Archive for category National Politics

Jill Stein: Pardon Edward Snowden, Now

Jill Stein advocates an immediate presidential pardon of Edward Snowden, American hero.

Pardon Edward Snowden, now

Snowden’s whistleblowing was among the most important in US history. It showed us that the relationship between the people of the United States and the government has gone off track and needs a major course correction.

The fourth amendment of the constitution provides that a court must find probable cause that an individual has committed a crime before issuing a warrant, and forbids systematic spying on the American people. The requirement of individualized suspicion should prohibit this type of dragnet surveillance. Spying on whole populations is not necessary, and is actually counterproductive.

If elected president I will immediately pardon Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and John Kiriakou for their important work in exposing the massive, systematic violation of our constitutional rights. I would invite them to the White House to publicly acknowledge their heroism, and create a role for them in the Stein-Baraka Green party administration to help us create a modern framework that protects personal privacy while still conducting effective investigations where warranted.

The American people have a right to privacy. My hope is that Obama uses his power to pardon Snowden now. The debate he began must be continued so we find a resolution that protects the freedom of press, association, religion and speech as well as the privacy of people in the United States and around the world.

More info:
The Guardian: Edward Snowden makes ‘moral’ case for presidential pardon
ACLU: PardonSnowden.org

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Here’s Why You Can Fear Trump

Our public lands

If you are looking for a reason to fear a Donald Trump administration, then take a look at his economic plan (emphasis added).

WASHINGTON: At a private meeting of conservatives in Cleveland this summer, Donald Trump’s senior economic adviser, Stephen Moore, said the candidate planned to pay for his costly proposals by eliminating the departments of Commerce, Energy and Education; lifting all restrictions on mining, drilling and fracking; ending Temporary Assistance for Needy Families programs, and offering rust-belt factory workers new jobs on oil rigs and steel mills.

Of course, federal restrictions are not stopping the development of fossil fuels at all. The only check on the industry is the current slump in prices.

On the contrary, our public lands (that we own!) are wide open to corporate oil & gas exploration, coal mining, you name it. What is needed is a leasing ban for public lands – but Hillary Clinton refuses to propose such a ban, and she has long since abandoned an earlier promise to phase out coal.

If coal, oil and natural gas didn’t get subsidized, renewable energy would be recognized as being incomparably cheaper than fossil fuels. Why are the major-party presidential candidates not proposing to create jobs with nationwide programs for solar and wind energy? Remember candidate Obama’s 2008 promise of a “green economy” before he became the fracker-in-chief?

The only candidate with an economic program that will help us instead of the corporations is Jill Stein, who proposes “a human-centered economy that puts people, planet and peace over profit.”

UPDATE:
CNBC Debunks Industry-Backed Study Behind Trump’s Dirty Energy Plan

More info:
Behind Closed Doors, Donald Trump’s Adviser Explains His Real Economic Plan
Bernie Sanders Will Ban Fracking. Hillary Clinton ‘Sold Fracking to the World’

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Hillary Emerges From Hiding, Says Nothing

I know there is plenty of speculation that Donald Trump is deliberately trying to lose the presidential election, but what about Hillary Clinton?

Clinton unveiled her plane, a Boeing 737-800 informally dubbed “Hill Force One,” and allowed press to fly with her for the first time during her campaign.

Hillary has been dropping in the polls, and the latest IBD/TIPP Poll indicates a tie with Trump.

Clinton and Trump are tied at 39% each in a four-way matchup that includes Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, who gets 12% support, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who gets 3%.

Hillary hasn’t held a press conference since Dec. 5, 2015. She has been largely absent from the campaign trail for weeks, instead attending private fundraisers with the 1 Percent at hedge fund mansions.

Today Hillary appeared in Cleveland, Ohio in her new campaign plane, which parked next to Donald Trump’s plane. She delivered a speech that began with a massive coughing fit, and continued in a hoarse voice while MSNBC and CNN cut away (C-SPAN stayed with live coverage). The message: “Friends don’t let friends vote for Trump.” Um, what about the issues? Is there any reason at all for average non-rich Americans to vote for Hillary?

Trump plane Clinton plane
Trump’s Boeing 757 parked near Clinton’s leased 737 today in Cleveland, OH

UPDATE:
CNN/ORC poll has Trump leading within the margin of error, 45% to 43%.

More info:
A record number of Americans now dislike Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton, rarely seen, rarely heard
Where Has Hillary Clinton Been? Ask the Ultrarich
Hillary Clinton Starts Speech With Massive Coughing Fit: “Every Time I Think About Trump I Get Allergic”

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1 Percenters Celebrate Anniversary of Clinton’s ‘Welfare Reform’

Via The Intercept: 20 Years Later, Poverty Is Up, But Architects of “Welfare Reform” Have No Regrets

A gathering Monday in Washington, D.C., featured a bipartisan group of former government officials agreeing on the benefits of slashing the nation’s safety net.

This week marks the 20th anniversary of “welfare reform,” the 1996 law passed by Congress and administered by President Bill Clinton that strictly limited the amount of federal cash assistance that the poorest Americans can receive — transforming the Aid for Families with Dependent Children program into the more restrictive Temporary Aid for Needy Families.

One of the main impacts of the law was to help double the number of American households living in extreme poverty in America – defined as living on less than $2 a day.

The Capitol Hill event, hosted by the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute and the Progressive Policy Institute, which has been referred to as President Bill Clinton’s “idea mill,” celebrated the 20th anniversary of the law. Its architects said they had no regrets about its passage.

Former Michigan Republican governor John Engler, who pioneered state-level welfare cutbacks and who today serves as the head of the corporate lobbying group the Business Roundtable, recounted how Bill Clinton’s support helped make national welfare reform possible.

“It was pretty stunning in 1992 to have a Democratic candidate for president, albeit a 12-year veteran in the governor’s office talking about ending ‘welfare as we know it,’” he said. “That was a pretty decisive moment.” …

…At the conclusion of the event, the speakers and audience were treated to a reception featuring alcoholic drinks, cheesecake squares, specialty meats, and gourmet cheese.

The U.S. poverty rate has been increasing since 2000. The 2015 Census Bureau statistics have not been released yet, but in 2014 46.7 million Americans (14.8 percent) were in poverty. Only 4.1 million receive assistance from TANF.

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David Dayen on the ‘Fraudclosure’ Crisis

After the Bush administration presided over the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression, American households lost about $16.4 trillion of net worth. The value of real estate alone dropped by $6 trillion.

Instead of making the big banks eat these losses, our government decided to let the middle class pay for Wall Street’s mistakes – even if it meant circumventing the law. “Rocket dockets” (up to 1,000 cases per day) and “robo-signing” (the mass production of false affidavits) enabled the biggest robbery of all time. Some homeowners faced court-ordered foreclosure even though they never took out a mortgage!

David Dayen has laid it all out in a new book, Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud

Fraudclosure
Example of “robo-signing”

Sorry you lost your home: Americans deserve more than an apology for the foreclosure fraud epidemic (Emphasis added)

Political analysts still manage to wonder why people are angry in a time of economic recovery, without ever even hinting recognition of the scarring impact of the foreclosure disaster. More than 9.3 million American families gave up their home between 2006 and 2014, either in a foreclosure or a short sale or some other transaction. That translates to about 14 million people, all of whom have family and friends and colleagues who at least know of the pain caused by the foreclosure crisis. There have been more since then.

It didn’t have to turn out that way. All of the losses didn’t have to be placed upon homeowners. Somebody could have been held responsible. We could have enforced the simple rule that you can’t take a person’s home with false evidence. This bare minimum would have engendered some faith that the system works, that justice still burns somewhere in America.

“Somebody could have been held responsible.” Instead, the Obama administration looked the other way during the “fraudclosure” crisis. They did the same thing on U.S. war crimes, on CIA torture, and on widespread warrantless surveillance of Americans. Only the truth-tellers went to federal prison, never the criminals.

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New Jill Stein Ad Pitches To Bernie Backers: Don’t Choose The Lesser Evil

“It’s time to reject the lesser evil and fight for the greater good – like our lives depend on it. Because they do.”

–Dr. Jill Stein

Hopefully the Green Party will be on the ballot in Utah this year.

More info: www.jill2016.com

UPDATE:
Clinton’s third-party headache

Here’s why Democrats should be concerned: As Trump’s support has dwindled in recent days — leaving the GOP nominee with just his fervent supporters — some soft voters might be moving into Clinton’s camp when asked on a two-way ballot, but defecting to a third candidate when given other options.

“Trump voters are mainly Trump voters, but Clinton voters are still not quite happy that they’re going to end up voting for her,” said Monmouth University pollster Patrick Murray, who has studied the role of third-party candidates in pre-election polls.

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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.

16 Comments

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.

37 Comments

Bernie Quits – Will There Still Be a Revolution?

Bernie quits

The Democratic Party establishment and the media figures who support them have been demanding that Bernie Sanders end his candidacy since about four months ago. Today he quit, with two more weeks to go before the convention.

The “most progressive platform ever” does not include opposition to the TPP, Medicare for all or a fracking ban on public lands. It suggests a $15 federal minimum wage – “over time” (i.e. not now). Oh, and none of this is binding on candidates anyway.

Hillary doesn’t think she owes anything to Bernie’s supporters, and she won’t give us anything. Her campaign wants people to vote against Donald Trump. It’s all about fear of Trump. There is no hope for the future. The lesser of two evils is still evil. They are basically tied in the polls, within the margin of error.

Jill Stein for President.

UPDATE & CORRECTION:

It turns out that although Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary for President yesterday, he did not suspend his campaign. There will still be a contested convention in Philadelphia.

This e-mail came from Felicia Taylor, one of the organizers for the July 24 march in Salt Lake City:

After some re-organizing and time letting the dust settle, the organizers of this group have decided that we are not going to change the purpose of this event. We are STILL #BernieorBust and we are STILL marching to support Bernie’s bid for president on the democratic ticket (or otherwise if he changes course after the convention).

The reasons being that 1 – He DID NOT concede and is still going to a contested convention in two weeks and 2 – We cannot in good conscience support HRC when she is only this far ahead in delegates/votes due to election fraud and injustices against the citizens of this country.

We need to rally behind him now more than ever and show the DNC that not even Bernie could get us to support her being president of our country!

#SeeYouInSLC #UnityOverParties #StillSanders #NeverHillary

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Income Inequality is the Highest in American History


‘America Is NOT Broke’: Michael Moore Speaks in Madison, WI — March 5, 2011

“Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you’ll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It’s just that it’s not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich.”
— Michael Moore

According to economists Peter Lindert and Jeffrey Williamson, the Gini coefficient in this country is now the highest it has ever been. “We went from one of the most egalitarian places in the world to one of the least,” Williamson told the Washington Post. “What happened?”

In his chronicle of the young United States in the 1830s, Alexis de Tocqueville famously said that “nothing struck me more forcibly than the general equality of condition among the people.”

The Gini coefficient is a measure of inequality in which 0 is perfect equality and 100 would mean perfect inequality, or one person owning all the wealth. A recent study by the financial services corporation Allianz found that the U.S. had the most extreme wealth inequality in the world, with a score of 80.56 – the highest concentration of overall wealth in the hands of the proportionately fewest people.

Related:
Exclusive: Charles Koch and his company launch ‘end the divide’ ad campaign
The Kochs’ Biggest Joke—Billionaires Pretend to Care About Inequality in Latest Ad Blitz

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