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KoKo's Journal
KoKo's Journal
January 29, 2016

Sanders Surge Panics Washington Establishment--The Hill

January 28, 2016, 03:00 pm
Sanders surge panics Washington establishment

By Brent Budowsky, columnist, The Hill

Virtually the entire Washington and Wall Street establishments are now in a state of panic about the possibility of a Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) victory in the Iowa Democratic caucus next Monday.

The Sanders revolution of young people, which includes a growing number of young women, independent workers in some labor unions that refuse to go along with the establishment, and liberal populists and idealists of all varieties, is now within striking distance of stunning the political world with upset victories in the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary.

In response, the virtual bedlam that has been behind the scenes in the Washington establishment in recent weeks is now coming into the open. It is a sight to behold!

In the last 24 hours, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has been seen on television criticizing the Sanders proposal for Medicare for all, which has huge support throughout the Democratic Party and, arguably, majority support throughout the nation. Privately, I protested what she said; here my protest becomes public. In a private memo, I wrote that if she wants to endorse Hillary Clinton she should, and state why she believes Clinton would be a great president, a proposition that can be fairly argued, but an argument that has never made effectively made by Clinton herself.

In the last 24 hours, the editorial board of The Washington Post launched a major broadside against Sanders. The Post is a paper owned by a billionaire and, in the early 2000s (under different ownership), its editorial page ardently supported the Iraq War that Sanders (and I) opposed. While the Post's columnists include a heavy dose of neoconservatives alongside some traditional moderate liberals, the Post recently let go Harold Myerson, its one authentically liberal populist columnist who had the spirit of Occupy Wall Street and the Sanders campaign.

As the Iowa caucus comes close, there is panic in the air of the establishment and that includes the Washington Democratic establishment, the Wall Street financial establishment and the corporate media establishment, which today is only concerned about the Donald Trump reality show and the GOP debate.

Meanwhile in Iowa, Sanders roused Democrats with a moving television ad, one of the best in decades, based on the theme of the Simon and Garfunkel song "America." While Sanders supporters are taking their case to social media, to campus meetings, to labor union halls, to farmers and workers in Iowa, and to homes through large-scale door-to-door campaigning.

What the insider Washington Democratic establishment fails to understand is that the issues Sanders raises have great appeal to the broad nation: a free public college education paid for through a Wall Street transaction tax; an increase in Social Security payments (now frozen at least year's rate for the new year); breaking up big banks and re-instituting reforms initiated by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt; dramatic reforms of the criminal justice system. These are very popular ideas that are opposed by armies of lobbyists but supported by huge numbers of Democrats and large numbers of independents.

Clinton offers great possibilities of becoming a great president if she is nominated, and her campaign should be singing her praises and not letting her advocates attack long-held policies, visions and dreams of the Democratic base that in many ways embody the core of the Democratic vision for America.

January 28, 2016

Sanders camp suspicious of Microsoft’s influence in Iowa Caucus--Sets up Own System

Sanders camp suspicious of Microsoft’s influence in Iowa Caucus
01/27/16 06:05 PM—Updated 01/28/16 12:09 PM
By Alex Seitz-Wald

DES MOINES, Iowa – The campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is raising questions about the involvement of Microsoft in the Iowa Caucuses, now just days away, and has built a independent system to check the official results.

For the first time this year, Microsoft partnered with the Iowa Democratic and Republican Parties to provide a technology platform with which the parties will run their caucuses. The software giant created separate mobile apps for each party, which officials at hundreds of caucuses across the state will use to report out results from individual precincts to party headquarters for tabulation.

The arrangement has aroused the suspicions of aides to Sanders, whose regularly warns that corporate power and the billionaire class are trying to hijack democracy. Pete D’Alessandro, who is running the Iowa portion of Sanders’ campaign, questioned the motives of the major multinational corporation in an interview with MSNBC: “You’d have to ask yourself why they’d want to give something like that away for free.”

The Sanders campaign has built their own reporting system to check the results from the official Microsoft-backed app. It has trained its precinct captain on using the app, which is designed to be as user friendly as possible, and the campaign will also staff a hotline system as further redundancy.


