Thursday, February 25, 2016

Trumping Clinton Not Sanders?  (Hillary's No-Gaffe Gaffe:  The Kid's All Right - We Promise! - So Go Vote)  Keep Appointing Scalias and Reap What We Sow?  (Trump Brags About His Wetback (and Poorly Educated) Support)  Landfill Fire Moves Toward Nuclear Waste  (Jane Goodall Works Again to Save Chimps and Elephants)

Unless the Democrats Run Sanders, A Trump Nomination Means a Trump Presidency

The Establishment Is Dying
The rise of figures like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump isn't the cause; it's the symptom

I kinda/sorta think Hillary's electability is overrated.

And Bernie's is under.

Mainly because all the Clinton stories of connections taken advantage of and favors done have not made it to MSM channels yet.

And in the age of non-prosecution of banksters and connected-friends-of, this will begin to be something that the public will become more and more aware of every time she tries to address these relationships. And not in a subtle, discriminating, positive message way.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

Did Hillary Clinton Help Rahm Emanuel Kill the Public Option?

Nothing Hillary Clinton has said about her relationship with the banksters and their owners should be believed/held against her. That was yesterday. Today is different.

Vote for Hillary!

It didn’t poll well. In fact, invoking the September 11 attacks as a way to justify her support of Wall Street was generally viewed as a gaffe of major proportions.

Another liability is that Clinton has consistently surrounded herself with Wall Street types, in both formal and informal ways. Gary Gensler, a former partner at Goldman Sachs and the former head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is the Clinton campaign’s chief financial officer (though Gensler was widely praised as CFTC chairman for confronting the big banks over many issues, especially risky derivatives trading).

She is said to speak regularly with Tom Nides, a vice chairman of Morgan Stanley and a former deputy Secretary of State when she was the Secretary. She is also close with Blair Effron, one of the founders of Centerview Partners, where Robert Rubin, the former co-senior partner of Goldman Sachs and a Treasury Secretary under President Clinton, is a senior adviser. The list of her Wall Street buddies goes on and on:  Alan Patricof, the private-equity mogul; Marc Lasry, the founder of the Avenue Capital hedge fund where Chelsea Clinton once worked; and Steve Rattner, the former private-equity investor who now helps to manage a portion of Michael Bloomberg’s fortune, and his wife, Maureen White.

Understandably, as Secretary of State, Clinton refrained from commenting about the causes of the financial crisis and its consequences. But, on a few occasions before then — during her pitched battle against Obama to get the 2008 Democratic Party nomination for president — she did make critical observations about Wall Street behavior, although they were few and far between. In March 2008, as a presidential candidate, she called for “much more vigorous government oversight and enforcement of the subprime mortgage market.” Clinton also questioned the fairness of the tax rules that benefit private-equity firms.

In a 2007 news release from her campaign, Clinton declared (but only after Obama and Sen. John Edwards had already done so):  “Our tax code should be valuing hard work and helping middle class and working families get ahead. It offends our values as a nation when an investment manager making $50 million can pay a lower tax rate on her earned income than a teacher making $50,000 pays on her income.” Clinton said she would eliminate “carried interest” benefits and use the funds generated by the tax change — which some have estimated at $4 billion to $6 billion per year — to invest in middle-class and working families.

Then came those speeches. Around half of her speeches in 2013 were to financial or finance-related business groups. Only Goldman Sachs asked her to speak more than once. (They must really like her.) In 2013 alone, according to records released by her campaign, she made $9.9 million from 41 speeches or conversations. Not once did she take less than $225,000 for a speech and, for a few, she was paid more:  $400,000 for an October 2013 speech in Chicago to the Jewish United Fund, and $305,000 a few weeks later to the Beaumont Health System, in Troy, Michigan.

Clinton’s first presentation to Goldman, on June 4, 2013, was at a Goldman investment-banking conference for CEOs held at a resort in Palmetto Bluffs, South Carolina. Her next two appearances were both in October, on October 24, at the Conrad Hotel, and then five days later at a technology entrepreneur conference in Tucson, Arizona. The Conrad Hotel appearance brought together big pension-fund managers who were clients of Goldman’s asset management division. The idea behind getting Hillary Clinton to the event was to reward the Goldman clients, including people like Larry Fink, the chairman and CEO of BlackRock, the huge asset management company, and top hedge fund managers with a “big name,” someone who was there said, and to get them to stick around until the end of the day.

At the time Clinton made her three paid speeches at Goldman, she was in a mode of cashing in on her fame as the former Secretary of State, through regular speaking gigs and in obtaining a book advance said to be in excess of $10 million. (CNN has reported that the Clintons made $141 million between 2007 and 2014.) She was still the darling of Wall Street and rarely said much of anything substantive about Wall Street re-regulation or the Dodd-Frank law.

