Lazy Saturday Reads: Serenity Now!Posted: April 16, 2016 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Amal and George Clooney, Bernie Sanders, Democratic party, Hillary Clinton, New York primary, Pope Francis, public housing 95 Comments
Happy Weekend Sky Dancers!!
We just have a few more days until the New York primary is over with. I hope we all survive. Honestly, I don’t know how much more of the Bernie Sanders hype I can take.
Apparently, Bernie got to meet with the Pope in Rome after all, although there are no photos. The Associated Press reports:
U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders told The Associated Press that he met briefly with Pope Francis at the papal residence Saturday and said it was a “real honor” to call on “one of the extraordinary figures” in the world.
Sanders, in Rome for a Vatican conference on economic inequality and climate change, said the meeting took place before the pope left for Greece, where Francis was highlighting the plight of refugees.
The Vermont senator, in a race with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president, said he told the pope that he appreciated the message that Francis was sending the world about the need to inject morality and justice into the world economy. Sanders said that was a message he, too, has tried to convey.
Jeffrey Sachs must have some serious pull at the Vatican.
Sanders and his wife, Jane, stayed overnight at the pope’s residence, the Domus Santa Marta hotel in the Vatican gardens, on the same floor as the pope….Jeffrey Sachs, a Sanders foreign policy adviser, said there were no photographs taken of the meeting.
The Pope lives in a hotel? I did not know that.
Sanders said the meeting should not be viewed as the pope injecting himself into the campaign.
“The issues that I talked about yesterday at the conference, as you well know, are issues that I have been talking about not just throughout this campaign but throughout my political life,” Sanders said in the interview. “And I am just very much appreciated the fact that the pope in many ways has been raising these issues in a global way in the sense that I have been trying to raise them in the United States.”
Well, Sanders doesn’t get to decide how this is “viewed.” In my opinion, it will certainly be interpreted as the Pope “injecting himself” into a U.S. election campaign.
Sachs said the candidate and his wife met the pope in the foyer of the domus, and that the meeting lasted about five minutes. Sanders later joined his family, including some of his grandchildren, for a walking tour of St. Peter’s Basilica, one of the holiest Catholic shrines.
I expect we’ll be learning more about this as the day wears on. The meeting sounds oddly similar to the “private meeting” that Kim Davis claimed to have with Pope Francis during his visit to the U.S. last year.
In that instance, Francis “greeted” a number of people in passing as he left the Vatican Embassy in Washington DC. The Pope did not know that Davis was there.
The AP article says that Sanders “met” the pope in “the foyer of the domus” of the hotel. If Francis did actually meet and talk personally to Sanders, I think he made a big mistake. We’ll just have to wait and see what the fallout will be.
The Daily Mail provides details on Sanders’ trip to Rome, which was funded by campaign donations.
A day after Bernie Sanders claimed he ‘introduced the most comprehensive climate change legislation’ and said he would tax carbon use, the Democratic presidential candidate chartered a Delta 767 to fly him to Rome and back for less than 24 hours.
After attacking rival Hillary Clinton for her stance on fossil fuels stepped on Thursday, Sanders stepped off the plane on Friday in Rome for the Vatican conference with his wife, ten family members, a group of campaign staff, Secret Service detail and members of the press.
The total group of what is believed to be below 50, flew in a chartered Delta 767 for their trip, which can seat between 211 and 261 people, depending on the model. It is unclear if Sanders’ aircraft had flatbed seats.
A 767 aircraft carries up to 23,980 gallons of fuel, which is ‘enough to fill 1,200 minivans’, according to Boeing.
Sanders’ wife, who is Catholic and ten of Sanders’ other family members joined him for the 8,870 round-trip flight, including four of his grandchildren….
With a range of 6,408 miles on a full tank of gas, it can be calculated that a 767 like Sanders’ flying 4,435 miles from New York to Rome uses approximately 16,596 gallons of fuel. The round-trip flight will use approximately 33,193 gallons.
On average, an American flies only 7,500 miles per year, according to AmericanForests.org, 1,360 fewer miles than Sanders’ round-trip Rome travel. Thus, an average American releases less carbon emissions via aircraft each year than Sanders did in 24 hours.
