How Clinton Can Use The Debate To Change The National Discussion

Everyone has an opinion on what Hillary Clinton should do in the Monday’s debate, and this is mine. Hopefully I will be wrong enough to earn a regular column on the New York Times op-ed page.

This election season so far has been about Donald Trump, and not about the real problems facing the country and We the People. The national discussion certainly has not been about things that can be done to make people’s lives better.

Donald Trump talks about Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton talks about Donald Trump. The news media talks about Donald Trump, even breaking into news shows to cover live anything Donald Trump might be saying. As a result everyone talks about Donald Trump. Clinton and issues and ideas are almost invisible.

In Monday’s debate, Hillary Clinton should be a model of how the country should be treating Trump and his deplorable campaign. She should just ignore him as the irrelevant distraction he really is.

She should talk from the beginning of the debate to the end of the debate about her policies and proposals to make people’s lives better. She should ignore Trump’s inevitable insults, provocations and everything else he says or does. She should turn him into background noise and not allow herself to be distracted from discussing how she proposes to address the needs of the country.

It’s not like she doesn’t have great policies and proposals to talk about. It’s her strength. Trump just doesn’t, which unfortunately is considered a strength by too many people. Bill Scher’s post, “On Policy, It’s No Contest. Clinton: 112,735 Words, Trump: 9,000,” explained the difference between the two when it comes to actual substance and policy.

Clinton should ignore Trump and talk about the issues that are important to the public and the country. He is trying to bait her with his provocative language and get her off message. Her message is good, but he has succeeded so far. It’s time to change that. Don’t even acknowledge his presence on the stage. Draw the contrast between bluster and substance.

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary and/or for the Progressive Breakfast.

I Recommend Angie Coiro’s Interview With Geoffrey Nunberg

I just caught up with Angie Coiro’s interview with Geoffrey Nunberg and I recommend it. They discuss the language of this presidential campaign.

It’s at In Deep With Angie Coiro: Linguist Geoff Numberg: the Language of Campaign 2016

Note the picture at the link. Angie does her interviews with a live audience in a book store, and you’ll hear the audience reaction on occasion during the discussion. It’s well worth attending one of these if you are in the Menlo Park/Palo Alto, California area on a Wednesday.

Also, listening will show you just what an excellent interviewer and radio professional Angie is. (Can listening ‘show’ you things? What’s the right word?)

Republicans ‘Working The Ref’ With War On IRS

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was forced to testify on Wednesday before a Republican impeachment committee. Republicans are doing this because the IRS (under a previous commissioner) dared to check whether organizations applying for special IRS nonprofit status were following the law or illegally promoting candidates.

Republicans in Congress want to send the IRS and other government agencies a clear message: If government employees try to make corporate/conservative movement organizations follow the laws and rules, Republicans will make their lives miserable, bankrupt them and ruin their careers. And thanks to the huge sums of “dark” money flowing to Republican candidates from billionaires and corporations, they have the power to do it.

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Banks Used Low Wages, Job Insecurity To Force Employees To Commit Fraud

The manager instructed her to push accounts but not to tell the customers about the downfalls and fees of new accounts. “Make them read the paperwork.” She replied, “But you know no one ever reads the paperwork.” His response: “Exactly.”

You might have heard that Wells Fargo Bank was busted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for opening millions of fraudulent accounts – ruining customer credit scores and finances to rack up profits from big fees – and had to pay a $185 million fine.

You might have heard that the bank said management didn’t know about the 1.5 million to 2 million fraudulent accounts that were racking up big profits, gave the head of the division responsible for those accounts a $125 million bonus, blamed low-level employees and fired more than 5,000 of them. Now those former employees have the words “ethics” and “fraud” on their records.

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Buzzfeed’s Major Series On Corporate “Super Courts” That Dominate Governments

BuzzFeed is running a very important investigative series called “Secrets of a Global Super Court.” It describes what they call “a parallel legal universe, open only to corporations and largely invisible to everyone else.”

Existing “trade” agreements like NAFTA allow corporations to sue governments for passing laws and regulations that limit their profits. They set up special “corporate courts” in which corporate attorneys decide the cases. These corporate “super courts” sit above governments and their own court systems, and countries and their citizens cannot even appeal the rulings.

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EU Tells Giant Corporation It Is The Boss Of Them

Corporations are more and more in the habit of telling governments that they are the boss of them. If corporations get their way, “trade” agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will formalize their dominance. But not quite yet.

The European Union (EU) just told Apple that it is the boss of them, and not the other way around. The EU has ruled that Apple’s tax-avoidance scheme with Ireland’s government is illegal, and Apple owes Ireland $14.5 billion — plus interest. The EU decided that Ireland’s tax deal with Apple, based on Apple demanding a tax break to “bring jobs” to Ireland instead of somewhere else, constitutes “state aid” to the company. The EU pointed out that other, smaller companies are hurt when giant corporations like Apple get special tax deals.

In other words, the EU has ruled that it is illegal for an EU government to give in to corporate extortion, because giving in and paying the extorting company a tax break ransom means the government is providing “state aid.”

In other other words, where last week Apple’s CEO told the US government that the giant corporations are the boss of government, this week the EU told Apple that, actually, government is still the boss of the giant corporations.

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CEO Of Giant Corporation Tells US Government He’s The Boss Of Them

Are We the People the boss of giant multinational corporations, or are they the boss of us?

Imagine, if you will, going to the IRS and saying, “I don’t think the tax rate is fair so I’m not going to pay it.” Regular Americans can’t do that. But Apple just did.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook was interviewed by The Washington Post early this month. He was asked about the vast sums of profits that Apple has shifted into overseas tax havens thanks to a loophole in US tax law that lets them “defer” paying taxes on those profits as long as the money technically stays outside the country. Cook said (emphasis added, for emphasis):

And when we bring it back, we will pay 35 percent federal tax and then a weighted average across the states that we’re in, which is about 5 percent, so think of it as 40 percent. We’ve said at 40 percent, we’re not going to bring it back until there’s a fair rate. There’s no debate about it.

What would happen to any regular American if they did what Cook did, and said they they aren’t going to pay taxes because they don’t think the tax rate is “fair”? (Hint: Jail. And maybe 2 or 3 years added to the sentence for the contempt of saying, “There’s no debate about it.”)

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Help Stop The Payday Loan Debt Trap Scam

“Payday loans” are a Wall Street/financial industry scheme/scam that preys on people with low incomes. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is working on rules to reign this in and protected Americans. They want to hear from you. Please join the fight by clicking here to send a comment to the CFPB in support of a strong rule.


A Last Week Tonight with John Oliver segment on auto lending, which is similar to payday lending.

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President Tells Congress TPP Is Coming Their Way. What Will Clinton Do?

One day after presidential candidate Hillary Clinton strongly underscored her opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership in a speech in Detroit, President Obama officially started the clock on a lame-duck congressional vote on that agreement.

Politico has the story, headlined “Obama puts Congress on notice: TPP is coming“:

The White House put Congress on notice Friday morning that it will be sending lawmakers a bill to implement President Barack Obama’s landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement — a move intended to infuse new energy into efforts to ratify the flatlining trade pact.

The submission of the draft Statement of Administration Action establishes a 30-day minimum before the administration can present the legislation, but it is unlikely to do so amid the heated rhetoric of a presidential campaign that has depicted free trade deals as major job killers.

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