Saturday, April 30, 2016


When a society is built on a democratic and social foundation the key to it's growth and success is that 100% of it's citizens participate in the process; especially when it comes to wealth and how it is distributed among it's members. 

When these processes are in place, as we see in most of the European countries; especially the Nordic ones, the system works in favor of the majority of it's citizens. 

When it doesn't, as in these United States of America, we (the majority) suffer the consequences.

Here's a glimpse as to how the 1%; those who hoard over 49% of this nations wealth, compare to the remaining 99% of the American population;

Among the survey findings:

**Members of the one percent are far more likely to initiate contact with a federal official than is the general public. About half of the survey’s 104 respondents reported initiating contact with a member of Congress, White House official or federal regulatory agency official at least once in the last six months. In contrast, a 2008 public opinion survey by American National Election Studies found that only 25 percent of the general public had contacted any elected official in the past 12 months.

**Members of the one percent tend to emphasize relying on free markets or private philanthropy to produce good outcomes. More than other citizens, they tend to think in terms of “getting government out of the way” to solve public problems. Many tilt toward cutting, rather than expanding, popular entitlement programs, such as Social Security and Medicare. Most favor charter schools, merit pay and other market-oriented education reforms. More than two-thirds say the federal government “has gone too far in regulating business and free enterprise.”

**More members of the one percent point to the federal budget deficit as the country’s most pressing problem than to any other problem facing the nation. A much smaller group mentions unemployment and jobs. In contrast, members of the general public (57%) think the economy and jobs are the nation’s most pressing problem and only five percent of the general public thinks it is the deficit.

**Members of the one percent are more active in politics than less affluent Americans. Nearly all respondents said they voted in the 2008 presidential election; 84% reported paying attention to politics most of the time; 64 percent contributed money to a political candidate within the last four years; and one in five said they helped solicit or bundle contributions from other people to a political party, cause or candidate. On average, they reported giving $4,633 to political campaigns and organizations in the past 12 months.

** Members of the one percent volunteer much more of their time, effort and money to charitable causes than do members of the general public. Nine in ten respondents report participating in at least one volunteer activity and a majority volunteered in four different volunteer areas. Respondents are particularly likely to volunteer for education (65%), poverty and the needy (60 percent), private and community foundations (54 percent), youth development (52 percent), arts, culture and the humanities (46 percent) and religious organizations (46 percent).

**A typical (median) member of the one percent donates about four percent of his or her income to charitable causes. Those who have inherited substantial wealth tend to give not only more total dollars but also a higher proportion of their income to charity than non-inheritors. Fully one in five have established a philanthropic family foundation. 

Monday, April 25, 2016


Hillary Clinton’s FBI investigation may have just moved one step closer to an indictment for the Democratic front-runner, with experts saying the extradition of a Romanian hacker who revealed her unsecured email server could spell deep trouble for Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Last week, U.S. officials moved to extradite the hacker known as “Guccifer,’ who is accused of accessing the email of Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal. It was that hack which brought to light Clinton’s use of a personal email during her time as secretary of state, reports claim.

The hacker, whose real name is Marcel Lehel Lazar, will now be able to make the case that Hillary Clinton’s email server was unsecure and could have spilled secrets to America’s enemies, Fox News experts Catherine Herridge and Pamela K. Browne wrote.

“Because of the proximity to Sidney Blumenthal and the activity involving Hillary’s emails, [the timing] seems to be something beyond curious,” the report quoted Ron Hosko, former assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division.

The report added that the timing of his extradition is curious given the ongoing investigations of Clinton’s alleged use of a private, unsecured email during her time as secretary of state, and noted that Guccifer’s testimony could be a major blow to Clinton.

In early 2013, news outlets including Russia Today and The Smoking Gun published memos from Guccifer, with excerpts of exchanges between Blumenthal and Hillary Clinton about Libya including details following the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack.

“In a 2015 prison interview from Romania with reporter Matei Rosca for, Lazar told Rosca that, “I used to read [Clinton’s] memos for six or seven hours… and then do the gardening.”

For her part, Hillary Clinton has waved off concerns of a potential FBI indictment for her email server. In an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer that aired on Friday, Clinton dismissed claims that she is under investigation, instead calling the FBI probe a “security review.”


The Harvard Institute of Politics has released a new poll of young voters that hints at the impact Sanders might be having on our politics — and could continue to have in the future.

One key finding in the poll, which surveyed over 3,000 people from ages 18-29, is that these young people see a robust role for government in guaranteeing a right to a basic standard of living, and majorities of them see a large or moderate federal role in regulating the economy and access to health care and higher education.

Some nuggets:

— A plurality of these young voters agree by 48-21 that “basic health insurance is a right for all people, and if someone has no means of paying for it, the government should provide it.”

— A plurality of them agree by 45-20 that the “government should spend more to reduce poverty.”

— A plurality of them agree by 47-20 that “basic necessities, such as food and shelter, are a right that the government should provide to those unable to afford them.”

— A majority of them, 67 percent say the federal government should play a “large” (30) or “moderate” (37) role in the “regulation of Wall Street,” while only 28 percent say it should play little to no role.

— A majority of them, 66 percent, say the federal government should play a large (32) or moderate (34) role in the delivery of health care, while only 31 percent say it should play little to no role.

— A majority of them, 70 percent, say the federal government should play a large (35) or moderate (35) role in “providing access to higher education,” while only 27 percent say it should play little to no role.

— A majority of them, 64 percent, say the federal government should play a large (30) or moderate (34) role in “reducing income inequality,” while only 32 percent of them say it should play little to no role.

— A majority of them, 69 percent, say the federal government should play a large (27) or moderate (42) role in “regulating the economy,” while only 27 percent say it should play little to no role.
The Bernie effect? A new poll shows young voters see a big role for government - The Washington Post

Sunday, April 24, 2016

12 things to know about Hillary Clinton | Center for Public Integrity

The story of Clinton cash is as old as the Clinton political dynasty that began with husband Bill's election to the White House in 1992. Here's more about the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state who could become the first woman to lead the nation:


Conventional wisdom says he’s a long shot, but Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., today is running for President.

Sanders, known as a populist liberal and a self-described socialist, is running as a Democrat.

He’s raises millions for his bid, Bloomberg reports — certainly far more than Democratic rival Hillary Clinton has been able to pull in. It’s a sizable sum for a U.S. senator from a small state who traditionally leans heavily on small-dollar donors.

Here’s more on Sanders’ financial history:

For most of its history, this country has been dominated by two parties, by design. Bernie actively defies all that.

Bernie is crashing the American party system. That’s why establishment Democrats are so afraid of him

A majority of Americans, 60%, say a third major political party is needed because the Republican and Democratic parties "do such a poor job" of representing the American people. This matches the high set in 2013. Since 2007, a majority of Americans have generally called for a third party, with the exception of the last two presidential election years.

Majority in U.S. Maintain Need for Third Major Party

When Bernie Sanders visits a high-school class, as he does regularly, students don’t hear a speech, a focus-grouped polemic, a campaign pitch or, heaven forbid, practiced one-liners. Nor, in all likelihood, do they hear Sanders tell stories about his family, childhood or some hardship he has endured. He makes no great effort to “connect” emotionally in the manner that politicians strive for these days, and he probably doesn’t “feel your pain” either, or at least make a point of saying so. It’s not that Sanders is against connecting, or feeling your pain, but the process seems needlessly passive and unproductive, and he prefers a more dynamic level of engagement.

