Archive for category Hillary Clinton

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

21 Comments

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

Bernie Won the Debate

CNN debate poll

I know the media are going all out to claim that Hillary Clinton won the debate. Hillary held on and did well, but she didn’t win. Bernie Sanders won the polls, raked in the campaign contributions, and reached many more voters with his message (15 million people watched the debate).

In the debate, Bernie was the only candidate who identified climate change as the number one national security threat (not Russia, not ISIS, not China).

Remember when the USA PATRIOT Act passed the Senate 99-1? Last night Bernie proudly reminded us that he was the one vote against it. Hillary is still defending the USA PATRIOT Act.

Hillary doesn’t want to bring back Glass–Steagall. Lincoln Chafee said he didn’t even know what the Glass-Steagall Act was when he voted to repeal it.

Oh, and Jim Webb killed a guy in Vietnam. That was an awkward thing to bring up in a presidential debate, but it does carry commander-in-chief cred.

More info:
Ignore the Media Pundits: Bernie Sanders Won the First Democratic Debate
DC insiders think Bernie Sanders lost the debate. Here’s why they might be wrong.
CNN Focus Group Says Bernie Sanders Won The First Democratic Debate
Frank Luntz Focus Group Agrees: Bernie Sanders Won Debate
All Marco Rubio Heard At Last Night’s Debate Was ‘Free Stuff’

UPDATE:
Bernie Won All the Focus Groups & Online Polls, So Why Is the Media Saying Hillary Won the Debate?

6 Comments

Hillary: ‘I will not hesitate to take military action’

Hillary at warSeriously? As a senator, Hillary Clinton voted to authorize George W. Bush’s war of aggression against Iraq, an ill-fated invasion and occupation halfway around the word that led to enormous loss of life and ongoing chaos in the Middle East, and mind-boggling deficits at home.

Now she says: “I will not hesitate to take military action if Iran attempts to obtain a nuclear weapon.”

In other words, Hillary has learned nothing about what constitutes an illegal war of aggression. Fortunately for all concerned, Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program and their theocratic government regards nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons as un-Islamic. It’s an empty threat.

We can’t help wondering if Hillary thinks that the first woman president needs to take America to war again just to prove she’s a tough commander-in-chief – and never mind the consequences.

Bernie 2016!

UPDATE:
Amanda Marcotte suggests the loud Tea-GOP freakout over peace with Iran is mostly if not entirely about political calculation for 2016.

[P]ainting Hillary Clinton as some kind of weak-willed surrender monkey, mostly by dropping the word “Benghazi” a lot, is clearly going to be the centerpiece of the anti-Clinton strategy.

This may explain, but certainly doesn’t excuse, Hillary doubling down on her hawkish foreign policy views.

9 Comments

‘We have to give America something worth voting for’

Hillary speech

Today Hillary Clinton delivered her “official launch speech” at a campaign kick off rally in Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island in New York City.

The 40-minute speech was loaded with dozens of campaign commitments for progressives and middle-class Americans. Some were meaningless, such as a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court on Citizens United. Other promises were more practical, such as a long-overdue federal law to guarantee paid sick leave. Hillary criticized Wall Street again and again, and even promised to re-engineer the financial sector so that it contributes more to the “real” economy of Main Street.

The bottom line: Hillary declared, “We… have to give America something worth voting for” in 2016.

But… she never mentioned the TPP or fast-track. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio did not attend the rally because he is still waiting for Hillary to speak out on this issue.

More Info:
Hillary Clinton campaign rally speech transcript

UPDATE:
Hillary has now appeared to side with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on the TPP so-called “trade” deal:

At a rally in Iowa, Clinton said that if the president can’t come to terms with Pelosi, there should be no deal. “Here’s what I think should happen now,” Clinton said. “The president should listen to and work with his allies in Congress, starting with Nancy Pelosi, who have expressed their concerns about the impact that a weak agreement would have on our workers, to make sure we get the best, strongest deal possible and if we don’t get it, there should be no deal.”

So Hillary is sort of against the TPP, but also in favor of it if it can be made more worker-friendly?

41 Comments

Bernie Sanders for President

Bernie Sanders

Don’t look now, but there is a real socialist running for President. Today, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) formally kicks off his by-all-accounts-doomed bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

But the thing is, Bernie has been talking to the media while Hillary Clinton hides. And he has some interesting things to say about the issues that Hillary is trying to avoid taking any positions on.

Peter Beinart writes: Don’t Underestimate Bernie Sanders. “The Vermont senator’s authentic outrage over how the super rich have distorted America’s economy and bought its government will find an eager audience.”

Sanders is better positioned to exploit this resentment against the one percent that many pundits understand. First, because he’s virtually the only Democrat challenging Hillary (especially given the Baltimore riots’ crippling impact on Martin O’Malley) Sanders will get more media attention than he would in a more crowded field. Second, although Hillary Clinton has shifted left, her ties to Wall Street—and her need to raise vast sums from it—will keep her from fully assuaging the party’s left. Three weeks into her presidential bid, for instance, she still hasn’t taken a clear position on either the Keystone Pipeline or fast-track authority for the Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Pacific trade deals, even though progressive activists loathe both. Third, there today exists a liberal media echo-chamber—from MSNBC to MoveOn to Daily Kos—that did not exist in the 1990s, and which amplifies whoever in the Democratic Party articulates the most ambitious, most uncompromising progressive agenda.

More info:
Bernie Sanders Would Tax The Income Of The Wealthiest Americans At 90 Percent
Bernie Sanders Takes It to Wall Street With Financial Transactions Tax
Sen. Bernie Sanders: Media Failing To Convey That Climate Change Is “The Great Planetary Crisis We Now Face”
Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign has more support than Graham, Jindal, Fiorina and Kasich combined

UPDATE:
This Presidential Candidate Wants Everyone To Be Able To Take A Vacation

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (I) held his first rally after launching his bid for the Democratic presidential candidacy on Wednesday evening. And during his speech, he made a call for “guaranteed vacation time for every worker in this country.”
That’s a first for someone vying for the American presidency, according to Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. “I feel pretty comfortable saying that it is a first,” he said. “I’ve been pushing on this one for years and I’m pretty sure I would know if another candidate had pushed this idea.”

The United States does not in fact have any requirement that employers offer their workers vacation time or paid holidays.

160 Comments

Hillary 2.0

Hillary 2016

Cable TV news is going with non-stop speculation about Hillary Clinton’s $2.5 billion “Hillary for America” 2016 presidential campaign, which officially kicks off today. In 2008, Hillary’s advisers thought her candidacy was “inevitable,” and for the most part she ran as the Iron Lady. Now, I think they realize the last time she only came across as sympathetic when she got a little teary-eyed in New Hampshire (she didn’t actually shed a tear). Of course, if you watch that on video it was nearly content-free in terms of policy.

Hillary 2.0 will be introduced in small events, maybe even going back to that same Portsmouth, New Hampshire cafe from 2008. Her initial platform will be “first woman President,” without going into policy very much. Will that be enough?

Progressives see Hillary as the favorite candidate of Wall Street. Tea-GOPers think she is some far-left radical. So who is going to vote for her? Can anyone get excited about the prospect of a Clinton vs. Bush presidential election? Let’s discuss.

More info:
Hillary Clinton just doesn’t get it: She’s already running a losing campaign

Voters are more desperate now, and in a far worse mood. If you invite their questions, you’d better have some answers.

UPDATES:
Hillary Clinton Announces 2016 Presidential Bid

“I’m running for president,” she said with a smile near the end of a two-minute video released just after 3 p.m.

“Everyday Americans need a champion. And I want to be that champion,” Mrs. Clinton said. “So I’m hitting the road to earn your vote — because it’s your time. And I hope you’ll join me on this journey.”

Kevin Gosztola on FDL: Hillary Clinton’s Announcement Paves Way for Progressives to Abandon Principles Very Early in 2016 Election

DSWright on FDL: Wall Street Is Cool With Hillary Clinton Pretending To Be A Populist

Wall Street understands they are unpopular after bringing the US economy to its knees with their greed and criminality. They know Clinton has to criticize them in public even after taking their money in private.

77 Comments

Hillary: ‘Trickle down should be consigned to the trash bin of history’

Hillary on trickle-down

I know Hillary Clinton would be the Wall Street candidate if she runs for President. I remember how the last President Clinton irritated progressives by embracing right-wing policies, and the last thing this country needs is another dynastic succession. Most of all, as we have seen with President Obama, progressive populist rhetoric can turn out to be meaningless.

But it’s still good news that Hillary said this at an October 24 campaign event for Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley (emphasis added):

Don’t let anybody tell you that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs. They always say that. I’ve been through this. My husband gave working families a raise in the 1990s. I voted to raise the minimum wage and guess what? Millions of jobs were created or paid better and more families were more secure. That’s what we want to see here, and that’s what we want to see across the country.

And don’t let anybody tell you, that, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs. You know, that old theory, trickle-down economics. That has been tried. That has failed. That has failed rather spectacularly.

One of the things my husband says, when people say, what did you bring to Washington? He says, well I brought arithmetic. And part of it was he demonstrated why trickle down should be consigned to the trash bin of history. More tax cuts for the top and for companies that ship jobs over seas while taxpayers and voters are stuck paying the freight just doesn’t add up. Now that kind of thinking might win you an award for outsourcing excellence, but Massachusetts can do better than that. Martha understands it. She knows you have to create jobs from everyone working together and taking the advantages of this great state and putting them to work.

By way of explanation, Coakley’s Tea-GOP opponent Charlie Baker won an “Outsourcing Excellence Award” for sending American jobs out of the country.

UPDATE:
Rand Paul Mocks Hillary Clinton Over Jobs Remark

82 Comments

The War Power, The Sergeant, the Senator: Treason or Heroism

The Sergeant who some years ago left his post in that unnecessary and unwinnable war in
Afghanistan is either a hero, a traitor, or just a terribly young man in the wrong war at the wrong time. He spent terrible years of torture and probably said things he didn’t really mean.

Some years ago in Vietnam, Senator McCain was shot down over Vietnam, another unconstitutional war, and equally unwinnable war, confessed repeatedly to things he later recanted, once safely in the United States, and is, quite rightly regarded, despite his confessions to American war crimes, a hero. The two cases are not quite completely on all fours, as we say in the law. But the similarity is sufficient to compare with each other and with the undergirding of law.

Presidents, from George Washington to Barack Obama, who are visited by war, either their own or, like Obama, inherited from another (in Obama’s case two other) fools who preceded them, have always had this power. While not yet president, and without this act may well not have become president, Ronald Reagan communicated with Iran, telling them, in effect, just to refuse to deal with Carter on releasing our citizens from the U. S. Embassy in Iran, and await his presidency. Their deal (which killed Jimmie Carter’s hope for a second term and by the way was treason, meriting a firing squad.)

The 30, 60, 90 day notification of Congress is also unconstitutional, but not for the reasons the Republicans and Democrats alike, trumpet. Saint Paul, as I recall, said “this trumpet has an uncertain sound.” And I know he said that some leaders have “zeal without knowledge.” This is Republican and Democratic leaders on steroids, just like my former wife.

The reason the War Powers Act is unconstitutional is not what is now said by either Republicans or Democrats, as I told Joe Biden when he was both Minority Senior member of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate and when he was chair. I testified before his committee a few times, and he called me at the law school sometimes to chat about this. The reason is simple. Due to both a few but very senior Democrats and almost all Republicans, Congress forced the Demo’s to give the president 30, 60, or 90 days to play with Congress’ army while he picked his nose. War has not been officially declared since FDR did it in WW2. George Bush (the first) and Colin Powell, in my opinion, got it right, constitutionally, by voting 50-50 in the Senate, and then the Dark Lord, Vice President Cheney, broke the tie and we went to war in Iraq the right way by law; and they had the smarts to stop when their limited mission was accomplished. And until this time, the President, as Commander in Chief, has no constitutional power to use the United States armed forces, save self-defense.

In the Framers’ mind that means only when the United States of America, not our allies, are attacked. For Utahns, the reason J. Reuben Clark, my hero and a great patriot, a rock-ribbed Republican who served under many Republican presidents, served variously as chief legal adviser to the Department of State (then, as an deputy Attorney General on loan from Justice to State,,,,,,now called Legal Adviser to the State Department; and Vice Secretary of State, and Ambassador to Mexico; and advised many presidents between world wars one and two, on all arms control treaties between those to dreadful wars) opposed NATO was because it delegated the war power to a generation not yet born and for the defense of people, and nations, not yet born. Neither the United Nations (Korean War) nor NATO (Ukraine?) can declare war for the United States of America. This is the statement of law, the War Clause, that makes this beyond debate. Remember, that it is also the sole right of Congress: not the President of the United States, nor NATO, nor the United Nations, that decides what constitutes International law, as well. So, both Constitutional Law and International Law, save an attack on the United States, inform us that Congress, not the president or these international bodies, who determines for war or peace.

So screw the people and the Congress and president now living. When the president, any president, has this army to use, that army will never return to Congress’ care. This is unconstitutional because it is an illegal attempt to delegate to the President a plenary power, given exclusively, textually, to the Congress. Like the power over interstate commerce (the road by which most civil rights legislation is constitutional), along with the equal protection and due process of law clauses of the 5th and 14th amendments. It’s as if Congress were to say to Obama, “Say, friend, we’re so damned tired of life in Washington, despite the cherry blossoms, we will do what the Supreme Court does, and reconvene when good weather returns. We’re going to go to Balboa Island, California, where it’s nice and sunny, in ocean or on the beach, and pick our nose and scratch our butts. And better yet, we have one in eight chances not to pick both with the same finger. Even though we’ve proven, time out of mind, that we in Congress cannot chew gum and pick our nose, simultaneously (a great blessing). So, pres., you now have the taxing and the spending power, and we’ll sweeten the loaf by throwing into the pot, since you do have to stick around in this shitty weather, and give you the power also to fund and provide for the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Navy. And don’t sweat it about financing things by the provision in the Constitution that spending bills begin in the House. Since you already have the taxing and spending power, do all this in the White House. P.S. please instruct the Treasury Department to deliver our checks, our salaries, and all the REALLY big bucks from the armaments industry and all those other lobbyists. We really have earned this right by selling our souls to the devil. Have a good life.

I say that both Senator and Soldier are bona fide heroes. Ed Firmage xoxox

3 Comments

Hillary: Only Inevitable Until They Give Us A Choice

Hillary 2016

On AlterNet, Guy Saperstein points out that Hillary Clinton, despite her charm and extraordinary work ethic, is not a better candidate for President this time than she was in 2008.

By every metric, voters are in a surly mood and they are not going to be happy campers in 2016, either. Why should they be? The economy is still in the toilet, not enough jobs are being created even to keep up with population growth, personal debt and student debt are rising, college graduates can’t find jobs, retirement benefits are shrinking, infrastructure is deteriorating, banksters never were held accountable for melting down the economy, inequality is exploding — and neither party is addressing the depth of the problems America faces.

Here are just a few of the problems with a Clinton candidacy, according to Saperstein:

  • Voters in 2016 will be seeking change and there is no way Clinton can run as a “change” candidate.
  • Rand Paul is out-polling Clinton 45-40 percent in Colorado, a blue state Democrats need to win in 2016.
  • Overwhelmingly, Democrats believe that Wall Street played a substantial role in gaming the system for their benefit while melting down the economy, but Clinton will be perceived as Wall Street’s candidate.
  • Clinton is not simply a hawk at a time when the Democratic base (and the country) is sick of expensive and counter-productive foreign adventures, she is a superhawk.
  • Clinton’s campaign will harken back to the glory years of the Clinton administration, but how much is that going to help? The major policy changes that started the ball rolling steeply downhill for workers and the middle class began in the Clinton administration.
  • Clinton spent four years as Secretary of State, which certainly improved her public profile, but can anyone identify any substantial accomplishments she had as Secretary of State?

As in 2008, Hillary’s main asset is her so-called “inevitability.” But that’s only an advantage until somebody better enters the race. Like Elizabeth Warren.

17 Comments

Black President Pulls Rope a Dope on Rich White Guy “Please Proceed Governor” or …Obama Punks Romney

Next time someone says to you, “Please proceed Governor,” check yourself. If you are Romney and that someone is a Black man, STFU.

Someone on Team Liar needs to be fired….after Romney.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The full transcript of the remarks is online, but of particular interest was the president’s vow of “justice” in Libya.

“No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for,” Obama said. “Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.”

The president made no reference to the campaign, politics, or his domestic opponents.

,

53 Comments

Wait, you mean some women have something to say about birth control?

And Madam Secretary brings some reality to the table:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: Well, the cost is financial, the cost is in women’s lives, the cost is to undermine what many of the very same opponents claim is their priority, namely to prevent abortions [wry grin] because—you know, we want to stay focused on improving maternal and child health, and there is no doubt at all that family planning services are absolutely essential to improving both maternal and child health.

Working through our government—with other governments, with NGOs with expertise, capacity, proven track records—we have made a big difference in women’s health. You know, global estimates, Senator, indicate that, by helping women space births and avoid unintended pregnancies, family planning has the potential of preventing twenty-five percent of the maternal and child deaths in the developing world.

Family planning is the best way we have to prevent unintended pregnancies and abortion [wry grin] so I—I know that it—it is, um, a very, um, controversial issue [she seems barely able to spit the words out through her disdain and casts her eyes down then lifts them back up as she continues] but numerous studies have shown that the incidence of abortions decreases when women have access to contraception.

And therefore I strongly support what this administration is doing in trying to provide the means to improve the health of women and children around the world.

It is pretty much this simple. The argument is about as basic as it can be. It isn’t a matter of religion, or opinion, or collecting a bunch of white male virgins to testify as to how peachy keen no birth control would be. The case is very, very simple.

1. Women are people
2. They can make their own choices
3. Birth control and family planning make them better off
4. Birth control and family planning make kids better off
5. Birth control and family planning mean less abortions

At this point anyone who is under the mistaken impression the catholic church has any morality in their position at all is simply not aware of the terms of the discussion. If the catholic church had any respect for human life at all they would be campaigning for birth control, not against it.

14 Comments

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