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Attorney in Texas

Attorney in Texas's Journal
Attorney in Texas's Journal
March 18, 2016

USA Today: "Clinton's penchant for secrecy: Our view"

link; excerpt:

A year after Hillary Clinton’s private email system was first disclosed, nearly all of the attention is focused on how many of the previously hidden emails contained classified information and how much legal trouble the former secretary of State and current presidential candidate might be in.... But the original sin is neither complicated nor open to partisan misinterpretation. It involves compliance with the federal open-records law known as the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA.

President Obama explained the principle himself on his first day in office in the first line of a presidential order on FOIA: “A democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency.” The same day, Clinton was confirmed as secretary of State. Disregarding the spirit of Obama’s directive, she created a highly unusual private email system that had the effect of shielding her official communications from the public, nosy reporters and her political enemies in Congress.... if she had read just two paragraphs into her boss’ memo, she'd have known that her motive was irrelevant: “Nondisclosure should never be based on an effort to protect the personal interests of government officials at the expense of those they are supposed to serve.” In other words, convenience does not trump openness.

For the next four years, what Obama had ordered should be public was, instead, shrouded in secrecy. Clinton didn’t just ignore the commander in chief, she ignored the FOIA law, which her own party worked mightily to strengthen in the years after President Nixon’s Watergate scandal.... members of Congress, like reporters and the public, had a right to access Clinton’s emails as part of their investigation regardless of motive. ... Today, thousands of Clinton’s State Department emails have been published in batches as a result of lawsuits brought by journalists and political activists to enforce FOIA requirements. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, a President Clinton appointee, said last month that the "case is about the public's right to know," and that the State Department's handling of Secretary Clinton's server created at least a "reasonable suspicion" that open-records laws were violated... By shining light on the actions of government officials and exposing these actions to political opponents and journalists alike, the law is designed to encourage public servants to act with integrity. ... The Democratic front-runner's penchant for secrecy, despite protestations that it was all inadvertent, raises significant questions about her commitment to transparency were she to reach the White House.

March 18, 2016

"Hillary Has an NSA Problem"

link; excerpt:

if the FBI recommends prosecution of her or members of her inner circle for mishandling of classified information—which is something the politically unconnected routinely do face prosecution for—it’s by no means certain that the Department of Justice will follow the FBI’s lead.... That said, if DoJ declines to prosecute after the Bureau recommends doing so, a leak-fest of a kind not seen in Washington, D.C., since Watergate should be anticipated. ... Neither is the FBI the only powerful Federal agency that Hillary Clinton needs to worry about as she plots her path to the White House between scandals and leaks. For years, she has been on the bad side of the National Security Agency, America’s most important intelligence agency, as revealed by just-released State Department documents obtained by Judicial Watch under the Freedom of Information Act.... The contents of Sid Blumenthal’s June 8, 2011 email to Hillary Clinton—to her personal, unclassified account—were based on highly sensitive NSA information.... This email contains an amazingly detailed assessment of events in Sudan, specifically a coup being plotted by top generals in that war-torn country. Mr. Blumenthal’s information came from a top-ranking source with direct access to Sudan’s top military and intelligence officials, and recounted a high-level meeting that had taken place only twenty-four hours before.... the contents of Sid Blumenthal’s June 8, 2011 email to Hillary Clinton, sent to her personal, unclassified account, were indeed based on highly sensitive NSA information. The Agency investigated this compromise and determined that Mr. Blumenthal’s highly detailed account of Sudanese goings-on, including the retelling of high-level conversations in that country, was indeed derived from NSA intelligence. ...How Sid Blumenthal got his hands on this information is the key question, and there’s no firm answer yet. The fact that he was able to take four separate highly classified NSA reports – none of which he was supposed to have any access to – and pass the details of them to Hillary Clinton via email only hours after NSA released them in Top Secret / Special Intelligence channels, indicates something highly unusual—as well as illegal—was going on.
March 18, 2016

Florida voters "fed up" with Trump and Clinton speak out

Source: CBS News

Voters in the key swing state of Florida are sharing their frustration about their options in the 2016 presidential race. A focus group comprised of Republican and Democratic voters who oppose both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump offered a revealing look at the anger toward the front-runners in both parties.

