Bernie Sanders continues to cut into Hillary Clinton’s once-commanding lead among Iowa Democrats, closing to just 7 points of the party front-runner in the first-in-the-nation caucus state, a new poll has found.
A survey released late Saturday afternoon by the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Politics finds that Sanders, the fiery progressive senator from Vermont, trails Clinton 37% to 30%. The former secretary of state has lost one-third of her supporters since May.
Sanders’ support owes more to voters’ enthusiasm for his candidacy than opposition to Clinton, the poll found. A whopping 96% of his backers say they support him and his ideas, with just 2% saying their vote is motivated by a desire to stop a Clinton candidacy. As for the controversy surrounding Clinton’s use of email while leading the State Department, 61% of likely Democratic caucusgoers say the issue is not important to them.
Sanders has a deeper reservoir of support, the poll found. Thirty-nine percent of likely caucusgoers say their feelings about Sanders are very favorable, with just 8% having a negative view of him. That’s a sharp contrast to Clinton: 27% view her very favorably, but 19% view her negatively.
Saturday’s poll marks a remarkable eight-month climb for the self-proclaimed Democratic socialist from Vermont, who is garnering support in part from his anti-establishment rhetoric. Back in January, half of likely Democratic caucusgoers were unfamiliar with Sanders, and he was pulling in just 5% of support.
“What this new poll shows is that the more Iowans get to know Bernie, the better they like him and what he stands for. We’ve seen the same thing in New Hampshire and across the country,” Sanders campaign spokesman Michael Briggs said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden, who has not declared whether he’ll seek the Oval Office next year, captured 14% of the vote, easily distancing himself from former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (3%), former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb (2%) and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee (1%).
Speculation has heated up in recent weeks about whether Biden, 72, will join the race. He faces several obstacles in a potential run, including the need to raise enough campaign cash to compete with the Clinton machine and carving out enough support among key Democratic voting blocs. And he’s still grieving over the loss of his son, Beau Biden, who died of brain cancer three months ago; in a conference call with Democrats this week, Biden said he was still determining whether he had the “emotional fuel” to run.
But the vice president’s hesitation didn’t prevent his supporters from responding enthusiastically to Saturday’s poll.
“These results are the latest sign that voters respect and trust the Vice President and are looking for a candidate who speaks authentically and openly about the issues important to them,” according to a statement from “Draft Biden.” “They make clear the Vice President would have the support needed to mount a strong, competitive campaign.”
Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton in a new poll of “usual” New Hampshire Democratic primary voters. According to Public Policy polling, a Democratic firm, Sanders has 42 percent support to Clinton’s 35 percent support.
The Vermont senator also has great favorability ratings among New Hampshire Democrats, with 78 percent viewing him favorably and just 12 percent viewing him unfavorably. Compare that to just 63 percent who say they have a favorable view of Clinton and 25 percent who say they have an unfavorable view.
PPP notes that Democrats of different ideological groups appear somewhat evenly split between Sanders and Clinton, but the former secretary of state is hurting among Democrats under the age of 65. Clinton leads with seniors, 51 percent to Sanders’s 34 percent, but Sanders does much better with younger voters, 45 percent to Clinton’s 29 percent.
This isn’t the first poll to show Sanders leading in New Hampshire, and according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls, Clinton’s lead in the Granite State has shrunk to just one point.
In 2008, construction was completed on the 757-room Baltimore Hilton, a $305 million publicly-funded hotel spearheaded by Baltimore’s mayor at the time, Martin O’Malley. The hotel, in seven years of operation, has never turned a profit. The best year of operation saw a $2.9 million loss.
“It’s the biggest boondoggle ever. It’s hemorrhaging money every year and has less-than-stellar performance,” Democratic Maryland state Sen. James Brochin told The Daily Caller.
Originally intended to draw revenue from a supposed untapped convention market in Baltimore, the Hilton Hotel project slowly began losing money when conventions passed on Baltimore for other locations such as Austin, Texas and nearby Washington, D.C.
