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Divernan's Journal
Divernan's Journal
July 24, 2015

Federal Judge Rules PA 3rd Party Candidate Requirements Unconstitutional

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

July 24, 2015 1:56 PM
(Sub headline)Until this morning, Pennsylvania required a minor-party candidate for statewide office -- like Ralph Nader in 2004 -- to garner many more signatures than their Democrat or Republican counterparts.

By Chris Potter / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A federal court judge has ruled that Pennsylvania's Election Code sets an unconstitutionally high bar on third-party political candidates, by requiring them to gather more signatures than Democrats or Republicans — and by having to defend their validity in court.

"The ability of the minor parties to organize and voice their views has been decimated" by the combined impact of Election Code provisions, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Stengel of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled this morning. State law "imposes a severe burden" on the three minor parties who challenged the law: the Constitution Party, the Libertarian Party, and the Green Party.

The ruling means that the Pennsylvania legislature will have to "go back to the drawing board" and redraft ballot requirements for minor-party candidates, said Oliver Hall, an attorney at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Competitive Democracy. Mr. Hall has represented the parties since the legal dispute began, in a separate case, in 2009.

Pennsylvania requires a minor-party candidate for statewide office to garner petition signatures equal to 2 percent of the total vote count in the prior statewide election. In 2014, the requirement was 16,639 signatures, though the number has ranged as high as 67,070 voters in 2006. By contrast, Democratic and Republican candidates are only required to furnish 2,000 signatures to earn a spot on the ballot for their Spring primary. The winner of that contest is automatically guaranteed a ballot spot in November.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-state/2015/07/24/Federal-judge-rules-Pa-third-party-candidate-requirements-unconstitutional/stories/201507240230

July 22, 2015

"Hillary Clinton attends Fox Chapel fundraiser as poll numbers sag"

There are 2 competing newspapers in the Pittsburgh/southwestern PA area. One is the conservative Tribune-Review, long owned and subsidized by the recently deceased billionaire, Richard Scaiffe. Scaiffe endorsed HRC in 2008, and donated to the Clinton Foundation, and Bill Clinton gave the eulogy at Scaiffe's memorial service. The other paper is the traditionally Democratic leaning Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. I've given links to both articles.

The conservative Trib was at the fundraiser, interviewed many of the guests and had lots of pictures of HRC both outside and inside the estate. The Post-Gazette? An old photo of Clinton from last May in Las Vegas, a photo of the backs of cars lined up on a road awaiting entrance to the estate (along with a caption,"Cars line up on Hawthorne Road from Fox Chapel Road, heading to a private fundraiser this morning for Hillary Clinton. Security personnel said only invited guests were allowed down the street during the event.&quot and a picture of HRC with a handicapped young man, provided to the Post Gazette by his father, who would have been required to donate $2700 for having his son's photo taken w/HRC. The PG article stated the event was closed to the press. It seems the conservative/Scaiffe paper was allowed to attend the event, while the Democratic paper was frozen out. Do read the comments of the readers to both papers. There are some very harsh and nasty opinions of HRC there. They substantiate the prediction that if HRC is the candidate, she will increase the turnout of Republicans who harbor very negative (to put it mildly) feelings for her.

From the Trib:
(Headline) "Hillary Clinton attends Fox Chapel fundraiser as poll numbers sag"

Hillary Clinton made a quiet entrance into a private fundraiser Wednesday as her motorcade pulled into the driveway of a Fox Chapel home about 10 miles northeast of Downtown Pittsburgh. The “Conversations with Hillary” fundraiser, expected to draw about 100 to 125 attendees, requested a minimum contribution of $1,000 per person, according to the email invitation Clinton's campaign finance team issued.

Clinton's fundraising blitz comes as a new Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll shows her numbers sagging in several key states and her favorability falling. Guests shelling out $2,700 get a photo with Clinton. Individuals who bundle supporters to raise $10,000 become event co-hosts. For $27,000, they get to be event hosts and secure membership in the campaign's Hillstarters program.

Released Wednesday, the poll of registered voters suggests Republican contenders Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker all lead Clinton in Colorado, Iowa and Virginia in potential head-to-head matchups. She led all three in an April 9 Quinnipiac poll. Voters' favorability was below 50 percent in all three states: 35 percent in Colorado, 33 percent in Iowa and 41 percent in Virginia.

“Hillary Clinton's numbers have dropped among voters in the key swing states of Colorado, Iowa and Virginia. She has lost ground in the horserace and on key questions about her honesty and leadership,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “On being a strong leader, a key metric in presidential campaigns, she has dropped four to 10 points depending on the state and she is barely above 50 percent in each of the three states.” Later Wednesday, Clinton is scheduled to attend a fundraiser at a home in Raleigh, N.C.

Read more: http://triblive.com/politics/politicalheadlines/8761531-74/clinton-campaign-fundraiser#ixzz3geVS2ujZ
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

And in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Hillary Clinton appears at private fundraiser in Fox Chapel
Presidential candidate and former first lady Hillary Clinton was scheduled to make a stop in the Pittsburgh area this morning for a private fundraiser.

Clinton, also former secretary of state, was to appear at the Fox Chapel home of Cynthia Shapira, the wife of David Shapira, the executive chairman of Giant Eagle’s board of directors.

The Clinton event was closed to the press and the candidate had no public events scheduled during her brief Pittsburgh trip. A spokesman for her campaign said they would have no comment on the visit or how much money they hoped to reap from it.
July 22, 2015

Just who IS this Robert Reich who supports Sanders? Prepare to be impressed!

All I really recalled about him was he was in one of Clinton's cabinets. I've been so impressed of late by his passionate FB posts, that I looked him up. Wow! Grab an iced tea or cuppa coffee and read all about him.

Robert Bernard Reich (pronounced /ˈraɪx/; born June 24, 1946) is an American politician, academic, writer, and political commentator. He served as the 22nd United States Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton, from 1993 to 1997, and was named by Time Magazine as one of the ten most successful cabinet secretaries of the last century. In 2008 he served on President-elect Barack Obama's economic advisory board.

A summa cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College, Reich is currently Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. A former Harvard University professor and the former Maurice B. Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, he is a contributor to CNBC and a frequent political and economic commentator on MSNBC, CNN, This Week with George Stephanopoulos, CNBC's Kudlow & Company, and NPR's Marketplace.


Reich was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and he attended John Jay High School in Cross River, New York. He attended Dartmouth College, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor's degree in 1968 and winning a Rhodes Scholarship to study Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Oxford.[5] Reich subsequently earned a J.D. from Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal.

From 1973 to 1974 he served as law clerk to Judge Frank M. Coffin, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and from 1974 to 1976 was Assistant to the U.S. Solicitor General, Robert Bork. In 1976, President Carter appointed him Director of the Policy Planning Staff at the Federal Trade Commission. (He would have been 30 then.)

From 1980 until 1992, Reich taught at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where he wrote a series of influential books and articles, including The Next American Frontier and The Work of Nations. In The Next American Frontier he blamed the nation's lagging economic growth on "paper entrepreneurialism -- financial and legal gamesmanship that drained the economy of resources needed for better products and services. In The Work of Nations he argued that a nation's competitiveness depends on the education and skills of its people and on the infrastructure connecting them with one another, rather than on the profitability of companies headquartered within it. Private Capital, he said, was increasingly global and footloose, while a nation's people -- its human capital -- constituted the one resource on which the future standard of living of a nation uniquely depended. He urged policy makers to make such public investments the cornerstone of economic policy.

Bill Clinton incorporated Reich's thinking into his 1992 campaign platform, "Putting People First," and after being elected invited Reich to head his economic transition team. Reich later joined the administration as Secretary of Labor. During his tenure, he implemented the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), successfully promoted increasing the minimum wage, successfully lobbied to pass the School-to-Work Jobs Act, and launched a number of job training programs. At the same time, he lobbied Clinton to address bigger societal issues, countered Robert Rubin and others in the administration who wanted Clinton to pare his investment agenda, and pushed for improvement of conditions for those in poverty.