January 28, 2016

Clinton Foundation on Collision Course with Campaign--According to Interviews/Documents

Charity officials are under pressure to scale back lavish events.

By Kenneth P. Vogel

01/28/16 05:17 AM EST

The Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation ― increasingly seen as a distraction by supporters of Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid ― is considering dialing back its activity during the campaign and a potential Clinton presidency, according to interviews and documents obtained by POLITICO.

With its packed slate of events already colliding with the presidential election calendar and donors growing wary, the foundation has commissioned a study from the powerhouse Boston Consulting Group on how to improve the foundation’s showcase endeavor, the Clinton Global Initiative or CGI, while a 2015 study flagged concerns that Clinton's presidential campaign could hurt a separate project, the Clinton Health Access Initiative.

Foundation CEO Donna Shalala late last year warned staff of possible restructuring and election year uncertainty, and wouldn’t guarantee that CGI would follow through with plans for its flashy annual meeting in September, according to sources familiar with her conversations with staff.

Supporters of Hillary Clinton’s campaign privately grumble that the foundation is diverting the attention of Bill Clinton, her former president husband — as well as key donors — at a pivotal moment in the presidential campaign. They argue that CGI should suspend planned events during the primaries and just before the general election.

“Gosh, can't they relax a bit on that work and focus on winning Iowa?” said one bundler. “But everyone is resigned to how they function, and presumes they know what they are doing.”

Clinton Foundation officials said they have no plans to cancel any CGI events in 2016, and they cast the Boston Consulting Group study as "a periodic customer service review," while Hillary Clinton's campaign declined to comment.

Sometimes it can be hard to escape the sense that the two entities are competing for bandwidth in the Clintons’ orbit, with top bundlers complaining anonymously about dueling fundraising appeals from the two entities.

With a week to go until Iowa’s pivotal caucuses, Hillary Clinton was holding a series of events in the frigid state, while Bill Clinton, her top surrogate, was in the sunny California desert presiding over a golf tournament in which the foundation is a partner and an annual foundation healthcare conference. And next week ― soon after the caucus and just a few days before the New Hampshire primary ― CGI is holding a major gathering in Manhattan slated to be headlined by Bill and Chelsea Clinton, the foundation’s vice chair who is assuming an increasingly prominent role in both the foundation’s affairs and her mother’s campaign.

Other high-profile CGI events could run-up against major campaign moments. CGI University, a project championed by Chelsea Clinton, is scheduled to hold a conference in Berkeley, California, in early April ― just before a crush of primaries that month. And CGI America is planning a mid-June meeting in Atlanta, a month before the Democratic National Convention. The foundation’s glitziest event ― CGI's annual meeting, which in the past has featured all manner of celebrities and dignitaries ― is scheduled for just seven weeks before the general election.

“CGI America in June in Atlanta will look too much like a pretend DNC, in a major Southern state, and they're worried about the media backlash,” said a source familiar with CGI internal discussions. “Can you imagine ― Trump would have a field day! And CGI's annual meeting is way too close to the actual election to risk the bad press,” the source said.

Foundation officials said "these events will take place," and added "President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton are scheduled to participate as they have in past years."

Continued (long read) at:

January 28, 2016

Interlocking Families! Is the U.S Ruled by a Power Elite? C. Wright Mills Wrote About This:


Introduction to United States Sociology (C. Wright Mills): Professor Colin Samson

University of Essex

Published on Feb 22, 2013
Department of Sociology: http://www.essex.ac.uk/sociology/
Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...

In this video, Professor Colin Samson, from our Department of Sociology discusses the life and works of american sociologist, C. Wright Mills.

This module (SC164-4-SP: Introduction to United States Sociology) can also be taken as part of our BA Liberal Arts course. To find out more about studying Liberal Arts go to: essex.ac.uk/cish
If you are interested in studying sociology, we offer a wide range of courses, covering the areas of criminology, media and sociology.

January 19, 2016

Global Astrological Predictions 2016 - 2017 | Barbara Goldsmith--A Wonderful Watch!

Astrological Predictions 2016 - 2017 | Barbara Goldsmith
Barbara Goldsmith
Barbara Goldsmith

Astrological Predictions 2016 - 2017 - your free report covering global and person forecasts.