“I urge you all to argue with your teachers, argue with your parents,” Sanders told a group of about 60 students at South Burlington High School — generally liberal, affluent and collegebound — one afternoon in mid-December.

The newly elected senator whipped his head forward with a force that shifted his free-for-all frizz of white hair over his forehead. (Journalistic convention in Vermont mandates that every Sanders story remark on his unruly hair as early on as possible. It also stipulates that every piece of his clothing be described as “rumpled.”)

“C’mon, I’m not seeing enough hands in here,” he said.

A senior named Marissa Meredyth raised hers, and Sanders flicked his index finger at her as if he were shooting a rubber band. She bemoaned recent cuts to college financial-aid programs.

Sanders bemoans these, too, but he’d rather provoke.

“How we going to pay for this financial aid?” Sanders asked. “Who in here wants us to raise taxes on your parents to pay for this?”

Not many, based on the show of hands.

“O.K., so much for financial aid,” Sanders said, shrugging.

Next topic: “How many of you think it was a good idea to give the president the authority to go to war in Iraq?”

No hands.

“C’mon, anyone?”

He paused, paced, hungry for dissent, a morsel before lunch. Sanders says he thinks Iraq was a terrible idea, too, but he seemed to crave a jolt to the anesthetizing hum of consensus in the room.

“Iraq is a huge and very complicated issue,” Sanders said, finally. (“Huge” is Sanders favorite word, which he pronounces “yooge,” befitting a thick Brooklyn accent unsmoothed-over by 38 years in Vermont.) He mentioned that Vermont has had more casualties in Iraq per capita than any other state in the union, including one from South Burlington High School.

“O.K., last call for an Iraq supporter,” he said. Going once, going twice.

By this point, Sanders’s cheeks had turned a shade of dark pink with a strange hint of orange. It’s a notable Sanders trait; his face seems to change color with the tenor of a conversation, like a mood ring. His complexion goes orangey-pink when he’s impatient (often when someone else is speaking), purpley-pink when he’s making a point or a softer shade of pink when at rest, “rest” being a relative term.

Next question from Sanders: “Should people in this country who want to go to college be able to go, regardless of income?”

Wall-to-wall hands, with the exception of one belonging to Andy Gower, a senior in a backward baseball cap who recently moved up from North Carolina. Relatively conservative, Andy is a conspicuous outlier in the class. Bernie knows how he feels, having spent eight terms as the lone Socialist in Congress, and the first to serve in the House since the 1920s.

“Why do you think that?” Sanders asked Andy.

He replied with a question of his own: “Why should people who can afford to go to college pay for people who can’t?” He was sheepish at first but gained momentum. “Why should people who are successful in this society be burdened by people who aren’t? It’s just a fact of life. Some people will succeed, and some people won’t. And it’s just the way it’s going to be and has always been.”

A few classmates smirked, shook their heads. But Sanders was suddenly buoyant. He stomped forward, clapped twice — provocation achieved.

Hands were shooting up everywhere, and Sanders contorted his mouth into a goofy grin.

“At the end of the day, democracy is a tough process,” Sanders said finally, arms restored to their flailing default positions.

“The discussion we’ve had in here is at a higher level than what we often have on the floor of the United States Congress,” Sanders gushed, for as much as he ever gushes, which is not much.

And given some of the things Sanders has said about the United States Congress, maybe this wasn’t such a gush after all.

Sanders has always been an easier fit in Vermont than in Washington. Being a Socialist in the seat of two-party orthodoxy will do that. While he has generally championed liberal Democratic positions over the years — and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee endorsed his Senate campaign — Sanders has strenuously resisted calling himself a Democrat. And he has clung to a mantle — socialism — that brings considerable stigma, in large part for its association with authoritarian communist regimes (which Sanders is quick to disavow).

But he does little to airbrush the red “S” from his political profile. On the wall of his Congressional office hangs a portrait of Eugene V. Debs, the Socialist Party presidential candidate of the early 20th century. A poster in a conference room marks Burlington’s sister-city relationship with Puerto Cabeza, Nicaragua — one of a few such alliances he forged with cities in Marxist states during his 10-year stint as mayor of Vermont’s biggest city in the 1980s.

Socialism brings Sanders instant novelty in Washington and, in many circles, instant dismissal as a freak. But Sanders’s outcast status in Washington probably owes as much to his jackhammer style as to any stubborn ideology. It is a town filled with student body president types — and Sanders, for his part, finished a distant third when he ran to be president of his class at James Madison High School in Brooklyn.

Few would describe Sanders’s personality as “winning” in the classic politician’s sense. He appears to burn a disproportionate number of calories smiling and making eye contact. “Bernie is not going to win a lot of ‘whom would you rather live on a desert island with’ contests,” says Garrison Nelson, a professor of political science at the University of Vermont. No matter. Sanders’s agitating style in Washington also constitutes a basic facet of anticharm, antipolitician appeal at home.

“I’m not afraid of being called a troublemaker,” Sanders says, something he’s been called many times, in many different ways, many of them unprintable. “But you have to be smart. And being smart means not creating needless enemies for yourself.”

In this regard, Sanders has not always been smart, especially when he was first elected to the House in 1990. He called Congress “impotent” and dismissed the two major parties as indistinguishable tools of the wealthy. He said it wouldn’t bother him if 80 percent of his colleagues lost re-election — not the best way to win friends in a new workplace.

“Bernie alienates his natural allies,” Representative Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat, said at the time. “His holier-than-thou attitude — saying in a very loud voice he is smarter than everyone else and purer than everyone else — really undercuts his effectiveness.” The late Joe Moakley, another Massachusetts Democrat, waxed almost poetic in his derision for Sanders. “He is out there wailing on his own,” Moakley said. “He screams and hollers, but he is all alone.”

Frank says he came to like and work well with Sanders, with whom he served on the House Financial Services Committee. His early objections were over Sanders’s railing against both parties as if they were the same. “I think when he first got here, Bernie underestimated the degree that Republicans had moved to the right,” Frank told me. “I get sick of people saying ‘a curse on both your houses.’ When you point out to them that you agree with them on most things, they’ll say, ‘Yeah, well, I hold my friends up to a higher standard.’ Well, O.K., but remember that we’re your friends.”

Among his House colleagues, “Bernie’s not a bad guy,” is something I heard a lot of. “You appreciate Bernie the more you see him in action,” says Senator Chuck Schumer, the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, who served with him for several years in the House. A fellow Brooklynite who is nine years younger, Schumer attended the same elementary school as Sanders (P.S. 197) and the same high school (James Madison, which also graduated a third United States senator, Norm Coleman, Republican of Minnesota). “Bernie does tend to grow on people, whether it’s in the House or in Vermont,” Schumer says.

But he has clearly grown bigger in Vermont, and more seamlessly. “His bumper stickers just say, ‘Bernie,’ ” says Senator Patrick Leahy, Vermont’s senior Senator and a Democrat. “You have to reach a certain exulted status in politics to be referred to only by your first name.”

Sanders is particularly beloved in Burlington, which elected the recovering fringe candidate as its mayor despite the Reagan landslide of 1980 — thus christening the so-called “People’s Republic of Burlington.” Some supporters called themselves “Sanderistas.”

His election to the Senate in November came at the expense of a too-perfect Bernie foil — Richard Tarrant, a well-barbered, Bentley-driving Republican businessman who spent $7 million of his own money so he could lose by 33 percentage points.

“Congratulations, Bernie,” a fan yells to Sanders outside his district office in Burlington. Sanders was out for a quick bagel on a balmy December morning, temperatures in the 60s — another day of Al Gore weather in the once-frozen north. He walked head down but kept getting stopped. “Now you gotta run for president, please,” the congratulator added, something Sanders gets a lot of too.

It is a reception that any natural, eager-to-please politician would relish — and accordingly, Sanders dispatches these glad-handing chores with the visible joy of someone cleaning a litter box, coughing out his obligatory thank yous and continuing on his way.

Sanders’s popularity in Vermont brings up the obvious questions: to what degree is he a quaint totem of the state, like the hermit thrush (the state bird), and could a Socialist be elected to the Senate anywhere else?

In recent years, Vermont has joined — perhaps surpassed — states like Massachusetts and New York in the top tier of liberal outposts. Several distinctions nurture the state’s credentials: It was the first place to legalize civil unions for same-sex partners; it is the home of Phish, the counter cultural rock-folk band and contemporary analog to the Grateful Dead and of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream (and its peacenik-themed flavors); and it is host to cultural quirks and ordinances like not allowing billboards, being the last state to get a Wal-Mart.

The state has also incubated several politicians who have achieved national boogie-man status among Republicans. They include Leahy, the Grateful Dead fan and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee; former Senator James Jeffords, the liberal Republican who became an Independent in 2001, giving Democrats a temporary majority; and Howard Dean, the former governor whose presidential campaign boom (and perhaps fizzle) was tied heavily to his association with Vermont’s progressive politics.

Sanders fits snugly into this maverick’s pantheon. But Leahy says his fellow senator appeals to an anti establishment strain in Vermont that is not necessarily liberal. Leahy notes that he himself is the only Democrat the state’s voters have ever elected to the Senate. Before 1992, only one Democratic presidential candidate carried Vermont — Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

“A lot of the lower-income parts of our state are Republican,” Leahy says, adding that many of them are populated by rural libertarians who are greatly suspicious of government intrusion into individual rights. “I saw Bernie signs all over those parts of the state.”

Sanders opposes some federal gun-control laws, which has helped him in a state where “you grow up believing it is legal to shoot deer on the statehouse lawn in Montpelier,” says Luke Albee, a South Burlington native who was Leahy’s House chief of staff.

But again: Could Sanders be elected to the Senate anywhere else?

No, not as a Socialist, Schumer says. “Even in New York State it would be hard.”

Massachusetts? “Maybe this year he could,” Frank says, meaning 2006. “But if he were running in any other state, he probably would have to comb his hair.”

Leahy says that just any Socialist probably couldn’t get elected in Vermont, either. But Sanders has made himself known in a state small enough — physically and in terms of population — for someone, particularly a tireless someone, to insinuate himself into neighborly dialogues and build a following that skirts ideological pigeonholes. Indeed, there are no shortages of war veterans or struggling farmers in Vermont who would seemingly have no use for a humorless aging hippie peacenik Socialist from Brooklyn, except that Sanders has dealt with many of them personally, and it’s a good bet his office has helped them procure some government benefit.

“People have gotten to know him as Bernie,” Leahy says. “Not as the Socialist.”

Sanders calls himself as a “democratic Socialist.” When I asked him what this meant, as a practical matter, in capitalist America circa 2007, he did what he often does: he donned his rhetorical Viking’s helmet and waxed lovingly about the Socialist governments of Scandinavia. He mentioned that Scandinavian countries have nearly wiped out poverty in children — as opposed to the United States, where 18 to 20 percent of kids live in poverty. The Finnish government provides free day care to all children; Norwegian workers get 42 weeks of maternity leave at full pay.

But would Americans ever accept the kinds of taxes that finance the Scandinavian welfare state? And would Sanders himself trade in the United States government for the Finnish one? He is curiously, frustratingly non-responsive to questions like this. “I think there is a great deal we can learn from Scandinavia,” he said after a long pause. And then he returns to railing about economic justice and the rising gap between rich and poor, things he speaks of with a sense of outrage that always seems freshly summoned.

Sanders crinkles his face whenever a conversation veers too long from this kind of “important stuff” and into the “silly stuff,” like clothes and style. “I do not like personality profiles,” Sanders told me during our first conversation. He trumpets a familiar rant against the media, its emphasis on gaffes, polls and trivial details.

“If I walked up on a stage and fell down, that would be the top story,” Sanders says. “You wouldn’t hear anything about the growing gap between rich and poor.”

When I first met Sanders in person on Church Street, there were big streaks of dried mud on his shoes and dried blood on his neck from what looked to be a shaving mishap. His hair flew every which way in a gust of wind. At six feet tall, he is wiry, but he walks with shoulders hunched and elbows out, like a big, skulking bird. From a distance, he looked as if he could be homeless.Photo

Bernie Sanders. Credit Larry Fink for The New York Times

Closer in, the overwhelming impression made by Sanders is that of an acute worrier. He evinces the wearied default manner of a longtime insomniac, eyes weather-beaten with big lines and a perpetual slight cringe. His brow appears close to collapse beneath the weight of an invisible sandbag.

Richard Sugarman, a professor of religion at the University of Vermont and a longtime friend, recalls that during Sanders’s days as mayor, constituents would sometimes call him at his listed home phone number in the middle of the night. “Someone would call at 3 a.m. and say, ‘Hey Bernie, someone just threw a brick through my window, what should I do?’ He was as hands on as anyone. ... Does he have an off-mode? Not really.”

Luke Albee, Leahy’s former chief of staff, says: “He has no hobbies. He works. He doesn’t take time off. Bernie doesn’t even eat lunch. The idea of building a fire and reading a book and going on vacation, that’s not something he does.”

As much as anything, this distills why Sanders has been an awkward fit in the chummy realm of Capitol Hill. He is no pleaser or jokester by anyone’s prototype. I don’t recall Sanders laughing more than two or three times in the 48 hours I spent with him in Vermont. His one memorably funny aside came when I asked if his Congressional office had a dress code.

“Yes,” he said. “You can’t come in if you’re totally nude,” he said. He instituted the rule, he said, when his outreach director, Phil Fiermonte, who is now sitting next to him, came to work naked.

“Totally nude,” Sanders said. “On three occasions.”

He was kidding, presumably.

Riding in the passenger seat of Fiermonte’s car, Sanders was shouting into a brick-size cellphone, the likes of which were all the rage in the 1990s. He was talking to a staff person who was about to meet with someone from the office of Senator Edward Kennedy, chairman of Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, one of five committees that Sanders will sit on. Sanders voice filled the car.

“Dental care is yooge,” Sanders boomed into the phone. This has been a leitmotif of my visit — Sanders’s crusade to improve dental health among Vermont’s rural poor. He views this as an employment and economic issue. “How many employers are going to hire someone who doesn’t have teeth?” he asks. “You go around this state, and you will find a lot of people with no teeth. It is their badge of poverty.”

Improving dental care for the poor is a classic Sanders issue: un sexy and given to practical solutions and his obsessive attention. Sanders sees bad dental care among the poor as a “pothole issue” in Vermont, meaning it is pervasive and something that government should be active in fixing (like potholes). Teeth are tangible, especially when they hurt.

Sanders’s car pulled into the parking lot of H.O. Wheeler Elementary School in North Burlington, where he was visiting a drop-by dental clinic. The notion of “school-based dental care” excites Sanders immensely, and his gait speeds as he enters the school, past the main office, a classroom and several school officials he has come to know over multiple visits.

“If you’re a kid, and you’re having dental pain, you’re not going to be learning a lot,” said Joseph Arioli, of Burlington’s Community Health Center and one of a half-dozen program administrators — including a dentist in scrubs — convened around a dentist chair.

The clinic provides free access to dental care for kids at high risk of neglecting their teeth. Students are typically seen during the school day, which means they miss minimal class time and their parents don’t have to leave work to take them. Betsy Liley, a grant writer for the city, says that many households in Vermont own just one toothbrush.

“Lemme guess, a lot of the dietary habits you see here are not great,” Sanders said. Nods all around. He said he’d do his best to secure more financing and vowed to return. And he told Liley that he might bring her to Washington to testify before a Senate committee.

Walking out, Sanders didn’t bother with goodbye — just as he didn’t with hello — only a thank you and a “what you’re doing here is yooge” over his shoulder.

“Great program,” Sanders said in the car. He likes to check in whenever possible. That’s essentially what I did with Sanders in Vermont: check in, with programs that he’s been involved with or wants to learn more about. He likes to hit lots of meetings, quick, businesslike transactions.

Only once in six discussions I sat in on did Sanders indulge in a personal anecdote. He was in his office talking to Sharon Moffat, Vermont’s acting commissioner of health, and the topic turned to dental care.

“I have a personal story to tell you,” Sanders said, and my ears perked up as I fantasized of learning the “Rosebud” episode that might explain Bernie’s interest in teeth.

“I was in the House cloakroom about five years ago,” Sanders said. “And I was thirsty. I took a drink of grape juice. Blawww.”

He scrunched up his face.

“It was awful, awful. Then I looked at the label. The amount of junk they put in there is unbelievable.”

Moffat nodded.

“Anyway, I no longer drink that stuff,” Sanders said.

Sanders’s parents were Jewish immigrants from Poland. His father, Eli, a struggling paint salesman who saw his family wiped out in the Holocaust, worried constantly about supporting his wife and two sons. His mother, Dorothy, dreamed of living in a “private home,” but they never made it beyond their three-and-a-half-room apartment on East 26th and Kings Highway. She died at age 46, when Bernie was 19. “Sensitivity to class was embedded in me then quite deeply,” Sanders told me.

Sanders spent a year at Brooklyn College before transferring to the University of Chicago, where he studied psychology and helped lead protests against racially segregated housing on campus. He spent time on a kibbutz in Israel after graduation and then moved to Vermont with his first wife. “I had always been captivated by rural life,” he says. As a child, Sanders attended Boy Scout camp upstate and used to cry on the bus as it returned him to New York at the end of the summer.

In Vermont, Sanders worked many jobs for meager sums — as a freelance writer, filmmaker, carpenter and researcher, among other things. (Sanders has one son, Levi, and three stepchildren from his marriage to his second wife, Jane O’Meara Driscoll, the president of a small college in Burlington whom he met at a party on the night of his first mayoral victory.)

Politics came to dominate Sanders’s life. He was an early member of Vermont’s Liberty Union party, an offshoot of the antiwar movement in Vermont. He ran as the party’s nominee for the Senate in a special election in 1971 and finished with 2 percent of the vote. The following year, he ran for governor and received 1 percent. He would run two more times for statewide office that decade as a third-party candidate and never come close.

That changed when he ran for mayor of Burlington in 1980, at Sugarman’s urging. Sugarman studied the race and believed Sanders could win, if few others did. Sanders knocked on doors all over the city, campaigned day and night and beat a six-term Democratic incumbent by 12 votes.

“People generally assumed this was a fluke and that he would be gone in two years,” said Peter Clavelle, a friend who succeeded Sanders as mayor.

Sanders spoke out against poverty in the third world and made good-will visits to the Soviet Union and Cuba, among other places that U.S. mayors generally didn’t travel to during that time. But a funny thing happened on the way to what many had dismissed as a short-running circus. Sanders undertook ambitious downtown revitalization projects and courted evil capitalist entities known as “businesses.” He balanced budgets. His administration sued the local cable franchise and won reduced rates for customers. He drew a minor-league baseball team to town, the Vermont Reds (named for the Cincinnati's, not the Commies).

Sanders’s appeal in Vermont’s biggest city blended the “think globally” sensibility of a liberal college town with the “act locally” practicality of a hands-on mayor. He offered sister-city relations with the Sandinistas and efficient snowplowing for the People’s Republic of Burlington. Before Sanders’s mayoral victory, Leahy says, it was easy not to take him seriously. “Then he got over that barrier, and got elected. He fixed the streets, filled the potholes, worked with the business community. He did what serious leaders do.” He was re-elected three times.

In a sense, Sanders’s stint as mayor become a template for his subsequent successes — and limitations — as a national officeholder. In the House, he gained great publicity and favor as an audacious critic with a geopolitical purview, but ultimately left his biggest mark with small-bore diligence to the local realpolitik.

I was reminded of this when I asked Sanders in early January what his immediate legislative goals would be in the Senate. He listed these broad-brush priorities: 1) ending the Iraq war; 2) reversing the “rapid decline of the middle class” (a corollary to “addressing the gap between rich and poor”); 3) reordering priorities in the federal budget; and 4) enacting environmental laws to thwart global warming. When I asked how he would translate any of his priorities into concrete legislation, he nodded sheepishly and said, “I’m in the process of trying to figure that out now.” It is an unsatisfying response somewhat reminiscent of Sanders’s all-purpose invocations of Scandinavia whenever he’s pressed on how his socialist philosophy can be applied to the two-party system he exists in.

As a general rule, Sanders is much more convincing at proffering outrage than solutions. He can do this in Vermont, in part, because he is an entrenched political brand — “Bernie” — and voters will forgive a little blowhardedness (if not demagoguery) from someone they basically agree with and who has grown utterly familiar to their landscape, like cows. Sanders can also pull this off because, as he did in the mayor’s office, he has buttressed his bomb-throwing with rock-solid attention to the pothole matters of dental clinics, veterans’ benefits, farm subsidies, the kind of things an attentive politician operating in a tiny state (with a population of just 620,000) can fashion a formidable political base from.

After three terms as mayor, Sanders ran for Vermont’s at-large House seat in 1988 as an Independent and lost by a small margin to Peter Smith, the Republican former lieutenant governor. He won a rematch in 1990.

“When I came into the House, no one knew what to do with me,” Sanders says. “I was the only representative from Vermont, so I had no one to help me. And I was the only Independent, so no one knew where to put me in terms of committee.”

Sanders was known as something of a pragmatic gadfly in the House. His grillings of former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan became a running burlesque, much awaited by many Hill and Federal Reserve watchers whenever Greenspan appeared before the House Financial Services Committee. (“Do you give one whit of concern for the middle class and working families of this country?” Sanders asked Greenspan in one representative exchange.)

Sanders was not without his legislative triumphs. He was adept at working with people with whom he otherwise disagreed sharply — forging alliances with conservatives like Representative Ron Paul, Republican of Texas and a well-known libertarian, with whom he shared a common hostility to the U.S.A. Patriot Act. In what might have been Sanders’s signature triumph of recent years, he was instrumental in striking a provision from the Patriot Act that would have required librarians to release data on what their patrons were reading.

But in keeping with his pragmatic gadfly’s approach, Sanders was far more accomplished at filing amendments to House bills than actually writing and producing legislation of his own. He was also gifted at drawing attention to his issues and (just as important) to himself. He was the first congressman to lead a bus trip to Canada to help seniors buy cheaper prescription drugs.

