Monday, February 29, 2016

We Democrats NEED to KNOW What Hillary Told The Banks

Occupy Hillary Clinton's Wall Street Speeches
by Marjorie Cohn | February 29, 2016
About author: Marjorie Cohn is president of the National Lawyers Guild and a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, where she teaches criminal law and procedure, evidence, and international human rights law. She lectures throughout the world on human rights and US foreign policy.

Hillary Clinton refuses to make public the transcripts of her speeches to big banks, three of which were worth a total of $675,000 to Goldman Sachs. She says she would release the transcripts "if everybody does it, and that includes Republicans." After all, she complained, "Why is there one standard for me, and not for everybody else?"

As the New York Times editorial board pointed out, "The only different standard here is the one Mrs. Clinton set for herself, by personally earning $11 million in 2014 and the first quarter of 2015 for 51 speeches to banks and other groups and industries."

Hillary is not running in the primaries against Republicans, who, the Times noted, "make no bones about their commitment to Wall Street deregulation and tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans."

She is running against Bernie Sanders, "a decades-long critic of Wall Street excess who is hardly a hot ticket on the industry speaking circuit," according to the Times.

Why do voters need to know what Hillary told the banks? Because it was Wall Street that was responsible for the 2008 recession, making life worse for most Americans. We need to know what, if anything, she promised these behemoths.

I Scratch Your Back, You Scratch Mine

Hillary has several super PACs, which have recently donated $25 million to her campaign, $15 million of which came from Wall Street.

Big banks and large contributors don't give their money away for nothing. They expect that their interests will be well served by those to whom they donate.

Hillary recently attended an expensive fundraiser at Franklin Square Capital, a hedge fund that gives big bucks to the fracking industry. Two weeks later, Hillary's campaign announced her continuing support for the production of natural gas, which comes from fracking.

Bernie opposes fracking. He said, "Just as I believe you can't take on Wall Street while taking their money, I don't believe you can take on climate change effectively while taking money from those who would profit off the destruction of the planet."

Bernie's "Political Revolution"

Bernie has no super PACs. His campaign has received 4 million individual contributions, that average $27 each. Perhaps Rupert Murdoch multiplied that amount by $100 in setting $2700 a head as the entrance fee for Hillary's latest campaign gala?

Bernie has called for a "political revolution" that "takes on the fossil fuel billionaires, accelerates our transition to clean energy, and finally puts people before the profits of polluters." He would retrain workers in the fossil fuel industries for clean energy jobs.

Bernie reminds us that the top one-tenth of 1% owns nearly as much wealth as the bottom 90%, and 99% of all new income goes to the top 1%. Unlike Hillary, he says healthcare is a right – not a privilege – and college and university tuition should be free.

Bernie and Congressman John Conyers introduced legislation to allocate $5.5 billion to states and communities to create employment programs for African-American youth. They say, "instead of putting military style equipment into police departments . . . we [should] start investing in jobs for the young people there who desperately need them."

How will we pay for all that? "If we cut military spending and corporate welfare, we would have more than enough money to meet America's needs," Bernie wrote in his 1997 book, Outsider in the House. "This nation currently spends $260 billion a year on defense, even though the Cold War is over," not counting "$30 billion spent annually on intelligence or the $20 billion in defense-related expenditures hidden away in our federal spending on energy," he added. Today, with all the wars our government is prosecuting, that figure is nearly $600 billion.

With Bernie Sanders, we have a unique opportunity to reverse long-standing priorities that favor the few at the expense of the many. Let us seize the time.


Robert Reich: An Important Letter to the Republican Establishment

This letter contains much Truth.  It's from a well known, dedicated and wise political servant who knows what he is talking about :
An Open Letter to the Republican Establishment
by Robert Reich | February 29, 2016 - 10:43am

— from Robert Reich's Blog

You are the captains of American industry, the titans of Wall Street, and the billionaires who for decades have been the backbone of the Republican Party.

You've invested your millions in the GOP in order to get lower taxes, wider tax loopholes, bigger subsidies, more generous bailouts, less regulation, lengthier patents and copyrights and stronger market power allowing you to raise prices, weaker unions and bigger trade deals allowing you outsource abroad to reduce wages, easier bankruptcy for you but harder bankruptcy for homeowners and student debtors, and judges who will let you to engage in insider trading and who won't prosecute you for white-collar crimes.

All of which have made you enormously wealthy. Congratulations.

But I have some disturbing news for you. You're paying a big price – and about to pay far more.

First, as you may have noticed, most of your companies aren't growing nearly as fast as they did before the Great Recession. Your sales are sputtering, and your stock prices are fragile.

That's because you forgot that your workers are also consumers. As you've pushed wages downward, you've also squeezed your customers so tight they can hardly afford to buy what you have to sell.

Consumer spending comprises 70 percent of the American economy. But the typical family is earning less today than it did in 2000, in terms of real purchasing power.

Most of the economic gains have gone to you and others like you who spend only a small fraction of what they rake in. That spells trouble for the economy – and for you.

You've tried to lift your share prices artificially by borrowing money at low interest rates and using it to buy back your shares of stock. But this party trick works only so long. Besides, interest rates are starting to rise.

Second, you've instructed your Republican lackeys to reduce your and your corporation's taxes so much over the last three decades – while expanding subsidies and bailouts going your way – that the government is running out of money.

That means many of the things you and your businesses rely on government to do – build and maintain highways, bridges, tunnels, and other physical infrastructure; produce high-quality basic research; and provide a continuous supply of well-educated young people – are no longer being done as well as they should. If present trends continue, all will worsen in years to come.

Finally, by squeezing wages and rigging the economic game in your favor, you have invited an unprecedented political backlash – against trade, immigration, globalization, and even against the establishment itself.

The pent-up angers and frustrations of millions of Americans who are working harder than ever yet getting nowhere, and who feel more economically insecure than ever, have finally erupted. American politics has become a cesspool of vitriol.

Republican politicians in particular have descended into the muck of bigotry, hatefulness, and lies. They're splitting America by race, ethnicity, and religion. The moral authority America once had in the world as a beacon of democracy and common sense is in jeopardy. And that's not good for you, or your businesses.

Nor is the uncertainty all this is generating. A politics based on resentment can lurch in any direction at almost any time. Yet you and your companies rely on political stability and predictability.

You follow me? You've hoisted yourself on your own petard. All that money you invested in Republican Party in order to reap short-term gains is now reaping a whirlwind.

You would have done far better with a smaller share of an economy growing more rapidly because it possessed a strong and growing middle class.

You'd have done far better with a political system less poisoned by your money – and therefore less volatile and polarized, more capable of responding to the needs of average people, less palpably rigged in your favor.

But you were selfish and greedy, and you thought only about your short-term gains.

You forgot the values of a former generation of Republican establishment that witnessed the devastations of the Great Depression and World War II, and who helped build the great post-war American middle class.

That generation did not act mainly out of generosity or social responsibility. They understood, correctly, that broad-based prosperity would be good for them and their businesses over the long term.

So what are you going to do now? Will you help clean up this mess – by taking your money out of politics, restoring our democracy, de-rigging the system, and helping overcome widening inequality of income, wealth, and political power?

Or are you still not convinced?

About author ROBERT B. REICH, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written thirteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock" and "The Work of Nations." His latest, "Beyond Outrage," is now out in paperback. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause. His new film, "Inequality for All," is now available on Netflix, iTunes, DVD, and On Demand.

