponsored fifty-seven pieces of legislation and Marco Rubio one hundred and six.  Each has had only one piece of legislation passed into law. 

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton proposed seven hundred and thirteen pieces of legislation, but only three were passed into law.  And those three were fairly nondescript, the Kate Mullany National Historic Site (Troy, NY), the renaming of a post office in New York City (Major George Quamo Post Office Building) and the renaming of a section of State Route 20A as the Timothy J. Russert Highway.  Her tenure as Secretary of State has been the ongoing focus for much of the political discourse in both parties this cycle, and we may have to wait for numerous shoes to drop before we make a final assessment of it.  That being said, she did preside over the mess that has become Libya, Syria and the rise of ISIS.

The lone outlier in this election cycle and the only independent who also possesses a proven track record in government of working across the aisles and passing legislation is Bernie Sanders, whose accomplishments in some twenty-five years on Capitol Hill are too numerous to mention (so they are attached via a link below).

Perhaps it becomes a little easier to understand the level of enthusiasm people have felt for Sanders (due to his accomplishments) and Trump (due to his lack of political failures), the resignation to practicality which has greeted much of the Clinton campaign,  and the vitriol from both Cruz and Rubio, who really do not have much of a record on which to run. 

Each of the candidates has introduced a level of fear into their respective campaigns, often directed at the candidates of the other party.  The Republicans would have us fear immigrants, Muslim extremists, Socialist governmental programs, and the chance that the balance of power in the Supreme Court might switch, meaning the end of gun ownership and Christianity itself.  The Democrats are less unified in their expression of fear (aren’t they always).  Bernie Sanders fears the continued erosion of the middle and working classes and widening economic inequality in the country, while Hillary Clinton seems to fear that the nation will not settle for incremental progress toward hazy aspirations.

What should we fear?  From my vantage point, we should fear exactly what we now have, a society and a government so polarized that we cannot come together, compromise, and seek mutually beneficial solutions to stop the downward slide of the American Dream.  We may choose to imagine it differently, but in the end, we all have the same monster under the bed.  Fear, itself.

Rachel Maddow’s interview with Bernie Sanders:

https://www.facebook.com/aamir.pvz/videos/980505895331895/

Bernie’s record of accomplishment as member of the House and Senator:

https://pplswar.wordpress.com/2015/11/11/what-bernie-sanders-got-done-in-washington-a-legislative-inventory/

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Did the RNC just blink?

It was a very interesting speech from Mitt Romney this afternoon.  At long last, the Republican National Committee has come to the conclusion that Trump is for real, and they are just as frightened by him as much of the rest of the country.  So, in the absence of a more respected statesman, Romney was dispatched to talk some “sense” to the electorate and steer them away from Trump before it is too late to derail this runaway train.  The gloves came off but I’m not convinced that he landed a knockout punch.

My hunch instead, is that this was a fool’s errand.  If anything, this is even more likely to strengthen Trump’s position with his base, who are genuinely angry people, disgusted with politics as usual in Washington and all too happy to point to Romney (as they have pointed to Cruz and Rubio) as “part of the establishment” and part of the problem.

So, what is the likely outcome?  This is going to get very interesting.  If the plan was to chase Trump out of the game, he may just take his ball and go home.  If the RNC thinks that Trump will fall on his sword for the party, I believe they are sadly mistaken.  After all, and as many of them have pointed out, he’s not even a Republican!  To date, Trump is routinely capturing somewhere between thirty and forty percent of the primary voters.  If this holds true through the next couple of primaries, I suspect that Trump will feel comfortable enough to announce that he will happily run as a third party candidate. 

