Thursday, February 11, 2016

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog at the Democratic Debate

Triumph visits the Democratic Debate in Charleston, SC as part of Triumph's Election Special 2016 premiering February 8, only on Hulu. The special follows Triumph through Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, chasing the likes of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie and many more.

Speak poop to power!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Republican N.J. Gov Christie To End White House Bid

A Nightmare For Hillary Clinton

By Taegan Goddard

First Read: “Bernie Sanders bested Clinton by 22 points (!!!) in a state she carried in the 2008 presidential contest. And the exit poll numbers seem even worse, even among the groups Clinton is supposedly strong with: Sanders beat her among women by 11 points (55%-44%), Democrats (52%-48%), and moderates (58%-39%).

He crushed her among his core groups, winning young voters (83%-16%), independents (72%-25), and liberals (60%-39%). And then there are these terrible numbers: Clinton lost among Democrats caring the most about honest and trustworthiness by 86 points (91%-5%), and she even lost among the Dems who want their candidate to care about people like them by 65 points (82%-17%).”

“Warning sign: Caring about people like them is the Bill Clinton brand, folks!!! The silver lining for Hillary: The map is about to get a lot better for her (see below). But as we wrote yesterday, it will get worse first — Sanders is going to continue to out raise her, the Nevada caucuses (on Feb. 23) are going to be closer than anyone thought, and the outside forces are set to be unbearable (Bloomberg! Biden! Shakeup!).”

Wonk Wire: Bernie’s brand is the future of the Democratic party.

John Kasich’s Second Place Finish In New Hampshire Is A Nightmare For The GOP

By Josh Voorhees

John Kasich speaks at a town hall on Jan. 23 in Nashua, New Hampshire.
Darren McCollester/Getty Images

In the run up to Tuesday’s Republican primary, John Kasich conceded that a poor performance in New Hampshire would mean an end to his campaign. “If we get smoked here,” the Ohio governor told reporters last week, “I’m going home.” But after finishing second place in the Granite State—ahead of Marco Rubio and his two other party-approved rivals—it’s clear Kasich isn’t going home. He’s going on to South Carolina.

The problem for the Republican Party, though, is that Kasich is unlikely to go much further than that. In the meantime, he’ll siphon off momentum, media attention, and money from his fellow party-approved rivals who are actually in a position to capitalize on a post-primary bump. Kasich’s surprise showing actually turns the GOP’s Trump-themed headache into a migraine.

There were always going to be two narratives coming out of New Hampshire: the major one about Donald Trump, who has been leading in state polls for months, and the minor one about whichever of the establishment-friendly foursome came out on top in the contest within a contest between Rubio, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and Kasich.

Someone like Marco, or even Jeb, was well positioned to use the second-place spotlight to finally begin consolidating establishment-minded voters, which remains the best and perhaps only path left for any of them to pass Trump and Iowa-winner Ted Cruz later this year. Kasich, though, is almost comically ill equipped to travel that difficult path.

For starters, there’s the very real problem that his bank account is running low. He raised only $3.2 million in the final three months of last year and began 2016 with only $2.5 million on hand—about a fourth of what Rubio had in the bank and a third of what Bush did. Yes, Kasich’s performance in New Hampshire will likely come with an uptick in fundraising, but the odds are that he’s still going to have significantly less than Rubio and Bush, not to mention Trump and Cruz. Much of the money he does bring in this week, meanwhile, will be canceled out by the millions Rubio and Bush will now spend via their super PACs to torpedo Kasich’s campaign.

Kasich’s bigger problem is just how out of line his (relatively!) moderate worldview appears to be with that of the Republican voters he’ll need to unite. He doesn’t just have a history of going against the conservative line—he has a history of unapologetic conservative apostasy, often seeming to take great joy in telling conservative voters that they’re wrong. In a world where a former reality TV star can win New Hampshire, anything is possible. But in a world where Donald J. Trump does win New Hampshire, it’s hard to imagine a critical mass of Republican voters will be excited about Kasich’s positions on hot-button topics like immigration, Common Core, Medicaid expansion, and marriage equality.

