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Saturday, June 11, 2016

At Some Point, Progressives Need to Break Up With the Democratic Party


It's time to get out of this abusive relationship.

Photo Credit: JStone/Shutterstock.com
At a certain point, if you have any relationship with dignity, you're supposed to get sick of being used and abused. Speaking of which: liberal Democrats.
Democratic politicians act like right-wingers. Liberals vote for them anyway.
The Democratic Party espouses right-wing policies. Self-described progressives give them cash.
Comedian Bill Maher gave them a million cash dollars, yet Democrats don't agree with him on anything. Why? Because he hates Republicans even more.
Why didn't Maher save his money? Or better yet, fund a group or a writer or an artist who promotes ideas he actually agrees with? Because he, like tens of millions of other liberals, are stuck in the two-party trap.
The relationship between liberals and Democrats is dysfunctional and enabling, abused pathetics sucking up to cruel abusers.
Progressives like Maher are like a kid with two rotten parents. The dad drinks and hits him; the mom drinks less and hits him less. The best call is to run away from home -- instead, most children in that situation will draw closer to their mothers.
Voting-age progressives, on the other hand, are adults. When will they kick the Democratic Party to the curb, as Ricki Lake used to say?
Probably not in time for 2016. But they ought to.
You don't have to be clairvoyant to see that the next presidential election promises nothing for liberals but more of the same: dismay, disappointment and disgust -- in no small part with themselves.
Hillary Clinton, a conservative warmonger ideologically indistinguishable from Dwight Eisenhower, will almost certainly be the Democratic nominee. But she isn't really a Democrat. Traditionally, Democrats were pro-worker; she and her husband pushed through NAFTA, GATT, the WTO and a slew of free-trade scams that have destroyed American jobs and depressed salaries. Democrats cared about the poor; Hillary has never so much as suggested a substantial anti-poverty initiative. Democrats aren't supposed to invade sovereign countries for the hell of it; Clinton repeatedly pushed WMD lies, voted to invade Iraq and still hasn't apologized for the two million Iraqis whose deaths she shares responsibility for. Democrats want single-payer healthcare; instead, she created the template for Obamacare, which keeps rates high to protect insurance company profits.
Yet in today's "Democratic" Party, Hillary is "inevitable."
Yes, the highly resumeed, slightly accomplished ex-senator could face a challenge from the left. But not a real one. Even if party bosses allow an actual primary process (they did not in 2012), any primary challenge will be symbolic and impotent (hello Bernie Sanders), poorly funded and sad, raising the faded, tattered flag of liberalism in a quixotic bid to coat Hill's coronation with a veneer of small-d democratic legitimacy.
If you're a leftie, the Democratic establishment doesn't care about your opinion. They certainly don't want your input. What they want is your vote -- in exchange for exactly nothing in return. They're political parasites, draining the enthusiasm and idealism of progressives, simultaneously neutering and exploiting mainline libs.
Like a tick, mainline "centrist" (i.e. conservative) Democrats will suck you dry. First they misdirect your hope for real change. Then they extract your vote. By the time you realize you've been chomped, the buggers drop off, bloated on stolen power and wealth.
You're left with drained political energy.
 During the initial months following the election, you get angrier. You watch con artists like Obama take office, appoint right-wingers to the cabinet and ignore America's victims -- the poor at home, the bombed overseas. Off goes the president -- your president, since you voted for him! -- golfing and shooting hoops and vacaying on the Vineyard while millions lose their homes to illegal foreclosures, poverty soars, the military gins up new wars and expands old ones, Gitmo stays open and killer drone planes fill the skies. Eventually, of course, you get over it. You recover.
Then, two to four years later, the parasitical Dems are back to suck out whatever idealism you've managed to regenerate.
Progressive Democratic voters are understandably unenthusiastic about Hillary Clinton. After enduring her conservative Southern Democratic husband (major accomplishments: bombing Bosnia, ignoring Rwanda, NAFTA, trashing welfare) and Obama (major accomplishments: drones, Libya, Syria, Iraq again), they know what's coming: more of the same. Because they're not willing to ditch the Democratic Party, however, they're trapped in a state of cognitive dissonance, unable to act in order to avoid certain disaster.
Thus progressives are resorting to ridiculously transparent non-tactics. For example: "deploy[ing] the spectral presence of [Elizabeth] Warren to extract as many [liberal] concessions as possible."
"It's not a crazy strategy," libbies are told. "The mere thought of Warren seems to rattle the Clintons, who are haunted by the debacle of 2008." Actually, it is crazy. Because the Clintons watch the news -- and Warren ain't running.
Noam Scheiber recently wrote an Atlantic piece titled "How Hillary Won Over the Skeptical Left," in which he argues ... well, read the title. (Note: by "left," Scheiber doesn't mean left. He means centrist Obama supporters, who are slightly to the left of Hill.)
"It's not that liberals don't perceive some ideological distance between themselves and Hillary Clinton, at least as they become more informed," writes Scheiber. Hillary became First Lady in 1993. What is there left to learn? "Nor is it that they recognize this gap and simply don't care about it. It's that, after the somewhat disillusioning experience of the Obama years, many actually consider this gap an advantage for Clinton." In other words: we're out to beat Republicans, not help poor people.
At this early stage, it is perfectly obvious that Hillary Clinton will screw over progressives. Not only is it evident that she will break their hearts, it is clear how she will go about it.
So let's say Democrats' faith in Clinton is rewarded and she wins the presidency. Here is how the 2016 transition is likely to play out. Having talked about inequality during the primaries, and maybe even the general election, she will feel pressure to appoint economists who know something about the issue. She will pluck a few advisers from the reserve army of liberals at think tanks like the Center for American Progress (home to many former Clinton White House aides over the years), the Economic Policy Institute, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
But as the transition goes on, liberals will notice a disconcerting shift. They will watch most of the senior posts in her Treasury Department go to alumni of Wall Street. They will see her fill out the top echelons of financial regulators -- the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency -- with banking-industry lawyers. They will even notice bankers turning up in agencies with little role in finance, like the State Department and the U.S. Trade Representative. Though any one appointment may be justified -- the Treasury undersecretary for domestic finance should probably have a finance background, for example -- the larger mass of Wall Street transplants will create a stubborn level of groupthink. Their skepticism toward policies like a financial transactions tax, aggressive prosecution of financial-market crime and breaking up the megabanks will ensure they never happen.
Don't come back in 2017 and say you were surprised.
Ted Rall, syndicated writer and the cartoonist for ANewDomain.net and SkewedNews.net, is the author of "Snowden," about the NSA whistleblower. His new book "Bernie" about Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, comes out Jan. 12 and is available for pre-order. Want to support independent journalism? You can subscribe to Ted Rall at Beacon.

