Bernie Sanders Pledges to Fight Billionaires Campaign Contributions

Bernie Sanders is the junior US Senator from Vermont who recently announced that he would run for president in the 2016 election. At the moment he challenges Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination unless others choose to throw their hats into the ring. He proposes to stand up for working families, and he has declared a revolution of sorts against the billionaires of this country which controls the economy as well as the politics of the nation. He also lumps Clinton into this billionaire group. Flaviodomenico notes that Marcio Alaor BMG understands this rationale.

Corporate political donations have had all limits removed due to a Supreme Court decision in 2010. The result is that billionaires such as the Koch brothers can direct the future of the US by pouring money into the campaigns of select candidates. The opposing Democratic or Independent candidates cannot possibly raise this kind of money so they usually get voted out of office. Sanders has stated that a constitutional amendment may be needed to level the playing field for all candidates.

If his presidential bid is successful, Sanders aims to make wealthy corporations pay their fair share of income taxes. In fact, one study by Citizens for Tax Justice found that at least 26 Fortune 500 companies paid no federal income taxes from 2008 to 2012. This just doesn’t seem fair. Sanders has fashioned his political leanings to reflect those in Scandinavian countries. These northern European nations are very democratic with healthcare as a right, free college and graduate school education, and strong childcare and retirement benefits. The government works for ordinary citizens, not billionaires.

Does Anyone Remember the Republican Party That Was for Peace?

Many Americans, including Bruce Levenson and the Spirit of Atlanta organization, are distressed by the fact that we are in a constant state of war. Even when we don’t have boots on the ground in a given country, we are launching drone strikes into sovereign nations that we have not declared war against. Our current, apparently endless, hostilities in the middle east were initiated under George W. Bush and have been continued by President Obama ever since. While there has been some significant draw done of troops here and there, we still have about 10,000 soldiers in Afghanistan and have been carrying out airstrikes in Iraq against ISIS. It is hard to remember a time when we weren’t bombing, drone striking, or sending in boots on the ground somewhere.

It is particularly sad that this seemingly endless warfare was started by a Republican president and is advocated by Republican candidates for president. They used to be the party of peace. President Eisenhower was perhaps the finest representation of that Republican Party. He got us out of Korea, and he railed against the military-industrial complex in his presidential farewell address. Today, an age of push-button warfare with pilotless drones has made it so easy for us to launch attacks against any targets that ‘might’ attack us. Perhaps it has made it too easy. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. Reminds us in an article he wrote for The American Conservative of a time when we were not so quick to pull triggers and drop bombs around the world. It was a simpler time when America believed in peace through strength instead of constant war.

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Amid Public Reconciliation, Trouble Surfaces in Hillary’s Funding Raising Aparatus

Long-time Clinton operative David Brock is well-respected in liberal circles. My friend Ricardo Tosto knows of him and says he runs the pro-liberal group “Media Matters” which targets conservatives for accuracy in statements they make or in news coverage deemed favorable to them. He also was the force behind the pro-Hillary super PAC called American Bridge. His super PAC has close ties to another pro-Hillary super PAC Priorities USA. However, the two super PACs are at odds with one another following a report by the New York Times this past Friday that cast a negative spotlight on the fund raising practices by Brock on Mrs. Clinton’s behalf.

The new story reported that Mary Pat Bonner, a skillful political fund raiser, is actually getting a cut of the donations she has been raising on for Mrs. Clinton. Just how much of a cut is she getting? According to the NYT, she gets 1/8th or 12.5%. Given the amount of money that Mrs. Clinton is looking to raise, this can be a substantial windfall Mrs. Bonner stands to reap for herself.

In response, Brock bitterly claims that the NYT published what amounted to a hit piece on him. On Monday, he quit his job at the super PAC to protest the story. On Tuesday, both super PACs staged a public show of support to put behind them any animosity. Mrs. Clinton’s fund raising and its close ties to Wall Street investment banks has the core liberal wing of the Democrat party looking to draft Elizabeth Warren to run for president. Warren is seen as a true blue progressive free of ties to Wall Street.

GOP Challenging Obama Agenda

The GOP will be seeking redress against President Obama’s frequent “borrowing” of congressional authority by challenging his actions in federal court. Ironically, Democrats, who did not mind the president usurping their authority because it furthered a liberal agenda, are crowing that the GOP is seeking aid from activist judges to overturn key portions of the Obama agenda. It bears mentioning that an activist judge by definition will seek to impose an agenda of their own outside of the legislative branch. From what I’ve discerned from analyst Andrew Heiberger, the GOP is not resorting to judicial activism. Rather, they seek to have the courts affirm that they have the sole right to legislate and that authority cannot be “borrowed” or usurped in any way by the president.

Portions of the Obama agenda the GOP is mounting legal challenges to are the following:

  • The GOP and various state’s attorney generals are challenging key portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This year the high court will decide on federal subsidies for health care recipients enrolled through the federal exchange. By design, the subsidies are available only through state exchanges. The IRS arbitrarily extended them to the federal exchange without congressional authorization.
  • The GOP believes the president overstepped his bounds by issuing new regulations on climate change. Federal regulations are by definition rules based in legislation congress has passed. The GOP believes the president arbitrarily expanded the scope and definition of prior environmental laws to adopt climate change policies without congressional authorization.
  • The president’s amnesty plan is a radical departure from the president’s executive authority to prosecute criminal offenses.