NPS Centennial = Corporate Takeover?

Arches NP Milky Way
Milky Way viewed from Arches National Park

“The national park idea, the best idea we ever had, was inevitable as soon as Americans learned to confront the wild continent not with fear and cupidity but with delight, wonder, and awe.”

–Wallace Stegner

2016 is the 100-year anniversary of the founding of the National Park Service (NPS). But because of chronic neglect and under-funding from Congress, the NPS is set to adopt a very bad idea for our national parks: Corporate sponsorships sold to the highest bidder that run the risk of plastering our most treasured sites of America’s natural heritage with corporate branding and logos. Park employees would be directly engaged in soliciting funds from corporations.

This policy change came as a consequence of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, which compels the NPS to increase private funding through “donor recognition.”

The NPS annual budget of $3 billion isn’t enough to catch up on an estimated $11.49 billion in deferred maintenance costs in our national parks. As National Park Foundation president and CEO Will Shafroth told the Washington Post, “The parks don’t have enough money to accomplish their goals.” Private and corporate donations are needed to fill the gaps.

The new rules, that will take effect by the end of the year, would “swing open the gates of the 411 national parks, monuments and conservation areas to an unprecedented level of corporate donations.”

The comment period has already closed on the order from NPS Director Jarvis that would allow parks to start selling “naming rights,” which would allow the highest corporate bidder to place their name or logo – like a Nike Swoosh or a Starbucks logo – directly on select spaces and areas of our national parks like park buildings, benches, auditoriums, and visitor centers.

Tell Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to pull the plan to commercialize our national parks. And let’s tell our congressional delegation to fund the parks in the federal budget. Some Utah national parks are now charging a $30 entrance fee.

More info:
Yosemite, sponsored by Starbucks? National Parks to start selling some naming rights
Donor Naming Rights in U.S. National Parks – Is Brouhaha Justified?
No, the U.S. National Parks Will Not Be Sponsored by Viagra

NPS centennial patch

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The Super-delegates Will Decide

Not Me Us

This year’s Democratic Party convention in Philadelphia July 25–28 will be the first in which super-delegates will make the decision on a presidential nominee. The questions that will be asked: (1) Are super-delegates supposed to choose the most electable candidate? or (2) Were super-delegates given the job of making sure the establishment-chosen candidate wins over an insurgent?

What is a super-delegate? From Wikipedia:

[A] “superdelegate” is a delegate to the Democratic National Convention who is seated automatically and chooses for whom they want to vote. These Democratic Party superdelegates include distinguished party leaders, and elected officials, including all Democratic members of the House and Senate and sitting Democratic governors. … Because they are free to support anyone they want, superdelegates could potentially swing the results to nominate a presidential candidate who did not receive the majority of votes during the primaries.

Why does the Democratic Party have super-delegates?

The super-delegate story begins with the traumatic 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, which resulted in the nomination of then Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey (President Lyndon Johnson decided not to run for re-election that year after being challenged by popular anti-Vietnam War candidate Rep. Eugene McCarthy). There was widespread dissatisfaction among the voters because Humphrey did not compete in any primary elections. Humphrey lost the general election to Richard M. Nixon.

A commission headed by South Dakota Senator George McGovern and Minnesota Representative Donald M. Fraser met in 1969 and 1970 to make the Democratic Party’s nominating convention less subject to control by party leaders and more responsive to the votes cast in primary elections. The rules implemented by the McGovern-Fraser Commission shifted the balance of power to primary elections and caucuses, mandating that all delegates be chosen via mechanisms open to all party members. The number of state primaries increased from 17 in 1968 to 35 in 1980.

Despite a huge increase in the level of primary participation, McGovern’s 1972 presidential run resulted in a landslide defeat for the party. The same thing happened in President Jimmy Carter’s 1980 race against Ronald Reagan. Party leaders established another commission in an attempt to balance the wishes of rank-and-file Democrats with the collective wisdom of party leaders and to thereby avoid the nomination of insurgent candidates. Following a series of meetings held from August 1981 to February 1982, the Hunt Commission issued a report which recommended the set aside of un-elected and un-pledged delegate slots for Democratic members of Congress and for state party chairs and vice chairs.

The problem for the 2016 election

Neither Dem candidate is likely at this point to finish the primary campaign with a majority of pledged delegates. Un-pledged super-delegates make up about 15% of the overall convention votes, and these delegates will choose the party’s nominee in July.

According to former Vermont Governor, DNC Chair and now lobbyist/super-delegate Howard Dean, “Super delegates don’t ‘represent people.’ I’m not elected by anyone. I’ll do what I think is right for the country.” (86% of voters in this year’s Vermont primary election chose Bernie Sanders, but Dean remains committed to voting for Hillary Clinton at the convention).