Friday, June 10, 2016

12 Lessons for Progressives: 12 Traps That Keep Progressives From Winning


Progressives need to start talking about values and avoid the common pitfalls that cause us to lose voters' hearts and minds.
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Richard Wirthlin, chief strategist for former president Ronald Reagan, made a discovery in 1980 that profoundly changed American politics [for the political right]. As a pollster, he was taught that people vote for candidates on the basis of the candidates' positions on issues. But his initial polls for Reagan revealed something fascinating: Voters who didn't agree with Reagan on the issues still wanted to vote for him.

Mystified, Wirthlin studied the matter further. He discovered just what made people want to vote for Reagan. Reagan talked about values rather than issues. Communicating values mattered more than specific policy positions. Reagan connected with people; he communicated well. Reagan also appeared authentic -- he seemed to believe what he said. And because he talked about his values, connected with people and appeared authentic, they felt they could trust him. For these four reasons -- values, connection, authenticity and trust -- voters identified with Reagan; they felt he was one of them. It was not because all of his values matched theirs exactly. It was not because he was from their socioeconomic class or subculture. It was because they believed in the integrity of his connection with them as well as the connection between his worldview and his actions.

Whatever we may think of Reagan, this has been a winning formula for conservatives for the past quarter century. Progressives need to learn from it. Politics is about values; it is about communication; it is about voters trusting a candidate to do what is right; it is about believing in, and identifying with, a candidate's worldview. And it is about symbolism. Issues are secondary -- not irrelevant or unimportant, but secondary. A position on issues should follow from one's values, and the choice of issues and policies should symbolize those values.

One misunderstanding, common among progressive circles, is that the Reagan and George W. Bush elections were about "personality" rather than anything substantive. Nothing is more substantive than a candidate's moral worldview -- and whether he or she authentically abides by it.

Wirthlin's discovery happened to be about a presidential candidate, but it applies much more broadly. It should be taken to heart by all progressives: Concentrate on values and principles. Be authentic; stand up for what you really believe. Empathize and connect with the people you are talking to, on the basis of identity -- their identity and yours.

Progressives have not only failed to understand Wirthlin's discovery, they have also not understood recent advances in cognitive science, so they continue to fall into a number of traps. These are traps of our own making, however, and we can get out of them without having to change anything about our values. This is cause for optimism. The purpose of this handbook is to lay out the anatomy of progressive values, ideas and arguments to free us from traps we have fallen into.

1. The Issue Trap

We hear it said all the time: Progressives won't unite behind any set of ideas. We all have different ideas and care about different issues. The truth is that progressives do agree at the level of values and that there is a real basis for progressive unity. Progressive values cut across issues. So do principles and forms of argument. Conservatives argue conservatism, no matter what the issue. Progressives should argue progressivism. We need to get out of issue silos that isolate arguments and keep us from the values and principles that define an overall progressive vision.

2. The Poll Trap

Many progressives slavishly follow polls. The job of leaders is to lead, not follow. Besides, contrary to popular belief, polls in themselves do not present accurate empirical evidence. Polls are only as accurate as the framing of their questions, which is often inadequate. Real leaders don't use polls to find out what positions to take; they lead people to new positions.

3. The Laundry List Trap

Progressives tend to believe that people vote on the basis of lists of programs and policies. In fact, people vote based on values, connection, authenticity, trust, and identity.

