2016 election

I, Virginia Bergman, pledge not to vote for a male presidential candidate in 2016 just because he's male.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Hillary takes New York!

Time to celebrate - Hillary Clinton, a long-time, loyal Democrat just defeated Bernie Sanders in the NY primary. Bernie is the guy who became a Democrat in 2015 and since then has done his best to divide the party, and he has certainly not done anything at all to help Democrats.

Dishonest Bernie vs. truthtelling Hillary

Photo courtesy of CNN.
Hi friends of Katalusis,

I'm on edge this morning thinking about the NY primary today and hoping that Hillary's win will prove that Americans are better than the reprehensible behavior of Bernie Sanders and his followers indicates. This letter from Hillary's campaign hit my inbox this morning, and it reveals how low Sanders is willing to stoop in order to get what he wants, never mind what he deserves:

Virginia --

I want to let you know about a development that just occurred, because it matters. The tone of this primary matters, and the condition of our party at the end of it will matter as we prepare to face Donald Trump or Ted Cruz this fall.

Earlier today, the Sanders campaign wrote a letter to the Democratic National Committee, falsely accusing us of violating campaign finance law.

You won’t be surprised by what happened next: 26 minutes after the letter was sent, his campaign sent a fundraising email attempting to capitalize on the phony charges.

(Before you read any further, let's get one thing straight: this accusation is false. They're questioning our joint fundraising agreement with the DNC, which allows us to support Democrats running up and down the ticket -- the same fundraising structure used by President Obama in 2008 and 2012.)

This latest incident is part of a troubling pattern of behavior -- occurring just as Bernie’s mathematical odds of winning the nomination dwindle toward zero -- in which Sanders and his team are not just debating us on issues (which we all agree is perfectly fair), but rather attacking Hillary Clinton’s character, integrity, and motivations.

The fact that they include the Democratic Party in these charges -- an organization we want future generations of progressives to trust and support -- further confirms that the Sanders campaign has let things get out of hand in its waning days. To wit:

  • Over the weekend, they had protesters outside one of our fundraising events -- one whose proceeds went not just to Hillary for America, but to the Democratic National Committee and 32 state Democratic Parties -- throwing dollar bills at Hillary’s motorcade, as if they were at, shall we say, an adult entertainment venue. This was just days after someone introducing Bernie at a rally called Hillary a “Democratic whore.”
  • In last week’s debate, Bernie questioned Hillary’s commitment to fighting climate change because a whopping 0.2% of the money given to our campaign has come from employees of oil and gas companies. Not even 2%, mind you: 0.2%.
  • And of course, Sanders spent several days calling Hillary unqualified for the presidency, based on an entirely false claim that Hillary had said the same about him. She hadn’t (and still hasn’t, even after what he said).
To be clear, we welcome a debate on the important issues facing Americans, like how to prevent gun violence, encourage tolerance, and do more to level the playing field for Americans who are counting on us.

But it’s hard to see how anyone -- other than Donald Trump and Ted Cruz -- benefits from this downward spiral of irresponsible and baseless attacks. Right about now is when we ought to be talking about coming together as a progressive movement, not undermining a generation of voters’ faith in the Democratic Party and in the woman who is almost certain to be its nominee.

Thank you for everything you do to support our campaign.


Robby Mook
Campaign Manager
Hillary for America

Friday, April 15, 2016

Debate coach: Hillary A-; Bernie D

Clinton campaign won't release speech transcripts
Photo courtesy of CNN.com.
So, as I've explained already on Facebook this morning, I got disgusted watching last night's debate between Hillary and Bernie - it was Bernie's finger pointing, arm waving, and angry scowl that prompted me to turn off CNN's live stream from New York and go to bed early.

However, I was anxious this morning to see how viewers rated the two Democratic candidates. It was my good fortune that CNN posted Todd Graham's response to the performances of Bernie and Hillary; Graham is director of debate at Southern Illinois University.

To start with, Graham gave Hillary an A- and Bernie a D. From what I saw, those grades are about right. Graham followed with a detailed critique of the pair's performances:

(CNN)For Thursday night's Democratic debate, I'm focusing my debate coach evaluation squarely on improvements. 

