Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

The Election 2016 money race so far

October 10, 2015


Preliminary figures on campaign fund-raising indicate that:

  • Hillary Clinton has so far raised more money than any other candidate of their party.
  • Bernie Sanders has so far raised more money than any Republican candidate.
  • Ben Carson has so far raised more money than any other Republican candidate.
  • Ted Cruz has so far raised more money than Jeb Bush.

Now these figures are incomplete because the candidates have until October 15 to report the totals.  When they do, the Republican candidates’ totals may well exceed the Democrats’ totals.   The figures also omit supposedly independent Political Action Committees.

Still, I think it is significant that Bernie Sanders and Ben Carson have been able to raise so much from small donations.   Sanders and Carson (whom I do not support) show that a middle-class person can run for President without having to beg for money from the super-rich.


Bernie Sanders is raising more money than every Republican candidate by Rick Newman for Yahoo News.  Source of the chart.  (Hat tip to naked capitalism)

Bernie Sanders Is Awash In Cash From Individual Donors by Emily Atkin for ThinkProgress.

Ben Carson raising millions to become fund-raising juggernaut by CBS News / Associated Press.

The GOP Establishment’s Sneaky Ben Carson Fundraising Ploy by Russ Choma for Mother Jones.  An indication of Dr. Ben Carson’s grass-roots appeal.

Bernie Sanders outpolls Donald Trump for 2016

October 5, 2015

sanders-trump-e1444054156866Hat tip to Harry’s Place.

This is the latest poll of how Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders would do if they were the Republican and Democratic candidates.

RealClearPolitics reported that the average of the last four public opinion polls shows Sanders ahead 45.3 to 41.3 percent.   Sanders came out ahead in six out of eight public opinion polls matching him against Trump.

My expectation was that I would vote for Bernie Sanders in the New York Democratic primary, and then vote for Jill Stein of the Green Party in the general election rather than Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush.

I never expected to vote for a Democratic presidential candidate again and, to be honest, I still don’t.  But who knows?


RealClearPolitics – Election 2016 – General Election: Trump vs. Sanders.

Stop Comparing Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders by Nate Silver for FiveThirtyEight.

Just Think: Donald Trump Versus Bernie Sanders in 2016 by Peter Lawler for The Federalist.

The passing scene – October 4, 2015

October 4, 2015

Roger Millikin: The Man Who Launched the GOP’s Civil War by Jonathan M. Katz for Politico (hat tip to naked capitalism)

Roger Millikin, a right-wing textile magnate, was a driving force in transforming the South from solidly Democratic to solidly Republican, and the Republican Party from the party of Lincoln into the party of Strom Thurmond, Jessie Helms and Trent Lott.

If not for him, or someone like him, Rick Perry might still be a Democrat and Elizabeth Warren might still be a Republican.

The Invisible Poverty of ‘Poor White Trash’ by Rod Dreher for The American Conservative.

I never use expressions such as “redneck” or “white trash.”  The word “redneck” originally to poor white farmers who worked in the hot sun in long-sleeved shirts.  It was a term used by educated people to express their contempt for manual labor and lack of schooling.  The term implies that poor white people are more racist than affluent white people, which in my experience has not been the case.

One Day After Warning Russia of Civilian Casualties, the U.S. Bombs a Hospital in Afghanistan by Glenn Greenwald for The Intercept.  (Hat tip to my expatriate e-mail pen pal Jack).

Bubbles Always Burst: the Education of an Economist by Michael Hudson, author of Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy.

Debacle Inc.: How Henry Kissinger Helped Create Our “Proliferated” World by Greg Grandin, author of Kissinger’s Shadow: The Long Reach of America’s Most Controversial Statesman.


The Republican problem with immigration

September 29, 2015


Donald Trump vs. right-wing political correctness

September 16, 2015

22-alabama-trump-supporters.w529.h352.2x-e1440694001809Source: The Daily Caller

I confess that I can’t help but enjoy the uninhibited way Donald Trump runs rings around the other Republican candidates by ignoring all the conventions of right-wing political correctness.  I think he would be a great commentator for Fox News or, better still, Comedy Central.