4. The Rationalism Trap

There is a commonplace -- and false -- theory that reason is completely conscious, literal (applies directly to the objective world), logical, universal and unemotional. Cognitive science has shown that every one of these assumptions is false. These assumptions lead progressives into other traps: assuming that hard facts will persuade voters and that voters are "rational" and will vote in their self-interest and on the issues, and that negating a frame is an effective way to argue against it.

5. The No-Framing-Necessary Trap

Progressives often argue that "truth doesn't need to be framed" and that the "facts speak for themselves." People use frames -- deep-seated mental structures about how the world works -- to understand facts. Frames are in our brains and define our common sense. It is impossible to think or communicate without activating frames, and so which frame is activated is of crucial importance. Truths need to be framed appropriately to be seen as truths. Facts need a context.

6. The Policies-Are-Values Trap

Progressives regularly mistake policies with values, which are ethical ideas like empathy, responsibility, fairness, freedom, justice and so on. Policies are not themselves values, though they are, or should be, based on values. Thus, Social Security and universal health insurance are not values; they are policies meant to reflect and codify the values of human dignity, the common good, fairness and equality.

7. The Centrist Trap

There is a common belief that there is an ideological "center" -- large group of voters either with a consistent ideology of their own or lined up left to right on the issues or forming a "mainstream," all with the same positions on issues. In fact, the so-called center is actually made up of biconceptuals, people who are conservative in some aspects of life and progressive in others. Voters who self-identify as "conservative" often have significant progressive values in important areas of life. We should address these "partial progressive" biconceptuals through their progressive identities, which are often systematic and extensive.

A common mistaken ideology has convinced many progressives that they must "move to the right" to get more votes. In reality, this is counterproductive. By moving to the right, progressives actually help activate the right's values and give up on their own. In the process, they also alienate their base.

8. The "Misunderestimating" Trap

Too many progressives think that people who vote conservative are just stupid, especially those who vote against their economic self-interest. Progressives believe that we only have to tell them the real economic facts, and they will change the way they vote. The reality is that those who vote conservative have their reasons and we had better understand them. Conservative populism is cultural -- not economic -- in nature. Conservative populists see themselves as oppressed by elitist liberals who look down their noses at them, when they are just ordinary, moral, right-thinking folks. They see liberals as trying to impose an immoral "political correctness" on them, and they are angry about it.

Progressives also paint conservative leaders as incompetent and not very smart, based on a misunderstanding of the conservative agenda. This results from looking at conservative goals through progressive values. Looking at conservative goals through conservative values yields insight and shows just how effective conservatives really are.

9. The Reactive Trap

For the most part, we have been letting conservatives frame the debate. Conservatives are taking the initiative on policy making and getting their ideas out to the public. When progressives react, we echo the conservative frames and values, so our message is not heard or, even worse, reinforces their ideas. Progressives need a collection of proactive policies and communication techniques to get our own values out on our own terms. "War rooms" and "truth squads" must change frames, not reinforce conservative frames. But even then, they are not nearly enough. Progressive leaders, outside of any party, must come together in an ongoing, long-term, organized national campaign that honestly conveys progressive values to the public -- day after day, week after week, year after year, no matter what the specific issues of the day are.

10. The Spin Trap

Some progressives believe that winning elections or getting public support is a matter of clever spin and catchy slogans -- what we call "surface framing." Surface framing is meaningless without deep framing -- our deepest moral convictions and political principles. Framing, used honestly at both the deep and surface levels, is needed to make the truth visible and our values clear. Spin, on the other hand, is the dishonest use of surface linguistic frames to hide the truth. And progressive values and principles -- the deep frames -- must be in place before slogans can have an effect; slogans alone accomplish nothing. Conservative slogans work because they have been communicating their deep frames for decades.

11. The Policyspeak Trap

Progressives consistently use legislative jargon and bureaucratic solutions, like "Medicare prescription drug benefits," to speak to the public about their positions. Instead, progressives should speak in terms of the common concerns of voters -- for instance, how a policy will let you send your daughter to college, or how it will let you launch your own business.

12. The Blame Game Trap

It is convenient to blame our problems on the media and on conservative lies. Yes, conservative leaders have regularly lied and used Orwellian language to distort the truth, and yes, the media have been lax, repeating the conservatives' frames. But we have little control over that. We can control only how we communicate. Simply correcting a lie with the truth is not enough. We must reframe from our moral perspective so that the truth can be understood. This reframing is needed to get our deep frames into public discourse. If enough people around the country honestly, effectively and regularly express a progressive vision, the media will be much more likely to adopt our frames.

This is an excerpt from Lakoff's forthcoming book, Thinking Points: Communicating Our American Values and Vision, A Progressive's Handbook.
George Lakoff is the author of "Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate" (Chelsea Green). He is professor of linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley and a senior fellow at the Rockridge Institute.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

12 Examples of Hillary Violating Progressives' Trust (and Bernie Did Not)

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12 Examples of Hillary Violating Progressives' Trust



If you insist on blindly trusting Hillary Clinton, don’t read this. Instead, please proceed directly to the comment section and write something about Bernie bros or hellbound young women.

