Democratic Leadership Needs to Understand That the Political World Is Changing


Bernie Sanders | Reader Supported News | May 18, 2016

.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday issued the following statement:

“It is imperative that the Democratic leadership, both nationally and in the states, understand that the political world is changing and that millions of Americans are outraged at establishment politics and establishment economics. The people of this country want a government which represents all of us, not just the 1 percent, super PACs and wealthy campaign contributors.

“The Democratic Party has a choice. It can open its doors and welcome into the party people who are prepared to fight for real economic and social change – people who are willing to take on Wall Street, corporate greed and a fossil fuel industry which is destroying this planet. Or the party can choose to maintain its status quo structure, remain dependent on big-money campaign contributions and be a party with limited participation and limited energy.

“Within the last few days there have been a number of criticisms made against my campaign organization. Party leaders in Nevada, for example, claim that the Sanders campaign has a ‘penchant for violence.’ That is nonsense. Our campaign has held giant rallies all across this country, including in high-crime areas, and there have been zero reports of violence. Our campaign of course believes in non-violent change and it goes without saying that I condemn any and all forms of violence, including the personal harassment of individuals. But, when we speak of violence, I should add here that months ago, during the Nevada campaign, shots were fired into my campaign office in Nevada and apartment housing complex my campaign staff lived in was broken into and ransacked.

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Donald Trump’s Attempt to Destroy Press Freedom Is Reminiscent of 1930’s Fascists


Robert Reich | Robert Reich’s Facebook Page | Reader Supported News | May 15, 2016

f Donald Trump’s many fascistic tendencies, his treatment of the media — “disgusting reporters” he calls them – replicates the tactics of demagogues since the 1930s:

1. Banning not just reporters but even publications that have covered him negatively from covering at his public events, while giving campaign credentials to extremist outlets like “Political Cesspool,” a radio show that labels itself “pro-white.”

2. Inciting crowds against the media.Trump regularly whips his crowds into an anti-media frenzy and urges his fans to boo the press pen. Hostile rhetoric toward the press is a staple of his events. “I would never kill them, but I do hate them,” he said of the press in December. “And some of them are such lying, disgusting people.”

3. Throwing reporters out of Trump rallies. Last weekend, Michael Mayo, a columnist for Florida’s Sun-Sentinel, was threatened with arrest if he didn’t leave a Trump rally in West Boca after he entered through the public line and tried to film protesters. The campaign has reportedly begun to intersperse plainclothes security officers amid the crowd to root out anyone who is not a true Trump fan.

4. Using violence against reporters. Two weeks ago, a Secret Service officer watching over the press section choked Time photographer Chris Morris and slammed him to the ground when he tried to venture out of the media pen.

5. Threatening the media with libel. Last month, Trump vowed to make libel laws more punitive against the media if he becomes president. “I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money,” Trump said during a campaign event in Texas.

A free society depends on a free press. Which is why demagogues and fascists like Trump seek to destroy press freedom.

What do you think?

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The Supreme Court Is at Stake: Why the Presidential Election Matters


Judith McDaniel | Truthout | May 15, 2016

The US Supreme Court in Washington, April 4, 2016. (Photo: Zach Gibson / The New York Times)A US Supreme Court for the few or the many? Not voting gives your voice to others to decide. (Photo: Zach Gibson / The New York Times)

 

It is no secret that the makeup of the US Supreme Court will be a major issue as the fall election campaigns unfold. And yet, many voters will choose not to vote. “It’s too much effort. I forgot to register when I moved. My vote won’t matter.”

I’ve heard every excuse, but whatever the reason, not voting gives power to others to make decisions that do in fact affect most of our lives.

Examples? Here are some cases and issues to watch.

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Washington’s Military Addiction, and the Ruins Still to Come


Tom Engelhardt | TomDispatch | Reader Supported News | May 16, 2016

Washington’s Military Addiction
And The Ruins Still to Come

here are the news stories that genuinely surprise you, and then there are the ones that you could write in your sleep before they happen. Let me concoct an example for you:

“Top American and European military leaders are weighing options to step up the fight against the Islamic State in the Mideast, including possibly sending more U.S. forces into Iraq, Syria, and Libya, just as Washington confirmed the second American combat casualty in Iraq in as many months.”