I felt the same way about George Wallace in 1968 and 1972.   I deplored what he stood for, but, in spite of himself, I enjoyed hearing him speak.   He had great wit and a great sense of timing, and he deftly punctured the hypocrisy of the other candidates.

Other Republican candidates haven’t been able to answer Trump because of all the taboos they’ve imposed upon themselves over the years about what they can and can’t say.

Immigration is an example.   Most Republican presidential candidates have to strike a balance between their corporate financial backers, who want more legal and illegal low-wage workers in the United States, and their constituents, who fear having to compete with and live with such immigrants.

Trump need not worry about striking a balance.  There is nothing to stop him from appealing to Americans’ worst fears.

That is very different from being qualified to be President of the United States.  Your convictions have to be based on something more solid than a showman’s sense of what will please the audience.


Bernie Sanders at Liberty University

September 15, 2015

Senator Bernie Sanders spoke yesterday at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., a conservative Christian college founded by the late Dr. Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority movement.

Liberty University deserves credit for inviting Sanders, whose views on abortion, gay marriage and other subjects are opposed to what virtually call conservative Christians believe.

Sanders deserves credit for the respectful but unapologetic manner in which he addressed the students.   Often when politicians go before a potentially hostile audience, they either talk down to its members or insult them, but don’t make an effort to convince.

Judging by the look of the audience, I don’t think Sanders changed many minds.   Attendance at the student convocation was compulsory.  A few students cheered him loudly, but most listened in polite silence.

Rod Dreher, a writer and blogger for The American Conservative, said he wished the Republicans had a candidate like Sanders who was on the side of the common people, but socially conservative.

I would vote for such a candidate rather than a socially liberal candidate who is aligned with Wall Street, the energy industry and the military-industrial-surveillance complex.


The cruel logic of treating abortion as murder

September 1, 2015

For a long time the leaders of the Republican Party have said that “abortion is murder,” but, until now, they haven’t meant this literally.

130306_prolife_abortion_605_reutAll the Republican presidential candidates from George H.W. Bush to Mitt Romney have opposed abortion, but made exceptions, such as for women who are pregnant as the result of rape or incest.

No such exception would be allowed by Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson, Rand Paul or Mike Huckabee, according to a report by Thomas B. Edsall of the New York Times.

If you honestly believe that abortion is murder, it is logical to say, as Huckabee did, that friends of a 10-year-old girl in Paraguay who became pregnant after being raped by her step-father has no more right to commit murder than anybody else.

Edsall noted that the top 15 Republican candidates, including Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina, all agree that life begins at conception.  This sounds strict to me, but Edsall pointed out that, to some of the most powerful anti-abortion groups, it is not enough.  To these groups, life begins at fertilization.

The difference is that conception begins when the fertilized egg is implanted in the womb.  Most fertilized eggs fail to be implanted.

The importance of this difference is that the “morning after” birth control pill works by preventing implantation of a fertilized egg.   Experts disagree on whether IUDs prevent implantation of fertilized eggs.   Extremist anti-abortionists think such forms of birth control are the same as abortion.


Bush, Clinton and why Americans vote for Trump

August 31, 2015


A conservative writer named Alex CAntellanos explained the appeal of Donald Trump.

We have the largest government we’ve ever had, and yet it governs nearly nothing.  Not our economy, which is stagnant.  Not our place in the world, where we have lost respect.  Not our fiscal affairs, where we have been rendered destitute.  Not our borders, made of smoke.  Not our health care, rendered increasingly unaffordable by a cynically named “Affordable Care Act.”

The list of big, old, factory-like government’s broken promises is unending.  Everything Washington’s elite said they would deliver, from better race relations and peace in our inner cities, to stability abroad, ends up both a larger challenge and more expensive.

We have been scammed — and we know it.