In addition, Reich used the office as a platform for focusing the nation's attention on the need for American workers to adapt to the new economy. He advocated that the country provide more opportunities for workers to learn more technology, and predicted the shrinkage of the middle class due to a gap between unskilled and highly skilled workers.


In 1996, between Clinton's re-election and second inauguration, Reich decided to leave the department to spend more time with his sons, then in their teen years. He published his experiences working for the Clinton administration in Locked in the Cabinet. After publication of the book, Reich received criticism for embellishing events with invented dialogue. The paperback release of the memoir revised or omitted the inventions.

Reich became a professor at Brandeis University, teaching courses for undergraduates as well as in the Heller School for Social Policy and Management. In 2003, he was elected the Professor of the Year by the undergraduate student body.

In 2002, he ran for Governor of Massachusetts. He also published an associated campaign book, I'll Be Short. Reich was the first Democratic candidate for a major political office to support same-sex marriage. He also pledged support for abortion rights, and strongly condemned capital punishment. His campaign staff was largely made up of his Brandeis students. Although his campaign had little funding, he surprised many and came in a close second out of six candidates in the Democratic primary with 25% of the vote.

In 2003, he was awarded the prestigious Václav Havel Foundation VIZE 97 Prize, by the former Czech president, for his writings in economics and politics.

In 2004, he published Reason, a book on how liberals can forcefully argue for their position in a country increasingly dominated by what he calls "radcons", or radical conservatives.

In addition to his professorial role, he is a weekly contributor to the American Public Media public radio program Marketplace, and a regular columnist for the American Prospect, which he co-founded in 1990. He is also a frequent contributor to CNBC's Kudlow & Company and On the Money.

In early 2005, there was speculation that Reich would once again seek the Democratic nomination for Governor of Massachusetts. He instead endorsed the then-little-known candidacy of Deval Patrick, who had previously served as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in the Clinton Administration. Patrick won the party's endorsement, a three-way primary with nearly 50% of the vote, and the general election in November 2006.

In September 2005 Reich testified against John Roberts at his confirmation hearings for Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Two years later his book Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life was published. In it he argued turbo-charged corporate competition, fueled by consumers and investors seeking the best possible deals from anywhere in the world, was generating severe social problems. But governments were failing to address them because big corporations and Wall Street firms were also seeking competitive advantage over one another through politics, thereby drowning out the voices of ordinary citizens. The answer was to keep corporations focused on making better products and services and keep them out of politics. "Corporate Social Responsibility" is essentially forbearance from activities that undermine democracy.

During the 2008 primaries, Reich published an article that was extremely critical of the Clintons, referring to Bill Clinton's attacks on Barack Obama as "ill-tempered and ill-founded," and accusing the Clintons of waging "a smear campaign against Obama that employs some of the worst aspects of the old politics."

On April 18, 2008 Reich endorsed Barack Obama for President of the United States.

On April 3, 2009, Reich commented that published U6 employment figures indicate that the United States is in a depression.

(See the link below for complete list of his many books.)

blog: www.robertreich.org; Twitter handle: rbreich.

July 22, 2015

Reich calls out media for slanted, de minimis coverage of enthusiasm for Bernie

Reich's latest FB entry, late Saturday night, (9 hours ago) already has over 16,000 likes and 6,000 shares. Let's support Reich's support of Bernie's campaign by liking and sharing his comments as well. Go to: https://www.facebook.com/RBReich?fref=nf

The media are pumping up Trump and playing down Bernie.

Data provided by Google to the journalism site FiveThirtyEight found that 46 percent of the media coverage over the last month about the GOP candidates was about Trump. Between June 14 and July 12, Trump got more coverage than the combined total of Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and Marco Rubio, generally considered the leading GOP candidates.

Meanwhile, the media is barely covering the huge enthusiasm Bernie Sanders has been generating – and when it does, it describes the surge solely through the prism of Hillary rather than as a response to what Sanders is saying. The New York Times is hardly mentioning Bernie at all (its front-page story today is about Hillary's father).

Why is the media giving Trump so much attention and Sanders so little?

His comment then links to Alternet's "Why Is the NY Times Basically Doing a Blackout on Bernie Sanders? The New York Times' Sanders coverage is intellectually dishonest." article.


99th Monkey has started a thread on this Alternet article in the Sanders group:

It's a long, detailed article excoriating the Times for intellectually dishonest coverage rising to the level of journalistic malpractice. Give it a read.
July 21, 2015

Just ordered $100 worth of Bernie gear

Hat/shirts/bumper stickers/car magnets

My favorite logo: "BERNIE SANDERS - NOT FOR SALE!"

Interesting thing - the various sites include product reviews. Reviews on "Bernie" gear - outnumbered reviews on HRC gear, by a ratio of 5 to 1.

July 21, 2015

UPDATE:Reich's pro-Bernie FB post: 80,000+likes;18,000+shares in 26 hours!

Original thread title: Robert Reich's pro-Bernie FB post got 49,600 likes & 11,300 shares in just 3 hours

What amazes me, frankly, are the crowds. Not since Robert F. Kennedy sought the Democratic nomination in 1968 has a candidate for the nomination of either party generated such large numbers of people eager to see and listen to him. None in living memory has summoned such crowds this early, before the nominating season even begins. Even Sanders' advisers are amazed (I spoke with one this morning who said they never expected this kind of response).

What's the explanation? It's not his sense of humor. It's not his youth. He isn't a demagogue, bashing immigrants or pandering to hatred and bigotry. It's that he's telling Americans the unvarnished truth about what has happened to our economy and our democracy, and he is posing real solutions. And it seems that America is ready to listen.

What do you think?


Doing some very conservative extrapolation, i.e., that everyone who shared had an average of 65 FB friends (and many millennials have several hundred FB friends), that means that in slightly over a 24 hour period, ONE MILLION, ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY THOUSAND PEOPLE RECEIVED THIS POSITIVE MESSAGE ABOUT BERNIE SANDERS FROM A FRIEND.
Not from some political spinmeister or paid advertising agency, but from a friend. That means a helluva lot.

Just so you can compare and contrast. One campaign is riding a tidal wave of social media and record breaking gatherings, the other is locked in the gilded age approach of soliciting the wealthy.
July 20, 2015

5,200 turn out to Sanders rally at University of Houston


5,200 turn out to Sanders rally at UH
Democrat delivers progressive message over income inequality, college tuition, big money

By Nancy Sarnoff Updated 10:14 pm, Sunday, July 19, 2015

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders spread his progressive message of reducing income inequality, providing free college tuition and taking big money out of politics to Houstonians Sunday night at a [b]packed arena on the University of Houston campus.

He implored his supporters to ask their Republican friends, families and co-workers if it makes sense to grant huge tax breaks for the rich while cutting spending on health care programs and federal student aid.

"Our job is to reach out to our Republican brothers and sisters, working-class people and middle class people, and get their heads right," Sanders said to a boisterous crowd of 5,200 people at UH's Hofheinz Pavilion.

The U.S. senator from Vermont was in Dallas earlier Sunday where he spoke to a crowd of some 7,000 people at a downtown hotel.
July 18, 2015

Wall St./1%ers/MIC/Big banks only give in anticipation of high rate of return.

As per Sabrina's post 17 above,

As Joe Biden stated yesterday, this is THE MOST IMPORTANT issue that Dems need to stand up and address, the POISONOUS effects of money on our electoral system. I guess Biden, who agrees with Sanders on this, has seen it up close and personal. He actually says that. 'Don't trust even those you like IF they are taking Corporate money'.

It was an amazing speech. Clinton would do well to take Biden's advice and refuse all that money, as Bernie is doing and then go after the bought-and-paid-for Republicans on this most important issue.

Like Biden, I have seen the lobbying/bribing/quid-pro-quos up close and personal, albeit in the Pennsylvania state legislature, not in D.C. But the amounts involved are beggared beyond belief by the tens of millions the Clintons have been amassing, both personally and in their boutique/middle man/"charity." I mean, why on earth do foreign governments have to help out, let's say Haiti, by going through the Clintons, who will skim off a handling fee/percentage, when they could simply give assistance directly to the country or relief organizations involved. They did it forever before the Clinton Family Foundation.

And I have been posting the following observation/opinion for about a month now:

HRC's corporate quid pro quos will be called in on her Supreme Court appts.

As to the Supreme Court argument from Clinton supporters:

Who does not recognize that corporate/Wall Street donations/quid pro quos will come home to roost with a profiteering vengeance on any presidential candidate who has accepted tens of millions of dollars from them in a combination of campaign donations, personal payments for speeches to said candidate and spouse, and "gifts" to said candidate's family "non-profit" organization. Nowhere is this more vital to said corporate interests than in appointments to the Supreme Court.

Here's the script, kiddos!

(Corporate input/expectations on Supreme Court appointments)

"Here's the deal. Your supreme court nominations can be soft on social issues. We don't give a fuck if gays marry or women can get abortions. Makes no difference to our profiteering. But by god they better leave Citizens United in place and not approve prosecution of war crimes."

July 17, 2015

HRC to chat w/paying guests at multi-billionaire's estate.

I know you were all shocked!, I say, shocked! at this development. This is my hometown, but my invitation must have been lost in the mail - sadly, I have a previous engagement as well! And for only $2,700, I could have had my picture taken with HRC. I am devastated!

Presidential candidate Clinton to attend Fox Chapel fundraiser
Hillary Clinton will mark her second visit to Pittsburgh since releasing her video in April announcing her run for president with a fundraiser next week at the Fox Chapel home of community activist Cindy Shapira.
The fundraising email was sent out to Western Pennsylvania supporters Tuesday by the Clinton Campaign Host Committee. The event, called “Conversations with Hillary,” will be held Wednesday at a time to be determined.

The email invite issued by her campaign finance team lists the contribution levels as follows:
Friend: $1,000 per person
Champion $2,700 per person (which includes photo with Hillary)
Event Co-Host: Raise $10,000 (includes host reception with Hillary)
Event Host: Raise $27,000 (includes host reception with Hillary and membership in Hillstarters program).

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/editorspicks/8758239-74/hillary-clinton-host#ixzz3gC5kXc5w
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Back story - Fox Chapel is the most expensive/wealthiest suburb of Pittsburgh. Shapira's husband David is CEO of the Giant Eagle grocery chain, valued at $9.9 Billion. It is privately owned by "the Shapira family".


Giant Eagle Net Worth is 9.90 $Billion
Giant Eagle is a supermarket chain with stores in the U.S. states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and Maryland. The company was founded in 1918 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and incorporated on March 17, 1933.Supermarket News ranked Giant Eagle No. 21 in the 2012 "Top 75 North American Food Retailers" based on 2011 fiscal year estimated sales of $9.3 billion. In 2005, it was the 32nd-largest privately held corporation, as determined by Forbes. Based on 2005 revenue, Giant Eagle is the 49th-largest retailer in the United States.

As always with the Clintons, you gotta pay to play (no freebie pictures for you, deadbeats!) This reinforces my practice of avoiding the humongously sized Giant Eagle - you could lay out a 9 hole golf course in their local Market District store. I like Trader Joe's and a small (5 stores) local chain - Community Supermarkets.
July 17, 2015

Bernie Sanders Scores A Win As The Postal Service Backs Off Plan To Close Plants


Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) won another victory in the battle against privatizing mail delivery as the Postal Service has quietly backed off of a plan to close 82 mail processing plants.

In a statement, Sen. Sanders said:
I am pleased that the Postal Service has decided not to shut down virtually all of the 82 mail-processing plants this year, but much more needs to be done to ensure that Americans throughout the country receive their mail in a timely manner. ….

The Postal Service should be speeding up the delivery of mail, not slowing it down. We should be working to strengthen the Postal Service, not sending it into a death spiral.

The Postal Service had planned to close eighty-two more mail processing plants as part of a cost-cutting move. The USPS is being forced to cut costs because a Republican imposed mandate that the Service pre-fund 75 years of retirement benefits within a decade. The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA) plunged the profitable USPS into debt and forced four out of every five dollars taken in to be spent on funding this mandate.

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