Trump's original family name is Drumpf

It doesn't have quite the ring of "Trump,' does it?

Watch the following video in which John Oliver handily decimates Trump.


Sunday, February 28, 2016

White Supremacists Mobilize for Trump - They LOVE him!

Republicans are rubbing elbows with some "interesting" types these days...

White Supremacists Mobilize For Donald Trump

They're using robocalls and volunteers to drum up support.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Hillary MUST release those speeches

But we know she won't because they will be too damaging. We all know what she told Wall Street: "I've got your back!"  and now she's trying to tell the people the same thing.  Can't have it both ways, Hillary -- and we know which way it will be when and if she gets the Presidency.  The Clintons are known for selling out the people who vote for them -- and making themselves millionaires in the process.  A vote for Bernie is the only way to go, folks!

Hillary Clinton should release the transcripts of her speeches to the Wall Street banks
by Mason | February 27, 2016 - 9:35am

According to the New York Times, Hillary Clinton made $11 million in 2014 and the first quarter of 2015 from 51 speeches she gave to banks, corporations and other interests. Goldman Sachs alone paid her $675,000. She has refused to release transcripts of those speeches.

As Secretary of State, she was the main architect of a U.S. foreign policy focused on making the world safe for investment and exploitation by U.S. banks and corporations. She was and remains a neocon war hawk committed to supporting the neocon goal to gain control of petroleum resources in the Middle East by destabilizing and replacing governments hostile to that goal. See The Project for the New American Century. "We came, we saw, he died," she said of Muammar Gaddafi, after he was deposed and murdered in Libya. Libya, like Iraq, and soon to be in Syria, is a failed state overrun by Islamic jihadists.

No one knows better than Hillary Clinton that our foreign policy is to use the military to make the world 'safe' for U.S. capitalism. That would be the Wall Street investment banks and U.S. corporations.

We have wasted hundreds of billions of dollars pursuing an aggressive and failed policy in the Middle East. Instead of a robust discussion about slashing our military budget in light of our failed foreign policy, our failed wars and our war crimes, Hillary Clinton talks about how we cannot afford single-payer health care and free education, even though citizens in other countries in Europe enjoy those benefits. Of course, they don't spend billions on their military forces.

Touting her 'foreign policy experience,' such as it is, she assures us that 'incremental change' is the only way to go.


Hillary Clinton needs to release those Wall Street transcripts. I want to know what she said to investment bankers eager to know her priorities, her vision of future foreign policy, and the 'lay of the land,' so to speak. Goldman Sachs did not pay her $675,000 to hear war stories.

The New York Times said,

Voters have every right to know what Mrs. Clinton told these groups. In July, her spokesman Nick Merrill said that though most speeches were private, the Clinton operation "always opened speeches when asked to." Transcripts of speeches that have been leaked have been pretty innocuous. By refusing to release them all, especially the bank speeches, Mrs. Clinton fuels speculation about why she's stonewalling.

I do not trust her.

Friday, February 26, 2016

How The Republican Elite Created Frankentrump

They prepared the ground for the Monster with hatred, racism and lies. As the article says: Republican insiders, pooh-bahs, and bigwigs only have themselves to blame for Frankentrump. In recent years, they have fomented, fostered, accepted, and exploited the climate of hate in which Trump's candidacy has taken root. For the fat-cat donors, special-interest lobbyists, and elected officials who usually run the Republican show, Trump is an invasive species. But he has grown large and strong in the manure they have spread across the political landscape.

How the Republican Elite Created Frankentrump

To rouse its voters, the GOP exploited hate, anger, and paranoia—and set the stage for the tycoon.



After Donald Trump's third win in a row, pundits and political observers are beginning to accept a stark reality: This guy may become the Republican Party standard bearer in the 2016 presidential election. (The morning after the bigoted, bullying tycoon triumphed in the Nevada caucuses, the Drudge Report splashed a headline simply declaring, "The Nominee," below a photo of Trump.) And tweeters, scribes, and analysts throughout the political-media world began wondering if the GOP elite could do anything to stop him from seizing control of the Republican Party. Whether possible or not to de-Trumpify the GOP at this point, Republican insiders, pooh-bahs, and bigwigs only have themselves to blame for Frankentrump. In recent years, they have fomented, fostered, accepted, and exploited the climate of hate in which Trump's candidacy has taken root. For the fat-cat donors, special-interest lobbyists, and elected officials who usually run the Republican show, Trump is an invasive species. But he has grown large and strong in the manure they have spread across the political landscape.

A short history of GOP-approved hate could begin with the 2008 campaign. After Sen. John McCain selected little-known Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, there was an explosion of right-wing loathing. Palin led this angry crusade of animosity. She accused then-Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, of "palling around with terrorists" and pushing socialism. She suggested that only certain areas of the United States were "pro-America." (She had to apologize for that.) It was all part of a mean-spirited attempt to delegitimize Obama and his supporters. At McCain-Palin rallies, the atmosphere was ugly. Supporters of the Republican ticket wore T-shirts and carried signs branding Obama a communist. Some shouted "kill him" or "off with his head." Little of this was discouraged. At a town hall meeting in Minnesota, one woman told McCain that Obama was an "Arab." When McCain, to his credit, replied that this was not so, others in the audience shouted "terrorist" and "liar," referring to Obama. McCain noted that he respected Obama and admired his accomplishments, and the crowd booed him. The hatred that Palin had helped to unleash was too much for McCain to tamp down.


And it only intensified once Obama took office. Of course, much of this was fueled by the conservative provocateurs and windbags, led by Rush Limbaugh and the like. But elected Republican officials and leading GOPers, who had adopted a political strategy of never-ending obstructionism to thwart Obama, often enabled the hate. While delivering a speech to a joint session of Congress in 2009, Obama was heckled by Rep. Joe Wilson, a South Carolina Republican who shouted, "You lie." Wilson apologized, but following his outburst, he received a surge of campaign contributions and went on to win handily his next election. Meanwhile, a dozen or so GOP members of Congress were pushing birtherism—the notion that Obama had been born in Kenya, not Hawaii, and was some sort of usurper of the presidency. This conspiracy theory seemed tinged with racism, despite the denials of birthers, and ran parallel to other right-wing claims that Obama was a secret Muslim or a secret socialist or both. The big point was obvious: He wasn't a real American, he had achieved power through furtive means, he had a clandestine agenda, and Obama hatred was fully warranted.

Top Republicans played footsie with all this. In the fall of 2009, then-Rep. Michele Bachmann called for a Capitol Hill rally to protest Obamacare. Several thousand people showed up. Protesters questioned Obama's citizenship, depicted him as Sambo, or called him a traitor. Referring to Obamacare, the crowd shouted, "Nazis! Nazis!" The atmosphere was full of animus. And here's the thing: The entire House Republican leadership, led by Rep. John Boehner, was there. Boehner did not admonish the crowd for its excessive rhetoric. In fact, he joined in, declaring Obamacare the "greatest threat to freedom I have seen." Clearly, he and his lieutenants believed the hate-driven energy of these activists and voters could fuel the Republicans' bid to take control of the House. So the more red meat, the merrier. Republicans fed the paranoia, claiming Obamacare would bring about "death panels" and ruin the country (as would Obama's stimulus bill, his climate change bill, his budget, and almost every other initiative he advanced). In March 2010, after another Capitol Hill rally headlined by Bachmann, tea partiers reportedly hurled racial epithets at members of the Congressional Black Caucus and shouted anti-gay chants at then-Rep. Barney Frank. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) said one of the protesters had spit at him.

