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Divernan's Journal
Divernan's Journal
July 8, 2015

Sanders's integrity and honesty worth more than Clinton's billions


While CNN published an article headlined "Poll: Clinton's honesty and trustworthy problem extends to swing states," the former secretary of State's main challenger for the Democratic nomination doesn't have a trust problem with voters. The Boston Globe writes that during a campaign visit to Iowa, a former Marine drove six hours to hear Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speak and another Iraq War veteran stated, "He's the first politician that I've believed in my life." Sanders is down by only 8 points in New Hampshire, primarily because he's championed progressive causes long before they were popular. The man once stated that he's a "democratic socialist" (very different from the Fox News meaning of socialism), so Americans know that Vermont's junior senator doesn't have a public relations machine vetting his every word.

As a result of his refusal to take a poll-driven and centrist viewpoint on major issues like foreign policy and the economy, Sanders must wage a grass-roots campaign for the White House. NPR reports that his recent total of $15 million came from "250,000 donors making nearly 400,000 contributions of $250 or less." However, Sanders has the trust of the average American, and while Hillary Clinton has amassed $329 million in her career (three of her top five donors are Citigroup, Goldman and JP Morgan), some things can't be purchased with money. The integrity, honesty and bold stances of Sanders might make him a real threat to Clinton’s campaign and he's earned something that billions in campaign fundraising can't buy: the trust of the average American.

In contrast, Clinton has similar positions to Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush on war and Wall Street; previously expressed support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership; previously said she was "inclined" toward the Keystone XL pipeline; and up until 2013, opposed gay marriage, yet is expected to raise $2.5 billion from Democratic supporters. As for her rapport with the average American, Clinton's campaign is running more like a corporation than anything that could be described as "grass-roots." In Orwellian irony, the Clinton campaign recently held business round tables with "everyday" Iowans who also happened to be "selected to attend her events." In addition, her recent Twitter campaign proudly asks, "If you won a dinner with Hillary, what would you ask her?" but doesn't elaborate if Clinton would answer questions about her Iraq War vote, evolution on gay marriage or any other controversial topic. Nonetheless, Clinton is raising hundreds of millions, even though Vice News, the Associated Press and others have sued the State Department for access to her emails as secretary of State (31,830 of which she unilaterally deleted from a private home server without the oversight of a third party).

Sanders is showing that it's possible to run on an unapologetic belief in progressive values, not simply carefully crafted rhetoric that jettisons core principles. Sanders never had to cater to any interests other than his belief system; something that frightens Wall Street while at the same time endears him to working Americans.

July 8, 2015

Heeeeeeere's Bernie!

The following is a comment following the Washington Post opinion by Tom Toles.


There's a good thread on this already by babylonsister but I felt this comment following that article is worthy of it's own OP. With thanks to poster "FergusonFoont"

earlier thread: http://www.democraticunderground.com/128022240#post20

9:19 AM EST [Edited]
Kudos, Tom. Brilliant column.

NOBODY discusses issues and solutions anymore. It's all horserace crap, wall-to-wall. The WashingtonPost in particular used to be better about that sort of thing.

People say they want incorruptibility. Well, hello, Bernie.

People say they want honesty. Hi there, Bernie.

People say they want someone who has proven right about past issues. Heeeere's Bernie!

People say they want someone to stand up to the banksters and the robber barons. Howdy there, Bernie!

People say they want worker rights. Well, how ya doin', Bernie?

People say they want a broader prosperity. That's what Bernie's all about.

The wider his message spreads, the greater his popularity will grow. They will try to stifle and beat down his message under cries of "evil socialism." We mustn't let them. Our armed forces are socialist. Our public schools are socialist. Our most popular medical care systems are more or less socialist.

Of course, socialism has its bad side. Bank robber-baron bailouts at taxpayer expense come to mind, but Bernie wants to break up the too-big-to-fail banksters.
July 7, 2015

HRC takes a position! Agrees with Jeb Bush!

Hillary Clinton Says Puerto Rico Should Have Access To U.S. Bankruptcy Laws

IOWA CITY, IOWA, July 7 (Reuters) - U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that Puerto Rico's public entities should be able to use U.S. bankruptcy laws to restructure some $72 billion in debt.

The White House said last week that there is "no one in the administration" that is "contemplating a federal bailout of Puerto Rico" but that the U.S. Congress should "take a look at" whether Puerto Rico's government-owned corporations should be able to access Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.

Congressional Republicans largely oppose such a step but Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said in April that he thinks Puerto Rico's public agencies should have the ability to use U.S. bankruptcy laws.

Why her sudden concern for Puerto Rico, & changing the U.S. bankruptcy laws, you may ask. I mean if we're going to restructure the bankruptcy laws, the first place to start is to allow student loan debts to be included in bankruptcy proceedings. But Puerto Rico's govt. corporate debt-what's up with that? It's simple, campers! Convention delegates!

Voters in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories are not permitted to vote in the presidential election under the provisions set forth in the Electoral College. But that doesn't mean they don't have a say in who gets to the White House.

That's because voters in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa are permitted to participate in the presidential primary and are granted delegates by the two major political parties.

In other words, Puerto Rico & other U.S. territories get to help nominate the presidential candidates. But voters there cannot actually participate in the election because of the Electoral College system.

The national Democratic Party's charter, enacted in 1974, states that Puerto Rico "shall be treated as a state containing the appropriate number of Congressional Districts." The Republican Party also allows voters in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories to participate in the nomination process.

In the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, Puerto Rico had 55 delegates - more than Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Wyoming and several other states with populations lesser than the U.S. territory's 4 million.

Four Democratic delegates went to Guam, 3 went to the Virgin Islands and American Samoa each.

In the Republican presidential primary of 2008, Puerto Rico had 20 delegates, and Guam, American Samoa and the Virgin Islands each had 6.

Participation in Puerto Rico's delegate selection process is open those who wish to participate as Democrats. Participants may not take part in any other party's Presidential Nominating process. Individuals who wish to participate in the Senate District Caucuses must register with the State Party by 5? June 2016.

Sunday 13 March 2016 (presumably): 51 of 58 delegates to the Democratic National Convention are pledged to presidential contenders based on the results of today's Senate District Caucuses. A mandatory 15 percent threshold is required in order for a presidential contender to be pledged National Convention delegates at either the senatorial district or islandwide level.

33 district delegates are proportionally pledged to presidential contenders by senatorial district (Puerto Rico has no congressional districts).
In addition, 11 at-large and 7 Pledged PLEOs delegates are pledged to presidential contenders based on the presidential preferences of the 33 district level delegates as pledged by the Senate District Caucuses. Hence, the National Convention District delegates are pledged from the preferences expressed at the Caucuses while the National Convention statewide delegates are pledged using the preferences of the National Convention District delegates.
11 at-large National Convention delegates
7 Pledged PLEOs

July 6, 2015

Wasn't the expectation that a woman politician would be more nurturing, caring, sensitive

and less macho, warlike, aggressive? That seriously was what I used to think. I thought that any woman who had her own child or children would identify with other mothers and children, whatever their color, nationality, etc. That she would use her elective office to be protective - that there would be some genetic trait of motherliness, for want of a better word. Basically, that a lack of testosterone would make for a more humane, calm, measured and reasoned approach to governing, both domestic and internationally. Instead of a dick-waving, mine is bigger than yours, I've got the biggest military strike force approach to international diplomacy. I hope that all of us are educated enough to KNOW that testosterone is scientifically linked to aggression.

Obviously, Hillary Clinton does not meet my expectations in this regard. Of the many possible examples of her insensitivity to children, let us consider cluster bombs, land mines and economic sanctions against Iraq.
Cluster Bombs Are Not Good for Children, Hillary
(Ditto for Landmines and Sanctions)
The human soul is difficult to fathom. One person alone is capable of both compassion and cruelty.

In her autobiography, Living History, Senator Hillary Clinton portrays herself as an advocate for children, a defender of women and human rights. In fact, the Clintons have a long history of sacrificing the rights, even the lives of children, for political expediency. It is time to set the record straight.

On September 6, 2006, a Senate bill--a simple amendment to ban the use of cluster bombs in civilian areas--presented Senator Clinton with a timely opportunity to protect the lives of children throughout the world.

The cluster bomb is one of the most hated and heinous weapons in modern war, and its primary victims are children. Senator Obama voted for the amendment to ban cluster bombs. Senator Clinton, however, voted with the Republicans to kill the humanitarian bill, an amendment in accord with the Geneva Conventions, which already prohibit the use of indiscriminate weapons in populated areas.

All senators are expected to inform themselves on the issues before they cast a vote. The evidence is overwhelming. It is hard to believe that Senator Clinton was unaware of the humanitarian crisis when she voted to continue the use of cluster bombs in cities and populated areas. A U.N. weapons commission called cluster bombs "weapons of indiscriminate effect." For years the international press reported the horrific consequences of cluster bombs on civilians. On April 10, 2003, for example, Asia Times described the carnage in Baghdad hospitals: "The absolute majority of patients are women and children, victims of shrapnel, and most of all, fragments of cluster bombs." Reporting from a hospital in Hillah, The Mirror, a British newspaper, became graphic: "Shrapnel peppered their bodies. Blackened the skin. Smashed heads. Tore limbs. A doctor reports that 'all the injuries you see were caused by cluster bombs. The majority of the victims were children who died because they were outside.'"

Even after wars subside, after treaties are signed, after belligerents return home, cluster bombs wreak havoc on civilian life. Up to 20 percent of the bomblets fail to detonate on the first round, only to become landmines that later explode on playgrounds and farmlands. Children are drawn to cluster bomb canisters, the deadly duds that look like beer cans or toys before they explode.

Clinton on Landmines
Of course Senator Clinton did not expect her vote on cluster bombs to become an issue in a presidential campaign. But that vote is one of many examples in a pattern of indifference to the welfare of children in the Developing World.

Because Clinton is now taking credit for the White House years, when she was a partner in power, we should also look closely at the Clinton policy regarding landmines, an issue of great concern to parents, to all those who care for children. The U.S. is the leading manufacturer of landmines. For families across the rest of the globe, landmines are buried terror. More than 100 million landmines are deployed in over 60 countries worldwide--nine million in Angola, 10 million in Cambodia. About 20,000 M14 antipersonnel mines are buried in the mountain areas of Yong-do, South Korea. According to U.N. estimates, 26,000 people, mostly civilians in developing countries, are killed or mutilated by landmines every year. In rural areas landmines are so ubiquitous and lethal, peasants risk their lives to earn a living tilling the soil and planting crops.

The worldwide movement to ban landmines burgeoned in the Clinton years. It was a visionary U.S. citizen, Jody Williams of Vermont, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to end the ignominy of landmines. And it was primarily in defense of children that Princess Diana, speaking from a minefield in Angola, raised international awareness about devastation caused by weapons from the West.

In December 1997, 137 nations, more than two-thirds of the world, signed the Ottawa treaty, an agreement to ban the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of anti-personnel landmines. How did the Clintons respond to world opinion, to the humanitarian movement against landmines?

President Clinton flat out refused to become party to the Ottawa convention. As he put it, "I could not sign in good conscience the treaty banning landmines." In "good conscience"?! Are landmines good for children?

The Clinton Sanctions Were Calamitous

Senator Clinton is currently trying to build a campaign around her experience in the White House, but she refuses to take responsibility for the most inhumane and disastrous foreign policy operation of the Clinton years: the infamous economic sanctions against Iraq. The sanctions, a colossal failure, formed the centerpiece of Clinton foreign policy. While the sanctions began with Bush senior in 1990, they were carried out and enforced with a vengeance by the Clinton Administration. The second war against Iraq actually began long before George Bush launched the shock-and-awe bombings in 2003. The Clinton sanctions afflicted the entire Iraqi population. Child mortality, as well as the death rate for the elderly and the chronically ill, skyrocketed. Malnutrition debilitated the country. Irrigation and sanitation systems collapsed. Common diseases multiplied. The Iraqi medical services, the most advanced medical system in the Mideast prior to the sanctions, fell apart. Farmers ran out of fertilizers and machine parts. Thousands of trained professionals fled the country. The sanctions, combined with surprise bombing raids, destroyed the entire infrastructure.

As the full magnitude of the calamity became public knowledge, humanitarian organizations, like Voices in the Wilderness, made appeals to the White House. Denis Halliday, former U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, resigned in protest in 1998. (His successor, H.C. von Sponeck, later resigned as well). Contemptuous of human rights and world opinion, President Clinton blocked Russian and French proposals to end the sanctions.

The Premise of Foreign Policy

It was Madeline Albright, Clinton's Secretary of State, who fully revealed the Clinton Administration's cold indifference to human rights. In her notorious interview on national TV with Leslie Stahl, Albright said that Clinton policy objectives were worth the sacrifice of half a million Arab children, children who were dying of disease and malnutrition as she spoke. For the record, Albright did not deny that half a million children under the age of five perished as the result of sanctions. When Stahl asked: "Is the price worth it?" Albright said without qualification: "We think the price is worth it."

Half a million children under five is a genocidal number. Of course, Albright was talking about Arab children, not Europeans. Had she made a similar remark about British or German children, she would have been fired and denounced within an hour. Albright's candid statement uncovered the essentially racist view of Arabs common among foreign policy experts--all men and women of experience, to be sure--in Washington.

The premise of U.S. foreign policy under Clinton and Bush is unmistakable: Arab peoples have no rights which the U.S. is bound to respect. When historians sum up the sanguine events between 1992 and 2008, Clinton's economic sanctions against Iraq and the Bush occupation of Iraq will be grouped together as part of a single, catastrophic process.

Senator Clinton has never disavowed the sanctions or the racist attitudes that made them possible. In fact, she is now calling for sanctions against another country in the Mideast--Iran.

I have no doubt that Senator Clinton is sincere when she promotes domestic programs for children--projects to reduce childhood obesity, plans to curtail teenage smoking. And like Obama, she advocates full health care insurance for all American children. All well and good.

But it is clear from her record--her voting record and her White House experience--that Senator Clinton, like her husband, does not measure human rights by one yardstick. The lives of Arab and Iranian children are measured on a different scale. We need a president who cares for all God's children, not just the white kids depicted in her Red Phone ad.

It is not experience itself, but the capacity to learn from experience, that should determine who should lead, and who should be deprived of power over the lives of others.

Paul Rockwell is a national columnist living in the Bay Area. (rockyspad@hotmail.com)

July 6, 2015

In Pittsburgh primary, party hacks outspent opponents 10x; LOST BIG TIME!

BACK STORY: Pittsburgh/Allegheny County has a Dem. county executive/old time machine Dem, who was really pissed at several Dem. incumbent office holders who had clashed with him. The Controller had the temerity to actually audit him, as she is required to do by law, and expose his fraudulent use of county property. Although he himself was unopposed in the primary, he raised money to fund primary opponents for the five Dems who'd opposed his policies. His main target was the County controller whose audit had caught him out using county vehicles for private purposes - he had to pay some $10,000 back to the county and was publicly humiliated. He also funded a challenger to the City of Pittsburgh's controller and 3 members of the county council.

Mr. Fitzgerald is backing candidates seeking to replace three county council Democrats who have clashed with him: Barbara Daly Danko of Regent Square, Amanda Green Hawkins (who is stepping down) of Stanton Heights, and Bill Robinson of the Hill District.

The dying city/county party machine outspent their targets by TEN TO ONE, and that's a conservative estimate. They flooded the airwaves and the web with political ads. I could not turn on my computer for months before the election with out seeing some smarmy, packed-with-lies and half truth ads. AND THE MACHINE CANDIDATES LOST! Every single one! The head cheese, i.e, Fitzgerald, only won because he was unopposed. But, all in all, the vote was a CRUSHING DEFEAT for the party machine/pro-fracking Fitzgerald.

Even Fitzgerald's unopposed victory to a second term as county executive came with mixed results. Fitzgerald received 68,882 votes, about 60 percent of total Democrat votes cast, but far fewer than other countywide officials who ran unopposed. County Treasurer John Weinstein and District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. each received about 91,000 votes.

Voters cast about 1,800 write-in votes in the county executive race. Joni Rabinowitz, a frequent Fitzgerald critic and a poll worker at the Environmental Charter School in Point Breeze, said write-ins included “No Fracking,” “No Bully,” and “Anyone But.”

“It shows that he was trying to exert power, a certain power and control, that the voters didn't appreciate,” Rabinowitz said of Fitzgerald.

Read more: http://triblive.com/politics/politicalheadlines/8391880-74/fitzgerald-county-peduto#ixzz3f6zjaOKy
July 4, 2015

His wife is by his side at all appearances - a supportive partnership.

Doesn't have to be kept at a safe distance like Bill. I can't think of any other presidential candidate whose spouse has ever had to be kept out of the picture. Compare HRC's where-in-the-world-is-Bill campaign with Bill's you-get-two-for-the-price-of-one campaigns.

WP Headline: "Clinton campaign’s dilemma: What to do with Bill?"


MARRAKESH, Morocco — The scene that unfolded here last week as Bill Clinton convened world leaders for a philanthropic conference was hardly what his wife’s champion-for-everyday-Americans campaign would have ordered up.

Gathered in Marrakesh for a Clinton Global Initiative confab, foreign oligarchs and corporate titans mingled amid palm trees, decorative pools and dazzling tiled courtyards with the former president and his traveling delegation of foundation donors — many of whom are also donors to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign.

When daughter Chelsea moderated a discussion on women’s empowerment, the only male panelist was Morocco’s richest person, Othman Benjelloun, whose BMCE Bank is a CGI sponsor. For the week’s biggest party, guests were chauffeured across the city to an opulent 56-room palace that boasts a private collection of Arabian horses, overlooks the snow-capped Atlas Mountains and serves a fine-dining menu of “biolight” cuisine. Ahead of that event, Bill Clinton greeted Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal. “See you tonight, Turki,” he told his royal highness.

It was a long way from Hillary Clinton’s campaign-trail visits to Chipotle. The luxe week in Morocco highlighted the over­arching question facing the Clintons and their co­existing circles of political advisers: What to do with Bill? One afternoon in April, Bill Clinton looked up at a television in his midtown Manhattan office and saw the grainy security-camera photo of his wife and her aide, Huma Abedin, at a Chipotle in Ohio, appearing incognito in dark sunglasses. He turned to aides and wondered, “What are she and Huma doing? Are they robbing that place?”

July 4, 2015

Sanders Draws + 2,500 to Iowa stop; tops for this presidential cycle

Go-o-o-o-o-o-o Bernie!

The independent senator from Vermont attracted more than 2,500 people to a convention center here on Friday night as part of his continued quest to lead a "political revolution" and win the Democratic nomination in a field that also includes Hillary Rodham Clinton.

It was by far the largest draw in Iowa, the nation’s first caucus state, by any White House hopeful this cycle — though there were plenty of Sanders fans in the crowd who came across the river from Nebraska.

Still, by any measure, it was impressive gathering and the latest to underscore the strength of the Sanders phenomenon. Earlier this week, 10,000 people showed up in Madison, Wis., to hear Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, decry the "grotesque level" of income inequality in the country and the influence of the "billionaire class" on its politics.

Meanwhile, HRC resorted to giving away free hamburgers, apple pie and lemonade on an Ivy campus (Dartmouth) to lure folks to her open air talk. I must admit, that's a pretty slick move. Many of those interviewed supported Sanders or remained undecided. Claims were made of 850 in attendance, but no source for the count was given, so might have been a tad exaggerated.
July 4, 2015

Sanders Draws + 2,500 to Iowa stop;tops for this presidential cycle


The independent senator from Vermont attracted more than 2,500 people to a convention center here on Friday night as part of his continued quest to lead a "political revolution" and win the Democratic nomination in a field that also includes Hillary Rodham Clinton.

It was by far the largest draw in Iowa, the nation’s first caucus state, by any White House hopeful this cycle — though there were plenty of Sanders fans in the crowd who came across the river from Nebraska.

Still, by any measure, it was impressive gathering and the latest to underscore the strength of the Sanders phenomenon. Earlier this week, 10,000 people showed up in Madison, Wis., to hear Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, decry the "grotesque level" of income inequality in the country and the influence of the "billionaire class" on its politics.
July 4, 2015

The DARPA Robotics Challenge Was a Bust

A scientist friend connected with Carnegie-Mellon's Robotics program just posted this link on her FB page, and it was all new to me. When I think of the vast "news" coverage about butt implants & the Kardashians, compared to the scintilla of coverage of this event - well, Einstein wept! This article is absolutely fascinating, and gives you a catch-up look at DARPA's efforts with these competitions. Unless you're someone who ridicules science, give it a read!


It's been close to a month since the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) wrapped up. That's time enough to face facts. The biggest and most well-funded international robotics competition in years was a failure. That doesn't feel good to write. The DRC was a huge undertaking, spanning years and costing millions. The competition had a noble goal—the development of robots that can better respond to disasters—and it attracted many of the world's smartest and most accomplished roboticists.

"Worst of all, it failed to catch or at least hold the attention of the general public. The event was webcast, but not televised. News outlets with a focus on tech and science covered the finals, but not enough to pique the interest of more mainstream media. Years of work and tens of millions of funding culminated in an event that no one appeared to care about, despite the fact that it featured walking, driving, tool-grabbing humanoid robots.

"This is a shamelessly unscientific survey, but no one among my family or friends knew that the DRC Finals were happening. That includes my brother, who works at NASA, and my 11-year-old nephew, who's in an engineering program sponsored by defense contractor Lockheed Martin, the defense firm that had a team in the DRC. When the competition was over, the only person in my social circle—which is rife with nerds—who had read or seen anything about it was my father-in-law. His sole takeaway: the Pentagon held a contest where a bunch of robots fell down.
July 3, 2015

"OK, now Hillary Clinton seems to have some problems in Iowa"

Here's a great article to start off our holiday weekend!

The photo above was taken in Madison, Wis., a little more than 100 miles from the border of Iowa, where a reported 10,000 people came to hear Bernie Sanders speak Wednesday. The polling strength of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) in Iowa is almost certainly in part due to the proximity of his state, so all of those excited Wisconsinites aren't what Clinton's team wants to see.

The new poll from Quinnipiac University shows Clinton's lead in the state down to 19 points. It was 45 points in Quinnipiac polling in May.

What's interesting is that this is not the same scenario as we see in Bloomberg's polling. Clinton has seen a tangible erosion of support among men and the very liberal -- to the point that she actually trails among the latter group. But she's also seen a big drop in support from women in the state. That's a 12-point drop among women, in a poll with a margin of error of 3.6 points. It's real.

When we were tossing cold water on the Bloomberg poll, we aggregated the anyone-but-Hillary vote to compare it to the front-runner. Here, you can see that the not-Hillary vote has markedly increased -- meaning that the number of people voting against Clinton isn't just switching between candidates, but that people are moving away from her. The contingent of people who prefer a not-Clinton candidate is at 44 percent. That's ... not good for Clinton. (M)ore polls like this one -- and more photos like the one at the top -- and Clinton staffers will need to start ordering Ambien by the crate.

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