. . . Another timely topic was the problematic rollout of Obamacare. Clinton told the pension-fund managers that Obamacare was a “super important” initiative and that she gave Obama “a lot of credit” for getting it passed. “I tried,” she said. “I failed.” She said the website had to be fixed — it since has been — and the “parts that aren’t working would soon be.” The person who was at the session said that even though the crowd was politically conservative, the consensus of the people around him seemed to be, as Clinton spoke, “Thank God we have people like [her] working in the government. She’s very pragmatic, very reasonable, very sensible.”

He said that Clinton pretty much stuck to the script and said nothing that could be interpreted as pandering to the Wall Street crowd.

There is one definitive moment when Hillary Clinton did praise Goldman Sachs — and one can see it in the video online of her remarks to the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Initiative annual dinner, held at the Clinton Global Initiative conference in New York on October 24, 2014. Goldman makes an annual contribution to the CGI that brings to the dinner a brief appearance by Bill, Hillary or Chelsea Clinton. In her nine-minute (technically unpaid) talk, Hillary Clinton mentioned Blankfein by his first name, as well as John F.W. Rogers, a senior Goldman executive, and Dina Powell, president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation, by their first names.

She gave a shout-out to Jack Ma, founder of the Alibaba Group (a Goldman client), who was in the audience. She spoke about the need to encourage more female entrepreneurs and the need to make more credit available to them. She cited some Goldman Sachs research. “Recognizing the untapped potential of women in the global economy is one of the great insights of the early 21st century,” she said, reading from a prepared speech. “And I do appreciate the work Goldman itself has done in contributing to the growing body of research that documents the business case for investing in women.”

That’s right. The speech was a crashing bore. It probably won her very few votes, and the fat fee she took for it and the other Goldman speeches has probably cost her more than anything else in this campaign. The question is whether it could also cost her, in the long run, the nomination and the presidency.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

It's been mentioned more than a few times recently amidst all the golden obituaries for this "fallen" great man, that if we have many more such great men, we can kiss this democratic country goodbye.

Some say this guy and his "friends" have already ensured that.

Appoint a Few More Scalias, Kiss Democracy Goodbye

By Richard L. Hasen, Reuters
22 February 16

epublican presidential candidates such as Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) have pledged to appoint a justice like Antonin Scalia to the U.S. Supreme Court, if given the opportunity. Yet Scalia’s record on issues related to American democracy and elections was dismal — even when judged against the standards of the conservative Roberts court.

Placing a few more Scalias on the Supreme Court would likely put America’s current participatory democracy at risk.

Take money in politics. In 2010, the Roberts court, including Scalia, ruled in "Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission" that corporations, like individuals, have a First Amendment right to spend money independently in campaigns. Yet Scalia went further — he argued that people have a First Amendment right to contribute unlimited sums directly to candidates, which raised the stakes for undue influence. Scalia, like Justice Clarence Thomas, who often voted with him, would subject laws that limit campaign contributions to strict scrutiny. That means they would almost certainly fail in a constitutional challenge.

Next, consider the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The Roberts court, including Scalia, decided in Shelby County v. Holder (2013) that Congress no longer had the power to subject states with a record of intentional racial discrimination in voting to special federal oversight of their elections.

Scalia went further, however. He believed that Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which provides nationwide protection to racial and ethnic minorities to ensure they have a fair share of political power, should not apply to “vote dilution” claims.

This means that if Scalia had gotten his way, a jurisdiction with 60 percent white voters and 40 percent African American voters would be perfectly free to create legislative districts with all white-preferred representatives. Unless, that is, you could prove intentional racial discrimination, which is extremely difficult. He even remarked, at oral argument in the Shelby County case, that the Voting Rights Act is simply the “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”

Also on redistricting, Scalia led the way in arguing that courts should have no role in policing partisan gerrymandering — the intentional drawing of district lines to give a political party an excessive amount of political power in a state. The only thing that stopped Scalia from getting his way on the court was the opinion of Justice Anthony Kennedy. He essentially left the question open for new argument in a future case.

Perhaps most pernicious of all was Scalia’s opinion for three justices in the Supreme Court’s fractured 2007 decision, Crawford v. Marion County Elections Board. Crawford challenged the constitutionality of Indiana’s strict law requiring proof of voter identification at the polling place. Three justices, led by Justice David Souter, believed that the law violated the Equal Protection Clause and was unconstitutional. Three justices in the middle, led by Justice John Paul Stevens, and joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Kennedy, ruled that the law itself was permissible when applied generally in Indiana. But that anyone who could show that they faced special burdens would be entitled to an “as applied” exemption from the law.

Scalia, for himself and Justices Samuel Alito and Thomas would have gone much further. To Scalia, if the law imposed little burden on most people, it was constitutional to apply it to everyone even if it could be shown that the law burdened some people a great deal. Like the homeless, for example, who might lack valid photo identification.