At that point, the crystal ball becomes even murkier.  With Trump running on a third party ticket and taking say, 35% of the Republican vote, Cruz and Rubio will battle it out until there is just one left standing.  Though that person would stand to get 65% of the Republican vote in the general election, in reality, there is likely to be a lot of bad blood and a lot of voters staying home.  Maybe only 50% turn out to vote.  Meanwhile, as we look at the Democratic side of the aisle, we have to note that in the Super Tuesday primaries, turnout was lackluster in many states.  The insistence by the Clintons and the DNC that Bernie Sanders can not win has been balanced by the fact that a lot of Democrats genuinely dislike and distrust Hillary.  Voters are already staying away in droves, and that feeling of despair is likely to carry over to the general election. 

We could wind up with a general election marred by poor voter turnout and divided among three candidates, and that could result in the failure of any candidate to secure the required majority (270) of votes in the electoral college.  At that point, our next President would be chosen by the House of Representatives from among the three candidates running (the Senate would choose the Vice President).

Of course, the longer Trump stays in the primaries as a Republican, and the longer he keeps winning, the less likely it is that the RNC could get rid of him or deny that he is the presumptive nominee.  Then, and perhaps I say this with a degree of well earned cynicism, it might come down to a back room “deal” with the man who wrote the book on “The Art of the Deal.”  The RNC might have to ask Trump, “How much do you want to drop out of the race?”  And Trump could wind up cutting the sweetest deal ever, all the while holding half of the US government hostage. 

It will be most illuminating to see how this plays out.  If the RNC gets it wrong, we could be witness to the demise of the entire party.

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Could This Be the Smoking Gun?

As always, we have to consider the source on this one. This news item hails from Fox News and we know that their conservative position places them in continual opposition to Hillary Clinton.

But, if this report is true, it may be “a,” if not “the” smoking gun. It is being reported that in the last batch of released emails is one referencing Ambassador Chris Stevens and his desire to get himself and his people out of Libya, many months before he was killed.

During the Benghazi Hearings, Secretary Clinton was asked why there was no record of her response to Stevens’ requests for help. This indicates that the State Department new well in advance that everything in Libya was going south and that the State Department failed to take appropriate action to protect or evacuate the embassy. Reasonable and responsible people would have seen the attack on the consulate as a distinct possibility amid all of the unrest and chaos in Libya. Four Americans died there, either for lack of support on the ground or for not having been evacuated when the gettin’ was good, and Hillary is prepared to move on, her conscience apparently clear.

http://nws.mx/1nh06md

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Super Tuesday Blues

Watching the Super Tuesday election coverage and thinking of reaching for a brown paper bag to breathe into.  It beggars belief that we have two candidates, one on each side, whom the majority of Americans would not piss on if they were on fire.  On the one hand, we have a candidate whom most Americans see as dishonest, prone to politically expedient decision making, and a verifiable liar.  On the other hand, we have a racist fascist who has traded his brown shirt for a custom made suit, and can not manage to distance himself from the KKK as long as votes in the south are pending.  Who on earth is voting for these two?  I fear that once again, we will only get the government we deserve.

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How Are We Gonna Pay For This?

There are so many arguments from the right and the Clintonistas that Bernie Sanders’ plan is too expensive to implement and I have to say this about Bernie, he could be doing a better job of explaining it.

But consider this; right now, between the tax havens of the top 10% of our country and the off-shore accounts of major corporations, which allow them to pay zero in taxes, tens and possibly hundreds of billions of dollars are kept out of the pool of tax dollars. On the other end of the spectrum, some 10% of our country’s workforce is unemployed and maybe 20% are working part-time or for minimum wage or both. Every time we put someone back to work, expand their hours and raise their minimum wage, those folks contribute not just to their own families, but to the country in terms of tax dollars withheld.

