Archive for category This Blog
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.
Hypothalamus, can I just call you Thal? Great! Well, Thal, we have been constant companions for a long time. You have always had my back when a crocodile is chasing me or kept me out of the way of stampeding bulls. I would like to thank you for that. But Thal, like any friend we need to have some boundaries. Sure I need you when I am truly in trouble. You give me that kick that helps me to either fight off an attacker or get the heck out of the there. When I am truly in real trouble I need you by my side.
But, Thal, frankly I do not need you as my constant companion. I do not need you protecting me from everything that may make me feel uncomfortable. I do not need you always hovering over me just in case someone may ask me a question I do not have an immediate answer. I do not need you when someone challenges my beliefs or acts contrary to my expectations. I do not need you when someone asks me to do something that I either do not want to do or avert me from something that currently has my attention.
Thal, to be brutally honest. You are just a dumb brute. You are part of my brain that has no connection to my higher brain such as intellect, reason, logic, compassion, empathy, wisdom or any of the higher faculties that set us apart from animals with brains the size of an acorn.
When you kick in, I lose my connection to higher brain functions and lose all ability to apply reason and logic and run almost entirely on basic survival instincts. You make me appeal to my emotions instead of my intellect.
Yes, Thal, you make me as dumb as you are. You make me dysfunctional and stressed out you make me easy prey for manipulation and control by others.
Since we are co-dependent, the parting will be difficult. Both you and I will resist the changes required to put you in your place. There will be times we will run back to each other, but we both will be healthier when you keep to your intended purpose.
So, if you come for a visit, I will no longer feed you. I will no longer respond by either fighting or fleeing. I will simply invite the one thing that you cannot exist in a room at the same time, and that is my higher brain function. We will call him Funk. Yes, Thal you and Funk cannot operate at the same time. Funk and I will have to ease into it because you are cunning and like a petulant child you will use tricks to be fed and get what you want. We will have to use our own tricks to combat you. Things that use our higher intellect when you come knocking. Things as simple as doing a word puzzle or think of random numbers or count backward. Anything that invites Funk in to get you out.
So instead of retreating to some imaginary safe-space that only functions to feed and enable you I will go to the only true safe-space that exists wherever I happen to be and use my mind instead of reacting to you and my environment.
Don’t despair; we are still friends. When I truly need it, you are welcome, and I will be happy to feed you when we are truly in danger.
This was the moment the American right has been salivating over for 25 years . . . someone stood on a stage and leveled all the charges at Hillary Clinton, to her face, and called her a liar, and glowered and swaggered while doing it.
And it fell flat.
It went nowhere.
She was calm, composed, even cool, under pressure. She didn’t break down. She didn’t fall to pieces. She didn’t dissolve into a puddle of tears.
Josh Marshall is spot on:
The whole debate, rancid and intense, felt like an ordeal to live through just watching it on TV.
I don’t think we can discuss this debate as citizens, take stock of it as a country, without noting that this is certainly the first time one candidate has openly threatened to jail the other candidate. Trump said openly that he would instruct the Justice Department to open a new investigation of Clinton and that he’d make sure it ended with her imprisonment.
That’s something we expect it kleptocracies and thin democracies where electoral defeat can mean exile, imprisonment or death.
Such a ferocious claim, one that puts our whole constitutional order on its head, is not something that can be easily undone. That’s the ranting threat of a would-be strongman and dictator The threat itself is like a bell that can’t be un-rung. Through the course of what was often an ugly debate, I was thinking a lot of the destructiveness of this entire campaign, virtually all of which stems from Trump’s transgressive, norm-demolishing behavior. It’s a topic we’ll have to return to in the ed blog and one the country is going to need to wrestle with. None of this is going to disappear after November 8th. These are slashing wounds to the country’s political fabric that will at best leave tremendous scar tissue we’ll still see for decades.
It was vile. Not because of Hillary Clinton who remains an ordinary politician in almost every sense – with all that status implies. No, it was vile because Donald Trump is vile, because the American right has long since surrendered its ethics and standards, because the American right has long since given up truth and honesty and instead has played an amoral game whose only yardstick is who won the election, right or wrong; who outshouted who; who got the highest ratings.
Donald Trump, glowering, swaggering, striding around the stage, trying to physically intimidate Hillary, was every bit the bully, the abuser, the loud mouthed asshole. His behavior is vile, degrading and shameful.
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)
This second debate took place on September 26th, and will most likely be the last one, as governor Herbert would rather keep his governmental matters close to the vest and probably only showed up to the first one at the last minute because he didn’t want to be called, “Unavailable Jones” at that event.
Weinholtz came out swinging like a real democrat should with the problems the GOP has left us in this state and the rest of the country as well, but he has already proven he can work with the other side on the issues.
I hope all those people who showed up to wait in line for hours to register and vote for Bernie Sanders will see that this is the year to get democrats in office again in Utah. The governor’s office has never been in Republican hands for this long in Utah before, (32 years). It’s time for a change with REAL values instead of the stagnant cronyism we see today.
Short post-debate question and answer session:
The first debate was not televised, so I took this from a citizens cell phone recording.
NOTE: You can stop the unwanted soundtrack by going near the bottom of the page, and pausing the video, or going to the comments section.
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”
Read the whole thing here. The money quote:
Americans of a certain age who follow politics and policy closely still have vivid memories of the 2000 election — bad memories, and not just because the man who lost the popular vote somehow ended up in office. For the campaign leading up to that end game was nightmarish too.
You see, one candidate, George W. Bush, was dishonest in a way that was unprecedented in U.S. politics. Most notably, he proposed big tax cuts for the rich while insisting, in raw denial of arithmetic, that they were targeted for the middle class. These campaign lies presaged what would happen during his administration — an administration that, let us not forget, took America to war on false pretenses.
Yet throughout the campaign most media coverage gave the impression that Mr. Bush was a bluff, straightforward guy, while portraying Al Gore — whose policy proposals added up, and whose critiques of the Bush plan were completely accurate — as slippery and dishonest. Mr. Gore’s mendacity was supposedly demonstrated by trivial anecdotes, none significant, some of them simply false. No, he never claimed to have invented the internet. But the image stuck.
And right now I and many others have the sick, sinking feeling that it’s happening again.
Report honestly. Please.
A few years ago, PBS aired the documentary Town Hall, following the adventures and misadventures of two tea partiers in Pennsylvania. In one scene, on election day 2012, one of the tea parties, John, got himself authorized as a poll watcher. Poll watching usually involves checking the voter registration books at the polling places to make certain your supporters have voted and to be certain that the laws are being followed.
Tea party John got himself authorized as a poll watcher because he was certain, certain, that there was widespread voter fraud taking place and he was going to stop it. The documentary showed him challenging the right of certain people (weirdly only people of color. hm . . . ) to vote. In one scene, he challenges two black women’s right to vote – except they had both become naturalized citizens. They got to vote. John was a stickler for the rules – for example in another scene he made the election judges clear the room of people who had already voted, even though they were waiting for a friend to finish voting. Once you voted, John explained, you had to leave the voting area. The film did not show anyone deterred from voting by John’s earnest idiocy and bumbling poll watching, it highlighted an interesting dynamic among conservatives -convinced there is widespread fraud in voting, they’re going to police the polls to make sure everything is kosher and their interpretation of the rules is adhered to even if that makes voting slow, annoying and difficult.
So it was with some concern that I heard Trump’s statement:
The only way they can beat it in my opinion — and I mean this 100 percent — if in certain sections of the state they cheat, OK? So I hope you people can sort of not just vote on the 8th, go around and look and watch other polling places and make sure that it’s 100 percent fine, because without voter identification — which is shocking, shocking that you don’t have it.
There’s no way this could go wrong. A bunch of uptight, panties in a wad white people, convinced they’re saving democracy in America, overrunning polling places in mostly black and latino neighborhoods on election day is going to be just peachy keen.
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.