NH results thread: Sanders and Trump win

On the dot of 8 pm, CNN declared Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump the winners of the New Hampshire primary.  The results apparently are that clear.  It appears that a big battle for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place may be shaping up on the GOP side; we won’t know more on that until more results come in.  Meanwhile:

  • Sanders and Trump, as unlikely as it may have seemed a few months ago, are for real.  They proved in Iowa that they can contend; they proved tonight that they can win, and apparently win big.  And if, as appears will be the case, Trump pretty much lives up to his poll numbers, it also helps answer a question that has hung over the GOP race for months: do Trump’s sometimes astronomical poll numbers reflect real voters?  At least in NH, they did.
  • The GOP establishment, such as it is, is in meltdown.  The two men the establishment hates most – Ted Cruz and Donald Trump – went 1-2 in Iowa, and Trump appears to have won NH running away.  Marco Rubio, the supposed establishment choice after Jeb! flamed out, only managed third in Iowa and may well do worse in NH.  What’s their next move?  As of now, John Kasich is holding second place, but he seems an unlikely rallying point.
  • Unless Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina do a lot better than they’re doing right now, they seem to me unlikely to be able to continue.  Christie then might choose to back Kasich (if he holds 2nd), or Jeb!, or he might wait.  Christie didn’t garner much electoral support, but he is an effective surrogate, and he did a lot of damage to Rubio in the last debate.  He wouldn’t be a bad guy to have in your corner going forward.  Fiorina … not sure anyone really cares.

Your thoughts?

In Non-NH Primary News, How Boston & MA Need To Rethink Development

Hmmmmm ..... Read this and ponder as the results come in tonight. - promoted by charley-on-the-mta

News today that Boston Mayor Marty Walsh & Mass Governor Charlie Baker want to redevelop 5.5 acres along Kneeland Street, near South Station (Global Article) got me thinking about how our government needs to rethink how it monetizes development.

In much of our development, the City or State sells land to a developer (Hopefully near market value) and then the developer gets to build and then sell or lease their new property, creating a great revenue stream for the developer. Now, this process is less than ideal because there is much room for back room dealing (A common complaint about the BRA), or undervaluation of property for a well-connected developer (Such news blew up last fall about the Winthop Street Garage in Boston). Plus once the City or State sells of the land, the revenue producing nature of the land shifts to what can be gotten for property taxes or business/sales taxes generated by the site which are then limited by Prop 2 1/2 and others.

As I think about various properties owned by the City, State and other agencies, often hamstrung with tight budgets, is why do they sell these properties in the first place? Maybe the City/State needs to become a landlord.

When we talk about transportation outside the US, and why agencies such as the MTR in Hong Kong or the train companies in Tokyo are so successful and offer good service, it’s because their business is grounded in real estate, not transportation. The transportation is just part of the ecosystem they’ve built to better monetize their property. I’ve written at length about this on BMG before: http://bluemassgroup.com/2015/02/fixing-the-mbta-diving-into-some-numbers-talking-transportation-as-an-investment-transit-around-the-world-and-finding-cash-flow/

It’s exciting to see Boston, Cambridge and the surrounding cities thrive. And it’s great to see the reinvestment flowing back into our urban areas. But I think it’s short sited to watch the Cities & State simply sell off their most prized possessions without finding long term ways to build cash flow from them.

I’d suggest our esteemed leaders not rush to give away land to a developer. Yes, it may help repair a somewhat gritty area, bring in new desperately needed housing & more office space, but by simply selling the land off we’re missing a great opportunity to generate more steady cash flow outside of the normal channels of taxes.

If you want some quick reading on this topic, jump over to Wikipedia and read about Ground Rents: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_rent

Ever wander where the Queen Of England’s money comes from? It’s not taxes – they’re landlords, retaining ownership over huge chunks of prime London & UK real estate: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crown_Estate

We could follow a similar model, which could also be great as our non-profit and tax free colleges, universities & hospitals continue to gobble up land, depriving municipal coffers of much needed property tax revenues.

I've seen this movie before

An experienced voice. - promoted by Bob_Neer

I fully understand why many Mass Dems love what Bernie Sanders is saying and intend to vote for him on March 1.  Four decades ago, I felt the same way – only the candidate then was Sen. George McGovern.  After years of Vietnam under Johnson and Nixon, we wanted the change McGovern promised.  But things were and still are very different between the Hudson River and the Sierras. This is largely a center-right country. We got killed then — in fact, Massachusetts was the only state to go for McGovern (Remember the “Don’t blame me, I’m from Massachusetts” bumper stickers?) — and with Bernie as our candidate, well, I’ve seen this movie before.