The Republican effort to portray Obama as the other never waned. In 2010, Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House and a future presidential candidate, told two reporters that Obama was "outside our comprehension" and "that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]." He claimed Obama had played "a wonderful con" to be elected president, was "authentically dishonest," and had a worldview that was "factually insane." This was a heavy indictment, but one that echoed what conservative writers, bloggers, and talkers were saying. Though out of office, Gingrich remained a party leader, and his remarks were an indicator of the state of play on the right and within the party.

After the House Republicans' bet on the tea party paid off and they gained control of the House in the 2010 midterm elections, the party's dance with hate did not stop. In 2011, as the GOP's 2012 presidential candidates jockeyed for position, they pandered to those voters who considered Obama a dangerous phony. While pondering a second presidential run, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee claimed Obama's perspective was skewed because he had grown up in Kenya and had been subjected to plenty of anti-imperialist talk. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney did not go full birther. But he pitched a related line, declaring, "The Obama Administration fundamentally does not believe in the American Experiment." In other words, Obama was not truly American. A top Romney campaign adviser, John Sununu, put it more bluntly, noting he wished the president "would learn how to be an American." Romney also claimed (falsely) that Obama had gone on a global "apology tour"—another dig designed to suggest Obama was essentially a foreigner.

Though Romney did not contend Obama was a covert Kenyan, he warmly accepted the endorsement of the nation's most prominent birther: Donald Trump. Appearing with Trump at his Las Vegas hotel before Nevada's GOP caucus in February 2012, Romney praised the real estate magnate and noted it was awesome to be backed by Trump: "There are some things that you just can't imagine happening in your life." By this point, Trump had sent investigators to Hawaii—or said he had—to investigate Obama's birth, and he had even suggested Obama might be a Muslim. With this meeting, Romney signaled that Trump was fine company for the GOP. Trump's over-the-top birtherism was not a disqualification. The Republican tent had room for this reality-denying reality television celebrity. (Romney, his former strategist Stuart Stevens tells me, did say no to Trump's requests to campaign with Romney and to speak at the GOP convention.)

After Obama's reelection, the hate machine churned on. Republicans continued to whip the false meme that Obama was bent on taking all guns away from Americans. They routinely claimed not that his policies were wrong but that he was feckless and weak—or dictatorial and authoritarian. Last year, Rudy Giuliani said, "I do not believe the president loves America." And Dick Cheney claimed Obama operates as if he wants to "take America down." (That's a theme Sen. Marco Rubio has, uh, repeatedly, pushed on the campaign trail, contending that the president is deliberately weakening the United States.) Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. Ted Cruz, another presidential wannabe, gave credence to the wacky notion that Obama was going to invade and seize control of Texas.

It's been a long run of Republicans accepting, encouraging, and exploiting uncivil discourse, anti-Obama hatred, and right-wing anger. (Republicans also welcomed nearly $300,000 in campaign contributions from Trump since he went birther.) The GOP raised the expectations of its Obama-detesting base and primed the pump for Trump. There is not much wonder that a xenophobic and misogynistic bigot and bully who bashes immigrants and calls for a Muslim ban—and who also slams the Republican insiders for rigging the system—should now find a receptive audience within the GOP's electorate. For years, Republicans gave their voters a taste for the reddest of meat. That increased the appetite for more. And here comes Trump the butcher with a heaping plate.

Oh, the clichés abound. You play with fire. The chickens come home to roost. Hoisted on your own petard. You reap what you sow. The call is coming from inside the house. The GOP elite laid the foundation on which Trump is building the biggest, classiest—really classy—most beautiful insurgent presidential campaign in all of US history. And there may be no emergency exit.


LAST NIGHT'S DEBATE -- a great analysis

I LOVE the first paragraph. Donald is claiming to be a "strong Christian," which is why his taxes are being audited. (!!!(~.~))  The man can make any off-the-wall claim and be supported by the right wing crazies, but this one takes the cake. He knows they will adore him for it, even though it's just another major lie in his Wackier-than-Thou campaign. 

When watching anything Republican these days, I feel as if I have entered a Theater of the Absurd. They've always been the upside-down, black-is-white nutso Bubble World party, but Trump has taken them many steps further into Bizarro Land.  He is their One that Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. He's escaped the keepers, unlocked the asylum and let all the inmates loose on the land.  The crazies are multiplying and they're determined to vote him in as President.

The GOP debate: Another roiling, party collapse
by P.M. Carpenter | February 26, 2016

The most splendidly representative moment of last night's right-wing pageant of wackoism came after the two-and-a-half-hour obscenity. Following Trump's staggering exit from the ring, where he had just been pummeled by a boy and a serpent, CNN's Chris Cuomo asked the bloodied remains why the IRS is auditing his tax return, to which Trump responded: "I don't know, maybe because of religion … maybe because of the fact that I'm a strong Christian, and I feel strongly about it."

Can it get any better than that? Can the sheer emptiness of demagogic emotionalism get any emptier? Can the right's profanity of Obama's "Christian persecution" grow any more profane? If so, I can't imagine how, although The Donald is likely to find a way.

Other best-of-the-best highlights occurred offstage as well. It seems that Glenn Beck, for instance, doesn't quite have this spin thing down. A strong Cruz supporter, Beck tweeted during the debate: "Rubio is killing it." Whoa, Glenn, are you back on the bottle?

The RNC's Reince Priebus, however, was spinning down on Twitter to magnificent effect: "Tonight we saw another spirited debate between the most diverse and well-qualified group of presidential candidates in history." In history! Priebus was able to say this, one supposes, only because the Lincoln-Douglas debates were over a Senate seat. As for the meaning of "spirited debate"; see: schoolyard brawl. And "well-qualified" is a relative term which, sadly, is also a true one within the historically recent, hapless horde of Republican wannabes.

Also to savor is the NYT's reporting on the spirited debate. In a section subtitled "We haven't hit bottom yet," the Times's Alexander Burns observes that "Even by the standards of 2016, this was a nasty debate." While that observation may be satisfyingly accurate, Burns, in a following section, loses perspective: Trump's "obvious discomfort handling policy questions and his apparent unwillingness — or inability — to elaborate on his ideas, may further unsettle Republicans already concerned about his capacity to compete in a general election."

That passage brushes up against the fanciful notion that Republican primary voters give a considered damn about well-handled policy, elaborated ideas, or able capacities. Trump remains the most capable Republican presidential candidate precisely because of his vacuousness. And, from politics professor Matthew Dickinson (reported in an accompanying Times story), there is this thunderingly axiomatic bluntness: "The most important thing to understand is for people who attend Trump rallies, the attacks by Rubio and Cruz validate everything he says."

Let us, then, take a peek at what these Republican primary voters — readers of Drudge — have to say (as of 7:36 a.m. Central) about who won last night's debate, notwithstanding the press corps's consensus that Rubio triumphed:

Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 7.34.52 AM

Thus do I and Dickinson rest our case — the case of the GOP's utter implosion.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The movie "Idiocracy" has come true

I remember watching this movie a couple years ago and thinking our country was becoming so dumbed-down, we were heading down the same path -- and now, with Trump and his supporters, we have actually reached a point of mimicry of the comedic movie. (But in "real" life, it's not funny! We will have to live through the horror of what imbecilic voters are bringing us.)  As one reader's comment resignedly says:

And thus ends America...not in a grand blaze of self-sacrifice or bravery, but with a drool-flecked "Duhhhh..." of self-absorbed ignorance.

