Thursday, May 26, 2016

Clinton's End? Her "Inexcusable and Willful Disregard for the Rules"

There is shock and surprise across the board of main stream media.

 - The Washington Post is angry at Hillary Clinton. The phrase in my headline is actually their headline on an editorial attacking her for her flagrant and seemingly stupid email conduct as reported in the just-released report of the State Department Inspector General. And on Day 2 of the Inspector General's report the New York Times is also taking Hillary to the woodshed for her failure's to be honest and open. Editorial Hillary Clinton, Drowning in Email

  - The New York Times, noting the Clinton lies laid out in the Inspector General's report, has finally added 2 and 2 and got 4:  Emails Add to Hillary Clinton’s Central Problem: Voters Just Don’t Trust.... By golly, the NY Times says, people don't trust her because she lies. Duh! You finally figured it out, Mr. New York Times? Have you forgotten that this is the woman who said she came under enemy fire in Bosnia in 1996 when all she had actually confronted was a little girl presenting her with a love letter and a big hug. The NY Times forgot that whopper?  CBS News Video Contradicts Clinton's Story - CBS News

 - Mika Brzezinski and Andrea Mitchell are angry because Hillary lied to their faces, and they each subsequently went on air and supported her version of the email story because of those lies. Lies such as Hillary promulgates don't just destroy her credibility; they destroy the credibility of politicos who believe her and reporters who accept her version of events. Brzezinski: "I Don't Want To Be The One To Say This," But It Looks Like Hillary Straight Up Lied About Email Server. At that link there's a video of today's Morning Joe segment. It is well worth watching (and I'm no Morning Joe fan.) Here's
a photo of the very sad Mika from that segment.
.  She knows that Hillary's lies have possibly damaged her own TV career.

Meantime, two days earlier, Senator Harry Reid publicly told Democratic leaders to lay off telling Bernie Sanders to get out of the fight for the Democratic nomination. Why would Reid of all people be protective of Bernie at this point when Reid had worked so hard to help Clinton in the caucuses in his home state of Nevada? He pulled mighty big strings to rig Nevada for Clinton. What Hillary Lost In Nevada; What Bernie Won In So...  You'd think he'd be the last person to say Bernie Sanders should keep battling her as her numbers slide.

Politics is like baseball in that signals are important.  Was Harry Reid signaling a belated realization that the Democratic party may need Sanders soon to step in for the "inevitable" Hillary Clinton?  Did Reid get a pre-release peek at the State Department Inspector General's report that is so damning and damaging to Hillary Clinton? Many of her superdelegates are fellow senators of Reid and worked many years under his leadership. Are Harry Reid and his fellow supers having buyer's remorse over Clinton?

Amazingly five national polls now give Trump a slight edge over Hillary for the general election. Her approval numbers have sunk to half the 65% she started out with. Now comes the documentation that she lied about the private email server being okay under State Department rules. As the Inspector General unequivocably reports she just plain lied about a lot of things to do with her "damn emails".

Why? Why the decision to use a private server? Why the lies to cover up?

Because there may have been an attempt here to cover a far worse act: the corrupt abuse of her position as Secretary of State for her personal enrichment.

More on this next time.

Meantime, the email story has been revived big time and Hillary has been shown to be a liar, liar, liar.

No matter how many delegates Hillary snags on June 7 in New Jersey and California, she will not then be the nominee. She won't be the nominee until super delegates put her over the top. Now we must wait to see what they do with these latest revelations.

And this just in.....The New York Times now scolding Hillary in an editorial: Editorial Hillary Clinton, Drowning in Email The Times had endorsed her and supported her with more slanted anti-Sanders news stories than I ever thought the Times capable of. Hillary sure has a way of embarassing her friends and supporters. And now she may put the nation at risk of a Donald Trump presidency. As my saintly Irish mother used to say, "I hate a liar."

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Trump Passes Clinton in Three National Polls. So Where Are You Going?

It's begun. The undeniable evidence is emerging that Hillary Clinton cannot be the Democratic candidate against Donald Trump. Why not?

Mainly because she's a loser. And we can't have a President Trump!

Last week Fox News announced that Hillary is trailing Trump by three points nationally. Most commentators shrugged off the Fox poll as an outlier.  But today two other polls also show Trump beating Clinton, these two being ABC and Rasmussen. RCP Average. These two are certainly not the gold standard of a Pew poll, but three polls are a lot more than just three times one. Something significant is going on. Further these same polls show Bernie Sanders still beating Trump easily.

Virtually the only TV commentator to take real notice of the Fox poll last week was Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC.  New Polls: NH-WBUR, Bernie Beats Trump 54-38; Fox, Trump ...

O'Donnell and PBS' Mark Shields and David Brooks are the only TV commentators who aren't just show-biz. O'Donnell was an attorney for the Senate tax-writing committee for years as well as a star of "West Wing". He has walked the walk in D.C., and this far outweighs his pseudo credentials from "West Wing". Both Shields and Brooks are primarily columnists and thus can think. In addition, Shields used to run campaigns and, like O'Donnell, Shields is Irish. We Irish typically grow up being fed politics at the family dinner table.

O'Donnell not only took the Fox poll seriously but used it as a springboard into laying out what a very bad candidate Hillary Clinton is in terms of her track record all the way back to 2000 when she first ran for Senate in New York State. She has a consistent record of having a huge lead when she announces her candidacy and then continually sinking like a lead weight as the campaign progresses. As O'Donnell points out, she has to have a 35 a 45% lead to even get into the home stretch, so quickly and completely do the voters reject her as her campaign progresses. While it is true that Bernie Sanders has done a remarkable thing in coming virtually even with her in the polls when he started out at only 3%, Hillary has plummeted no matter who the opponent has been. She went way down as against her New York State opponents though both times they were virtual nobodies.  And she totally crashed when up against Barack Obama in 2008. She has the staying power of a Popsicle in Georgia in 100° weather.

If at this point she's not only losing to Bernie Sanders but is also trailing the terrible Donald Trump, she is indeed the worst candidate in the world, and the superdelegates must ensure she does not become the Democratic nominee.

Absent any memory for recent history, the American media is ignoring the purpose for which the superdelegates were created by the Democratic Party in 1984. They are supposed to stop the nomination of a sure loser, such as had happened in 1980 when the Carter delegates refused to repudiate him as nominee for a second term even though he was at 22% in the polls. Their intransigence gave the election to Ronald Reagan and gave us his ferocious attack on the unions and the resulting impoverishing of the middle-class.

But, you say, Hillary is not 22% in the polls. True. She is underwater, with her unfavorables higher than her favorables, but she's not down to 22% favorables. Not yet, that is.

But, folks, but this is only May. Carter didn't sink to 22% until August. And even though he was a submariner in the military don't assume he could sink faster than Hillary can. At the rate she's been sinking during this campaign and has sunk in all others, she is on target to go even lower than 22% by August, ridiculous as that may seem.  And what will fuel this rapid fall? She's a bad campaigner, an off-putting candidate in person, loaded with past baggage and still under federal investgation by the FBI. Central Casting couldn't do a better job of finding someone to play the part of The Big Loser. Also hastening her demise, the media will have stopped picking on the departed Bernie Sanders and will have given up on trying to dent the fiberglass Donald Trump. Hillary and all her history, failings and faults will be virtually the sole focus of the media.

And she can't stand that kind of pressure. She will get crusty and defensive and more offputting than ever. She and Bill will do as they have done in the past—blow up and make bad mistakes. And Donald Trump will be president.

What can we do? Try to persuade the superdelegates to do the right thing and give the nomination to Bernie Sanders even though they are under enormous pressure from the Clintons and the party leadership. The greed and power-hunger in the pro-Clinton Democratic leadership is a betrayal of all that I and the Democratic leadership of my era worked for. I feel that my party has left me for the big bankers, rejected a whole generation of young people who deserve better, and has failed to be vigorous enough in fighting to save our planet. Now this party and this woman are going to hand over my beloved America to a man so mindless he doesn't even qualify as a Hitler. He is just a street corner thug, devoid of anything but the zest for stoking hate and anger. God help America. God help the world.

Have you decided where you are going to live after election day in November?  If you choose Norway, look me up.... I just might be there. Or Ireland. Or Italy.

Meantime, let's work on those superdelegates.

And this just in off the wire......According to a poll released today, "Clinton hit a new low with just 31 percent viewing her as honest, and 66 percent saying she isn’t."  That can only go lower. Once people believe you're dishonest you can never change their minds. So down is her only direction.

Lower and lower, like I said. 







 





Wednesday, May 18, 2016

What Really Happened in Nevada, Chapter Two

There's a big brouhaha about what happened at the Nevada State Democratic meeting last week. Clinton's supporters on the state board and on the Democratc National Committee are accusing Sanders' supporters of being disruptive to the point of "violence" and "throwing chairs". There's no evidence of such. In spite of all the smart phones present, there's no evidence of bad acts. Yelling? Yes. There's also accusations of death threats via phone message to the state Democratic Clinton-captive boss. To my ears they sound fake, one male voice even sounding like the same guy over and over again. And how exactly do you get an actual voice mail to be audible on national TV?

And then comes Sen. Harry Reid to lecture Bernie Sanders on getting his people to behave.

Whoa, Nellie! What is going on here?

This is actually Chapter Two of one of the greatest political ripoffs I've ever seen or heard about since my collateral Daley relatives used to pull off shenanigans in Chicago politics.  To understand the context of the Nevada recent ripoff, please take a look at Chapter One: how Sen. Harry Reid engineered the original district caucuses to heavily favor Clinton. It's a classic theft, and I wrote it up back when it happened back in February. SEE: What Hillary Lost In Nevada; What Bernie Won In So...

The sad thing here is that the Sanders people at this recent state meeting fell into the trap of getting mad instead of getting even. They SOUNDED angry. They SOUNDED dangerous. A smartie ruthless guy like Reid was just waiting for them to react like that.

What should they have done instead? A walkout perhaps? We did that at the 1980 Democratic Convention under the leadership of the national head of the machinists union in order to protest the Carter delegates refusing to dump Carter even though he was only 22% in the polls. Their intransigence gave us Ronald Reagan as president and an end to unionism and the resulting end of prosperity of the middle class. We called the walkout "Take a Walk with Wimpy", so named for the machinists' leader's nickname. Our response made good press for us, not bad.

Maybe the Sanders' folks could have done a lie-in? Maybe a dance-in? You can't look obnoxiously threatening if you're all dancing to loud music that drowns out the high-handed crew on stage.

What was missing at the Nevada state meeting was preparation and organization by the Sanders' people. They hadn't even clued the media in on what could happen, thus letting the Clinton/Reid version dominate. They are apparently too young, God love 'em, to have anticipated how crooked the proceedings would be and to have orchestrated a productive response. This oversight is hard to understand, however, given how shafted they had been in the district caucuses in February, particularly the one in Las Vegas.

Well, read my blog about that February grand theft and see if you would have been suspicious going into the state convention. And would have been prepared with a plan and a press release?


Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Greatest Speech of All

Like many of you, I have heard Martin Luther KIng's "I Have a Dream" speech and JFK's "Ask not what America can do for you..." We have also heard President Obama's moving eulogy for the South Carolina nine. I am old enough to have heard FDR and fortunate enough to have heard Ted Kennedy's unforgettable "My Golden Friends" speech at the 1980 convention that was applauded and cheered for 45 minutes.

But this speech and video by Bernie Sanders is perhaps the best of all.  Because we so desperately need it. And not just for the homeless who tonight sleep in the rain under newspapers or the children who go hungry to school tomorrow morning.  In the time of Martin Luther King we needed changes just as fundamental, but without the kind of changes Bernie Sanders now calls for, the dream of Martin Luther King is empty.  Equality is nothing if you are hungry.

I give Sanders' speech to you now as a gift. Whatever happens in this election, this is our work to finish. I have been in politics all my adult life because of these and other issues of human rights and dignity. Now at age 80 I look to you to finish the job. I look to you with every confidence, as do all the hungry children in America and the abandoned old. For those of you in other countries, take care of your people too. We are all walking each other home. Be a blessing in the world and you shall be blessed.

Deeply Moving Message from Bernie Sanders








Saturday, May 14, 2016

How and Why Sanders Gets the Democratic Nomination

This is now the most important set of facts in the 2016 presidential contest:
"As we sit here today, the Clinton-Trump match-up in the three biggest battleground states — Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania, the loss of all three of which would lose the Democrats the general election — is a dead heat. This is one reason why so many Sanders supporters honestly and fervently believe a Hillary Clinton candidacy means a Donald Trump presidency."

I am one of those who see Hillary Clinton as an extraordinarily weak candidate in the general election. Why Sanders should be the candidate instead—and how that can happen—is well set forth in the article from which the above paragraph is quoted. I reprint the entire article below because it is a singularly important piece, well-based in history and facts, and very well-written. Next post I'll comment on it. Enough to say now that the Republicans must NOT win in November because the fate of the planet largely depends on preserving Obama's gains on limiting global warming.
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Huffington Post,  5-11-16 by Seth Abramson:

Last night on CNN, while discussing Bernie Sanders’ landslide victory over Hillary Clinton in West Virginia — which followed a 5-point Sanders win in Indiana last week — Michael Smerconish said that “Democratic super-delegates might have to rethink” their support of Hillary Clinton given how dramatically better Sanders fares in head-to-head match-ups against Donald Trump.
After Clinton’s Indiana loss, John King had told CNN viewers that “if Sanders were to win nine out of ten of the remaining contests, there’s no doubt that some of the super-delegates would panic. There’s no doubt some of them would switch to Sanders. What he has to do is win the bulk of the remaining contests. Would that send jitters, if not panic, through the Democratic Party? Yes. Yes it would.”

So what gives? Isn’t this thing over?

Almost, but not quite.
What Smerconish (and Wolf Blitzer) were discussing last night, and John King was discussing last week, is a very simple theory — call it “run-the-table” — which is easy enough to understand if you simply know the history of Democratic super-delegates and what’s happened in the 2016 Democratic primary since Super Tuesday.
So here it is — both a brief history of the “super-delegate” and an explanation of the “run-the-table” scenario that increasingly is making it into the mainstream media.
In 1984, the Democratic Party created “super-delegates” — Party officials with a vote at the Democrats’ nominating convention. The hope was that super-delegates would rarely if ever be needed. There was reason to be hopeful on this score: first, because any Democratic nominee able to win even 59 percent of the “pledged” (primary and caucus) delegates would clinch the Democratic nomination before even a single super-delegate had voted; second, because even if a weak front-runner were unable to clinch the Democratic nomination without super-delegates, the candidate behind in the “pledged” delegate count would almost certainly concede before any super-delegates were forced to weigh in.

For 32 years, the Democrats’ decision to create super-delegates looked pretty smart. Other than the current primary season — a single-digit race (54 percent to 45 percent) that’s the second-closest Democratic primary of the last 32 years — only one of the Democrats’ primaries, the one in 2008, was ultimately close enough for super-delegates to matter. In that case the losing candidate, Hillary Clinton, decided to concede after the final votes were cast in June. Clinton’s concession made the super-delegate question a moot one.

Clinton conceded in 2008 for a number of reasons: her opponent, now-President Obama, agreed to retire her massive campaign debt; she believed (correctly) that Obama would name her either Vice President or Secretary of State, the latter the second-most powerful position in Washington; and finally and most importantly, Obama had kicked the hell out of her in the latter half of the election season, winning 16 of the final 25 states. In other words, there was no reasonable argument for Clinton to make to super-delegates that they should step in to change the primary result.
While Clinton permitted a roll call vote in Denver — with more than 1,000 convention delegates officially casting their first-ballot vote for her rather than then-Senator Obama — she thereafter called for Obama to become the nominee by acclamation. Having made a public statement regarding her own base of support within the Democratic Party — it’s highly unusual, indeed almost unheard of, for a roll call vote to occur when one of the two candidates has conceded — Clinton receded into the background. By which I mean that she became, within just a few months, arguably the second most-powerful person in America: the Secretary of State.
But Clinton had seriously considered staying in the race past June 7th of 2008. The reason she almost did — she was barely talked out of it by her aides — is the very reason Bernie Sanders could still win the Democratic nomination in 2016.

That reason? Super-delegates exist for only one purpose: to overturn, if necessary, the popular-vote and delegate-count results.

Super-delegates would be meaningless if their only purpose were to validate the primary and caucus results, which is why that consideration had absolutely nothing to do with their creation. When super-delegates were created in 1984, it was in fact to avoid a repeat of what had almost happened in 1980: a candidate with no shot at winning the general election almost becoming the popular-vote and pledged-delegate winner. It may seem counter-intuitive to some now, but the Democratic Party in 1984 wanted a mechanism available to vote down the Party’s prospective nominee — the popular-vote and pledged-delegate winner — if that person couldn’t be elected in the November general election. So when Howard Dean, former presidential candidate and Democratic National Committee Chair, said several months ago that he would cast his super-delegate vote without regard for the popular vote or pledged-delegate race, he was only stating what has been true about super-delegates for 32 years now: their role in the process is only “activated” either (a) to validate a historically weak front-runner who isn’t able to clinch the nomination via pledged delegates alone (in which case the super-delegates are “active,” and yet things would be no different if they didn’t exist), or, more profoundly, (b) to preclude the nomination of someone who can’t win the general election.

Fast-forward to 2016.
John King of CNN, and others, have made crystal-clear the scenario under which Bernie Sanders could become the Democratic nominee for President: he runs the table on the remaining primaries and caucuses.
If Sanders runs the table in 2016, it will mean the following has (by June 7th) happened:
  • Sanders has won 19 of the final 25 state primaries and caucuses (not a typo);
  • Sanders is within a few hundred thousand votes of Clinton in the popular vote;
  • Sanders has won 54 percent of the pledged delegates since Super Tuesday; and
  • Sanders is in a dead heat with Clinton in national polling.
The above alone — while absolutely stunning; Sanders running significantly better than Obama for the entire second half of the primary season is a major eye-opener — wouldn’t be enough to trigger the second scenario in which super-delegates are suddenly meaningful (as noted above, a front-runner so weak he or she is unlikely to win the general election). What makes 2016 very different from 2008 is that the following items are presently true:
  • Sanders has dramatically higher favorable ratings than Clinton, despite months of attacks from his Democratic opponent and Trump and GOP super-PACs generally laying off both Sanders and Clinton;
  • Sanders beats Donald Trump nationally by much more than does Clinton (12 points, as opposed to 6 for Clinton, in an average of all national polls);
  • Sanders beats Donald Trump in every battleground state by more than does Clinton; and
  • Sanders beats Trump by 22 points among independents, while Clinton loses independents to Trump by 2 points.
As we sit here today, the Clinton-Trump match-up in the three biggest battleground states — Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania, the loss of all three of which would lose the Democrats the general election — is a dead heat.
This is one reason why so many Sanders supporters honestly and fervently believe a Hillary Clinton candidacy means a Donald Trump presidency.
The idea that Clinton is in a dead heat with Trump in the three most important battleground states at a time when Trump is the most unpopular major-party candidate in American history is horrifying to Democrats. How horrifying it is cannot be overstated; along with recent polling showing Clinton tied nationally with Trump, and the fact that Hillary’s unfavorables are already rising while Trump’s are already falling, and the fact that the Republican Party is uniting dramatically behind Trump precisely because Clinton looks to be the likely Democratic nominee, the fact that Hillary is already struggling in Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania against an absolute buffoon of an opponent is causing Democrats to worry that she actually can’t win.

And they may well be right.

Certainly, much of the available data says they are.

Now imagine that all of the above is true, and Hillary Clinton has just lost the State of California to Bernie Sanders.
In that scenario, Sanders and his supporters believe that the super-delegates — placed in a situation which, to be clear, they have never encountered before — would switch en masse to vote for Sanders in late July.

Anyone reading the above who thinks that eventuality is an impossibility has not done the simple thought experiment that John King’s reasoning requires.

So let’s do it now.
Imagine — I mean really imagine — that you’re watching CNN on June 7th and Hillary has just lost California, New Jersey, New Mexico, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. This comes on the heels of losses in Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oregon. Clinton hasn’t won a state since April; she’s behind Donald Trump in national polling; she’s tied with or behind Donald Trump in all of the battleground states; she’s lost the pledged-delegate battle to Bernie Sanders 53 percent to 47 percent since March 1st; she’s lost 19 of the final 25 state primaries and caucuses; her unfavorables are the highest of any Democrat the Party has considered running since World War II; she’s losing independent voters to Donald Trump; she’s still under investigation by the FBI, and an international criminal is claiming (credibly) that he successfully hacked her basement server and stole classified and top-secret data; 40 percent of Sanders supporters are saying they won’t vote for her; and she’s come to look exactly like two other Democratic losers — unlikable policy wonks Al Gore and John Kerry — rather than the movement candidate Bernie Sanders is and Barack Obama was.
The Clinton camp is betting that Hillary loses zero super-delegates in this situation because — well, just because.

The Sanders camp is betting that the Democratic Party cares more about winning in November than gamely running a terrible dynasty candidate against a beatable Republican foe.

In the hypothetical John King has imagined, that bet doesn’t seem so unreasonable.
Every non-partisan in the national media who’s actually looked at the above scenario has concluded that super-delegates would switch to Sanders in the situation described here — the only question is how many. And if you’ve actually imagined the scenario described above — if you actually imagined the rank panic that would be running through the Democratic Party should Hillary lose the largest state in the country to Bernie Sanders at a time when all the hard-data and environmental indicators are suggesting she’s a possible loser in the fall — you’re thinking, as I am, that the answer to the question, “How many supers would jump ship in that scenario?” is the same answer I got from John King when I asked him this question directly after the Indiana primary: “Lots.”

To get to that point, Sanders has to win Indiana — which he’s already done. And he has to win West Virginia, which he now has. Now he’s looking ahead to Kentucky and Oregon next week, and Oregon looks like a safe win while Kentucky an eminently possible one. Should he sweep Clinton for the third Tuesday in a row, he’ll be looking forward to just one final test: June 7th. Sanders is a plausible winner on that date in California, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and New Mexico; his longest odds are in New Jersey, a state where he nevertheless polled within single digits of Clinton in the second-to-last poll taken in the state (the most recent poll is far less favorable, but also, given the political make-up of the state and the fact that Trump’s lack of competitors on the GOP side will drive up interest and turnout on the Democratic side, less plausible). More importantly, perhaps, King’s scenario doesn’t even require that Sanders win New Jersey — merely that he take nine of the final ten contests, and therefore a still-staggering 18 of the last 25. This isn’t just doable — it’s entirely possible, given the momentum, demographics, and polling in the upcoming states.
Still, no one knows what will happen next week — though the odds of Sanders continuing his current winning streak seem high. And if Sanders does win Kentucky and Oregon, John King’s “run-the-table” scenario will be just one day of voting from becoming a reality. It’s on those grounds that we can say — whatever we might hear from Clinton partisans — that the Democratic primary is, indeed, far from over.
Seth Abramson is Assistant Professor of English at University of New Hampshire.




Friday, May 13, 2016

Home Again After Great Trip! Catch Up Soon on the Political Scene

Thanks for your past readership, and my apologies for the recent interruption. I had a wonderful trip to California to visit a son and daughter-in-law and their vineyard, plus do research in Western Amercan history at Berkeley.

Be back soon with a post on politics. Be well!

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Democrats Should Fear Trump?

I virtually never offer a column in its entirety as substitute for my own, but this one is exceptionately thoughtful and well-written. Originally from the Washington Post it's linked here to another site that republished it and allows access the Post does not. Since you could pick up the Post in a public library and read this for free, I do not hesitate to offer it here.
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Democrats, don't celebrate Trump's nomination. Fear it.