As he makes the transition to his new job, Sanders says his former House colleagues have teased him about not becoming “like the rest of them” in the Senate. Sanders jokes about this, as much as he jokes about anything. He says he will be required to enter a machine that zaps his brain and transforms him “into a member in good standing in the House of Lords.”

“We’re talking about a completely different animal here,” Sanders says. The House fosters a more hospitable habitat for the audacious and eccentric; their ranks tend to be camouflaged by its larger numbers, curtailed by strict time limits on floor speeches and reined in by the outsize power of the House leadership. Senators can speak for as long as they want and single-handedly buck the wishes of 99 other senators by placing “holds” on bills and nominations. Tradition dictates that senators exercise such privileges sparingly.

“There will be times when he causes the Democratic leadership some agita,” Schumer predicts. “But knowing him, I think he’s smart enough not to make any gratuitous enemies. He might make enemies, but they won’t be gratuitous enemies.”

Sanders told me, “You have to ask yourself, Did the people send me here to give long speeches, or did they send me here to get things done?”

By “you” Sanders means himself, as his sleepless Socialist adventure proceeds into the House of Lords.

On a quiet morning in mid-December, Sanders was sitting in his new office in the basement of a Senate office building — it is a temporary office he will inhabit before he moves to another temporary office that he will occupy until a permanent space opens up, probably around March. It’s all very exasperating, he said, this office-space situation. But he asked that I keep the specifics of his exasperation out of the article. He is trying to meet a stepped-up standard of tact and decorum in his new home.

“Why can’t we get these phone calls forwarded from the House office?” Sanders asked a staff person who is working temporarily at a temporary reception desk in the temporary-temporary office. Everything seems temporary, but not as temporary as before. Sanders has a six-year term now instead of a two-year one. Friends have advised him to pace himself, curb his impatience. He would seem ill wired for this, but he is trying. He even took a four-day vacation last month — and to Palm Springs.

But now he has work to do, beginning with getting to know his colleagues. “Personal relationships are very important in the Senate,” he told me. He likes the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, a lot, appreciates that he gave him the committee assignments that he wanted — Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; the Environment and Public Works; Veterans’ Affairs; Energy and Natural Resources; and the Budget. And wouldn’t you know, Reid has an interest in dental care, too. He grew up dirt poor in Nevada, and his mother had no teeth. The first thing Reid did when he got his first job — at a gas station — was buy her a new set. So the Senate’s leading Democrat gets the importance of dental care, which could help save teeth in Vermont.

“Let’s go somewhere else to talk,” Sanders said, as we headed out the door of his temporary-temporary office. “We can get some coffee.”

We traversed a maze of hallways that lead into a Senate dining room. “Can we sit down in here?” he asked a buss person. Yes, but then Sanders looked at a bunch of tables covered in white linen table clothes, not what he had in mind.

We walked upstairs, in search of a quiet place in the new neighborhood, on the Senate side. He kept navigating short hallways and turning back. An elevator opened in front of Sanders. It said “Senators Only.” The attendant invited him on, but he hesitated, turned away and began looking for another route to wherever he was going.

Sanders zigzags the Capitol this way barely recognized, or acknowledged (or congratulated, or urged to run for president). A few people stare at the new senator as he walks by — maybe because he looks lost, or famous, or maybe just because he looks like a strange bird out of Vermont.

Saturday, April 23, 2016


The National Center for Education Statistics reported that in 2010-11, nonprofit colleges and universities spent $449 billion. Less than 29 percent of that -- $129 billion -- went for instruction, and part of that amount went for expenses other than professors’ salaries. Yes, the $449 billion includes money spent on auxiliary enterprises (food and housing operations, for example), hospitals and “independent operations” (whatever they are). Suppose we subtract the $85 billion that pays for all of that from the total. That leaves $364 billion. The $129 billion for instruction of students is still only 35 percent of that.

So for every $1 spent on instruction, $1.82 is spent on non-instructional things such as “academic support, student services, institutional support, public service” and a catchall category called “other.”

In 2010-11, private colleges and universities received more than $22 billion in gifts, grants and contracts, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, and more than $53 billion in investment income (including capital gains on investments). Together, this $75 billion far exceeded the cost of instruction at these institutions ($50 billion), and was enough to also cover significant research spending. One could argue the $60 billion in tuition fees collected by private colleges actually paid for the plethora of administrators (“institutional support”), and student recreational facilities and athletic subsidies (“student services”).

What about public universities? NCES says they received $73 billion in revenue from state and local government appropriations, and billions more in private gifts and investment income, enough to cover their $79.4 billion total instructional costs. Again, the $60 billion in tuition money (paid by students or as part of financial-aid packages) could be viewed as paying for university administrators, for research largely tangential to the student’s education, for “public service” and so on.

A look at the shift in public university staffing confirms this view. If the ratio of non-teaching professional staff (roughly speaking, administrators and bureaucrats) to instructors (faculty and graduate assistants) in 2010 was the same as it was in 1976, there would have been 381,456 fewer of these non-instructional staff -- the “deanlets,” as political scientist Benjamin Ginsburg calls them in his book “The Fall of the Faculty.”

If the average salary and fringe benefits of these workers is $75,000 a year (and many “deanlets” make vastly more than that), the costs of this increased staffing add up to about one-fourth of all tuition fees paid in 2010. No wonder tuition increases far outstrip the general inflation rate.

College presidents say this expansion has helped make higher education more efficient and is therefore in students’ interests. They say vast new staffs have been required in information technology, for example. Curiously, in the private business sector, computers and technology are viewed as means of lowering costs through labor saving; in higher education, technology somehow enhances costs.

University leaders further argue that federal research-grant rules require armies of administrators. And they point to the role that affirmative action and safety rules have played in increasing personnel and research costs.

These claims are overblown, and a cursory examination of college websites demonstrates the bureaucratic explosion. Take the University of Texas at Austin, for example. President Bill Powers has 17 administrators on his staff, including two “deputies,” an “executive assistant” and multiple assistants to the assistants. The provost has 10 “vice provosts” working for him (each with staff); the “director of diversity and community engagement” had 14 “key” administrators and an unknown number of lesser workers; the development office listed 118 employees; 32 worked in university communications (not counting communications specialists at subunits of UT).

Overseeing all this is a “University of Texas System office,” run by a chancellor with “seven executive offices,” each with large staffs. That isn’t all: Above the UT system is a Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board with more than 230 employees. Other universities and states have similar bloated staffs.


Here's how it worked for New Yorkers;

The Kings County Board of Elections purged 126,000 registered Democratsfrom the voting rolls in Brooklyn, prompting an outcry from Mayor Bill de Blasio and an audit from Comptroller Scott Stringer. “It has been reported to us from voters and voting rights monitors that the voting lists in Brooklyn contain numerous errors, including the purging of entire buildings and blocks of voters from the voting lists,” de Blasio said. “The perception that numerous voters may have been disenfranchised undermines the integrity of the entire electoral process and must be fixed.”

Polling places didn’t open on time, voting machines malfunctioned, and voters showed up to find their names weren’t on the rolls. Some voters had their party affiliations mysteriously switched from Democratic or Republican to independent or non-affiliated and couldn’t vote in the closed primaries. And 3 million New Yorkers, 27 percent of the electorate, didn’t get to vote because they weren’t registered with the Democratic or Republican parties, and the deadline to change party affiliation was an absurd 193 days before the April 19 primary, as I reported on Monday.

As a result, only 19.7 percent of eligible New Yorkers cast a ballot, the second-lowest voter turnout among primary states after Louisiana, according to elections expert Michael McDonald. There were over 900 calls from frustrated voters to the Election Protection Coalition, more than in any other primary state. 

In reporting on some of the voting issues that have risen during the party primaries in New Hampshire, North Carolina and Arizona these past few months — namely waiting lines as long as five hours and confusing new voter ID rules — The Nation’s Ari Berman often reminds his readers that the 2016 election is the first in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. His 2015 book, Give Us the Ballot, chronicles the events that led to the creation and passage of the landmark civil rights law, and the decades-long effort to undermine it.

The Fight to Vote, another book published just last month, explores the history of suffrage even further, all the way back to America’s founding. Author Michael Waldman, president of New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, notes that from the very beginning, and at every step along the way, Americans have sought the right to vote and others have fought to stop them.

Throughout this tumultuous primary season, writer Ari Berman, author of the book Give Us the Ballot, has been keeping a knowledgeable eye on the impact of voting laws old and new. He is vigorously reporting on issues of disenfranchisement at the polling place and investigating the difficulties of registering and voting under a cloud of recent restrictive legislation, keeping all of us aware that what has happened so far could be a harbinger of big trouble ahead as we approach the actual November general election.

New Hampshire
New York
North Carolina




Today’s the day that folks who lobby your elected representatives for a living have to file quarterly reports with Congress about what they’ve been up to. 

These reports will be carefully scrutinized and parsed by journalists and good-government watchdogs who track the business of influence in the nation’s capital. Alas, there’s only so much they won’t be able to find out. 

Lobbyists are required to report for whom they lobbied and on what issue and how much they got paid. But lobbyists for domestic interests, unlike those who represent foreign clients (even though they are often the same people) don’t have to report with whom they met, or how many times. Did they email with a deputy legislative assistant? Or have a tĂȘte-a-tĂȘte with a member of Congress? If they’re working on behalf of domestic interests (or foreign interests using a US-based corporate partner as a beard), we’ll never know. 

To check out the differences in reporting standards yourself, take a gander at a report the Podesta Group filed with Congress about its work for a domestic tobacco business, compared with one filed at the Justice Department describing the lobbying company’s work on behalf of some of its foreign clients.

There’s another gaping hole in our public information safety net: If you relied on the lobbying reports due today at the Clerk of the House and the Senate Office of Public Records, you might come to the conclusion that influence-peddling is a shrinking business in Washington. Numbers compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics suggest that the population of lobbyists in the nation’s capital has actually been dropping over the past few years. Fat chance. Can you spell L-O-O-P-H-O-L-E?

What is shadow lobbying? How influence peddlers shape policy in the dark - Sunlight Foundation Blog

What is shadow lobbying?

Shadow lobbying refers to someone who performs advocacy to influence public policy, like meeting legislators or their staff, without registering as a lobbyist — and it’s a big problem for anyone who cares about transparency in Washington. (For further reading on this topic, you can’t do better than to read Lee Fang’s 2014 investigation of shadow lobbying at The Nation.)

THE 1% OF THE 1%

“We are the 99 percent” is a great slogan, but is it distracting our attention from a sinister reality? There’s strong evidence that it’s not the one percent you should worry about — it’s the 0.1 percent. That decimal point makes a big difference.

Over the last decade, a gigantic share of America’s income and wealth gains has flowed to this group, the wealthiest one out of 1,000 households. These are the wildly exotic and rapidly growing plants in our economic hothouse. Their habits and approaches to life are far divorced from the rest of us, and if we let them, they will soon cut off all our air and light.

The 99 percent would do well to find common ground with the bulk of the one percent if we can, because we are going to need each other to tackle this mounting threat from above.

To make it into the one percent, you need to have, according to some estimates, at least about $350,000 a year in income, or around $8 million accumulated in wealth. At the lower end of the one percent spectrum, the “lower-uppers,” as they have been called, you’ll find people like successful doctors, accountants, engineers, lawyers, vice-presidents of companies and well-paid media figures.

Plenty of these affluent people have enjoyed blessings from Lady Luck, but a lot of them work hard at their jobs and want to contribute to their communities in positive ways. In times past, these kinds of citizens served on the boards of museums and cultural institutions and were active and prominent figures in their towns and cities. But now they are getting shoved aside unceremoniously by the vastly richer Wall Street financiers and Silicon Valley tycoons above them.

Is the 1% Really the Problem? | Alternet


The Establishment believes the "fix" is in and it's only a matter of writing off Bernie (and the voters) at this point.

What they don't take into consideration is that this time around, voters are not going to just walk away without a fight. Bernie says "Americans are not stupid" and have wised up to the fact that; as Bernie says, "the system is rigged."

The campaign finance experts who spoke to ThinkProgress said while they find Clinton’s activities unethical, they are likely not illegal.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has long accused the Democratic National Committee of bias toward his opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Pointing to poorly scheduled debates, the super-delegate process, and preferential access to the party’s data, Sanders and his sympathizers have blasted the DNC for rigging the process against him.

Sanders unveiled a new accusation this week, pointing to “extremely serious concerns” about Clinton’s joint fundraising activities with the DNC. A letter from his attorney laid out the issue: the joint fundraising structure allows Clinton to accept much larger individual donations than her campaign is legally allowed to receive, and that money is then being used to send out mailers and online ads to raise money from smaller donors who can contribute directly to the campaign multiple times. The group has collected $33 million dollars so far.

So do Sanders’ accusations hold water? The campaign finance experts who spoke to ThinkProgress said while they find Clinton’s activities unethical, they are likely not illegal.It is permissible, but it’s offensive, and it should be illegal.

“This is the type of mega, mega joint fundraising committee that we all feared would come into existence if McCutcheon were ruled the wrong way, which it was,” said Craig Holman with Public Citizen. “It makes maximum use of the loose rules governing joint fundraising. They’re using big checks to set up a small donor fundraising campaign and turning over the small donors to the Hillary campaign while keeping the large ones for the party. It is permissible, but it’s offensive, and it should be illegal.”

Both Holman and Larry Noble with the Campaign Legal Center emphasized that it’s extremely unusual and possibly unprecedented for a party to raise so much money for a candidate before the general election.

“It shows the DNC has clearly taken sides before they even have a nominee,” said Holman. 


Besides the fact that Hillary is a multi milionaire in her own right and that her son-in-law founded a hedge fund of his own why is so much of this money flowing into her campaign coffers?

Simple; Big money wants to hedge on both sides as longs as it's on someone who'll play ball with them. Their picks foretell what's to come; Cruz or Clinton (who both have family members working on Wallstreet).

Are super PACs becoming captive to hedge funders? Six give nearly $10 million to presidential groups in March alone | OpenSecrets Blog

Hedge fund managers know something about when to hold and when to fold. Last month, they did more of the former when it came to political giving, holding steady with their pattern of making uber-contributions to presidential super PACs — even after the favored candidate of some of them dropped out of the race.

Wall Street dominates political giving. But it’s these donors, a much smaller subset of the securities sector, who play with the biggest money.

The month of March saw more big contributions to presidential super PACs fromJames Simons, Robert Mercer, Donald Sussman, Paul Singer , George Soros and Cliff Asness in particular. The six men — founders of investment companies that manage hedge funds, or high-risk private funds that often require seven-figure buy-ins from their investors — anted up a total of $9.5 million to presidentially focused super PACs for the month, bringing their total gifts to these groups to $33.5 million for the cycle.