12 Examples of Hillary Clinton Violating Progressives’ Trust

1. Hillary voted for the USA PATRIOT ACT in 2001

Did you know that that USA PATRIOT Act is an acronym? 
Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required toIntercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001
I guess Secret Domestic Spying Act didn’t have quite have the same ring to it. Hillary voted YES. 

Where was Bernie? 

  • Saying things like this: “All of us want to protect the American people from terrorist attacks, but in a way that does not undermine basic freedoms.”
  • Voting NO in the House
  • Fighting to prevent the FBI from scrutinizing the reading habits of American citizens

2. Hillary voted to renew USA PATRIOT ACT in 2006

So, what did we get from the billions we spent on the USA PATRIOT Act? Well, we got a whole lot of nothing, unless you count several NSA agents spying on potential lovers and significant others.  
Hillary voted YES to renew the grossly unconstitutional USA PATRIOT Act in 2006.

Where was Bernie?

Still fighting the most egregious parts of the USA PATRIOT Act and voting AGAINST its reauthorization. From Rolling Stone:
On this particular day, Sanders carries with him an amendment to Section 215 of the second version of the Patriot Act, which is due to go to the House floor for a reauthorization vote the next day. Unlike many such measures, which are often arcane and shrouded in minutiae, the Sanders amendment is simple, a proposed rollback of one of the Patriot Act's most egregious powers: Section 215 allows law enforcement to conduct broad searches of ordinary citizens – even those not suspected of ties to terrorism – without any judicial oversight at all.

3. Hillary said Edward Snowden deserves jail time

This was just in October, when Anderson Cooper asked Clinton about whether Snowden deserves jail time. She replied:

...he stole very important information that has unfortunately fallen into a lot of the wrong hands. So I don’t think he should be brought home without facing the music.
While Snowden did steal information, he carefully handed it over to journalist Glen Greenwald and documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras. Turns out, the information he revealed showed that the NSA’s phone spying program was illegal. Are reporters considered the “wrong hands” to turn over proof that the American government is illegally spying on its citizens?

Let’s not forget that Hillary Clinton kept a private email server in her home, which contained top-secret communications, and the FBI is currently investigating that situation. 

Where was Bernie?

Stating that he doesn’t care about what Snowden did as much as the unconstitutional violations he revealed, and that he thinks Snowden deserves leniency. 

4. Hillary voted for the Iraq War Powers Resolution

The Iraq War was a stupid and unnecessary $6 trillion mistake, not to mention all the lives lost and middle east destabilization. We could have easily funded tuition-free college and eliminated ALL student debt for what it cost to go to Iraq.
Not only did Hillary vote YES to the War Powers Resolution, she gave animpassioned speech in favor of it.

Where was Bernie?

Doing the opposite. Making a passionate, pragmatic argument AGAINST the authorization.

In my view, the U.S. must work with the United Nations to make certain within clearly defined timelines that the U.N. inspectors are allowed to do their jobs. These inspectors should undertake an unfettered search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and destroy them when found, pursuant to past U.N. resolutions. If Iraq resists inspection and elimination of stockpiled weapons, we should stand ready to assist the U.N. in forcing compliance.

5. Hillary helped “shape” No Child Left Behind, and apparently she thinks that’s an accomplishment

From Hillary Clinton’s campaign website:
… as a U.S. senator, she served on the Senate Health, Education and Labor Committee, as a key member shaping the No Child Left Behind Act, with the hopes that it would bring needed resources and real accountability to improve educational opportunities for our most disadvantaged students.
No Child Left Behind is nothing to brag about. By all accounts it was a disaster, akin to the Republican logic of drug testing welfare recipients. Hillary reformed K-12 education by mandating that all students hit arbitrary scores on standardized tests instead of ensuring equal opportunities.
Hillary’s K-12 reform penalized schools whose students couldn’t achieve minimal scores. Obviously, this created a huge bias against poor communities, whose schools would not be given more resources under No Child Left Behind—but fewer. In short, they would be penalized for being poor. From Education Week:
Under the penalties embedded in the measure, for instance, struggling schools that serve predominantly poor student populations are the very schools most likely to suffer from a drain on resources as families take advantage of the tutoring or school choice options that the law provides.
No Child Left Behind was a colossal failure, and it was anti-Democrat in logic. Since when are we the party of oppressing the poor and disadvantaged?

Where was Bernie?  

Voting AGAINST No Child Left Behind, of course, and for the right reasons:
I voted against No Child Left Behind in 2001, and continue to oppose the bill’s reliance on high-stakes standardized testing to direct draconian interventions. In my view, No Child Left Behind ignores several important factors in a student’s academic performance, specifically the impact of poverty, access to adequate health care, mental health, nutrition, and a wide variety of supports that children in poverty should have access to. By placing so much emphasis on standardized testing, No Child Left Behind ignores many of the skills and qualities that are vitally important in our 21st century economy, like problem solving, critical thinking, and teamwork, in favor of test preparation that provides no benefit to students after they leave school.

