This article titled “Thousands turn out for Bernie Sanders New York rally ahead of primary – politics live” was written by Scott Bixby in Washington Square Park (now) and Tom McCarthy (earlier) in New York, for theguardian.com on Thursday 14th April 2016 01.27 UTC
“This is a tough race for us,” Sanders acknowledged in his closing remarks in Washington Square Park, “but you know what I think? When I look out at the thousands of people who are here tonight, the thousands of people we saw in Buffalo and Syracuse and Rochester, I think we’ve got a surprise for the establishment!”
“I think that if we have a large voter turnout on Tuesday, we’re gonna win this thing! Thank you all very much!”
“This is a pivotal moment in American history,” Sanders tells the crowd.
Voters “are asking themselves, ‘why should we accept more income and wealth inequality to be worse here in America than any time since 1928? Why should we accept a proliferation of millionaires and have the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country in the world?’”
“These are the questions that millions of Americans are now asking themselves, and what they are concluding is that establishment politics and establishment economics are not gonna address those crises.”
Meanwhile, at a campaign rally in Pittsburgh, a police officer shoved a reporter for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review while she was filming a protest against candidate Donald Trump:
The latest crowd size report:
Bernie Sanders vows to use executive powers to grant legal status to immigrants
In the event that Congress does not move forward on comprehensive immigration reform and a path to citizenship for the estimated 11m undocumented immigrants currently living in the US, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has vowed to use the executive powers endowed to the president to do so.
“This campaign is listening to our brothers and sisters in the Latino community,” Sanders said at a rally in Manhattan’s Washington Square Park. “There are 11m undocumented people in this country. Many of them are being exploited, because when you have no legal rights, your employer can do anything he wants to. Many of them are living in fear, and many of them are living in the shadows.”
“I believe that this country must move toward comprehensive immigration reform and a path toward citizenship,” Sanders continued. “And if Congress does not do its job, I will use the executive powers that the president has and I will do everything I can.”
Bernie Sanders, on the gender pay gap:
Women in America want the whole damned dollar, and they’re right!
“This campaign is gaining ground every day because we are doing something unusual in American politics: We are telling the truth,” Bernie Sanders says.
“We are telling the truth, and that is that we have a corrupt campaign finance system which is undermining American democracy,” Sanders continues. “Democracy to me is one person, one vote, not billionaires buying elections. Democracy is not the Koch brothers and a few of their billionaire friends spending $900m in this campaign cycle. That is not democracy, that is oligarchy – we do not accept that!”
“We do not accept Republican governors suppressing the vote and making it harder for poor people of color to vote,” he continues. In an American lead by Bernie Sanders, he says, “If you’re 18 of age or older and are a citizen, you have the right to vote in this country!”
Meanwhile, a few miles uptown, the Guardian’s Megan Carpentier reports on a Hillary Clinton rally:
Hillary Clinton took the stage in the Bronx with borough president Ruben Diaz, Jr., more than an hour behind schedule, as the last people of a capacity crowd pushed into the room and raised their cell phones high to capture the moment. And while the crowds 18 miles [29km] south in Manhattan might have been larger (and reportedly filled with contented marijuana smokers), the predominately African-American and Latino crowd extended to Clinton a very warm welcome after some had to wait in line for an hour or more as temperatures dropped outside.
“I’ve been here before, my husband’s been here before, and we’ll keep the Bronx in our hearts and in our minds,” she said to cheers and applause, in what might have been a dig at her Democratic rival, whose popular Bronx rally less than two weeks ago didn’t quite make it all the way north to Coop City.
The reserved some of their loudest cheers, though, for Clinton’s promise that they’ll see her “taking on the gun lobby” and protecting women’s access to reproductive health services – moreso than for affordable housing, better transportation to get to work and “clean and renewable energy”.
But the crowd went wild with applause, cutting her off, when she repeated her oft-used stump speech line “I don’t think that President Obama gets the credit he deserves” for his efforts on the economy.
“I’ve learned a lot, hanging out with the presidents I know,” she followed up to some knowing laughs from the crowd.
And then, after a few digs at Trump’s anti-immigrant sentiments (followed by the more positive “This is a borough of immigrants, in a city of immigrants, in a state of immigrants, in a country of immigrants”, which earned plenty of cheers), a reference to giving Puerto Rico the tools it needs to deal with the ongoing financial crisis (many Puerto Ricans have settled in the Bronx, especially of late) and an applause-inspiring references to her recently becoming a grandmother, Clinton encouraged the crowd to vote, but not necessarily just for her: “Vote for yourselves, vote for your families, vote for your children, your grandchildren, vote for the future, not the past”.
And then, hardly 20 minutes after she arrived, she left. (And, as she did so, all those miles south, Bernie Sanders prepared to take his own stage.)
Outside the rally, a group of women passed a friend waiting at the bus stop. “It was so worth it, waiting in that line!” said one of the group of women to the one at the bus stop.
“Definitely,” she said.
“Let me take a moment to tell you some of the differences which exist – some profound differences which exist between secretary Clinton and myself,” Bernie Sanders says, going into what he positions as a fundamental difference between himself and the former secretary of state: the sources of their campaign financing.
“You can tell a lot about a candidate and the campaigns they run by how they raise the money they need to run those campaigns,” Sanders says. “When we began this campaign, we had to make a choice: would we do what every other campaign is doing and establish a super-PAC?”
The audience boos loudly.
“We agreed with you,” Sanders deadpans.
“We do not represent the billionaire class; we do not represent Corporate America; we do not represent Wall Street; we do not want their money,” he continues. “And then something absolutely amazing happened – something that in a million years, I never would have dreamed would have been possible.”
“Amazingly, in the past 11 months, we have received almost seven million individual campaign contributions,” Sanders says. “That is more campaign contributions than any candidate in the history of the country, at this point in the campaign. What that outpouring of support tells us…” he is interrupted by a “Bernie!” chant.
“Does anybody know what our average campaign contribution is?” The audience screams in unison: “$27!”
“You got it!” Sanders laughs.
“Why this is revolutionary is that it shows we can run a winning campaign without being dependent on the big-money interests,” Sanders continues. “Now, secretary Clinton has chosen to raise her funds in a very different way. She has a number of super-PACS, and in the last filing period, the largest super-PAC reported raising $35m from special interests, including $15m from Wall Street alone.”
Campaigns are forbidden by federal law from coordinating with super-PACs, and the allocation of that money is not under Clinton’s discretion.
Only hours after he joined picketing communications workers who walked off the job in protest of what they deemed unfair negotiation tactics by telecom giant Verizon Wireless, Bernie Sanders says that his campaign is uniquely suited to help boost the rights of union workers.
“What this campaign understands is real change is when a hundred years ago, workers who were exploited, who worked seven days a week, 12 hours a day, stood together and said, ‘We will be treated with dignity and respect, we’re gonna form a trade union!’” Sanders says. “And tonight I wanna take my hat off to the CWA – thank you guys! They are standing up to a greedy corporation that wants to cut their health care benefits, send decent-paying jobs abroad and then provide $20m a year to their CEO!”
The audience boos loudly at the $20m figure.
But, Sanders says, “Verizon is just a poster child for what so many of our corporations are doing today, and this campaign is sending a message to Corporate America: You cannot have it all!”
Bernie Sanders begins his rally by defining his campaign as one of political revolution with a line he frequently uses at his rallies: “It is not just about electing a president, it is about creating a political revolution! It is about creating a government which works for all of us, not just wealthy campaign contributors!
“It is a campaign about not ignoring the veterans who sleep out on the street, the children, the elderly, or the poor; it is about creating a government that creates a decent standard of living for every man, woman and child,” Sanders says. “What this campaign is profoundly about is understanding that real change never occurs from the top on down – it is always from the bottom on up!”
“What this campaign is about is the understanding that when we stand together – black and white and Latino and Asian-American and Native American – when we do not allow the Donald Trumps of the world to divide us up, there is nothing we cannot accomplish!”
After thanking the many introductory speakers who welcomed him to the stage, Bernie Sanders could barely make it to the first few words of his speech before a “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!” chant interrupts him.
“I don’t think that there is any doubt but that our campaign today has the momentum!” Sanders says. “We have won seven out off the last eight caucuses and primaries, and when I look at an unbelievable crowd like this, I believe we’re gonna win here in New York next Tuesday!”
