Archive for category Elections

The $675,000 Question

Last night, Hillary Clinton told Anderson Cooper that she doesn’t regret taking $675,000 from Goldman Sachs for making three speeches. It wasn’t a good answer. Bear in mind that many Americans won’t earn that much money in a lifetime of hard work.

Hillary justifies her outrageous speaking fees because other former Secretaries of State did the same thing.

In the MSNBC debate tonight, Rachel Maddow offered Hillary a do-over on the same question. The answer was better this time. But everybody knows that these exorbitant speaking fees are not buying inspiring rhetoric or even policy advice. It’s just a way to funnel enormous sums to political allies.

Politifact:

January 2014 to March 2015, Clinton lists a total of 51 speech fees that have been added to her personal account from a variety of companies. Not including her husband’s fees which also appear on the same disclosure, Clinton’s speech fees end up totaling more than $11 million.

In tonight’s debate, Chuck Todd asked Hillary if she would release the transcripts of her Goldman Sachs speeches. “I will look into it,” was her response.

More info:
Hillary Clinton: I Took $675,000 In Speaking Fees From Wall Street Because I Didn’t Know I Would Run For President
Clinton will ‘look into’ releasing Goldman Sachs speech transcripts

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Microsoft Springs Up With A Free Voting APP Just Before The Iowa Caucus

I’m glad Bernie Sanders is casting doubt on serious concerns about his candidacy. “Some” might call him a conspiracy theorist, to shut down the conversation. It works every damn time in America. I’ve called it a post hypnotic suggestion in the past, and I’m still calling it that. As far as I know, none of the media has called out that particular big gun on Sanders yet.

I’ve always loved computers, but I’ll be the first one to tell you they don’t have any place in elections. A Computer will do anything the programmer tells it to do. The internet, in essence. is just a really, damned, big computer.

I wrote this letter to Bill Gates in mid 2006 on BradBlog:

AN OPEN LETTER TO BILL GATES CONCERNING VOTING MACHINES

Dear Mr. Gates:

I heard you on NPR’s “What I believe” series , talking about your hopes and dreams concerning computers and other very important issues facing today’s world. I too share your love of computers and have always thought they were the greatest invention of my lifetime. I even taught myself programming and published a little known program called “Cyber Print” for Atari in 1988 just before they went out of business. Don’t worry, I now own a PC and find it to be perfect for my needs.

Who could image a machine that could not only allow somebody to compose and orchestrate their own musical score, create incredible works of art, or think of virtually any question that popped into their mind and actually have the answer in the time it takes to boot up their PC and hop on the internet. Wow!

Many years ago I was with some friends, and the subject of computers came up. Somebody I had never met said something that seemed so stupid to me at the time, that for a moment, had put me in a state of rage! He said that computers were the “appliance from hell”. I was speechless that somebody could say something so ignorant and literally could not think of a thing to say.

Today, I feel he may have been right! Whether you are a conspiracy nut or not these days, nobody can argue that computers, intentionally or not, are keeping us from knowing our votes are being counted at the polls. Something so horrifying that apparently, people don’t want to believe it. This news is traveling slowly to say the least. Not from any lack of notification on my part though. Just ask anybody at the local news hotlines or members of the Voting Equipment Selection Commitee here.

I walked the streets and collected hundreds of signatures for a group of local activists in Utah last year soliciting for paper ballots. I even got to speak at a local rally for my efforts and told of my ease at gathering signatures from both sides of this 21st century political divide we find ourselves in. Although I didn’t ask, I assumed most of people I talked to must have been republican. Almost all of these people did not know that these machines were secretly programmed, but nearly everybody I talked to signed up immediately and were very appreciative that somebody was trying to fix this obvious problem.

Despite all my, and many others efforts and money, local officials elected to buy an unverifiable system for the 2006 midterm elections. I also understand the democrats aren’t planning to organize an exit poll this year. Maybe they are too busy getting one together for the next Kiev race! We all know how goofy those Russian elections can get!

This is where I hope you might come in. Although I don’t think it takes any great knowledge of computers to understand this problem, I’ll bet your thoughts on this disturbing matter would promote our cause faster then any thousand computer scientists. And I’ll bet those same scientists would be very happy to get back to their regular day jobs, and leave the task of producing verifiable voting procedures to competent professionals who get paid for that sort of thing!