6. Hillary Clinton Helped Destroy Welfare in 1996

Hillary Clinton served on the board of the Children’s Defense Fund from 1986-1992, and then, as first lady, helped gut the American welfare program. CDF founder and President Marian Wright Edelman said President Clinton’s “signature on this pernicious bill makes a mockery of his pledge not to hurt children.”

Three senior officials on the Clinton Administration resigned over the legislation.

Peter Edelman, a legal scholar who at the time served as an assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, told The New York Times, “I have devoted the last 30-plus years to doing whatever I could to help in reducing poverty in America. I believe the recently enacted welfare bill goes in the opposite direction.”
The Clintons’ gutting of welfare, Peter Edelman noted, “bars hundreds of thousands of legal immigrants—including many who have worked in the United States for decades and paid a considerable amount in Social Security and income taxes—from receiving disability and old-age assistance and food stamps, and reduces food-stamp assistance for millions of children in working families.”
Hillary defended her support of welfare reform using the tired Republican logic of dependency. 
Too many of those on welfare had known nothing but dependency all their lives, and many would have found it difficult to make the transition to work on their own.
Time would prove Hillary Clinton wrong. According to a 2015 article in The Nation, “it is hard to find a single way in which it hasn’t been a catastrophe for the vulnerable.”

Where was Bernie?

As usual, Bernie was saying all the right things at the right time. Bernie voted AGAINST the repressive reform. Here’s what he said about it in 1994.
My concern is in the process of welfare reform, we begin to look at the causes of poverty in America, that we make sure that we improve the situation and not punish poor people and children, especially the children.
The bill, which combines an assault on the poor, women and children, minorities, and immigrants is the grand slam of scapegoating legislation, and appeals to the frustrations and ignorance of the American people along a wide spectrum of prejudices.

7. Hillary’s Disturbing Relationship with Special Interests

Multiple reports indicate Hillary’s campaign was planning to skirt the edges of campaign finance law and coordinate with her super PACs. From the New York TimesMay 6, 2015:
Hillary Rodham Clinton will begin personally courting donors for a “super PAC” supporting her candidacy, the first time a Democratic presidential candidate has fully embraced these independent groups that can accept unlimited checks from big donors and are already playing a major role in the 2016 race.
Now that the electorate that is rebelling against super PACs, Hillary has backtracked on those plans. The thing is, rich corporate donors REALLY like Hillary (because she returns favors, see #8). How can she get her hands on their money, since Super PACs are are no longer kosher? Simple, set up a joint fundraising campaign fund via the DNC and then change Barack Obama’s rule about the DNC accepting money from federal lobbyists. Now, instead of that pesky $2,700 maximum campaign donation, or the pesky no coordination rule with super PACs, lobbyists can give Hillary’s campaign up to $360,000 by routing the money through the DNC—again, this is against Barack Obama’s rule against no lobbyist money. Here’s a fun coincidence: On February 12, 2016, the same day the DNC dropped Obama’s ban on lobbyist money, Hillary’s non-coordinating super PAC randomly decided to throw $5 million against Bernie. 
Priorities USA Action, the main super PAC supporting Clinton, unleashed a $5 million infusion of spending on her behalf, upending plans to hold its fire until the general election. The move calls attention to growing concern within the party’s leadership that her campaign may be in trouble, and it illustrates how crucial several upcoming contests have become in Clinton’s battle with Sanders.
I’m sure that’s just a coincidence. Right. And money doesn’t influence anyone ever. 
I could go on and on about…
Even if you believe money magically doesn’t influence Hillary Clinton, her wealthy Wall Street donors say otherwise. The fact that Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, has the ability to call Hillary Clinton on the phone is access that makes me extremely uncomfortable, and I struggled to understand why it doesn’t make more Hillary supporters feel that way.
Are we really a party that is to the RIGHT of Donald Trump on special interests?Really? Seriously? That’s kind of a big statement for the future of the Democratic Party.

Where was Bernie?

He’s not interested in special interests or shadowy committees or super PACs. It’s almost like he actually thinks votes should matter more than huge donations! That gall of him! And he’s setting records with small donors.

Sanders has raised far more money through small-dollar donations than any other 2016 candidate. By the end of 2015, the insurgent had taken in $54 million in contributions of $200 or less, accounting for 72 percent of his total fund-raising. Clinton, by contrast, raised roughly $18.5 million from small-dollar donors, with the rest of her $116 million war chest coming from big spenders.

Look at those numbers. Sanders is getting 72% of his donations from small contributions, and Clinton is getting 17% (note that Clinton often claims 90% of her donations are from small donors, and I’ll explain why that’s a lie in #9). 

