Sunday, January 17, 2016

Why Don't Voters Trust Hillary Any More Than They Trust Rubio, Cruz, Trumpf Or Christie?


The Democratic Party Establishment, worried that too much democracy could upset their profitable little racket, instituted the idea of "super-delegates" in 1982 to gives themselves some control over the nomination process. Originally the party bosses demanded 30% of all the delegates but today the super-delegates-- current and former Democratic Party officials-- comprise 20% of the convention delegates. Last November NPR dealt with how the super-delegate system was good for an establishment hack like Clinton and toxic for the candidacy of an outsider or insurgent.
"Front-runner" can be a tenuous word. But when it comes to at least one group, Hillary Clinton is far and away the leader-- the Democratic Party establishment.

There's no better measure of that establishment than unpledged party leaders and elected official delegates, better known as "superdelegates."

Among this group, Clinton leads Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders 359 to 8, according to an AP survey of the group that will help elect the nominee at the Democratic National Convention in July. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has two people supporting him from this group.

AP was able to reach 80 percent of the 712 superdelegates; 210 delegates remain undecided.
While the Republican establishment frets over how to stop Trumpf from taking their party away from them, the Democratic establishment-- so certain until the last poll numbers came out showing Bernie possibly winning in both Iowa and New Hampshire-- is beginning to panic too. They know Bernie's political revolution has no place of honor for bribe-takers, fixers and bosses. The politicians who have made politics all about the money chase have far more in common with the GOP than they do with Bernie and the millions of Americans working to elevate him to the presidency. Did you notice Hillary's latest ugly, vicious smear attack against him-- pure Rovian in nature (attack an opponent's strength and twist and distort it to turn it on them)-- attempted to portray Bernie as not tough enough on Wall Street.

Patently absurd coming from a candidate who has already gobbled up $5.7 million from Wall Street executives and who-- career-long-- has taken $36,846,987 from the Financial Sector, of course but, as Andrew Perez and David Sirota discovered, the attack was the work of a Hillary strategist whose shady firm, Benenson Strategy Group, counts Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase among its clients. The head of Benenson Strategy, Joel Benenson, claimed Bernie's ad about Wall Street was an attack on Hillary. He never mentioned her name but she assumes any attack on Wall Street is not just an attack on Jeb, Rubio, Cruz, Christie and the rest of the Republicans pay off, but on herself as well. Watch it. Is she maybe a little thin-skinned?

The story of another Clinton surrogate, Howard Dean, is much sadder. Although DFA, the grassroots groups he founded overwhelmingly endorsed Bernie after polling its members, Dean himself, now a lobbyist for pharmaceutical companies, is an outspoken Clinton apologist. As Lee Fang wrote this week in The Intercept "Dean is the latest in a string of Hillary Clinton supporters to charge that Bernie Sanders is wrong to support a single-payer health care plan. The former chairman of the Democratic National Committee claimed on MSNBC last night that Sanders’ reform might result in 'chaos' because 'trying to implement it would in fact undo people’s health care.' Dean added, 'That is something people should be concerned about.'"

This was especially unsettling for me, since the person who first told me about single-payer health care was... Howard Dean. He came over to my house very early in the 2004 election-- long before he became a household name-- and had breakfast. We ate all healthy food, a fresh, organic fruit salad if I remember correctly. He remarked about how he was usually given bacon and eggs and pancakes and all kinds of unhealthy crap. And that got us talking about health care. By the time he had finished, he had persuaded me that single-payer was the way to go and that I should back his campaign, to which I wrote several substantial checks.

Apparently though, he's changed his tune about supporting single-payer "as," according to Fang, "he has settled into a corporate lobbying career."
Dean, though he rarely discloses the title during his media appearances, now serves as senior advisor to the law firm Dentons, where he works with the firm’s Public Policy and Regulation practice, a euphemism for Dentons’ lobbying team. Dean is not a lawyer, but neither is Newt Gingrich, who is among the growing list of former government officials and politicians that work in the Public Policy and Regulation practice of Dentons.

The Dentons Public Policy and Regulation practice lobbies on behalf of a variety of corporate health care interests, including the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a powerful trade group for drugmakers like Pfizer and Merck.

In 2009, Dean praised single-payer while speaking on Democracy Now, calling the idea “by far the most economically efficient system.” That’s because, as Dean noted at the time, a Medicare-for-all style single-payer system would cut down on bureaucratic overhead and do a better job at controlling prices. An analysis by University of Massachusetts at Amherst professor Gerald Friedman found that the single-payer plan introduced into the last Congress, for instance, would save $592 billion, while expanding coverage to all uninsured Americans, regardless of ability to pay. Over 95 percent of households would see higher after-tax income because of the cost controls and elimination of insurance premiums.

Incumbent health care interests, particularly drug companies and insurers, have long viewed single-payer as a threat to their business model. Health insurance lobbyist strategy memos that were leaked from a source to veteran journalist Bill Moyers reveal a sophisticated effort to undermine public support for single-payer policies and to discredit Michael Moore’s Sicko, a movie that sharply criticizes the inequities and price-gouging of the American health care system. One slide discusses the need to use town halls and special forums to shape the Democratic primary debates in 2008 and peel away support for the reforms proposed in Sicko, while another calls for pundits to appear on television and denounce Moore as harmful to the Democratic Party.

After Dean began working in the lobbying industry, he gave a talk about how to navigate the post-Citizens United campaign finance world. “I’ve advised a lot of clients in the industries that I usually end up working with, which are mostly health care industries, not to give any money to either side, or if you do, give it to both sides because politicians really don’t know much about the issues,” Dean said. “But they remember the ads, and they remember who was on whose side and who wasn’t, and it makes a big difference.”

Dean’s advice for health care companies to give to both parties was given during a gathering convened by McKenna, Long & Aldridge, the law and lobbying firm that was one of many firms to merge last year with Dentons.
nd, yes, he's one of the super-delegates pledged to elect Hillary, no matter how many states she loses to Bernie in primaries little people vote in.

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At 6:41 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Super ad by Bernie. Feel The Bern. :-)

At 1:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howard Dean is a huge disappointment!


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