In July 2005, more than three years after the plan was finalized, it was still facing opposition in the city council. Of the 15 council members, only three said they believed the hotel would actually help the city.
“In my district, I can’t get funding to fix vacant houses,” Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke told The Baltimore Sun in 2005. “I’m worried about the financing and the kind of precedent this is setting.”
After O’Malley pushed the hotel vote to pass with the council, The Sun reported that this, the “costliest public project in Baltimore history” may see the fate of other cities’ failed publicly funded hotel ventures, such as St. Louis, Omaha, and Overland Park, Kan., “all cities that used public money to build hotels. Failing hotels.”
“The government shouldn’t be in the business of owning businesses. It was a catastrophic economical mistake by O’Malley, and the whole thing is ridiculous,” said Brochin.
O’Malley’s hotel, which he claimed in 2005 to be “risk-free,” is now entering its seventh year of public losses, the Sun reported earlier this year.
Even in times of great profit for the city, the hotel has weighed it down. In 2014, 2.4 million fans were drawn to Camden Yards when the Orioles took home the AL East pennant and, even though the hotel is situated directly adjacent to the stadium, it reported losses of $5.6 million.
Jan Freitag, a vice president with the Tennessee-based firm Smith Travel Research, told the Sun 2014 was a banner year for hotels across the country, including Baltimore, which saw a 7.9 percent growth in hotel revenue. Yet the Hilton’s losses persisted.
In a 2008 sports column in The Washington Post, Thomas Boswell used the Hilton Hotel’s burgeoning construction to illustrate the sadness of the Orioles as a whole. He described the sadness of their opening day loss as “begin[ning] their season as expected – in the utter misery of a complete rebuilding program,” referring to the ball club and the city of Baltimore.
Boswell continues: “The Hilton Convention Center Hotel next door, when finished, may merely be ugly. However, in its current state, with huge random splotches of yellow, white and blue, it’s like a cruel cubist joke. Forever, it will dominate the horizon and block views of the… adored Bromo Seltzer Tower… lording [its] eyesore [self] over previously perfect Camden Yards.”
A request for comment to the O’Malley campaign went unreturned.
The socialist party in Seattle that wants to raise the federal minimum wage to $20 per hour but advertised a job last week for an experienced web developer paying just $13 per hour is now defending itself.
The Huffington Post, which was sued by a bunch of unpaid bloggers after founder Arianna Huffington sold the website for $315 million, has the story.
The argument from the Freedom Socialist Party is that it cannot afford the minimum wage it seeks to impose on every commercial entity in America.
Doug Barnes, the Freedom Socialist Party’s national secretary, claimed that the collectivist political organization shouldn’t be subject to its own wage demands because it is a nonprofit that receives revenue from leftist contributors.
“We’re practicing what we’re preaching in terms of continuing to fight for the minimum wage,” Barnes told the HuffPo. “But we can’t pay a lot more than $13.”
Barnes also suggested that the Freedom Socialist Party would make more money off the backs of the low-wage workers he claims make many contributions if the federal government or state governments forced businesses to pay employees a minimum of $20 per hour.
“Our donor base would all be affected, and the low-wage workers who support us with $5 to $6 a month would be able to give more,” he told HuffPo. “That would affect our ability to pay higher wages as well.”
He noted that he personally supports a $22 per hour minimum wage.
According to his Facebook page, Barnes is a graduate of the Evergreen State College.
His Facebook “likes” include Occupy Seattle, Syrian Revolution Support Bases, El Centro de la Raza, Mumia Abu Jamal and Bay Area Radical Women.
Despite his spirited defense of the help wanted ad, Barnes added that the Freedom Socialist Party has since removed its ad from both Indeed.com and Craigslist.
“The right-wing attack is very hypocritical,” the socialist – who wants a $20 minimum wage but has sought a $13-per-hour web developer – lamented.
The Daily Caller predicted such an outcome, by the way, and saved a screenshot of the ad as it appeared at Indeed.com. You can see it below.
In 2012, the Freedom Socialist Party’s national platform championed “full employment” and an increase in the minimum wage “to $20 an hour” for all employees in all jobs.
The Freedom Socialist Party’s 2012 political platform also demanded a 70 percent tax rate for “the top 1 percent”; “free multi-lingual public education, including ethnic studies, through college and trade school”; free abortions; bank nationalization; and the cancellation of all free-trade treaties.
Despite last week’s offer of a part-time, 20-hour-per-week, $13-per-hour job, the party also called for a 30-hour work week for everyone “with no cut in pay” and “a guaranteed annual income.”
A part-time web developer making $13 per hour and working 20 hours per week would bring home about $13,600 annually, before taxes.
The Seattle headquarters of the Freedom Socialist Party appears to be located in an apartment building directly across the street from a Bank of America branch.
It has long been said that national trends start in California. Although I am not sure that is true or not, Obama and the Democrats behind ObamaCare should be really worried about some of the trends we are starting to see happen in California.
As we all know, California was one of the first states to actually implement their own ObamaCare exchange. They have even had the most ‘success’ in terms of having people sign up for the program (although it is still mainly older and sicker people joining). The problem is that we are also seeing as much as 70 percent of doctors in the state boycotting ObamaCare. They are simply declining to participate. This is according to the head of the largest medical association in the state.
He even said that these events are not surprising. California, it seems, offers one of the lowest government reimbursement rates in the country. In fact, they are a full 30 percent lower than that of federal medicare payments (which are also considered low by most doctors around the country). Apparently, Obama and the Democrats actually expect doctors to work for free. I wonder how members of Congress would like it if they were expected to work for free? Which is not to say that members of Congress actually do any real ‘work’ anyway.
So, once again we see that the mess ObamaCare is creating is not due to any Republican blockage or any kind of fear mongering. We are simply seeing reasonable and economic based behavioral reactions to the implementation of a very bad law that is now set on taking away a large part of the livelihoods of a group of workers.
This is just one of the problems we are seeing as a legitimate reaction to ObamaCare. A recent survey, for example, showed that a huge majority of physicians have a pessimistic outlook on the future of medicine. They feel that there own level of autonomy is being threatened in addition to their income. In fact, 62 percent have said it is likely that many of their colleagues (or themselves) will retire from medicine earlier than planned within the next one to three years. This feeling is quite uniform across age, gender, and specialty. Another 55 percent of doctors think that others will begin to scale back hours due to how medicine is changing. A full 75 percent feel that the best and brightest among current students will no longer be willing to consider a career in medicine.
Of course, it is certainly dawning on many physicians right about now that there is a ‘new normal’ coming to their market place. This will ultimately have significant impacts on how they practice medicine in the future. There will need to be new policies and practices designed to combat a physician shortage as well.
Not that this is really much of big deal—or even a surprise—to Obama and the Democrats. They do not even care if there is a physician shortage. It was just about a week ago when a liberal writer from the Salon told ‘whiny’ doctors to shut up about the lower pay under ObamaCare. Of course, the Democrats in Congress who are wholly responsible (along with our community organizer in chief) for this debacle have offered no serious solution for the upcoming doctor crisis or the lack of actually reimbursing doctors a reasonable amount (at least as much as medicare would be a start).
What do YOU think? Should the doctors be demonized by ObamaCare? Why does the system want to pay them less? Maybe ObamaCare is trying to push a number of doctors out of the profession?
Americans who are buying insurance plans over online exchanges, under what is known as Obamacare, will have limited access to some of the nation’s leading hospitals, including two world-renowned cancer centres.
Amid a drive by insurers to limit costs, the majority of insurance plans being sold on the new healthcare exchanges in New York, Texas, and California, for example, will not offer patients’ access to Memorial Sloan Kettering in Manhattan or MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, two top cancer centres, or Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, one of the top research and teaching hospitals in the country.
Experts say the move by insurers to limit consumers’ choices and steer them away from hospitals that are considered too expensive, or even “inefficient”, reflects the new competitive landscape in the insurance industry since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Barack Obama’s 2010 healthcare law.
It could become another source of political controversy for the Obama administration next year, when the plans take effect. Frustrated consumers could then begin to realise what is not always evident when buying a product as complicated as healthcare insurance: that their new plans do not cover many facilities or doctors “in network”. In other words, the facilities and doctors are not among the list of approved providers in a certain plan.
Under some US health insurance plans, consumers can elect to visit medical facilities that are “out of network”, but they would probably incur high out of pocket costs and may need referrals to prove that such care is medically necessary.
The development is worrying some hospital administrators who see the change as an unintended consequence of the ACA.
“We’re very concerned. [Insurers] know patients that are sick come to places like ours. What this is trying to do is redirect those patients elsewhere, but there is a reason why they come here. These patients need what it is that we are capable of providing,” says Thomas Priselac, president and chief executive officer of Cedars-Sinai Health System in California.
One of the biggest goals of “Obamacare” was to make subsidised healthcare plans that are being sold on the new exchanges as affordable as possible, while also mandating that certain benefits, like maternity care, were covered and that people with pre-existing medical conditions could not be denied access.
Amid these new regulatory restrictions, says Tim Jost, a health policy expert, insurance companies have had to come up with new ways to cut the cost of their products. In this new era, limiting the availability of certain facilities that are seen as too expensive – in part because they may attract the sickest patients or offer the most cutting edge medical care – is seen as the best way to control costs.
“It’s like buying a Mercedes-Benz or a Chevy. You have to decide whether you want to pay for the highest product out there, which is probably pretty good quality, or the less expensive product,” Mr Jost says. “Everyone is in favour of competition until they see what it looks like. Then they think, maybe it’s better for someone else just to pay for the whole thing.”
Kathleen Harrington, who heads government relations for the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, says that access to the famous clinic was initially limited in the Rochester, Minnesota area until officials at the healthcare exchange board in the state encouraged insurers to expand their network options.
While the Mayo Clinic will now be available on seven different plans offered by two different insurance carriers in Rochester, Ms Harrington says the long-term concern for the hospital is that intense focus on bringing down costs will hurt “centres of excellence” like Mayo that attract the most complicated medical cases in the country.
“I don’t think there is any doubt that a significant portion of the Mayo base are very sick patients. You don’t come here for primary care. We do treat the sickest of the sick. We do experimental treatment. This is where you come for innovative treatments for life threatening illnesses,” she says.
“If healthcare, the full spectrum from primary to top speciality care, becomes commoditised, it becomes a concern for the American healthcare system,” she adds.
When the Obama administration was asked whether the new healthcare exchanges were offering adequate network options to new consumers, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) emphasised that the new exchanges would “vastly increase” the access to medical providers to millions of uninsured Americans.
“Decisions about which private health insurance plans cover which doctors is a decision currently made by insurers and providers and will continue that way,” said an HHS spokeswoman.
The top lobby group for US health insurance plans, America’s Health Insurance Plans, said the new healthcare law brought “new costs” to the industry and that selecting hospitals and physicians that meet “quality standards” was one way of making health plans more affordable for consumers.
But Mr Priselac at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles says the creation of ever more narrow provider networks by insurers is being driven by price alone, and not by quality. He says the hospitals that are being excluded are leaders in innovation, which saves billions of dollars for the healthcare system in the long run.
“There is confusion between price and efficiency,” he says. “The major teaching and research hospitals are more expensive not because they are inefficient but because of what they do.”
Barack Obama was, in fact, a member of the socialist New Party in the 1990s and sought its endorsement for the Illinois senate – contrary to the misrepresentations of Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008, and in spite of the efforts of Politico’s Ben Smith to quash the story. Stanley Kurtz, author of Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism (2010), has released new “smoking gun” evidence at National Review Online. It is evidence that the mainstream media can no longer ignore – and Obama can no longer deny.