8. Hillary Voted YES to the Biggest Special Interest Handout Ever

Republicans called it the Create American Jobs Act of 2004. Keep in mind that to conservatives, jobs come trickle down from the top, which meant a  $137 billion tax break for America’s richest companies.
Arizona Senator John McCain decried "the worst example of the influence of special interests that I have ever seen." The president's own Treasury secretary, John Snow, bemoaned the myriad "tax provisions that benefit few taxpayers." Top White House economists protested one new loophole that would cut $3 billion, primarily from the taxes of pharmaceutical and high-tech companies, without yielding "any substantial economic benefits."
The bill allowed companies that had income overseas to bring it back at a tax rate of 5.25% rather than the normal 35%, on the logic that companies would invest that money in American jobs; what it actually did was reward companies for moving American jobs overseas. American’s richest corporations collected on the tax break,but didn’t create jobs.
Some companies taking advantage of the generous tax break haven't even tried to hide their layoffs. In January 2005, on the same day it announced it was cutting 6 percent of its workforce, National Semiconductor said that it was repatriating $500 million under the American Jobs Creation Act. Colgate-Palmolive, which in December 2004 announced plans to cut more than 4,000 jobs, brought back $800 million in overseas profits last year.
Oh, but that one tax break just the beginning of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004. “Almost every industry in America received special favors.”
The tax cuts included half a billion for shipbuilders Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics, $100 million for NASCAR racetrack owners,and $9 million for arrow manufacturers. Importers of Chinese ceiling fans—like Home Depot—got a break, as did energy companies angling to build a natural gas pipeline in Alaska. About $231 million went to reduce the taxes of shopping-mall developers in the states of key House and Senate members. Four Texas companies received special dispensation to shelter their profits in the Caribbean. The law also cut taxes on railroads, coffee roasters, timber firms, and Hollywood studios. General Electric received tax benefits worth more than $1 billion over the next decade.
A recent study revealed that the average return on lobbying by multinational companies for American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 was a whopping 22,000 percent. 
They compared the taxes saved to the amount the firms spent lobbying for the law. Their research showed the return on lobbying for those multinational corporations was 22,000 percent.That means for every dollar spent on lobbying, the companies got $220 in tax benefits.

Where was Bernie?

No wonder special interests spend so much, so often. While Clinton crossed party lines and voted YES to this massive handout—fellow Senators Joe Biden, Robert Byrd, Ted Kennedy and several other Democrats voted AGAINST. In the House, Bernie, too, voted AGAINST this crony capitalist garbage.

9. Hillary continues to mislead about percent of her donations that come from small contributions. 

You’ve probably heard Hillary Clinton claim that, “I ‘m proud to have 90% of my donations from small donors.” 

Most of us hear that and think, wow, 90% of the money she has raised is from small donors, but what Hillary is ACTUALLY saying is that 90% of people give her less than $100. The problem is that those small donations only account for 17% of her donation total. That is highly misleading. 
In other words, 83% of her donation total is from a small number of big donors. Which group do you think she’s beholden to? The 90% of you that have given 17% of her donation total. Or the 10% of you who have given 83% of her donation total?
After New Hampshire, Hillary tried to spin her close ties to moneyed interests by sending an email blast that awkwardly demanded donations of $1, a request that looked suspiciously like an effort to lower her average donation amount, thus masking her big donor machine, which spawned mockery via an #imnotkiddingmaddi hashtag. 

Where was Bernie?

Sanders has raised far more money through small-dollar donations than any other 2016 candidate. By the end of 2015, the insurgent had taken in $54 million in contributions of $200 or less, accounting for 72 percent of his total fund-raising. Clinton, by contrast, raised roughly $18.5 million from small-dollar donors, with the rest of her $116 million war chest coming from big spenders.
While Sanders is getting 72% of his donations from small contributions, Clinton is only getting 17% from small contributions. 

10. Hillary was a moderate for decades; suddenly a progressive

Hillary and Bill Clinton are New Democrats, which mean that were right of center, and their policies showed it (see Crime Act; Telecom Act; Welfare Reform; etc.). Here’s Hillary saying she’s a moderate in August 2000.

There was an absurd diary on here that said people can be both moderate and progressive, but that’s not really true. The definition of progressive-lite is MODERATE. Her health care policy is moderate; he education policy is moderate. Hillary’s proposals are not the progressive ideals fought for by Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, or Franklin D. Roosevelt. Hillary has proposed moderate ideas for moderate minds and moderate ambitions. 
Call me crazy, but you shouldn’t use the word progressive unless you...
  • attempt to break from special interests that repeatedly undermine progressive policy
  • have a plan for universal health care (see #11)
  • fight for gov-funded college; the student debt crisis is not just wrong, it’s bad economic policy
  • fight for significant campaign finance reform
  • believe in building the economy from the bottom up; not the top down
  • believe that votes should matter more than dollars
  • oppose war in all but the most necessary of circumstances
  • oppose all forms of class based oppression, including the death penalty

Where was Bernie?