Our ruling class cannot see that their forest of quixotic promises has been stripped bare, but the American people can see nothing else.  These woods are leafless now, barren of accomplishment.


Given a forced choice, I would pick either Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.  He advocates policies that only a military dictator could implement.

But it is precisely the failed policies that Bush and Clinton represent, and would continue, that cause people to turn to Donald Trump.


Trump is the strongman we don’t need by Alex Castellanos for CNN.   I don’t think any actual socialist considers what we have in the USA today as “socialism”.  I’d call it “corporatism.”  Otherwise I pretty much agree with this article.

How Close Was Donald Trump to the Mob? by David Marcus for The Federalist.

Donald Trump says he’s “the most militaristic person there is,” proves it by demanding “we bomb the hell out of” Iraq, Iran and ISIS by Scott Eric Kaufman for Salon.

The passing scene – August 26, 2015

August 26, 2015

Coal Dethroned by Laura Gottesdiener for TomDispatch.

In Appalachia, the coal industry is in collapse, but the mountains aren’t coming back.

Donald Trump – Man of War by David Cay Johnston for the National Memo.  (Hat tip to Avedon’s Sideshow)

21 Questions for Donald Trump by David Cay Johnston for the National Memo.

Donald Trump’s history includes business ties with known Mafia figures and employment of illegal immigrants from Poland.

The Secret History of Jaywalking: The Disturbing Reason It Was Outlawed – And Why We Should Lift the Ban by Ravi Mangla on AlterNet.

Should Prison Sentences Be Based on Crimes That Haven’t Been Committed Yet? by Anna Maria Barry-Jester, Ben Casselman and Dana Goldstein for FiveThirtyEight.  (Hat tip to naked capitalism)

The political scene – August 25, 2015

August 25, 2015

The Do-Something-Else Principle by Doug Muder for The Weekly Sift.

The simple-minded populism that controls the GOP by Paul Waldman for The Washington Post.

teaparty.GOP.USA.worldDoug Muder and Paul Waldman wrote about how the leading Republican candidates operate on the principle that “ignorance is strength”.

They not only are uninterested in the details of policy.  They lack understanding of how a Constitutional government works.  They seem to think that Presidents can do anything they want by decree, and the only qualities needed are decisiveness and average common sense.

Dr. Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump have no experience or interest in government.  Senator Ted Cruz, although he holds public office, also manifests no interest in actually governing.  The popular appeal of such candidates is a measure of the frustration of the American public with the present bipartisan consensus.

One-party system: What total Republican control of a state really means by Herman Schwartz for Reuters.

The Republican Party has much more grass roots strength at the state level than the Democrats.  But except for those who think gun rights and the suppression of abortion are more important than anything else, they’re not governing in the interest of American working people.

The Age of Imperial Wars by James Petras.

Insouciance Rules the West by Paul Craig Roberts.

The establishment Democrats and Republicans understand the workings of government better than the Tea Party Republicans do.  But in their overall policies, they, too, are either disconnected from reality or powerless to change the direction of a government that is on automatic pilot for drone warfare, covert warfare and proxy warfare.


The passing scene – August 20, 2015

August 20, 2015

Struggle and Progress: Eric Foner on the abolitionists, Reconstruction and winning “freedom” from the Right, a conversation with Jacobin magazine writers.

Eric Foner

Eric Foner

Historian Eric Foner pointed out that the abolition of slavery was truly a second American Revolution.  It involved the confiscation without compensation of the most valuable form of property at the time—enslaved African people.

The Civil War is sometimes interpreted as a triumph of industrial capitalism over a backward agrarian economy.  Foner said that, although this is true in a way, the pre-Civil War capitalists got along very well with the slaveowners.

The abolitionists included moderates, radicals, wealthy philanthropists, lawbreakers, politicians, former black slaves and racists who opposed slavery because it was harmful to white people.  Although sometimes working at cross-purposes, Foner said their diverse approaches created a synergy that made the movement stronger.   This has lessons for our own time.

The Last Refuge of the Incompetent by John Michael Greer for The Archdruid Report.

John Michael Greer wrote that a successful revolutionary movement will (1) discredit the existing order through relentless propaganda, (2) seek alliances with all those with grievances against the existing order, (3) create alternative institutions of its own and (4) offer a vision of hope, not despair.

In the USA, this program is being carried out not by what Greer called the “green Left,” but the “populist Right”.


The passing scene – August 17, 2015

August 17, 2015

Seven Myths about the Greek Debt Crisis by Stergios Skaperdas, a University of California economics professor.  (Hat tip to naked capitalism).

An economist argues that (1) default would not be the worst outcome for Greece, (2) the troika (European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund, European Commission) is not trying to rescue Greece, (3) Greece’s problems are not caused by corruption and bad policy, (4) no Greek government could have carried out the troika’s policies, (5) the troika’s policies would not have benefited Greece, (6) exiting the Eurozone would not be catastrophic for Greece and (7) the Greek government in fact does have bargaining power.

Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Care That Much About Abortion Rights by Ted Rall for Counterpunch.

Instead of trying to persuade judges that abortion is a constitutional right, why don’t Hillary Clinton and other liberal Democrats support legislation to guarantee abortion rights?  Ted Rall thinks Democrats hold back because they cynically want to keep abortion alive as a issue.  But maybe they’re just timid.

Clown Genius by Scott Adams.   (Hat tip to Rod Dreher)

The creator of the Dilbert cartoons thinks most people probably would buy a used car from Donald Trump because his campaign demonstrates mastery of the classic techniques of salesmanship.


Jeb Bush blames Obama, Hillary Clinton for ISIS

August 15, 2015

Gov. Jeb Bush blamed President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the rise of the bloodthirsty Islamic State (aka ISIS or ISIL) because they abandoned the policies of his brother, President George W. Bush.

In fact, Obama and Clinton contributed to the rise of ISIS by following the policies of George W. Bush.

jebbush-hillaryclintonThe Islamic State’s predecessor, Al Qaeda, had no presence in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.  Al Qaeda and later ISIS were able to establish themselves in Iraq because the U.S. invasion destroyed the governmental structure of Iraq, and nobody was able to put it back together again.

But didn’t the withdrawal of American forces open the door to ISIS?  Whether it did or not, the withdrawal was begun under an agreement negotiated by President George W. Bush in his last year in office with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.   The reason for the agreement was that the American occupation was highly unpopular in both countries.

Realizing this, President Bush stopped listening to Vice President Dick Cheney and replaced Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld with Robert Gates.   President Barack Obama retained Gates and implemented the Bush agreement.

President Obama’s most important foreign policy innovation was to make interventionism politically sustainable by finding a substitute for American boots on the ground—flying killer drones, Special Forces assassination teams and subsidies for Arab fighters.

During the 14 years since the 9/11 attacks, radical Islamist terrorists have grown stronger, and they gave grown strongest in those countries in which the U.S. military has been most active.  This includes Libya, which Hillary Clinton reduced to the same state of bloody chaos and ISIS-friendly environment as Iraq.

She and Jeb Bush are both war hawks.  She is the more experienced and knowledgeable war hawk, but there is no reason to think either would change the bad course of American foreign policy.


Memo to Jeb Bush: It was W’s surge that created ISIL, not Hillary by Juan Cole for Informed Comment.

Republicans Can’t Face the Truth About Iraq by Eric Margolis via Unz Review.  [Added 8/16/2015]

George Bush didn’t know anything about Maliki, but put him in charge of Iraq anyway by Zack Beauchamp for Vox.

The Planned Destruction of Libya by John Wight for Counterpunch.

Hillary, the Ultimate Hawk by David French for National Review.

The passing scene – August 14, 2015

August 14, 2015

Will Trans Pacific trade deal go up in smoke over anti-tobacco proposal? by Adam Beshudi for POLITICO.

The latest word is that Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiators have agreed to exclude the tobacco industry from provisions giving corporations the right to sue governments before private tribunals.  Tobacco companies have successfully sued countries under other trade agreements over restrictions on cigarette sales and advertising.  This is a deal-killer for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and others from tobacco-growing states.

Torturing Chelsea Manning in Prison by Stephen Lendman for Counterpunch.

The imprisoned whistle-blower is being repeatedly put in indefinite solitary confinement.  His offenses include using a tube of toothpaste past its expiration date.

The 10 Trump Rules by Barry Lefsetz for The Big Picture.

Donald Trump understands how American politics has changed, and the other candidates don’t.


The Republican scene – August 13, 2015

August 13, 2015

The War Against Change by John Michael Greer for The Archdruid Report.

Greer argues that the Democratic Party is the party of a failed status quo, except maybe for Bernie Sanders, who wants to restore a few of the New Deal programs of the past.  It is the Republican Party that is the party of change—change for the worse.

Inside the GOP Clown Car by Matt Taibbi for Rolling Stone.

RepublicanpartylogoThe Republican candidates in Iowa are trying to out-crazy Donald Trump, and failing.

The 10 Trump Rules by Barry Lefsetz for The Big Picture.  [Added 8/14/2015]

Donald Trump understands how American politics has changed, and the other candidates don’t.

Jeb Bush and Carlos Slim by Steve Sailer for The Unz Review.

The foreign policies of George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Jeb Bush are all shaped by the Bush family’s business ties with Mexican business and political dynasties.

Election 2016: Jeb Bush Leveraged Political Connections for Clients and Allies After Leaving Florida Governorship, Emails Show by Andrew Perez, David Sirota and Matthew Cunningham-Cook for International Business Times.  [Added 8/15/2015]

Scott Walker Gets Schooled by His Neighbor by Eleanor Clift for The Daily Beast.  [Added 8/14/2015]

Democratic Minnesota outperforms Republican Wisconsin.

Scott Walker wants to fire academics with whom he disagrees politically by Michael Mann and Randi Weingarten for The Guardian.

Chris Christie vs. Rand Paul by Andrew Napolitano for The Unz Review.

Chris Christie doesn’t care about the Fourth Amendment or the rest of the Bill of Rights.

How Bobby Jindal Broke the Lousiana Economy by Stephanie Grace for Newsweek. [Added 8/14/2015]

Ted Cruz Wants to Subject Supreme Court Justices to Political Elections by A.J. Vicens for Mother Jones.

Rick Perry Is on the Payroll of His Super-PAC’s Biggest Sugar Daddy by Patrick Caldwell for Mother Jones.

Sam Brownback guts Kansas even more: This is life under America’s worst Republican governor by Paul Rosenberg for Salon.  [Added 8/14/2015]


Why the GOP will never completely collapse

August 10, 2015

A Democratic friend of mine, watching the Republican debate on Fox News, said he enjoys watching the Republican Party collapse.

So do I.  I’ve watched the Republican Party collapse many times.  I watched it collapse under George W. Bush.  I watched it collapse under the leadership of Newt Gingrich.  I watched it collapse after the Watergate scandals.  I watched it collapse under the candidacy of Barry Goldwater.

But somehow it always keeps coming back.

As long that Americans are locked into a two-party system, both legally and psychologically, then neither political party is ever going to collapse for good.

There will always come a time when voters are fed up with the incumbent party.  Then they will turn to an alternative.  If there is only one alternative, that is the one they will choose.

If you really want the Republican Party to disappear – or the Democratic Party, for that matter – then work to change U.S. political system to allow for more than one opposition party.

The passing scene – August 9, 2015

August 9, 2015

These are links to interesting articles I’ve come across in the past day or so.  I may add links during the day.  Please feel free to make general or off-topic comments.

Coyotes in New York and Chicago by Lance Richardson for Slate. now inhabit New York, Chicago and other big American cities.  Lance Richardson thinks they may well fit the urban and suburban environment better than the rural environment.

Coyotes eat rats and mice.  They eat feral cats, which prey on songbirds.  In suburbs, where hunters are forbidden to discharge firearms, they keep the deer population down.

Farmers and ranchers kill coyotes because coyotes destroy poultry and livestock.  But in cities and suburbs, most pets and other domestic animals are locked up, and coyotes survive by eating vermin.

Meet the electric life forms that live on pure energy by Catherine Brahic for New Scientist.

Scientists have discovered bacteria that eat and breathe electrons, and they can be found nearly everywhere.  All life and all chemical reactions are based on a flow of electrons, but these bacteria survive on electricity in its purest form.

Kropotkin on the Hudson by Polly Howells for In These Times.

Members of the Long Spoon Collective in Saugerties, New York, try to live by the anarchist values of voluntary sharing.   I highly approve of what they’re attempting and wish them well.  I’m not sure such communities can work without extra-ordinary dedication, but I’d be happy to be proved wrong.  I don’t have it in me to live as they do myself.


The passing scene – August 8, 2015

August 8, 2015

Republican Assault on Trump May Only Make Him Stronger by Matt Taibbi for Rolling Stone.

Trump’s Triumph: Billionaire Bloward Exposes Fake Political System by Mike Whitney for Counterpunch.

How Pathetic: Why Donald Trump May Be the Best Thing Going by Andrew Levine for Counterpunch.

The Republican Candidates Agree that the System Is Rigged for the Rich by William K. Black for New Economic Perspectives.

720x405-GettyImages-483208910I still can’t take Donald Trump seriously as a Presidential candidate, but he has said things that need to be said, especially about how he and other billionaires have the power to buy politicians.

Other Republican candidates also point out that the political system is rigged in favor of Wall Street and the large corporations.

Their answer appears to be lower taxes, less regulation and a minimal role for government, on the theory that the less government does, the less it matters whether corporations and wealthy individuals can manipulate government.

My problem with this is that some large corporations have grown so large and powerful that they are the next thing to governments themselves.

Hillary’s Libyan Torturers by Daniel McAdams for The Ron Paul Institute.

hillary-tortureThe achievement of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in foreign affairs was to find a way to find a way to continue the policies of George W. Bush without large numbers of American casualties.

The attack on Libya is an example of this.  The U.S. government supported an attack on a country that did not threaten the United States, based on lies, and reduced it to bloody chaos in which terrorists such as ISIS flourish.

The problem with Bernie Sanders by Joseph Cannon of Cannonfire.

Bernie Sanders is like many democratic socialists of the 1950s and 1960s—a defender of the interests of working people, a defender of civil rights, but also a cold warrior.

He thinks the United States should support Saudi Arabia and Turkey against ISIS, when these two governments are interested only in fighting the enemies of ISIS—Syria for Saudi Arabia and the Kurds for Turkey.   Likewise he favors confrontation of Vladimir Putin over Ukraine, which puts the United States at risk of nuclear war.


Jeb Bush and his mega-rich donors

August 7, 2015


Most contributions went to “outside” pro-Bush groups that supposedly and in law are independent of his campaign.

campaignmoney0801-v4 (more…)

Why presidential candidates ignore most voters

August 3, 2015

The Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns will ignore most voters in 2016.  They will focus on a few voters in a few swing states.

Frank Bruni in the New York Times wrote about how a Republican insider thinks the Republicans can win by nominating Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, for President and Frank Kasich, the current governor of Ohio for Vice-President, and thereby carrying those two states.

26bruni-master675And a Democratic insider thinks the key to winning Ohio and thereby the presidential election is racking up a huge majority Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland.

Neither party’s strategists bother with California, Texas or New York, states in which they think the outcome is a foregone conclusion.  Only a few states – Florida, Ohio, Colorado, Virginia, North Carolina and maybe one or two others – are in play.

This is something new, and in part a self-fufilling prophecy.   In the 1976 election, as Bruni noted, there were 20 states, including California, Texas and New York, where the margin of victory was less than 5 percentage points.

Polarization between red states and blue states has grown since then, and one of the reasons has to be that Democrats cede Texas and the Deep South to the Republicans, and Republicans cede California, New York and New England to the Democrats.

When I tell my Democratic friends I am disgusted with both parties and plan to vote for the Green Party candidate, they bring up the vote for Ralph Nader in Florida in 2000 and ask me whether I want Donald Trump to be President.   I would vote my conscience in any case, but why even think about this question if it is a foregone conclusion that New York will go Democratic in any case?


The Millions of Marginalized Americans by Frank Bruni in the New York Times.  (Hat tip to Steve Badrich)

How PACs control candidates

August 3, 2015

Four PACS – supposedly independent Political Action Committees – have raised $39 million on behalf of the presidential candidacy of Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.

fatcatBut only a trickle of that money has been released to the Cruz campaign.  Why would a PAC collect money and hold it back?

One answer is that it is a way to keep the candidate in line.  Act in a way that is pleasing to the millionaires and billionaires who give to the pact, and you get your money.  Displease them, and your campaign is cut off.

I can only speculate as to what Ted Cruz has done to displease his political benefactors—whether he has been acting too crazy, or not crazy enough.

But if campaign financing law continues as it is, I think political campaign funders are going to become more obvious in the way they exert control over candidates.


Ted Cruz’s Super Stingy Sugar Daddies by Betsy Woodruff for The Daily Beast.

Small Pool of Rich Donors Dominates Election Giving by Nicholas Confessore, Sarah Cohen and Karen Yourish for the New York Times.

Million-Dollar Donors in the 2016 Presidential Race by the New York Times.

The New Holy Grail of Republican Primaries by Rick Perlstein for the Washington Spectator.

Don’t underestimate Hillary Clinton

July 30, 2015

Hillary Clinton is not an inspiring speaker, but she has long experience in politics, an extensive network of supporters and the ability to win the loyalty of disparate individuals and groups.

Credit: Chip Somodevile / Getty Images

Credit: Chip Somodevile / Getty Images

Her response to the Network Nation protest is an example of her seasoned political judgment.  First of all she had sense enough not to attend, and therefore did not catch any of the flak from #BlackLivesMatter that Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley did.  Then she was able to make a considered response to #BlackLivesMatter that struck just the right note, which neither Sanders nor O’Malley was able to do.

This skill set did not come out of nowhere.  It is the result of more than 20 years experience in Washington and national politics, much more than any of her opponents have.

My ideal candidate would be someone with the political skills of a Bill or Hillary Clinton, the eloquence of a Bill Clinton or Barack Obama, the concern for average Americans of a Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, and the commitment to Constitutional rights of a Ron Paul.


The Rohrschach Candidacy of Hillary Clinton by Gaius Publius for Down With Tyranny!  An excellent backgrounder with lots of good links.

Hillary Clinton is not a great campaigner, but she has mastered the art of inside politics by Jonathan Allen for

Hedge Fund Titans Choosing Hillary Clinton Over Top Republicans by Saijel Kishan for Bloomberg Politics.

What if Bernie Sanders actually wins?

July 29, 2015

When Bernie Sanders announced he is running for President, I decided that, barring the unexpected, I will vote for him, not because I thought he could win, but to “send them a message.”

I don’t think Sanders himself expected to win.  I think he ran in order to get his ideas before the public.

Bernie SandersNow the relative weakness of Hillary Clinton and the leading Republican candidates in public opinion polls indicate that Vermont’s 73-year-old Senator has a real, though small, change of winning the Democratic primary and the general election.

What if he did win?  Sanders himself has said many times that no President can bring about the changes that are needed in this country unless there is a political revolution.

What I take him to mean by political revolution is a mass movement among the public, as in the Populist and Progressive movements prior to World War One, the labor movement in the 1930s or the civil rights movement of the 1960s.   Only with movements such as this at his back could any President force reforms through Congress and overcome the reluctance of the bureaucracy.

The changes Sanders advocates are not revolutionary in themselves.  Although he calls himself a socialist, he is essentially a Roosevelt-Truman Democrat.  But the financial establishment, and the military-intelligence deep state, are so dead set against even modest reforms, that to bring them about would require a shift in power than would be virtually revolutionary.


Bernie Sanders opposes open borders

July 29, 2015

Unauthorized immigration into the US and offshoring of American jobs out of the US are two different ways to do the same thing—drive down wages and escape U.S. labor law.

So I’m not surprised that Bernie Sanders said the following in an interview.

Ezra Klein:  You said being a democratic socialist means a more international view. I think if you take global poverty that seriously, it leads you to conclusions that in the US are considered out of political bounds. Things like sharply raising the level of immigration we permit, even up to a level of open borders.  About sharply increasing …

Bernie Sanders:  Open borders? No, that’s a Koch brothers proposal.

Ezra Klein:  Really?

Bernie_Poster_v3textless.0.0Bernie Sanders: Of course.  That’s a right-wing proposal, which says essentially there is no United States. ..

Ezra Klein: But it would make …

Bernie Sanders: Excuse me …

Ezra Klein: It would make a lot of global poor richer, wouldn’t it?

Bernie Sanders:  It would make everybody in America poorer —you’re doing away with the concept of a nation state, and I don’t think there’s any country in the world that believes in that.  If you believe in a nation state or in a country called the United States or UK or Denmark or any other country, you have an obligation in my view to do everything we can to help poor people.  What right-wing people in this country would love is an open-border policy.  Bring in all kinds of people, work for $2 or $3 an hour, that would be great for them.  I don’t believe in that.  I think we have to raise wages in this country, I think we have to do everything we can to create millions of jobs.


Hillary Clinton in her own eyes

July 28, 2015

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.
==Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Hillary Clinton in her various autobiographies, reviewed by Doug Muder on The Weekly Sift, presents herself as a progressive working for change within a conservative establishment.

This may well be how she sees herself, even when making $235,000 speeches to Wall Street banking audiences, and her right-wing opponents see her this way as well.

I don’t see it.   I think Hillary Clinton, like Barack Obama and Bill Clinton before her, has been so focused on getting into power, and on making herself acceptable to conservatives and the powers that be, that any progressive goals have been lost in the process.

Because she spends to much time hanging out with the Wall Street and Washington elite, she may well imagine that her minor differences with those people make her a courageous dissenter.

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

My disillusionment with the Clintons started in 1993 when they fired the members of the White House travel office and turned over the job to an Arkansas travel agency.

The travel office employees were employed at will, and there was some question as to whether they were doing a good job, so I wasn’t bothered by the firing itself.   What shocked me was that, when the firings drew criticism, they initiated an FBI investigation into possible criminal wrong-doing.  Billy Dale, the head of the office, was indicted but later acquitted.

The travel office scandal was not the most important Clinton administration controversy, but to me it revealed the Clintons’ character and priorities.  I lump Bill and Hillary Clinton together because I regard them as closely bonded, even more so than most married couples.

What the scandal showed is that the Clintons were willing to ruin the lives of ordinary people who wished them no harm simply to gain a minor political advantage.  If they had qualms of conscience, they probably said to themselves that it was better for the country that they preserve their power by any means necessary.

I don’t think it is productive to wonder whether Hillary Clinton is a right-winger pretending to be a left-winger, or a left-winger pretending to be a right-winger, or, like Doug Muder, try to answer the question of “who is she, really?”   She has a record and it speaks for itself.


The 2016 Stump Speeches: Hillary Clinton by Doug Muder for The Weekly Sift.

The Rohrschach Candidacy of Hillary Clinton by Gaius Publius for Down With Tyranny!  [Added 7/30/2015]

Hillary Clinton is not a great campaigner, but she has mastered the art of inside politics by Jonathan Allen for  [Added 7/30/2015]

Hedge Fund Titans Choosing Hillary Clinton Over Top Republicans by Saijel Kishan for Bloomberg Politics.  [Added 7/30/2015]


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