When the story of Obama’s association with the New Party first broke in 2008, Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt claimed that Obama had never been a member. (LaBolt likewise told the New York Times that Obama had “not spoken by phone or exchanged e-mail messages since Mr. Obama began serving in the United States Senate in January 2005” – a statement that carefully concealed the truth that Obama had spent time in Ayers’ home after he began serving in the Senate.) The Obama campaign took up the issue at its “Fight the Smears” website, smearing Kurtz and willfully distorting the truth about Barack Obama’s radical past:
Right-wing hatchet man and conspiracy theorist, Stanley Kurtz is pushing a new crackpot smear against Barack falsely claiming he was a member of something called the New Party.
But the truth is Barack has been a member of only one political party, the Democratic Party. In all six primary campaigns of his career, Barack has has run as a Democrat. The New Party did support Barack once in 1996, but he was the only candidate on the ballot in his race and never solicited the endorsement.
Ben Smith of Politico wrote a classic “nothing to see here” story, taking LaBolt and New Party founder Joel Rogers at their word. The rest of the mainstream media, eagerly covering up for – and campaigning for – Obama, took Smith’s report as the definitive “debunking” of the New Party “smear” and failed to look further. The mocking tone of Smith’s article (“The dread New Party”) put the topic beyond the pale of polite debate.
Now, through careful archival research, Kurtz has proven his case – and proven once again that there are many people on the left who have been willing to misrepresent and obscure facts about Barack Obama, as well as many in the mainstream media who have acted as Obama’s accomplices rather than searching for the truth.
Minutes of the meeting on January 11, 1996, of the New Party’s Chicago chapter read as follows:
Barack Obama, candidate for State Senate in the 13th Legislative District, gave a statement to the membership and answered questions. He signed the New Party “Candidate Contract” and requested an endorsement from the New Party. He also joined the New Party.
Consistent with this, a roster of the Chicago chapter of the New Party from early 1997 lists Obama as a member, with January 11, 1996, indicated as the date he joined…
The revelation in 2008 that Obama had joined an ACORN-controlled, leftist third party could have been damaging indeed, and coming clean about his broader work with ACORN might easily have exposed these New Party ties. Because the work of ACORN and the New Party often intersected with Obama’s other alliances, honesty about his ties to either could have laid bare the entire network of his leftist political partnerships.
Obama was not the only one who lied, according to Kurtz:
Although Obama is ultimately responsible for deceiving the American people in 2008 about his political background, he got help from his old associates. Each of the two former political allies who helped him to deny his New Party membership during campaign ’08 was in a position to know better.
One of the most glaring lies – which Politico’s Smith readily accepted – was that the New Party did not have members. That is easily proved false, Kurtz says, with the group’s own documents, which he has recovered:
At just about the time Obama joined the New Party, the Chicago chapter was embroiled in a bitter internal dispute. A party-membership list is attached to a memo in which the leaders of one faction consider a scheme to disqualify potential voting members from a competing faction, on the grounds that those voters had not renewed their memberships. The factional leaders worried that their opponents would legitimately object to this tactic, since a mailing that called for members to renew hadn’t been properly sent out. At any rate, the memo clearly demonstrates that, contrary to Rogers’s explanation, membership in the New Party entailed the right to vote on matters of party governance. In fact, Obama’s own New Party endorsement, being controversial, was thrown open to a members’ vote on the day he joined the party.
As for the group’s socialist ideology, Kurtz says, the documents he has recovered leave no doubt:
The documents reveal that the New Party’s central aim was to move the United States steadily closer to European social democracy, a goal that Mitt Romney has also attributed to Obama. New Party leaders disdained mainstream Democrats, considering them tools of business, and promised instead to create a partnership between elected officials and local community organizations, with the goal of socializing the American economy to an unprecedented degree.
Kurtz ends by challenging the mainstream media to the opposite of what they did in 2008 – to follow up on the facts he has uncovered, and “to report that President Obama once joined a leftist third party, and that he hid that truth from the American people in order to win the presidency.” And he hints that there are more facts to come.