What do the aspects show about the coming year?

With so much mutable and cardinal energy in the heavens, there is the potential for some huge jumps forward both personally and for our planet.

Structures will be crumbling, softer leaders coming, more polarity, but also the possibility as Jupiter goes into Libra later in the year of peace, harmony, acceptance of one another.

Saturn in Sagittarius will be questioning all the rules of religion - why are we doing certain rituals? Do they really matter?

What about immigration? Will we solve this in the Pluto in Capricorn way of putting up more boundaries and fences between one another, or will we move towards Neptune in Pisces and see that we all want the same thing: to love one another and to be loved. Love and peace are the way forward.

E-learning will become more prevalent and well as games making learning more fun. This will be the influence of Saturn in Sagittarius.

Space travel and time travel could see huge leaps forward.

Although we are going through some very difficult global shifts, these are also exciting times to be alive where everything is possible. We only need to start believing it!

January 18, 2016

Does China hold key to the Afghan puzzle? (and Where's My Heroin)--Pepe Escobar

Does China hold key to the Afghan puzzle?
--By Pepe Escobar

Just like Lazarus, there were reasons to believe the Afghan peace process might have stood a chance of being resurrected this past Monday in Islamabad, as four major players – Afghanistan, Pakistan, the US and China – sat together at the same table.

The final communiqué though was not exactly ground breaking:"The participants emphasized the immediate need for direct talks between representatives of the Government of Afghanistan and representatives from Taliban groups in a peace process that aims to preserve Afghanistan's unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity."

A week before the Islamabad meeting, while in the Persian Gulf, I had an extremely enlightening conversation with a group of Afghan Pashtuns. After the ice was broken, and it was established I was not some Sean Penn-style shadowy asset with a dodgy agenda, my Pashtun interlocutors did deliver the goods. I felt I was back in Peshawar in 2001, only a few days before 9/11.

The first ground breaker was that two Taliban officials, currently based in Qatar, are about to meet top Chinese and Pakistani envoys face to face, without interference from the US. This fits into the strategy laid out by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), led by China and Russia, according to which the Afghan puzzle must be solved as an Asian matter. And Beijing definitely wants a solution, fast; think Afghan chapter of the New Silk Roads.

The post 9/11 Afghan War has been going on for an interminable 14 years; taking a cue from Pentagonese, talk about Enduring Freedom forever. No one is winning – and the Taliban are more divided than ever after the previous peace process collapsed when the Taliban announced Mullah Omar had been dead for two years.

More of a good Pepe read continued at:

January 11, 2016

A Spirited Discussion:CrossTalk on Middle East: "Saudi Arabia and Russia's strategy"

The whole thing is an interesting watch but the second half at Midway Point gets into the "nuts & bolts" of strategy

Spirited Discussion:CrossTalk on Middle East: Saudi Arabia and Russia's strategy
Published on Jan 11, 2016

The shifting sands of geopolitics have turned into a tsunami. With Saudi Arabia upping the ante with sectarian escalation, where does the Syrian conflict stand? Washington’s neocons and Riyadh's Wahhabi royals again share a common cause. And where does Russia’s strategy fit in?

CrossTalking with Mark Sleboda, Dmitry Babich, and Alexander Mercouris.

January 8, 2016

DeSmogBlog: Is Obama's Climate Change Policy "Schizophrenic?"--Pipeline Construction Expedited! TRNN

Pipeline Construction Expedited, Environment Oversight Reduced in Highway Bill

DeSmogBlog's Steve Horn says the recently passed legislation will curtail democracy in decision-making around critical fossil fuel infrastructure in the United States - January 6, 2016

Steve Hornis a journalist based in Madison, Wisconsin. His work has been featured in The Guardian, The Nation, and Truthout. He is also a Research Fellow at DeSmogBlog.