Clinton and Trump share the distinction of being among the least-liked candidates.

"I would rather not vote than vote for either one of these candidates," one woman told CBS News contributor and Republican strategist Frank Luntz, who led the group at the Orlando Public Library. "And it pains me to say that, because I feel it's my right as a member of this democratic society to be able to vote. But given those two candidates, I can't vote for either one of them."... "I just think that none of the-- either party doesn't deserve my vote. They're not giving me what I feel we need as a country," another woman explained. "So why give the support to someone who's not gonna do what I need them to do for me and my family?"

"I don't believe Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton really care about the American people. I don't trust either of them. I don't think they are presidential," one man said. ... "The thing about Hillary Clinton is that all of her flaws are verifiable and provable. ... "There is a great opportunity for someone. And that person had better come forward fast, because if the Republicans put Donald Trump up, and if the Democrats put Hillary Clinton, it will be the worst turnout election ever," a woman said.

Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/elections-2016-florida-voters-anti-donald-trump-hillary-clinton-focus-group/

There is a lot more at the link. WE IGNORE THIS NEWS AT OUR PERIL.
March 17, 2016

New York Times Public Editor Calls Out Her Own Paper for Stealth Editing of This Sanders Article

link; excerpt:

New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan penned a scathing blog post targeting her paper’s top brass Thursday morning, after senior editors stealth edited a recent story on Democratic presidential hopeful Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, changing the tone of the story from positive to negative.

The original story, titled “Bernie Sanders Scored Victories for Years via Legislative Side Doors,” was “glowing,” according to Sullivan. But after the changes, the story became “disparaging,” she argued. The headline was changed to: “Via Legislative Side Doors, Bernie Sanders Won Modest Victories.”... “The changes didn’t go unnoticed,” Sullivan wrote. “Hundreds of Times readers expressed their disappointment or anger in emails to me on Tuesday and Wednesday, as well as on Twitter and Facebook.”... When Sullivan approached her paper’s top editors inquiring why the changes were made, they said because the additional paragraphs added more “nuance” and “depth” to the story. Unlike factual changes, which most agree need to be noted, the Times editors said they felt the edits, which changed the tone and “substance” of the story, didn’t need to be addressed in an editor’s note.

In the end, Sullivan, whose job is to keep the Times honest and ensure that editors are upholding proper editorial standards and ethics, believes at the very least, some explanation is due:
The changes to this story were so substantive that a reader who saw the piece when it first went up might come away with a very different sense of Mr. Sanders’s legislative accomplishments than one who saw it hours later. (The Sanders campaign shared the initial story on social media; it’s hard to imagine it would have done that if the edited version had appeared first.)


Link to "NYTimes Public Editor on Sanders Story: Yeah, We Screwed Up;" excerpt:

For those who haven’t read the accusations of bias and irresponsible journalism against New York Times editors following a series highly questionable revisions on a story about Bernie Sanders’ legislative experience in Congress, start at Medium and finish with Matt Taibbi’s piece in Rolling Stone. Short version: A few hours after a piece by Jennifer Steinhauer called “Bernie Sanders Scored Victories For Years Via Legislative Side Doors” went up online, there were significant changes made by editors to turn the piece from “pretty positive” to “vaguely negative.” The changes included the addition of paragraphs like these:

But in his presidential campaign Mr. Sanders is trying to scale up those kinds of proposals as a national agenda, and there is little to draw from his small-ball legislative approach to suggest that he could succeed.
Mr. Sanders is suddenly promising not just a few stars here and there, but the moon and a good part of the sun, from free college tuition paid for with giant tax hikes and a huge increase in government health care, which has made even liberal Democrats skeptical.

...Amazingly, considering how the paper of record has dodged accusations of an obvious pro-Clinton bias this election cycle, Sullivan actually took some responsibility on behalf of the Times. The meat of the accountability section:

... The changes to this story were so substantive that a reader who saw the piece when it first went up might come away with a very different sense of Mr. Sanders’s legislative accomplishments than one who saw it hours later. (The Sanders campaign shared the initial story on social media; it’s hard to imagine it would have done that if the edited version had appeared first.)

Given the level of revision, transparency with the readers required that they be given some kind of heads-up, and even an explanation.

Sullivan even concluded by admitting the editors had exercised a level of bias: “I would also observe that the “context” added here looked a lot like plain-old opinion to this reader, and quite a few others.”

March 17, 2016

"These ZIP codes give the most to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders"

Link to USA Today's "These ZIP codes give the most to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders;" excerpt:

WASHINGTON — Before Bernie Sanders came along, Trevor Sullivan had never donated to a presidential campaign.

But Sullivan, the 28-year-old owner of the all-vegan Pingala Café and Eatery in Burlington, Vt., said no other candidate is more aligned with his values or more focused on the “environmental crisis” climate change poses than Sanders. Inspired by his yoga-teaching wife, he donated $888.88 to Sanders’ campaign in January.... Sullivan and other Sanders supporters are putting places such as Sanders’ home town of Burlington, San Francisco’s Mission District and bike-friendly swaths of Seattle on the nation’s fundraising map, according to a USA TODAY analysis of the ZIP codes funding the campaigns of Sanders and Hillary Clinton, his rival for the Democratic presidential nomination.... Sanders also counts college towns such as Cambridge, Mass., and Ithaca, N.Y., among his top ZIP codes — a snapshot of the ways Sanders’ unorthodox campaign has expanded the fundraising landscape beyond the donor-rich corridors of New York, Los Angeles and Washington.

The patterns are starkly different for Clinton.

The analysis shows her biggest financial fuel coming from the nation’s two centers of power. Six of the 10 ZIP codes providing the most campaign cash to Clinton sit in Manhattan — from Chelsea’s art gallery-filled streets downtown to the upscale neighborhoods uptown that abut Central Park’s green expanses... “It’s a little microcosm of the race,” said Viveca Novak of the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political money. “She’s the Democratic establishment, and he’s the renegade who’s been able to successfully raise money in new ways.”

Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, has proved adept at raising huge sums in small amounts. Fueled by online donations, Sanders raised $42.7 million in February, the largest one-month haul of any candidate in the 2016 presidential field and nearly $13 million more than Clinton collected that month for the primary battle.... Sanders’ No. 2 ZIP code, 94110, includes San Francisco’s Mission, a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood where high-end clothing boutiques and shops selling ice-cream made with organic buffalo milk have joined the discount stores and empanada shops that served the neighborhood’s traditionally working-class Latino population. Software engineers, game designers, programmers and web producers are among his donors from that neighborhood and the nearby Castro section of the city, which ranks No. 4 on his top ZIPs.

Clinton’s top ZIP code, Manhattan’s 10011, takes in Chelsea and portions of Greenwich Village. In all, she has raised more than $828,000 from the neighborhood. Her Chelsea-area donors include billionaire media executive Barry Diller, whose Frank Gehry-designed corporate headquarters building sits across from the Chelsea Piers and the Hudson River.... “I think she has a wealth of experience in politics, governing the country and in foreign affairs, and that makes her the most qualified person to be president,” Pagano said this week during an interview from a phone-bank operation in New York, organized by a pro-Clinton union. ... His Chelsea neighbors, however, seem divided in the race. The neighborhood ranks No. 7 on Sanders’ list of top 10 ZIP codes, the analysis shows.

March 17, 2016

Sanders releases Spanish, English ads ahead of Arizona primary

Source: The Hill

Bernie Sanders presidential campaign released two new ads featuring Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) on Thursday.... The two ads differ in content and language. One, titled "Bull," focuses on countering Wall Street and is in English. The other, titled "Valores," is on American values and features Grijalva speaking entirely in Spanish.

"What happened in the housing crisis is simple greed," Grijalva opens the 30-second "Bull," later saying, "they know that you're not getting bull from him."

In the Spanish-language ad, Grijalva introduces Sanders, saying "the values that Bernie has are the values this country has," listing hard work, equality and opportunity for all as examples.

