Archives for category: Clinton

Alex Thompson of Politico wrote a fascinating article about the tensions between Obama and Biden.

During his eight years as Vice-President, Biden was loyal to Obama. Biden thought he was the inevitable successor to Obama. But Obama preferred Hillary to Joe. Hillary and Barack were both Ivy League, both cerebral, both cut from the same cloth.

Biden is an old school politician. He’s not Ivy League. He counts on personal relationships and works with anyone to get things done. He looks for the good in people and connects on a human level.

As the story explains, Obama did not encourage Biden to run. As Biden’s star faded, key members of his staff left him and joined Hillary’s team.

Biden was not an academic star, like Obama and Hillary. He was a solid C student.

His candidacy was not favored by the Democratic establishment. He rose from political ostracism by grit, based on old-fashioned values like empathy, kindness, friendship, and personal warmth. He is not a nerd. He is not a technocrat. He is a good man.

Alternet published an expose of documents from Hillary’s 2016 campaign that reveal the names of the billionaires who shaped her education agenda. The documents were leaked by Wikileaks.

The education portion of the document runs 66 pages, mostly concentrated on K-12 policy, and captures specific input from billionaire donors looking to overhaul and privatize public education.

You will recognize the names: one is Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Steve.

One of the most connected “thought leaders” discussed is Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs, and the head of the Emerson Collective, a prominent education reform advocacy group. Powell Jobs who has been close with the Clintons since the late ’90s, also sat with Betsy DeVos on the board of Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education. She set up billionaire “roundtables” with Clinton’s campaign advisors through 2015 while donating millions to Priorities USA, Clinton’s main PAC.

Another is Bruce Reed, who had been Biden’s chief of staff but was then president of the Broad Foundation. Reed pointed to New Orleans as an amazing success story, where the public schools were replaced by charter schools, the union was crushed, and the teachers were fired and replaced mostly by TFA.

Notes taken by Clinton aide Ann O’Leary were made in interviews with Powell Jobs and Bruce Reed, President of The Broad Foundation (and former chief of staff to Joe Biden). According to the notes, the “experts” were calling for new federal controls, more for-profit companies and more technology in public schools — but first on the menu was a bold remake of the teaching “profession.”

(Ann O’Leary is now Gavin Newsom’s chief of staff in California.)

Imagine: The billionaires and policy wonks had prescriptions for remaking the teaching profession, even though none had ever been a teacher.

But they did more than talk. On June 20, 2015, O’Leary sent Podesta an email revealing the campaign adopted two of Powell Jobs’ suggestions, including “infusing best ideas from charter schools into our traditional public schools.” When Clinton announced this policy in a speech to teachers, however, it was the one line that drew boos.

“Donors want to hear where she stands” John Petry, a founder of both Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) and Success Academy, New York’s largest network of charter schools, told the New York Times.  Petry was explicit, declaring that he and his billionaire associates would instead put money into congressional, state and local races, behind candidates who favored a “more businesslike approach” to education, and tying teacher tenure to standardized test scores.

Clinton’s advisors warned her that wealthy donors like Petry, Whitney Tilson, or Eli Broad could walk if she didn’t support charter schools. Broad would indeed threaten to withhold funding from Clinton when she criticized charter schools for excluding difficult students. John Podesta and Ann O’Leary would publicly correct Clinton, reaffirming her commitment to charters.

This is an article you must read in full. You might even want to read the underlying document to understand how fully the Democratic Party sold out to the billionaires who oppose public schools.




The Brookings Institution posted a review of the Mueller report’s findings about Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election. 

The Mueller report “is the most comprehensive account thus far of Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election. Alina Polyakova outlines what the report tells us about the tactics and intent of the information operations in particular and what we don’t know due to redactions.”

Polyakova describes the Russians’ adept use of social media, especially Facebook, to send fake and divisive messages. Their efforts were intended, above all, to damage the Hillary Clinton campaign. The Russian attack on our election and our democracy was remarkably successful.

I won’t attempt to summarize this critique of Donna Brazile’s claims about the 2016 campaign.

The part I can’t figure how is why she thinks the DNC “rigged” the election? I never knew or cared who was chair of the DNC. Hillary won New York State, where I live, by an overwhelming margin. She won the primaries by 3.7 million votes. How did the DNC “rig” the outcome? If Bernie’s choice controlled the DNC, highly unlikely since he was not then and is not now a member of the Democratic Party, what would have been different?,_2016

Clinton bailed out a bankrupt DNC. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was incompetent. Where is the scandal?

Expect Trump to seize on this as a pretext for putting Hillary in jail and reducing the status of our country to an authoritarian banana republic. He promised to “lock her up.” His base would love it.

We can collectively hang our heads in Shame.

Emma Brown of the Washington Post reports that Candice Jackson has been selected to lead the Office of Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education. Jackson, a lawyer, gained notoriety for attacking Hillary Clinton for defending a child rapist when she was a public defender many years ago. Public defenders do not choose their cases, and they are expected to defend anyone assigned to them.

Jackson worked in the Trump campaign. There is no indication that she ever practiced as a civil rights lawyer.

The New Republic assembled a panel of historians and veteran political observers to discuss Obama, Clinton, and Trump. I think you will find the discussion illuminating, or certainly interesting.


NELL IRVIN PAINTER is professor emerita at Princeton and the former president of the Organization of American Historians. Her most recent book is The History of White People.
ANNETTE GORDON-REED is a professor of law and professor of history at Harvard. She won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for her book The Hemingses of Monticello.
SARAH JAFFE, a fellow at the Nation Institute, is a journalist who reports on labor and social movements. She is the author of the new book Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt.
JOHN B. JUDIS, a former senior editor at the New Republic, is the author of The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics.
ANDREW SULLIVAN, a former editor of the New Republic, is a contributing editor at New York magazine. His most recent book is The Conservative Soul, on the future of the right.”


It begins like this:



“From the moment Barack Obama was elected in 2008, he began to disappoint those who had believed in his message of change. He appointed entrenched Washington insiders to his Cabinet. He put Wall Street bankers in charge of regulating Wall Street banks. He compromised with Republicans on the economic stimulus, slowing the recovery for millions of Americans. He refused to push for universal health care, and deported two million immigrants. He failed to shut down Guantanamo, dispatched another 60,000 troops to Afghanistan, and launched hundreds of drone strikes that killed countless civilians. Today, income inequality continues to rise, and big banks are bigger than ever, and student debt has hit a record $1 trillion. Democrats have not only lost control of every branch of the federal government, they are weaker at the state level than at any point since 1920. Those who thought they had elected a bold and inspiring populist were surprised to find him replaced by a cautious and deliberate pragmatist.


“Now, eight years later, many of Obama’s critics suddenly find themselves yearning for the euphoria that accompanied his election, and fearing for the small but significant progress he made on a host of fronts: equal pay, expanded health care, nuclear nonproliferation, global warming. It’s not just that hope and change have given way to fear and loathing—it’s that so few of us saw it coming. Right-wing extremists, it turns out, aren’t the only ones who live in a faith-based reality of their own making. From Brooklyn to Berkeley, American liberals have cocooned themselves in a soothing feedback loop woven from Huffington Post headlines, New York Times polls, and repeat viewings of Madam Secretary. If nothing else, Trump’s election demands that we return to the real world in all its complexities and contradictions, and confront our own obliviousness.”



Peter Beinart published this article in The Atlantic in October, before the election.


The article explains why Hillary lost.


He had no way of knowing that she would lose. Yet when you read his article, her loss is comprehensible.

All the votes have been counted. 


Hillary Clinton received 2.8 million votes more than Trump. This is the greatest margin ever for a candidate who did not win the election. She won 48.2 percent of the vote to his 46.1 percent.


Some initially thought this election had lower turnout than 2012. Not so: Overall, voters cast 7.5 million more ballots than four years ago, a jump of about 6 percent. Only a handful of states saw turnout drop—but those included the critical battleground states of Wisconsin, Ohio, and Iowa, all of which switched to Trump this year. (On the other hand, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Michigan all posted bigger numbers than 2012, so there’s no clear link between fewer votes and a Trump victory.)


Trump seems troubled by his popular vote loss, even as he prepares to takes the presidency. Last month, he said he would have won if not for “the millions of people who voted illegally,” offering no substantive evidence that an illegal voting had taken place. He and his surrogates have also referred multiple times to his “landslide” victory—which it was not, by almost every standard.







James Dowson, an extremist in Britain, ran a pro-Trump, anti-Hillary website, spreading fake news and conspiracy theories.



The Patriot News Agency website popped up in July, soon after it became clear that Donald J. Trump would win the Republican presidential nomination, bearing a logo of a red, white and blue eagle and the motto “Built by patriots, for patriots.”


Tucked away on a corner of the site, next to links for Twitter and YouTube, is a link to another social media platform that most Americans have never heard of: VKontakte, the Russian equivalent of Facebook. It is a clue that Patriot News, like many sites that appeared out of nowhere and pumped out pro-Trump hoaxes tying his opponent Hillary Clinton to Satanism, pedophilia and other conspiracies, is actually run by foreigners based overseas.


But while most of those others seem be the work of young, apolitical opportunists cashing in on a conservative appetite for viral nonsense, operators of Patriot News had an explicitly partisan motivation: getting Mr. Trump elected.


Patriot News — whose postings were viewed and shared tens of thousands of times in the United States — is among a constellation of websites run out of the United Kingdom that are linked to James Dowson, a far-right political activist who advocated Britain’s exit from the European Union and is a fan of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. A vocal proponent of Christian nationalist, anti-immigrant movements in Europe, Mr. Dowson, 52, has spoken at a conference of far-right leaders in Russia and makes no secret of his hope that Mr. Trump will usher in an era of rapprochement with Mr. Putin.


His dabbling in the American presidential election adds an ideological element that has been largely missing from the still-emerging landscape of websites and Facebook pages that bombarded American voters with misinformation and propaganda. Far from the much-reported Macedonian teenagers running fake news factories solely for profit, Mr. Dowson made it his mission, according to messages posted on one of his sites, to “spread devastating anti-Clinton, pro-Trump memes and sound bites into sections of the population too disillusioned with politics to have taken any notice of conventional campaigning.”


He said his mission was to “spread devastating anti-Clinton, pro-Trump memes and sound bites.”
“Together, people like us helped change the course of history,” one message said, adding in another: “Every single one of you who forwarded even just one of our posts on social media contributed to the stunning victory for Trump, America and God.”


In a recent email interview from Belgrade, where he has met with Serbian nationalists, Mr. Dowson explained how his decision to establish an American social media presence was similar to the move into European markets by Breitbart News, the conservative provocateur media operation run by Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist.


“Simple truth is that after 40 years of the right having no voice because the media was owned by the enemy, we were FORCED to become incredibly good at alternative media in a way the left simply can’t grasp or handle,” Mr. Dowson said. “Bottom line is: BREXIT, TRUMP and much more to follow.”


While it is easy to overstate the influence of fringe elements whose overall numbers remain very small, the explosion of fake news and propaganda sites and their possible impact on the presidential election have ignited alarm across the American political spectrum. A recent study found that most people who read fabricated stories on Facebook — such as a widely circulated hoax about Pope Francis endorsing Mr. Trump — were inclined to believe them.


Then there is the added element of Russian meddling. The Central Intelligence Agency has concluded that Moscow put its thumb on the scale for Mr. Trump through the release of hacked Democratic emails, which provided fodder for many of the most pernicious false attacks on Mrs. Clinton on social media.


Some of those attacks found a home on Russian websites such as the one for Katehon, a right-wing Christian think tank aligned with Mr. Putin. Katehon recirculated anti-Clinton conspiracies under headlines like “Bloody Hillary: 5 Mysterious Murders Linked to Clinton.”

At last count, Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump by 2.7 million votes. She won 48.2% of the popular vote to his 46.2%. This is unprecedented. Never has the loser had a lead of 2.7 million votes over the winner.


It is time to abolish the Electoral College.


When people say that the Electoral College protects sparsely populated states against domination by the big cities, I say hogwash.


Why should the vote of someone in a rural area count more than the vote of someone in a big city?


Democracy means one person, one vote. Nothing more, nothing less.


The Electoral College is a vestige of a mindset that feared democracy, that sought mechanisms to protect against the rule of “the mob.” The Electoral College was designed to protect the power of the slave-holding states. Read law professor Paul Finkelman’s essay on “The Proslavery Origins of the Electoral College.” See also this article in The Nation.


The Constitution as originally written did not permit direct election of Senators; they were selected by state legislatures. That was changed by amendment in 1913. The Constitution as originally written did not permit voting by nonwhites, women, and people who did not own property. All of that was wiped away over time as undemocratic.


Now we are left with the last remaining protection against democracy: the Electoral College.


When people write in defense of the Electoral College, I ask whether they would be okay about having their Governor elected by district representatives, rather than popular vote. It makes no sense.


It makes no sense that we elect a president who lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes.


If the shoe were on the other foot, if the candidate of the other party had won, I would say exactly the same. We now have a national election and national media. Whoever is chosen by the majority of voters should be President of these United States.