TRANSCRIPT Follows the "YT" for those with Low Bandwidth:


JARED BALL, PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome, everyone, back to the Real News Network. I'm Jared Ball here in Baltimore.Turning once again to the environment in U.S.-related policy, we want to take a moment to look at what critics have labeled as President Obama's schizophrenic policy on climate change. On one hand, Obama pushes green energy, while simultaneously pushing pro-fossil fuel interests. For instance, his Clean Power Plan which includes support of natural gas, or his announcement of an Arctic marine reserve while greenlighting Arctic oil drilling.

Apparently added to this list is the Obama plan signed during the COP21 United Nations summit in Paris last month that is backed by the likes of Exxon and the Koch brothers, and which expedites oil and gas pipeline permits in the United States.With us to discuss his recent expose for DeSmog Blog, titled During Paris Climate Summit Obama Signed Exxon-Koch-Backed Bill Expediting Pipeline Permits is investigative journalist Steve Horn who is joining us from Indianapolis, Indiana, where he is also a research fellow at DeSmog Blog.

Welcome back to the Real News, Steve.

STEVE HORN: Good to be back. Thanks for having me.BALL: So the first question I have is that, you know, for some of us, the laypeople out here, certainly, we assumed, or had heard and saw people claiming a victory, around what was Obama's veto of the Keystone pipeline back in November. How does this most recent bill challenge what was an apparent victory, again, seen a few months ago?

HORN: So this bill, which is part of the highway bill, the FAST Act, a provision within it on page--close to the end of it. It's a 1,300-page bill. It's actually a continuation of the same exact policy that the Obama administration has been pushing since the Keystone XL debate, and activism and everything surrounding it began in 2011. And that is it's an executive order, Executive Order 13604, which went ahead and expedited the building of a southern leg of Keystone XL.And that extends the executive order signed in March 2012, was pushed forward on the same day as another executive order, that is the 13604, accompanying that southern leg of the pipeline executive order.

That one expedites the building of all pipelines and other infrastructure related to oil and gas, [and even] renewable energy, which is why a lot of, some people are a little bit upset about this article. They got what they wanted, too, which is expedited [permitting] for renewable energy. But of course oil and gas industry and the coal industry was behind this.So this has been in place since 2012, really. And it's a [inaud.] expedited building of the southern leg and other pipelines. Activists have been more--unfortunately too much focused only on what ended up being the northern leg of Keystone XL. That is what Obama ended up nixing. But what this bill does is instead of it being an executive order, now it is codified by law, Congressional public law. And so it adds all kinds of things that make it much more potent than if it were just an executive order. So it's a more or less continuation of the real policy. I'd say it's rather a [inaud.] reality in terms of what the Obama administration has been doing about Keystone XL and other oil and gas-related infrastructure in the United States.

BALL: So just to clarify, make sure I heard you correctly. What was the apparent victory in November was the veto of a certain part of the pipeline that extended into, the southern part of it into the United States. But at the same time was allowing for those same fossil fuel interests to get pretty much what they wanted in Canada and elsewhere. Is that what I'm hearing you say?

HORN: Yeah. And I would say that this executive order which does two things, there's two separate things. There's the executive order for the southern line that goes from Cushing, Oklahoma down into the Gulf coast. And there was an executive order that expedites permitting for all oil and gas-related infrastructure. I think they're related not only in that they were signed on the same day by Obama back in March 2012, after a visit that he made to Cushing, Oklahoma where he made a speech in front of pipes that would become the pipes of that southern leg of the Keystone XL.But it's important in that I think this was a backlash against the activism that held up the northern leg of the pipeline across the U.S. and Canada border. And that is, from here on and forward I think the industry is really trying to say we don't, you know, they even called, the concepts were called Keystoneization, which was the term coined by the head of the American National Gas Alliance, Marty Durbin, the nephew of U.S. Senator Dick Durbin in Illinois.

And basically the industry at large saw what happened and definitely wanted to avoid anything like that happening again, and so that's what they, that is really what they got from the Obama administration. I think that at the end of the day it was a tradeoff. The Obama administration said we will not approve of the northern leg, and we will expedite the building of everything else.And unfortunately this is not a frame through which most environmentalists see what happened in this fight, and I think this is the actual policy reality of what now exists in the United States of America.BALL: So how does this bill, or this plan and this fast track process circumvent the important National Environmental Policy Act, which you and the Journal of Law and Policy write is referred to as the Magna Carta of environmental law, requiring all federal agencies to evaluate the environmental impact of their actions? How does this impact that act?