He was was fighting the good fight, even when he was in high school.
From Salon, “20 ways Bernie Sanders has stood up for civil and minority rights”
  • 1. Raising Money For Korean Orphans (as a high school student)
    2. Being Arrested For Desegregation
    3. Marching In March On Washington
    4. Calling For Full Gay Equality (40 years ago)
    5. Standing Up For Victims Of U.S. Imperialism In Latin America
    6. Condemned And Opposed Welfare Reform and Dog Whistle Politics
    7. Vocally Condemned and Opposed Death Penalty and Prisons His Entire Political Career
    8. Voted Against Cutting Off Prisoners From Federal Education Funds
    9. Took  IMF To Task For Oppressing Developing World Workers
    10. Achieved High Ratings From Leading Civil Rights Organizations
    11. Voted Against the PATRIOT Act
    12. Opposed Both Iraq Wars on Moral Grounds
    13. Traveled to Costa Rica to Defend Exploited Workers
    14. Endorsed Jesse Jackson, Spoke Up For Palestinians
    15. Strongly Condemned Police Violence Over the Past Year
    16. Embraced Immigrants When Hillary Clinton Refused To Talk To Them
    17. Defended Voting Rights Against Voter Suppression Efforts
    18. Fought Against Employment Discrimination
    19. Called For End to War On Drugs, For-Profit Prisons and Migrant Detention Quotas
    20. Put Out Detailed Plan to End Economic Crisis in Minority Communities:
Now THAT is what a progressive resume looks like. 

11. Hillary Stopped Fighting for Single-Payer Health Care

You’ve probably heard Hillary say she supports “universal” health care, but that’s not what she has proposed on her campaign website. In fact, the word “universal” is not even mentioned in her health care plan—not once—not even as an aspiration. Her website says everyone should have a right to “affordable” health care, without defining affordable. As a plan to achieve any form of universal coverage, it’s woefully inadequate.

Here’s her plan, in full: 
  • defend Obamacare and build on it to slow the growth of costs (slow; not reduce)
  • crack down on rising prescription drug prices (no plan on how to do this)
  • protect women’s access to reproductive health care by protecting Planned Parenthood
  • reduce out-of-pocket costs like copays and deductibles (no plan)
  • transform health care system to reward value and quality (no plan)
  • expand access to rural Americans (sorry inner-city folks; this seems to be the only plan she has)
    • broaden scope of telehealth reimbursement 
    • call for states to streamline licensing for telemedicine 
That is Hillary’s entire health care proposal. Would anyone care to tell me how her “plan” would achieve universal coverage? Or how it would help people in poverty? Or whether telehealth is really what rural Americans need? Anyone find a hidden “universal” plan out there? And if you don’t find that Hillary’s hidden plan, please stop telling me Hillary doesn’t support single-payer, but she supports universal coverage. Where’s her plan? That’s not what she has proposed, at a time when 80% of Democrats support single payer. Hillary wants to hitch her wagon to that train, without making any real proposal for universal health care. That should make you mad. Surely her opposition doesn’t have anything to do with these $2.8 million reasons.
Keep in mind that we could end up in the general to the right of DONALD FREAKING TRUMP on health care? Is the Democratic party actually to the RIGHT of Donald Trump on universal health care? Trumps own website posted this in July:
Obamacare: Repeal it. Replace it. 
Speaking at the Iowa Freedom Summit in January, Trump said Obamacare is a catastrophe that must be repealed and replaced. In 2011, Trump suggested that the health insurance industry have more ability to cross state lines. In “The America We Deserve” Trump wrote that he supported universal healthcare and a system that would mirror Canada’s government-run healthcare service.
And more recently, from Politifact:
Trump continues to praise single payer -- a health care system in which the government pays for care for all citizens -- at least as it used in other countries. But he has spoken a number of times, if vaguely, about a private system and at one point said he does not support single payer in the United States. Since then, his responses have been less clear.  

Where’s Bernie’s plan?

