Bernie Sanders Calls For Federal Investigation Of Exxon

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Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) wants ExxonMobil investigated by the Department of Justice.

In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Tuesday, Sanders charged the oil giant of engaging in a cover-up to intentionally mislead the public about the reality of human-caused climate change, and by extension the risks of its carbon-intensive product.

“It appears that Exxon knew its product was causing harm to the public, and spent millions of dollars to obfuscate the facts in the public discourse,” Sanders wrote. “The information that has come to light about Exxon’s past activities raises potentially serious concerns that should be investigated.”

The information Sanders cited was a recent investigation by Inside Climate News, which found that the ExxonMobil conducted research as far back as 1977 affirming that climate change is caused by carbon emissions from fossil fuels. At the same time, the oil giant gave millions of dollars to politicians and organizations that promote climate science denial, and spent millions more lobbying to prevent regulations to limit carbon emissions.

Sanders, like many, compared the allegations against ExxonMobil to the DOJ’s massive and successful lawsuit against the tobacco industry. That action found that a number of big tobacco companies engaged in racketeering by conspiring to hide the harmful impacts of smoking from the public.

In an interview with ThinkProgress on Monday, the attorney who prosecuted that case against the tobacco industry said an investigation into ExxonMobil by the DOJ is “plausible and should be considered.”

 

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Hillary Clinton and the Benghazi Gang

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Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former secretary of state, spent hours on Thursday facing down a gang of spiteful Republican lawmakers who once saw great promise in hauling her before a congressional committee to hold her responsible for the deadly attack that killed the American ambassador and three colleagues in Libya in Sept. 2012.

Unsurprisingly, the hearing yielded no new information about the attacks. It quickly and predictably devolved into a partisan battle between Republicans intent on hurting Mrs. Clinton’s bid for the White House and Democrats who sought to make her look presidential.

The pointless grilling of Mrs. Clinton, who fielded a barrage of questions that have long been answered and settled, served only to embarrass the Republican lawmakers who have spent millions of dollars on a political crusade. In recent days, some prominent Republicans have even admitted as much.

If there was any notion that the Select Committee on Benghazi might be on to something, it was quickly dispelled. In a flailing performance, the committee’s chairman, Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, made it evident that he and his colleagues have squandered more than $4.6 million and countless hours poring over State Department records and Mrs. Clinton’s email. They produced no damning evidence, elicited no confessions and didn’t succeed in getting an angry reaction from Mrs. Clinton.

If the committee members had truly wanted to add to the public’s understanding of the events leading up to the Benghazi attacks, it could have delved into the choices officials at the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency made before and after the attacks. They could also have examined Congress’s refusal to provide the funding the State Department has requested for security for its overseas installations. Instead, the Benghazi committee has focused only on Mrs. Clinton and her close aides.

“It is a prosecution,” Representative Adam Smith, one of the Democrats on the committee, said during the hearing. “It is a partisan exercise.”

Mrs. Clinton, who lost her temper the last time she testified on Capitol Hill about the Benghazi attacks, was thoughtful and patient on Thursday. She acknowledged the findings of an independent investigation into the attacks led by the former American diplomat Thomas Pickering and retired Adm. Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. That inquiry identified systemic failings by the State Department, which Mrs. Clinton said she took steps to address before leaving office in 2013.

The suggestion that she was personally negligent and that her team took steps to cover up facts are “a very personally painful accusation,” Mrs. Clinton testified. “I’ve lost more sleep than all of you put together,” she said. “I have been racking my brain about what more could have been done or should have been done.”

Now that the hearing, which was intended to be the climactic point of the Benghazi committee inquiry, is over, the Democrats who reluctantly agreed to join the panel when it was established in May 2014 should walk away. The Republicans are expected to issue a report. May it be the final chapter of a wasteful and counterproductive exercise that accomplished nothing.

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TRUMP IS WEAK: TRUMP COMPLAINS FOR HAVING TO DEBATE FOR 3 HOURS

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Hours before Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate on CNN, GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump ripped the network for “milking” the three-hour, 11-candidate event.

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The debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., starts at 8 p.m. and will run for about three hours, representatives from CNN said Wednesday.
Trump has already had plenty to say about CNN’s debate in recent weeks. After taking credit for the network’s expected surplus in ad revenue, the business mogul sent a letter to network President Jeff Zucker, calling on him to donate proceeds from the program to charities supporting U.S. veterans.
The added length may in part be due to the unusually large field of candidates.
A Fox News GOP presidential debate in August lasted two hours and featured 10 players.
Candidates will get a chance to head to the bathroom during an extended commercial break midway through.
With 10 men on stage and only one woman, it will be a rare instance of the men’s room line being longer than the ladies’.

Hillary Clinton: Gives a Victorious Testimony

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Clinton chats with supporters during Benghazi hearing break

WATCH: If the #BenghaziCommittee hearing got to Hillary Clinton today, she didn't show it, using her break to ask supporters, "Are you going to come to my Katy Perry concert?"