Bernie Sanders takes the stage in Washington Square Park
Director Spike Lee has joined the firmament of stars welcoming Bernie Sanders to Greenwich Village, after launching a widely lauded campaign commercial for the Vermont senator last week.
“We gotta show up and vote – we gotta represent!” Lee says. “Status quo gotta go! The same-old, same-old, enough is enough!”
“Are you tired of being jerked around? Are you tired of being lead astray? Run amuck? Highjinks? Monkeyshine? Hornswaggle? Skulldugerry?”
Meanwhile, in the Bronx…
Actress Rosario Dawson, one of Bernie Sanders’ most famous supporters has taken the stage, asking the audience to “feel the Bern.”
“We know that we want a candidate to be our president because he’s reaching for the stars – he’s lining up and saying, ‘let’s hit this out of the park.’ Not going, ‘lemme just bunt it.’”
Chris Sheldon, president of the Communications Workers of America, addresses the crowd as the thousands crowded in Washington Square Park await Bernie Sanders’ arrival.
“In front of you here are a few hundred, a few thousand of my members who went on strike today – 40,000 of them,” Sheldon says. “They went on strike today because the poster child for corporate greed wants everything that they’ve earned for the past 50 years, and we’re not gonna give it to ’em!”
“There’s a lot of candidates running for office, brothers and sisters, who actually cause strikes there’s only one – only one! – who marches our picket lines, and that’s senator Bernie Sanders!”
To be fair, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton joined striking CWA workers in midtown earlier today.
Bernie Sanders campaign surrogate Nina Turner, a former state senator from Ohio, mounts the stage and declares that “enough is enough is enough!”
“The cause is right and the time is now!” Turner says.
“Now New York it’s good when the family gets together, but I’m gonna tell you something, we’ve gotta get out there and make sure that people get together and vote to upset the political establishment,” Turner continues. “If we can abolish slavery and women can get the right to vote, we can get universal healthcare in this country!”
Campaigning for wife Hillary, Bill Clinton faced a sea of grey heads at a retirement village in Silver Spring, Maryland, and appeared to relish addressing pre-millennials who remember his days in the White House.
“When I was president…” was a frequent refrain in a speech that also raised a laugh with the wry observation: “Having lost it, I can tell you: in economic terms, youth does matter.”
Clinton’s address came as the 2016 campaign casts a fresh and not always flattering light on his own presidency. Democratic Congressman Bobby Rush said on Wednesday he was “ashamed” of his vote in favour of the now hotly debated 1994 crime bill because of its devastating effect on communities and families.
Meanwhile an article in the Washington Post commented: “Clinton is caught in a time warp, having to grapple with how much the era in which he served, the events that occurred then and the actions he took as president have been reinterpreted and, by many in his own party, rejected.”
More than a third of the Democratic electorate in Maryland is African American. Early voting begins on Thursday, ahead of the primary on26 April. Opinion polls show Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump comfortably ahead of their rivals.
“It’s kind of a crazy election, isn’t it?” Bill Clinton asked at Leisure World, an 8,500-person retirement community. “The simple explanation for the intense passion in both primaries is rooted in the fact that 80% of the American people, after inflation, still haven’t gotten a raise since the crash, and about half the American people are still living on what they were living on the day I left office 15 years ago.”
He then quoted a line from W B Yeats’s poem Easter 1916 – “Too long a sacrifice can make a stone of the heart,” – and noted the disparity between positive headline figures and the stagnation felt by millions in their pockets.
Clinton nodded to his past achievements in healthcare and small business creation, some of which was subsequently undone by George W Bush. He also praised Hillary’s dedication in going undercover to examine racial discrimination in 1970s Alabama and persuading him to follow Israel’s example in introducing pre-school education when he was governor of Arkansas.
“I met her 45 years ago last month,” he concluded. “She is the best change maker I’ve ever known and she will do what is necessary as president so we can all rise together.”
Tim Robbins’ anti-media lines aren’t all that different from what one hears when attending a Donald Trump rally:
Actor Tim Robbins, who grew up in Greenwich Village, has taken the stage here in Washington Square Park.
“I protested against the Vietnam War in this park, when I was a youngin’, and I’m so inspired to see all of you here,” Robbins says. “This is what democracy looks like!”