It moves money from the rich and big corporations back through the system and skims some off for taxes for the programs which could benefit all of us. Combine this with a raise in income tax on the top earners in the country, closing certain loopholes on the taxing of dividend income, and making corporations pay their taxes instead of hiding in the Cayman Islands, and there would be more than enough in the tax coffers to make a single payer system work.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/02/25/bernie-sanderss-health-plan-is-actually-kind-of-a-train-wreck-for-the-poor/

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“The Cause is Right and the Time is Now”

We can go back and forth indefinitely as we try to decide who should be the next President of the United States and we are each entitled to our opinions and our favorites. In the end, Bernie Sanders may or may not become the next President. We may or we may not need Bernie Sanders, the person. But undoubtedly, we need what Bernie Sanders stands for and has stood for and acted upon his entire life. Our politics ARE a reflection of our humanity and sadly, in the last thirty some years those politics have been anything but humane (from either party). If not now, when? As Nina Turner says in the clip below, “the cause is right and the time is now.” Those of us who lived through the tail end of the 1960’s and saw the promise for America that was embodied by Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. know too well of the opportunity that was missed.

https://www.facebook.com/berniesanders/videos/989856674402670/

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Not a Ringing Endorsement for Hillary

What interests me here starts with the apologist tone of the article. It is as if the author is saying, “Surrender all hope, ye who enter here, and just vote for Hillary so we can get this over with.” I don’t sense much enthusiasm for Ms. Clinton and, I think, with good reason. She is an establishment candidate, just like Cruz and Rubio on the other side of the fence. And a vote for an establishment candidate remains a vote to give the establishment carte blanche to keep doing what they have been doing to us since the late 1950’s.

If there is one thing on which we all (both sides of the political hedge) seem to be able to agree, it is that there are still a lot of problems in this country, be they the sorry state of the economy as regards the poor, working and middle classes, the spiraling costs of health care and college education, the extrication from and payment for two decades of pointless war in the middle east, our staggering national debt, the penury in which many Americans are held by the banking and lending practices of Wall Street, and a political gulf between the parties that has rendered Washington all but useless. At this point, an establishment candidate, an establishment solution, is just not going to cut it.

My mantra comes from Albert Einstein, who once said that “problems could not be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” But here, the author is asking us to solve the problems by electing one of the key individuals who influenced their very creation. Is Dr. Frankenstein the one to kill the monster? Or do the townspeople rise up, grab their torches and set things right?

If Donald Trump gains the nomination of the Republican party, as it seems now he must, he will defeat Hillary Clinton handily in a general election. Look at how he wages his clownish campaign. His attacks on Rubio and Cruz will be turned on Hillary with claims that she is a liar, that she is dishonest, that she used the State Department to feather her own nest, and that her voting record and policies in government speak to her poor judgement and level of failure as an administrator. He will go on the offensive, day one, and will not let up. And, right or wrong, Hillary does have a problem in that a majority of Americans believe that she is a liar, that she is dishonest, and that she is a part of creating the problems that have escalated the mess that is the middle east. Trump will only play to that underlying sensibility and, with the help of the Koch brothers and Republican Super Pacs, he will slam dunk poor Hillary.

From my perspective, only Bernie Sanders can demonstrate that he has been a long time success as an outsider in government. His record in the House and Senate is one which will galvanize the left and appeal to the moderate voters of both parties. His track record of true accomplishment, human decency and the fidelity with which he has expressed and acted upon his beliefs over the entirety of his political career show Trump for just what he is, a loudmouth buffoon and ignoramus (Trump still wins the loudmouth buffoon and ignoramus vote).

And all of the paid for pundits, perhaps including the author of this article, who claim that Bernie’s proposals are not workable, are doing so because they understand that those proposals are workable if we make some fundamental changes to how our country does business. If we would stop being the world’s policeman, make large corporations and the wealthy elite pay their fair share of taxes, break the stranglehold of Wall Street and big Pharma / big Healthcare, more money would be in circulation among more people with better paying jobs, also then paying more taxes. An economic equilibrium would be reached (and yes, the rich would still be rich) and most worrying to the far right and the establishment in general, the voting American would see that we could have had this all along. Bernie is the FDR of his generation, willing and able to jump start the economy, put people back to work, and spread the wealth around in a manner that allows all of us to make our contribution. That approach pulled us out of the Great Depression and will do the same now. And the entrenched “powers that be” on both sides of the aisle will be out looking for work.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/01/bernie-sanders-hillary-clinton-2016-213560

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