I’m sure that your great American success story could only be enhanced by your bravery to come out against any corporation that would sell, or polling officials that would buy, a machine designed to count votes, without providing complete transparency. Some things are just too important to get all mixed up in a legal conundrum. In other words, they tell us we are lucky to live in the greatest democracy in the world, and I’m just asking for the right to have my ONE vote registered AND counted on election day.

Thank You!

When I got a forum on OneUtah, I published it again. I probably shouldn’t have included Bill Gates’s famous smiling mugshot. Maybe that’s why he never responded, even though it put me on Googles front page for about 8 years, and usually at the top. Try it: Type (an open letter to bill gates) into Goggle. I’m currently number one, but I’m interested to see what happens now. Read my whole post to find out why I don’t really trust Gates, and many others, in regards to voting integrity.

Here’s Microsoft’s reply to those who might have concerns about it’s new APP:

“Microsoft is providing technology and services solely to administer and facilitate a neutral, accurate, efficient reporting system for the caucuses. We are proud to partner with the Iowa Democratic and Republican parties to ensure accurate results on caucus night.”

What we need, is hand marked, hand counted ballots. I’m a true Luddite about that!

11 Comments

Robert Reich: ‘Six Responses to Bernie Skeptics’

Bernie skeptics

How to respond to Bernie skeptics? Watch our latest video to find out.

Posted by Robert Reich on Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Via MoveOn.org. In case anyone has forgotten, Robert Reich was President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Labor.

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Morning In America; In Earnest

I think we all knew that Bernie Sanders wouldn’t have used one of Simon and Garfunkel’s most beautiful songs in a political campaign without permission.

I love Art Garfunkle’s explanation of why he approved. The last lines of his poem from 2001 are the terrible truth, but maybe there’s a chance to be some place better then where we are now:

And in our hearts, love of the physical entity. America. Identity in doubt. We can’t go home again, so we’re runaway vagabonds, lost in twilight, wondering what we’re about.

–Art Garfunkel 9/11/2001

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Bernie: ‘Greed Is Not Good’

Here we are with less than three weeks until Americans begin casting their first votes in Iowa and New Hampshire, and the Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton campaigns are tied, polling within the margin of error.

Months ago, the consensus of the pundits was that Bernie had entered the presidential race with the hope of nudging Hillary’s campaign platform just a little bit left. That happened, of course – she has switched positions on marriage equality, gun safety, undocumented immigrants, so-called “free trade” treaties, and the Keystone XL pipeline. What few saw at the outset was that significant numbers of Democratic primary voters were not enthusiastic about another Clinton administration, whatever the promises.

Bernie has relentlessly stayed on message, and his message is that income and wealth inequality are destroying our democracy. We have to rein in the “billionaire class,” he says.

“Greed is not good,” Sanders said, countering the famed Wall Street movie character Gordon Gekko played by Michael Douglas in the 1987 film Wall Street. “In fact, the greed of Wall Street and corporate America is destroying the very fabric of our nation.”

A centerpiece of his plan is a pledge to break up the biggest banks and financial institutions, whose size and complexity threaten the financial system as a whole and the U.S. economy.

Sanders says that if he were elected president one of his first acts would be to tell the Treasury Department to establish a “too-big-to-fail” list of commercial banks plus shadow financial institutions and insurance companies whose failure would pose a “catastrophic risk” to the U.S. economy and move to downsize them to make them safer.

Bernie wants to restore Glass-Steagall protections against risky “shadow” banking activities that were put in place in 1933 to prevent another Great Depression. In 1999 President Bill Clinton signed the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act into law, permitting the partial repeal of Glass–Steagall – which led to the formation of the housing bubble over the next decade until it burst in 2008 at the end of George W. Bush’s presidency. The result was the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Glass-Steagall “worked for more than five decades until Wall Street watered it down under President Reagan and killed it under President Clinton,” said Sanders pointedly in his speech.

There is a clear difference between the two candidates on Wall Street regulation: Clinton won’t support the restoration of the Glass-Steagall Act. Bernie also wants to bring back a financial transaction tax like the one that was in effect from 1914 to 1966. A small tax could actually raise big money and discourage the sort of large-volume program trading that causes a “flash crash” in the stock markets.

UPDATE:
Some media talking heads are still not willing to entertain the idea of Bernie Sanders as the Dem nominee. This morning on MSNBC, Joe Scarborough was speculating about a “Plan B” featuring Biden or Kerry if Hillary doesn’t win Iowa and New Hampshire. Mika Brzezinski quite reasonably asked, why not Bernie?

Also, too:

A recent poll surprised a lot of insiders by suggesting that Bernie Sanders would do better against Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton would –beating Trump by 13 points.

This was confirmed by an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll.

But this should be no surprise at all. With a lot of angry voters in a populist mood, they would likely opt for the real economic populist rather than the fake one.

UPDATE:
Sanders Opens 14-Point Lead Over Clinton In New Hampshire Poll


More info:

Bernie Sanders’s Plan to Tame Wall Street Riles Clinton Camp

29 Comments

Why We Need To Get Serious About Our Campaign Finance and Communication Laws

Can somebody tell me how the public is being served on our airwaves? I thought there were laws about this sort of thing.

Les Moonves

The CEO at CBS, Les Moonvez, had this to say about that television station’s coverage of the 2016 race, at a UBS investment bank seminar:

…we have the superbowl and we have a year of political advertising that looks like it’s shaping up to be pretty phenomenal, you know, we love having all 16 Republican candidates throwing crap at each other, it’s great! The more they spend the better it is for us and uh… GO DONALD! Keep gettin’ out there and, you know, this is fun. Let them spend money on us and we love having them in there and we’re looking forward to a very exciting political year in 2016.

You can hear the quote at this link from BradBlog’s post on 12/11/2015. [at about 30:00 minutes in]

But let’s not let ABC or all the other outlets off the hook for downright bad coverage of the election, and the debates which haven’t included even one question about climate change from the moderators.

The real story of this election season, is how a self described “democratic socialist” has become the favorite of the American public. Bernie Sanders would easily win a contest with Donald Trump if the election were held today, but except for a couple of debates, he doesn’t exist on the public airwaves:

From Media Matters:

So in terms of stand-alone campaign stories this year, it’s been 234 minutes for Trump, compared to 10 minutes for Sanders. And at ABC World News Tonight, it’s been 81 minutes for Trump and less than one minute for Sanders.

NPR reported 20 seconds for Sanders on ABC World News.

Let “the invisible hand of the market” pick your president.

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Just For The Oligarchy

have a burn 600

2 Comments

Magic Carpet Bombing

Carpet Bombing

Carpet bombing (aka indiscriminate saturation bombing) is actually a war crime. Nevertheless, Rafael (“Ted”) Cruz says he is a fan:

In early December, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, began saying that his military approach to ISIS would be “carpet bombing.” He said during a speech in Iowa on Dec. 5 that “we will utterly destroy ISIS. We will carpet bomb them into oblivion. I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out.”

Senator Cruz doubled down on his campaign rhetoric during this week’s CNN Tea-GOP presidential debate.

What makes this scary is the current mood of the Tea-GOP electorate, which is nothing if not utterly irrational and angry. Public Policy Polling found that “30% of Republican primary voters nationally say they support bombing Agrabah. Agrabah is the country from Aladdin.”

To be fair, 19 percent of Dems polled also supported an attack on the made-up Arabian nation from the 1992 animated film. We can’t mince words, you have to call this by its proper name: magic carpet bombing. Which is as good a term as any to describe the insane posturing that dominates the current political debate over national security issues.

More info:
Poll: 30 percent of Republicans want to bomb country from ‘Aladdin’
Poll: 30 percent of GOP voters support bombing any Arab sounding nation — even the fictional land of Aladdin
People Want To Bomb The Fictional Kingdom In ‘Aladdin,’ But Don’t Panic Yet

4 Comments

Bernie Sanders Smashes DFA Poll

Sanders Wins!

Sanders Wins!

This wasn’t one of those flash polls you see on the internet that everybody knows can be rigged, even if it looks exactly like one. These are all real people who have registered with DFA over a decade or so.

I Love DFA, (Democracy For America). It was organized around my favorite candidate for president in 2004, Governor Howard Dean. It was set up by people much younger then I am, but it was a true grass roots movement that made early inroads into utilizing the internet to inform and activate people interested in a true democratic system.

I was most impressed when I got my first E-mail which asked everybody in the organization to vote for which direction they wanted to take in the election. I was excited that I would actually be able participate in deciding something for a change. A sense of responsibility came over me. It felt refreshing.

In fact, Howard Dean came out in October, supporting Hillary Clinton, but DFA hasn’t changed its policy of deciding things – you know – democratically. So I was sort of scared to check out the results today, but was very pleasantly surprised.

Bernie Sanders, who also just received support from a major union, was also impressed with the process at DFA, and said:

“It is no secret that the founder of DFA—my friend and fellow Vermonter former Gov. Howard Dean—has chosen not to support my candidacy. Yet the leadership of DFA allowed a fair and free vote to take place which we won. That’s pretty impressive.”

The original people who organized DFA must be in their 30 and 40’s by now. It would be great to see the old crowd get back together and save the country, just in the nick of time!

GO BERNIE!

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Bernie Sanders has finally made the news. Sign this emergency petition to stop the DNC from crippling his campaign!

10 Comments

Zephyr Teachout : Bernie Sanders Brings Big Dreams

Bernie Sanders

I was contemplating a post about the horrible mess in Syria and Iraq, and how the USA is involved in yet another complicated, unwinnable war halfway around the world (this time without any congressional authorization). The facts are depressing, especially the mounting indications that our government is lying to us regarding just how badly the war is going. I’m going to leave that for later.

HuffPo has an upbeat piece by Zephyr Teachout titled simply: Bernie Sanders for President: 10 Reasons. It was a joy to read. One sentence just about made my day:

There is too much fear in our political life: he brings big dreams instead.

Bernie Sanders is the only 2016 presidential contender who doesn’t make me worry that he’s not on our side. Virtually every other candidate has taken policy positions and made statements that ought to disqualify them from seeking the presidency.

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‘No more than right wing politics turned up to eleven’

Donald Trump

Josh Marshall, like many other political observers, is still trying to explain why Donald Trump remains the front-runner for the Tea-GOP presidential nomination. He has led the polls since he announced his candidacy in July.

Parties and politics inflect and harness trends in the broader society. They don’t create them. There’s nothing new under the sun about Trumpism. It’s just a turbo-charged, more media savvy version of the resentment politics the GOP has been tapping for fuel and riding for decades.

…Trump, in his current incarnation, is no more than right wing politics turned up to eleven.

BTW kudos for the Nigel Tufnel reference from the hilarious “This is Spinal Tap” (1984). Yes, what Trump is saying isn’t really different – only he says it louder.

The right-wing and the Republicans have merged into what I starting calling the Tea-GOP last year (after John Boehner famously said that there was no difference between the Tea Party and the GOP). This means that there is no way for Trump’s primary opponents to attack his actual policy positions as too extreme. On the contrary, they copy his rhetoric.

Before this election cycle, Tea-GOPers used to talk about a border fence (e.g. John McCain’s call to build the “danged fence”). Now everybody calls it a “wall” because Trump wants a wall. When Trump started complaining about so-called “anchor babies,” even John Ellis (“Jeb!”) Bush started using that derogatory term. Now Trump is setting the terms of the hysterical debate regarding Syrian refugees.

None of the serious political journalists think Trump will emerge as the eventual Tea-GOP presidential nominee. Josh Marshall is predicting either Rafael (“Ted”) Cruz or Marco Rubio. Even if he doesn’t win, the Tea-GOP brand is now defined by Trump – and he’ll be giving a big speech at the nominating convention.

More info:
Nate Silver: Dear Media, Stop Freaking Out About Donald Trump’s Polls

16 Comments

Practical Joke Gone Mad?

Who's The Crazy One Here?

Who’s The Crazy One Here?

The “clock boy” saga continues.

We’ve all heard about the kid who supposedly engineered a clock that looked exactly like a terrorist bomb and took it to school. After a couple of days, hearing more facts and seeing the “clock”, I was inclined to think the poor kid was probably being harassed at school because he looked like somebody from the middle east, and decided to hackle some feathers.

We’re talking about America in 2015 here. White Americans are terrified of dark skinned people from everywhere. It defines us – at least on the “news”. When the American media decided to make Charles Manson the face of the hippie movement in the sixties, I wanted to paint a picture of Manson on the back windshield of my Chevy Nova. That was just a thought I never carried out, but I did think about it.

Today, my first inclination is to side with everybody that the majority of congress wants us to fear. African Americans, Hispanics, old people, poor people, former felons, students, non-whites…

You know… potential voters!

So, I would be glad to see the facts come out. Was it a clock designed to look like a bomb, which caused a few of our leaders to come out in support of a brave kid who’d had enough bullying?

I’d like to think I would have done that as a fourteen year old, or a politician.

Cause some trouble; do no harm. :)

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