Showing posts with label Political Figures. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Political Figures. Show all posts

February 21, 2019

The Burn is Already Passed, The Times Cold and Bernie Should Know His Time Came and Left

Image result for water hose


certain announcement this week reminded me that for a brief, happy time quite a few years ago, my wife and I rented an apartment in Washington’s grand Kalorama neighborhood. With its high ceilings, wide staircase and gleaming wood floors, our building evoked its origins in the heady days of a brand-new American empire, an emerging global force, an awakening industrial giant. Yet there was a creeping shabbiness to the place that made it affordable for the likes of us.
Think of it as a museum of lost grandeur, populated mostly by Formerly Important People. This small but distinctive slice of the capital’s demography finds its lives of power and purpose whittled to the scale of a pension and gravitates to such buildings. Accustomed to congressional suites or the large offices of undersecretaries, the FIPs require big walls to hold all their photographs of younger selves in historic company. They need ample space to display little gifts received as tokens of gratitude from nations that no longer exist.
In the overheated entry, I occasionally encountered a brusque little man in his 80s at the mailboxes. He had a shock of white hair and the air of a person who expected to be recognized, if only so that he could be annoyed at the intrusion. On perhaps our third encounter, when I glimpsed more than the back of his head, it hit me: Eugene McCarthy. I murmured, “Hello, Senator,” and he grumbled something in return. 
Not 30 years earlier, this same man had occupied the electrified heart of a buzzing, sparking madness in U.S. politics. It was 1968. There was a giant in the White House, Lyndon B. Johnson, who found himself there by fate and an electoral landslide. This giant was weakened by the wound of Vietnam — but no one knew how weak, and wounded giants can be dangerous indeed. No one, it seemed, had the guts to test him.
Antiwar strategist Allard K. Lowenstein reportedly begged Sen. Robert F. Kennedy of New York to challenge Johnson. No dice. Lowenstein pleaded next with Sen. George McGovern of South Dakota to do it. Nope.  
Image result for bernie sanders got cold
The seasons bring change and one has to notice those changes around us

Shaggy-headed college students clipped their hair, declared themselves “Clean for Gene,” and trooped to New Hampshire to knock on doors. Sometimes, the volunteers interrupted the evening news, which was grim with reports of North Vietnam’s Tet Offensive. When McCarthy won more than 40 percent of the votes in that first primary and held the giant below 50 percent, suddenly everyone could see that Johnson’s wound was mortal. The president dropped out of the race within weeks. The Democratic Party split wide-open just as the country was going half crazy, and the weird, flawed figure of Richard M. Nixon slipped into the presidency. 
All these McCarthy memories came rushing up when Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced Tuesday that he’s running for president again. It seems Sanders is making the same mistake McCarthy made as he returned time and again to the presidential well — 1972, 1976, 1988, 1992. Both men were improbable candidates whose willingness to challenge a giant paid off in a transient flash of glory. But Sanders appears no more aware than McCarthy that the moment doesn’t last.
History will not be hoodwinked by the thin excuses Hillary Clinton’s supporters make for her disastrous loss in 2016. Only a terrible candidate could have managed to lose to Donald Trump. For all the headings on her résumé, Clinton had already demonstrated this weakness by losing to an inexperienced Barack Obama in 2008. And yet, as she limped into 2016, only Sanders, among Washington figures, would test her.
Like McCarthy, the Vermont independent tapped something: the anti-giant impulse. Those clean-shaven boys for Gene had their spiritual heirs in the oft-bearded Bernie Bros. McCarthy’s anthem came courtesy of Peter, Paul & Mary. Sanders played Simon and Garfunkel for his soundtrack. 
But neither candidate grew into the larger force that can take an impulse and turn it into victory. It is a hard, bitter lesson for most senators and governors and celebrity candidates to learn that history is full of accidents and coincidence and happenstance and contains very few masters of fate.
Sanders filled the anti-Hillary vacuum in 2016. And like the vacuum McCarthy filled in early 1968, this was a fleeting opportunity, seized and then gone. For a moment, it took Sanders to the heart of a buzzing, sparking madness. And much as McCarthy’s moment ended with Nixon, the Sanders moment faded with the weird, flawed figure of Trump in the White House.
However the 2020 campaign might unfold for the Democrats, there is no wounded giant to define the party fray. Minus the vacuum, Sanders will find, like gruff Gene, that his moment is gone, his agenda absorbed by more plausible candidates, his future behind him. Only the residue of unslaked ambition remains.

November 18, 2018

Bill Peduto Mayor of Pittsburgh Hangs Up on Trump After Massacre

MATTHEW ROZSA                 Image result for phil peduto
A new report reveals that Bill Peduto, the Democratic mayor of Pittsburgh who has been comforting his city's Jewish community since an anti-Semitic synagogue shooting last month, was stunned when President Donald Trump called him shortly after the attack. The phone call only lasted around three minutes.
Peduto told The Washington Post that although the initial portions of the conversation were appropriate, with the president extending his thoughts and prayers and promising Peduto a direct line to the White House for anything he might need, Trump soon began talking about the need for harsher death penalty legislation in order to prevent future mass shootings:
“I’m literally standing two blocks from 11 bodies right now. Really?” Peduto said, noting that he was numb and believed that talking about the death penalty wasn’t “going to bring them back or deter what had just happened. . . . I ended the conversation pretty quickly after that.”
Peduto's conflicts with Trump did not end there.
Despite publicly urging the president to stay away from Pittsburgh until after the Tree of Life synagogue mourners had an opportunity to bury their dead, Trump visited Pittsburgh on Oct. 30 to offer his condolences. As a result, the president was met with the predictable protests that marred what could have otherwise been an appropriately solemn occasion. "It could have been avoided. He could have chosen to go to the Holocaust museum and lay a wreath with his wife. Or put together a fund in order to memorialize the 11 people whose lives were lost for perpetuity, in the museum," Peduto told the Post.
Peduto was also angered by Trump's trip for a practical reason — the president's presence in the city required him to reduce law enforcement protection to other Jewish areas that he had promised the city's scared inhabitants in the aftermath of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting.
“I was at three Jewish schools and I talked to kids as young as first grade, and I had at least three or four police officers with me to introduce themselves, and our goal was very simple: ‘You’re going to see police officers outside your school this next week. We want you to know that they’re here to protect you.’ I don’t know if we’ll be able to have officers at those three schools, and if we do, we’ll have one," Peduto told the Post.
The Tree of Life synagogue shooting also personally impacted Peduto, who was acquainted with several of the victims. He has also not hesitated to point the finger of blame at Trump's right-wing rhetoric, arguing that "this obviously was somebody whose decision to kill Jewish people was based on what he was reading, with news of migrants who are trying to escape the hell they are in and potentially on their way to the United States. And somehow that story has become butchered into a story of an invading army and then that story being manipulated that it’s the Jews that are doing it and they’re financing it. Then this guy wakes up on a Saturday morning armed to the gills with bullets and guns to kill as many Jewish people as he possibly can."


Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

November 8, 2017

DOJ is a Laugh! First They Arrest a Woman Who Laughed at Session Which Thy had to Acquit

There is one question I would like to ask Mr. Sessions: Who should be arrested first, Someone with a good sence of humor or a cabinet officer head of the dept of Justice who lies to congress in order to be confirmed?? He lied at least 3 times!

 Its ok to laugh at this

Department has dropped its case against a woman who laughed out loud during the confirmation hearing for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, ending months of legal wrangling.

The woman, Desiree Fairooz, was protesting with Code Pink, a progressive group whose activists are regularly seen around Washington. She was arrested by a Capitol Police officer after audibly laughing during Sessions' confirmation hearing in January.

But prosecutors filed a "nolle prosequi," or notice that it would no longer pursue charges, with the DC Superior Court on Monday.

She had been prosecuted by the DC US Attorney's Office and had been convicted of a misdemeanor before a judge threw out the conviction in July and ordered a new trial. The government had decided to retry the case after Fairooz rejected a plea deal, and a trial date had been set for next week.
Fairooz tweeted the notice was a "relief" Monday night. 

"Just received this, "Governments Notice of Nolle Prosequi" What a relief! Guess they've got enough "laughing" matters to deal with!" she tweeted.

The US Attorney's Office declined to explain what had changed.

"The US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia yesterday filed a notice dismissing the case involving Desiree Ali-Fairooz," said spokesman Bill Miller. "The US Attorney's Office typically does not discuss charging decisions, and has no comment on the decision to dismiss this particular case."
The original arrest happened after Fairooz laughed after Alabama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby told senators at Sessions' confirmation hearing that his former colleague had a record of "treating all Americans equally under the law."

Her laughter lasted a few seconds and Shelby continued with his speech without acknowledging the disturbance.
Fairooz's attorney said in a statement his client is "relieved and happy" about the result.
"Yesterday the government dismissed the case for reasons I can only speculate about. And which I may never fully know (though I have various theories)," Samuel Bogash said in an email. "Though as her lawyer I would have preferred a 'not guilty' at the first trial, I'm happy for Ms. Fairooz."

By Laura Jarrett and Daniella Diaz, CNN

August 27, 2017

Paul Ryan Preaches Guns to Son Whose Father Was Shot to death by White Supremacist

Screenshot via CNN  
There are politicians who are low-down, good-for-nothing assholes. And then there’s House Speaker Paul Ryan, an elected Republican so craven he is fine with grandstanding about the Second Amendment to a man whose father was killed by a white supremacist.

During a town hall event hosted by CNN in Ryan’s home district on Monday night, Pardeep Kaleka—whose father Satwant Singh Kaleka was the president of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin before he was killed five years ago in a shooting in suburban Milwaukee—asked Ryan what Congress is doing to stop the growth of white supremacists and far-right extremists.

What came next was a masterclass in staying on message with words that sound compassionate but mean nothing.  
“First of all, I remember you, I remember meeting you at your dad’s funeral,” Ryan began. “You have my condolences, I’ve been working with your community to make sure the kind of bigotry I know you have experienced...” 
He then trailed off, before praising the outpouring of community support for Sikh residents after the shooting that left six dead.

“The Sikh community was so forgiving, just like Heather Heyer’s family, they just called for healing and forgiveness,” he said, a distortion of the actual message Heyer’s family sent.

After praising the police who responded to the shooting, Ryan smoothly pivoted to the usual GOP talking points. “We have to do a better job of making sure that criminals don’t get guns, or those suspected of terrorism, like domestic terrorism, don’t get guns,” he said. The audience clapped.

“We also have to make sure we protect our Second Amendment rights for law-abiding citizens,” Ryan continued. “So there’s always a balance when you discuss these types of things.”

That sound you hear is the slow churn of a well-oiled machine, greased by the gun lobby: reducing a man’s father to another factor to be weighed in the complicated calculus of “these types of things.”

Kaleka had started his question by emphasizing that Wade Michael Page, the gunman who killed his father, was a white supremacist who was well-known to the FBI, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Anti-Defamation League. Still, he was able to legally purchase a firearm and ammunition just six days before the attack.

Nothing Ryan gestured at would’ve prevented Page from buying the gun that killed Kaleka’s father in the temple he founded. In the eyes of the law and under Ryan’s definition, a white supremacist gunman was just another “law-abiding citizen” exercising his right to bear arms.

July 14, 2017

Jane and Bernie Sanders Feel The Heat from The Investigation/Closed College

A federal investigation into Jane Sanders is quickly becoming a political problem for her husband, Sen. Bernie Sanders. Federal investigators are looking into whether Jane Sanders lied in a loan application when she was president of Burlington College, a small liberal arts school along the shore of Lake Champlain.
Questions about Jane Sanders' time at the college are putting Sen. Sanders on the defensive at a time when national speaking tours and regular appearances on cable talk shows have some of this supporters predicting a 2020 presidential run.
Investigators have not formally accused Jane Sanders of any wrongdoing, but at least one donor has publicly said that Sanders mischaracterized the financial gift she'd promised to the college. Sanders allegedly claimed in loan documents that Corinne Bove Maietta, a member of a prominent Burlington family, promised a series of donations to the college, but Maietta has since said that the money was actually promised as a bequest, not recurring gifts.
Jane Sanders is one of her husband's closest political advisers. On the campaign trail last year, she took the stage with him regularly, from campaign rallies in rural Iowa to his victory speech after the New Hampshire primary. In hotels on the campaign trail, she could be seen in the lobby working with campaign staff.

Burlington College, where Jane Sanders served as president from 2004 to 2011, closed in 2016.
Wilson Ring/AP
A spokesman for the Sanders family says the investigation is part of a politically motivated attack designed to hurt the Vermont senator's political career, but that hasn't stopped investigators from requesting documents and conducting interviews with former Burlington College officials.

Here's what we know — and what we still don't know — about the Burlington College investigation:
Jane Sanders took over as president of Burlington College in 2004 with plans to growthe small liberal arts school (enrollment was below 200 in the college's final academic year). By 2010 that plan included expanding the college into a new campus.
In 2010, the college got a loan in order to buy a $10 million headquarters building on more than 30 acres of waterfront land just a mile north from where Sen. Sanders would launch his presidential campaign more than five years later.
People's United Bank provided the money. The college bought the property. Six years later, after Burlington College's accreditation came into question over financial woes, and just months after federal agents began asking questions about Jane Sanders' loan application, the college closed.
While the investigation began just as the college was collapsing, Sanders and his supporters say the event that brought Jane Sanders under scrutiny has nothing to do with Jane Sanders or Burlington College. Sanders says this whole situation is a political play by Republicans to hurt his reputation. Whether the investigation reveals wrongdoing or not, Republican operatives are working to bring this issue into the spotlight.
In January 2016, more than five years after the loan to Burlington College was approved, and eight months after Sen. Sanders announced his presidential run, Brady Toensing wrote a letter to the Department of Justice calling for an investigation into the statements Jane Sanders made on the loan application. Toensing served as the Vermont campaign chairman for President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, and he's the co-chairman of the Vermont Republican Party.
Within a few weeks of Toensing's letter, former college officials said, they heard from federal investigators who were asking questions about what Jane Sanders told lenders. The Washington Post reported this week that prosecutors have subpoenaed college records for a grand jury.
The federal investigation hadn't been publicly reported when Burlington College shut down in the spring of 2016, but the local non-profit news site VTDigger revealed emails this spring from Vermont's Agency of Education that showed officials discussing the investigation.
Since VTDigger revealed the federal investigation, Republican Party staff have been working to generate press coverage about the investigation and implicate Sen. Sanders himself, but there's no public evidence to suggest Sanders was in any way involved with the Burlington College property deal and no public evidence that he is under investigation.
Jane and Bernie Sanders hired a lawyer this spring, after news of the investigation was public. Sanders' detractors say the move shows that there's something the couple is trying to hide. Family spokesman Jeff Weaver told The Washington Post that there's no truth in that argument. He says the couple brought lawyers on because of fears that President Trump or Sanders' other political adversaries would improperly use the Justice Department to damage Sen. Sanders' reputation.
The investigation leaves Sanders sharing a small piece of common ground with President Trump: Both men say political enemies are making up stories about them and their families to hurt their reputations and distract from the substance of their policies.
As with Trump, the investigation Sen. Sanders' family faces could change the political landscape of the next election; for Sanders, that could come as soon as 2018, when he faces reelection in Vermont. Sen. Sanders hasn't yet declared his candidacy but his would-be opponents have already announced runs, and they're already using Burlington College to call Sanders' character into question.

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