Scalia’s opinion here was remarkable for its willingness to tolerate great burdens on identifiable groups of voters — even in the absence of any evidence such laws were necessary to prevent fraud or promote voter confidence.

The list goes on. Scalia was in the minority in a decision ruling that a state supreme court justice could not hear a case involving a litigant who contributed millions of dollars to a “Super PAC” supporting the justice for office. The majority ruled that allowing the justice to participate violated the Due Process Clause because it would create an appearance that the judge might be impartial. But this appearance did not bother Scalia.

Scalia similarly dissented when the court decided last year that Florida’s legal rules preventing judicial candidates from personally asking for campaign contributions violated the First Amendment.

Perhaps most famously, Scalia was in the five-justice conservative majority deciding "Bush v. Gore," the case that handed the disputed 2000 presidential election to Republican George W. Bush against Democrat Al Gore. Given that Scalia generally adhered to narrow readings of the Equal Protection Clause, he nonetheless signed onto a majority opinion that applied a novel, liberal reading of the clause to find a constitutional problem with the Florida vote count. When pushed on the issue years later in the many public forums at which he spoke, Scalia repeatedly told questioners, “Get over it.”

There was only one respect in which Scalia took a democracy-protecting position in election cases. Splitting with fellow conservative Thomas, Scalia was a strong believer in the value of disclosure of those funding U.S. elections. He famously wrote:  “For my part, I do not look forward to a society which, thanks to the Supreme Court, campaigns anonymously (McIntyre) and even exercises the direct democracy of initiative and referendum hidden from public scrutiny and protected from the accountability of criticism. This does not resemble the Home of the Brave.”

Ironically, this is the one case where Cruz might disagree with Scalia because the senator supports the right to undisclosed spending. Indeed, should Cruz win the 2016 presidential election, the next justice he appoints could be well to the right of Scalia on issues of democracy.

So, the nation would see that there is room to roll back voting rights even further than Scalia would have gone — or where the court has already gone.

Trump Is Bragging About His Latino Support In Nevada. Here’s Why Numbers Aren’t What They Seem.

. . . In a press release distributed by Latino Decisions, David Damore, associate professor of Political Science at UNLV, argues too much is being made of Trump’s popularity among Nevada Latinos.
For one, Damore points out that the majority of Nevada Latinos are Democrats. According to polling provided by Latino Decisions, only 16 percent of Latino voters in Nevada are Republicans. So even assuming the entrance poll is correct, the number of Latinos who actually voted for Trump last night is under 10 percent of those who can be expected to cast ballots in November.
Secondly, Damore argues that Nevada Latinos continue to move away from the Republican Party in general. He cites the following passage from a study put together by Brookings Mountain West:
[B]ased upon analysis of survey data from the 2012 election it appears that within Nevada’s Latino community there are few if any sub‐populations where the Republican Party has much traction. Much of the Republican Party’s struggles with Latino voters in Nevada stems from the inconsistency between the GOP’s policy agenda and the preferences of most Latino voters in the state and the perceived insensitivity of the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, towards the state’s Latino community.
Polling conducted by Latino Decisions indicates Trump’s harsh rhetoric toward undocumented immigrants has caused Latinos in battleground states to look upon the Republican Party more unfavorably, but a Trump supporter "ThinkProgress" spoke with in Nevada said he supports Trump’s hardline stance.
High school senior Angelo Gomez says last night was the very first time he voted.
“The state made it legal for illegal immigrants to get licenses,” he said. “There’s a lot of people I’ve talked to who said they’ve been in car accidents with illegal immigrants. The problem occurs when they don’t have any insurance. It’s a huge problem in the state right now.”
Gomez’s concern about immigration was echoed by Morales.
“My father came to this country from Mexico, but that was 40 years ago, and he was much different from the illegal aliens you have now,” he said. “If we’re to be a nation of laws, you have to have secure borders.”
Comments like those suggest Trump can rail against undocumented immigrants while still appealing to some Latinos. Can he do so to the extent necessary to win a general election? That remains to be seen, but the Nevada caucuses demonstrate Trump is at least doing enough right now to get him that far.
Gomez, for one, is a Latino who supports Trump quietly.
“My high school is really liberal, so I don’t talk about politics too much,” he said. “They usually get mad at me since I’m with Trump.

Trump Is Unleashing the Smoldering Violence of the White Mob

Landfill Fire Creeps Toward Buried Tons of Atomic Waste
- St. Louis Residents Ask Army to stop Underground Fire from Reaching Radioactive Material

Anthropologist Jane Goodall:  China Is Pillaging Africa Like an Old Colonial Power

China is exploiting Africa’s resources just like European colonisers did, with disastrous effects for the environment.

I know Jane Goodall.

I trust Jane Goodall.

When she says something is true, I believe it.

Those chimps, elephants and their homes need to be protected.

The public must begin to educate itself all over again.

Jane says the children are leading the way.

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