He urges the crowd not to fight supporters of Hillary Clinton, but to persuade them. “These are not bad people – they fear the Republicans’ radical divisiveness just as much as we do,” Robbins says. “We have all been fed a steady stream of prop that furthers the establishment’s narrative that Hillary is the presumptive nominee. This narrative is strong and persuasive. It has been promulgated this month … by oh-so-many in the mainstream media,” he continues, as the audience boos.
“We are done with compromising our ideals; we are done with triangulation and fear-based politics,” Robbins says, encouraging supporters of Bernie Sanders to “not surrender our ideals to political pragmatism.”
“Change will not happen by choosing a candidate entrenched entirely in the dysfunction of the past!”
Bernie Sanders isn’t the only presidential candidate willing to walk a picket line – former secretary of state Hillary Clinton met with picketing Verizon workers today in midtown Manhattan, embracing with New York public advocate Letitia James on the sidewalk in front of a Verizon store to express her support.
“I believe in collective bargaining in good faith,” Clinton told local news station NY1. “I believe in unions being the voice for working people. I believe that the American labor movement helped to create the American middle class and I think the workers … need more support to get the kind of raises and benefits that they are due.”
Clinton also had a message for the corporate leaders of Verizon, the largest wireless telecommunications provider in the US. “You need to engage in real negotiation and this has been going on for months,” Clinton said. “People need to come to the table and reach an agreement. And the workers here, CWA workers, I know from having represented them back in my Senate years, are skilled workers, experienced workers and they deserve to have a fair contract.”
Meanwhile, members of the American corporate elite are not feeling the Bern. Verizon chief executive Lowell McAdam has fired off an aggressive post on LinkedIn, lambasting what he calls Bernie Sanders’ “contemptible” views on corporate tax rates.
“The senator’s uninformed views are, in a word, contemptible,” McAdam writes, before challenging Sanders “to show me a company that’s done more to invest in America than Verizon.”
“I understand that rhetoric gets heated in a presidential campaign,” McAdam continues. “I also get that big companies are an easy target for candidates looking for convenient villains for the economic distress felt by many of our citizens. But when rhetoric becomes disconnected from reality, we’ve crossed a dangerous line. We deserve better from people aspiring to be president. At the very least, we should demand that candidates base their arguments on the facts … even when they don’t fit their campaign narratives.”
The Democratic presidential candidate walked a picket line with Verizon protesters in New York earlier today, telling the roaring crowd that “you have chosen to stand up for dignity.” Nearly 40,000 Verizon workers walked off the job today in one of the largest US strikes in recent years after contract talks with the company’s union hit an impasse.
Next up on the rock concert playlist: Unbelievers, another Vampire Weekend hit (one of our favorites, if we may tip our cards). Sample lyrics:
“I’m not excited, but should I be? / Is this the fate that half of the world has planned for me? / I know I love you, and you love the sea / But what holy water contains a little drop, little drop for me…”
The stage has been mounted by Vampire Weekend and Dirty Projectors, two popular rock groups who have come out in support of Bernie Sanders. Vampire Weekend is composed of alumni of nearby Columbia University, whose students are probably highly annoyed that Sanders is making an appearance downtown instead of on their lush neo-classical Morningside Heights campus.
“If there’s one place to put aside the bourgeois rivalries” of intercollegiate jockeying, one of the bandmates told the crowd, it’s here in Greenwich Village.
Vampire Weekend breaks out into an a cappella rendition of Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa, the band’s fourth-ever single from its eponymous album. Give a listen to the studio version here:
Paul Song, an oncologist and healthcare activist who supporters Bernie Sanders, just told the rally’s attendees that the health care system is broken – and any allegations to the contrary are “bullshit.”
“Please do not believe the bullshit that our health care system is okay!” Song said, to loud cheers at what may be the first use of scatological swearing on the Democratic campaign trail. “The status quo sucks, and people are dying because of it.”
Bernie Sanders’s star power may have brought the biggest group of people to Washington Square Park since then-senator Barack Obama held what the New York Times called “one of the largest campaign events of the year” in 2007, but that doesn’t mean he’s the only megawatt personality here in Greenwich Village tonight.