Hillary Clinton: A-
She still interrupts too much. No improvement there.
She still has a terrible answer to the question of why she won't release her Wall Street speech transcripts. But Sanders won't release all his tax returns either. (They're both still ducking questions with answers that don't pass the smell test.) 
However, Clinton did have a better debate in some significant ways. The first was in demanding Sanders produce examples of her being influenced by Wall Street, as he has so often charged. She asked for an example, and when he couldn't come up with one, she said, "This is a phony attack designed to raise questions with no evidence or support... he cannot come up with any example, because there is no example." 
Good response...but this wasn't even her best retort of the night. 
In a discussion about the U.S.-backed military operation in Libya, for the first time, while admitting that the ouster of Moammar Ghadafi didn't work out as well as hoped, Clinton compared Libya to Syria. Bashar al-Assad is a terrible dictator, just like Gadhafi was, she argued. The difference, she pointed out? Syria is worse now, and a bigger threat to the United States than Libya is, but Syria still has Assad. The effective takeaway? So perhaps keeping dictators in place isn't better than removing them. 
But neither was this her best argument of the night.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Vetting Bernie - that cool old guy from Vermont

photo from Wikipedia.

An interview with Bernie's wife Jane Sanders confirms information I've posted at Katalusis, including here, here, and here, in my efforts to contribute to the long overdue vetting of Bernie, that "cool" old guy from Vermont.

Spandan Chakrabarti at The People's View contributes to Bernie's vetting by sharing info he obtained from his recent interview with Jane:

"We didn't realize they had planned to release the transcripts", was Jane Sanders' best response to her husband's disastrous interview with the New York Daily News.  Word. For. Word.

This quote should be featured in the dictionary next to the word 'irony.' What, pray tell, did Mrs. Sanders think was going to happen when a candidate for president does an on-the-record interview with people whose business is to publish things?

What's so terrible about releasing the transcript of a candidate interviewing with a publication? Flavor. Apparently to Mrs. Sanders, it wasn't so important that Bernie Sanders seemed to be completely out of his depth in the interview, what really matters is that he did it with gusto. Or something. It's not important that he said "I don't know" when asked about how he'd accomplish the things he was promising, what's important is his inflections on how he said "I don't know." Ah.

All joking aside, it should warrant to anyone who genuinely cares about the state of our democracy a great deal of pause when a candidate's wife and campaign surrogate refers to an hour long interview that did not go their way as an "inquisition" while fumbling to explain the vaguest answers.

In the immediate aftermath of the interview (ahem, transcript here), I penned a column headlined "Thoroughly Unprepared", referring to Sen. Sanders' absolute inability to furnish the details of how to achieve any of his policy goals, especially on his signature issues of trade and Wall Street to such a degree that his opponent can explain it better.

It turns out that "thoroughly unprepared" is a pretty good descriptions of the Sanders campaign when it comes to being vetted or scrutinized in general. In fact, they may well be thoroughly unprepared for any type of coverage other than the swooning, adoring kind that marvels at "how far he has come" and how "his message is resonating and all the kids are flocking to him."

Think about it. Bernie Sanders' campaign has been one of the least transparent. We still do not have a single year of full tax returns. His wife holds all the couple's assets. We still do not know where a mysterious $10 million Washington, DC campaign contribution came from. The campaign still cannot keep its books in order to avoid potentially illegal, foreign donations. The Sanders campaign stole proprietary Clinton campaign data, and is now suing the DNC to keep from suffering the consequences. They repeatedly lied about endorsements, and looks to have sent out shadow campaign affiliates to disrupt Clinton rallies.

Bernie Sanders likes to tout his civil rights arrest record from a half century ago, yet when he faced anti-war protests as a Congressman, he had the protesters arrested.

When organizations like Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign endorsed Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and his campaign dismissed those as "establishment" voices simply unworthy of his great revolutionary aura.

Read more: 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Do Bernie and his supporters know how to count?

Photo courtesy of 538
You have to wonder if Bernie and his supporters know how to count. This post by David Wasserman at 538 suggests otherwise; hence Bernie is determined to keep blowing his millions - no help there for down ballot Democrats - to smear Hillary at every opportunity. And Bernie is the "cool" guy who pledged to never run a negative campaign. I refer to Bernie's coolness (whatever that means) because so many of my liberal friends in the past have preferred the "cool" candidate over the best qualified candidate - that would be Hillary.

So 538's Wasserman crunches the current numbers for Bernie and Hillary in the 2016 campaign:

Bernie Sanders’s supporters are fond of the hypothesis that Democratic superdelegates, the elected leaders and party officials who currently support Hillary Clinton by a lopsided-doesn’t-even-begin-to-describe-it 469 to 31, are going to bow to the “will of the people” if Sanders ends up winning more pledged delegates than Clinton by June.

There’s just one hiccup in this logic: Sanders fans seem to be conflating the pledged delegate count and the “will of the voters,” when in fact the two are far from interchangeable.

Sanders’s reliance on extremely low-turnout caucus states has meant the pledged delegate count overstates his share of votes. To date, Sanders has captured 46 percent of Democrats’ pledged delegates but just 42 percent of raw votes. So even if Sanders were to draw even in pledged delegates by June — which is extremely unlikely — Clinton could be able to persuade superdelegates to stick with her by pointing to her popular vote lead.