Of course, the assumption has always been that Democratic insurgent candidates like Bernie would be less electable in the general election. In 2016 it looks like this isn’t a good year for establishment candidates like Hillary Clinton. A lot of people thought we were doomed to a Bush-Clinton contest, but Donald Trump won so much support among Tea-GOP voters that he’s their presumptive nominee. And it looks like Bernie is the more electable Democratic candidate.

Hillary Clinton Now Loses to Trump in Polls. Bernie Sanders Beats Trump by 10.8 Points. (Hillary’s poll numbers have gone down, however she is within the margin of error against Trump — and the Democrats can expect a built-in advantage in the Electoral College, the so-called “Blue Wall”).

It’s up to the super-delegates to decide. Win with Bernie (and nudge the party to the center) or risk losing with Hillary (confirming that right-wing Dems cause progressives to abandon the party).

4 Comments

I Wish I Had Bernie Sanders’s Energy

sanders smile

You usually think that when you watch young kids running around on a sugar high. Sanders is running on his decades old record of great decisions and unmatched integrity.

My last post here was a downer, but I knew Sanders wasn’t going to throw in the towel yet, because he said he wouldn’t, so I had that much to put in the happy-bank account. Sanders, himself, keeps saying he’s got a steep mountain to climb for the nomination, but when I saw him fending off dumb questions on CNN, and looking better then ever after his Indiana upset, I was re-invigorated.

NOTE: I have no idea why CNN calls this video on their YouTube site: “Bernie Sanders’ Indiana victory speech (Full speech)” He’s meeting with lazy reporters; not giving a speech. :(

Hillary is probably trying to figure out how to tell creepy war profiteers to keep quiet about their intentions to support her, but that’s going to be hard, since she has been doing her – elusive – best to let them know she’s on their side, starting with Kissinger.

Trump as Unifier: Are Hillary Clinton and Neoconservatives Ready to Join Forces?

Even the Koch brothers were throwing out the possibility of a helping hand.

31 Comments

And this is the day that neoconservatism dies

As most of you have already heard, Ted Cruz has dropped out as did Kasich. The mainstream media has said that Republicans have never been more divided. Actually I think it is the exact opposite. Donald Trump has annihilated the competition and it should come to no surprise. As much as I can complain about Trump, he is not as bad as Cruz who preached religion until people were sick of it and wanted to have a 1950’s mentality of America. Those people are the unpopular minority and it’s about time. The reason I say this is because Ted Cruz had no chance of winning even when the GOP put all the effort into getting him elected. To me, that is good. That means for once, the goalpost has moved to the left.

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The Roast Wasn’t Funny To Me

bad night

I took a copy of this years White House correspondents dinner video over to my 95 year old mom’s house because I thought we might get a laugh out of it, and I like to cheer her up.

None of this years remaining candidates showed up except for Bernie Sanders. I can imagine why Donald Trump didn’t attend, because president Obama really handed it to him – for about five minutes – the last time he was there, and he wasn’t even running for president then, but you have to wonder why Hillary, Cruz and Kasich didn’t want to be at the premiere event of the season.

In a year when it looks like things are shaping up to only give the American voters a chance to vote for two candidates that, frankly, most Americans hate, all the jokes fell a bit flat to me.

I’m sure I was in a bad mood, but my mom and I really wanted Bernie to win, and were proud that Utah had stood up so strong for him. I couldn’t understand why Obama kept bringing up the word, democracy, with all of the voter suppression going on.

I get sort of emotional when I’m around mom, but I couldn’t help but tear up.

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Susan Perks Me Up!

susan and colbert

As a Bernie Sanders supporter, you could say I’ve been a little down since the New York primaries. The one of five win in Rhode Island didn’t add anything to my optimism. It’s obvious, Sanders isn’t walking into the convention as a winner now, but all isn’t lost.

The night after the four losses for Sanders, Susan Sarandon came on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and seems optimistic that Bernie can gain back some ground since the states coming up will be open primaries, which have proven to be big winners for the candidate we need for president.

Susan was pretty hard on her old friend Hillary, because of her trust problem. I’m just not excited about Americans having to vote for the politician they hate the least. All Americans are tired of being the world’s policemen, and this just doesn’t look like the Democratic party stance on that:

The NY Times is absolutely right — she’s a bigger hawk than the Republicans

Sarandon says she’s not there yet, on whether she will not vote for Hillary in the general election, and neither am I. I’m going to wait for Sanders’s proven sense of logic on what to do when we get there.

If this comes down to Trump and Clinton, it’s not entirely crazy to imagine Karl Rove rigging the election for Hillary. The American Empire falls into a rabbit hole.