Among the 24,000 people who have RSVPd for the rally in Washington Square Park include a huge roster of Hollywood celebrities, performance artists and other fixtures in the pop-culture firmament, including director Spike Lee, actor Tim Robbins, Daredevil star Rosario Dawson, REM frontman Michael Stipe and Divergent actress Shailene Woodley.
Well, that took longer than expected.
Security at Vermont senator Bernie Sanders’ rally in Greenwich Village’s Washington Square Park is at an all-time high, with lines of thousands of supporters stretching out for blocks in every direction as Sanders fans feel the burn (Bern!) of strict Secret Service oversight. Any New Yorker who has survived the Macy’s Day Parade or Times Square during the holiday shopping season would tell you that the chaos here is relatively controlled, but there are still some complications – particularly in the press line.
The Sanders campaign is fairly libertine with its press credentialing – unlike certain other candidates – but as today’s rally careens off schedule, the lack of a hard press pass means that I’ve been relegated to covering the rally via a livestream obtained over the WiFi of a nearby burger restaurant.
Fortunately, the Guardian’s Lauren Gambino had more success gaining entry to the press area than myself – and we’ll be bringing you every bit of action in tandem.
I’d estimate about 8,000 people here, maybe more. The lines go for blocks in every direction.
A heavy police presence, Christian evangelists and oppressively long lines radiating out in every direction from Manhattan’s Washington Square Park have done little to dampen the jubilant mood of Bernie Sanders supporters here, who have congregated in Greenwich Village to witness the Democratic presidential candidate give what may prove to be the most widely attended rally of the campaign.
With high-profile music acts like Vampire Weekend celebrities like Rosario Dawson and numerous fans in home-fashioned Bernie Sanders costumes, there is a carnival-esque feeling in the air, right down to barkers selling Sanders campaign swag and a very young schoolboy asking attendees if they feel the Bern over a megaphone held by his father.
Others seem to be facing a long wait to get in too …
Good evening. Scott Bixby and Lauren Gambino are on their way into the Bernie Sanders rally in Washington Square Park as we speak … It’s slow going getting through security, so please bear with us. The event is due to start at 7pm ET.
The New York Observer’s endorsement of billionaire Republican frontrunner Donald Trump – whose son-in-law owns the newspaper – has sparked at least one departure from the paper.
Ross Barkan, a national political reporter at the Observer, announced via Twitter that he is leaving the paper:
Barkan told CNNMoney that the Trump endorsement, as well as other ethically dubious relationships with the campaign, prompted his departure.
“I knew going into this there would be complications with covering Donald Trump and working for the New York Observer,” Barkan said. “I did not imagine that the events would transpire the way they did.”
The fact that an Observer editor assisted the Trump campaign in its preparation of a speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee was a breaking point, Barkan said.
“The AIPAC moment was very concerning for me,” he said. “I did not imagine that my editor-in-chief would be viewing a Trump speech before it went public.”
Ted Cruz takes on mayor Bill de Blasio in a new radio ad just released by the campaign. “He treats cops like criminals and criminals like freedom fighters,” it says.
“No more criminal-coddling, soft-on-terror policies,” the ad says. “Send De Blasio a message. Vote Ted Cruz for president.”
Update: Cruz’s ad does not stand up to fact-checking:
Fox News captain Roger Ailes reportedly brokered a meeting between Donald Trump and Fox host Megyn Kelly which happened today, very off the record.
Trump has been feuding with Kelly since she asked him a question at a debate about past disparaging comments he had made about women. He deemed the question unfair and has periodically criticized Kelly on Twitter and elsewhere.
The outcome of the meeting was unknown.
Hundreds turned out for a dance party in Bushwick, a Brooklyn neighborhood in New York City, to encourage people to vote for Bernie Sanders in the primary. Celebrities included Danny DeVito and Tim Robbins, and tongue-in-cheek merchandise included calendars and stickers supporting Sanders and marijuana.
See the full slide show here:
Here’s an in-depth podcast on the current delegate wars in both nominating races, including a look at how Clinton and Sanders split delegates evenly in Wyoming despite Sanders’ big win there, and at how Ted Cruz swept the Colorado state convention.
Most Republicans think candidate with most delegates should be nominee – poll
Most Republican voters disagree with the party’s method for selecting a presidential nominee, a new AP-GfK poll finds:
According to the new poll, nearly 6 in 10 Republican voters – 58%– think the candidate with the most delegates after all the state contests are finished should be the nominee, even if he doesn’t have a clear majority.
Just 40 percent think it would be acceptable for the delegates to pick a different candidate.
That’s true even though slightly fewer have a favorable opinion of Trump, who will likely go into the convention with more delegates than any other candidate. Just 53 percent of Republican voters have a favorable opinion of Trump, while 46 percent have an unfavorable opinion.
Video: Bernie Sanders rallies Verizon protesters
Paul Ryan’s firm No on the question of a presidential candidacy has left mainstream Republicans struggling to identify a way out of the predicament of the unacceptable presidential candidates.
“We’ve got so many problems—there are a myriad of problems,” senator John McCain of Arizona tells Bloomberg. “None of this is going to turn out well for the Republican Party.”
“I am at a loss. OK? I do not know what’s going to happen. I just don’t see that a lot of it’s going to turn out well. Because there are too many divisions within our party,” he said.
Clinton calls for elimination of lead as ‘public threat’
“Today I’m announcing a new plan to fight for environmental justice across America,” Clinton tells the National Action Network crowd. She describes an “ambitious national goal” “to eliminate lead as a major public threat within five years.”
“If we put our minds to it, we can get it done… we know how to do the work. All we need is the will,” she says.
Hillary Clinton is addressing the National Action Network, Al Sharpton’s social justice organization, in Manhattan. Watch here:
Though the tendency to laugh at Ted Cruz’s (admittedly laughable) legal efforts to deny Texans the ability to purchase “marital aids” – as they are often called in conservative circles – is an irresistible one, the case in which Cruz’s office compared the use of sex toys with “hiring a willing prostitute or engaging in consensual bigamy” and suggested that there is a state interest in “discouraging prurient interests in autonomous sex and the pursuit of sexual gratification unrelated to procreation” (ie, a government interest in limiting masturbation and sex for pleasure) is no laughing matter. So what’s next, to ban the sale of silicone sex dolls?
What you have – besides the basis for a number of deeply satisfying giggle fits on the basis of his asserted hypocrisy – is a presidential candidate running on the platform of being a “constitutional conservative” interested in limited government who, not so long ago, argued before the courts that it was in the government’s interest to limit its citizens’ preferred methods of consensual sexual gratification, and who further argued that the sale of sex toys was akin to pimping.
This was not, let it be said, a simple semantic argument: at issue in the case were women like Joanne Webb, a 43-year-old mother of three children who was prosecuted by the state of Texas because, rather than marketing a vibrator as a funny novelty item no one would ever use, explained to two undercover cops how to use it to enhance their (fake) sex life as a married couple.
But beyond the Cruz connection, it’s interesting to note that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the randy masses in 2008 by asserting:
An individual who wants to legally use a safe sexual device during private intimate moments alone or with another is unable to legally purchase a device in Texas, which heavily burdens a constitutional right.
That same court ruled in 2015 that Texas’s anti-abortion TRAP laws, designed to reduce the number of clinics at which Texas women can obtain legal abortion services, did not impose enough of an undue burden on enough women to justify throwing out the Texas law. The US supreme court heard arguments in that case in March and is expected to rule later this year.
Trump supporters send ‘thousands’ of death threats
Here’s a report that does not bode well for a tranquil July convention.
After Ted Cruz captured every available delegate at Colorado’s state Republican convention last weekend, and Donald Trump decried the process as “rigged”, state Republican chairman Steve House is receiving death threats from Trump supporters – a lot of them, ABC News reports:
Craig Dunn, a delegate and Republican chairman of Indiana’s 4th Congressional District, was among the Trump critics who received the threatening messages.
“You sorry (expletive)!” one email said. “I hope the worst for you and yours!”
Sanders joins Verizon picket line
Bernie Sanders has joined picketers outside Verizon offices in Manhattan.