'Idiocracy' Writer Says Satirical Film About Dumbed-Down America Has Become A 'Documentary'

"I thought the worst thing that would come true was everyone wearing Crocs," said Ethan Cohen.

For full article and to see a short clip of the movie:


Donald Trump and the Rise of an American Reich

Let those with eyes see. Let those with ears hear.

Donald Trump and the Rise of an American Reich
by Jaime O'Neill | February 25, 2016 

"If you wish the sympathy of the broad masses, then you must tell them the crudest and most stupid things."
— Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf

"I love the poorly educated."
— Donald Trump

If I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times. Comparisons between the Nazis and anything occurring on the current political scene in America are bogus, fatuous, extreme, or hysterical exaggerations. Similarities between the rise of the Third Reich and the increasingly thuggish right wing here in the United States are without foundation, based on faulty analogies and ugly misreadings of both history and current events. We are, we're told, nothing like those people in Germany in the late 20s and early 30s. Our system is nothing like theirs, nor are our values, our traditions, or our founding documents.

And while it is certainly true that the similarities don't align perfectly at every point of comparison, there are more than enough patterns and pathologies to give us pause, and to make us worry about our future as much as the Germans should have worried about theirs as Hitler was making his rise to power, and their countrymen were being swept up into a vortex of madness.

As I watch the gatherings of Trump supporters, it's hard not to see the dangerous echoes of the rise of Nazism in Hitler's Germany, a time when a charismatic leader tapped into a deep well of hate and fear that had filled up in that country due to the harsh conditions imposed on the Germans by the treaty that ended World War I, a disastrous war that led to a disastrous peace that set the conditions for a new disastrous war, and more horrors than had been seen in the first one.

A demagogue arose in Germany, a man with the ability to rally big crowds of angry and brutish people, and to turn that amalgamation of anger toward the Jews. He also promised to make Germany great again, and he promised victories everywhere against all the forces that had been making things hard for Germans—the devastated economy, the loss of national pride, the runaway inflation of their currency. An odd looking orator with a funny mustache and an odd way of combing his hair became the wholly unexpected leader of a movement to take their country back, to make Germany a power to be feared by other nations. As his following swelled, the promises became more expansive, along with the pervasive idea he promulgated that the Aryan race was superior to lesser peoples.

Now flash forward some eight decades, to another distressed country, to 2016, and to Donald Trump, another demagogue with an odd hairdo and a message of hate, fear, and the promise of a return to greatness, a mythical past reimagined, repackaged, and resold to a population avid to believe in it, but too intellectually inert to sort out the truth from the lies. Instead of Jews, this hate-peddling demagogue offers Mexicans and Muslims as scapegoats for all his nation's problems, and he vows to bruit the power of the nation throughout the world, to slap down the Russians, the Chinese, and any other country that displays the audacity to stand in the way of his vague but apparently limitless imperialistic dreams.

The attack on the World Trade Center nearly 15 years ago seems to have spun the United States off its axis in much the same way Germany's defeat in the First World War eventually put that country on tilt. The terrorists who flew those planes into those New York towers hoped that we would react much as we did, and the threat of terror we've been manipulated by ever since seems to have driven us around the bend, a hard right crook in our historical stream. That flow of craziness was pushed to the flood by an economic collapse, by trade and tax policies that transferred vast amounts of capital to the richest 1%, and by a black president whose very residency in the "white" house has increased the undercurrent of racism deep in this nation's cultural groundwater. These things all combined to create the Tea Party, and the brown shirt brigades that now show up at Trump campaign events like the crowds at NASCAR events, hoping to see something bad happen. Our daily news brings us words and images of high-profile ugliness that call to mind the streets of Munich in 1933.

Now, in another century, Donald Trump's campaign events look more and more like Bund rallies. The appeals to violence grow louder as he tells his crowds how he longs for the days when protesters were carried out of rallies on stretchers, and how he'd like to punch them in the face. One in five of his supporters think it was a mistake to free the slaves, and also think white people constitute a "superior race." Trump appeals to blood lust, promising that if he is elected, he will do "far worse" than waterboarding, and that he will not only kill suspected terrorists, but will wipe out their families as well. And the more trash he talks, the more the crowds cheer. The more they cheer, the more wild his rhetoric, the more extreme and dark his vision is revealed to be.

He wants a country in which government serves the corporations, operating on a business model little more sophisticated than being the biggest kid in the sand box, and using that size to assert childish dominance through threats and intimidation.

If none of this seems fascistic to you, if the cries of "U.S.A., U.S.A." don't bring to mind the soundtrack of an old Nazi propaganda film, then you and I aren't watching the same news programs, hearing the same Trump speeches, or watching as our pundit class, even on the left, weakly and slavishly do this monster's bidding, chuckling over his antics and downplaying the volatility of the even more terrifying monster he is awakening in the darkest corridors of the American psyche.

If Mussolini could watch a Trump speech, he would recognize a kindred soul. When Trump libels an entire nation to the south, Hitler would know that appeal, and he would approve.

So, are there no comparisons to be made between then and now, between Germany in the 30s and America in the era of Donald Trump? As the saying goes, those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. And when it comes to history, most Americans don't know jackboots from jack shit.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Fwd: Entertainment--keeping the inmates content

Entertainment of all kinds is keeping Earth's restless natives from revolting...for now.  Give them sports, movies, TV "reality shows", and Presidential candidates who tell them everything is going to be GREAT! (with no details of how that will happen, of course).  Just keep them spinning and too dumb or too dizzy to make wise choices about their own lives.  So far it's working in the Republican Party.

The human race at this point...a microcosm of the macrocosm

Round and round and round we go -- and where we stop nobody knows...


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Bernie Sanders: Of course conservatives attack the Pope-he is a socialist

EXCERPT:  "Well, what it means to be a socialist, in the sense of what the pope is talking about, what I'm talking about, is to say that we have got to do our best and live our lives in a way that alleviates human suffering, that does not accelerate the disparities of income and wealth," he said. "When he talks about wealth being used to serve people, not as an end in itself, I agree with that. (In other words, practice the teachings of Jesus Christ who said, "Truly I say to you: it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God."  I wonder how many who call themselves Christians really believe that and live by His words.  Might be a good thing for all of us to think over before voting this time around.)

"He has been very direct: No, he does not believe in trickle-down economics theory," Sanders added.

Bernie Tells It Like It Is

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders described Pope Francis as a socialist in a new interview with a Canadian Catholic television network.

"He was come along in history at exactly the right moment," Sanders told Rev. Thomas Rosica of the Salt + Light network," because we are living in a world of massive income and wealth inequality where very shortly the top 1 percent of the world's population will own more wealth than the bottom 99 percent. We are living in a world where greed has become for the wealthiest people their own religion, and they make no apologies for it, and I see in this country people who are worth billion and billions of dollars pushing for policies that will make the rich richer and everyone else poorer."

"What he has also done is raise the issue of the worship of money, the idolatry of money, and to say maybe that's not what human life should be about, and that is a very, very radical critique of the hyper-capitalist world system that we are living in today," he said in the interview, which was published Tuesday.

