Category: USA: Campaign 2016

Advice to Hillary

The latest Silly Season is weighing on me. I had the following dream last night

  Clinton has won the Primary and the General Elections. Between November and her inauguration, she has embarked on a a cross-country trek of ‘town hall’ meetings, ostensibly to thank the voters. For some reason, I am attending one of these meetings (What can I say? I’m a glutton for punishment). Hillary picks me out of the crowd (my Abe Lincoln appearance, probably) and invites me to share the stage and talk with her, tell her what I think she needs to do, where I think the country needs to go. Mentally licking my political chops, I agree.

  You will make history as the first Woman President. That is largely due the change in the way Americans treat gender nowadays and is vindication of the efforts of a lot of women – and a few men – over the decades. It’s not you.

  You should understand that you won the election not so much on your own merits or positions on the issues. You won because enough voters realized that Donald Trump is a 4-door, brass-plated, air-conditioned, turbo-charged, 12-cylinder, 5-speed asshole. They were scared shitless at the thought of what he might do as President. Many – on both sides of the aisle – are also worried about what you will do as President.

  Much has been made of the fact that Trump’s campaign fed on and fed racism, bigotry and xenophobia. But the bottom line on his support and the support for Bernie Sanders should tell you that a great many Americans realize and resent that they have seen their income, privacy, freedom, security and future worsened or destroyed by the policies and practices of the Money Elite, many of whom contribute heavily to your financial undertakings and campaigns – and we both know they expect the favor to be returned. Screw the bastards.. They richly deserve it.

  A woman President was inevitable. It happened to be you. If you want to be a great President, you need to address the real problems of people, both here and abroad. Some of the solutions are not under your direct control but will require action by Congress and the Courts, but even there your leadership could wield influence, as a ‘bully pulpit’ and through appointments in various departments, particularly Justice and Defense.

  Get big money out of politics. Finance elections from tax money and limit spending to some reasonable amount. Ban lobbying. Entirely.. Proposals for government action should never come from corporations with a financial stake in that action. It’s bad enough that when the government puts out an RFP, those who respond will naturally toot their own horn, but we don’t need retired generals/admirals or bankers bullshitting the selection process via the Old Boy Network. Stop it.

  Implement Single Payer Healthcare by simply expanding Medicare to everyone. The procedural and IT infrastructure is already in place and functioning pretty well. At most, it might require an upscale of computer hardware. Healthcare, like education, clean water & waste disposal should be the right of every citizen – and on a not-for-profit basis.

  Stop trying to control the entire world. We are no longer the envy of the world we once were. Instead we are much of the world’s worst nightmare. Our wars, our financing and support for any petty dictator that we approve of, our CIA-led coups in various countries for decades should stop. It is true hypocrisy to criticize and even hate refugees who are are fleeing the hell we created or support. When we destroy Iraq, Syria, Libya, we can’t complain about the consequences. Stop it.

  Stop supporting privatization of things which are inherently public. Prisons and schools and water systems are not being privatized to improve efficiency but to enrich those with friends in power. Stop.

  End the ineffective (though profitable) war on drugs. Just stop it. Legalize and regulate (reasonably) all drugs.Empty and issue a blanket pardon for the thousands of people in prison for posseesing pot. If that’s their only rap sheet, wipe the record clean. And always help them reintegrate into society.

  Instead of prosecuting whistle blowers, prosecute the high-level, wealthy and well-connected criminals. The financiers responsible for the economic meltdown (and who have continued to profit). Politicians for war crimes, torture, the lies that put us in Iraq, the indiscriminate use of drones. Stop it.

  End the militarization of non-Federal law enforcement. All it does is enrich crony capitalists and facilitate an authoritarian mindset among officers who are supposed to be public servants and are increasingly acting as public masters. Stop it.