About 39,000 Verizon landline and cable workers on the east coast walked off the job Wednesday morning after little progress in negotiations since their contract expired nearly eight months ago, AP reports:
The workers, members of two unions – the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers – represent installers, customer service employees, repairmen and other service workers in Connecticut, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC, for Verizon’s wireline business, which provides fixed-line phone services and FiOS internet service.
Hillary Clinton has released a statement saying that she was “disappointed” that negotiations broke down and calling Verizon “back to the bargaining table.” She takes the workers’ side, saying “Verizon wants to outsource more jobs.”
Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam has meanwhile written a LinkedIn post saying Sanders’ “uninformed views are, in a word, contemptible.” Here’s the start of that post:
His first accusation – that Verizon doesn’t pay its fair share of taxes – is just plain wrong. As our financial statements clearly show, we’ve paid more than $15.6 billion in taxes over the last two years – that’s a 35% tax rate in 2015, for anyone who’s counting. We’ve laid out the facts repeatedly and did so again yesterday (see “Sen. Sanders needs to get his facts straight” at Verizon.com/about/news). The senator has started to fudge his language – talking of taxes not paid in some unspecified “given year” – but that doesn’t make his contention any less false.
Read the full piece here.
Cruz defended criminalization of dildos
While solicitor general of Texas, Ted Cruz defended a Texas law prohibiting the sale of sex toys such as dildos, reports David Corn of Mother Jones. Cruz’s office filed a long brief reading in part, “There is no substantive-due-process right to stimulate one’s genitals for non-medical purposes unrelated to procreation or outside of an interpersonal relationship.”
Corn describes the brief:
The brief insisted that Texas in order to protect “public morals” had “police-power interests” in “discouraging prurient interests in sexual gratification, combating the commercial sale of sex, and protecting minors.” There was a “government” interest, it maintained, in “discouraging…autonomous sex.” The brief compared the use of sex toys with “hiring a willing prostitute or engaging in consensual bigamy,” and it equated advertising these products with the commercial promotion of prostitution. In perhaps the most noticeable line of the brief, Cruz’s office declared, “There is no substantive-due-process right to stimulate one’s genitals for non-medical purposes unrelated to procreation or outside of an interpersonal relationship.” That is, the pursuit of such happiness had no constitutional standing. And the brief argued there was no “right to promote dildos, vibrators, and other obscene devices.” The plaintiffs, it noted, were “free to engage in unfetterednoncommercial speech touting the uses of obscene devices” but not speech designed to generate the sale of these items.
Priebus snarks at Trump camp
Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, not known for standing up to Donald Trump or anyone, has daringly tweeted some snark in the direction of the Trump campaign, which has been complaining nonstop for a week that the Republican party was stealing the election by operating by delegates rules that only Ted Cruz seems to understand.
“Give us all a break,” tweets Priebus:
The fight between the Republican party and Trump appears only to be beginning. Trump may still get to 1,237 delegates, if he performs as well as he appears to be in New York and then cleans up in California on 7 June. But the second part of that conditional is a big “if” – strong odds currently have Cruz outperforming Trump in the Golden state.
Sanders snags transit union endorsement
The New York Daily News has endorsed Hillary Clinton, while New York’s transit workers have endorsed Bernie Sanders.
The Transport Workers Union Local 100 represents 42,000 workers in the New York region. “It is too late for the same old same old establishment politics,” Sanders said, in accepting the endorsement in an appearance at union headquarters in downtown Brooklyn.
Neither Democratic candidate is a seasoned New York straphanger. Bernie Sanders asserted in a Daily News interview earlier this month that the subway takes tokens, which it hasn’t since 2003. A week later Clinton was filmed struggling to swipe a Metrocard at a subway turnstile.
In endorsing Clinton, the Daily News said that she had realistic plans to achieve her goals while Sanders offered promises without specifics.
Clinton calls in to Hot97
Hilly, Hillary, secretary or senator – any name goes, Hillary Clinton told the hosts of a hip-hop radio show in a phone interview Wednesday morning.
Clinton called into the Ebro in the Morning show on New York’s Hot97 for a friendly 15-minute interview that touched on the controversial legacy of the 1994 crime bill, rival Bernie Sanders’ record on guns and Clinton’s commitment to helping African American communities in New York and beyond.
Sanders was interviewed on the show earlier this month. New York will hold Democratic and Republican primaries on 19 April.