Sanders said he considered Pope Francis to be a socialist, like himself.

"Well, what it means to be a socialist, in the sense of what the pope is talking about, what I'm talking about, is to say that we have got to do our best and live our lives in a way that alleviates human suffering, that does not accelerate the disparities of income and wealth," he said. "When he talks about wealth being used to serve people, not as an end in itself, I agree with that.

"He has been very direct: No, he does not believe in trickle-down economics theory," Sanders added.

The pope attacked trickle-down economics — a theory popularized by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s — in a document published in 2013.

"Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world," Pope Francis wrote. "This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system."

Sanders said the pope had offered "a direct critique of conservative politics, and of course he's going to be attacked for that."


Saying "So Long" to JEB!

Jeb did look pitiful as he left the political stage for good, taking the rest of the Bushes with him.  As we used to say when we were kids, "Good riddance to bad rubbish."  Here's an excellent essay, telling truth about the Bush dynasty -- and there is so much more to tell that wasn't included:


The sum total of harm done to the United States and the world by the Bush family is incalculable, but if it ever could be tallied, it would be stunning. (Oh So True!) With their friends in Saudi Arabia, their science-denying brethren in the energy fraternity, their network of well-born corporatists and exploiters of people and the planet, the Bush bunch were culprits in innumerable crimes against humanity, a family of mediocrities who, as Molly Ivins once said of "Shrub," were "born on Third Base, but thought they'd hit a home run." Were it not for their perch of privilege, few in this family would have ever flown higher than the level of that aforementioned middle manager, scorned by those he was paid to supervise....

...probably the most significant reason Jeb! is not worthy of anyone's pity is because his message to Republican voters was, at base, little different from the troglodytic Ted Cruz, the inflammatory Donald Trump, the "defund Planned Parenthood" John Kasich, or the oily Marco Rubio, his empty-suit protégé. With a coterie of advisors that included so many of the neo-cons who "served" his brother, Jeb!'s candidacy merely proved that though the American right was utterly untethered from both reality and decency, they didn't want their views represented in yet another sequel to Dum and Dummer.

Poor, Poor, Pitiful Jeb!

by Jaime O'Neill | February 23, 2016

I don't pity Jeb! Bush, but I do find him pretty pitiable. And pitiful. I mean it's big time pitiful when a whole country makes it plain that it likes you even less than it likes your baby brother, the guy who overlooked a looming attack on what were then the two tallest buildings in the world, bumped the national debt up by several trillion dollars, fucked up things even worse in a part of the world that was already a lot fucked up before he made it worse, bungled a big natural disaster in New Orleans, tanked the economy, wiped out the home equity of tens of millions of Americans, and made the U.S. look irredeemably thuggish as he presided over Abu Ghraib and the program of medieval torture that Cheney and crew had euphemized as "enhanced interrogation."

Even Republicans demonstrated that they had the intelligence and perspicacity to reject this "smarter" brother, this "moderate" among 'em, a guy who was described, by himself and others, as a "leader" and a "great leader," though the result of his leadership was most notable for his ability to help deliver the state he was governing at the time to his baby brother who would, once he was POTUS, preside over the biggest foreign attack on U.S. soil in our history. Despite that minor glitch, however, Jeb! would insist that his brother "kept us safe." By "us," he must have meant the Bush family. He couldn't have meant the nation.

I don't pity Jeb!, though it's hard to imagine or remember a presidential candidate who ever looked more embarrassingly pitiful, more dopey and out of it, more craven in his appeal to voters. Though he was known in prep school as something of a dope-smoking bully, as a presidential candidate, he seemed like the kind of kid who would attract bullies, the kind of pasty-faced prick who oozed an arrogant sense of entitlement that just demanded a smack upside the head.

This was the guy, lest we forget, who approved a public shaming bill for unwed mothers in the state he'd been elected to oversee. This was the "moderate" who injected himself into the middle of the Terry Schiavo case, a painful family drama featuring a woman in a vegetative state who Jeb! decreed should be kept alive at all cost, even over the objections of her family who thought she had suffered enough. There was no hope at all for her recovery, but Jeb! knew better. Thinking he could score cheap points with the pro-life evangelicals in his state, he took a stand he figured would be seen as "courageous" leadership, casting himself as a fierce defender of a life that was, for all intents and purposes, over but for the machines that prolonged the agony for those who truly loved and cared for the suffering woman in the bed.

This was the guy, lest we forget, who continued to think that the decision to invade Iraq in 2003 was a helluva good idea, much as his younger brother had thought then-FEMA director, Michael Brown, had done a "helluva job, Brownie," during the badly bungled response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

This was the latest in a dynastic line of disastrous people who had all done very well for themselves, thank you very much, once the patriarch, Prescott Bush, had cocooned his progeny in money and privilege. George W. Bush, for example, was allowed to fuck around for decades before getting off booze and coke just in time to be given an oil company, a sports franchise, and the governorship of the state of Texas, a place where the governor doesn't actually have to do much. And Dubya didn't, except for using that job as a launching pad to the presidency where he mostly turned over the reins of power to his daddy's right hand man, Dick Cheney.

The Bushes were always the rather dimwitted handmaidens to the oligarchy, the damaged-DNA guys who could never quite master their native tongue, but could be depended upon to do the bidding of the very, very rich. So, the first thing Dubya did when he took his place as POTUS was to give a huge tax break to the class that had engineered his election.

Jeb! assured us, without quite saying so, that if elected, he would give us the Same Old Shit—more breaks for his peeps and posse, more wars, more money for military contractors, more bones thrown to the misbegotten fascists and racists he and his family had done so much to foster, dating all the way back to the Willie Horton ads that had helped scare white folks into voting "Pappy" into the Oval Office in the '80s. George Herbert Walker Bush was the guy who had called Reagan's trickle-down ideas "voodoo economics" before taking up the VP slot in that sainted Republican's administration and then putting his shoulder to the wheel that rolled down on most American while they were waiting to be trickled upon.

For his part, Jeb! made lots of money for doing very, very little. Like others among the autocrats and oligarchs, he was appointed to various boards and commissions that required almost nothing of him except to attend an occasional meeting in a board room somewhere, sign off on what was going on, then get a six or seven figure check, plus whatever inside info might help ensure that the gravy train kept making scheduled stops at Jeb!'s door.

So, though he surely looked pitiful when he spent more than a hundred million dollars of donor money in his pathetic bid to follow in the footsteps of his dad and his brother, it's impossible to pity this guy, a man who looks like the boss we all had at one time or another, convinced of how terrific he was, but utterly clueless of how he was seen by his employees, derided and joked about in the lunchroom or on the shop floor when they were sure he couldn't hear them and retaliate. That exclamation mark some campaign hack decided to put at the end of his first name is the perfect symbol of how pitiful Jeb! was, an obvious attempt to replace the Bush name with a meaningless bit of punctuational bravado. If there was ever a man whose persona didn't seem consistent with an exclamation mark, it was surely Jeb!

The sum total of harm done to the United States and the world by the Bush family is incalculable, but if it ever could be tallied, it would be stunning. With their friends in Saudi Arabia, their science-denying brethren in the energy fraternity, their network of well-born corporatists and exploiters of people and the planet, the Bush bunch were culprits in innumerable crimes against humanity, a family of mediocrities who, as Molly Ivins once said of "Shrub," were "born on Third Base, but thought they'd hit a home run." Were it not for their perch of privilege, few in this family would have ever flown higher than the level of that aforementioned middle manager, scorned by those he was paid to supervise.

Yet another reason for withholding pity from the pitiful Jeb! is the fact that he is obviously wallowing in sufficient self pity not to need more from anyone else.

But probably the most significant reason Jeb! is not worthy of anyone's pity is because his message to Republican voters was, at base, little different from the troglodytic Ted Cruz, the inflammatory Donald Trump, the "defund Planned Parenthood" John Kasich, or the oily Marco Rubio, his empty-suit protégé. With a coterie of advisors that included so many of the neo-cons who "served" his brother, Jeb!'s candidacy merely proved that though the American right was utterly untethered from both reality and decency, they didn't want their views represented in yet another sequel to Dum and Dummer.

So long and good riddance, Jeb! Bush. Wasn't glad to see ya, wouldn't want to be ya, even with all the money that got you much farther than you could ever have gone without it.

The End of the Establishment? by Robert Reich

Reich, who was Secretary of Labor in Bill Clinton's White House, makes sense as he explains what is happening in our present political scene -- and Why:

The End of the Establishment?

By Robert Reich
February 23, 2016

Step back from the campaign fray for just a moment and consider the enormity of what's already occurred.

A 74-year-old Jew from Vermont who describes himself as a democratic socialist, who wasn't even a Democrat until recently, has come within a whisker of beating Hillary Clinton in the Iowa caucus, routed her in the New Hampshire primary, and garnered over 47 percent of the caucus-goers in Nevada, of all places.

And a 69-year-old billionaire who has never held elective office or had anything to do with the Republican Party has taken a commanding lead in the Republican primaries.

Something very big has happened, and it's not due to Bernie Sanders' magnetism or Donald Trump's likeability.

It's a rebellion against the establishment.

The question is why the establishment has been so slow to see this. A year ago – which now seems like an eternity – it proclaimed Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush shoe-ins.

Both had all the advantages – deep bases of funders, well-established networks of political insiders, experienced political advisors, all the name recognition you could want.   

But even now that Bush is out and Hillary is still leading but vulnerable, the establishment still doesn't see what's occurred. They explain everything by pointing to weaknesses: Bush, they now say, "never connected" and Hillary "has a trust problem."

A respected political insider recently told me most Americans are largely content. "The economy is in good shape," he said. "Most Americans are better off than they've been in years. The problem has been the major candidates themselves."  

I beg to differ.

Economic indicators may be up but they don't reflect the economic insecurity most Americans still feel, nor the seeming arbitrariness and unfairness they experience.  

Nor do the major indicators show the linkages Americans see between wealth and power, crony capitalism, declining real wages, soaring CEO pay, and a billionaire class that's turning our democracy into an oligarchy.

Median family income lower now than it was sixteen years ago, adjusted for inflation.

Most economic gains, meanwhile, have gone to top.

These gains have translated into political power to rig the system with bank bailouts, corporate subsidies, special tax loopholes, trade deals, and increasing market power – all of which have further pushed down wages pulled up profits.

Those at the very top of the top have rigged the system even more thoroughly. Since 1995, the average income tax rate for the 400 top-earning Americans has plummeted from 30 percent to 17 percent. 

Wealth, power, and crony capitalism fit together. So far in the 2016 election, the richest 400 Americans have accounted for over a third of all campaign contributions.

Americans know a takeover has occurred and they blame the establishment for it.

There's no official definition of the "establishment" but it presumably includes all of the people and institutions that have wielded significant power over the American political economy, and are therefore deemed complicit.

At its core are the major corporations, their top executives, and Washington lobbyists and trade associations; the biggest Wall Street banks, their top officers, traders, hedge-fund and private-equity managers, and their lackeys in Washington; the billionaires who invest directly in politics; and the political leaders of both parties, their political operatives, and fundraisers.

Arrayed around this core are the deniers and apologists – those who attribute what's happened to "neutral market forces," or say the system can't be changed, or who urge that any reform be small and incremental.

Some Americans are rebelling against all this by supporting an authoritarian demagogue who wants to fortify America against foreigners as well as foreign-made goods. Others are rebelling by joining a so-called "political revolution."

The establishment is having conniptions. They call Trump whacky and Sanders irresponsible. They charge that Trump's isolationism and Bernie's ambitious government programs will stymie economic growth.

The establishment doesn't get that most Americans couldn't care less about economic growth because for years they've got few of its benefits, while suffering most of its burdens in the forms of lost jobs and lower wages.

Most people are more concerned about economic security and a fair chance to make it.

The establishment doesn't see what's happening because it has cut itself off from the lives of most Americans. It also doesn't wish to understand, because that would mean acknowledging its role in bringing all this on.

Yet regardless of the political fates of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, the rebellion against the establishment will continue.  

Eventually, those with significant economic and political power in America will have to either commit to fundamental reform, or relinquish their power.

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fourteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock, "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "Saving Capitalism." He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, INEQUALITY FOR ALL.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Some wise words -- food for thought

A good one to consider when voting this time around...and for living one's life in true peace and contentment. (~.~)

By Barbara H. Peterson

Think about it. The world around us has been carefully crafted as an illusion to keep us from realizing the truth.

Illusion is built on a phony belief system.

We are taught to believe that sickness is inevitable, and that doctors can cure us of that sickness using drugs concocted in a lab. For a price. There is always a price.

We are taught to hate certain people because of their beliefs, the color of their skin, their gender, height, weight, the way that they walk, the way they talk, and the way that they look.

We are taught that we need to have certain things to be happy. That material wealth will make us better than our neighbors and deserving of praise.

We are taught that there is only one way to win, and that is to beat the other person.

We live in a bubble, surrounded by biases that form our reality. And it is a cage. The bars consist of thoughts designed to enslave us to corporations that relentlessly suck the life blood out of us. Thoughts that keep us docile and happy in our confinement. We are drugged by the media, lied to by fancy politicians and those who would be friends, experimented on by war-mongers and chemical companies, then thrown to the wolves when we try to fight back.

We are trained to be obedient consumers.

We are trained to never question authority and to toe the party line. And we willingly comply, because if we don't we won't receive our next treat.

Woof! I'm a good little doggie. May I please have a bone?

A love for the truth is built on breaking free from that belief system

Breaking free starts with one bar in the cage. The first lie that is discovered and dismantled. And the illusion starts unraveling.

The real shocker is just how deep the lies go. How fully entrenched our world is in lies, deceit, trickery, greed and outright malice. A tangled web of false beliefs that bind us, undone by one strand of truth, leading to another, to another, until the cage entrapping us is all but transparent.

Until we commit to finding and hanging onto that which is true, we live in a constant state of psychosis, unable to recognize the truth if it ran up, bit us on the arse, and trampled us with all four feet. We remain happily ignorant. And controlled. And powerless to escape the cage.

If we are determined to break free, then we must stand. To declare the truth that we find, and live by it. To refuse to compromise integrity, self esteem, honor, compassion and life for a temporary fix of gratification.

Woof! I'm a dog that has found the stash and won't settle for your handouts anymore.

And it's contagious. The truth, that is. It is the thread that holds all of creation together. It is the mother ship, the standard, the crown jewel. It will never let you down because it is the firm foundation. The rock.

There is no debating the truth. There is no compromising with it. The truth is the truth. Lies bounce off of it, ineffective. It is the one and only thing we can count on. Everything else is shifting sand. Everything else is the lie. The cage. The entrapment. And once you commit to the truth, there is no going back.

Let freedom ring.

©2014 Barbara H. Peterson


A RARE OPPORTUNITY: Are we going to take it or throw it away?

I know millions are still feeling the Bern, even though the Clinton/Wall Street/corporate-supporting media is eagerly now counting him out and trying to convince us he can't possibly win.  What do you expect them to say, when every news source is owned by huge corporations with connections to Wall Street?  We need to pay attention to what the people are saying in their support of Bernie.  The establishment knives are out against him in full force, and the Clinton machine will stop at nothing to ensure they win, by hook or by crook (past experience with the Clintons has shown us it is often by crook)

With all the corporate power odds stacked against him, it's possible Bernie won't be able to prevail -- UNLESS the people speak, LOUDLY and CLEARLY that we have had ENOUGH! of the oligarchy we are being forced to live under -- with the 1% elite control of our Congress.  We need to throw out the devils in our midst--those who would sell their souls for a mess of pottage, as the Clintons have--and finally, at long last, elect an HONEST man to the Presidency.

It remains to be seen how many of us have seen through the lies of those who are owned by Wall Street and can recognize true authenticity and honesty, so rarely ever encountered in a political candidate at any level, let alone for the Presidency.  By some miracle, we  have that now in Bernie Sanders -- what are we going to do with this rarest of opportunities to REALLY change the direction we are heading--in our nation and in the world???  I'm glad we do have some journalists who see clearly, like Matt Taibbi of the Rolling Stone and Lisa Pease, the author of the following article:

Feeling the Bern Across America

Many political pundits see Bernie Sanders's New Hampshire landslide as a fluke and look to Hillary Clinton's Southern "firewall" to bring the Democratic race back to its expected course. But Lisa Pease has examined the Sanders campaign and sees an opening instead for a national course correction.

By Lisa Pease

Bernie Sanders can absolutely win the Democratic Party's nomination. He's still way behind Hillary Clinton in a number of Super Tuesday states. But you have to have worked on or followed presidential campaign politics to understand the power of momentum. If you ask any campaign leader which they'd rather have, the lead or momentum, they will usually choose momentum.

Leads can dissolve quickly in the face of momentum. Nationally, Hillary Clinton used to lead Sanders by an average of about 20 percentage points. But in the wake of Sanders's surprising performance in Iowa and his 22-point margin of victory in New Hampshire, the latest Quinnipiac poll shows he and Hillary are statistically tied across the country.

How did this happen? Did people suddenly remember they didn't like Hillary Clinton? No. Many are suddenly finding out that they actually like Bernie Sanders — a lot.

Where Sanders has actively campaigned, he's closed, to borrow his Brooklyn vernacular, "Yuge" polling gaps to tie or pass Clinton in several states. For most of last year, Sanders was behind Clinton in New Hampshire by a large margin. These were, we were told, the people who "knew" him "well" because he was their "next-door" neighbor. But that wasn't true. People really didn't know him. When they found out who he was, not only did he win, he got more votes in New Hampshire than any other candidate — Democrat or Republican — in history.

The polls in South Carolina currently show Clinton well ahead. But guess what? Sanders only personally entered the state as part of his official South Carolina campaign this week. And Sanders is now running a powerful four-minute ad featuring Erica Garner, the daughter of Eric Garner, who was tragically choked to death in New York by the police even as he said "I can't breathe."

The ad, which features Erica Garner for more than three minutes and Sanders for less than one, is heartbreaking and genuine. People are learning, through Erica Garner, someone many in the Black Lives Matter movement know and trust, who Sanders is and why they should care.

Before New Hampshire, Sanders was pretty far behind in Nevada. After a few days of actively campaigning there, he is statistically tied with Clinton in a state he "couldn't" win because there's a large bloc of minority voters, mostly Hispanic. If Sanders pulls off a victory in Nevada this weekend, the boost from that win might put him in a position to pull off an upset in South Carolina as well.  (This article was written before the Nevada caucuses, in which there were some "funny" goings-on re. the votes and their counts. Everyone agrees that caucus was run very poorly with results that could be considered untrustable.  Yet, Bernie lost by only 5 points and has 15 delegates from Nevada, in contrast to Clinton's 19).

Hillary Clinton's campaign understands this. Even before the polls closed in New Hampshire, the Clinton campaign had issued a statement to the media not only downplaying Sanders's impending victory, but emphasizing Clinton's lead in Super Tuesday states, as if foreshadowing a possible loss in Nevada and South Carolina. But if Sanders wins Nevada and South Carolina, what would he have? Yuge momentum.

What fuels Sanders's popularity? When Bill Clinton ran for office, on the wall in the War Room his team posted the message, "It's the economy, stupid." Bill Clinton wanted to talk about everything under the sun and his campaign had to keep refocusing him on the thing that mattered most — not to Bill Clinton, but to the voters.

Today, for a significant number of Americans, the economy is still the thing that keeps them awake at night, wondering how they'll pay their bills, making awful choices between buying food or medicine because they can't afford both in the same week. Sanders doesn't need anyone to post a message in his war room. This is his life's cause. He's been preaching economic fairness since he first entered politics. He's as focused as a beacon on this.

Sanders grew up without a lot of money. And even after college, Sanders was at times without work and had to learn to live on next to nothing. He understands at the most visceral level what it's like to not know where your next paycheck is coming from.

Hillary Clinton has tried to make Sanders's focus on economics into a flaw, calling him a "one-issue candidate." First, that's simply untrue, because Sanders does speak on many issues. He brings up health care, climate change, and college affordability at every speaking event. A Washington Post reporter this week counted 20 different issues in Sanders's recent talk in Michigan.

But second, it still is "the economy, stupid." That's the common concern among the vast majority of Americans. When you're living paycheck to paycheck, it's hard to care about much else.

That's why Bernie gains in popularity the more people know about him. That's why when voters get to listen to him directly, via ads or appearances, his polling numbers rise. That's why people who attend his rallies can't stop talking about him to their friends. They've seen the truth and they want to share it.

Sanders is "the one who cares," said a Rolling Stone editor in an article where Matt Taibbi, one of the most cynical political commentators on the scene, wrote unabashedly, "Sanders genuinely, sincerely, does not care about optics. He is the rarest of Washington animals, a completely honest person. If he's motivated by anything other than a desire to use his influence to protect people who can't protect themselves, I've never seen it. Bernie Sanders is the kind of person who goes to bed at night thinking about how to increase the heating-oil aid program for the poor."

The 'Socialist' Bogeyman

The dreaded "socialist" label people thought would be the death of his candidacy just doesn't have the punch it once did. Most people under 50, who didn't grow up associating that word with the ideologies of Lenin or the horrors of war, don't have the same negative feeling that older people were, for decades, programmed to evince.

One of the most surprising things of this campaign season is that, despite Clinton having hired a number of Obama's operatives from his successful presidential runs, it's Sanders's campaign that is attracting the creativity many experienced in the Obama campaign in 2008.

The popular Twitter hashtag #FeelTheBern was concocted not by campaign staff but by a digital strategist named Winnie Wong and her team.  It's caught on like wildfire. In fact, it was that hashtag that inspired me to learn more about his campaign.

In a flash, I realized how big Sanders was going to be. It was the same feeling I had when I first saw Windows and knew the future of computing was going to be a graphical interface. It was the same feeling I had when I saw the first Netscape browser giving me access to the newly public "Worldwide Web." I realized that Sanders was going to be, as his campaign crowds now echo when he says the word, "YUGE."

Activists wrote a song for him called Bernie Bae (Bae = before anyone else). Others are creating cool artwork. One of my favorites is a remake of a Michael Jordan silhouette showing present-day Bernie going up for a basket. I find myself drawn not to just to the man and the issues but to the creativity of the campaign itself. Say what you want about who has more experience or is better qualified to run the country. Currently, Sanders has put together a staff that is outperforming Clinton's at every turn.

And that should alarm Hillary Clinton and her supporters, because she's been here before. Another candidate came and swept the youth vote out from beneath her and rode that wave all the way to the White House just eight years ago. Hasn't she learned from past mistakes? What's the good of having experience if you don't learn the lessons presented?

Clinton also carries baggage that Sanders does not. She's received millions of dollars from Wall Street and is therefore not credible when she speaks to reining in their excesses. And her history shows her "evolving" on issues in direct correlation to public polling on those same issues. Sanders came out in support of gays and gay marriage long before polling told him he could. Hillary Clinton didn't.

And then there's Clinton's Iraq War vote. Like the blood on Lady MacBeth's, it's the stain on her record she can never wash away, no matter how many times she's tried. Her vote helped pave the way to the killing of more than a million Iraqis, who never did have WMDs, and who had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Even I, sitting in California reading only public sources, could see that there were no WMD in Iraq. I want the president to be at least as smart as I am, and preferably a lot smarter.

Momentum as King

If momentum is king in campaigns, losing momentum usually indicates a campaign in trouble. And as commentators have noted, when a campaign is in trouble, it's usually the candidate, not the campaign staff, that is at fault.

In Bernie Sanders's unprecedented win in New Hampshire, a serious issue appeared. Clinton had lost in every demographic but one: voters over 65 years old. That's terrible news for Clinton, because according to the Pew Research Center, as of 2015, the largest voting bloc was no longer Baby Boomers, but Millennials. Her campaign thought she had the female vote locked up. But a generational divide has split the party asunder, and the youth, ironically, favor the septuagenarian.

A Demographic Revolution

In the 1950s, Hillary could have been a sure thing. There were only three TV networks and nearly everyone watched them. Controlling the media narrative was easy if you were a favorite of the Establishment. But in 2016, many Millennials have turned off their cable and become pull, not push, consumers of news.

These young voters "Google" the articles they want to read. They don't wait to be told what their opinion should be by Chris Matthews. They read a lot of sources and make up their own minds.

In the 1950s, a candidate could be "reinvented" and repackaged in a way more palatable to the voters, based on polling. But today, once you say anything as a public figure, it can live on the Internet forever. You cannot reinvent yourself. If Sanders's biggest problem is that, to many voters, he's still an unknown quantity, Hillary Clinton's got the opposite problem: voters know too much about her, and according to exit polls, they don't trust her (With EXCELLENT reason!  She won't reveal what she said in her $675,000 speeches to Wall Street, event though they were recorded at her request. Don't you wonder why she won't let us hear them?  Do you really trust her to care more about the will of the people than carrying out the will of Wall Street?)

Sanders's campaign on the other hand is perfectly timed. He could never have won in the political/media environment of the 1950s. His candidacy is only now possible for the same reasons that Clinton's campaign may prove impossible: people can find out for themselves who he really is (and who she really is). People can find the back story he won't put on his campaign site even as the mainstream media barely discusses him. (According to Media Matters, in 2015 ABC World News Tonight gave Bernie Sanders roughly 20 seconds of coverage while giving Donald Trump 81 minutes).

Millennials can attend his rallies virtually via a YouTube channel. They can watch him shooting hoops while waiting for Clinton to give her concession speech before he could give his victory one. (Even Fox News host Megyn Kelly was amazed that Sanders was making all his baskets and blurted out, "Nicely done, Bern!").

Most of all, Sanders is the candidate of consistent pragmatism. While Clinton likes to say she's a "Progressive who gets things done," in reality, Sanders has a longer and deeper record of achievements. As Mayor of Burlington, Vermont, a position he won against a popular Democratic incumbent, he balanced his budgets and took care of his people so much that he was reelected in a landslide.

As a Vermont Representative and, later, a Senator, Sanders became known as the Amendment King. Even in the most partisan of times, Bernie Sanders still found ways to reach across the aisle and make the system work for veterans and others.

Several of my friends have expressed the fear that Sanders is the new George McGovern who will go down in a landslide. I remember vividly watching the 1972 election on TV and that horrible sinking feeling as each new state gave its Electoral College votes to Richard Nixon. But Nixon was an incumbent president in his second term.

And Sanders is not McGovern in another way. Economic disparity is far greater now than it was in 1972. And there is no "conventional wisdom" narrative to overcome for Internet-savvy voters.

When the markets go too far in an insupportable direction, inevitably, a course correction ensues. I'm convinced the same thing happens in politics, and that we are in such a moment. It's rare that there's an opening for someone like Bernie Sanders. We should not miss this incredible opportunity.

I'm confident that if America gets the chance to know Bernie Sanders, the nonbelievers will start to "feel the Bern" and help this smart, honest, hardworking and able man issue a course correction. For too long, our Ship of State has been listing too far to the right. It's time to add heft to the left to bring our Ship back to an upright position.

Lisa Pease is a writer who has examined issues ranging from the Kennedy assassination to voting irregularities in recent U.S. elections.


Sunday, February 21, 2016

BEAUTIFUL! 106-year old woman dances in the White House (~.~)

What a great story and wonderful video! It made my day to see it!  If I ever reach 106, I hope I can still dance like this very energetic woman!  She sure doesn't look her age!  I love the way Obama and Michelle greeted her -- and danced with her, too. Whether you like their politics or not, they are good people. No scandals with this couple or their family, unlike some other political families we could name.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Mainstream news: Lost tapes reveal Apollo Astronauts heard unexplained "music" on Far side of the moon

This mainstream media info. reported in today's news will be interesting to anyone who hasn't heard directly from astronauts and other high military sources (at UFO seminars, etc.) that we ARE being visited by other galactic civilizations and have been for many years/decades/eons. It's not surprising to me as I have been into this kind of study since the early '90s and have heard the experiences of those military and government sources who strongly believe the public should be told the truth. Widespread knowledge of this kind will change the way we Earth humans perceive ourselves and the universe, and how we conduct ourselves in the future. It may be that this is a time for a giant step in the growth of human consciousness....finally. (We hope.) 

Little by little, truth on this issue is being released to the public by government sources.  This slow release is meant for us to dip our toes in the deep end of the pool so the powers that be can see how we react to trying the water.  If there is no widespread hysteria, more info. will follow in steady drips to acclimate us "little brains" to the truth.  Have you ever seen the movie "Defending Your Life"?  If you have, you know what is meant by the term "little brains."  If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor and rent it from Netflix.  Meryl Streep plays the female lead. It's one of my all-time favorite movies.

Lost Tapes Reveal Apollo Astronauts Heard Unexplained 'Music' On Far Side Of The Moon

"If you're behind the moon and hear some weird noise on your radio, and you know you're blocked from the Earth, then what could you possibly think?"

Read about it and listen to video at: