Saturday, November 14, 2015

Clearer Contrast Btn. Hillary & Bernie as 2nd Debate is Near

The departure by ex-governor Lincoln Chafee (D-RI), by Professor Lawrence Lessig and by ex-senator James Webb (D-VA) from the Democratic presidential contest, and the decision by Vice President Joseph Biden Jr. to remain out of it, clear the way almost entirely for direct juxtaposition between ex-sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) as the two of them compete for the party's nomination for the highest office in this land.  That much will be underscored when the second debate between them is held tonight.  This entry analyzes statements they made in the first such debate, which has been distorted by corporate media ever since it was aired live by CNN from Las Vegas, Nevada, on October 13.

Chafee (Congressional
Pictorial Directory)
Apparently, the schedule of Democratic presidential debates in this cycle was crafted to protect the front-runner status of the former secretary of State, who is the choice of the establishment in her party.  Representative Deborah Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), who backed Clinton's previous bid for the White House, unilaterally determined as chairperson of the Democratic National Committee it would organize only six of those encounters.  That is less than one-quarter as many as were held in the 2008 cycle and fewer than what was requested by every original candidate in this race except Clinton, who refuses to call for more.  Schultz also decreed that any candidates who engage each other anywhere other than at the six debates she has designated will be banned from them.  Moreover, four Republican presidential debates have already been held this year.

Reasons why Clinton would now prefer as few showdowns with her opponents as politically feasible were made evident in the contest of 2008.  Arguably, her downfall in it began when, in a debate, she blatantly waffled on the issue of driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants.  But in those debates generally, Clinton and other candidates such as ex-sen. Johnny Edwards (D-NC) looked especially poor when faced by a particular contender: then-Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who was appropriately described by several journalists as the "conscience" of the House of Representatives, or of the whole Congress, or even of his entire party.  As a result of that contrast, Clinton and Edwards conspired for the exclusion of Kucinich from those events.  That objective was eventually achieved.

Schultz has not only rejected the widespread demand for more debates but tried to squelch it.  Case in point:  Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), who is a vice chairperson of the DNC, received an invitation to October's debate.  However, after she publicly joined in said demand, Schultz revoked that invitation.

Despite the aforementioned favoritism toward Clinton, Sanders approached Las Vegas in a good position.  In the third quarter of this year, his campaign raised $26 million, which is within $3M of what Clinton's drew in the same period and which thereby discredits predictions according to which the ex-representative's campaign will be unable to afford to compete with that of the former first lady in paid advertisements.

Sanders walked onto the stage fresh from another boost: endorsements from Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), which are the first two for Sanders from members of Congress and contradict the narrative that tells us the primary candidacy of the ex-mayor of Burlington cannot garner noteworthy support from racial minorities.

Webb (CPD)
Statistics, too, defy that narrative.  For example, in the tracking poll of registered voters by Reuters/Ipsos, the average of data from the first day Biden was no longer an option until the latest day of polling shows Sanders at 18% among blacks, 27% among Latinos/Natives, and 32% among other racial minorities.

Now for a review of substantive parts of the debate.  The quoted wording is edited for clarity and concision.  Boldface is added.

Moderator Anderson Cooper stated to Clinton, "[S]ome Democrats believe you change positions based on political expediency.  You were against [the right to] same-sex marriage.  Now you're for it.  You defended President Obama's immigration policies.  Now you say they're too harsh.  You supported his [TPP] trade deal dozens of times.  You even called it 'the gold standard.'  Now, [since] last week, you're against it..."

Clinton responded, "I have been very consistent over the course of my entire life.  I have always fought for the same values..."

That means her current values are the ones that motivated her to join the presidential campaign of then-Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-AZ), who voted against the Civil Rights Act a month before his acceptance of the nomination of his party, broke from his schedule two months before Election Day to fly thousands of miles to vote against the creation of Medicare, opposed the Supreme Court's unanimous decision to order desegregation of public schools (Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka), opposed mandatory Social Security, opposed progressive taxation, opposed all public welfare programs, supported harsh restrictions on labor unions, advocated for withdrawal from the United Nations, voted against the censure of then-Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) for abuses committed in a domestic witch-hunt of alleged communists, and expressed a willingness to "drop a low-yield atomic bomb" (Newsweek, 20 May 1963) in order to achieve "defoliation of the forests" (Issues and Answers, ABC, 24 May 1964) through which China transported supplies to North Vietnam.