"The positions he has in this campaign," Grijalva continues in Spanish, "are the best of any other candidate, Republican or Democrat.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/273430-sanders-releases-spanish-english-ads-ahead-of-arizona

March 17, 2016

Panic Has A Way Of Softening 2016 Republicans

link; excerpt:

WASHINGTON — ... some GOP senators said they would indeed sit down with Garland — and break with leadership over it. Many of them are up for re-election in 2016.

For those in tight races, now is definitely not the time to come across as partisan obstructionists. They’re in the middle of trying to cast themselves as the best senators ever, avoiding reporters whenever possible, dyeing their hair in the dead of night and trying out sharp new talking points with voters back home.
Sen. Mark Kirk (Ill.): “I will assess Judge Merrick Garland based on his record and qualifications,” he said in a statement. That’s probably a good thing for voters to hear in the state that sent Obama to the White House to make that court pick in the first place. Analysts see Kirk’s Senate contest as a toss-up, but the only public poll available finds him trailing Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D).

Sen. Ron Johnson (Wis.): His office did not respond to a request for comment. But a Wisconsin paper reports him saying his position continues to be “let the American people decide,” suggesting no action until Obama is gone. He hasn’t exactly been rock-solid in that stance, though. Last month he appeared to waffle, saying he never said he wouldn’t vote. “By the time I would actually take the vote, if it comes to that, I’ll take a vote,” he said. Johnson is trailing former Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold in most polls.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.): “I feel I would want to explain my position to the nominee. I mean, he does serve on the circuit court of appeals, so I want to give him that courtesy,” she told reporters. This is another toss-up, with incumbent Ayotte holding a single-digit lead on Gov. Maggie Hassan (D).

Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio): “If the nominee requests a meeting, Rob would be happy to sit down with him and explain his position,” said his spokesman, Kevin Smith. He emphasized the senator is still opposed to moving a nominee this year, though. Portman is in a dead heat with former Gov. Ted Strickland (D) in a state where 56 percent of voters want the Senate to consider a nominee.

Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.): Analysts have the state leaning Toomey’s way, but he gave the same answer, verbatim, when asked four times about next steps on Garland’s nomination. “We put out a statement this morning and I’m going to refer you to the statement,” he told reporters, flying down a flight of stairs. But he did want to make clear in a statement on Twitter that it’s nothing personal against Garland — it’s personal against Obama. “Should Merrick Garland be nominated again by the next president, I would be happy to carefully consider his nomination,” Toomey said.

Sen. John McCain (Ariz.): “I’ve issued a written statement. I’ve said everything I’m going to say on it,” he told reporters. His statement doesn’t suggest he’d meet with Garland.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa): He chairs the judiciary committee and has said he won’t give Garland a hearing. But he’s agreed to meet with Garland in early April, after the Senate’s upcoming two-week recess, per White House spokesman Eric Schultz.

Sen. Richard Burr (N.C.): “Why meet with someone who’s not going to have a hearing, or have a vote?” he asked reporters.
Sen. Roy Blunt (Mo.): Democrats, at least, put Blunt’s contest in the sleeper category, but he was standing by the GOP leadership line. “This is a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land,” Blunt said in a statement. “The president has every right to nominate someone, and the Senate has the Constitutional responsibility to decide if it’s the right person at the right time. I will not vote for this nominee to the Supreme Court.”
March 16, 2016

Hillary's Winning the 13-State-Bible-Belt. Sanders is Still Winning the 37-State-Not-The-Bible-Belt!

This nomination race is basically where you would expect it to be if you were looking for Sanders to win a come-from-behind upset over Hillary, the DNC chosen establishment Goliath who is running to keep the status quo in place.

There are several key points to keep in mind.

1. First, if you were thinking that Sanders was the favorite, and not the underdog, and this would be an easy waltz to the nomination, that was never a realistic expectation. If you thought that a Jewish progressive candidate from New York via Vermont was going to win in the Bible Belt over the centrist former first lady of Arkansas, that was also never going to happen. But keep in mind, Dixie is 13 states and the rest of America is 37 states; I'd rather be winning in the 37 state region than in the 13 state region.

2. Second, leave aside the Bible Belt for a moment, and look at how well "underdog" Sanders is doing in the rest of the nation:

State.....Hillary Delegates.....Sanders Delegates


Total................434...................492 out of 926

Considering the 15 contests outside of the Bible Belt, Missouri was a tie and Sanders won the most pledged delegates in 9 out of 15 states! Sanders won most of these states convincingly, and lifted the voters to achieve record turnout in most of these wins.

Hillary only won a majority of pledged delegates in only 5 out of these 15 states, and her wins in Iowa and Massachusetts and Illinois were by incredibly narrow margins (by only one delegate in Massachusetts and Illinois, and by 2 in Iowa).

Sanders has won over 53% of these delegates!

If the West Coast states were front-loaded in the nomination calendar instead of the Bible Belt, the establishment politicians at the DNC would already be updating their resumes and the M$M would be pulling its hair out.

Third, the goal is to amass a majority of pledged delegates going onto the convention. Do not fall for the nonsense about super-delegates who do not vote until the convention and who historically flip to back whichever candidate is leading in the voter-assigned pledged delegate count and do not but into Hillary's campaign's misleading posts about the "popular vote" which is not a real count of the popular vote (just ask what was the popular vote in Iowa, for example, and why Hillary and her allies in Iowa are opposing any release of those figures).

There are 4050 pledged delegates to be allocated, and 2108 remain to be assigned by the voters in the upcoming contests. That means we are less than halfway through the process. For Sanders to achieve 2026 pledged delegates (a majority) he needs 1215 (about 57%). To put that in context, Sanders meets this target if he does about as well as he did in Nebraska, and he meets this target even if he does less well than he did in Kansas, Colorado, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Sanders does not even have to do as well in the remaining part of the race as Hillary did in the first part, and he can still win.

With these goals in mind, we need to focus like lasers on the next 9 contests:

Democrats Abroad (we are well ahead)
Idaho (we are ahead in the most recent poll)
Utah (we have been ahead in earlier polling and Sanders is way ahead in the betting markets)
Arizona (this is a close race to watch; if we get the turnout up, we probably win)
Alaska (we are ahead in the most recent polling)
Hawaii (I'm not aware of any polling, but Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has our back and I like our chances)
Washington (I'm not aware of recent polling, but word on the ground is that we are ahead)
Wisconsin (we are ahead in the most recent polling)
Wyoming (I'm not aware of recent polling, but word on the ground is that we are ahead)

Sanders is already winning the Not-The-Bible-Belt primary 9 wins to 5, and after then next 9 contests, Sanders could easily be ahead 18 to 5!

We have passed through the part of the calendar rigged to favor the type of centrist candidates who will perform best in the Bible Belt, and the best half (more than half, really) remains to be contested. Sanders has taken Hillary's best punch, and he's still standing!

Keep donating! Keep phone banking! Keep the hope burning!
March 15, 2016

Live Mini Super Tuesday Democratic Exit Poll Analysis

Source: ABC News

Free trade: Sanders took advantage of economic worries in his surprise victory in Michigan last week. Among other results, 57 percent of Democratic voters said free trade takes more jobs than it creates, and Sanders won them over Clinton by 15 percentage points, 56-41 percent. Today, in preliminary exit poll results, a similar number in Ohio likewise see free trade as a negative, vs. fewer than half in Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina. Worth keeping an eye on as the night unfolds is how these anti-free-traders vote, especially in Ohio.

Attributes: Sanders also was helped in Michigan by the fact that six in 10 voters picked either honesty or empathy as the most important candidates attributes in their vote, higher than the average so far. In today’s states, more than half are focused on those traits, peaking at six in 10 in Illinois and Missouri and bottoming out at fewer than half in Florida. (Clinton, for her part, has dominated in previous contests among those focused on experience or electability.)
Honesty: That said, electability has not been a key voter concern, and Clinton’s been vulnerable on the question of honesty and trustworthiness. Across today’s states, only six in 10 Democratic voters in preliminary exit poll results describe Clinton as honest and trustworthy, while eight in 10 say that about Sanders. Sanders is considered more honest in all five states today, including by a wide margin in Missouri, but also by double-digits in Ohio.

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/live-mini-super-tuesday-democratic-exit-poll-analysis/story?id=37666687

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