Sunday, February 07, 2016

If You Don't Think Hillary Is Part Of The Establishment, You Should Probably Go Back To Fifth Grade


I hope you read yesterday's post, The Pervasive, Sickening Impact Of Wall Street On Politics, which made the case-- strictly based on cold, hard facts-- for why Hillary should drop out immediately and endorse Bernie for president-- for the sale of the country. She won't ,of course; she is a breathtakingly corrupt careerist. No one even defends her except people on her payroll, people who want to get a job in her administration or those who, tragically, refuse to look at her horrifying public record of deceit and corruption. A few minutes ago one of her morons on Twitter repeated that "None of Bernie's ideas are feasible!," exactly what conservatives said about...
The American Revolution
The Bill of Rights and the forging of a democracy
Universal white male suffrage
Public education
The emancipation of the slaves
The national park system
Food safety
The breakup of monopolies
The Homestead Act
Land grant universities
Rural electrification
Women’s suffrage
The abolition of child labor
The eight hour workday
The minimum wage
Social Security
Civil rights for minorities and women
Voting rights for minorities and the poor
Cleaning up our air, our water, and toxic dump sites
Consumer product safety
Medicare and Medicaid
Hillary is just a year older than I am-- let's say we're the same age. When far right extremist nut Barry Goldwater was running for president, I was smart enough to back LBJ, while she was campaigning for Goldwater. A couple of years later I was at a state university and president of the Young Democrats and she was at a 7 Sisters school and president of the Young Republicans. Many years later I was offered a position on the Board of Directors of McDonald's. It would have been very financially advantageous but it just took me 30 seconds to turn it down. She served on the Board of Directors of Walmart. I know her type... I know her type real well, and the times I've met her in person, one-on-one, I've been aware I was in the presence of a not very nice person.

Iowa's corrupt Democratic Party chair grudgingly releases new results, although still unverified

A few days ago Conor Friedersdorf, writing for The Atlantic went beyond just commenting on the absurd moment in the Democratic debate "when one of America’s most powerful insiders took umbrage at an accurate characterization of who she represents" and denied she is part of "the establishment." He points out that she's very much like a garden variety GOP insider in this regard.
Of course, “the establishment” has no agreed-upon meaning. By Wikipedia’s definition, “a dominant group or elite that holds power or authority in a nation or organization,” Bernie Sanders qualifies. He has spent 26 years in Congress, 10 as a senator. As he points out repeatedly, he sat on the committee that wrote Obamacare. And he was chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. On the other hand, he’s the longest-serving independent in the history of Congress and cast lonely votes against establishment endeavors as popular as the Persian Gulf War and the Patriot Act. He disliked Alan Greenspan long before the financial crisis. He’s fiercely critical of America’s existing economic power structure. And he once recorded an album of folk music titled “We Shall Overcome.”

Establishment or not?

Here’s what Sanders said Thursday after Hillary Clinton touted the long list of prominent Democratic Party officials who have endorsed her bid for the presidency:
I  will absolutely admit that Secretary Clinton has the support of far more governors, mayors, members of the House. She has the entire establishment or almost the entire establishment behind her. That's a fact.

I don't deny it. But I am pretty proud that we have over a million people who have contributed to our campaign averaging 27 bucks apiece. That we have had meetings where 25,000-30,000 people have come out. That our campaign is a campaign of the people, by the people, and for the people.

So, Rachel, yes, Secretary Clinton does represent the establishment. I represent, I hope, ordinary Americans, and by the way, who are not all that enamored with the establishment, but I am very proud to have people like Keith Ellison and Raul Grijalva in the House, the co-chairmen of the House Progressive Caucus.
Notice that Sanders didn’t say he isn’t a member of the establishment. He said he doesn’t “represent the establishment.” That strikes me as a perfectly defensible claim.

Hillary Clinton didn’t dispute it. But she did take umbrage at how Sanders characterized her. “Honestly, Senator Sanders is the only person who I think would characterize me, a woman running to be the first woman president, as exemplifying the establishment,” she said. “And that it is really quite amusing to me.”

Did you notice how she changed his words?

Sanders said that she “represents the establishment,” not that she “exemplifies the establishment.” But even the stronger claim strikes me as true. There may not be one true definition of “the establishment,” but Hillary Clinton is a member by any reasonable definition.

...[When] became New York’s junior senator after the September 11 terrorist attacks she voted with the establishment for the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, the Patriot Act, and the Iraq War. She joined the Senate Prayer Breakfast. When the Democratic establishment opposed gay marriage, she did, too.  She didn’t flip until 2013, when equality was an establishment position. In the interim, she was a cabinet secretary.

Throughout her tenure, she believed that America’s governing elite was justified in running a secret program of mass surveillance and waging secret drone warfare.

“A few weeks after Hillary Clinton was sworn in as secretary of state in early 2009, she was summoned to Geneva by her Swiss counterpart to discuss an urgent matter. The Internal Revenue Service was suing UBS AG to get the identities of Americans with secret accounts,” the Wall Street Journal reported. “If the case proceeded, Switzerland’s largest bank would face an impossible choice: Violate Swiss secrecy laws by handing over the names, or refuse and face criminal charges in U.S. federal court. Within months, Mrs. Clinton announced a tentative legal settlement-- an unusual intervention by the top U.S. diplomat. UBS ultimately turned over information on 4,450 accounts, a fraction of the 52,000 sought by the IRS.”

Later UBS paid her husband seven figures in speaking fees.

After leaving Foggy Bottom, she joined one of the nation’s most powerful philanthropic organizations, underwritten by ultra-rich donors, including foreign governments.

Its name: the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

In addition, she was paid lavishly to give speeches to some of the most powerful corporations on the planet. She earned more on three Goldman Sachs speeches than many Americans earn in their lives. Forbes estimated her individual worth at $30 million.

Given all that, one of the most absurd statements in any debate this cycle has got to be, “Senator Sanders is the only person who I think would characterize me, a woman running to be the first woman president, as exemplifying the establishment.” And again, that wasn’t even Sanders claim. But it is nevertheless accurate.