Oh wait, that was actually the lead sentence in a May 3rd Washington Times piece by Carlo Muñoz.  Honestly, though, it could have been written anytime in the last few months by just about anyone paying any attention whatsoever, and it surely will prove reusable in the months to come (with casualty figures altered, of course).  The sad truth is that across the Greater Middle East and expanding parts of Africa, a similar set of lines could be written ahead of time about the use of Special Operations forces, drones, advisers, whatever, as could the sorry results of making such moves in [add the name of your country of choice here].

Put another way, in a Washington that seems incapable of doing anything but worshiping at the temple of the U.S. military, global policymaking has become a remarkably mindless military-first process of repetition.  It’s as if, as problems built up in your life, you looked in the closet marked “solutions” and the only thing you could ever see was one hulking, over-armed soldier, whom you obsessively let loose, causing yet more damage.

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No, Hillary Clinton Isn’t a Republican – but the Resemblance Is Striking


Andrew O’Hehir | Salon | Reader Supported News | May 16, 2016

Clinton is a lot closer to Richard Nixon than Trump is, but she’s really a Cold War liberal left behind by history

 

ou don’t have to look far on the American left to find accusations that Hillary Clinton is essentially a Republican, or almost a Republican, or simply too damn close to being a Republican. At least I don’t: I’ve done it myself, very recently, in a throwaway jibe partway through a recent article on the GOP’s spectacular implosion. I was aware, even as I wrote that, that it’s only partly true. If the joke stings, that’s because it cuts closer to the bone than Clinton supporters and Democratic Party loyalists would like. But it’s imprecise at best; even in his harshest criticisms of Clinton, Bernie Sanders has never suggested that she might, y’know, be like that.

Part of the problem is definitional and historical, and maybe even epistemological. What do we mean by “Republican”? A Republican where, and when? In broad strokes of politics and policy, Clinton is a lot closer to the worldview of Richard Nixon — the president who funded Planned Parenthood and proposed a national single-payer healthcare plan — than Donald Trump is. (Less charitably, we could mention Clinton’s recent reference to her good friend Henry Kissinger, one of the moments of 2016 she definitely wishes she could take back.) But the Richard Nixon who got elected in 1968 would not be a remotely viable presidential candidate in today’s GOP, and quite likely would not be a Republican at all.

So no, those things don’t make Hillary Clinton a Republican. Let’s say this all together: She’s a Democrat — a Democrat of a specific vintage and a particular type. At least in her 2016 incarnation, Clinton is an old-school Cold War liberal out of the Scoop Jackson Way-Back Machine, a believer in global American hegemony and engineered American prosperity. (I realize that’s a completely obscure reference to anyone under 45 or so. We’ll get back to it.) Many such Democrats became Republicans after 1980 — in several prominent cases, the Cold War liberals of the 1970s became the George W. Bush neocons of the 2000s — but Clinton didn’t exactly do that, and that’s not my point.

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Indicting Hillary


William Boardman | Reader Supported News | May 16, 2016

It’s the server, stupid!

 

t’s not yet clear whether Hillary Clinton will be indicted. It’s not even clear in the broader sense whether Hillary Clinton should be indicted. But it’s crystal clear that, even on the limited amount of credible evidence now available, Hillary Clinton could be indicted. She could be indicted for what might be characterized as privatizing her government office. That, in effect, is what the Secretary of State did when she moved pretty much all her public government communication to a private email server at her home in Chappaqua, New York. That deployment of a private server for a government official is, as far as we know, unprecedented. The public business of the Secretary of State does not belong in anyone’s private domain. It’s a gross violation of sane and honest public policy. And it’s also illegal.

That’s why Hillary Clinton could be indicted. She has committed a unique offense. But how serious is the offense? Until the FBI completes its investigation, including thousands of emails as well as the server, we can’t begin to know what weight to give it legally. Politically, we can infer that the Clinton camp is terrified of any full reckoning, since Clinton and her surrogates have been minimizing and lying about the case from the beginning.

When Bernie Sanders said in an early debate that people were sick and tired of hearing about Hillary Clinton’s “damn emails,” he may well have executed a shrewd and deft bit of political jiu jitsu. First, he framed himself as more interested in substantive issues, rather than political gossip. He surely knew that, if an email of actual importance turned up, the case would take on a well-deserved life of its own. Meanwhile he could take the high road, ignoring mere peccadillos. And quite possibly, Sanders understood even then that the core issue was the server, not the emails, and that the FBI under James Comey was a good bet to carry out a thorough and honorable investigation. Sanders successfully took a principled position on the “damn emails,” while knowing that all he had to do was wait to make the move a win-win for him (if that’s the way it would turn out, with nothing to lose if it didn’t).

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Why I Keep Fighting


Chelsea Manning | Reader Supported News | May 16, 2016

ood evening from sunny Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

I wish I could be there to accept this award in person, but since I cannot, I am delighted to have Aaron Kirkhouse accept it on my behalf.

As you know, I am held in an American military prison with only a small library and without access to the internet. In this time of rapid technological advances in social networking and the machine learning age, it’s quite an odd predicament to find myself in.

Today, when once obscure online refrains are now finding their way into the global lexicon — “pics or it didn’t happen” — it’s easy to feel disconnected from a world exponentially intertwined and dependent on technology.

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US gov’t slammed for ridiculous research on taxpayers’ dime


 

RT America | May 16, 2016

Could you outrun a dinosaur? That’s apparently a $2 million dollar question, according to the US government. This one and several other taxpayer-funded research projects have been put under the spotlight in a new report published by US Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona). RT America’s Manuel Rapalo breaks it down.

cFind RT America in your area: http://rt.com/where-to-watch/
Or watch us online: http://rt.com/on-air/rt-america-air/

Big Money and the Corruption of Democracy


Robert Reich | Robert Reich’s Facebook Page | Reader Supported News | May 14, 2016

he U.S. blames places around the world like the Cayman Islands and the Isle of Man for giving corporations and billionaires secret havens to hide their loot. But the United States doesn’t require companies registered here to disclose their real owners. We thereby provide global corporations and billionaires one of the world’s easiest means of hiding their money. Yesterday the chief minister of the Isle of Man charged that nearly 10 times more shell companies were registered in one building in Delaware than in his entire territory. Researchers in the U.S. and Australia have concluded it’s “easier to obtain an untraceable shell company … in the U.S. than in any other country save Kenya.”

Last week the Obama Administration submitted legislation to Congress requiring companies registered in the U.S. to disclose their real owners, at least confidentially to the U.S. Treasury. But not even this mild proposal has any chance of passage. Almost all Republicans are opposed, as are many Democrats. There’s no justification for their opposition to this common-sense measure.

Yet another example of the corruption of our democracy by big money.

What do you think?

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Neocons and Neolibs: How Dead Ideas Kill


Robert Parry | Consortium News | Reader Supported News | May 14, 2016

Hillary Clinton wants the American voters to be very afraid of Donald Trump, but there is reason to fear as well what a neoconservative/neoliberal Clinton presidency would mean for the world, writes Robert Parry.

or centuries hereditary monarchy was the dominant way to select national leaders, evolving into an intricate system that sustained itself through power and propaganda even as its ideological roots shriveled amid the Age of Reason. Yet, as monarchy became a dead idea, it still killed millions in its death throes.

Today, the dangerous “dead ideas” are neoconservatism and its close ally, neoliberalism. These are concepts that have organized American foreign policy and economics, respectively, over the past several decades – and they have failed miserably, at least from the perspective of average Americans and people of the nations on the receiving end of these ideologies.

Neither approach has benefited mankind; both have led to untold death and destruction; yet the twin “neos” have built such a powerful propaganda and political apparatus, especially in Official Washington, that they will surely continue to wreak havoc for years to come. They are zombie ideas and they kill.

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