Yesterday, while Sanders flew to Rome on a chartered plane and spent a night at the Pope’s residence, Hillary Clinton visited a public housing building for elderly people in Harlem. New York Daily News:
Clinton traveled to East 116th Street in Harlem for a tour of the Corsi Houses, a seniors-only New York City Housing Authority building that has struggled with mold, leaks and an inadequate repair system.
“I wanted to come here to really make a very strong plea that we do more when I am president to help the people who live in developments like this,” Clinton said.
She was given access to an apartment on the second floor that was in the midst of a major repair job to fix mold issues and leaks….
“I will do everything I can as your president to remember what needs to be done here in the city that I love, that is the greatest city in the world,” she said to cheers from the crowd.
To fix NYCHA, which has suffered for years from federal disinvestment, she said she would boost funding for the section 8 program, invest $125 billion to help struggling communities like the South Bronx, and expand Low Income Housing Tax Credits to curb rental costs.
“I will fight for you,” she said.
Clinton also hobnobbed with residents and guests, at one point joining in a game of dominoes in the rec room.
In other strange Bernie Sanders news, actress Sharon Stone hypothesizes that Bernie has done a lot of acid. NY Daily News:
Outspoken actress Sharon Stone recently told The Hollywood Reporter she worries the presidential candidate, 74, dabbled in psychedelic drugs during his younger years.
“He didn’t really work until he was 40, so I wonder, like, how much acid has this guy taken?” the “Basic Instinct” star told the magazine.
“I really do (wonder), that’s not a joke. We were so aggressive asking people, ‘Did you smoke pot?’ But in reality, how much acid has Bernie Sanders taken?” she asked again.
“There’s a certain edge to his personality and way about his behavior that makes me wonder, ‘How much LSD have you taken?'” she asked a third time during the recent interview.
Weird. IMHO, if Bernie had taken some acid trips he might not be so grumpy and negative today.
Bernie and Jane have finally released their full tax returns (except for the list of charities) from 2014. They say they will also release the 2015 return once it is filed. No word on the rest of the promised returns going back to 2007. David Cay Johnston at The National Memo:
Tax Transparency: After Expansive Vow, Sanders Releases Only 2014 Return.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders released nearly all of his and wife Jane Sanders’ 2014 tax return Friday night, but that disclosure still remains far from his wife’s promise to release returns for the last eight years — raising more questions about the candidate’s judgment and his wife’s claims.
As expected there was nothing startling in the schedules, but the failure to fulfill their promise to release returns back to 2007 — when Sanders was first elected to the U.S. Senator from Vermont — erodes the likelihood that other Presidential candidates this cycle and in the future will release their own full returns.A key detail withheld by Sanders until Friday night prompts yet another question: The senator and his wife have both said on national television that Jane Sanders prepares the couple’s returns using TurboTax software. But a schedule that had been withheld until now shows $204 in tax preparation fees.
The most expensive version of TurboTax sold currently — a higher grade product than needed to prepare the couple’s returns, costs $109.99 That price includes both an online download and a compact disc. And that is the price charged by Intuit, the manufacturer, with retailers offering discounts pricing the top product at under $100.
Hmmm . . . maybe Jane got a fee for filling out the forms?
While Bernie was out of the country, his supporters picketed a fund-raiser hosted by Amal and George Clooney for Democratic candidates in San Francisco, where they chanted, “Hey hey, ho ho, Hillary Clinton has got to go.” Very classy. ABC News describes the bizarre scene:
Approximately 100 Bernie Sanders supporters demonstrated outside of a George and Amal Clooney-hosted Hillary Clintonfundraiser Friday night in San Francisco’s upscale Nob Hill neighborhood.
Clinton and her aides arrived at the home of venture capitalist and Democratic donor Shervin Pishevar around 6:30 p.m. for the fundraiser, which kicked off at 7 p.m. Tickets to the event cost roughly $30,000 per person or $350,000 per table. (This is the first of two Clooney-hosted fundraisers this weekend. On Saturday night, the Clooneys are hosting another fundraiser, at his home in Los Angeles.)
The San Francisco street where the home is located was blocked off by police, but the protesters gathered at the top of the hill and then marched around the block.
Holding signs that read “Hillary: You can’t sit with us unless you have money” and “$353,000 for Dinner? And you thought SF home prices are high,” while banging pots and pans, protesters were vocal about Clinton’s ties to big money.
“Hey, hey, ho ho, Hillary Clinton has got to go!” the crowd, many of whom appeared to be in their twenties and thirties yelled out. “Bernie or Bust!”
It’s difficult to fathom why these people oppose raising money for Democrats running for Congress. Wouldn’t a President Bernie Sanders need Democrats in the House and Senate? The ways of Bernie supporters are very mysterious.
That’s all I have for you today. I didn’t even look at the Republican side of the campaign. It’s all just too crazy for me today. And now I plan to try to regain some kind of serenity before the big showdown arrives on Tuesday.
What stories are you following?
Lazy Saturday ReadsPosted: March 26, 2016 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Alaska caucuses, Amal and George Clooney, Bernie Sanders, conspiracy theories, Hawaii caucuses, Hillary Clinton, Jeff Weaver, New York primary, Tad Devine, Washington caucuses 196 Comments
Today should be a big day for Bernie Sanders supporters. Get ready to hear about how Sanders now has the “momentum.” There are caucuses today in Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington, and he could win all three. There hasn’t been much polling so we still don’t know for sure; but most likely Sanders will cut into Clinton’s pledged delegate lead after today, possible by as much as 50 delegates, according to Al Giordano.
Interestingly, it least writer in Hawaii, Anthony Pignataro, thinks Hillary could win in Hawaii. Kate Bradshaw at “Political Animal” in Tampa Bay: A different bird: Saturday’s Hawaii Democratic caucus might not turn out the way you expect.
Anthony Pignataro, editor of Maui Time Weekly (and one-time mentor to this reporter, who cut her teeth at said publication), says Maui’s strong progressive community, which packed the house at Maui Plantation to see Sanders’ wife, Jane, speak, in recent years has had enough of a voice to get voters to sign off on a GMO ban, but he’s not sure the same can be said for Sanders. Speaking of teeth, we have teeth whitening products along with Teeth whitening tips.
“He’s definitely riding the same wave of supporters who fueled a recent ballot measure that attempted to ban GMO cultivation in the county (though successful at the ballot box, the measure was later thrown out by the courts),” Pignataro said in an email. “At the same time, though, Clinton is generally favored to win the state.”
He said while there’s no real polling being done, (Hawaii is not exactly a high stakes state), but UH Political Science professor Colin Moore, who “makes the rounds” at election time and correctly forecast Trump’s win in the states caucus, has predicted a win for Clinton.
We’ll probably have to wait until tomorrow to find out, since it’s 6 hours earlier in Hawaii than on the East Coast.
Here’s another take on today’s contests from CNN’s Chris Moody:
Democrats will hold presidential contests in Hawaii, Alaska and Washington state on Saturday, three states expected to be friendlier to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.But with Clinton leading Sanders by more than 300 pledged delegates, and because none of the contests are winner-take-all, Sanders needs stunning wins in each state to give the Clinton campaign any real anxiety about the outcome of the race.In the run-up to the votes, Sanders has left nothing to chance. His campaign has spent millions on ads in Washington, Alaska and Hawaii, including a powerful television spot featuring Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who resigned her position with the Democratic National Committee earlier this year to endorse Sanders.Going into Saturday’s contests, Sanders needs to net an estimated 75% of the remaining delegates, while Clinton only needs 35%.
Anyway, if today goes very well for Bernie, Hillary’s lead could fall a bit below 300 delegates. Then there will be a break in the primary schedule until April 5 when Wisconsin holds its primary. The two candidates are close in the polls there, and Bernie thinks he could win the state. On April 9, Sanders will most likely win the Wyoming caucus.
Bernie supporters will be in ecstasy until the New York primary on April 19. New York will go big for Hillary. Then there there will be another break until Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island vote on April 26. Each of those states looks very good for Hillary, although I don’t think there’s been much polling in tiny Rhode Island.
Basically, there’s close to zero chance that Sanders will catch up to Clinton, but I still expect him to stay in until the convention. It’s really unfair to many of his young followers, because he’s taking money from them knowing he can’t win the nomination.
Meanwhile, the Hillary hate on blogs and social media is getting more unhinged than ever before. It’s hard to know how much worse it can get, but I expect it will get worse.
Bernie supporters are claiming election fraud in every state that Hillary has won, except possibly the Deep South states that they call “the Confederacy.”
Yesterday Dakinikat wrote about scandals and conspiracy theories. Here’s one the Sanders folks dreamed up. I can’t believe Booman Tribune actually published this:
Ryan Hughes, MI and PA Bernie State Director, Accused of Accepting Hillary Super Pac Money
I have been holding onto this information, but since Niko House has posted a video regarding this allegation, I’ve decided to lay out for you what I know.
Ryan Hughes was the Sanders campaign’s state director for Michigan, and is now the state director for Bernie’s Pennsylvania campaign, as well. Mark Craig, the founder of a grassroots volunteer group in Michigan that supports Bernie Sanders, Flint4Bernie.org, had many dealings with Ryan Hughes after Hughes came to Michigan. Mark Craig also said he was one of the principle [sic] organizers for Bernie’s March 2nd rally and speech to thousands of people at the Breslin Center on the campus of Michigan State University. His grassroots organization was started in 2015, long before Ryan Hughes showed up as the paid director for Bernie’s campaign in Michigan.
Mr. Craig stated to me that knows a a senior employee who works for Priorities USA Action (“Priorities USA”), a Hillary Super Pac. In late February, after Craig casually mentioned to her that Ryan Hughes was running the Sanders’ campaign, that person told him Hughes was receiving direct payments from Priorities USA, all while Ryan Hughes worked as the Sanders’ campaign’s state director for Michigan, along with several other paid Sanders’ Michigan staffers….
Priotities USA Action is a Super Pac, to which unlimited contributions may be made, that supports one candidate in this election cycle: Hillary Clinton. As noted in my post yesterday about Mayor Weaver of Flint MI endorsement of Hillary, thetop donors to Priorities USA Action include many of Hillary’s wealthiest and most prominent supporters, including billionaires such as the J.B Pritzker and his wife, George Soros, James Simon (hedge fund manager worth over $15 Billion), Steven Spielberg, and many other wealthy individuals in the finance and entertainment industries.
Does that make any sense? Not to me. Why would a superpac that supports Hillary waste money on paying Bernie’s employees to sabatage him? If it happened, why are these people still working for Bernie’s campaign? Furthermore, Priorities USA has to report all expenditures to the FEC, and there were no such payments. From the managing editor of Crooks and Liars:
But this conspiracy theory is all over Twitter and the Bernie reddit page. Sigh . . .
MSNBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald explains Sanders’ path forward: Why Bernie Sanders Isn’t Dropping Out Despite Hillary’s Lead.
Even though Sanders came up short in Arizona, where his campaign invested most heavily, the Vermont senator ended up netting 17 delegates over Clinton Tuesday, thanks to lopsided wins in the Idaho and Utah caucuses.
He ended up taking away a tidy 57 percent of the pledged delegates up for grabs that day. And as it happens, 58 is the percentage of outstanding pledged delegates Sanders needs to win from now on in order to finish the primary calendar with more pledged delegates than Hillary Clinton, according to an NBC News analysis.
On Saturday, Sanders is hoping to win an even larger portion of the delegates in Washington state, which holds the largest caucus of the entire year, with 101 delegates at stake. Alaska and Hawaii will also hold caucuses, which Sanders also hopes to win Saturday.
Seitz-Wald says the Sanders Campaign admits this is a “tall order.”
But it’s at least doable. “We’re trying to win more pledged delegates by the end,” Sanders senior strategist Tad Devine told MSNBC Friday. “If we can demonstrate that he is the strongest candidate by defeating her in these states, a lot of superdelegates are going to take a step back and say, ‘What’s the right thing to do?’ And that’s when we will try to persuade them.”
Good luck with that after Bernie has repeatedly attacked President Obama and the DNC and after he admitted he only ran as a Democrat so he could get media attention and raise money.
And then there’s the Sanders campaign’s attack on Hillary Clinton, Amal Clooney, and George Clooney for holding a fundraiser from which most of the money collected will go to downticket Democrats.
The Hill reprints part of the text from a Sanders campaign email:
“In the movie Oceans 11, a gang of lovable thieves successfully heist $150 million from a vault in the basement of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas,” Sanders’s campaign manager Jeff Weaver said in an email to supporters.
“Fueled primarily from high-dollar donations, Hillary Clinton has raised more than that in this campaign, and is now enlisting the support of George Clooney (Danny Ocean) to pad that total at a dinner event that will cost people up to $353,400 to attend.”
Weaver added that the price of admission an “obscene amount of money.”
“It’s a sum that would require an employee making the federal minimum wage to work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for more than 5 years,” he said.
Weaver included a fundraising pitch, saying that the Sanders campaign was relying on small donations from “working Americans.”
Again, the Clooney fundraiser is to support Democrats, not just Hillary Clinton. Apparently raising money for Democrats running for the House and Senate is problematic for Bernie, which explains why he hasn’t been raising money for them. Hillary has been doing it all along.
And then there are the demands Bernie is making before he’ll consider supporting the Democratic nominee. Huffpo: Bernie Sanders Lays Out His Requirements For Endorsing Hillary Clinton.
“If I can’t make it — and we’re going to try as hard as we can until the last vote is cast — we want to completely revitalize the Democratic Party and make it a party of the people rather than one of large campaign contributors,” Sanders said in an interview on the progressive Web show “The Young Turks.”
Sanders also listed policy demands he would make of Clinton, including a single-payer health care system, a $15 an hour minimum wage, tougher regulation of the finance industry, closing corporate tax loopholes and “a vigorous effort to address climate change.”
“I am very worried. I mean, I talk to these scientists. This planet is in serious danger. You can’t cuddle up to the fossil fuel industry — you’ve got to take them on,” Sanders said, alluding to Clinton’s ties to oil and gas companies.
He also expressed concern about Clinton’s consistency on policy issues.
“What we need is to create a movement which holds elected officials accountable and not let them flip” on issues, Sanders said.
Because Bernie has been very consistent. He’s been calling for a revolution for 40 years with zero results. From the NYT:
On the night of the New Hampshire primary, the high-water mark of his presidential campaign, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont called his rout of Hillary Clinton “nothing short of the beginning of a political revolution” and vowed to stop the “billionaire class” from buying elections.
It was barely different from the speech he gave March 15, the day he lost five of five primaries, when he asked thousands of his adoring fans: “Are you ready for a political revolution? Are you tired of a handful of billionaires running our economy?”
Nor, for that matter, was it much changed from his address to a spaghetti dinner of the Addison County Community Action Group in 1984, when he called for a “political revolution” and urged working people to take power from a “very small group of wealthy people.”
It is a political score Mr. Sanders has been singing for the last 40 years, and he does not seem ready to stop anytime soon. Regardless of the results on the scoreboard, the state on the map, the year or even the decade, Mr. Sanders has talked with clockwork consistency about an economy rigged against the working class, a campaign finance system that corrupts politicians and a corporate media that obscures the truth.
While politicians constantly try to stay on message, Mr. Sanders is the king of message discipline. While other candidates have been lampooned for robotic redundancies or caricatured as cut-and-paste campaigners, Mr. Sanders has made oratorical consistency his calling card.
His young and loyal fans practically sing along with his timeless refrains: “the richest one-half of 1 percent” in 1971, the “richest 1 percent of the population” in 1991 and “the top one-tenth of 1 percent” in 2015. Last year, the MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow began a segment on Mr. Sanders’s hyperconsistency by playing an audio clip of Mr. Sanders lamenting “the two-party system dominated by big money,” and asking viewers when he said it. The answer: 1989.
In other words, Sanders has not grown and changed at all over the past 40 years. Is that really supposed to be a good thing?
That’s all I have for you today. What stories are you following?
UPDATE: Please send good vibes to NW Luna, who is braving the Washington Caucuses today!