“How do we refer to you? Mrs Clinton, first lady, secretary Clinton, senator?” asked an Ebro co-host.
“I’ll answer to any of those,” Clinton replied. “You can throw in Hillary, too. But I loved being your senator for eight years, that was so much fun.”
“So we could call you Hilly?”
“Yeah, you know I had some friends growing up who did.”
“i Hilly rock on any block!,” said a co-host, referring to the 2015 summer hit:
Clinton said Sanders had a “blind spot” on guns demonstrated by his votes against stripping gun manufacturers of liability protections in gun violence cases. Sanders has since introduced legislation to remove those protections.
“I see his refusal to acknowledge the 33,000 people a year who are killed by guns as a real blind spot,” Clinton said.
She partially defended the 1994 crime bill, blamed for steeply increasing the proportion of African Americans in prisons and jails on relatively low-level nonviolent drug offenses, as containing crucial gun control measures and protections for women.
But Clinton said the law “had bad effects of taking too many people out of families and away from communities,” and she repeated an apology for applying the epithet “superpredators” at the time to some criminals the crime bill targeted.
“It certainly makes me feel sad because I’ve spent my whole adult life… trying to protect young people,” she said. “I would never use that word again, it was used once.”
Clinton also defended Bill Clinton’s frustrated reaction last week to protesters in a Philadelphia crowd who repeatedly shouted him down and held signs attacking the crime bill. The former president raised his voice and wagged his fingers at the protesters.
“I understand the frustration,” Clinton said. “When he took office in 1993, the statistics were devastating,” with 11m Americans affected by violent crime. “It was a horrible situation.”
The show’s hosts challenged her to commit to helping improve public schools as president and taking other actions to support African American communities.
Clinton called “protecting kids” “the north star of my whole life.”
“My presidency will be about the struggling and the striving,” she said. “That’s who I am and that’s what I’ve done.”
Video – Dear America: this Donald Trump thing? It’s not all about you
Hello, and welcome to our live-wire coverage of the 2016 race for the White House. Bernie Sanders has scheduled a last-minute event to announce a big new endorsement – most likely Senator Jeff Merkley, Democrat from Oregon, who has endorsed Sanders this morning in a New York Times op-ed, becoming the first sitting senator to do so. [UPDATE: Sanders’ announcement in fact unveiled the endorsement of the New York transit union, not Merkley.]
Hillary Clinton “would be a strong and capable president”, Merkley writes in the op-ed, “but Bernie Sanders is boldly and fiercely addressing the biggest challenges facing our country”.
And as economic power has become more concentrated, so too has political power. Special interests, aided by their political and judicial allies, have exercised an ever-tighter grip on our political system, from the rise of unlimited, secret campaign spending to a voter suppression movement.
Oregon holds its primaries on 17 May.
Later today both Sanders and Clinton are scheduled to appear in Manhattan at the 25th anniversary convention of the National Action Network, the social justice organization headed by Rev Al Sharpton.
New York City mayor Bill de Blasio will be at the NAN event too, which could give him and Clinton time to further discuss the comedy skit they appeared in last Saturday in which De Blasio controversially referred to “CP time” – colored people time.
Clinton has blamed the episode on De Blasio. “Well, look, it was Mayor de Blasio’s skit,” told Cosmopolitan magazine. “He has addressed it, and I will really defer to him because it is something that he’s already talked about.”
De Blasio took full responsibility, then blamed a nameless author: “I take full responsibility … someone else wrote the script,” he said Wednesday morning.
And tonight Sanders will host a rally in Washington Square park in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, featuring Vampire Weekend, Spike Lee, Rosario Dawson, Tim Robbins and others. We’ll be liveblogging from the rally later.
Ohio governor John Kasich is in Maryland today, Donald Trump has a rally scheduled in Pittsburgh, and Ted Cruz is in Erie, Pennsylvania. Bill Clinton is campaigning in Maryland, and Hillary will be in the Bronx; we’ll have reporters with the two of them.
The NY Daily News reports it caught Trump’s new “convention manager”, Paul Manafort, following a Manhattan swingers’ club called DecadenceNYC on Twitter. Maybe he was just hoping to swing some delegates. Manafort no longer follows the account in question.
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