On page 21 of her autobiography Living History (2003), Clinton writes:
"I was... a Goldwater girl right down to my cowgirl outfit and straw cowboy hat emblazoned with the slogan 'AuH2O'...  I liked Senator Goldwater because he was a rugged individualist who swam against the political tide."
Johnson's campaign answered the slogan of its opposition.
He certainly did: Goldwater was so conservative, Pres. Lyndon Johnson not only defeated him by 486 to 52 in the Electoral College but attained 61.1% of the popular vote, which remains the largest share of the popular vote ever recorded in a general election for chief executive of this land.  For years following that election, Clinton stayed active in the Republican Party.  For instance, she headed the Young Republicans of Wellesley College.

In the debate, Clinton continued, "[T]ake the trade deal.  I did say... I hoped it would be the gold standard..."

That is false.  In the speech to which Cooper referred, Clinton definitively asserted the completed pact would be satisfactory to her.

When Cooper followed up, "[I]n July, ...you told a crowd you 'take a backseat to no one [on] progressive values.'  Last month, ...you said you plead guilty to 'being kind of moderate...,'" Clinton replied, "[W]hen I left law school, my first job was with the Children's Defense Fund.  And for all the years since, I have focused on how... to un-stack the deck..."

That is false.  After Clinton became a resident of Little Rock, Arkansas, she joined the Rose Law Firm.  Doug Henwood reports in Harper's Magazine:
"[A] ballot measure that passed would lower electricity rates for residential users in Little Rock and raise them for commercial users.  Business... filed a legal challenge as Rose represented them...  Hillary... argue[d] the case [and] helped to craft the underlying legal strategy, which was that the new rate schedule amounted to an unconstitutional 'taking of property.'  This is now a common right-wing argument against regulation...  Hillary defended, at Rose, the leading lights of Arkansas business and served on corporate boards -- including [of] the viciously anti-union Walmart."
Asked, "For the record, are you a progressive or a moderate?" Clinton answered, "...I'm a progressive who likes to get things done..."

Johnson signs Medicare into law beside former president
Harry Truman.  Also pictured are First Lady Claudia "Lady
Bird" Johnson and Vice Pres. Hubert Humphrey (far right).
As opposed to a progressive who does not like to get things done?  No.  Unless someone is a left-leaning moderate, which Clinton did not claim to be in any of the three self-descriptions in question, he cannot be accurately described by the simple term "progressive" and by the simple term "moderate" simultaneously.  More important than such pandering by Clinton, though, is that she is conservative.

Cooper:  "Sen. Sanders, a Gallup poll says half the nation would not put a socialist in the White House.  You call yourself a democratic socialist.  How can any kind of socialist win the general election?"

That poll was more than four months old by the debate.  A clearer indicator of Sanders's electability is the latest poll about potential match-ups for the general election.  That survey was conducted by McClatchy/Marist and finds that Sanders does better than Clinton does against each of the following potential Republican nominees: ex-gov. John "Jeb" Bush (R-FL), Sen. Rafael "Ted" Cruz (R-TX) and Cara "Carly" Fiorina.  It also finds Sanders ahead of Donald Trump by 12 percentage points, ahead of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), and merely two points behind Benjamin Carson MD.

Sanders responded in reference to himself and his backers, "We'll win because, first, we'll explain... democratic socialism is about... acknowledgement of the immorality of this: the top 0.1% in this country owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90% owns... [and] 57% of all new income goes to the top 1%...  [E]very major country provid[es] health care to all people as a right, except the United States.  Every other major country say[s] to moms, '[W]e will not separate you from your newborn baby...  [W]e... have medical and family paid leave...'  [W]e should learn from what countries like Denmark, Sweden and Norway have accomplished for their workers."

Cooper:  "Denmark... has a population of 5.6M people."

So?

"The question is about electability...  You supported the Sandinistas in Nicaragua."

The Sandinistas ousted a dictatorship.  The Contras existed as a group to attempt a violent overthrow of the Sandinistas.  Even after the Sandinistas were popularly elected, the administration of US president Ronald Reagan illegally aided the Contras in part by funneling money to them from its illegal sale of weapons to Iran and by intentionally allowing the Contras to traffic cocaine into black neighborhoods in California.

If there were internally consistent reasons why Sanders should have favored that policy, they could not include concern for human rights.  The violations the Sandinistas committed in undermining dissent were dwarfed beside the oppression by not only the Contras and the Iranian regime but other oppressive regimes Reagan supported, such as those in Guatemala, El Salvador, Iraq, Chad, and South Africa.
Biden (Charles
Kennedy / White House)

"You honeymooned in the Soviet Union."

So?

"And just this weekend, you said you're not a capitalist..."

Although Cooper, Charles Todd of NBC, and Clinton were evidently unaware a socialist, by definition, is not a capitalist, Sanders's self-identification as a non-capitalist has been public for his entire career.

As for electability, Sanders observed, "...Republicans win when voter-turnout is low.  That is what happened last November.  Sixty-three percent of the people didn't vote.  Eighty percent of young people didn't vote."  Sanders explained that his campaign is "bringing out huge turnouts and creating excitement all over this country."  He added that Democrats "will win when there is excitement and a large voter-turnout, and that is what my campaign is generating."

Soon afterward, Clinton interjected, "[W]hen I think of capitalism, I think of all the small businesses that were started because we have the opportunity and freedom in our country for people to do that and to make a good living...  I don't think we should confuse what we in America must do every so often, which is save capitalism from itself.  I think that what Sen. Sanders says makes sense in terms of the inequality we have.  But we are not Denmark..."

The US is certainly not Denmark -- The following countries are listed in order of social mobility, starting with the most: Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, New Zealand, Germany, Japan, France, the US.  Alas, "the American dream" has become the Danish dream.  Clinton implies the nation she seeks to lead should not hope to reclaim it.

"[O]ur job is to rein in the excesses of capitalism so it doesn't run amok and so it doesn't cause the kind of inequities we see..."

Schultz (CPD)
Government has never proved able to regulate capitalism into stability.  Clinton cannot be trusted to try.  Even if neither were the case, why should the public prefer a self-destructive economic system whose stability depends upon the perennial election of politicians who would ensure adequate regulation?

Capitalism is the economic equivalent of chaos.  Socialism is the economic equivalent of republicanism.  The reasons for a political system in which the people are sovereign and in which the minority is protected from the majority match the reasons for an economic system in which the right of all workers to negotiate the value of -- as well as have influence over what happens to the fruits of -- their labor is safeguarded and in which the poor are protected from the rich.

"But to turn our backs on what built the greatest middle class in the history of the world would be a grave mistake."

The middle class of the US has fallen behind that of Canada and was built via the struggle of labor unions, not through any natural tendency of capital.

Sanders rebutted, "I think everyone agrees we are a great entrepreneurial nation.  We must encourage that...  But... growth... means nothing if all new income... goes to the top 1%.  So, we must support small and medium-sized businesses -- the backbone of our economy -- but make sure every family in this country gets a fair shake..."

Cooper:  "Sen. Sanders, you voted against the Brady bill.  It mandated background checks [on] and a waiting period [for purchasers of guns].  You supported allowance of guns in checked bags on Amtrak...  For a decade, you said that to hold gun manufacturers legally responsible for mass shootings is a bad idea.  Now, you say you're reconsidering that.  Which is it: shield the gun companies from lawsuits or not?"

Sanders, after he noted his lifetime rating from the National Rifle Association is D- and he noted his support for a ban on assault weapons, for universal instant background checks, and for stricter enforcement of the prohibition on straw purchases, not to mention for a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips, stressed "there are thousands of people in this country who are suicidal or homicidal but cannot get the mental health care they need...  [T]hey don't have insurance or they're too poor...  [E]veryone in this country who has a mental crisis must be given mental health counseling immediately."

Kucinich (CPD)
Cooper followed up, "Do you want to shield gun companies from lawsuits?"

Sanders:  "Of course not.  This was a... complicated bill.  There were provisions in it that... made sense...  [D]o I think, if a gun shop... sells legally to someone who then does something crazy, the gun shop owner should be held responsible?  I don't.  On the other hand, where manufacturers and gun shops knowingly giv[e] guns to criminals..., of course we should act."

Cooper:  "Secy. Clinton, is Bernie Sanders tough enough on guns?"

Clinton, who has changed positions on the idea of a national registry of guns, replied, "No, not at all...  Sen. Sanders did vote five times against the Brady bill."

On page 86 of his memoir Outsider in the House (1997), Sanders writes:
"...I opposed the Brady bill because... a handgun waiting period could be dealt with at the state level..."
That stance was vindicated when the Supreme Court ruled the system of the national waiting period unconstitutional (Printz v. United States).

Clinton continued, "Since its enactment, more than 2M prohibited purchases have been prevented."

That is false.  Clinton overstated the figure by 72%.  Furthermore, given that the National Instant Criminal Background Check System began on November 30, 1998, Clinton misled when she implied Sanders has opposed any of the said prevention that has occurred since the aforementioned date.

"He also did vote, as he said, ...to immunize... on[e] industry...  Everyone else has to be accountable..."

Accountable for what?  When a gun is fired at someone, it does what it is designed to do.  If any liability for an illegal shooting is passed onto the business that legally sold the gun, that means the criminal is not to be considered fully responsible for a decision he made solely.

Gabbard (CPD)
If governance were to follow Clinton's logic to its conclusion, every manufacturer of any commercial product would be subject to liability for every time such a product functions correctly while used to commit a crime.

The public, if it believes the sale of guns to civilians is tantamount to criminal complicity, should elect a president who would nominate -- and senators who would confirm -- justices of the Supreme Court who would reverse its ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller and thereby resume the centuries-old acceptance of the obvious and sole purpose of the Second Amendment, which was ratified more than 150 years before the US established a significant standing army.  That purpose is to let states arm their militias for protection against invasion from abroad and against insurrection.  Were Heller overturned, the public could then elect federal officials who would prohibit the sale of guns to civilians.  Except under those circumstances, the policy Clinton advocates does not make sense.  That may be a reason why said policy is opposed by three-quarters of registered voters in this country.

When discussing intervention by the US in Syria, Sanders remarked, "I'm the former chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, and in that capacity, I learned a very powerful lesson about the cost of war."

Clinton has apparently not learned that lesson.

Sanders continued, "I will do all I can to make sure the US does not become involved in another quagmire like we did in Iraq: the worst foreign policy blunder in the history of this country.  We should put together a coalition of Arab countries, who should lead the effort.  We should be supportive but I do not support the idea to put American ground troops in Syria."

At his next turn, Sanders noted Clinton proposes "a no-fly zone in Syria, which... could lead to real problems."

Those potential problems include a military clash between the US and Russia, which has over 1,600 nuclear warheads. 

In between those statements, Clinton was asked about her vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq.  She responded, "I recall... being on a stage... about 25 times with then-Sen. Obama as he and I debated this very issue.  After the election, he asked me to become secretary of State.  He valued my judgment..."

Grijalva (CPD)
So?

Sanders continued, "I heard the same evidence from [George W.] Bush, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld about... Saddam Hussein...  I say, without any joy..., much of what I thought would happen... did happen..."

Cooper pointed out that Clinton, as secretary of State, "supported more troops in Afghanistan, wanted to arm Syrian rebels and pushed for the bombing of Libya..."

With regard to her stance on Libya, Clinton rationalized, "A murderous dictator -- Gadhafi -- who had American blood on his hands..., threatened to massacre large numbers of the Libyan people."

There are numerous regimes that have murdered large numbers of their own people and have murdered citizens of the US but that Clinton has never suggested this country should attack.

"Our closest allies in Europe begged us to help them try to prevent what they saw as a 'mass genocide,' in their words."

She overlooked the lack of evidence to substantiate those words.

"And the Arabs who stood by our side said, 'We want for you to help us deal with Gadhafi.'"

So?

"...I think Pres. Obama made the right decision..."

Clinton is out of the mainstream on that.

"[T]he Libyan people had a free election for the first time since 1951.  They voted for moderates and with the hope of democracy.  Because of the Arab Spring and a lot of other things, turmoil followed..."

Clinton said that as if turmoil does not usually result from participation by the US in overthrow of governments.

Ellison (CPD)
Cooper:  "What is the greatest threat to our national security?"

Clinton said it is "the spread of nuclear weapons, nuclear material, that can fall into the wrong hands..."

The hands of someone like Goldwater?

Sanders correctly answered, "[I]f we do not address the global crisis of climate change, transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to sustainable energy, the planet we leave to our... grandchildren may well not be habitable..."

When civil rights was the topic, Sanders acknowledged, "The African-American community knows on any given day, some innocent person like Sandra Bland can get into a car and then, three days later, ...end up dead in jail, or their kids might be shot.  We need to combat institutional racism from top to bottom, and we need major, major reforms in a broken criminal-justice system in which we incarcerate more people than China does.  I intend to tackle that issue to make sure our people have education and jobs rather than jail cells."

Cooper:  "Secy. Clinton, what would you do for African-Americans that Pres. Obama couldn't?"

Clinton:  "I think Pres. Obama has been a great moral leader on these issues..."

Think againRather than act to combat the systemic racial bias in law enforcement, Obama has implied there is a mere perception of that bias.  Rather than act to combat the racial disparity in economic opportunity, he has chosen to tolerate and reward racist language and to echo racist stereotypes such as by understating said disparity.

"...and has laid out an agenda the Republicans have obstructed at every turn."

Actually, there was a turn when the Senate had a filibuster-proof majority of Democrats for over four months while the House of Representatives had its largest Democratic majority in 30 years.

Clinton (Dept. of State)
"[W]e must reform criminal justice.  I have talked about... things like body cameras.  But we also must follow the recommendations of the commission Pres. Obama impaneled on policing...  Similarly, we need to tackle mass incarceration..."

Three weeks ago, in another conveniently timed epiphany, Clinton resolved to begin to call for an end to private prisons.  In this race, Sanders was five months ahead of her in advocacy for that idea and was nearly three months ahead of her in publication of a plan to reform criminal justice overall.

On the issue of income inequality, Sanders observed, "[F]or the last 40 years, the great middle class of this country has been disappearing...  [W]e need to... create millions of jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure; raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour; ...end our disastrous trade policies, which have cost us millions of jobs; and make every public college and public university in this country tuition-free."

Cooper:  "...Glass-Steagall is the Depression-era law repealed in 1999.  It prevented commercial banks from engaging in investment banking and in insurance activities.  Secy. Clinton, ...Sen. Sanders wants to break up the big Wall Street banks.  You don't.  You say charge the banks more, continue to monitor them.  Why is your plan better?"

Clinton:  "My plan is more comprehensive and... tougher...  [O]f course we must deal with the problem of the banks still being too big to fail.  We can never let the American taxpayer... have to bail out the kind of speculative behavior we saw."

She meant except for when she voted to make the American taxpayer do so.

"But we also must worry about some of the other players -- AIG, a big insurance company; Lehman Brothers, an investment bank."

Yes, because those two firms gave a total of over $445,000 to her previous campaigns.

"There's this whole area called 'shadow banking.'  The experts tell me the next problem could come from there.  So I'm... putting a lot of attention onto the banks."

Indeed she is, especially to fundraise.  Her campaign has already accepted more than $5M from the finance, insurance and real-estate sector.

Sanders
("Democracy Now!")
"The plan I have put forward would empower regulators to break up big banks if we were to think they pose a risk..."

They pose a risk now.  She had just agreed they remain "too big to fail."

Cooper:  "Sen. Sanders, Secy. Clinton just said her policy is tougher than yours is."

"Well," Sanders said with a bit of a laugh, "that's not true."

Cooper:  "Why?"

Sanders:  "[T]he greed, recklessness and illegal behavior of Wall St., where fraud is a business model, helped to destroy this economy and the lives of millions of people...  [W]hen... the Republican leadership, Wall Street..., the Clinton administration [and then-chairperson of the Federal Reserve] Alan Greenspan said 'a great idea would be to allow these huge banks to merge,' I... helped lead the opposition...  [T]he three largest banks in America are much bigger than they were when we bailed them out for being 'too big to fail'..."

Clinton said in her rebuttal, "I represented Wall St. as a senator..."

She sure did, and Wall St. returned the favor financially.

"I went to Wall St. in December of 2007, before the big crash..., and I basically said, 'Cut it out.  Quit foreclosing on homes.  Quit these kinds of speculative behaviors.'"

Is that a joke?

"I took on the Bush administration for the same thing..."

How?

"[M]y plan would have the potential to send the executives to jail..."

Those executives do not seem to believe that.  Perhaps they doubt Clinton would be willing to so heavily revise her list of donors for the 2020 campaign.

Greenspan
(Cmte. on Finance)
Sanders:  "...Congress does not regulate Wall Street.  Wall St. regulates Congress...  To go to Wall St. and say, 'Please do the right thing,' is kind of naive."

Clinton:  "...I think Dodd-Frank was a very good start, and... we must implement it..."

When challenged on her inconsistency about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, Clinton responded in part, "I never took a position on Keystone until I took a position on Keystone."

That remark was useful only if it was a tribute to the recently deceased Yogi Berra.

Cooper:  "Sen. Sanders, in 2008, congressional leaders were told, without the bailout, the US was possibly days away from a complete meltdown...  [Y]ou still voted against it.  As president, would you stand by your principles if that were to risk the country's financial stability?"

Sanders:  "I recall that meeting...  [Then-secretary of the Treasury] Hank Paulson [and then-chairperson of the Federal Reserve Ben] Bernanke... said, 'Guys, the economy is going to collapse because Wall St. is going under...'  I said, 'Hank, ...you come from Goldman Sachs.  Your millionaire and billionaire friends caused this problem.  How about they pay for the bailout?'  ...I would not have let the economy collapse.  But to ask the middle class to bail out Wall St. was wrong..."

Panelist Dana Bash to Sanders:  "[Y]ou have a plan to make public colleges free.  Secy. Clinton has criticized that by saying she's 'not in favor of free college for Donald Trump's kids.'  Should taxpayers pick up the tab for wealthy children?"

Taxpayers already do when those children are... children.  But since when do the offspring of the wealthy tend to go to public colleges?  Trump's daughters and his adult sons did not.

Sanders:  "...Trump and his billionaire friends, under my policies, would pay a hell of a lot more in taxes... than they pay now.  But... [a] college degree today... is the equivalent of what a high-school diploma was 50 years ago.  And what we said 50 years ago... is that every kid in this country should be able to get a high school education regardless of the income of his family...  [W]e must say that is true for everyone who goes to college...  [W]e don't need a complicated system, which the secretary proposes: the income goes up, the income goes down, if you're poor, you have to work...  I pay for my program through a tax on Wall St. speculation.  That tax will... substantially lower interest rates on college debt..."

Paulson (Shealah
Craighead / WH)
Bash to Clinton:  "Sen. Sanders proposes expansion of Social Security and proposes Medicare for all.  What's wrong with that?"

Clinton:  "Let me address college affordability because I have a plan I think will zero in on the problems.  First, all the 40M Americans who have student debt will be able to refinance their debt to a low interest rate.  That will save thousands of dollars for people who now struggle under... college debt...  My plan would enable anyone to go to a public college or university [debt]-free.  One would not have to borrow money for tuition.

"But I believe... that for everyone to have some part in accomplishment of this is important...  I would like for students to work 10 hours a week in order... for them to afford their education.  And I want for colleges to lower their costs..."

The part students play in accomplishment of education is to study.  To compel people to take jobs while they are students would be inconsiderate and pointless.  To compel the same when the unemployment rate is anywhere near what it is now, which is 22.8%, would be grossly counterproductive.

Bash:  "Secy. Clinton, the question was... about Sen. Sanders's plan to expand Social Security and to make Medicare available to all.  Would you support that plan?  If not, why not?"

Clinton:  "I fully support Social Security..."

Bash:  "Do you want to expand it?"

Clinton:  "I want to enhance the benefits for the poorest recipients..."

I'll take that as a "No."

"I will defend Social Security.  I will look for ways to try to make sure it's solvent into the future.  And we also need to talk about health care at some time..."

That time was not then, apparently.

Bernanke (Cmte. on
Banking, Housing,
and Urban Affairs)
Sanders:  "When the Republicans... and some Democrats proposed to cut Social Security -- and cut benefits for disabled veterans -- through the so-called 'chained CPI,' I founded the Defending Social Security Caucus...  [As] millions of seniors in this country try to get by... on [less than] $13,000 a year, Social Security should not be cut.  We should expand it by lifting the cap on taxable incomes in order to do away with the absurdity of a millionaire paying the same amount into the system as does someone whose income is $118,000.  If we do that, benefits can be expanded and Social Security would be solvent until 2061."

Panelist Juan Carlos Lopez:  "...Sen. Sanders, in 2013, you voted for immigration reform.  But in 2007, ...you voted against it.  Why should Latino voters trust you now when you left them at the altar when reform was very close?"

Sanders:  "I didn't leave anyone at the altar...  [T]hat legislation... had guest-worker provisions the Southern Poverty Law Center [described as] semi-slavery.  Guest workers under terrible conditions would, if they stand up for their rights, be deported..."

Cooper:  "Sen. Sanders, you talked about your record on the Veterans' Affairs Committee.  You served on it for the last eight years, including two as its chairman, while veterans died as they waited for health care.  You and Sen. McCain ultimately addressed the issue with bipartisan legislation.  Why did the inspector general have to file 18 reports... before you and your colleagues took action?"

Sanders:  "[W]hen I was chairman, we did take action.  We passed a $15 billion piece of legislation, which brought many, many new doctors and nurses into the V.A. so veterans... can get health care when they need it...  [T]hat legislation says if a veteran resides more than 40 miles away from a V.A. facility, he can get health care from a community health center or the private sector.  As a result of that legislation, we went further than at any time in recent history in improvement health care for the men and women... who put their lives on the line to defend us."

Cooper:  "[T]he Patriot Act... created the surveillance program used by the National Security Agency...  Secy. Clinton, do you regret your vote[s for] the Patriot Act?"

Clinton:  "No.  I think it was necessary in order to ensure we could, after 9/11, put in place the security we needed...  [I]t required a process...  [H]owever, ...the Bush administration chipped away at that process.  And I spoke out about their warrantless surveillance...  We always must keep the balance of civil liberties... and security..."

John McCain, R-AZ (US
Senate Historical Office)
Provisions of that law were struck down because they violated the Bill of Rights.  Alas, by "civil liberties," Clinton means the ones we deserve according to her, not to the Constitution.  Furthermore, the Patriot Act was not necessary for national security.  When Clinton criticized Bush about warrantless surveillance, she did not call it illegal.

Cooper:  "Sen. Sanders, you... voted against the Patriot Act in 2001 and the reauthorization[s]...  [W]ould you shut down the NSA surveillance program?"

Sanders:  "...I'd shut down what now exists: ...virtually every telephone call in this country ends up in a file at the NSA...  But it's not just government surveillance...  [T]he government is involved in our e-mails and in our websites.  Corporate America is as well...  [W]e must defend ourselves against terrorism but there are ways to do that without impingement upon our Constitutional rights..."

Cooper:  "...Edward Snowden, is he a traitor or a hero?"

Clinton:  "He broke the law..."

Yes, to expose infinitely worse violations of the law.

"He could have been a whistleblower and had all the protections of one.  He could have raised all the issues he has raised."

That is false.  By the way, Snowden is a whistleblower, even if not by her Majesty's definition.

"And I think there would have been a positive response to that."

Why would the people who baselessly claim the disclosures by Snowden harmed national security have welcomed them had they been made through a different process?

Barack Obama, George W. Bush (Peter Souza / WH)
Cooper:  "Should he do jail time?"

Clinton:  "In addition, he stole very important information that has unfortunately fallen into a lot of the wrong hands."

If Clinton had cited proof of that, she would have been the first person in the world who had done so.

"So I don't think he should be brought home if he would not face the music."

Sanders:  "...Snowden played a very important role in the education of the American people about the degree to which... our Constitutional rights are undermined."

Cooper:  "Is he a hero?"

Sanders:  "He did break the law and I think there should be a penalty for that.  But... what he did to educate us should be taken into consideration before he is sentenced."

Cooper:  "[H]ow would your term not be a third term of Pres. Obama?"

Clinton:  "I think that's pretty obvious.  To have the first female president would, I think, be quite a change..."

Cooper:  "Is there a difference on policy?"

Clinton:  "There's a lot I would like to do to build on the successes of Pres. Obama but also, as I'm laying out, to go beyond.  And that's in my economic plans..."

Sanders:  "[T]he power of corporate America, of Wall St., of the drug companies and of the corporate media is so great, the only way to really transform America and achieve what the middle class and working class desperately need is through a political revolution in which millions of people come together, stand up, and say our government will work for all of us, not just for a handful of billionaires."

Cooper to Clinton:  "...This has been the year of the outsider in politics -- Just ask Bernie Sanders.  Why should Democrats embrace an insider like yourself?"

Berra
(Dept. of Defense)
Clinton:  "I can't think of... more of an outsider than... the first woman president..."

I can.

Cooper:  "Sen. Sanders, does she have the right stuff?"

Sanders:  "[T]here is profound frustration all over this country with establishment politics.  I am the only candidate for president who is not a billionaire, ...has raised substantial sums of money, and does not have a super-PAC.  I do not raise money from millionaires and billionaires..."

Some misinterpreted Sanders's comment as a claim to be the only presidential candidate who is not a billionaire.  He meant he is the only presidential candidate who has substantially fundraised without being a billionaire and without a super-PAC.

Cooper:  "Sen. Sanders, are you tougher on climate change than Secy. Clinton is?"

Sanders:  "[T]his is a moral issue.  The scientists tell us we need to move extremely boldly.  I..., along with Sen. Barbara Boxer a few years ago, introduced the first legislation that called for a tax on carbon...  [N]othing will happen unless we enact campaign finance reform.  The fossil fuel industry funds the Republican Party, which denies the reality of climate change...  We must be extremely aggressive in working with China, India and Russia..."

Clinton:  "That's exactly what I've been doing.  When we met in Copenhagen in 2009..., Pres. Obama and I... produced the first agreement China has signed about climate change..."

That agreement was not aggressive.

Lopez to Sanders:  "[H]ere in Nevada, there will be a measure to legalize recreational marijuana on the 2016 ballot...  If you were a Nevada resident, how would you vote?"

Sanders:  "I suspect... I would vote 'Yes' because I see... too many lives being destroyed for nonviolent offenses.  We have a criminal-justice system that lets CEOs on Wall St. walk away, and yet we imprison or jail young people because they smoked marijuana...  [W]e must rethink this war on drugs, which has done enormous damage.  We need to rethink our criminal justice system and we have a lot of work to do in that area."

Boxer, D-CA (Cmte. on
Health, Education,
Labor & Pensions)
Lopez:  "Secy. Clinton, ...[w]hen asked about legalization of recreational marijuana, you [said], 'Let's wait and see how it plays out in Colorado and Washington.'  It has been more than a year since you said that.  Are you ready to take a position...?"

Clinton:  "No.  I think we have the opportunity, through the states that are pursuing recreational marijuana, to find out a lot more...  I support medical marijuana and I think, even there, we need a lot more research so we know exactly how we'll help people for whom medical marijuana provides relief."

Clinton did not specify which questions prevent her from taking a position on recreational marijuana and from detailing a plan on medical marijuana.  But perhaps those questions will soon be answered by her pollsters and focus groups.

"So, I think we're just at the beginning..."

Okay, maybe not so soon.

"But I agree... we must stop the imprisonment of people for use of marijuana.  Therefore, we need more states, cities, and the federal government to begin to address this so we don't have this terrible result Sen. Sanders discussed: a huge population in our prisons for nonviolent, low-level offenses primarily due to marijuana."

Correspondent Don Lemon:  "This is for Sen. Sanders from... Manassas, Virginia...  'Pres. Obama has had difficulty in his attempts to persuade Republicans to compromise...  How will you approach this...?'"

Sanders:  "[T]he only way we can take on the... Republicans, who I hope will not continue to control the Senate and the House when one of us is president, ...is for millions of people... to come together and... say, 'We know what's going on.  If you vote against us, you are out of your job.'"

Cooper:  "...Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, 'I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.'  You've all made a few people upset over your political careers.  Of which enemy are you proudest?"

Clinton:  "In addition to the NRA, the health insurance companies, the drug companies, the Iranians, probably the Republicans."

Roosevelt (Leon Perskie/
Roosevelt '44 campaign)
Her campaigns have received a total of nearly $4.7M from the insurance, pharmaceutical & health-product, and HMO & health-service industries.  With enemies like those, who needs friends?  Why should an ex-diplomat be proud to have cultivated enmity with a nation that poses no proven threat to hers?

Sanders:  "...Wall St. and the pharmaceutical industry..."

Sanders exited the stage with momentum, too -- Within the four hours that followed the start of the debate, his campaign received 37,600 contributions from individuals, which averaged less than $35 each and totaled $1.3M.  Even before Sanders left the premises, he rescued reporter Andrea Mitchell from being trampled (and thereby from the fate she had suffered as a result of what began at 4:50 of this video).

Giving an honest assessment, Mitchell told Sanders, "Obviously, you did very well.  You lit a fire tonight."

Nonetheless, nearly all of the pundits -- and their bosses -- in the corporate media were already at work to spin the debate in favor of Clinton with disregard for Sanders's victory among all three nationally televised focus groups, including the one on CNN, which removed its online poll from public view as the poll hugely favored Sanders.

That is not a new tactic, however.  In 2004, CNN deleted its online poll about the vice presidential debate in order to cover up the tremendous advantage the poll gave to Edwards over Cheney.  In 2007, ABC twice reset its online poll about its Democratic presidential debate as Kucinich was in the lead.

With respect to scientific data, the last poll taken before the debate and the first poll taken afterward showed an increase of four points for Sanders and no increase for Clinton.  Yet, the corporate media has tried to convince us the winner of the debate was the candidate whose remarks included numerous falsehoods, evasions, absurdities, platitudes, irrelevancies, and unpopular positions.

That teaches a lesson that will be useful tonight: Believe your own ears.

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