  End the NSA’s and DOD’s over-the-top spying on innocent people. Put all wiretaps and snooping back to requiring a traditional search warrant – person(s); item to be searched for; reasonable cause – before a judge. And if that overwhelms the judges, it might just indicate too much snooping. You think maybe?

  Note that most of the items involve stopping what we’d doing. It’s enough to make one contemplate the virtues of a government too small to make the mistakes we have inflicted on our people and the world. Unfortunately, the modern world does require Big Government. Stopping the misuse of government power would meet stiff resistance from those who profit from the status quo. But perhaps if we stop wasting time, money and effort on the wrong things, we would be able to spend our time, money and effort on things like improving peoples lives (at home and abroad) and limiting or even reversing Global Warming – for the sake of your new grandchild and and my great-grandchildren.

  You will make history as the first woman President.
  You could make history as a great President.
  Or not.
  It’s up to you.

Contra Hillary

The Agonist’s editors have taken a principled stand in favor of Hillary Clinton’s nomination by the Democratic Party for president.  In the tradition of The Agonist, contrary opinions are always welcome, and in that spirit I offer arguments against the nomination of Hillary Clinton.  Fundamentally, I find her an unprincipled person, by which I mean two things: her political principles are opportunistic, and her ethical principles are lacking.  In normal circumstances, these failings would not disqualify her from high office.  Bill Clinton, after all, thrived as president, even though he has these exact same faults, because the times were such that the economy, and the population in general, benefited considerably during his eight years as president.  It was a false prosperity, built on an increasingly mountainous pile of private debt, but economic want did not stalk the land, as it does now.

Twenty years later, our situation is radically different, not just nationally, but globally.  What we need are political leaders with vision, a willingness to work for radical change, and a capability to push the “system” along to be able to enact such change.  This is a very tall order, which even Bernie Sanders does not fully meet, but Hillary Clinton doesn’t come close, because she lacks vision entirely.  She is politically opportunistic, grabbing on to whatever policy seems best suited to garner the most votes.  Setting policy through public opinion polling was always a hallmark of the Clinton presidency, and we shouldn’t be under any illusions.  Electing Hillary Clinton as president doesn’t mean necessarily that Bill Clinton will be back in the Oval Office, but it does mean that the Clinton style of governance shall return.  Everything about Hillary Clinton’s political career suggests as much, from her carefully scripted and nuanced public statements meant to offend the fewest amount of people, to her reliance on the same advisers, such as Robert Rubin, who did so much damage during the Clinton administration.

Let us look at several policy positions that she has held throughout her career, which define her as a reactionary, in the limited sense that she reacts to circumstances rather than trying to mold public opinion and political policy toward a different and better future. Continue reading

Emails prove Carly Fiorina campaign has been illegally coordinating with super PAC

Raw Story, By Bethania Palma Markus, January 15


When you’ve lost Fox News…

An investigation by the International Business Times has turned up evidence that the campaign of GOP candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina has been illegally coordinating campaign stops with a super PAC supporting her — in direct conflict with FEC laws prohibiting such collaborations.

According to IBT, candidates can receive political donations from individuals, but the amount is capped at a few thousands dollars. Super PACs, however, can receive unlimited amounts from donors. Super PACs are thus barred from coordinating with candidates’ campaigns directly.

Representatives with Carly for America say they do not coordinate with her campaign. In September, the New York Times reported that Fiorina’s campaign has aggressively exploited a loophole in elections law by publishing a public Google calendar showing the events she has planned. A representative from the super PAC told the Times that members simply look at Fiorina’s calendar and show up.

Silently protesting Muslim woman ejected from Trump rally

CNN, By Jeremy Diamond, January 9

Rock Hill, SC – A Muslim woman wearing a hijab was escorted out of Donald Trump’s campaign event on Friday by police after she stood up in silent protest during Trump’s speech.

Rose Hamid, a 56-year-old flight attendant sitting in the stands directly behind Trump, stood up Friday during Trump’s speech when the Republican front-runner suggested that Syrian refugees fleeing war in Syria were affiliated with ISIS.

[…]

Major Steven Thompson of the Rock Hill Police Department told CNN Hamid was kicked out of the event because the campaign told him beforehand that “anybody who made any kind of disturbance” should be escorted out.

[…]

After Hamid and three others, all wearing stars reminiscent of those worn by Jews during the Holocaust, were escorted out by police and Trump campaign officials, Trump commented on the disturbance.

“There is hatred against us that is unbelievable,” Trump said. “It’s their hatred, it’s not our hatred.”

Auto-start video at the link.

Related…: This Powerful Video Just Released About Donald Trump is Sending Chills Up and Down People’s Spines – very slick.

Will Hewlett-Packard’s past ties to Iran haunt Carly Fiorina?

MSNBC, By Aliyah Frumin, September 17

When it comes to Iran, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina has cast herself as a tough-on-Tehran hawk. But as the Republican presidential candidate gains momentum, questions over the technology company’s past dealings with the Middle Eastern country – when Fiorina was at the helm – could come back to haunt her.

Despite a trade ban with Iran, HP reportedly used a Dubai-based subsidiary beginning in 1997 to sell hundreds of millions of dollars of products to the country. In fact, by 2007, HP printers made up 41% of the total market share in Iran. The story was first reported by the Boston Globe in 2008 and became a thorn in Fiorina’s side when she challenged Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California in 2010.

Boxer brought up the issue to msnbc on Wednesday night just before the debate. “What’s incredible is when she was the CEO of Hewlett-Packard, they were actually selling printers to Iran and there was an executive order that said no. And the [Securities and Exchange Commission] caught them. So she’s got so many problems. I say if the Republicans choose her, we’ll walk into the presidency.”

McAfee launches 2016 bid, says politicians ‘illiterate’ on technology

Russia Today, September 9

Millionaire software developer John McAfee would like to be president of the United States, and believes he can beat mainstream candidates on the strength of his underground internet following.

The eccentric businessman hinted at launching a presidential bid in an interview with Wired magazine, before unveiling a campaign website on Tuesday. His filing with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) lists no party affiliation, noting instead, “I am founding a new party yet to be announced.” He later clarified that it would be called the Cyber Party.

“It’s clear that the leadership of our country is illiterate on the fundamental technology that supports everything in life for us now, that is cyber science, our smartphones, our military hardware, our communications,” McAfee told Wired, pointing to the recent hacks of Office of Personnel Management and Homeland Security.

Trump’s first victim? Perry exits in early 2016 shake-up

AP, By Steve Peoples, September 12

St. Louis – Rick Perry’s presidential hopes ended with a whimper, a remarkable if predictable fall for Texas’ longest-serving governor and a leader many once considered the Republican Party’s savior.

History may judge the end as sealed back in 2011, when Perry froze on a debate stage and tried to recover with an embarrassed “oops.” Others may remember the former governor with the movie-star looks and a resume of successes as Donald Trump’s first political victim.

A clear line has been drawn in the GOP’s 2016 primary contest separating those allied with the reality television star and those who actively oppose him. The Republicans who have dared attack him have suffered politically, while Trump’s public associates so far have avoided backlash from the anti-insider wave that made Trump the unlikeliest of Republican presidential front-runners.

“There is no play in the playbook for where we are right now,” said John Jordan, a California winery owner and major Republican fundraiser. “Donors don’t know what to think. Nobody saw the Trump phenomenon coming. Probably a lot of Jeb donors wish they had their money back.”

Election 2016: Jeb Bush Got $1.3M Job At Lehman After Florida Shifted Pension Cash To Bank

IBT, By Matthew Cunningham-Cook, David Sirota, and Andrew Perez, August 19

For Florida taxpayers, the move by the administration of then-Gov. Jeb Bush to forge a relationship with Lehman Brothers would ultimately prove disastrous. Transactions in 2005 and 2006 put the Wall Street investment bank in charge of some $250 million worth of pension funds for Florida cops, teachers and firefighters. Lehman would capture more than $5 million in fees on these deals, while gaining additional contracts to manage another $1.2 billion of Florida’s money. Then, in the fall of 2008, Lehman collapsed into bankruptcy, leaving Florida facing up to $1 billion in losses.

But for Jeb Bush personally, his enduring relationship with Lehman would prove lucrative. In 2007, just as he left office, Bush secured a job as a Lehman consultant for $1.3 million a year, Bloomberg reported.

Weeks after Bush took the Lehman job, the Florida State Board of Administration (SBA) — a three-member body that makes investment decisions about state pension funds and whose ranks had recently included one Jeb Bush — gave Lehman additional business: SBA purchased $842 million worth of separate investments in Lehman’s mortgage-backed securities. Over the course of one year from June 2007 to June 2008, the SBA would shift an additional $420 million of pension money into the same fund in which the state had begun investing under Bush.

In short, during Bush’s first year working for Lehman, his former colleagues in Tallahassee, the state capital, moved vast sums of Florida pension money into the doomed Wall Street investment bank, even as warnings about its financial troubles began to emerge.

Heidi Klum hits back at Donald Trump after ‘no longer a 10’ comment

Supermodel posts video shrugging off comments made by Republican presidential frontrunner in the New York Times that her looks were fading.

The Guardian, By Mahita Gajanan, August 18

New York – With not much more than a gasp and a shrug, supermodel Heidi Klum has hit back at Donald Trump after the Republican frontrunner declared her no longer a “10”.

Trump told the New York Times the supermodel’s looks were fading in a discussion about the fact that he sometimes goes “a little bit far”. “Heidi Klum. Sadly, she’s no longer a 10,” the businessman and TV star said.

Klum responded on Monday with a 12-second video posted to her Twitter and Instagram pages.

In the video, Klum poses for a photographer in a cut-off white T-shirt that says “10”. A man in a Trump mask rips off the “10”, revealing “9.99”, and everyone gasps.

Klum looks down, shrugs and smiles, as the video fades to black and #HeidiTrumpsTrump appears on screen.

Klum tweeted seven other hashtags with the video, including #TrumpHasSpoken, #NoLongerA10, #IHadAGoodRun and #BeautyIsInTheEyeOfTheBeheld.

Larry Lessig Believes Democracy Is Screwed. So He’s Running For President To Save It.

Huffington Post, By Sam Stein, August 10

Washington – Larry Lessig, a well-known legal theorist and political activist, is taking the plunge into electoral politics, announcing on Tuesday that he will formally explore a run for the presidency in 2016 as a Democrat.

Lessig, a Harvard law professor, will be a distinctly unconventional White House aspirant. In an interview, he said he will run on a singular platform: the Citizen Equality Act, which includes campaign finance reform, an end to partisan gerrymandering, and a vast expansion of voting access that would make Election Day a national holiday. Should he win and lead the passage of that agenda, Lessig said he’ll promptly quit, handing the office to his vice president, whoever that may be.

“This is not a ‘Rent Is Too Damn High’ campaign,” Lessig said, referencing the infamous 2010 gubernatorial run of Jimmy McMillan in New York. “This is a campaign about how we need to intervene to make democracy possible again. Raising the salience of that issue is enormously important. I think there is more of a chance that we do more than just raise the salience. … It is a shot worth taking regardless of the criticism that will come.”

NYT: Lawrence Lessig to Explore a Run for President as a Democrat

Hillary Clinton unveils climate change policy

Los Angeles Times, By Evan Halper & Seema Mehta, July 26

Hillary Rodham Clinton sought to position herself as a crusader against climate change Sunday by unveiling some robust goals, even as she continued to avoid some of the more contentious battles around global warming.

Clinton announced that she will push to vastly expand the number of solar panels installed in the United States, as well as to boost overall renewable energy to the point that it will be able to fuel all homes and businesses by 2027.

The proposals reflect Clinton’s commitment to continuing the path on climate change set by President Obama, who champions numerous policies that bolster renewables and push a reduction in fossil fuel consumption.

The Clinton package is incomplete, however. Unlike her rivals in the Democratic presidential contest, Clinton has yet to take a position on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport oil from the Canadian tar sands to Gulf Coast ports. She also has yet to weigh in on a campaign to ban hydraulic fracturing nationwide, or to take a firm position on offshore oil drilling.

The proposal Clinton released Sunday for boosting solar installations by 700% is vague on details about how it would be funded.

Think Progress: Clinton Campaign Releases Horror Film Montage Of Climate-Denying Presidential Candidates

Scott Walker Moves to Do Away With Workers’ Weekends

RH Reality Check, By Nina Liss-Schultz, July 15

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Sunday signed into law a $72.7 billion two-year state budget that kills the state’s living wage law and takes away workers’ right to a weekend.

Walker’s latest austerity measures came just hours before he officially became a contender for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

Wisconsin law required that the state’s minimum wage “not be less than a living wage.” Last fall, workers filed a lawsuit arguing that the state’s $7.25 hourly minimum wage did not constitute a living wage. But Walker’s budget stripped the language “living wage” from the law, nullifying the court battle and making wage increases more difficult for people who work.

Walker, in his first interview since announcing his candidacy, challenged the mere existence of a minimum wage.

Deep Left Field: Jeb Bush Says Christians Should ‘Absolutely’ Be Allowed To Discriminate Against LGBT Americans

US News and World Report: Obama’s Donors Flocking To Sanders, Romney’s Going To Rubio

Politicus USA: Bernie Sanders Sets A New Record As 11,000 Show Up For Rally In Red State Arizona

The Washington Examiner: Ben Carson: Walking away from paid speaking commitments would be ‘unethical’

His most recent book’s sales quadrupled in the immediate weeks after launching his presidential campaign, and his personal financial disclosure shows he made more
than $4 million from delivering speeches across the country.

Jacobin: Worse Than Benghazi

Business Insider: Wall Street is picking its candidates in the 2016 presidential race — and 2 are already standing out

Daily Kos: UPDATE – New Legal Action Further Exposes Jeb Bush, Koch Brothers & Rick Scott GP Scandal

Wisconsin governor strips workers’ wage protections

RT, July 16

With the stroke of a pen, Wisconsin’s governor passed a two-year spending bill which also strikes down a key wage protection law. The prevailing wage law ensured government contract workers were paid comparable rates in any given industry.

“With this budget, taxpayers come first,” said Republican Governor Scott Walker announcing the passage of his $72.7 billion biennial budget.

Calling the prevailing wage law a “depression-era…mandate that artificially increases the costs of construction,” Walker said he was reforming government through its repeal. He said local government would be exempt from the mandate, “savings millions for our schools, technical colleges and other local governments.”


New York Times: Haste, Hustle and Scott Walker, Frank Bruni


In the formal announcement of his presidential campaign on Monday, Scott Walker mentioned God right away, introduced himself as a preacher’s son and invoked religion repeatedly, as he has throughout a perpetual candidacy that stretches back to his college days, when he told the Marquette University yearbook: “I really think there’s a reason why God put all these political thoughts in my head.”


Wikipedia: Scott Walker


In February 2015, Trip Gabriel of The New York Times described him as having “quickly vaulted into the top tier of likely candidates in the Republican presidential race”. Peter Beinart of The Atlantic noted Walker’s success with a conservative audience at the Iowa Freedom Summit. On April 20, at a fundraising event for the New York State Republican Party, David Koch told donors that he and his brother, who oversee one of the biggest private political organizations in the country, believed that Mr. Walker would be the Republican nominee.