We all want what Bernie wants, but it’s not going to be as easy as he seems to think — after all, we Dems control neither the House nor the Senate. Any positive change will be incremental, and any Democratic President will be abused by yet another right-wing Congress. For 25 years Hillary has shown she has the right stuff. She is tough enough to deal with whatever Fox News or Ted Cruz throws at her; while Bernie has yet to feel the back hand of the Republican noise machine. Further, as anyone who has been following current events during the last quarter-century knows, Hillary is better prepared than almost everyone who has entered the Oval Office. That’s why I’m supporting her, and I hope you will, too. As I said, I’ve seen this movie before, and I don’t want to see it again. The stakes are simply too high.


The case against The-case-against-Hillary

(Please know: I am still an undecided voter.)

In light of the waves of tendentious anti-Hillary oppo emitting from Sanders enthusiasts, this is a necessary read — one which takes on even our sainted senior Senator a bit.

You may know this old Bill Moyers video, where Warren pillories Hillary for voting for the bankrupcy bill.

The second part of the interview is where it gets quite damning. According to Warren, First Lady Clinton became Senator Clinton of New York, and then things changed. The same bankruptcy bill came through congress, and this time Hillary voted for it. When Warren is asked what changed, she replies (paraphrasing), “Hillary started receiving all this money from Wall Street, and they became her constituency.” Well, that would be a very dramatic transformation, indeed.

Now if you loathe Hillary Clinton, and are mostly interested in validating that worldview, then you can stop reading. You have what you need. You can go and post that video to Facebook and talk about how corrupt and horrible she is. But if you’d like to gain a broader understanding of things, continue on.

The tl;dr version is this: Hillary wanted a bill that:

  • prioritized child support in bankruptcy proceedings;
  • made debts incurred because of “violence, threats or intimidation” moot;
  • capped the homestead exemption, so that you can’t buy a mansion and then refuse to pay your debts;
  • added $750 protected spending for food, clothing, and medical expenses 90 days before a bankruptcy filing.

Congress stripped out the amendments; Dems (including Hillary) filibustered; amendments got put back in; the bill passed 83-15.

Now, maybe that’s not good enough for you. It wasn’t good enough for Warren at the time. But this fits a general pattern I’ve been seeing from Sanders oppo, where everything Hillary has ever done is put in the most negative possible light. Politics ain’t beanbag; and it turns out this is a real race. But she could still be our nominee, and she’s got a story. This particular story ends up sounding much more like ordinary legislative sausage-making and less like betrayal. Compromises like this are why Senators have a hard time getting elected President.

I am still undecided, and I find Sanders’s ideas attractive. But I also know — as he must know — that many of them have absolutely no chance of becoming the law of the land, in the time frame of his prospective presidency. This is the friction at the boundary between protest candidate and potential President: The aspirational goals, candidly recognized as such by core supporters, become unfulfillable promises … in other words, pandering, telling people what they want to hear. (Hey, at least it’s not banning Muslims or “carpet-bombing.”) Given the existence of Congress — Republican or Democratic! — the practical legislative difference between the candidates becomes a lot more narrow. The real story of what the next President can do is one of executive action, and legislating on things that have become, sometimes surprisingly, uncontroversial.

Here’s a paradox: A political revolution needs a leader, an icon, a personification of the message. Bernie is doing better at that than I could have possibly imagined — an immense credit to him and his supporters. But, as a structural matter in American politics, the energy would be much better spent at the Congressional level — or even the state legislative level, something the Koch brothers realize.

Update: WaPo’s Glenn Kessler has even more on this, which doesn’t clarify things much. Obviously it would be great to get Sen. Warren’s candid current take, but you know, now she’s a politician too.

Don't make me come back there

It’s primary season. And in a close race, we have strong opinions and heated passions (even within camps).

This is a reminder that we have rules regarding civility on our site. We’ve had them for a long time.

If you can’t make your point without insulting someone … well, you’re not doing it right. I have to say that my experience in meeting BMG people is that they’re delightful, almost to a person. If you’re insulting someone, they’re probably actually delightful, and you’d regret it if you just knew them.

For those who can’t follow the rules, we do suspend or ban people. It’s a pain, and we don’t like to do it.

Primary season is the Silly Season. Don’t make it the Mean Season.

This has been a public service announcement.

Pot, meet kettle! Sanders headlined fundraising trips with big donors

Exciting! - promoted by Bob_Neer

Bernie Sanders headlined Democratic fundraising trips for super wealthy donors on Martha’s Vineyard and in Palm Beach at least annually since 2011 according to a CNN story I saw online this morning (link here: http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/05/politics/sanders-democratic-fundraisers/index.html).  About a quarter of the big contributors on these trips were from the financial sector.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m actually glad to see Sanders helped raise money for the DSCC. One of my critiques of Sanders is that he’s poisoning the well by running *against* the rest of the Democratic Party.  A Democratic presidency needs a Democratic Congress to accomplish anything, and it’s hard for me to see how railing against the establishment – including almost every other Democratic elected official, interest group and the DNC – helps with the longer game. So, I’m happy that he participated in raising money to help Democratic candidates.

But, these trips to nice places with big donors sure do make his attacks on Hillary seem hypocritical.  Will the media call for Sanders to release the text of any remarks he made at these gatherings?

Hillary's Massachusetts Mistake

Interesting hypothesis. Perhaps all politics is, indeed, local. - promoted by david

When I was at the First Official and Wonderful BMG Stammtisch, I remarked that I really don’t like statewide or national races. Give me a nice race for selectman or school committee, life is good.

State rep, state senator? They are good folks. I know them. I like them. Anything beyond that? If I know them, if I have a past relationship, I’m happy to help. I got involved in the last governor’s race because I met Martha Coakley long before she was elected to anything, and I genuinely like her. I have known Ed Markey for years, having many chats with him during Arlington’s Patriots’ Day parade.

President? I haven’t met a candidate since Jimmy Carter (with the obvious exception of the MA candidates), and while I will happily support the Democrat in the general election, I have no reason to get overly invested in the primary. I will take sides, maybe even slap a bumper sticker on the car, but I really reserve my passion for the local races for candidates who I have met, know, and have personally asked for my support.

So, my email is stuffed with requests to support Hillary, but I have been driving around with a Bernie sticker. He sings to me, and my pragmatic side wants Sanders to do well so the hall isn’t filled with delegates ready to anoint Hillary. Not that I don’t like Hillary, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to give any candidate an uncontested path to the nomination.

I’m watching the NH debate and I’m about to fall out of my chair when Hillary said she couldn’t be an insider, because she was a woman trying to become the first woman president. She wasn’t an insider, but every other establishment Democrat (except for Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chafee) sat on the sidelines out of deference to Hillary. No problem, no big deal, no need to nail down support, she’s solid in the establishment lane.

When Bernie Sanders points to Hilary and describes her as part of the establishment, and she objects with ferocity, I find it to be beyond incredible, even beyond specious. She was so establishment, such a prohibitive favourite, she could take this whole thing for granted. Quick wins in Iowa and New Hampshire against token opposition, no problem, clinch the nomination, and it’s on to the White House.

Except… it’s not the way things turned out. One of the token opponents, that fringy socialist from Vermont, has gained considerable traction. Hillary needs a boatload of help to minimise a potential 30 point loss, and suddenly she needs a strong showing in the Massachusetts primary on March 1 to counteract the potential New Hampshire disaster.

Where was Hillary on:
July 13, 2013?
June 14, 2014?
September 19, 2015?

She wasn’t at the Massachusetts Democratic State Convention.

Hillary Makes Big Things Happen

One of MA's stalwart elected progressives weighs in. Thanks for posting here! - promoted by david

I am an unabashed, unapologetic, George McGovern liberal Democrat – and I enthusiastically support Hillary Clinton.

Don’t’ get me wrong, I like Bernie a lot and he supports many issues that I care deeply about, but Hillary is passionate about those issues, too.

She’s got the experience, she’s been tested, and arguably, she’s more electable going up against the Republican nominee in November.

However, that’s not my primary reason for supporting her. Indeed, I’m not averse to supporting longshot candidates; I managed George McGovern’s presidential campaign in Massachusetts when he made a brief run in 1984.

I’m for Hillary because she has a history of making big things happen.

One of the issues closest to my heart is ending hunger, both here at home and around the world.

A few days before she was sworn in as Secretary of State, I met with Hillary privately at the State Department for what turned out to be a lengthy session. We talked for a bit about America’s outdated Cold War policy toward Cuba and agreed a change was long overdue, but most of the discussion was focused on hunger. What impressed me most was how she sees the big picture and understands the details needed to make change happen. She sees the forest and the trees.

Senior Massachusetts Republicans weigh in

It's fair to point out that Baker had a significant pay-to-play problem a while back, and Christie appointees just decided that Baker did nothing wrong. - promoted by david

Earlier this week, former Senator Scott Brown endorsed Donald Trump at a rally in Milford, citing his independence with which he liked to identify himself, Trump’s first in NH since the Iowa caucuses.  Brown had previously hosted several candidates at separate fora.

Meanwhile His Excellency Charlie Baker has endorsed Chris Christie, which may well stem from getting assistance from the Republican Governors Association which Christie chaired.

Here's the Reason for the "Progressive" Talk

An interesting take. This may be part of the answer, but there are also substantive differences in approach worthy of consideration within the context of two broadly progressive Democrats. - promoted by Bob_Neer

Ever wondered why all of a sudden the Sanders campaign has started their attack on Clinton on being progressive? Sanders while saying he’s not going negative, and I agree that if you make the distinction of personal attacks, but he isn’t exactly talking about himself either. The same could be said of Clinton in the primary, she has attacked positions but I haven’t recalled any personal attacks.

So here’s the reason, this week in NH based on the UMass Lowell/7News NH Tracking Poll Clinton has gain 16 points. Sanders with still a significant lead with 15%.

2/1 – Sanders 61% Clinton 30%

2/5 – Sanders 55% Clinton 40%

Losing 16% in 5 days is a free fall, I still think Sanders is going to win NH, but I have no doubt that Clinton will use the Sanders free fall this week against him in Nevada and South Carolina where Clinton is already in a strong position. So for those who are arguing over labels, save yourself time and energy, it doesn’t matter. Sanders attack is just good old fashioned politics.

America Cannot Afford an Endless War in Afghanistan

  - promoted by david

By Jim McGovern and John Isaacs

President Obama never wanted an endless war in Afghanistan, but that is exactly what America is currently facing.

Just last week, the Washington Post reported that “Top U.S. military commanders…are now quietly talking about an American commitment that could keep thousands of troops in the country for decades.”

President Obama previously promised to have American troops out of Afghanistan by the time he left office, but last October he announced that the U.S. will keep close to 10,000 troops in Afghanistan through most of 2016 and retain 5,500 soldiers there by the time he leaves office. Now, keeping substantial numbers of U.S. troops in Afghanistan indefinitely is on the table.

After decades of war, the United States learned the hard way that we could exit Vietnam and be stronger for it. A perpetual war in Indochina ended when we were chased out, with helicopters rescuing Americans from rooftops.

Today in Afghanistan, we are at a crossroads similar to the one we faced in Vietnam. We must remember the lessons we learned and stop Afghanistan from becoming another endless war.

Click here to read the full post on Huffington Post.

Jim McGovern is a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts and John Isaacs is the Executive Director of Council for a Livable World.

MARCH BMG Stammtisch

Wednesday's event was a great success! Thanks again to Tom for the idea. Looking forward to seeing you March 2. - promoted by david

The Saloon

After the rousing success of the first monthly BMG Stammtisch (eleven attendees, all conversations off the record. :) ), the second will take place on Wednesday, 2-March-2016, at The Saloon in Davis Square, a quick walk from the Davis Square Red Line stop, starting at 7:00p. There is parking in town lots nearby. All are invited and all are welcome.

The address is 255 Elm Street, Somerville (617-628-4444). When you arrive, tell the host/hostess that you’re with the Blue Mass Group.

NOTE: The Saloon is found down a flight of stairs from the street. It is marked at street level ONLY by the discretely labeled white globe above (on Elm Street), hearkening back to its design theme as a speakeasy during prohibition. The establishment shares ownership with the better-marked “Foundry” at street level, and in fact is in the basement of the Foundry.

This is very much a low-stress low-commitment kind of thing — come if it works for you, no you don’t have sign up, you don’t have tell me ahead of time, no agenda, no program. Picture this as something of a meat-space real-life counterpart to our online community that has meant so much to me for the last ten years or so. We easily find things to talk about.

I hope you’ll come.