Archive for category Democracy

Allan Lichtenstein: ‘The rich get richer, the rest get poorer’

Wealth and Income Share of the Top 1%, 1913-2012

Wealth and income share of the top 1 percent

Via Truthout:

At one of the many high-dollar fundraisers Hillary Clinton held during the month of August, a personal-check donation of $100,000 would get an attendee a photo with Hillary, according to a recent New York Times article. Rubbing shoulders with the likes of Paul McCartney at a waterfront Hampton’s estate fund-raiser, Hillary “joined in a sing-a-long finale to ‘Hey Jude’.”

…Since the late-1970s, the top one percent of families have been steadily accumulating a larger share of the nation’s wealth (total assets people own net of their debts), recessions notwithstanding. In 2012 (the most recent available data), the top one percent of families (1.6 million families, each with at least $4 million in assets in 2012) held about 42 percent of all the wealth. Although still below the 1928 peak of 51 percent, the growth has been spectacular, almost doubling in close to 40 years.

“We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”
Louis Brandeis

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Thomas Frank Warns Us Not To Trust The Less Trustworthy Candidate

Obama 2008

I’m not sure we actually have to be reminded never to trust a Clinton, however recently some have praised Hillary Clinton’s economic policy speech as if it mattered. I suspect her REAL economic views can be found in the Goldman Sachs speech transcripts that we’ll never see.

What matters are the polls showing she is the less trustworthy of the two major-party candidates. Which is amazing, considering that she is running against the guy who invented “Trump University.”

Thomas Frank, writing in The Guardian, reiterates the fact that Hillary hasn’t changed.

As leading Republicans desert the sinking ship of Trump’s GOP, America’s two-party system itself has temporarily become a one-party system. And within that one party, the political process bears a striking resemblance to dynastic succession. Party office-holders selected Clinton as their candidate long ago, apparently determined to elevate her despite every possible objection, every potential legal problem. The Democratic National Committee helped out, too, as WikiLeaks tells us. So did President Barack Obama, that former paladin for openness, who in the past several years did nearly everything in his power to suppress challenges to Clinton and thus ensure she would continue his legacy of tepid, bank-friendly neoliberalism.

My leftist friends persuaded themselves that this stuff didn’t really matter, that Clinton’s many concessions to Sanders’ supporters were permanent concessions. But with the convention over and the struggle with Sanders behind her, headlines show Clinton triangulating to the right, scooping up the dollars and the endorsements, and the elites shaken loose in the great Republican wreck.

She is reaching out to the foreign policy establishment and the neocons. She is reaching out to Republican office-holders. She is reaching out to Silicon Valley. And, of course, she is reaching out to Wall Street

Don’t expect Hillary to follow through on her progressive promises if elected. She is the status quo candidate.

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Can We Talk?

Convince me

As Joan Rivers used to say, “Can we talk?” Because the corporate media coverage of the presidential race is barely mentioning the issues that affect you and me.

Lately all over cable TV they are vociferously debating whether Donald Trump is paying enough respect to the family of a U.S. Army captain who died heroically 12 years ago during Bush’s illegal invasion of Iraq (that Hillary voted for as a senator), after the father of said fallen warrior aimed a gratuitous insult at the notoriously thin-skinned Trump in a partisan DNC speech.

Most likely, this is a picture of the 2016 presidential campaign for the next 100 days. Hillary using surrogates to get Trump to say something that dominates the news cycle, or trying to get Trump to lose his temper during a debate. Anything Trump says is automatically news. Hillary has not held a press conference since last year.

What could the candidates talk about? Well, here is one suggestion. There is another recession coming, sooner rather than later. How will Hillary and Trump deal with the consequences?

Get out your wallets, America: It might not be long before we’re bailing out “too big to fail” banks again

Instead of ending the world of banks that are “too big to fail” and preventing banks from operating in ways that could again sink the economy, we have guaranteed them that the taxpayers are ready and waiting when they make another catastrophic mistake.

The Dodd-Frank regulations are not completely written yet, and probably won’t be in effect when the Wall Street billionaires crash our financial sector again. Is the American middle class about to take another big hit? Can somebody offer a plan to help us? We haven’t even recovered from the last time.

Hillary is going to have to offer much more than her current “OMG Trump!” campaign.

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Cenk Uygur: ‘I Need You Guys to Buckle Up’

This convention is likely to be a thousand times more raucous than the Republican Convention, more divided, and so it’s about to start in a little bit and I need you guys to buckle up because there could be a lot more action here than there was last week. Remember the Republicans by their nature are authoritarian. They will fall in line, because that’s what they do — they’re conservatives. Whereas liberals do not agree. And so they don’t agree with the corporate control, they don’t agree with the money in politics, and Hillary Clinton is never going to give it up. So, that dissension is super real, and you are about to see it the next four days.

The Young Turks – Live From the DNC

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HRH Hillary Rodham Clinton Takes Progressives For Granted

Hillary on the Iron Throne

All hail Hillary of the House Clinton, First of Her Name, Queen of Meereen, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Lady Regnant of the Seven Kingdoms, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Mhysa, Breaker of Chains, the Unburnt, Mother of Dragons. Oh wait, that’s not her, that’s Dany on “Game of Thrones.” BTW Season 6 of GoT was awesome– Winter isn’t coming, it has arrived!

What has Hillary Clinton learned from more than a year of being yelled at by anguished progressives, worried about the disappearing American middle class and endless warfare? Answer: Nothing whatsoever. Winter is coming for neoliberalism, and Hillary just doesn’t get it.

Bill Scher on Politico:

She has in hand the endorsement of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. She has the terrifying prospect of a President Donald Trump, who might be described as anti-progressive, as the ultimate foil…

…She’s not sweating the Green Party’s Jill Stein or the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson—who have been registering respectable poll numbers but combined have been drawing about the same proportion from the two major party candidates. She’s not nervous about the prospect of rogue Sanders delegates making a symbolic protest on the convention floor. She doesn’t believe she is going to lose enough of the left on Election Day to make a difference in the outcome.

Whether such confidence is justified is not crystal clear when looking at the most recent poll numbers. The most recent CNN poll finds Clinton keeping only 57 percent of Sanders voters, with 23 percent going to Johnson, 12 to Stein and five to Trump. Johnson and Stein are taking a combined 12 points in Saturday’s Real Clear Politics average.

I think Hillary actually believes she can pick up votes from anti-Trump Tea-GOPers. That’s crazy, because those are the people giving her such high negative ratings. She probably thinks identity politics will provide the winning margin, like it did for President Obama. She may know she has driven away progressives and independents, whose support she doesn’t seem to want anyway.

All in all an epic political miscalculation. This is going to be a close election, even though it really shouldn’t be. If the Dems nominated Bernie Sanders instead, it wouldn’t be. See below for Samantha Bee’s hilarious take on Tim Kaine for VP.

Next week’s convention is going to be interesting.

Read the rest of this entry »

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No Joke

Trump enters the RNC stage

A year ago he was nothing but a joke, then he became one of 18 contenders for the Tea-GOP presidential nomination. Like the others, Donald Trump came up with gaffes that seemed designed to alienate voters – for example, saying your wages are too high. One by one, the other candidates exited the clown bus. Then Trump became the presumptive nominee, to the horror of most Americans including many Tea-GOPers.

Tonight he officially became the nominee, the first time a major political party has decided to run a candidate for the White House who has never before held elective office since General Dwight Eisenhower. He is also the most unpopular presidential candidate in the history of polling, just ahead of, you guessed it, HRH Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The elite pundits and Dem politicians tell us that Trump is a phony candidate running what amounts to a phony campaign. They could be right, but can they explain why the polls are tied within the margin of error?

Note to Dems: You can still nominate Bernie Sanders in Philadelphia next week. He has not suspended his campaign. The super-delegates will decide.

UPDATE: Apparently Donald Trump wants to live in the White House, but hopes to outsource the actual job of being President to Mike Pence.

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Happy Birthday USA!


5 Principles of True Patriotism

Happy 4th of July! Robert Reich reminds us that democracy isn’t just a spectator sport.

Bonus:
Will Someone Teach The Tea Party How To Spell?

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Is Hillary Clinton Being Used?

"Redacted Tonight" screenshot

“Redacted Tonight” screenshot

Will the media report on the exit poll mystery that they have refused to report on for over the past decade? Now that it’s come to a RICO lawsuit against THEM, will they report that? 😀

Who among the presidential candidates is going to able to make the best case that he can’t be manipulated by the banks or the corporations? “He” is the operative word here? Face it: ordinary people from both allowed parties are upset at the establishment, and Hillary Clinton has been forced to take money from them and succumb to their rules. Trump has made promises to the establishment too, but we can’t know that until it’s too late.

I’m a 64 year old man, but there are other old men and women who feel like we’re not being listened to, or having our votes counted anymore. What kind of democratic republic is that?

I’m sure the younger “voters” are getting the fact that this primary is too complex for a reason, and total nonsense. We all are. Young people and old people who have been defined as stupid American voters are mad as hell, and aren’t going to take this shit any more! That’s my hope. Voting on corporate computer machines through the mail, online, or any other way is just madness. If you don’t get that, have your damn head examined!

The old, media maligned, anti-war youth, (hippies), are uniting with the new, maligned anti-war youth, who haven’t been given a stupid name yet. They’re called millennials until the war-happy media can figure out a more demeaning term.

Maybe I’m just an old asshole with another opinion, but watch this, instead of watching the petrified “main steam” media, who’ve been slapped with a RICO lawsuit if you want to keep up:

UPDATE: Hell, don’t let Russian Television, “Redacted Tonight” shape your mind. Watch the whole two and a half hours of the meeting and decide for yourself. Lot’s more angering information here, if you dare:

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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).

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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?

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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.

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Tell Utah Super-delegates: We Want Bernie!

Gallup party affiliation
Source: Gallup

GREAT suggestion from the Salt Lake Tribune comments section: Let’s tell Utah’s super-delegates that we want Bernie. Peter Corroon is already with us.

As the party chairman, Corroon is automatically a superdelegate, meaning he can pick his favorite candidate regardless of the statewide vote. Not a fan of this process, Corroon had said he’d side with whichever candidate won Utah’s caucus and that is undeniably Sanders.

…Two of the state’s superdelegates — Patrice Arent, the national committeewoman, and Breanne Miller, the party’s vice chairwoman — are backing Clinton. National Committeeman Wayne Holland remains undecided.

The message is:

Bernie Sanders is our choice for President. Give people candidates they’re excited about, and they will show up. This is an opportunity to bring more Utahns into the democratic process. The Democratic Party establishment is too far to the right. The Gallup Poll indicates both parties are at historical low points in the percentage who identify themselves as core supporters of the party. We’re independents – you need us to win in November.

Send to:

Peter Corroon (Thank him, he’s for Bernie): chair@utdem.org
Wayne Holland (Undecided): wholland@usw.org
Breanne Miller (Supporting Hillary): bmiller@utdem.org
Rep. Patrice Arent (Supporting Hillary): parent@le.utah.gov

[Democratic Party Executive Director Lauren] Littlefield called the big turnout, which included 20,000 new voters, “the largest growth opportunity for Utah Democrats in decades,” and yet she and Corroon criticized state leaders for not funding a full primary, instead of the party-run caucuses.

Instead of hundreds of polling locations statewide and the option for mail-in and absentee ballots, the party spent $20,000 to fund 90 voting locations, resulting in lines that stretched for city blocks. More than half of the precincts ran out of ballots and had to print more.

More info:
Bernie Sanders takes bulk of Utah’s delegates after massive victory
In U.S., New Record 43% Are Political Independents

UPDATE: Wayne Holland declares for Bernie

Utah’s last undecided Democratic superdelegate threw his support behind Bernie Sanders on Wednesday, and the state party finalized its tally from last week’s presidential caucuses, in which a high turnout led to a lengthy vote-counting process…

Wayne Holland, Utah’s Democratic committeeman, was the last holdout, and as such received a barrage of calls and emails…

The party announced his support for Sanders early Wednesday. In an interview, Holland said he’s more ideologically in tune with Sanders and he liked that his pick matched the caucus vote. While he says “the odds are long” that Sanders claims the party’s nomination, Holland, a union organizer, felt the senator was bringing in new voters with his populist message…

The current party chairman, Peter Corroon, is also backing Sanders, tying his vote to Utah’s caucus results. Clinton received the support of Utah Democratic Party Vice Chairwoman Breanne Miller and Democratic Committeewoman Patrice Arent, both saying she is the most qualified candidate, having previously served as secretary of state, a senator from New York and first lady. Miller and Arent have heard from Sanders supporters who want them to switch allegiances, but they are not budging.

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