Posted by ABC News Politics on Thursday, October 22, 2015

Kentucky Prosecutor Basically Confirms Racial Profiling In Open Court

Oldham Co. Kentucky Attorney John Carter is facing criticism for a statement in which he appeared to suggest being Hispanic is “probable cause” for getting pulled over in a traffic stop. A video of the Oct. 14 court appearance captures pieces of the exchange.

Police said they pulled over defendant, Mauro Martinez, in July for speeding, but Martinez claims he was not speeding at the time. His attorney, Dawn Elliott, believes he was instead pulled over as a result of racial profiling. When Elliott confirmed in court that the defense believes Martinez was pulled over because he’s Hispanic, Carter can be heard saying, “it’s probable cause” immediately afterward.

In the video, Elliott can be heard immediately responding to Carter’s comment saying,

“I’m going to act like I didn’t hear that.”

Judge Diana Wheeler added,

“I am too.”

“It’s our contention that he was stopped because he was driving while brown,” Elliott told WDRB last Thursday. “We were all kind of shocked that an elected official would make a statement like that.”

Carter later told local outlets that he was referring to the moving violation on the citation as probable cause — not the fact that Martinez is Hispanic.

“I was looking at the citation,” the attorney told The Courier-Journal,. “I thought they were talking about the cop not citing him with a speeding charge.”

According to The Courier-Journal, the officer who stopped Martinez said the defendant provided valid registration and insurance but not a valid driver’s license. Police then cited him for not having a driver’s license, not for speeding.

“The officer on the citation stated he was speeding, yet he didn’t charge him with a moving violation,” Elliott told WDRB.

Elliott told the outlet that she did not believe Carter’s response wasn’t in regards to Martinez being Hispanic.

“Clearly he had an opportunity to clear that up on the record over 24 hours ago, but now there’s buzz about it,” she told The Courier-Journal. “My reaction and the judge’s reaction speaks for itself. We certainly interpreted him talking about probable cause for my client’s ethnicity.”

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Robert Reich Explains Why Bernie Sanders’ Policies Would Cost America Nothing

Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few

Why the economic debate in America must take account of political power. More on this in "Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few," out 9/29. Should you wish to pre-order: Amazon: http://bit.ly/1F2A9PX; Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1ihgd0M; IndieBound: http://bit.ly/1UW92No

Posted by Robert Reich on Tuesday, September 15, 2015

POPULAR ECONOMIST EXPLAINS THAT BERNIE SANDERS’ PROGRAMS ARE A GOOD DEAL FOR AMERICANS

Recently, an article was published by the Wall Street Journal attempting to scare Americans into believing that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders would add $18 trillion to the United States debt over a period of 10 years. While that figure is mainly true, it didn’t take economists long to sort out that Sanders policies would actually cost virtually nothing in the long run and would even save Americans $42 trillion we’d normally spend on health care in a decade. In fact, we’d spend more without these government programs.

Here is the image the WSJ used to explain the breakdown for Sanders policies:

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A financial breakdown of what Senator Bernie Sanders’ policies would cost Americans. Wall Street Journal

Robert Reich, a political economist, said so many people asked him to explain if Sanders’ plan would balloon the federal deficit and dash the dreams of Sanders supporters everywhere that he felt it necessary to respond. Reich said the WSJ’s claim was “bogus” because they dropped a scary number with no further analysis of the impact such policies would have on the country.

Reich explains:

Bernie’s proposals would cost less than what we’d spend without them. Most of the “cost” the Journal comes up with—$15 trillion—would pay for opening Medicare to everyone. This would be cheaper than relying on our current system of for-profit private health insurers that charge you and me huge administrative costs, advertising, marketing, bloated executive salaries, and high pharmaceutical prices. (Gerald Friedman, an economist at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, estimates a Medicare-for-all system would actually save all of us $10 trillion over 10 years).

In fact, Americans already pay four times more for private health insurance and other social services than people pay in taxes for the same services in democratic socialist countries. So when people claim, “Socialist countries pay high taxes!” We can set them straight and say, “We pay higher prices to fund greedy fucks’ lavish lifestyles.”

Reich continued:

“The savings from Medicare-for-all would more than cover the costs of the rest of Bernie’s agenda—tuition-free education at public colleges, expanded Social Security benefits, improved infrastructure, and a fund to help cover paid family leave – and still leave us $2 trillion to cut federal deficits for the next ten years.

“Many of these other “costs” would also otherwise be paid by individuals and families — for example, in college tuition and private insurance. So they shouldn’t be considered added costs for the country as a whole, and may well save us money.”

Think about the implications that shifting the burden of paying for expensive services like health care and education off the backs of the working class and businesses will have on our economy.

The working class are the drivers of the economy. They are far greater in number and spend most of their money on products and services in order to cover their basic needs. Allowing them to keep their money in regards to insurance, child care and college puts more money in their pockets to spend. When the working class has more money to spend, they spend it, or they save it for rainy days and retirement. This creates greater consumer confidence and better financial security, and those at the top also fare well, because now more people are buying up their products and services. The demand for these products and services creates a need for more jobs, and voila, the economy is strong.

Lastly, Reich says:

“Finally, Bernie’s proposed spending on education and infrastructure aren’t really “spending” at all, but investments in the nation’s future productivity. If we don’t make them, we’re all poorer. 

“That Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal would do this giant dump on Bernie, based on misinformation and distortion, confirms Bernie’s status as the candidate willing to take on the moneyed interests that the Wall Street Journal represents.”

So Reich thinks that Sanders has the one percent scared out of their wits because his message is resonating so well. Rupert Murdoch can’t seem to scare people with the word “socialism” any longer, now he’s trying a more nuanced approach by spreading misinformation that our national debt will skyrocket under Bernie which will “cost” everyone more money when it won’t, because he really doesn’t want Americans to figure out that trickle-down economics is a sham.

But, Americans are waking up and realizing that their government belongs to them, not the rich, and that when the working class is stronger the country gets stronger. A weak country is apathetic and will relinquish control to those with self-serving agendas. Sanders has started a political revolution, regardless if he becomes the democratic nominee or not, and it has the greedy class of this country scared out of their wits because they see the majority of Americans are now fighting to take back that control — and that’s a good thing.

Robert Reich has a new book coming out called Saving Capitalism which hits shelves Sept. 29.

Image: Facebook/Robert Reich

Obama cancels Arctic drilling lease sales

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The Obama administration took a number of actions Friday to restrict future offshore drilling in the Arctic Ocean.

The Interior Department is canceling two lease sales it had planned over the next year and a half for Arctic drilling rights and denying two oil companies’ requests to extend the time on leases that they currently hold.

The decision comes weeks after Royal Dutch Shell pulled out of the Arctic for the foreseeable future, saying the little oil it found in this summer’s drilling is not worth the cost.

The administration said its decisions are based on the current oil markets and low interest in Arctic drilling.

But it’s also a significant action to crack down on one of the most controversial types of offshore oil and gas drilling that has environmentalists fired up in opposition.

“In light of Shell’s announcement, the amount of acreage already under lease and current market conditions, it does not make sense to prepare for lease sales in the Arctic in the next year and a half,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a statement, complimenting her staff’s work overseeing the safety and environmental standards of Shell’s drilling in the Chukchi Sea, about 70 miles northwest of Alaska’s coast.

Shell’s Chukchi lease is due to expire in 2020. Norway’s Statoil had also requested an extension of a lease expiring in 2017 in the nearby Beaufort Sea, which was also rejected.

In letters to each company, the department said they failed to show sufficient plans to take advantage of the leases if their terms were extended.

The decisions were praised by environmentalists who have long called for Obama to block drilling in the Arctic due to its potential environmental and climate impacts.

“Today’s announcement moves us away from old arguments about companies’ unwise investments and toward better choices for the Arctic Ocean,” Susan Murray, vice president of the Pacific for Oceana, said in a statement.

“As Shell found out, the Arctic Ocean is unique and unforgiving,” she said. “Especially in light of economic, technological, and environmental realities, there is no reason to extend leases or hold new sales.”

The announcements are certain to bother the oil industry and Republicans, who have blamed Obama for a strict and unpredictable regulatory environment in the Arctic that makes exploration difficult in one of the most promising untapped regions for oil and gas.

Hilcorp, Eni, BP, Repsol, ConocoPhillips Co. and Iona Energy Co. also currently own drilling rights in the United States’ portion of the Arctic.

The Interior Department has proposed one Beaufort sale in 2020 and a Chukchi sale in 2022 as part of its 2017–2022 leasing program, but it has yet to make the plan final.

 

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Democrats Show the Country What a Real Presidential Debate Looks Like

Jack Perry: I’d say the debate was a tie between Bernie and Hillary. He was more passionate, she was more Presidential. She came armed with stats and reasoned arguments. He had some of that too, but I think he was relying a bit too much on the populist soundbites. I liked them both equally, but for different reasons. What do you think? 

WATCH SANDERS: The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!

As you would expect, CNN moderator Anderson Cooper pressed Hillary Clinton about her controversial use of private email as Secretary of State at Tuesday night’s Democratic debate in Las Vegas. Clinton got some applause for her response, which was critical of the motives of the Republican-run Benghazi committee that has pressed the issue—but the more memorable moment came after she finished, when a dyspeptic Bernie Sanders jumped in to back her up:

Let me say something. I think the secretary is right. And that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.

Responded Clinton: “Thank you. Me too. Me too.”

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