Sanders already has a nearly impossible task ahead of him in trying to erase Clinton’s pledged delegate lead. He’s down by 212 delegates, meaning he’d need to win 56 percent of those remaining to nose in front. He has dominated caucus states such as Idaho and Washington, but only two caucus states — Wyoming and North Dakota — remain on the calendar. What’s more, the biggest states left — New York and California — favor Clinton demographically.

Read More:

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Who knew? Bernie and Jane Sanders are millionaires!

Sanders with his wife Jane O'Meara in Des Moines, Iowa (Wiki)
Bernie Sanders and his wife Jane have some explaining to do. Bernie, as you know, is the candidate in the Democratic primary who rails against Wall Street, big banks, and the one percent. You recall Bernie, right? He's the angry guy with his fist raised attempting to shame his opponent Hillary Clinton for her supposed ties to Wall Street - she got paid for a couple of speeches...

Who knew that Bernie and his wife Jane are millionaires, or that Jane left her position as president of Burlington College under questionable circumstances and has been accused of federal bank fraud. Accuracy in Academia details the financial scandals following Bernie and Jane:

Editor’s Note: Maybe some of Bernie Sanders youngest supporters should know how close to the one percent he gets.

Responding to one of Anderson Cooper’s softball questions, socialist Bernie Sanders (I-VT) told the CNN Town Hall on Wednesday night that he lives a frugal life and indicated that he doesn’t care about money or status. “I have a small Chevrolet,” he said. “It is one of the smallest Chevys that they make.” He said it was about five years old.
But James O’Brien, a political consultant and former publisher of Campaigns & Elections magazine, says the career politician, who has been a mayor, member of Congress and U.S. senator, has achieved the financial status of a millionaire.
O’Brien has analyzed the financial status of Sanders and his wife, including their financial disclosure report, and has concluded they have a net worth in the range of $1.2 to $1.5 million, not the $700,000 or less that is usually reported by the media.
Rather than “Feel the Bern,” the phrase associated with popular support for the self-declared “democratic socialist,” O’Brien says that Sanders is personally “Feelin’ the Wealth.”
Equally significant, his wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, left her position as president of Burlington College under controversial circumstances and is now being accused of federal bank fraud. She left her position at the college and was given a severance package known as a “golden parachute” that also benefited Senator Sanders’ personal wealth.

Read More:

Friday, April 8, 2016

Bernie's for-profit investments in Wall Street, Big Pharma, and Fracking

Photo courtesy of Daily Kos.
Whenever a politician claims to be above politics, I immediately become skeptical. Early on, shortly after he suddenly decided to join the Democratic Party, Bernie boasted about his high principles. One of his favorite criticisms of his opponent Hillary Clinton, a long-time, loyal Democrat, is that she's owned by Wall Street, etc. So I'm surprised this morning to read that Saint Bernie has for-profit investments in Wall Street, Big Pharma, and fracking - that information is probably only surfacing now, as Bernie has cleverly listed his assets under his wife Jane's account.

Yesterday in an interview on the evening news by Charlie Rose, Bernie promised to respond in kind to any criticisms of his saintly self, so he may be ready to attack Educatordcm at the Daily Kos who recently posted this item:

I found this article on “Garnet News” interesting.  Written by Marcus Johnson for a website that is “Today’s News Powered by Women”, I took time to look through the website and it is clearly a left-leaning progressive website. In a fascinating article, the writer analyzes Bernie’s assets that he reported in 2014. I was surprised by quite a bit of the information. Here is the full read:

Here are the highlights that stood out to me:

With such an anti-Wall Street platform, one would think that Sanders didn’t own any stock at all. But not only does Sanders own stock, he actually is invested in several industries that he’s heavily criticized.

I found that statement to be really compelling.  Looking directly in his investments… the hypocrisy immediately jumps out at the reader.

Big Banks

One of Sanders’ most well-known policies is his push to break up the big banks. Sanders has given America’s biggest banks the notorious “too big to fail” label, and he has pushed the idea that their profits are coming at the expense of American workers. I was surprised, then, to find that Sanders himself owned funds with holdings in some of America’s biggest banking institutions, including JP Morgan & Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, US Bancorp, Wells Fargo, and Bank United. Bank United is particularly interesting, seeing as the federal government actually had to seize the bank in 2009 in part because “it was critically undercapitalized and in an unsafe condition to conduct business.

And it’s not just BIG BANKS he has holdings in… he is also earning money from BIG PHARMA.

Read more: