Archive for category National Politics
“Violations of the Federal Records Act within federal agencies is something we take very seriously. …The House Oversight Committee will work with Mr. Gowdy and the Select Committee on Benghazi to further explore Hillary Clinton’s use of personal emails while at the State Department.”
A business card obtained by ABC News shows that Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, lists his Gmail address on his official House card.
Rep. Chaffetz is already threatening years of investigations during the Hillary administration. But it looks like he tripped over his own feet back in March 2015.
The presidential debates should be an opportunity to focus on the most important issues of the day. Unfortunately, the producers of the second debate failed miserably at this goal, because of their selection of which questions to ask.
Prior to the debate, the producers agreed to consider the top thirty questions voted on by the public at Open Debates. The question with the third largest number of votes, posed by Ellen Pleasant from North Carolina in the video below, was “Do you support expanding, and not cutting, Social Security’s modest benefits?”
That straightforward question was voted third, out of more than 12,000 questions on which to vote. Over 45,000 Americans voted for Ellen’s question. With poll after poll showing that retirement insecurity is a top financial concern of most Americans and with the reality that Social Security is likely to be even more important in the future, the voting is no surprise.
But the moderators did not ask it – or any of the other questions in the top thirty…
Why not ask such an obvious question? David Dayen explains: Debate Moderators Under the Spell of Deficit-Obsessed Billionaire Pete Peterson.
Who is Peter G. Peterson? He is a former Nixon cabinet official and private equity billionaire who has been demanding cuts to programs he’s too rich to rely upon since the early 1980s. Peterson was the inspiration behind President Obama’s failed Catfood Commission and many phony “grassroots” groups calling for austerity budgets, and ending Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
If you watch cable TV, you have seen the scary Peter G. Peterson ads warning us of impending economic collapse unless the Washington politicians come up with more tax cuts for the rich and benefits cuts for the 99 Percent.
Everybody in America totally rejects Peterson’s austerity plans. Everybody, that is, except the 1 Percenters and their bipartisan representatives in the nation’s capital. Even if Peterson remains unsuccessful in his quest to destroy our social safety net, his relentless propaganda helps stifle the debate about EXPANDING Social Security and other programs – which is what we ought to do.
A government of the people, by the people, and for the people is the opposite of what Peterson and his political allies such as Hillary Clinton want to achieve.
Did anyone notice in the last debate when Hillary pledged she would “not add a penny to the Debt?” That was Peter G. Peterson talking.
Hillary Clinton promised in a debate with Bernie Sanders last February to “look into” releasing the transcripts of her paid speeches to Wall Street. She never released the transcripts, but thanks to WikiLeaks we know that the Hillary campaign did an assessment of them to review the most damaging quotes.
Hillary’s speech excerpts are revealed in a Jan. 25, 2016 email from Tony Carrk, the research director of the Clinton campaign, to John Podesta, the campaign chairman, and other top campaign officials. Some examples cited by Salon:
Politicians “need both a public and a private position”
In an April 2013 speech to the National Multi-Housing Council, Clinton maintained that politicians “need both a public and a private position.”
“If everybody’s watching, you know, all of the back room discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least,” she said,
“Politics is like sausage being made,” Clinton added. “It is unsavory, and it always has been that way, but we usually end up where we need to be.”
In other words, Hillary reserves the right to have two positions on every issue – but which one is the lie? BTW the “sausage” analogy was originally made by John Godfrey Saxe, but is often attributed to Otto von Bismarck. It is a political cliché.
Dreams of “open trade” world
In a May 2013 speech to the Brazilian bank Banco Itau, Clinton articulated her neoliberal, hyper-capitalist vision of the world.
“My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders,” she said….
“Far removed” from the middle class
In a February 2014 speech to the bank Goldman Sachs and financial management company BlackRock, Clinton admitted, “I’m kind of far removed” from the struggles of the middle class, “because the life I’ve lived and the economic, you know, fortunes that my husband and I now enjoy.” She added, “But I haven’t forgotten it.”
Clinton also said, “I do think there is a growing sense of anxiety and even anger in the country over the feeling that the game is rigged,” but she stressed, “I am not taking a position on any policy.”
The Intercept highlighted another quote, in which Hillary suggests the big banks ought to write their own regulations.
Touching on her view of developing financial regulations, Clinton declared to a crowd of Goldman Sachs bankers that in order to “figure out what works,” the “people that know the industry better than anybody are the people who work in the industry.”
Last but not least, we now know that Hillary told an audience at Morgan Stanley that she supported the Catfood Commission plan for tax cuts for the rich and benefit cuts for everyone else.
We ought to remember that the content of Hillary’s Wall Street speeches, as bad as it is, doesn’t outweigh the fact that she was paid $22 million. The speeches were primarily an excuse for the TBTF banks to financially reward the Clintons for their support over the years.
Salon: In paid speeches, Hillary Clinton said she “represented” and “had great relations” with Wall Street
The Intercept: Excerpts of Hillary Clinton’s Paid Speeches to Goldman Sachs Finally Leaked
Official Transcript Clock: http://iwilllookintoit.com/
Previously on One Utah:
The $675,000 Question (February 4, 2016)
Wealth and Income Share of the Top 1%, 1913-2012
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
Jill Stein advocates an immediate presidential pardon of Edward Snowden, American hero.
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.
The Guardian: Edward Snowden makes ‘moral’ case for presidential pardon
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.”
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’s Boeing 757 parked near Clinton’s leased 737 today in Cleveland, OH
CNN/ORC poll has Trump leading within the margin of error, 45% to 43%.
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”
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.
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
Example of “robo-signing”
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.
“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
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.
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?
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.