HORN: Yes. NEPA is, if we're talking about the First Amendment for free speech, NEPA is sort of a candidate for environmental reviews and big projects, pipelines, and [inaud.] construction in the United States. And basically what we've seen since this Keystone XL debate, it's been an acceleration of basically big pipeline projects not going through conventional NEPA reviews, especially ones that carry tar sands in the United States, tar sands that are mined up in Alberta.So we've seen, and this all falls under that same exact executive order. We've seen several pipelines, especially ones owned by Enbridge, have been approved with no NEPA reviews at all. There's been several federal court cases, all of which environmental groups brought, but none that they win. And it's interesting because it goes right into the, the meat and potatoes of the bill, and the bill that passed, the highway bill and the provision within it. Basically that bill narrows the number of years the statue of limitations in which plaintiffs can bring a NEPA lawsuit.

It was six years, now it's two. And so it's just a further chipping away of NEPA, which we've seen that the Obama administration already enforce, as I mentioned. But this bill, again, this codifies it, makes it even harder to bring a NEPA suit.And NEPA of course, is not--what it does is it allows for public hearings, [inaud.] public commenting periods. It's basically just democracy. So what this really is is the [curtailing] of democracy as it relates to people being involved in decision making around pipelines and other critical infrastructure in the United States that carries fossil fuels. Or even renewable energy, wind. Say there's a windmill in someone's community and it's making a lot of noise and they're not liking that. Well, this really cuts away at the chance to comment on and be involved in the decision making process.

BALL: Well, Steve Horn, thanks again for joining us at the Real News and helping us unpack some of the details of this environmental policy. Thanks again for joining us.

HORN: Thanks for having me.BALL: And thank you all for joining us here at the Real News. Again, for all involved, I'm Jared Ball here in Baltimore, saying as Fred Hampton used to say, to you we say peace if you're willing to fight for it. So peace everybody, and we'll catch you in the whirlwind.

January 7, 2016

So... is Sanders being treated Like a Member of the Witness Protection Program? TRNN Investigates

Why is the Mainstream Media Ignoring Sanders' Campaign?

Joe Biden's decision to not run for president and Jeb Bush's lagging campaign have received far more coverage than Bernie Sanders - January 4, 2016


REPORTER: Donald Trump getting saturation coverage from the media.

JAISAL NOOR, TRNN: Even Fox News is talking about the lack of media coverage of Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign.

REPORTER: At the same time Bernie Sanders, who got higher poll numbers than Trump in a recent poll is largely being ignored. So is Sanders being treated like a member of the witness protection program?

NOOR: In the same 5-minute segment, Fox talked about Sanders for less than 90 seconds before turning to Donald Trump. And a recent report found that flagship nightly news programs did 234 minutes of stories on Donald Trump in 2015 versus just 10 minutes for Bernie Sanders. Trump has also received more network coverage than all the Democratic candidates combined.Eric Boehlert of Media Matters has been tracking how the media has covered this election campaign.

ERIC BOEHLERT: It's sort of a perfect encapsulation, right? Trump gets this massive over-amount of media coverage. They literally can't stop writing about him, writing about his, you know, extreme rhetoric.

NOOR: Mainstream pundits have fired back against the claim Sanders has been ignored.

LYNN SWEET: Bernie Sanders is not getting ignored. He's getting plenty of attention in the key states of Iowa and New Hampshire, if you look at media there. If you look at the coverage of frontrunner to frontrunner, you will find that Bernie Sanders, even though he lags far behind at this point of Hillary Clinton, is being treated as a very solid number two.

NOOR: Even Jeb Bush, who's polling fifth amongst Republicans, is getting more than five times the coverage of Sanders.

BOEHLERT: Joe Biden, who's not even running, if you look again at the evening network news, ABC, CBS, NBC, they gave significantly more time to cover the story of will Joe Biden run for president than they did for Bernie Sanders, who's actually running a campaign, and was running a campaign most of this year.

NOOR: Sanders' campaign national press secretary Symone Sanders notes that he's had many newsworthy accomplishments.

SYMONE SANDERS: Senator Sanders is the only candidate in this race across both Democrats and Republicans that has garnered the huge crowds that we've seen, you know, 10,000, 15,000, 28,000 people. Senator Sanders is the only candidate in this race, in the history actually of candidates to make a bid for the White House, who has garnered over 2.3 million contributions. That's history, and that's not being covered.When these matchups of Republican candidates versus Democratic candidates in general elections are conducted, Senator Sanders does better than Secretary Clinton in a lot of these matchups. He beats Republicans, including Donald Trump.

STEPHEN ZUNES: Part of it, I think, is that he has been a responsible and polite campaigner. He's not engaged in attacks. And of course the media really likes to follow these kinds of fights, and Republicans have been giving a lot of entertainment value this campaign season. I think also there is sort of this consensus among the establishment that Hillary Clinton is the inevitable nominee, compared to the Republican race, which is pretty
wide open.

But I do think, you know, frankly, there is on some level concern among, within the corporate media, about having someone who has an explicitly socialist, albeit social democratic kind of socialism, vision for America, who is challenging some of the basic economic institutions and assumptions of policy that affects powerful interests, including those who own the media.


January 6, 2016

US Military Leadership Resisted Obama's Bid for Regime Change in Syria, Libya--Gareth Porter

US Military Leadership Resisted Obama's Bid for Regime Change in Syria, Libya

By Gareth Porter

January 04, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "MEE" - Seymour Hersh’s recent revelations about an effort by the US military leadership in 2013 to bolster the Syrian army against jihadist forces in Syria shed important new light on the internal bureaucratic politics surrounding regime change in US Middle East policy. Hersh’s account makes it clear that the Obama administration’s policy of regime change in both Libya and Syria provoked pushback from the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

That account and another report on a similar episode in 2011 suggest that the US military has a range of means by which it can oppose administration policies that it regards as unacceptable. But it also shows that the military leadership failed to alter the course of US policy, and raises the question whether it was willing to use all the means available to stop the funnelling of arms to al-Nusra Front and other extremist groups in Syria.


The 2013 initiative approved by the chairman of the JCS, General Martin Dempsey, was not the first active effort by the US military to mitigate Obama administration regime change policies. In 2011, the JCS had been strongly opposed to the effort to depose the Muammar Gaddafi regime in Libya led by then secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

When the Obama administration began its effort to overthrow Gaddafi, it did not call publicly for regime change and instead asserted that it was merely seeking to avert mass killings that administration officials had suggested might approach genocidal levels. But the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which had been given the lead role in assessing the situation in Libya, found no evidence to support such fears and concluded that it was based on nothing more than “speculative arguments”.

The JCS warned that overthrowing the Gaddafi regime would serve no US security interest, but would instead open the way for forces aligned with al-Qaeda to take over the country. After the Obama administration went ahead with a NATO air assault against the Gaddafi regime the US military sought to head off the destruction of the entire Libyan government. General Carter Ham, the commander of AFRICOM, the US regional command for Africa gave the State Department a proposal for a ceasefire to which Gaddafi had agreed. It would have resulted in Gaddafi’s resignation but retain the Libyan military’s capacity to hold off jihadist forces and rescind the sanctions against Gaddafi’s family.

But the State Department refused any negotiation with Gaddafi on the proposal. Immediately after hearing that Gaddafi had been captured by rebel forces and killed, Clinton famously joked in a television interview, “We came, we saw, he died” and laughed.

By then the administration was already embarked on yet another regime change policy in Syria. Although Clinton led the public advocacy of the policy, then CIA director David Petraeus, who had taken over the agency in early September 2011, was a major ally. He immediately began working on a major covert operation to arm rebel forces in Syria. The CIA operation used ostensibly independent companies in Libya to ship arms from Libyan government warehouses to Syria and southern Turkey. These were then distributed in consultation with the United States through networks run by Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The plan went into operation within days of Gaddafi’s death on October 20, 2011 just before NATO officially ended its operation at the end of that month, as the DIA later reported to the JCS.

Continued at...................


Interesting view from Porter, I thought........

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