The Ohio Republican’s already difficult job will get that much more so now that the race is leaving New Hampshire, a state where the candidate he’s most often compared with, Jon Huntsman, won roughly the same share of the GOP vote four years ago as Kasich did on Tuesday. (Huntsman, you probably won’t remember, dropped out shortly after.)

Next comes South Carolina and then Nevada, neither of which will be anywhere near as friendly to Kasich’s particular brand of politics. If he is still standing come March, he’ll then need to survive a Super Tuesday dominated by delegate-rich southern states like Texas, Georgia, and Alabama. In other words, Kasich will leave New Hampshire as a winner—but a winner the race will soon forget.
Additional Slate coverage of the New Hampshire primary:
Read more of Slate’s coverage of the GOP primary.

Cenk Uygur blasts Wall Street Journal for attacking Sanders: ‘You committed class warfare on us’

By Arturo Garcia

Cenk Uygur defends Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-VT) record on Feb. 9, 2016. (YouTube)
After defending Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) record against the Washington Post last month, Young Turks host Cenk Uygur ripped the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. for its criticism of the Democratic presidential candidate.

“They cry their crocodile tears: ‘Sanders is actually gonna fix the system. How dare he, class warrior?'” Uygur said. “No, you committed class warfare on the rest of us. You stole our government, then you redirected trillions of money into your pockets.”

The op-ed by Bret Stephens accused Sanders of trying to paint everyone working on Wall Street as a criminal because of his campaign’s focus on economic and campaign finance reforms.

“No political or social penalties attach, in today’s America, to the wholesale indictment of this entire industry and the people who work in it,” Stephens complained. “Had another presidential candidate made a similarly damning remark about some other profession—public-school teachers, say, or oil-rig workers—there would have been the usual outcry about false stereotypes, the decline of civility and so on. When Bernie says it about Wall Street there’s a collective shrug, if not nodding agreement.”

“That’s not what he did,” Uygur responded. “You’re lying about that. ‘Cause you don’t want him to fix [the Glass-Steagall Banking Act] ’cause that’s how you guys get rich — by gambling with our money.”

Stephens also said that one reason Sanders has connected well with younger voters is because his idea of wisdom is “to hold fast to the angry convictions of his adolescence.”

“Isn’t it kind of juvenile to go around calling a presidential candidate childish?” Uygur asked, adding that younger voters are often more informed than their elders.

“The older voters who watch TV get broad general comments about the candidates,” the host said. “They never dig into the issues. The younger voters, who get their news online, have access to all their positions on all their issues. They’re far more educated than the older knucklehead voters you guys have been brainwashing all these years.”

Watch Uygur’s commentary, as aired on Tuesday, below.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

One Hundred Billionaires Who Are Trying To Buy The White House

By John Lundin

Meet The One Hundred Billionaires Who Are Trying To Buy The White House

A small group of billionaires is trying very hard to buy the presidency. They want to buy the White House from it’s rightful owners – you and me.

A recent analysis of campaign finance data by Politico has found that the top 100 donors to the presidential race have spent $195 million on their preferred candidates — that’s compared to the $155 million spent by the smallest 2 million donors. In other words, 100 rich people have more purchasing power than 2 million non-rich people combined. As The New York Times found last year, just 158 mega-donors paid for half of all early campaign donations.

While these sobering figures are hardly cause for celebration, there is one silver lining: Judging from where the billionaires are putting their money, it’s not likely to get them much. The top recipient of billionaire bucks was none other than Jeb Bush, who is currently leading the field only in the race for last place. Jeb’s flailing campaign was the recipient of $49 million from donors on Politico’s list. They appear to be getting zilch in return.

In case you think this is a only a Republican problem, GOP candidates aren’t the only ones taking money from the rich: Hillary Clinton was the second largest beneficiary of billionaire bucks.

Clinton’s super PAC allies are assiduously courting wealthy liberals as they gird for a potentially protracted fight for the Democratic nomination against the unexpectedly vigorous insurgent campaign of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has decried super PACs and has relatively little support from them. While super PACs supporting Clinton in 2015 raised $55 million ― $38 million of which came from top donors on POLITICO’s list, including $8 million from the fifth biggest donor, New York financier George Soros ― they have struggled to win support from other top Democratic donors.

And who are these billionaires who are trying to purchase our next president? It will probably come as no surprise that they are overwhelmingly white and male. The top donors, Dan Wilks and his brother Farris, made a fortune in hydraulic fracking, $15 million of which they donated to Ted Cruz. Cruz also took huge amounts from New York hedge fund tycoon Bob Mercer (No. 2 on Politico’s list), Texas energy man Toby Neugebauer (No. 4) and Illinois manufacturers Dick and Liz Uihlein (No. 6).

Oddly, the notorious Koch brothers were nowhere on Politico’s list. Although they reportedly plan to spend nearly $900 million on the presidential race — more than either the Republican or Democratic parties — the Kochs have yet to endorse a candidate for the primary. And should Donald Trump win the primary, that $900 million could go unspent: While the Kochs might not love any of the candidates, there is one they clearly loathe.

But for now, Jeb! Bush is clearly in the lead for mega-dollar donors. And when Bush drops out of the race – which he will – all that money will get refocused somewhere. Rubio? Cruz? Who knows?

What is clear is that in the race for the biggest donors, there are about 300 million other Americans who will pay the price: each and every one of us.

Why Reparations And Social Security Matter For African Americans In The Election

American history has not created wealth for most.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock, Copyright (c) Monkey Business Images

As Ta-Nehisi Coates and Steve Phillips become the latest in a lineage of black scholar/activists who have worked to push the boundaries of policy discourse about the feasibility of reparations for African Americans, it is important that we not lose sight of existing policies that affect the bottom line of black households.

Social Security is one such policy that has tremendous economic consequences for vulnerable families and provides a good litmus test for where the 2016 presidential candidates stand on the issue of black economic security.

It’s no secret that more than 150 years after the end of slavery, black people — along with Native Americans, Latinos and certain subgroups of Asian Americans — remain at the bottom of the economic ladder in America. 

African Americans and Latinos own only 6 and 7 cents respectively for every dollar of wealth owned by whites and earn only 67 cents for every dollar of income earned by whites (national data is not available for Native Americans and Asian American subgroups). 

These deep disparities in wealth and income are a legacy of discriminatory government policies and business practices that have benefited white households over households of color. It even marred Social Security’s beginning, which by barring coverage for agricultural and domestic workers effectively excluded approximately 65 percent of all black workers when the bill was signed into law in 1935.

This legacy of social and economic racial discrimination makes African Americans especially reliant on the program today. Social Security provides social insurance coverage to eligible individuals in the event of retirement, disability or the death of a worker with surviving dependents. It also has a progressive benefit structure that replaces a greater percentage of lower earners’ pre-Social Security wages compared to higher earners.

So, while we know African Americans are economically vulnerable, we also know that many could not make it through retirement, a disability or the death of a loved one, without Social Security. For example, 46 percent of African-American seniors ages 65 and over rely on Social Security for at least 90 percent of their income, compared to 35 percent of whites.

Although the formula for determining benefit levels is seemingly neutral with respect to race and ethnicity, the program does in fact affect racial and ethnic groups in different ways because of variances in demographic factors such as life expectancy, health status, years of work, level of earnings, number of dependents, and marital status. As a result, the distributional impact of the program and proposed changes to it can be estimated by variables such as race, ethnicity, gender, class, and marital status.

We know that African Americans are disadvantaged by the structure of Social Security’s retirement program because of shorter life spans. We also know that African Americans and other people of color disproportionately benefit from the disability and survivor portions of the programs, because of higher morbidity and mortality rates. The data shows that when all three parts of Social Security are taken as a whole, African Americans receive a slightly higher rate of return from the program compared to what they contribute in wages.

However, when taken alone, the retirement portion of the program is regressive for African Americans, since those who have shorter life expectancy effectively subsidize the retirement of those with longer life expectancy. Proposals to raise the retirement age, therefore, are not beneficial for African Americans since they would result in reduced benefit amounts, and depending on the specifics of the proposal, could make the benefit of Social Security to African Americans less valuable overall.

Enter the 2016 elections. While Senator Bernie Sanders’ dismissive response to the questioner who asked him about reparations at the Black and Brown debate in Iowa was both regretful and instructive about the intellectual boundaries of mainstream contemporary populism, he has taken a stand against all benefit cuts — including increasing the retirement age. He has also put forward a plan to expand benefits that has been estimated by the Social Security Administration’s Chief Actuary to increase benefits and extend the solvency of Social Security through the year 2074. By placing the burden of expansion on the wealthy, who would pay more by raising the earnings cap on Social Security payroll contributions, his plan would save middle, moderate and low-income Americans from economically harmful benefit cuts. This would be good for African Americans.

Although she has not yet put forward a detailed plan for expanding Social Security, Secretary Hillary Clinton has expressed support for expanding benefits for vulnerable groups, which would be good for African Americans. However, she has not ruled out instituting benefit cuts as a means for extending Social Security’s solvency and has said she is open to considering raising the retirement age “for people whose jobs allow them to work later in life.” This approach presumably targets higher income, white-collar workers but it represents little guarantee of protection for African Americans who experience life-threatening health disparities across the income spectrum.

On the Republican side of the race, businessman and presidential contender Donald Trump has shunned traditional conservative approaches to Social Security reform by ruling out raising the retirement age. His decision taps into a wealth of polling data that shows widespread, bipartisan support for Social Security. Both senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, on the other hand, have said they would increase the retirement age. Ted Cruz would seek to destabilize the program altogether by diverting Social Security funds into private accounts exposed to Wall Street, which brings a host of additional vulnerabilites for African Americans.

In sum, Social Security is not a replacement for a policy that compensates African Americans for lost wages, discrimination, dehumanization, and pain and suffering they experienced as result of slavery, Jim Crow and a host of additional discriminatory policies and practices that have undermined their socioeconomic standing. Given that precedent has been established for reparative policies for other wronged groups in the U.S., there should be no reason to exclude African Americans from policy considerations that have been afforded to others.

Nevertheless, Social Security remains an important pillar of progress that is essential for many black households to survive and thrive. For that reason alone, it too is worth fighting for.

Maya Rockeymoore is president and CEO of Global Policy Solutions LLC, a social change strategy firm, and president of the Center for Global Policy Solutions, a nonprofit think tank.

Monday, February 8, 2016

It’s almost over for Hillary: This election is a mass insurrection against a rigged system

Sanders has ended the coronation and fired up the grass roots. Now Clinton's electability argument is crumbling too.

By Bill Curry

It's almost over for Hillary: This election is a mass insurrection against a rigged systemDemocratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton and Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, shake hands as they greet the audience before the audience before a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by MSNBC at the University of New Hampshire Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Durham, N.H. (AP Photo/David Goldman) (Credit: Associated Press)

It would be hard to overstate what Bernie Sanders has already achieved in his campaign for president, or the obstacles he’s had to surmount in order to achieve it. Not only has he turned a planned Hillary Clinton coronation into an exercise in grass-roots democracy, he’s reset the terms of the debate. We are edging closer to the national conversation we so desperately need to have. If we get there, all credit goes to Bernie.

Many of those obstacles were put in place by Democratic national party chair and Clinton apparatchik Deborah Wasserman Schultz. Without pretense of due process, Schultz slashed the number of 2016 debates to six, down from 26 in 2008, and scheduled as many as she could on weekends when she figured no one would be watching. To deprive would-be challengers of free exposure, Schultz robbed voters of free and open debate and ceded the spotlight to the dark vaudeville of the Republicans. That Sanders got this far in spite of her is a miracle in itself.

Sanders got bagged again in Iowa, this time by a state party chair, one Andrea McGuire. Like Schultz, McGuire’s specialty is high-dollar fundraising, and like Schultz she was deeply involved in Clinton’s 2008 campaign. Under the esoteric rules of the Iowa Democratic caucuses, and after a string of lucky coin tosses, Clinton eked out a 700.52 to 696.86 margin, not in votes cast but in a mysterious commodity known as “delegate equivalents.”

We’re electing a president, not the senior warden of a Mason’s lodge. All evidence indicates Sanders won the popular vote. It isn’t a minor point. If the public knew he won the only vote anybody understands or cares about, Clinton wouldn’t be “breathing a sigh of relief,” she’d be hyperventilating. McGuire refuses to release vote totals. She says keeping them a secret is an Iowa tradition. So what if it is? As with debates, the stakes transcend the candidates’ interests. In an editorial headlined “Something Smells in the Democratic Party,” the Des Moines Register, which endorsed Clinton prior to the caucuses, wrote:
What happened Monday night at the Democratic caucuses was a debacle, period… the refusal to undergo scrutiny or allow for an appeal reeks of autocracy.
Given that this entire election is a mass insurrection against a rigged system, one would think the national political press would share the Register’s concern, but it moved on to the next race with barely a backward glance. Throughout the campaign the press has been nearly as big an obstacle for Sanders as the party. Even jaded political junkies were startled when the Tyndall Report exposed the media blackout of Sanders. In 2015, ABC News devoted 261 minutes to the 2016 campaign. Donald Trump got 81 minutes. Bernie Sanders got 20 seconds. Nearly as harmful is the dismissive tone of the cable commentariat, and I don’t mean just Fox News.

CNN has larded up “the best political team on television” with partisans, including Bush acolyte Ana Navarro and Trump minion Jeffrey Lord. On the Democratic side, Paul Begala advises a Clinton super PAC; David Axelrod was Obama’s guru; Donna Brazile a DNC chair; Van Jones an Obama staffer; David Gergen a Clinton adviser. All are bright, honorable people, but it’s hard to report on a peasant revolt from inside the castle. (The network just added Sanders sympathizer Bill Press to the mix, but it’s far too little and too late.)

Things aren’t all that different over at MSNBC though to its credit it lets reporters do more of its analysis. One might expect its younger on-air personalities to be in sync with Sanders but our younger political journalists aren’t like our younger voters, being more attuned to the centrist politics of Clinton and Obama than to the reformist zeal now reshaping and re-energizing the Democrat left.

The whole press corps still treats politics as theater or sport. No one ever explains policy on a post-debate show. Must all talk be of the horse race? It’s a democracy, not an off-track betting parlor. We must all think less like political consultants and more like citizens, and journalists should lead the way.

That they don’t is a gift to Clinton. Sanders wants to talk about the fallen state of our politics, the fallen state of our middle class, and how the first fall caused the second. Clinton can’t have that discussion.  Exposing her differences with Sanders on such topics would sink her. So she says she and he are alike in every way except she’s practical and electable—”a progressive who likes to get things done”–and he’s a hopeless dreamer. It’s the kind of argument political reporters were born to buy, and despite being full of holes, it works even among some non-journalists.

The electability argument is all about money and polls, ground games and firewalls, though you hear less about money lately. Clinton’s campaign muddied the message of its launch by leaking a plan to raise $300 million for an “independent” super PAC. This was to be the year of the super PAC but it’s proving instead that even in politics, money isn’t everything. Among Republicans, Jeb Bush raised the most money, Trump the least. Trump rides high. Bush is on a respirator. As you may have heard, Bernie doesn’t have a super PAC. Backed by a record breaking 1.3 million small donors, he slashed 40 points off Clinton’s lead and rewrote the rules of presidential politics.

You hear even less about polls; or general election polls at least. What makes the media blackout of Sanders an even greater travesty is that it was imposed over a period of many months in which he led all 21 other candidates in both parties in nearly every general election poll. When a self-described socialist leads every poll, something historic is happening. Even horse-race reporters should have seen that a story so big, so confounding of conventional wisdom, demanded in depth coverage, but unless you read Salon or Rolling Stone, such coverage was hard to find.

In Thursday’s MSNBC debate, Rachel Maddow, having raised the specters of George McGovern and Barry Goldwater, briefly acknowledged Sanders’ general election lead (“I know you have good head to head polling numbers… right now”) before asking, “but do you have a general election strategy?”

Sanders might have referred all Goldwater questions to Hillary, who after all worked on Barry’s famed ’64 race, or asked Maddow why the guy leading every general election poll would need a new general election strategy, but he did neither.

There is no Clinton firewall. At most, 10 states are out of Sanders’ reach and public opinion is never static. Nor does she have a better “ground game.” Real grass-roots organizations like the Working Families Party, and Democracy for America let members guide endorsements. (Sanders’ support in each of those groups was at or above 85 percent) Such groups are building the movement Sanders speaks of in every speech. Building a movement is like wiring a house for electricity. You can buy the most expensive lamps in the store but with no electricity, when you hit the switch the lights don’t go on. It takes real conviction to fuel grass-roots politics. In Iowa, Sanders ran 5 points ahead of late polls. It won’t be the last time it happens.
If you strip away all the nonsense about polls, money, firewalls and ground games, Clinton’s left with two arguments, neither one pretty. One is that Sanders is too far left. Pundits dismiss his polls by repeating her “wait till the Republicans get ahold of him” line. And they’ll say what? That he’s old? Jewish? A socialist? Everybody already knows and anyone who’d even think of voting Democratic is already down with it or soon could be. The “socialist” tag needs explaining, but so do “corrupt” and “fascist.” Both parties’ front runners carry baggage. For my money, Bernie’s is the lightest. As for the notion that voters can’t see that paying $1,000 in taxes beats paying $5,000 in health insurance premiums, it is an insult to the American people.

The core of Clinton’s realpolitik brief pertains not to electability but to governance.  Her point is that Sanders is na├»ve. She says none of his proposals can get though a Republican Congress. She strongly implies that he’d roll back Obamacare, a charge that is false, cynical and so nonsensical she’ll have to stop making it soon.  She says she has a plan to get to universal health care—she doesn’t—and that she’ll do it by working “in partnership” with the insurance and pharmaceutical industries.

Who’s being naive here? A Republican Congress won’t pass any of her ideas either. The only way to get real change is to elect Democrats to Congress and have a grass-roots movement strong enough to keep the heat on them. Nor will insurers cough up a dime of profit without a fight.  Vowing to spare us a “contentious debate” over single-payer care she ignores the admonition of Frederick Douglass; “Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will.” There has been a lot of talk lately about what a progressive is. Here’s a hint: if you think Douglass is wrong, you might not be one.

Clinton’s last argument concerns loyalty. Throughout 2015 she sniped at Obama from the right while relegating Bill to the sidelines. Last month, seeing her lead slip away, she wrapped herself in political and family connections, as if hoping to gain the White House as a legacy admission. Analysts say Sanders drove her to the left. It’s partly but only superficially true. Lately he has driven her to the status quo, a bad place to be in 2016.

Democrats are deeply loyal to Barack Obama and Bill Clinton who didn’t so much reconcile their party’s conflicts as engross them within their protean personalities. Hillary accuses Sanders of disloyalty to them and to the modern party they held together. When Sanders suggested that some progressive groups might be part of the establishment, she ripped into him, denying there even is such a thing. There is, of course. Its main components were once grass-roots movements that traded independence for access and are now Washington lobbies with grass-roots mailing lists. They were better off when they played harder to get.

The absence of an independent, progressive movement left a vacuum that groups like The Working Families Party and have begun to fill not a moment too soon. Clinton seeks to cast Sanders as the “other” by calling into question his loyalty to the establishment. It gets her nothing.  Democrats will always be loyal to Bill and Barack, but know in their hearts it’s time to move on. The debate now is over what comes next.

It’s not a debate Hillary wants. She’s a superb debater, whip smart, well prepared and a world-class verbal gymnast. I’m guessing Sanders goes a little lighter on debate prep, making him less concrete and specific. I wish he engaged more directly. But his quiet dignity serves him, and us, well. He’s the anti-Trump, doing nearly as much to elevate public discourse as Trump does to debase it.

One way to sum up the case he’s trying to make might be as follows. In the 1990s a near bipartisan consensus celebrated a new age of globalization and information technology in which technology and trade spur growth that in turn fosters a broad and inclusive prosperity. Government’s job is to deregulate finance and trade and work with business in ‘public private partnerships’ for progress.

Twenty years on, Hillary still sees the world through the rose-colored glasses of that ’90s consensus. Not Bernie. He sees that in 2016 rising tides don’t even lift most boats, that growth comes at a steep price when it comes at all, and that new technology cost more jobs than it creates. He understands that when jobs flow to countries with weak governments and low wages, the American middle class can’t get a raise. He sees that public-private partnership meant pay-to-play politics, and that the whole system runs not on innovation but corruption. My guess is the middle class sees what he sees and wants what he wants: a revolution. If he can continue to drive the debate, they may get one.
Bill Curry
Bill Curry was White House counselor to President Clinton and a two-time Democratic nominee for governor of Connecticut. He is at work on a book on President Obama and the politics of populism.

The Super Bowl's Not Over Until Peyton Manning Kisses Papa John, Shills for Budweiser

By Elliot Hannon

Peyton Manning just had one of the nights of his life Sunday. Potentially in the top five, somewhere in the mix of getting married, the birth of his two kids, and presumably his previous Super Bowl win? We’ll never know exactly where tonight’s performance ranks on the Manning all-time list (unless he tells us), but we can make a few inferences by his post-game celebration. In the immediate jubilant aftermath of the game, Manning leaned in to kiss—Papa John? Yes, founder and owner of the pizza chain, John Schnatter, was on the sideline.

Just to recap, here are Manning’s priorities as expressed through post-game kiss preference:

(1) Papa John
(2) wife
(3) kids
(3a) Budweiser

Peyton Manning’s life through product placement.

THE WORM HAS TURNED: Barring unforeseeable events, Bernie Sanders will be the Democratic nominee

By hootch

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.

The campaign's first mistake was to take the traditional approach of sitting on a lead. Certainly, it 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 haul—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 must be maxing out in direct contributions, leaving Super PAC's 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 made the second mistake of doubling down on its voter containment strategy, completely giving 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.

And 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 submit to 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 overlook corruption because the candidate is a woman.

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 inter-sectional 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 with a lifespan no longer than 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 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 is 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. It's probably why you are voting for Sanders in your Democratic Primary. It looks like you'll have plenty of company.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

President Obama: The World I Want My Daughters To Grow Up In

Feb. 3, 2016
Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States. 

One of America’s greatest strengths right now is the fact that our young generation—the millennials—is also the biggest, most educated, most diverse and most digitally fluent generation in our history. And one thing my daughters have taught me about their generation is that they’re not going to wait for anyone else to build a better world; they’re just going to go ahead and create that world for themselves.

We can create the circumstances that give them every chance to do that, of course—to make sure they can grow up free from debt and free to make their own choices in a world that’s not beyond their capacity to repair. That’s why my administration has reduced student loan payments to 10% of a borrower’s income, so that young people who choose college aren’t punished for that choice. We’ve reformed our health-care system so that when young people change jobs, go back to school, chase that new idea or start a family of their own, they’ll still have coverage.

We led nearly 200 nations to the most ambitious agreement in history to combat climate change. But my daughters’ generation knew long before Paris that protecting the one planet we’ve got isn’t something that’s up for debate. They knew long before the Supreme Court ruled for marriage equality last June that all love is created equal. They don’t see each of us first and foremost as black or white, Asian or Latino, gay or straight, immigrant or native-born. They view our diversity as a great gift. In many ways, their generation is already pushing the rest of us toward change.

 So for the sake of our future, one thing we have to do, maybe even above all others, is to make sure they grow up knowing that their voices matter, that they have agency in our democracy. Those of us in positions of power have to set an example with the way we treat each other—not by viewing those who disagree with us as unpatriotic or motivated by malice, but with a willingness to compromise.

We have to listen to those with whom we don’t agree.We have to reduce the corrosive influence of money in our politics that makes people feel like the system is rigged. We have to make voting easier, not harder, and modernize it for the way we live now. And we have to encourage our young people to stay active in our public life so that it reflects the goodness and decency and fundamental optimism that they exhibit every day.

The world we want for our kids—one with opportunity and security for our families; one with rising standards of living and a sustainable, peaceful planet; one that’s innovative and inclusive, bold and big-hearted—it’s entirely within our reach. The only constraints on America’s future are the ones we impose on ourselves.

That’s always been the case with America—our destiny isn’t decided for us, but by us. And as long as we give our young people every tool and every chance to decide the future for themselves, I have incredible faith in the choices they’ll make.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Hiroshima (1979) Full Album

Hiroshima's entire debut masterpiece...

Track listing:

00:00 ''Lion Dance''
05:50 ''Roomful of Mirrors''
09:25 ''Kokoro''
16:07 ''Long Time Love''
20:12 ''Da-Da''
26:45 ''Never, Ever''
30:42 ''Holidays''
34:04 ''Taiko Song''