I don’t think Hillary Clinton is unaware that she’s a part of the establishment. Rather, I think that she was willing to feign offense to deflect from a charge that she knows to be true. “She has the entire establishment or almost the entire establishment behind her,” Sanders declared, and she “does represent the establishment.”

That is absolutely correct. See for yourself.
It's a useful list (at the link just above). That's where I do my research on posts like the one about the handful of disgustingly corrupt conservative Democrats-- all on her leadership team of course-- like Patrick Murphy ("ex"-Republican, New Dem-FL), Kyrsten Sinema (Blue Dog, future Republican-AZ), John Delaney (New Dem-MD), Brad Ashford ("ex"-Republican, Blue Dog-NE) and Ron Kind (head of the New Dems-WI) who voted with the Republicans this past week to allow Wall Street to rip off customers and share holders.
Goal Thermometer


The Politics of Diminishing Expectations-- Guest Post By Erik Peterson


Erik, founder of Bending the Arc Strategies, wrote this after listening to the Hillary Clinton/Bernie Sanders Debate in New Hampshire last week.

When did politics become the art of diminishing our expectations?

When did it become naïve and impractical for leaders to speak of their dreams?

When did it become the role of politicians to convince us about what we can’t become, or dream about, or dare hope for because they couldn’t realistically deliver it?

I recently re-read FDR’s Economic Bill of Rights, perhaps the one memorable State of the Union address ever given. Delivered six months before D-Day, with a war raging on multiple continents, it spells out a revolutionary and legislatively impractical program.

As I read the address, excerpted below, I wondered how many people were telling FDR that he couldn’t say that. That he couldn’t possibly deliver it. That there was a war raging and his were idealistic, distracting, even harmful dreams. That he should not say anything he couldn’t deliver. And that he should talk about practical plans and programs rather than laying down a mark of the inalienable right to economic security.

It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people-- whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth-- is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.

This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights-- among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.

As our nation has grown in size and stature, however-- as our industrial economy expanded-- these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. "Necessitous men are not free men." People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all-- regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:
The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
The right of every family to a decent home;
The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
The right to a good education.
All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

America's own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens.

As I read FDR’s speech I was reminded again that Martin Luther King did not deliver the famous line "I have a plan." He had a dream. And although it took a plan to achieve it, even more important were the 10s of millions of people inspired and believing in a dream. Millions who could imagine and begin demanding a different and better world.

I don’t think the problem we are facing today is that we expect too much, or our programs are too ambitious, or our dreams too big.

I think for the most part they are too small. What we can politically achieve in this moment is more or less all that we dare hope for or realistically demand. That our politics must relinquish speaking to what is necessary, and that we resign ourselves to the realism that a bit more is all we can expect and is as good as it can be.

Change of course usually comes incrementally. Built on the hard slog of compromise and imperfection. Oftentimes it feels disappointing and insufficient.

But I don’t think we manage our way to a better world, however crucial competent management is. More than ever I feel we need to dream bigger, be more outraged, and speak ever more hopefully.

Our politics need to boldly go where it is unreasonable to go, to speak courageously to what is necessary, so we can imagine again, and in the impracticality of our dreams be more strategic and win more of a better world that is possible.
Goal Thermometer

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The Cop Who Arrested Rubio As A Gay Prostitute In 1990 Says He Had "Very White Teeth"


Illinois Republican Aaron Schock hasn't announced if he's reached a final agreement with TitanMen for his new gay porn career. I bet the million dollars they're negotiating is a lot more than sweaty little Marco Rubio was ever offered by the down-market Miami Cuban gay porn operators he got involved with when he was a teenager. Rubio has been the most obsessively homophobic of all the anti-gay Republicans running for office-- careful to never let Ted Cruz get to the right of him on homophobia-- and has obviously been over-compensating to hide his own shady past as a gay-for-pay hooker. Rubio, who had been running cocaine for his entrepreneurial brother-in-law, Orlando Cicilia, when he was just 16, was not quite 19 when he was arrested in Miami's notorious Coconut Grove gay pick-up spot, Alice C. Wainwright Park in 1990. He had flunked out of Tarkio College in Missouri and was back in Miami and in desperate need of money. With brother-in-law Cicilia arrested 3 years previously and then in prison, the family cocaine business was over and Rubio was selling his ass to older gay men, although, for some reason, he never wrote about that episode of his life in his autobiography, An American Son. He claims when he was arrested in the closed park he was only drinking beer, not looking for a john for some quick cash.

One of the guys arrested with Rubio, Angel Barrios, laughably claimed they were "trying to get pretty girls," although Coconut Grove was well-known as the totally wrong neighborhood for that. Last week, Miami's New Times interviewed Barrios in regard to Rubio's old life as a gay prostitute. (There are no current allegations that Rubio is still having sex with men, but he is notorious for selling himself to rich older males-- like Sheldon Adelson, Larry Ellison, Norman Braman, Jose "Pepe" Fanjul, Paul Singer, Joe Ricketts, Charles Schwab, Ron Weiser, and the Koch brothers-- for his political career.)
Decades after his legal run-in with Rubio, Barrios was associated with perhaps the most notorious gay porn ring in Miami history, an Edgewater house full of models with names like “Khali Kreme” and “Sincere Luv” who had sex all day in front of dozens of webcams. Couple that with the fact that the park where Rubio was arrested was a well-known gay cruising spot and lurid rumors-- with no basis in documented fact-- have blown up all this week on the internet, eagerly stoked by Donald Trump supporters casting Rubio as a closeted homosexual. Right-wing conspiracy monger Alex Jones devoted a five-minute segment to the allegations yesterday, while posts on the claims have been heavily upvoted on a Reddit page for Trump supporters.

“I have nothing against gay people, but this is just so far from the truth,” says Barrios, who laughs out loud at the idea of having had a sexual relationship with Rubio. “I have kids, and now they’re reading all this garbage online. It’s insane.”

Yet the story does add to a trend for Rubio, who has dealt with multiple news cycles about shady connections and sketchy choices back in his hometown, from a pile of traffic citations to mountains of questionable credit card debt to a brother-in-law convicted of dealing cocaine. Now Rubio can add to the mix a childhood buddy wrapped up in a years-long legal war over gay porn.

...On May 23, 1990, Rubio and Barrios were with another friend, 18-year-old Derek Preston Wilson, after dark at Alice C. Wainwright Park, a leafy Brickell public space then infamous as a late-night trouble spot. (“People went out there to smoke illegal substances, have sex, drink,” a police spokesman told the Post in its story published last Friday.) At 9:37 p.m., the three teens were booked.

A report obtained by New Times casts little light on why they were arrested, though; an officer notes only that they were “located in main... park after hours.” (The cop does note that Rubio was “calm” and “clean shaven” and that his teeth were “very white.”) Rubio’s spokesperson suggested to the Post that the teens were drinking beer in the park. (The senator’s office didn’t respond to New Times' emails seeking comment for this story.)

  ...[T]wo years after his childhood friend was sworn in as speaker of the Florida House-- accepting a ceremonial sword from his then-mentor Jeb Bush as cameras clicked away-- Barrios had his own brush with media infamy.

It was May 9, 2007, when an NBC 6 investigative TV crew swarmed a sedate, two-story brick house that Barrios’ father owned on NE 27th Street just east of Biscayne Boulevard. In a special report ominously titled The House Next Door, reporters breathlessly revealed that a website called had set up dozens of webcams inside the home.

Scores of ripped, young Hispanic and black male models had been hired at a $1,200 monthly fee, plus free room and board, to live inside, where the cameras caught their every move-- including regularly scheduled orgies. (An ad on the site revealed CocoDorm's recruiting tactics, offering to fly in young models for “30 days of nonstop fucking, sucking, licking, and more with other hot Black and Latin boys.”)

Today Barrios strongly denies he knew anything about the gay smut business. He says his property management company rented the house to Flava Works, the firm behind CocoDorm, with the understanding it was a “digital media” company. He didn’t know the truth, he says, until Channel 6’s report; the next day, Barrios recalls, a Miami Herald reporter knocked on his elderly father’s door to ask about the website.

“We are not in the gay porn business. We are not in the straight porn business. We are not in the porn business,” Barrios says. “My poor father, he had no idea what was going on in there."

Some dirty old men go for  this look

Barrios should have done a better background check on Flava Works' owner, Phillip Bleicher. As the Herald later reported, just before renting Barrios’ house, Bleicher left Chicago while prosecutors were investigating allegations that a student charity he had helped run had been bilked of $3 million that had been used for everything from liposuction procedures to flights to Brazil. (No charges were ever filed in that case; Bleicher’s last known address in Miami is now vacant.)

Barrios also should have had warnings that something was amiss at the house. Police were called there at least twice the year before Channel 6’s story aired. Once, an irate, drunken housemate began throwing rocks through windows; on another occasion, police showed up after a resident known only as “Twerk” became enraged when housemates told him he couldn’t sleep with a new arrival. Twerk then punched another man repeatedly in the face.

Shortly after the TV report, the City of Miami Code Enforcement Board hit CocoDorm and Barrios with multiple citations for illegally running an adult business in a residential area. In August 2007, the city sued Barrios and his investment group in Miami-Dade civil court.

Barrios says that he moved quickly to force the business out and that the gay porn site was gone within six months. But that wasn’t the end of his association with CocoDorm. In September 2007, Barrios sued the city in federal court-- with the porn company as a co-plaintiff.

They argued that the business was protected by the First Amendment and that CocoDorm wasn’t an adult business because the webcam footage was consumed elsewhere-- not at the Edgewater house.

Why would Barrios go to court with the gay-porn producers if he was so horrified to learn what they were up to?

...While the courts battled it out, Barrios dropped out of the property management game-- perhaps scarred by his brush with porn infamy-- and opened a chain of coin laundromats, with two in Little Havana and a new outlet in Homestead.
Rubio, who has two families and is well-known in Tallahassee and in DC for screwing women lobbyists, tried to minimize the damage to his macho reputation-- particularly after the high-heeled booties incident-- by releasing this video last month:

Rubio totally blew it last night in the New Hampshire debate. He got plowed under right before our eyes, mercilessly so, by grotesque New Jersey bully Chris Christie, who exposed him as a robotic little twerp who lacks the capacity to think on his feet. As Elias Isquith pointed out for Salon readers right after the debate, when challenged the über-ambitious empty suit and young fogey went right into self-destruction mode.
Things got started when Rubio was asked to respond to Christie’s allegation that, after experiencing the presidency of Barack Obama, who was elected as a first-term U.S. senator, it would be especially unfortunate if the Republican Party were itself to nominate Marco Rubio, a first term U.S. senator, for the White House. “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me,” Christie had said (bettering his former benefactor, George).

Rubio’s comeback was pretty good, if a little obvious in its intent: He argued that experience was overrated; if it mattered, Vice President Joe Biden would be a good candidate for commander-in-chief. He then argued that an unspoken premise of the criticism-- that Obama has failed in part due to his inexperience-- is faulty. Obama knows exactly what he’s doing, Rubio said. The president is not a fool; he’s a menace.

Christie wasn’t having it, dismissing Rubio’s Biden straw man and recommitting to his initial attack. Rubio’s a nice guy, a smart guy, Christie said; but the simple fact is that he’s never had to make an important decision. This got a noticeable round of applause from the audience. And perhaps that’s why Rubio then proceeded to self-destruct.

What Rubio’s next five or so minutes such a disaster wasn’t really what he said-- but the fact that he had already just said it. Looking mighty flummoxed, Rubio tried to parry Christie’s second attack by pivoting once again to Obama, hoping to bring the crowd around to his side by using generous helpings of ideological red meat to help their tribal identification overwhelm their intellect. It had already failed, but he was doing it again. Worse still, his second answer was almost a verbatim repeat of his first.

Marcobot malfunction-- replace model STAT

Remember: The knock on Rubio has always been, essentially, that he’s a lightweight. He’s young, pretty good-looking, and he exudes the kind of Kennedy-esque earnest, “idealistic” machismo that seems to send a thrill up the legs of the Republican Party’s aged voter base (as well the aging ranks of the elite political press). As they once said of that cherubic whippersnapper Al Gore, Rubio is an older person’s idea of a young person. There may not be much there there, in short.

Well, it’s hard to imagine anything Rubio could have possibly done that would more immediately, and humorously, affirm the caricature. Here he was, really being challenged for the first time-- and by Christie, a world-class bully, no less-- and he was wilting. He was like an artificially intelligent robot confronted with a logical question his programming couldn’t handle. I worried for a moment that my stream of the debate had begun to skip.

Whether due to incompetence or pity, the moderators tried to move on. But like a really big, mean, and sadistic shark, Christie was all over it. He mocked Rubio for falling back on his talking points-- something all politicians do, but rarely so conspicuously-- and continued to shred the senator’s (lack of a) record, as well as tout his own hands-on experience governing New Jersey.

Rubio tried to tu quoque Christie, noting that the governor had only grudgingly returned to the Garden State during a recent snowstorm. Christie all but rolled his eyes and laughed it off while the audience booed-- at Rubio. And then, unbelievably, Rubio started to fall back into repeating the talking point (let’s not pretend Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing…) yet again. “There it is!” Christie interjected. The crowd was with him. Rubio’s emasculation was all but complete.

And, I swear to God, about 40 minutes later, he used the same line again.

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The Worm Has Turned-- Barring Unforeseeable Events, Bernie Sanders Will Be The Democratic Nominee


The Clinton campaign is collapsing. Built for an outdated presidential race from the past two decades, it underestimated the changing times, a unique opponent, and increasingly savvy voters.

Its first mistake was to take the traditional approach of sitting on a lead. That would have seemed a safe bet. The party's elected politicians would rally to her as the presumptive nominee-- and they did. Donors were lined up for a big hau-- and they gave. The media would willingly marginalize Sanders-- and they tried. And the voters could be quickly frightened with specters of Republicans into sticking with the establishment candidate-- but they weren't.

Despite every institutional advantage and a made-to-order GOP horror show, voters could not be scared away from Sanders. The more intently the machine insisted upon Clinton, the more suspect Clinton became. And now her campaign is out of options.

There are no more endorsements left to get. She's squandered her financial advantage by outspending Sanders by many times in Iowa, only to tie. Her big donors have largely maxed out in direct contributions, leaving Super PACs as the only vehicle through which she can make up the losses (less than ideal optics). And the media has already stooped so low in its dismissal of Sanders that there is no credible room left to expand that endeavor. At this point, Chris Matthews would literally have to beg viewers to vote Clinton in order to outdo his current advocacy.

On unfamiliar territory and feeling desperate, the inflexible campaign appears to be doubling down on its voter containment strategy and has completely given up on converting any new voters. There is no obvious goal or governing principles coming out of her camp at this point. No lines in the sand she's promising to draw as President. All that's left is jeering smack-talk of "Bernie-Bros," pie-in-the-sky aspirations, and sexism-- suggesting that anyone who still likes Sanders has been cut from the target audience.

It isn't working.

Why should it? People aren't idiots. Shirley Chisholm, Jan Schakowsky, Barbara Lee, Sheila Jackson Lee, Elizabeth Warren and many others have shown us that women can confront our sexist culture and still refuse to bed down with the male-dominated influences that have ruined our economy and democracy. And consider politicians like Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, who have also battled untold sexist barriers to achieve their groundbreaking professional goals; only the most deluded Democratic voter would consider handing them high office as compensation for their troubles.

Essentially, the Clinton campaign is wrapping a sexist appeal in the veneer of feminism: because she was a woman, Clinton couldn't help but play ball with corporations, so give her a girl pass. What a slap in the face to every woman who never sold out or gave up. It's one thing to point out that a woman went through a mountain of man-shit to obtain her rightful due, or blazed a path for future women, however imperfectly; it's another thing, completely, to insist voters to overlook corruption because the candidate is a women.

And as the campaign lashes out in a panic, other wheels are starting to come off the bus.

In the last debate, Sanders addressed race on three occasions: 1) asked about the death penalty, he noted that innocent people of color are more likely to find their way to death row; 2) asked about our criminal justice system, he made sure to include in his answer the fact that we incarcerate mostly people of color; and 3) when responding to the Flint disaster, he asked a type of question rarely heard from a Presidential candidate: what would have happened if Flint's population was middle class and white?

Clinton said absolutely nothing about race. Well, almost nothing. At the debate's conclusion, with the last question answered, Clinton wondered aloud why there weren't opportunities to talk about race.

How must that have sounded to black viewers, who surely noticed not only Sanders' pointed and appropriate injection of racial concerns into his answers, but the absence of any equivalent from Clinton? I'm sure she had good sound bytes at the ready; she just lacked the intersectional ability to weave them into a question that didn't parade itself as race-focused.

Is it any surprise that public figures from the African American community are beginning to withdraw their endorsements of Clinton and line up behind Sanders?

It is as though the Clinton campaign was designed to last only so long; slap-dash construction enduring for the short time it would take to push Sanders out of the frame. When that didn't happen, there was no Plan B. The public didn't care who Congress endorsed, and they didn't care what the Chris Matthews of the world said, and they aren't buying the argument that everyone troubled by Clinton is somehow hoodwinked by Republican misogyny. They want actual representation and appreciate a candidate who shoots straight.

And this is the nail in the Clinton political coffin. The American people are beginning to realize they have the ability to elect someone they're not supposed to elect. Clinton represents everything "normal" about elections that are now universally recognized as abnormal. She is a safe bet only in a fictional world that is being dismantled. She has become the past and the future has become viable.

Berine Sanders' support will continue to swell, as it should, and Democrats need the courage to call this a good thing—a great thing. No longer can we permit our values and agendas to be boxed in by the very influences that oppose them. Time is running out on our ecology, our economy, and our social fabric, and nothing less than an out-and-out champion for our future will do.

You probably already know this. And that's probably the main reason you are voting for Sanders in your Democratic Primary. It looks like you'll have plenty of company.
Goal Thermometer

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Saturday, February 06, 2016

Sometimes When It Sounds Like A Crackpot Idea, It Is-- Meet Run For America, The Idiots Primarying Raul Grijalva


As if Wall Street front groups like Third Way and No Labels weren't enough, there's a new bunch of assholes in town with a similarly self-righteous "mission." Meet David Burstein-- and self-proclaimed spokesperson for millennials-- and his nutty little project, Run for America. He claims to be "a bipartisan political consulting firm with a mission to reimagine politics and reinvigorate government. We strategically identify and work to elect bold leaders to Congress who are committed to innovative approaches that tackle our nation’s major challenges." His infantile dream continues into the realm of political sci-fi: "With cutting-edge campaigns and dynamic candidates, Run for America helps remove the barriers of running for office. RFA helps candidates navigate the process so they can run with integrity, win with independence and provide the leadership America deserves. Our Candidates will serve their communities by ending gridlock, increasing participation and bringing citizens together. Together, Run for America and its candidates can restore the promise of America for the 21st century." Yesterday these clowns had a fundraising call to roll out their two lame candidates and I was invited.

So I rsvp-ed. I got a response from the money person, Colleen Coyle
Hi Howie -

Thank you so much for taking the time to join us for an important conference call with Run for American on Thursday, February 4. We are excited to have your participation!

Please see below the call details:

Date: February 4, 2016
Time: 4:00 PM EDT
Number: (877)-229-8493
Passcode: 114689
Closed to Press

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Kind Regards,
The next day, yesterday, just before the call I got this e-mail from the same slimy little Colleen:
Howie -

It is with regrets that we have to cancel this call. We will be re-scheduling it at a later date and I will let you know!

Sorry about this.

Kind Regards,
I could tell immediately she was lying like a rug. So I called anyway at the appointed time and got on their childish little call with their two unimpressive candidates, one goof-ball running against Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee, and one running against some random Republican backbencher no one's ever heard of. Burstein original secret targeting list-- which everyone in Washington had an hour after he published it:
 Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ)
 Grace Napolitano (R-CA)
 Shelia Jackson Lee (D-TX)
 Dave Brat (R-VA)
 Hank Johnson (D-GA)
 Doug LaMalfa (R-CA)
 Steve King (R-IA)
Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
Trent Franks (R-AZ)
 Jody Hice (R-GA)
 Billy Long (R-MO)
 Doug Lamborn (R-CO)
 Cedric Richmond (D-LA)
 Scott DesJarlis [sic] (R-TN)
 Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI)
 Jim McDermott (D-WA)
 Anna Eshoo (D-CA)
 Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)
 Scott Tipton (R-CO)
 Jim McGovern (D-MA)
Dave Schweikert (R-AZ)
Debbie Dingell (D-MI)
 Steve Knight (R-CA)
 Vicky Hartzler (R-MO)
 Maxine Waters (D-CA)
 Steve Lynch (D-MA)
 Rick Larsen (D-WA)
 Mike Capuano (D-MA)
And of all these congressmen he's picked Raúl Grijalva and Doug LaMalfa, who they referred to on the call as "Do Nothing Doug." Somehow huckster-chief Burstein decided Raúl is the anti millennial, gridlock-inducing candidate they want to go after? The guy who actually introduced the legislation for debt free college and who has never voted to shut the government down? The first I had ever heard of Burstein's deceptive silliness was nearly a year ago.
Burstein is nothing if not preternaturally motivated. As a 16-year-old high school student, he looked at the results of the 2004 election and grew frustrated. Less than half of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 had turned up to the polls, and even that level of turnout was supposed to be a victory. (It was up a major jump from the demographic’s paltry 36 percent turnout in 2000.) Burstein was still too young to vote himself, but it made his blood boil.

...The problem, he realized, was that young people were looking at the candidates the two major parties were putting before them and walking away profoundly unsatisfied. If the political system nominated candidates that cared about the issues facing millennials, he reasoned, then maybe more millennials would start caring about the political system. Congress’s approval rating is sitting at a dismal 20 percent. It stands to reason that injecting new blood into an institution that people can now only call “the world’s deliberative body” ironically couldn’t make things that much worse.

The now 26-year-old Burstein’s newest venture, Run for America, is the culmination of that vision. Launched earlier this month, it’s an ambitious plan to use social media, big data, and Silicon Valley’s alternately vaunted and derided entrepreneurial spirit to bring a new generation of candidates into national office.

“I thought about what the problem in our political system is: It’s the question of talent,” Burstein said. “In every industry, there are these super aggressive programs for identifying, training, and retaining really great talent. In fact, we spent $75 billion a year in the U.S. on talent recruitment and identification. The only place we don’t have that kind of system at work is in politics.”

Largely working within the two-party system, Burstein aims to locate a new crop of candidates-- one free from many of the burdens of the past-- and arm them with the tools they need to get into office. “It seemed obvious that if we wanted to solve our political challenges, we needed to have different people because people solve problems,” he continued. “Systems can help, but people solve problems.”

...Run for America’s plan is to select a dozen congressional candidates to run for the House of Representatives in 2016. While the candidates will run inside the two-party system-- either as Democrats or Republicans-- Run for America aims to fill in the role traditionally played by party officials or party-affiliated political consultants. After identifying a candidate, Run for America will also run the campaigns of those candidates, handing everything from polling and fundraising to legal work and marketing strategy, all of which Run for America will charge the candidates for. The organization is split into two parts, a for-profit benefit corporation (essentially a designation that indicates that an independent third party has verified a company has a legitimate social mission in addition to making money) that does the campaign work and a nonprofit 501(c)(4) focused on grassroots organizing and mobilization.

Burstein argues that he’s designed a new model for doing campaign work based on using shared services between all of the Run for America candidates, which he hopes will allow the organization to charge one-third of the prices offered by traditional candidates. Campaigning on the cheap reduces the need for constant fundraising—one of the realities of political life that’s strangling Washington. It’s a relationship that Burstein wants to maintain over the course of a candidate’s career, helping them get reelected after their term is up.

“We’ll be there for them as long as they want to be there and as long as they stay true to their values,” he said.

However, the core of how Burstein plans to keep costs down is by being extremely selective in where Run for America runs candidates. The first thing the organization did was a comprehensive data analysis of every single congressional district in the country based on 40 different data sets. The goal was to find the districts with the type of voters who would be the most willing to vote for the type of candidates it would run-- places where it could mount a successful yet thrifty campaign. Run for America based those calculations on variables like percentage of the electorate under the age of 35 and where there was a high volume of registered independents. Run for America is now soliciting both applications from hopeful candidates themselves and outside recommendations for candidates.

Burstein remained vague on precisely what the Platonic ideal of a Run for America candidate would look like.

“It could be really interesting for educators, engineers, or veterans, or people who have run nonprofits. Their current job titles are less important than the quality and caliber of who they are,” he said. “One thing we’re not looking for is people who are planning on being politicians for the rest of their lives. We have a lot of that. What we’re looking for is people who don’t want to run for office—people who can be drafted into service. They don’t have to do it forever, but do it for a period of time and serve your country in that way.”

Listening to Burstein, a lot of this doesn’t seem particularly revolutionary.

Calling for citizen legislators to rise up and take back Washington from professional politicians is nothing new. It was, in a large way, the same mantra of the Tea Party movement, except the Tea Party put an intense focus on installing non-politician politicians at the state level, something with which Run for America doesn’t concern itself.

Everyone runs as a Washington outsider, and the system gradually turns everyone into a Washington insider. It’s the circle of life, and it moves us all.

Burstein didn’t respond to questions about precisely what type of hard choices a youthful Run for America candidate, unconcerned about their future electoral prospects, would be able to make that older, career politicians might not be. Cut Social Security benefits to ensure the entitlements system security for time immemorial? Repeal the popular but regressive home mortgage interest tax deduction to fill a big hole in the federal budget? Impose a carbon tax to fight global warming?

...In the end, all of this depends on Run for America’s candidates getting elected in the first place. The Beltway is littered with the metaphorical graves of similarly idealistic reform-minded organizations looking to clean up Washington. Mayday PAC, a super PAC set up by visionary Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig with the admittedly ironic goal of raising boatloads of money on behalf of candidates who pledged to get big money out of politics, ended up spending $10 million only to see the majority of its candidates go down in flames.
The purpose of the call was to solicit donations to Run For America's PAC, Together For America and to push their February 29th New York City fundraiser at the Irvington Hotel. Colleen and Burstein were pumping for donors at the Pioneer level ($10,000) up to $100,000. So far they've collected $9,850, given $2,700 to each their two candidates, Doug Wright in Redding, CA and James Villarreal in Tucson, AZ and $3,562 towards the party at the Rivington. Burstiein contributed $240 and he got a Philadelphia attorney, Ronald Levine to kick down $5,000 and the found of the World Poker Tour, Steven Lipscomb (CEO of Practicrats in Santa Fe), to put in $1,000. Burstein plans to use that to "fundamentally change the American political system." His two candidates:
Meet Doug Wright.

Doug is a proud 5th generation native of Burney, CA, a small logging town outside of Redding. Driven by his work ethic, Doug went to college despite the odds. As an undergrad, Doug worked full time for a local attorney to pay for school, which sparked his interest in law. He then received his JD and returned home to serve the community where he was raised. He started his own law firm, Wright Nash, where he represents small business owners and advocates for everyday people. Doug launched his campaign on January 20th for California’s 2st Congressional District with over hundred of his community supporters in Redding.
Actually, he's running in California’s 1st Congressional District but never mind that; it's nearby. The incumbent he's challenging in the primary is Doug LaMalfa. According to, Wright said he was "selected to challenge LaMalfa by Run for America. The consulting firm, whose focus is on getting millennials to run for Congress, contacted him via LinkedIn. He said he was told the firm was targeting districts it did not agree were being represented effectively."
Meet James K. Villarreal.

Dr. Villarreal is a 5th generation Arizonan, whose fascination with rockets and all things that flew put him on the path of aerospace engineering. He currently serves his community a Senior Propulsion Engineer where he focuses on rocket motor design, development, and testing.  He also is an Educator where he teaches the next generation of young Arizonan Rocket Scientists. He is exploring a bid for Congress in Arizona’s 5th District which includes the city of Tucson.
What are the odds, but they got his district wrong too. He's running in Arizona’s 3rd District, although you can understand why he's confused; he doesn't live in the district. He works for Raytheon and is an adjunct at the University of Arizona. He was asked several questions on the phone-- primarily about the Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument effort and uranium mining and climate change. He couldn't answer any of them. "I don't have all the facts so I don't want to make a statement... There's a need for uranium and a need for conservation," he opined" and said something non-committal that included the troubling line "whether or not climate change is real or not." He also said he thinks he can win the primary against Grijalva because almost no one votes in the district.

If you'd like to make sure this dithering imbecile doesn't get anywhere near Congress, you can contribute to Grijalva's campaign here at the One America Act Blue Page or by tapping the thermometer below:
Goal Thermometer

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Was the Iowa Democratic Chair in the tank for Clinton? Some idiot neighbor told me that.


-by Melody Siegler

Oh, just shush. Or course not. She’s a Woman. Women always hold to higher moral values than men. And to stray a bit, in the South where I now live, they are always kinder. They say things like “I really like your dress. Did you make it yourself?” I’ve been an expert seamstress since the age of 12 (really) so clearly that was a Supreme Compliment. Especially because Betsy Ross was an expert seamstress.

And, given their (our) higher values, that of course explains why any “real” woman would want Hillary for President. And, anyway, we women in America live in the greatest, most exceptional country in the world.

I have to admit (although I don’t often pay attention to the news) that I was really disappointed when Hillary said her vote for the Iraq invasion was a mistake. She must have been under enormous pressure to do so by men, always of lesser moral values. Take that man, whatever his name is, the one challenging Hillary, who voted against invading Iraq, and some other places I can’t remember.

And, I was disappointed when Hillary changed her tune on the Defense of Marriage Act, in favor of gay whatever. She must have bee subjected to some kind of gay male pressure. After all, from all I’ve heard, she and Bill have had one of the most enduring and loving marriages known, ever.

However, in addition to all their superior assets, Women are Fair. So, I feel a duty to report some of the scurrilous information circulating about Dr. Andrea (Andy) McGuire, head of the Iowa Democratic Party. No doubt it was men who are responsible for this.

As men are particularly interested in Cars, it seems appropriate to give a picture of her (IDP chair) supposed license plate:

Here’s something else seems to be troubling for some, but not We Women:
McGuire was co-chair of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign in Iowa.

McGuire had Hillary Clinton fundraisers in her home. In 2007, the New York Times reported, “On Friday night, Mrs. Clinton had dinner in Des Moines at the home of a leading Democrat, Andrea McGuire, and was joined by several other influential party members: Mr. Boswell; the state Senate Democratic leader, Michael Gronstal; and Bonnie Campbell, the former state attorney general, among others.” (“Clinton, in Iowa, Vows to ‘Renew the Promise of America,’” New York Times, 1/28/07)
After all, dinner parties with Important People have been the back bone of American life for decades. If you don’t know that, then you weren’t reading McCalls and Good Housekeeping back in the 1950’s and 1960’s like I was.

On to the next issue, which goes right along with my point about Women having superior morals:
The Sanders campaign is rechecking results on its own, going precinct by precinct,a nd is already finding inconsistencies,said Rania Batrice, a Sanders spokeswoman. The campaign seeks the math sheets or other paperwork that precinct chairs filled out and were supposed to return to the state party. They want to compare those documents to the results entered into a Microsoft app and sent to the party.

"Let's compare notes. Let's see if they match," Batrice said Wednesday.

Dr. Andy McGuire [a junior Wasserman Schultz sleaze-bag kind of character], chairwoman of the Iowa Democratic Party, dug in her heels and said no.
And, this insulting statement:
But there is something else at play here as well. She is ideologically opposed to Sanders’ Medicare For All policy and possibly even financially invested in keeping him from achieving it. That means she is definitely opposed to keeping us from having single payer healthcare because at one time she headed up a Medicaid privatization program in Iowa.

For “Andy” McGuire, Bernie Sanders’ revolution is the last thing she wants to see take shape in this country and therefore, helping Microsoft steal the Iowa caucus for her neoliberal candidate doesn’t seem like much of a stretch of the imagination.
In closing, this is great information about McGuire’s role in caring for the health of Americans. McGuire Steps Down as President of Meridian Health Plan.
Over the last three years, McGuire has worked to improve the quality of care among the Medicaid population at Meridian Health Plan-- doubling immunization rates, dramatically increasing prenatal care and growing the company from zero to over 50,000 members in 44 counties across the State of Iowa.

"I've spent the past 15 years in health care management and I'm extraordinarily proud of what we accomplished in such a short time at Meridian Health Plan," said McGuire. "But the timing is right for me to pass the torch to a new president at Meridian."

"Dr. McGuire took our footprint in Iowa from zero to over 50,000 members, in every corner of this state," said Dr. David Cotton, CEO and founder of Meridian Health Plan. "This is an amazing accomplishment. We are sad to lose her as President, but thankful she will stay on as a consultant to our company, providing us with her expert advice and institutional knowledge of the healthcare industry in Iowa."

Meridian Health Plan is a family-owned, family-operated health plan with extensive experience in its subsidiary operations in Michigan, Illinois and Iowa. Meridian's affiliates include Medicaid and Medicare health plans and prescription drug plans, a commercial plan available through the Health Insurance Marketplace and MeridianRx, a Pharmacy Benefit Management company. Meridian Health Plan currently serves more than 650,000 Medicaid members.
As a Woman, I really don’t mind if Dr. McGuire earned a ton of bucks in the Health Care Industry. Taking care of sick people has always fallen on the Shoulders of Women. It’s something to be proud of.

Who’s this nutso guy who wants to change all that? What’s all this blah blah about the U.S. being the only country in the developed world without Universal Health Care? What’s that “single payer” stuff? I, for one, as a Woman and a Citizen want the U.S. to remain exceptional.

Women are completely equal-- including being equally corrupt


Madeleine "Disgusting Serbs, get out!" Albright tried shaming women into supporting the establishment neocon she strongly backs by croaking "there's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other"... although I think she exempts women like herself who advocate bombing women and children and order sanctions that starve them. Het we all get hot under the collars during an election season, right? You probably already read that Gloria Steinem said that young women support Bernie because they want attention from boys. She mentioned it on Real Time With Bill Maher: "Women are more for [Clinton] than men are... First of all, women get more radical as we get older, because we experience... not to over-generalize, but... Men tend to get more conservative because they gain power as they age; women get more radical because they lose power as they age. And, when you’re young, you’re thinking, where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie." Still... there are a lot of gay boys with Hillary-- despite her vomit-inducing, anti-gay record-- and they want to be with the boys too, no?

And remember, even though Hillary went to Wellesley, an exclusive all-girls school (where Hillary went and was president of the Young Republicans), where there are few boys to impress, Bernie was endorsed last week over Hillary.

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How Soon Before Rubio's Career Of Corruption Catches Up With Him?


The corporate media is desperately pushing the establishment line that insider Marco Rubio can beat Herr Trumpf. And the Boston Globe had a poll that proves it they're peddling to show that the sweaty little high-heeled man-boy is moving up. The Kochs, Adelson, et all, are petrified that Herr or Cruz will win the nomination and trigger a gigantic landslide -- up and down the ticket-- away from the GOP. Pressure is mounting on Jeb and the other establishment candidates to stop attacking Rubio. The Globe insists the race in New Hampshire "is tightening." The RealClearPolitics average among New Hampshire GOP voters has Herr at 31.1%, and Rubio at around half that with 15.1%. But...
With four days until New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary, the Republican contest is tightening at the top and churning in the middle as one third of likely Republican voters say they could still change their mind, according to a Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll released Friday.

New York businessman Donald Trump has a nearly 10 percentage-point lead over the field-- but the gap between him and the rest of the field has shrunk since his disappointing second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses. Trump received 29 percent in the survey, while US Senator Marco Rubio of Florida took second place with 19 percent.

...“What a difference a caucus makes,” said David Paleologos, director of the Political Research Center at Suffolk University. “By exceeding expectations in Iowa, Marco Rubio is converting likability to electability even more so than Ted Cruz, who, like many conservative Iowa winners of the past like Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, can’t seem to convert an Iowa win into a major showing in New Hampshire.”
Steven Shepard, writing for Politico warns readers to ignore New Hampshire's volatile polls, which, he asserts, "may" be even less predictive than Iowa's. And this, the establishment narrative goes, is helping Rubio.

Friday, without much fanfare, colossally unpopular former Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, one of the big jokes of the 2106 Republican race, endorsed Rubio, excited about Rubio's neocon foreign policy agenda. Meanwhile, Herr Trumpf fired a shot over the bow of Rubio's S.S. Pinafore by having his son-in-law's paper, the New York Observer, unload all the crap and sleaze on Rubio they could dig up, a warning that if Rubio attacks him personally, Trumpf will uses his big megaphone to end the bubble boy's slimy career.

And yesterday Erik Erickson reprised the Cruz v Rubio battle for the soul of the soulless GOP. He writes off Herr and declares the race comes down to a battle between the two right-wing Cubans. "Both," he wrote, "have substantial war chests and heavily funded super PACs to run ads and build ground game operations. Rubio continues to get endorsements from political leaders, but Cruz continues to pick up sizable support from people mad at political leaders." He explains their differences in the eyes of potential voters:
If voters feel like the 2016 election is the last election to save the American experiment, Ted Cruz really is their only option. If voters feel like things are coming to an end in this country without drastic action, they really do not have a choice between Rubio and Cruz. They have only Cruz. Cruz is the disruptive candidate. A voter who feels like the end is near without drastic action has to take the gamble on Cruz, who still has a good chance to win.

Rubio, on the other hand, is the candidate for voters who think the best days are still ahead of us regardless of what happens in 2016. Democrats may fear Rubio as a candidate, but the base of the Democratic Party does not fear him like Ted Cruz. They think they could wait out Marco Rubio, even after eight years in power, and see few of their advances surrendered.

Washington's lobbyists think that Marco Rubio will not be a disruptive force to them. They know Washington will still be mostly the center of people's lives to a greater degree with Marco Rubio than with Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz will burn Washington to the ground and throw lobbyists on the street. Marco Rubio will strategically raze parts of Washington, putting fewer lobbyists in danger than Cruz. At least that is the thinking, and it is the thinking that is reflected in the attacks on both men.

For critics of Cruz, he cannot win. The reality is that Cruz can win, but if he wins those lobbyists and politicians attacking him will be out of a job. The Washington elite have every incentive to stop Cruz because he absolutely would be transformational, though his path to victory may be harder than Rubio's.

For critics of Rubio, he will not go far enough. The reality is that Rubio may have an easier time winning, but his critics do not believe he will go far enough and do as much to fix the problems in Washington.

Cruz and Rubio would both be conservative to varying degrees. What is at stake between the two is how easy their election would be and how transformational their presidency would be. Rubio backers are looking at the path to the White House. Cruz backers are willing to take a gamble on the slog of a general election campaign so they can see Washington rent asunder.

Sheldon Adelson had his newspaper endorse Rubio yesterday. It's a completely silly endorsement that Adelson appears to have dictated while he was taking a dump, even touting Adelson's approval of Rubio's plan to slash Social Security and Medicare to ribbons:
After much consideration, the Review-Journal is endorsing Sen. Marco Rubio for Nevada's first-in-the-West Republican caucus on Feb. 23. The RJ met with Sen. Rubio on Oct. 9, two months before the announcement of the newspaper's sale to the family of Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson. The Adelsons have detached themselves from our endorsement process, and our endorsement of Sen. Rubio does not represent the support of the family.

Our reasons for endorsing Sen. Rubio are many. Notably, the Florida senator has deep personal connections to the state. He lived in the Las Vegas Valley from age 8 to age 14, the son of immigrants employed by the hotel industry. The driving force behind the 44-year-old's compelling story is his family's pursuit of better opportunities and a better life. The policies he champions in his campaign are intended to provide all Americans as much.

Those policies include issues of key concern for Nevadans. For example, Sen. Rubio agrees that the federal government owns too much land within Nevada's borders-- more than 80 percent-- and doesn't actively and appropriately manage that land. He believes the lack of privately owned land in Nevada and across the West greatly limits economic opportunity, and he supports transferring some federal land to private ownership. "There's no need for Washington to hold that much land," he told us.

On immigration, Sen. Rubio backs a reasonable approach to fix a broken system, while noting that legal immigration deserves just as much attention as illegal immigration. Among other reforms, he wants a merit-based system of legal immigration to replace today's family-based system.

Sen. Rubio also recognizes that entitlement reform is a must if Medicare and Social Security are to avoid insolvency. "If we deal with them now, we don't have to change them for current beneficiaries," he said. And on economic policy, Sen. Rubio understands that everything a presidential administration does influences the economy.

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