4 Comments

Will 2016 Election Turn Into an Unpopularity Contest?

Both parties’ presidential front-runners are growing increasingly unpopular, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds, with Hillary Clinton showing an especially steep decline over the past month.

Among voters in both parties, 56% hold a negative view of Clinton and 32% hold a positive view. That 24-point gap is almost twice as wide as in a Journal/NBC poll last month, when 51% viewed her negatively and 38% positively, a 13-point gap. In other words, the more Americans get to see of Clinton the more they don’t want her.

Net negative ratings Trump & Hillary

Compared to frontrunners in previous presidential primary races, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s unfavorable ratings (57 percent and 52 percent respectively) are the highest in CBS News/New York Times Polls going back to 1984, when CBS began asking this question.

If the two major parties nominated Clinton and Trump, the electorate would be divided three ways:

1. American voters who would refuse to vote for Trump.
2. American voters who would refuse to vote for Clinton.
3. American voters who would refuse to vote for either one of them!

And we could forget about the actual issues in the 2016 election, because the media would cover all the mud slinging and nothing else.

By contrast, Bernie Sanders has the highest favorability of any candidate. Bernie averages a +5.3 compared to Hillary’s -24.

More info:
Democrats March Toward Cliff
Unpopularity dogs Trump, Clinton, Cruz: Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton viewed unfavorably by majority – CBS/NYT poll
Bernie Sanders vs. Donald Trump: General Election Match-Up Polls & Favorability Ratings

UPDATE:
Any Chance Trump and Hillary Can Still Get Popular, Despite Their Negatives?

9 Comments

Spike Lee’s Wake Up Call for Brooklyn

Only video can capture the excitement of the Bernie Sanders campaign in New York. If he loses, it will only be because people were denied their right to vote in the Democratic primary. Like Bernie himself, Spike Lee grew up in Brooklyn. Can you tell?

1 Comment

Electability- Hillary vs Bernie for New Yorkers

Posted on YouTube by Afnan Thakur.

We try to help New Yorkers decide which of the two candidates can actually win the Presidential election.

Note: This is not any campaign’s official ad. Source for the numbers are from RealClearPolitics and other polling agencies. And the scale for Hillary’s unfavorable polling goes from 39-54%

1 Comment

New York Has Me Worried

new y

This was the last thing I wanted to wake up and read this morning. It looks like a lot of young people in New York, who would most likely be voting for Bernie Sanders, have missed the boat, due to restrictive laws on voting registration.

Restrictive Rules Leave New York Voters Shut Out of Pivotal Primary

I just happened upon this “Democracy Now” segment that was taped the day after the Utah caucuses caught the nation by surprise and gave Sanders an overwhelming victory here. I don’t think the extent of the failure in the Arizona election had been looked at yet. It’s great to see my favorite Utah politician standing up for my favorite national politician and stating Sanders’s obvious advantages over Hillary:

Of course Sanders went on to a long string of solid wins after Utah and Idaho, showing a strong momentum if there ever was one. Polls in Utah showed that even Republicans trust Sanders more then the current front runner in their party and, like Rocky says, he’s a shoe-in over Hillary against any Republican now running for the general election slot.

Anderson, of the “Justice Party”, is upset about a blatant hit piece on Sanders in “The Washington Post”, derived from a poorly conducted and carved up interview from a rag called the “New York Daily News”. He’s made a list of questions a tough journalist could ask Hillary. It’s obvious this won’t happen at “The [Bezos] Post”; a publication which recently did 16 negative articles on Sanders in 16 hours.

4 Comments

‘The cause is right, and the time is NOW!’

The Cause is Right, the Time is Now

We had our grand opening and canvass launch in Brooklyn this weekend and over 1000 people showed up. It was amazing!

Posted by Northeast for Bernie on Thursday, March 31, 2016

Nina Turner is just awesome. If Bernie can win in New York, he can go all the way!

6 Comments

Am I A Bad Person?

I hate to admit it, but I AM bad person.

I suspected the Change.org petition to allow guns into the GOP convention, which got over 53,000 signatures, was actually started by a lefty when I first saw it. April fools day was coming fast, but somebody jumped the gun I guess.

I signed. :(

In my defense, you can’t say the right hasn’t opened themselves up for this sort of impossible-to-parody parody. It is just plain plausible, no matter how you word it. The Secret Service probably didn’t want to inject themselves into the joke, but felt compelled to put an end to any speculation that a single gun would be allowed into the “Quicken Loans Arena” this July.

Spoilsports!

It was fun, imagining what might happen though. I even saw myself showing up, popping a paper bag and ducking. I already admitted I was a bad person. :)

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