The Bernie Sanders smear campaign has begun


via. salon

A Hillary Clinton surrogate took the campaign’s first real shot at Bernie Sanders last week. But it ain’t working.

The Bernie Sanders smear campaign has begun

Bernie Sanders (Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster)

It’s been relatively easy so far for Senator Bernie Sanders, the candidate giving Hillary Clinton the most trouble so far on the road to the presidential primaries. But that’s because Clinton’s squad hasn’t deployed yet. Hillary’s got shooters. She rolls way deeper than Bernie, and one has to assume that a good-sized pocket of the Democratic Party establishment waits like a sleeper cell to be called on to attack Sanders if necessary.
It’s a sign of Sanders’ success that one of Clinton’s hitters was set on the ascendant candidate last Thursday, with Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to test out some new talking points to address Sanders’ astounding crowds and climbing poll numbers. McCaskill went with the “acknowledge-then-conflate” maneuver. Sanders’ crowds are at times dwarfing those of any candidate in either party. This cannot be denied. So Team Clinton has to try to make that clear sign of success a liability.

“Well, you know, Rand Paul’s father got massive crowds, Ron Paul,” she said. “He got the same size crowds. Pat Buchanan got massive crowds. It’s not unusual for someone who has an extreme message to have a following.”

Ooooh, gotcha: Big crowds mean you’re an extremist. So the fewer people you have, the more reasonable you are. And, so, I guess if you stand at a podium before no one, just an empty field, and give a stump speech you’re the most reasonable and fringe-averse candidate ever to run for office.

Is this the best the Clinton team has right now? McCaskill endorsed Clinton for president more than two years ago, way back in 2013, but she apparently didn’t spend a whole lot of that time working on her potential talking points. It feels a little embarrassing as a tactic. Its fallacious, clumsy logic seems more suited for the YouTube comments section: You know who else got big crowds? Hitler.

McCaskill’s attack obviously wasn’t that crudely drawn, but it falls apart almost immediately when any scrutiny is offered on the trio she presents: Ron Paul, Pat Buchanan, and Bernie Sanders. One of these is not like the others.

Sanders’ domestic economic platform, his campaign’s bread and butter, is mostly a return to mid-century, postwar policies, infused with social democratic ideas from places like Sweden, where social democrats gained a majority in parliament 75 years ago.

What Sanders proposes is not new, and it’s not particularly radical. It’s just radical-seeming given our decades-long turn toward hyper-capitalism and neoliberalism (which happened to a large degree under President Bill Clinton). The Swedish “socialism” that Sanders favors is capitalism with boundaries. Sweden, with a population less than that of North Carolina, has birthed an impressive list of global companies under its “extreme” “socialism”: Volvo, IKEA, Spotify, Saab, H&M, Skype, Ericsson, AstraZeneca, and many more. Terrifying! So extreme!

Now compare that to the worldview of Ron Paul, who’s been proffering something that’s never been tried before, the marketization of virtually everything and the evaporation of the State to little more than a police and judicial apparatus to enforce contracts. Paul says that Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare are all unconstitutional and should be abolished. The Civil Rights Act, too. Speaking of civil rights, he had a special hatred of Martin Luther King for years until, one assumes, he had to temper his King hatred for the spotlight he was stepping into in the 2000s. Paul has shown himself to be a pretty thoroughly racist politician who’s prone to conspiracy theories, even trutherism.

Pat Buchanan is a Christian white nationalist. Try doing a “Pat Buchanan” Google search andnothitting racist, anti-semiticinsanity. In the wake of the Emanuel AME terrorist attack in Charleston, Buchanan penned a column in which he defended the surviving symbol of the Confederacy, the slave-owning rebels’ battle flag, writing that “the battle flag is not so much a symbol of hatred as it is an object of hatred, a target of hatred.”

That’s because Buchanan is really, really into the whole white persecution thing. In his defense of the Confederate flag, he calls the national clamor for its removal in South Carolina a “cultural lynch mob.” White folks are the ones really being besieged, says Buchanan, subject to all that virulent “reverse racism” and losing our country to black and brown folks. (In that way, his rhetoric is sometimes scarcely distinguishable from that of Dylann Roof, who spoke from the same white-man-as-besieged lexicon and whose racist flag Buchanan leapt out to defend.)

McCaskill boasts of what she describes as a perfectly centrist position in the Senate. During her 2012 reelection campaign, she said she was “proud of being ranked the most moderate senator,” number 50 on the ideological spectrum in the hundred-person body. In her desperate attempt to convince Missourians during her 2012 reelection campaign that she was conservative enough against Todd “legitimate rape” Akin, McCaskill ran a television ad with the crafty slogan, “right in the middle is right for Missouri,” a phrase which employs the word “right” twice.

It would stand to reason, then, that someone plum in the middle of the ideological room could, from her singular position, gauge the distance of ideological deviation from the middle point, where she proudly resides. Given the way she sells her own perfect centrism, McCaskill might even be more highly attuned to the breadth of the political spectrum than most, since she’d need to constantly readjust her positions and political decisions to maintain her place “right in the middle.”

We have no way of knowing whether or not the Clinton team signed off on this means of attack, if the Sanders-as-extremist line will be something returned to as his success continues. If so, it will be hard for some to hear from the political family most responsible for making Sanders’ fairly standard postwar liberalism an extreme position. Bill Clinton helmed the rightward turn of the party in 1992, and now Hillary can call anyone who didn’t follow Bill’s lead an “extremist.” It compounds the already problematic dynastic dimension of Clinton’s campaign. The Clintons, preparing for the coronation, also get to police what is acceptable in the party, with Hillary the enforcer of the law Bill laid down? Continuing to call Sanders an “extremist” might only convince many Democrats that the Clintons consider the party theirs.

Macy’s Fired Donald Trump With This Epic Statement


via. thinkprogress 

BY ESTHER YU-HSI LEE POSTED ON JULY 1, 2015

CREDIT: AP PHOTO/JIM COLE

The retail clothing giant Macy’s became the latest company to cut ties with 2016 Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, following his campaign launch speech in which he claimed that some Mexican immigrants are rapists and drug dealers.

In its announcement on Wednesday, Macy’s made a strong statement in support of immigrants — saying that “respect for the dignity of all people is a cornerstone of our culture” and that Trump’s remarks “are inconsistent with Macy’s values” and that his “disparaging characterizations” aren’t an accurate portrayal of Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and Latinos.

“Macy’s is a company that stands for diversity and inclusion,” a statement released to CNN reads. “We have no tolerance for discrimination in any form. We welcome customers, and respect for the dignity of all people is a cornerstone of our culture. We are disappointed and distressed by recent remarks about immigrants from Mexico. We do not believe the disparaging characterizations portray an accurate picture of the many Mexicans, Mexican Americans and Latinos who have made so many valuable contributions to the success of our nation.”

“In light of statements made by Donald Trump, which are inconsistent with Macy’s values, we have decided to discontinue our business relationship with Mr. Trump and will phase-out the Trump menswear collection, which has been sold at Macy’s since 2004,” the company concluded.

There was already momentum for Macy’s to end its business relationship with Trump. Over 700,000 people have signed a longstanding moveon.org petition for the company to cut ties with Trump, a petition that gained steam after his nativist remarks. The petition was initially created in the wake of Trump’s involvement in questioning the president’s birth certificate and his stance on climate change, KTLA reported.

Macy’s move to sever its decade-long tie with Trump comes after Univision and NBC canceled their business partnerships with Trump, saying the NBC reality show “Celebrity Apprentice” will no longer support him as host. Mexican billionaire Carlos Slims’ Ora TV has also ended a projectwith the real estate mogul. And in the fallout of Trump’s statement, Miss Mexico has declined to be in the Miss Universe pageant.

In response to the upheaval, Trump stated on Wednesday that “clearly NBC and Macy’s support illegal immigration, which is totally detrimental to the fabric of our once great country.”

 

 

Losing Their Grip


via Losing Their Grip.

Perhaps we should be more vigilant against hubris…

JULY 1, 2015

Rainbows illuminated the White House, the Empire State Building, and other landmarks after the Supreme Court affirmed the right to marry from sea to shining sea. As most Americans basked in this milestone’s afterglow, conservative leaders stomped their feet, disparaged the nation’s most influential court, and howled.

“I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch,” thundered Mike Huckabee. “We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat.”

The former Arkansas governor wasn’t the only Republican running for president who responded to recent rulings like a tantrum-prone toddler.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal suggested that it might be time to “get rid” of the Supreme Court rather than accept its rulings in favor of same-sex marriage and the Affordable Care Act.

Ted Cruz, who questioned the court’s “fundamental legitimacy,” wants to subject its justices to periodic national elections. In the meantime, he told Texas clerks, they ought to feel free to deny marriage licenses.

Rainbow White House

Cruz isn’t likely to get his way with Supreme Court elections. Even if he did, what makes him think the American people would elect justices who oppose same-sex marriage? Polls show that two-thirds of us support this freedom, so doubling down on the wrong side of history would hardly help.

The GOP hopefuls echoed the sore-loser spirit captured in Justice Antonin Scalia’s bizarre dissent. The best part is where he tells the five judges who voted for equality to go hide their heads “in a bag.”

Cruz, Jindal, Huckabee, and the rest of their gang are in for a reality check when the 2016 general elections roll around. Their antics are bound to enrage more voters than they engage.

And the Republican Party and its operatives may well find that disparaging LGBTQ communities — on top of snubbing Latino, black, and low-income people — keeps them locked out of the White House.

Most of these conservative rants invoke religious freedom as a justification for denying same-sex couples the same rights everyone else has. This gross generalization is baffling. Plenty of faith-based communities welcome people regardless of their sexual orientation.

These guys should meet my rabbi — and her wife.

Besides, if prominent Republicans are so respectful of organized religion, why are theyshaking their fists at Pope Francis for demanding climate action?

Why aren’t they making more noise about the string of fires destroying southern black churches in the wake of the Charleston massacre and the national soul-searching it triggered?

Some conservatives get it. They’re imploring GOP leaders to stop pandering to their base about God, guns, and gays. Unless Republicans realize what Americans actually want from our leaders in 2015, “they’ll pay the price for decades,” says Arthur Brooks, president of the generally right-wing American Enterprise Institute.

When my kids were toddlers, I found long stroller rides a great way to stave off impassioned outbursts. Sometimes, one or both of them would conk out before we rolled up to the playground.

Strollers don’t come big enough for even Dennis Kucinich-size presidential candidates. They surely can’t accommodate Scalia, Clarence Thomas, or Samuel Alito either. So could someone please hand these guys a pile of crackers and a sippy cup, then give them all a timeout?

Originally posted at Otherwords.Org.

 

for those planning their summer itineraries…


via The Land Of Maps – [OC] Pot is now legal in Oregon. In Oct 2015,….

[OC] Pot is now legal in Oregon. In Oct 2015, medical marijuana dispensaries will be allowed to sell for recreational purposes. Here is a geographic proximity map of the dispensaries. [1600×886]

thelandofmaps.tumblr.com

 

United Church of Christ Votes to Boycott & Divest from Companies Profiting from Israel’s Occupation


via A Resource Guide for Resolution #4 UCC General Synod 30 | Press Release.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 30, 2015

The United Church of Christ Palestine-Israel Network (UCC PIN) is pleased to announce that today the plenary of the 30th General Synod taking place in Cleveland passed Resolution #4, calling for boycotts and divestment from companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands.

“As disciples of Jesus, we hear and seek to heed his call to be peacemakers, responding to violence with nonviolence and extending love to all,” said Rev. John Deckenback, Conference Minister of the Central Atlantic Conference of the UCC, which submitted the resolution to the synod. “It is in that spirit of love for both Israelis and Palestinians, and a desire to support Palestinians in their nonviolent struggle for freedom, that the United Church of Christ has passed this resolution.”

“In approving this resolution, the UCC has demonstrated its commitment to justice and equality,” said Rev. Mitri Raheb, a Christian Palestinian and Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, who travelled to Cleveland for the synod. “For Palestinians living under occupation or facing systematic discrimination as citizens of Israel, enduring the destruction of their homes and businesses, the theft of their land for settlements, and living under blockade and siege in Gaza, this action sends a strong signal that they are not alone, and that there are churches who still dare to speak truth to power and stand with the oppressed.”

The vote, which was 508 in favor, 124 against, with 38 abstentions, was the culmination of a process that began in 2005, to end the Church’s complicity in Israel’s nearly half-century-old occupation and other abuses of Palestinian human rights. It also comes as a response to the Christian Palestinian community’s call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, as embodied in the Kairos Palestine document, which seeks to achieve Palestinian freedom and rights using peaceful means, inspired by the US Civil Rights and South African anti-Apartheid movements.

In passing Resolution #4, the UCC is following in the footsteps of sister mainline churches like the Presbyterian Church (USA), which passed a similar resolution last year divesting from Israel’s occupation, and the United Methodists, who voted to boycott products made in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories and whose pension board divested from G4S, a prison service company, due in part to its dealings with the Israeli military.

UCC PIN expresses its gratitude to Synod delegates, who faithfully carried out their duties in a thoughtful and responsible manner, giving the proposal the careful deliberations it deserved. UCC PIN also expresses its gratitude to our many allies, including those in the Jewish and Palestinian communities, for their indispensable and cherished support.

UCC PIN hopes that this modest initiative will help encourage the Israeli government to end the occupation, and looks forward to working in covenantal relationship with the UCC Pension Boards and the UCC Funds to implement this resolution moving forward.