This is what a plan for universal health care looks like, with all those annoying budgety numbers and plan-talk that Hillary has yet to post. You tell me. Who has a plan for universal health care, and who doesn’t? 
Medicare for All — Goals
  • separate health insurance from employment, freeing citizens to …
  • start news businesses
  • stay at home with children
  • leave exploitative or abusive employers
  • remove fear of losing health insurance if job is lost
  • take care of seniors and those with chronic illness
  • stop people from having to choose between health care and other necessities like food, heat and shelter
The Plan — Federally administered single-payer
  • cover the entire continuum of health care
    • patient to outpatient care
    • preventative care
    • emergency care
    • primary care
    • specialty care
    • long-term and palliative care
    • vision, hearing and oral care
    • mental health and substance abuse services
  • cover prescription medications
  • cover medical equipment and supplies
  • cover diagnostics and treatments
  • zero need to worry about in-network coverage or out-of-pocket costs
How it works
  • Go to the doctor
    • show insurance card
      • no more copays
      • no more deductibles
      • no more fighting with insurance companies
How to control cost
  • gov negotiates drug prices with drug companies—same for everyone, everywhere
  • track access to providers to ensure communities have adequate health care access
Savings for families and businesses
  • USA currently spends $3 trillion per year on health care = $10,000 per person
  • Will save $6 trillion during next ten years
    • savings will go to American families and businesses
  • Average family pays $4,955 in premiums and $1,318 in deductibles to private health insurance companies = total cost of $6,237
    • Family of four earing $50,000 would pay $466 into the single-payer program
    • net savings = $5,800
  • Average business pays $12,591 in health care to an employee (plus family members) making $50,000 per year
    • Bernie’s plan would drop their yearly health care expense to $3,100
    • net savings =$9,400
How to pay for it
  • 6.2% income-based health care premium paid by employers
  • 2.2% income-based premium paid by household
  • progressive tax brackets up to 52% for those with an income over $10 million (.01 percent of taxpayers)
  • tax capital gains and dividends the same as income from work
  • limit tax deductions for the rich
  • progressive estate tax for those inheriting over $3.5 million
  • removes all tax breaks and subsidies for current health care system
What about the economy? 
Cutting out the health insurance industry would drastically reduce the cost of health care because it would eliminate an artificially imposed profit layer, a profit layer we are subsidizing with tax dollars.
And let’s not forget that we are not a nation that doesn’t let sick people die at the door to a hospital—we treat sick people, even if they can’t afford it. That’s why medical costs are the number one cause of bankruptcy, even though more than 75% of those who file have insurance. We’re already subsidizing health care—we’re just doing it in the most inefficient manner possible.
Because we subsidize the artificial profit layer of insurance companies, a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that by 2024 the US Government will account for 67% of health care spending, almost as much as what Canada’s government spends for its single-payer system (Canada gov pays 71% on average; the other 29% is from private insurance and out-of-pocket expenses). Regarding the USA:
“We pay the world's highest health care taxes. But patients are still saddled with unaffordable premiums and deductibles," said Dr Woolhandler in a news release. "Meanwhile, billions are squandered on paperwork, and insurers and drug companies pocket huge profits at taxpayer expense.”
We can easily afford single payer, because our government is already going to pay that much for health care anyway, via an incredibly inefficient system of subsidies, unnecessary profit layers, and medical bankruptcy. Sure, private insurance will play less of a role—jobs will be lost. But jobs will also be created as more people have freedom to leave exploitative employers to start their own businesses, people have more discretionary money to spend , and citizens get married, buy homes, and start families at a younger age, etc., etc. 
Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz (former Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers for Bill Clinton) knows the USA is rich enough to provide health care, sick leave, and sick days. “Bernie is right, providing the basic necessities of a middle class society should be the right of everybody in our country.”

12. Hillary’s quadruple lie about sniper fire in Bosnia

Look, I get that people make mistakes. Brian Williams told a similar exaggeration, and admitted his mistake. However, I think Hillary’s reaction to getting caught in a lie is telling—she tried to fix what could have been an honest mistake with more lies; that doesn’t imply strong moral compass to me.
  • Lie #1. In 2007-08 stump speeches, Clinton told a moving story about coming into Bosnia under sniper fire—that is, until she was called out by Sinbad. 
...Sinbad, who accompanied Clinton on the trip along with singer Sheryl Crow and then-first daughter Chelsea, said he remembers the landing differently. “I think the only ‘red-phone’ moment was: ‘Do we eat here or at the next place?’” he said in an interview with the Washington Post.
  • Lie #2. “He’s a comedian,” Clinton said, laughingly dismissing Sinbad’s claims. That is, until CBS played video of the landing. 
  • Lie #3. Clinton responded to media inquires about the Bosnia landing by saying she was sleep deprived and misspoke, trying to play off the Bosnia story as a one-time mistake.
  • Lie #4. When CBS uncovered footage proving otherwise, Clinton then dropped the third lie entirely and tried to claim that it actually was an extremely dangerous situation, but she just couldn’t help but stop to greet a little girl. CBS checked again and found that “her memory doesn’t match our videotape.

Where was Bernie?

Bernie has been flying above the fray. He’s been treating Hillary with honor and respect, refraining from calling on Clinton to release transcripts of her paid speeches to big banks, refusing to attack her on the FBI investigation of her email server, refusing to label her as a special-interest sellout, refusing to attack her on a myriad of Clinton scandals.
Luckily, I am not Bernie. I don’t have to fly above the fray, and I certainly don’t have any reason to trust Hillary Clinton. Voters agree: 59% of voters in Iowa don’t trust her; 62% of voters in Colorado don’t trust her, and with good reason. Hillary Clinton represents the epitome of special interests in election cycle that is finally rejecting them. 
The majority of Americans support Bernie’s ideas—the reason we don’t have a progressive tax structure or universal health care or tuition-free college is because Washington, DC, caters to wealthy special interests.
A study by Gilens and Page considered 1,800 policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, and compared the support for those initiatives at various levels of wealth. Gilens and Page then compared whether those initiatives became law. Their findings concluded that the USA is an oligarchy, and that 70% of the populous is completely disenfranchised because they lack the wealth to influence public policy.  
The bottom 70 percent or so are virtually disenfranchised; they have almost no influence on policy, and as you move up the scale you get more influence. At the very top, you basically run the show.
Oligarchy, plutocracy, aristocracy—you’ll get one of those if you support Hillary Clinton, but you sure aren’t going to get a democracy.

Thanks for reading. 

We’re with you, Bernie. 
Friday, Feb 19, 2016 · 1:48:06 AM EST · dsully
Thank you for all the recs and shares and comments. 
Mass Southpaw added to my list, with a post titled Eight MORE Ways Hillary Betrayed the Trust of Progressives
Please check it out. Thanks again,