Before the latest super PAC filings, which were due at the Federal Election Commission by midnight last night, the larger securities and investment industry — including not just hedge funds but commercial banks, brokerage firms and other industries — had given $221 million to congressional and presidential campaigns and super PACs in the 2016 cycle.

By itself, the hedge fund industry had given almost $75 million.

Throughout the current presidential campaign season, hedge fund managers have steadily given to Priorities USA Action, the super PAC backing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The March contributions are the latest evidence that super PACs are allowing a powerful industry to dominate political giving. To put the multimillion-dollar gifts in perspective, however, consider not just the naked wealth of the donors (Soros is worth an estimated $25 billion, for example; Singer, $2.2 billiion) but also the multibillions in assets under management reported by the investment firms: Renaissance Technologies, the firm founded by Simons and now led by Mercer, has almost $72 billion in assets under management, according to Securities and Exchange Commission records; Singer’s firm Elliott Management has $46 billion under management. For Paloma Partners, Sussman’s firm, the figure is $7.5 billion.


Hillary Rodham Clinton and her family personally paid a State Department staffer to maintain the private e-mail server she used while heading the agency, according to an official from Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The unusual arrangement helped Clinton retain personal control over the system that she used for her public and private duties and that has emerged as an issue for her campaign. 

But, according to the campaign official, it also ensured that taxpayer dollars were not spent on a private server that was shared by Clinton, her husband and their daughter as well as aides to the former president.

That State Department staffer, Bryan Pagliano, told a congressional committee  that he would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination instead of testifying about the setup.

Clinton said in an interview that there were “so many problems around the world” when she took office in Jan. 2009, that she “didn’t really stop and think…what kind of e-mail system will there be?”

But Pagliano’s hire indicates that Clinton and her team gave the system adequate forethought.

The Clintons paid Pagliano $5,000 for “computer services” prior to his joining the State Department in May 2009, according to The Post. He continued to work on the server, which was located in the Clintons’ Chappaqua, N.Y. home, after he took the job. Pagliano, who had worked on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, did not report the side income to the State Department.

Pagliano, 39, left the job in Feb. 2013, the same month that Clinton left.

The timing of his departure raises further questions about whether he was hired at State to work solely for Clinton. At State, Pagliano carried the title of special advisor and deputy chief information officer. He earned approximately $140,000 a year as a GS-15, The Daily Caller found.

(RELATED: How Much Was Hillary’s Personal IT Guy Paid At The State Department?)

Pagliano’s attorney, Mark Macdougall, informed the House Select Committee on Benghazi that his client will plead the fifth if subpoenaed to testify about his involvement in the email setup. According to The Post, a spokeswoman for the Senate Judiciary Committee said that Pagliano made the decision not to testify after his attorney told him he could be asked questions about outside employment.

(RELATED: Hillary’s IT Guy Says He’ll Plead The Fifth If Called To Testify About Home-Brew Server)

The FBI is currently investigating Clinton’s server, which had been relocated from New York to a New Jersey data center after she left the State Department. The agency seized the hardware from the data center last month after the Intelligence Community inspector general discovered two emails that contained “top secret” information at the time they were sent.

Bryan Pagliano, the State Department IT guru who has said he will plead the fifth rather than testify about his work on Hillary Clinton’s home-brew email server, is represented by a partner at a prestigious Washington D.C. law firm with close political and financial ties to the former secretary of state.

The arrangement between Pagliano and Mark MacDougall of Akin Gump raises questions over whether the former Clinton aide merely sought to hire the best lawyer he could find for himself, or whether the Democratic presidential hopeful intervened in any way.

Clinton’s campaign treasurer is Jose Villarreal, a senior consultant at Akin Gump. One of the firm’s highest profile attorneys is Vernon Jordan, Jr., a longtime Clinton insider who was on Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential transition committee. The former first couple, along with President Obama and Michelle Obama, recently attended Jordan’s 80th birthday, which was held at Martha’s Vineyard.

Clinton’s financial ties to Akin Gump also run deep. Federal Election Commission (FEC) records show that five Akin Gump attorneys have bundled $129,850 for Clinton’s campaign through June 30.

FEC records also show that individual Akin Gump attorneys and advisers, including Villarreal and Jordan, contributed $120,096 to her campaign. It is unclear how much of the individual contributions are captured in the amount bundled by Akin Gump lawyers.

Hillary Clinton’s personal IT guru is still refusing to meet with Congress, his attorney recently told the chairmen of two Senate committees.

Last month, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley and Homeland Security chairman Ron Johnson asked Mark MacDougall, the attorney for Bryan Pagliano, if his client would be willing to testify about his work on Clinton’s server.

MacDougall said his client would “respectfully decline” the invitation, according to the letter, which was first obtained by the Associated Press.

Pagliano was recently granted immunity by the FBI in exchange for his cooperation in the investigation into Clinton’s server. He was hired at the State Department in May 2009 to set up and maintain Clinton’s email server, which has been found to contain classified information.

Clintons personally paid State Department staffer to maintain server - The Washington Post

Friday, April 22, 2016


A Center for Responsive Politics analysis of the top donors to JFCs — which allow candidates, party committees, and PACs to band together and take one big check apiece from contributors — shows that liberal megadonors, led by those loyal to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have given $12.3 million compared to conservatives’ $10.3 million.

Among the top 20 biggest donors to JFCs, just three have given predominantly to Republican committees. The biggest JFC donor so far? Tech billionaire Sean Parker, who’s shelled out more than $725,000, much of it to Clinton’s JFC.

JFCs allow star fundraisers to spread their wealth around the party.. The donors can’t get around individual contribution limits — but they can get creative.

The Hillary Victory Committee and Democratic Hope Fund, for instance, are using loopholes to transfer funds to the Democratic National Committee through state party affiliates, and they’re doing it with megadonor money Republicans haven’t yet been able to match. The listed beneficiaries of her JFC include her campaign committee, the DNC and 31 state party committees.

Unsurprisingly, the industries giving to the Hillary Victory Committee closely track with industry donors to her supportive super PACs. Securities and investment — Wall Street — has given the most to that committe, nearly $3.5 million. Wealthy individuals who list a foundation or nonprofit as their employer, who together make up part of the non-profit institutions industry, have given $1.6 million.

That makes Clinton’s JFC like the super PACs that support her: Clinton can claimpopular support for her campaign from law firms and the education industries, but a look at her big-money groups shows Wall Street and the wealthy dominate the giving.

While past presidential candidates waited until they received the nomination to join joint fundraising committees, the Hillary Victory Committee has already distributed over $44 million to her campaign and other Democratic candidates.


Chances of Hillary winning the nomination are good, BUT (and it's a big but) taking the general election is not a done deal; not even close.

The GOP candidate will have the advantage merely because not a one of them has the amount of baggage Hillary is bringing with her that will give her opponent a gift that will keep on giving all the way to election day; the sheer weight of it will bring Hillary down and she will lose the election. Read more; Enough with the Hillary cult: Her admirers ignore reality, dream of worshipping a queen

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


“We kicked his a** tonight,” bragged a senior Hillary Clinton aide.

“I hope this convinces Bernie to tone it down. If not, f**k him.”

A Politico reporter says this is what he was told Tuesday night, after Clinton won the New York primary, with around 58 percent of the vote to Sanders’ 42 percent.

Sanders won the vast majority of New York state, but Clinton won the densely populated urban areas, particularly New York City

New York is one of only 11 U.S. states that has a closed primary, meaning residents who are not registered with the Democratic or Republican Parties cannot participate.

More than one-quarter (27 percent) of New York’s registered voters were therefore unable to vote in the primary. Because they were registered either as independents or with third parties, 3.2 million New Yorkers were left without a voice.

In order to participate, voters had to register for a party in October, six months before the primary. And this is not even considering the possibility of being purged from the records.

The Nation flatly stated that New York has “some of the worst voting laws in the country.” It has no early voting, no same-day registration, no pre-registration and no out-of-precinct voting.

North Carolina, in fact, invoked New York laws to justify its own harsh voting restrictions.

Sanders, a Vermont senator who has been elected for decades as an independent, does significantly better with independent voters than Clinton.

Sanders said he commiserated with the more than 3 million New Yorkers who were unable to vote.

Some 3 million independents in New York will be unable to vote in the primaries on Tuesday because of the rule, Sanders said, adding it’s something he’d like to see changed.

After circling the rest of the block, Sanders disappeared into his hotel and was soon on his way to the airport. He has two campaign stops planned Tuesday in Pennsylvania, which is one of five states holding primaries on April 26. Pennsylvania’s Democratic primary is closed, too.
Hillary Clinton won New York, but her image is underwater - The Washington Post


As one might expect Hillary's astounding victory in New York smells a little bit like a fix. No surprise given that the majority of her votes came from very few areas of the state; the densely populated and easily corrupted NYC area. Read more; After More Than 100,000 Voters Dropped In Brooklyn, City Officials Call For Action : NPR

Bernie Sanders ripped into New York's primary voting system on Tuesday as a betrayal of democratic government that is preventing millions of people from having a say in choosing the country's next president.

Speaking in New York City, Sanders criticized the state for holding a "closed primary" in which voters must be registered with a party in order to cast a ballot.

"Today, 3 million people in the state of New York who are independents have lost their right to vote in the Democratic or Republican primary," Sanders said, according to the New York Daily News. "That’s wrong."

Sanders's attack on closed primaries may have greater force in New York, where there have been mounting concerns about how voting in the state was handled.

More than 60,000 voters previously registered in Brooklyn mysteriously disappeared from the Democratic voter rolls, WNYC reported. Complaints about difficulty casting votes were rampant in New York today. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for an audit after widespread concerns.

And New York doesn't just have a primary closed to independents; it also has the earliest deadline to switch party registration of any state in the country. As Sanders says, that really is making it much more difficult for voters to pick their presidential candidates.

While Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton handily won the New York primary with substantial margins Tuesday, the fight hasn't ended for the state's independent voters.

A federal judge in New York heard a lawsuit Wednesday morning on behalf of "disenfranchised and purged voters in the state of New York," against the state's Board of Elections for obstructing New Yorkers from the ability to participate in the Democratic primary.

"The widespread and ongoing removal of eligible voters from the State of New York's voter-registration roll or assigned incorrect party affiliations in violation of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, and the US Constitution's guarantee of equal protection," the lawsuit said.

"Tens of thousands of New Yorkers face the threat of disenfranchisement in the 2016 Presidential Preference Primary to be held on April 19, 2016 and will continue to be shut out of the democratic process unless and until Defendants reform the registrations practices."

Even for those that were able to vote, the primary process was riddled with inefficiencies and irregularities, New Yorkers reported.

Accounts of broken ballot scanning equipment, long lines stuck behind locked polling stations, and missing names and incorrect information on voting rolls were circulated widely throughout the day. More than 125,000 Democratic voters said they were incorrectly "purged" from voting lists, according to CNN.

"It has been reported to us from voters and voting rights monitors that the voting lists in Brooklyn contain numerous errors, including the purging of entire buildings and blocks of voters from the voting lists," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement obtainedby CNN, Tuesday. "The perception that numerous voters may have been disenfranchised undermines the integrity of the entire electoral process and must be fixed."

Sanders, who has the support of many people behind this lawsuit, called the day a "disgrace."

"It is absurd that in Brooklyn, New York, where I was born, tens of thousands of people as I understand it have been purged from the voting rolls," he told the rally. "It’s a little bit crazy that in upstate New York they open the polls at noon. What happens to people who get up early in the morning and have to go to work?"

Monday, April 18, 2016


There is something fundamentally wrong with the system when large corporations spend millions of dollars buying off politicians in order to dodge paying their fair share of taxes in support of these United States.

Bernie says the system is "rigged" and the facts show how;

Hillary Clinton has financial relationships with some of America’s biggest corporate tax dodgers.

Bernie Sanders recently outed the 10 biggest multinational corporations that paid no federal taxes for at least one year between 2008 and 2012. Sanders has made reining in corporate tax dodgers a key point of his presidential platform. In a recent press release, the Sanders campaign laid out the Vermont senator’s plans to force multinational corporations to pay their fair share in taxes:

As it turns out, all ten of those same companies are some of Hillary Clinton’s biggest donors, whether to her campaign or to her family foundation.

Read More; 
All Top 10 Corporate Tax Dodgers Donate to Hillary Clinton

BERNIE'S 2014 INCOME $205,000 - ONE HILLARY SPEECH $325,000

Bernie Sanders and his wife reported an adjusted gross income of $205,000 for 2014. They donated $8,350 to charity. The Sanders’ income comes mainly from Bernie’s U.S. Senate salary and Social security payments.

How does this compare to his opponent’s salary? Well, in 2014 Hillary Clinton was paid more money for one speech to either a corporation or big bank than the Sanders family made in an entire year.

Clinton made $280,000 for a speech to Deutsche Bank AG, $325,000 for a speech to the National Automobile Dealers’ Association, and $225,000 for a speech to General Electric. In fact, the average payment for an speech either Hillary or Bill Clinton has given since leaving the White House is $210,795 – still more than Sanders earns in a year. READ MORE;BERNIES 2014 INCOME $205,00
Bernie Sanders Releases His ‘Boring’ 2014 Tax Return 


           Hillary Clinton is revealed to be chasing down money and talking about her emails on hidden camera where she admits, on tape, she does not want to use email because of what it might do during any investigation. Fundraising fraud and other issues at work here. The entire investigation by ABC News 20/20 shows the darker side of what happens when public financing is not used for elections, but the way in which government officials are doing favors for those that throw the most money at them is disgusting. 

We already knew how bad Bill and Hillary Clinton were regarding Wall Street money, but this is clearly something they want to put in their past and was only one example where it was actually caught on tape.


Sanders often says he took on “the most powerful political machine in America,” by which he means the Clintons. He’s really fighting the whole Democratic Party: White House, Congress, DNC, elite media and, sad to say, national progressive groups. That includes organized labor but also nearly every liberal lobby in town. He’s been a more constant friend than Hillary Clinton to almost all of them — but he must face and defeat them all. That he’s done so in 14 states — 15 counting Iowa-and fought four more to a draw is a miracle — and a sign their days are truly numbered.

Eight month ago Bernie was a stranger to Democrats. In a recent CNN poll his popularity among them surpassed Clinton’s. (85 percent /10 percent versus 76/19). The Times poll shows the gap widening. In it, 56 percent of Dems say if he’s the nominee they’ll support him “enthusiastically.” Just 40 percent say the same of her. On issues his lead is far greater; that’s why she mimics him rather than the other way around. read more: We must smash the Clinton machine: