Category Archives: Politics–national

The Case Against Hillary: a Compendium of 175 Articles, 2005-2016

For those of you who want to immediately begin digging, please do proceed.

This compendium consists of 175 articles from 2005-2016 taken from independent news websites, blogs, and other sources and focuses on Hillary Clinton’s record as Secretary of State (2009-2013) and as a Presidential Primary candidate in 2008 and 2016. Her Senate record (2001-2009), though also important, is barely covered, but you can search her Senate votes and sponsorships online. In addition, the twitter feed Defeat the DINOcrats includes some graphics about Clinton’s votes on major legislation.

Topics covered include the economy, trade, politics, foreign affairs, diversity, justice, ethics, the environment, health insurance, and others.

Many of the news and opinion sources for this compendium rely on reader contributions to bring us the kind of insightful and independent reporting and commentary that isn’t available in the mainstream corporate media, so please consider giving to them. These organizations include
Alternet
Truthdig
Truthout
Democracy Now!
Pro Publica
Foreign Policy in Focus
The Nation, and
OtherWords.

LINKS
Compendium: https://theciviccenter.wordpress.com/cpdm00000045
This page: https://theciviccenter.wordpress.com/2016/02/27/00000045, http://wp.me/s1XWDT-00000045

Just got polled

A few minutes ago, I responded to a telephone survey about my preferences for the upcoming Congressional and Presidential elections. In the questions about my preference for President, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, and Hillary Clinton were mentioned, but Bernie Sanders (running in the Democratic Primary), Jill Stein*, and any possible Libertarian candidate weren’t presented as choices. Likewise, the choices for party preferences did not include the Green and the Libertarian parties.

The questions mostly concerned national security, and many of the choices given did not fit my positions on this issue. The one open question in the poll asked me to state my greatest concern about national security. My response was “endless war”. Many of the multiple-choice questions were long and complex as were the choices given.

I did ask for the name of the firm, Central Marketing of New York, NY.

* Dr. Jill Stein is one of five candidates for President in the Green Party.

My Letter to Bernie Sanders

I am posting a letter that I wrote to U.S. Senator and Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders in late October. Although I will likely vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein in the general election, I would like to see Sanders win the Democratic Primary. Having Stein and Sanders together on a nationally televised debate stage would be a breakthrough that would elevate policy discourse from political expediency to undaunted progressivism.

In the letter that follows, “CORE” is an acronym for Congress of Racial Equality, an organization that Sanders led to oppose racial segregation in off-campus housing owned by the University of Chicago.

Dear Senator Sanders:

After weeks of procrastination, I am finally getting around to sending you a letter and a check for $100. America cannot afford eight more years of compassionate conservatism, which is what we’ve been getting since 1981. Nor can we afford continuation of the endless wars in Afghanistan and Syria, which remind me of the endless war of Orwell’s 1984.

Hillary Clinton has suddenly become more outspoken on gun control, and I’m glad that she is doing so. However, I believe that your positions on firearms are constituent-driven rather than corporate-driven.

Clinton also is popular among African-Americans, although articles that I’ve read describe your courageous activism for civil rights. If you can dig out more evidence of this, like the photo on your website of your leading a CORE meeting, I believe that you can use these materials to help you tell your story of activism.

Most importantly, however, addressing the current economic plight of African-Americans could help you diversify your support. Portraying your activist experience and your commitment to prosperity for all in a television ad might be an effective way to reach African-Americans.

Finally, I would like to see you personalize the issues that you talk about, using stories that supporters have written to you, some of which I’ve seen in your e-mails.

The Political Sleuth’s Guide to the Clinton E-mails

LINK to Guide (HTML): The Political Sleuth’s Guide to the Clinton E-mails

In one of the highlights of the October 13 Democratic Presidential Primary Debate, Senator and candidate Bernie Sanders denounced the media’s obsession over Hillary Clinton’s e-mails from her time as Secretary of State. Although I agree with Sanders that economic and other issues are much more important than the e-mails, I believe that the e-mails are worth scrutiny because of what can potentially be learned about U.S. foreign policy under Barack Obama, the inner workings of the State Department, and the people involved.

The Guide includes a list of key State Dept. personnel, tips for searching and sharing, relevant FOIA and classification information, and links to recommended readings. These resources have helped me in my research, and I think that you’ll find them helpful also.

My own research on the e-mails has focused on Israeli-Palestininian relations and the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, using the search terms “Hillary Gaza” and “Hillary Afghanistan”, respectively. I have found items worth tweeting but nothing that I would consider newsworthy or damaging. I have so far avoided tweeting about the Benghazi-related e-mails because I don’t want to be identified with the seemingly partisan House Select Committee on Benghazi. In my research, however, I have found a 2009 letter to Secretary Clinton from the Project on Government Oversight expressing their concern about embassy security in light of an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. I don’t know how Clinton responded to this letter, but I think that embassy security could have been improved at a time when Democrats controlled both the White House and Congress.

By the way, this is my first post about foreign affairs, a subject that I originally didn’t intend to cover on this blog. However, my opposition to Hillary Clinton led me into it.

Governor vs. Senator

If you’ve been following The Civic Center on Twitter, you may have seen my tweets about Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s (D) potential candidacy for the 2016 Presidential Election. I’ve sent these tweets in response to MSNBC’s coverage of 2016, which has been narrowly focused on Hillary Clinton although she has not stated an intention to run for the Democratic Party nomination.

In my tweets about 2016, I intended not only to remind people of other potential candidates for President but also to explain the advantages of nominating a state governor–in 140 or fewer characters. Without that limitation, I can now expound my arguments here.

First of all, state governors have the advantage of being able to boast about getting things done: reducing crime, creating jobs, improving infrastructure, improving schools, reforming the justice system, and working effectively with a legislature. Governors also can run as outsiders who are not corrupted by Washington politics. Finally, gubernatorial experience prepares a candidate for the Presidency better than legislative, diplomatic, or cabinet experience does.

Looking at the last 40 years, recent electoral history has favored state governors: four of the last six Presidents were or had been governors, and three of those four won re-election. Former governors were in office for seven of the last ten four-year Presidential terms, 28 of the last 40 years.*

These governors won election by defeating incumbent Presidents, former Vice Presidents, and U.S. Senators. In fact, before then-Senator Barack Obama was elected President in 2008, 44 years had passed since the last time a former or sitting Senator was elected President. Senators who lost during that time span include McGovern, Dole, Kerry, and McCain.

This historic favorability toward state governors should be taken into consideration by Democrats when nominating a candidate for President. They should also note that the Republicans’ strongest Presidential campaigns in the last 40 years were led by sitting or former governors: Ronald Reagan, G.W. Bush, and Mitt Romney.

Furthermore, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush or current New Jersey Governor Chris Christie may choose to run for the Republican nomination, and they are thought to be more electable than the other Republicans who may be potential candidates.+ The Libertarians ran former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson in 2012, and having a candidate who had held a statewide office would be their best option in 2016. Under these circumstances, the Democratic nominee could face one or two opponents with gubernatorial experience.

By nominating a former or sitting state governor for President, preferably one who has a successful record, the Democrats could neutralize the advantages that their opponents would have if they were to nominate candidates with gubernatorial experience. These advantages include executive-branch experience, accomplishments that matter to voters, and historic trends.

* Beginning with Carter and ending with Obama’s current term
+ The bridge scandal could ruin Christie’s prospects for President.

The best and worst of 2013

Last night I watched The Last Word Holiday Special, which featured host Lawrence O’Donnell and a panel of MSNBC regulars giving their best and worst of 2013. The participants included Alex Wagner, Joy Reid, Kristal Ball, Nia-Malika Henderson, Jonathan Capehart, Josh Barro, and Thomas Roberts, and some of them may have posted their choices on their Twitter sites.

This morning, I shared my choices on Twitter. You can share yours by going to The Last Word on Twitter or by commenting on this post.

To my handful of followers, and anyone else reading this blog, Happy New Year!

Divide and Conquer

Having lived without a television for almost a quarter century, I have moved in with someone who has a TV. I guess that I’ve ended my abstinence from television, as I’ve been enjoying The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. Maddow’s analysis of current events has helped me to better understand what’s driving them.

From watching the show, for example, I learned that the National Rifle Association works primarily for gun manufacturers, not gun owners. The mission of the NRA, therefore, is to promote sales of guns, and it covers its real intentions by abusing the Second Amendment.

Can this different perspective on the NRA change the debate over gun-safety legislation? Perhaps, if a divide that exists between the NRA and its members on important issues can be exploited. One such issue is background checks for prospective gun buyers. Although a majority of NRA members who responded to a recent poll said that they support background checks, the NRA and its supporters in Congress adamantly oppose them.

Knowing that the NRA and a majority of its members differ on background checks, the next step is to formulate a strategy for exploiting this divide. Did the Obama Administration, gun-safety supporters in the Senate, or their allies try such a strategy? What strategic plan do you think would be effective?

Michelle and Liz: The Real Stars of the Convention

I hadn’t listened to a Democratic National Convention on the radio since 1996, but this week I thought that I might enjoy listening to Michelle Obama and Elizabeth Warren speak.

Indeed, I enjoyed the First Lady’s speech. The best part was her line about how Barack Obama walked through the door of opportunity but didn’t slam it shut behind him. The only low point, however, was when she said how she was inspired by teachers in a bankrupt school district who continued to teach without pay. A bankrupt school district and teachers’ working without a guaranteed paycheck is a shame. I doubt that China, Japan, and European Union countries would let their local public schools go bankrupt.

Elizabeth Warren, who spoke on Wednesday night, is a law professor at Harvard University who has been on leave to campaign for a U.S. Senate seat from Massachusetts. She was recently nominated by President Obama to be the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CPFB), but Senate Republicans blocked the nomination.

In her convention speech, Warren sounded like a pre-Clinton Democrat. She remarked on what a great guy Bill Clinton is, although Clinton has defended the repeal of the
Glass-Steagall Act while Warren has called for its reinstatement. Nevertheless, I enjoyed becoming acquainted with Elizabeth Warren through her speech.

No Voucher Left Behind

Republican Presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has been criticizing the current state of public education and calling for publicly funded vouchers to help children attend private schools.

By making K-12 public education a Presidential campaign issue, Romney is implying that the Federal Government should have a greater role in public education, although he says that he wants a smaller Federal Government. Romney is also implicitly criticizing No Child Left Behind, a law promoted by George W. Bush and other Republicans which expanded the role of the Federal Government in public education.

Romney is also implying that he wants the Federal Government to establish and fund a voucher program. Instead of imposing this on taxpayers, Romney and other voucher supporters could themselves establish and fund scholarships for children to attend private schools.

Say ‘No’ to Term Limits

At-large D.C. councilmember Vincent Orange is proposing term limits for the mayor, the council, and other elected officials. Term limits disenfranchise voters from re-electing officials whom they believe are serving them well. This article (PDF) in the October, 2011, issue of Mid-City DC presents additional arguments against term limits.

I don’t understand what term limits do to promote democracy. I believe that improving voter education, encouraging higher turnout, removing special-interest money and influence from politics, and opening debates to so-called “third” parties will do more to make our political system more democratic.