Study Guide: Anti-Capitalism Coalitions

ANTI-CAPITALISM

AHMADENIJAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS, 9/21/10

The demanding liberal capitalism and transnational corporations have caused *the suffering of countless women, men and children in so many countries

ANDY STERN, Nov 12, 2009

We evolved into a more market worshiping, privatizing, deregulating, trickle-down, union-busting, I've got mine so long sucker economy which was a perfectly acceptable theory

For capitalism, we are merely consumers and a source of labour, and we have the right to say capitalism is the enemy of the planet.”

--Evo Morales,  Bolivian President

April 21, 2010

HILLARY CLINTON, THE SORBONNE, PARIS, JUNE 17, 1999

And we now have to face up to creating a new architecture that will help us tackle runaway global capitalism's worst effects; ensure social safety nets for the most vulnerable; address the debt burden that is crushing many of our poorest nations."

GEORGE SOROS, FINANCIAL TIMES Oct 23, 2009

you need a new currency system and actually the special drawing rights do give you the makings of a system and I think it's ill-considered on the part of the United States to resist

“The capitalism of today is a capitalism that no longer produces but just consumes.”

--Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Former Brazilian President

February 7, 2011

RON BLOOM, DISTRESSED INVESTING FORUM, FEB. 2008

Generally speaking, we get the joke.  We know that the free market is nonsense. We know that the whole point is to game the system.

CHAVEZ AT THE UNITED NATIONS, /9/24/09

AS A HUMAN BEING – OBAMA -- COME OVER TO THE SOCIALIST SIDE! COME JOIN THE “AXIS OF EVIL” HERE AND WE’LL BUILD A REAL ECONOMY AT THE SERVICE OF AN INDIVIDUAL, YOU CAN’T DO THIS WITH CAPITALISM!”

NEW WORLD ORDER

RICHARD TRUMKA, JULY 2010 IN VANCOUVER

“So how are we going to achieve a new global economic order, one that puts the needs and rights of workers front and center?”

FORMER AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER PAUL KEATING, Charlie Rose, PBS, 12/3/10

I believe we should have had enough ingenuity and imagination to have included a place for Russia in the new world order

GEORGE SOROS, FINANCIAL TIMES, OCT 23, 2009

you really need to bring China into the creation of a new world order, a financial world order

AHMEDINEJAD  AT THE UNITED NATIONS, SEPT. 21 2010

I wish to propose that the second decade of this century be named by the UN as "the decade for the joint global governance"

PRES. OBAMA AT WEST POINT, May 23, 2010

So we have to shape an international order that can meet the challenges of our generation. We will be steadfast in strengthening those old alliances that have served us so well

ANDY STERN (“Bill Moyers Journal, PBS, June 2007)

Workers of the world unite..it’s not just a slogan anymore. It’s a way we’re going to have to do our work

HILLARY CLINTON, 10/6/2009

…As students as workers, as global citizens

GEORGE H.W. BUSH, 3/6/1991

"Now, we can see a new world coming into view. A world in which there is the very real prospect of a new world order"

1.      UNION LEADERS FEATURED IN VIDEO FOR INTERNATIONAL TRADE UNION CONFEDERATION

http://www.ituc-csi.org/trade-union-solidarity-with-egypt.html

2.      MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD TEXT REVEALS SCOPE OF RADICAL CREED

http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=207415

3.      SEN. FEINSTEIN: WE GOT NO WARNING

http://worldblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/02/08/6011954-feinstein-we-got-no-warning

AMERICAN TEENS MURDERED IN MEXICAN BORDER TOWN

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/american-teens-murdered-in-hail-of-bullets-in-mexican-border-town/

§ Killed: Carlos Mario Gonzalez Bermudez, 16, (right) and Juan Carlos Echeverri, 15

§ Three teenage boys were shot to death in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, at least two of them U.S. citizens and high school students in Texas, authorities said Monday.

§ The boys were killed at a car dealership in the city across the border from El Paso, Texas, Chihuahua prosecutors’ spokesman Arturo Sandoval said. One was found inside a white Jeep Cherokee and the other two in the courtyard.

§ There were no leads on suspects or a motive, and witnesses would give no statements, Sandoval said. At least 60 bullet casings were found at the scene.

§ One of the boys, Carlos Mario Gonzalez Bermudez, 16, was a sophomore at Cathedral High School in El Paso, said Nick Gonzalez, the Roman Catholic brother who is the principal. Another victim, Juan Carlos Echeverri, 15, had been a freshman at the private all-boys Catholic school last year but left to study in Ciudad Juarez, Gonzalez said.

§ Both were U.S. citizens, he said. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City said it could provide no immediate information on the case.

§ The third teenager was identified as Cesar Yalin Miramontes Jimenez, 17.

§ The school principal said Gonzalez Bermudez mainly lived in Ciudad Juarez and commuted each day across the border. He said 20 percent of the 485 students enrolled at Cathedral are from Ciudad Juarez.

§ Gonzalez said the school’s sophomore class had a prayer service Monday and officials planned a rosary service for the entire school later in the week.

§ “It’s a lot of pain, a lot of sorrow, a lot of tears, a lot of coming together as a community to try to hold each other up and to try and make sense today,” Gonzalez said. “How do you make sense of this meaningless tragedy? Hopefully this can really empower us to make a positive change in the border community because their deaths will have no meaning otherwise.”

§ Many Ciudad Juarez residents travel across the border on a daily basis for work or study. Some Mexicans live in El Paso for safety reasons and commute to Ciudad Juarez.

§ Ciudad Juarez city has become one of the world’s most dangerous cities amid a fierce turf war between the Sinaloa and Juarez drug cartels. More than 3,000 people were killed last year in the city of 1.3 million residents.

§ Gonzalez said students at the school have had a number of relatives killed in the violence in Ciudad Juarez, a city that lost 3,000 residents last year alone. A graduate of the school was killed last fall, he said.

§ “Our Juarez kids knew all three” of the teenagers killed over the weekend, he said. “It’s a very tight knit community. A lot of them car pool; that’s how they know each other.”

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BOOK FOUND NEAR THE BORDER

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/01/27/iranian-book-celebrating-suicide-bombers-arizona-desert/

§ EXCLUSIVE: A book celebrating suicide bombers has been found in the Arizona desert just north of the U.S.- Mexican border, authorities tell Fox News.

§ The book, "In Memory of Our Martyrs," was spotted Tuesday by a U.S. Border Patrol agent out of the Casa Grande substation who was patrolling a route known for smuggling illegal immigrants and drugs.

§ Published in Iran, it consists of short biographies of Islamic suicide bombers and other Islamic militants who died carrying out attacks.

§ According to internal U.S. Customs and Border Protection documents, "The book also includes letters from suicide attackers to their families, as well as some of their last wills and testaments." Each biographical page contains "the terrorist's name, date of death, and how they died."

§ Agents also say that the book appears to have been exposed to weather in the desert "for at least several days or weeks."

§ Authorities told Fox News that there were no people in the area at the time the book was found, and no arrests have been made in connection with it.

§ "At this time, DHS does not have any credible information on terrorist groups operating along the Southwest border," a Department of Homeland Security official said in a statement. "We work closely with our partners in the law enforcement and intelligence communities and as a matter of due diligence and law enforcement best practice, report anything found, no matter how significant or insignificant it may seem."

§ Statements from U.S. officials, including FBI director Robert Mueller, have raised serious concerns in recent years over "OTMs" -- or illegal immigrants other than Mexicans -- who have crossed the southwest border at alarming rates.

§ Mueller testified before the House Appropriations Committee in March 2005 that "there are individuals from countries with known Al Qaeda connections who are changing their Islamic surnames to Hispanic-sounding names and obtaining false Hispanic identities, learning to speak Spanish and pretending to be Hispanic."

§ Just last year, the Department of Homeland Security had in custody thousands of detainees from Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. U.S. Border Patrol statistics indicate that there were 108,025 OTMs detained in 2006, compared to 165,178 in 2005 and 44,614 in 2004.

§ Authorities would not release a picture of the book to Fox News, or reveal how long they believe it was lying in the desert. Immigration officials have previously discovered items along the U.S.-Mexico border from Middle Eastern origin, including Iranian currency in Zapata, Texas, and a jacket found in Jim Hogg County, Texas, that was covered in patches including an Arabic military badge that illustrates an airplane flying into a tower.

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MUNI BONDS

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703960804576119870629891478.html

FEBRUARY 9, 2011

In Muni-Bond Ills, Danger and Hope

By MICHAEL CORKERY

Wall Street Journal

§ "State and Municipal Debt: The Coming Crisis?" is the provocative topic of a congressional hearing Wednesday, which among other things will consider whether states should be allowed to file for bankruptcy protection.

§ It's a reflection of more than three months of turmoil in municipal bonds-a period that has stoked fears a crisis in that market could set off a chain of events that would cripple the economy, in much the same way the subprime-mortgage fiasco sparked the recent recession.

§ Municipal bond investors have grown increasingly concerned about some states' ability to pay their debts. This map reflects perceived risks on 10-year general-obligation bonds for states versus an AAA rated 10-year muni bonds.

§ That seems unlikely to many experts, who see big differences between the muni-bond troubles and the mortgage woes that triggered the global credit freeze in 2008.

§ "The near-term budget problems of states are difficult, painful, but survivable,'' says Jay Powell, a former U.S. Treasury official who is now a visiting scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington, D.C., think tank. "Yes, this is the worst stress the system has been under for many, many years, but predictions of widespread defaults are overblown."

§ The list of reasons analysts cite is long. Municipal bonds are held primarily by individuals, not by financial institutions. Compared with mortgages, they aren't nearly as intertwined with the global financial system in opaque derivatives, hiding unknown risks and linkages.

§ Most states and municipalities owe long-term debt, and they don't typically rely on short-term borrowing in the way that, say, the now-defunct Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. did in 2008. In contrast to any kind of corporate borrower, state issuers of muni-bonds are in the rare position of being able to boost their revenues almost at will, by raising taxes (as Illinois recently did).

§ Moreover, states find their revenues are on the upswing as the economy grows and as inflation, while modest, helps to buoy the incomes and corporate profits that many states tax. During the 2010 fourth quarter, state tax revenues were up 6.9% from a year earlier, according to preliminary data from the Nelson Rockefeller Institute of Government in Albany, N.Y.

§ This isn't to say that cash-strapped states won't face higher borrowing costs, which could prove excruciating for some governments that rely on debt to fund their operations. Analysts also said that it is possible that the historically low rate of defaults could rise somewhat.

§ What many analysts and investors do doubt is a scenario outlined by one independent analyst, Meredith Whitney, who has publicly predicted "50 to 100 sizable defaults" amounting to "hundreds of billions of dollars."

§ Municipal bonds-which are issued to finance projects such as airports and dormitories-yield interest income that's free of federal and, often, state income tax. They began their slide last fall. If the $2.9 billion market continues to struggle, it will be because of the attitude of investors like Barry Fiske, an account manager for a Boston-area heating and air-conditioning contractor.

§ Mr. Fiske, 61 years old, had long considered muni-bonds a safe investment. But late last year, he says, he "just felt very uneasy" about the "threats [facing] certain states like Illinois, California, New Jersey and maybe New York." He slashed his holdings in muni-bond funds to 5% of his investment portfolio, from 20%.

§ States face budget gaps totaling at least $125 billion as they plan for the coming fiscal year, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities calculates. Long-ignored underfunding of public pensions is out in the open now, and setting off alarms. States in the coming year also must tackle their budgets largely without the federal assistance that the 2009 stimulus law gave them for a couple of years.

§ Default was rarely much of a concern in past muni-bond downturns. But now the long-held assumption that states and cities will always pay their debts has come under attack. "Credit concerns are much more prevalent and broad-based than they have been in the past 20 years," says Elizabeth Fell, a fixed-income strategist at Barclays PLC.

§ Individuals like Mr. Fiske own about two-thirds of U.S. municipal bonds, directly or through mutual funds. This was long seen as a positive, because individual investors tend to "set it and forget it," says Ms. Fell. But individual investors have been sellers of shares in muni-bond mutual funds for 12 consecutive weeks. Since early November, individuals have pulled a net $23.6 billion out of these funds.

§ Heightening concerns for some of them: Far fewer newly issued muni-bonds are insured now-6.2%, versus 57% in 2005, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Many insurers have stopped issuing guarantees because they themselves are still struggling with their losses in the financial crisis.

§ "People have been through the tech bubble and the real-estate bubble, and they are scared," says Peter Demirali, a managing director at Cumberland Advisors, an investment firm in Sarasota, Fla. "When they are told there is another bomb to go off, they head for the hills."

§ Yet the sell-off that began last fall wasn't due just to weaker state and city finances. The market also was hit with a massive supply of new bonds, which put downward pressure on prices. A key reason was the looming Dec. 31 expiration of a federal program, called Build America Bonds, under which the U.S. provided a subsidy to states that wanted to borrow.

§ In addition, the Federal Reserve's program of buying bonds to encourage economic growth drew some investors into a rallying stock market, instead of to bonds.  And long-term Treasury bonds-which municipal bonds tend to track-began to decline, as the Fed bond-buying program emphasized shorter-term debt.

§ Finally, the December extension of the federal income-tax cuts made it a bit less urgent for some individuals to seek out tax-exempt investments such as muni-bonds.  Some of these factors, such as the subsidy expiration, no longer are pressuring the market.

§ But once muni-bonds began to slide last fall, their declines were exacerbated because of the structure of some mutual funds that hold the bonds. These funds enhance their exposure to the market, leading in some cases to forced selling when prices went down.

§ When individuals step away from the muni-bond market, there are a limited number of other investors to take their place. The tax-exempt returns that lure individuals aren't as attractive to larger investors, such as hedge funds and investments banks.

§ Some states and cities have cut back on borrowing in the face of diminished demand for their bonds, which creates higher costs for borrowers. A New Jersey agency trimmed a refinancing by 40% last month. But states don't always have that option.

§ Moody's Investors Service has identified states that rely on the debt markets to fund their deficits and current operations, and thus will likely have to venture into the bond market even if it's inhospitable. It was an urgent need for short-term borrowing that fueled the European debt crisis last year, when countries such as Greece found investors would lend to them only at exorbitant interest.

§ California typically borrows billions each year to cover seasonal shortfalls in its cash flows. Illinois is proposing this year to issue an $8.75 billion "debt restructuring bond" to pay past-due bills to suppliers and a $3.75 billion bond to make required contributions to its pension system.

§ A spokesman for the California Treasurer's office said the state "will deal with market conditions as they come and we will get the best deal possible for taxpayers." In Illinois, a spokeswoman for the governor said, "we do not see a loss of muni-market access" because the state is working to close its budget deficit.

§ Ms. Whitney, the analyst who has forecast many defaults, has drawn criticism from others in the muni-bond world for that dire prediction. The analyst, who correctly predicted future bank troubles in 2007, hasn't widely disclosed the research on which she bases her outlook.

§ Ms. Whitney declined to comment. She declined an invitation to appear at Wednesday's congressional hearing, which is before a subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, because of a scheduling conflict, a committee spokesman said.

§ A default by a major borrower could ripple out in hard-to-predict ways.

§ "In the highly unlikely event of a state default, you could have major macro-economic dislocations-teachers not getting paid, roads going unplowed,'' says Mr. Powell, the former Treasury official. "Once that tree comes down, look out-it is falling on everyone, both the innocent and the guilty."

§ A major default "would rock credit markets,'' agrees Harvard economics professor Kenneth Rogoff, co-author of a history of financial catastrophes. He says it would likely affect financially stressed national governments: "If I were Spain, I wouldn't be too happy if New Jersey defaulted.'' He adds, "Clearly, we are in situation where markets are very skittish and there is uncertainty about how much risky debt there really is out there."  Yet some factors would tend to limit the impact even of a big default.

§ Banks, while they do a brisk business underwriting muni-bonds, are less active as owners of the securities. Banks have a total of 1.3% of their assets, or about $175 billion, invested in muni-bonds, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data.

§ Mortgage-backed securities, by comparison, made up about 10% of federally insured banks' assets when the mortgage market began its slump in 2007, according to the FDIC.

§ Banks' relatively modest position in muni-bonds means that further price declines wouldn't likely crimp their ability to lend to businesses and homeowners, as occurred during the mortgage crisis.

§ The next-largest muni-bond holders after individuals are insurance companies, mainly property-and-casualty insurers, with about 15%. But muni-bond price fluctuations don't hamper insurers' income statements because the insurers tend to hold bonds to maturity; bond losses on paper generally remain unrealized. In an extreme case, state insurance regulators could force a firm to set aside more capital to guard against losses.

§ There are a few small muni-bond defaults every year, but the default rate on a broad index of municipal bonds rated by Standard & Poor's was just 0.21% in 2010. Many investors and economists maintain that a default by a state or large city is unlikely for several reasons.

§ For one, U.S. states' debts relative to the size of their economies are low, when compared with, say, the European governments that ran into deep trouble last year. Illinois's debt, including bonds and unfunded pension obligations, is about 13% of the state's gross domestic product, according to Moody's. Greece's debt, excluding pension liabilities, is about 144% of GDP.

§ Politically fraught as bailouts are, many investors and economists think Washington would ultimately come through with some kind of help before a state or large city defaulted. "It would be difficult for the federal government to say yes to AIG and no to Illinois,'' says Hugh McGuirk, a portfolio manager at mutual-fund firm T. Rowe Price, referring to insurer American International Group Inc.

§ Most states must balance their budgets, and governors are now proposing spending cuts to do so. Illinois imposed sharp income-tax increases last month and is preserving cash by putting off paying vendors.

§ "What we are seeing on the ground is that states are taking actions that are good for bondholders,'' says Daniel Loughran, a senior portfolio manager at OppenheimerFunds.  The higher yields and lower prices on muni-bonds are luring some investors. An especially prominent one stepped up in December.

§ Bill Gross, co-chief investment officer at Pimco-the Pacific Investment Management Co. unit of Allianz SE-put money into five of its muni-bond funds, federal filings showed. Pimco said Mr. Gross wasn't available to discuss his investments.

§ One muni-bond issuer that didn't manage to sort out its problems is Vallejo, Calif., which more than two years ago filed for bankruptcy reorganization. (Many cities can do that, though states can't.) Vallejo Mayor Osby Davis says the likelihood his government won't be able to borrow for many years has a silver lining.

§ "We ought to stop living on credit and find ways to offer the same level of service for less money,'' he says.

It's time for our April 29, 2019 edition of our Candidate Power Rankings. We get to add two new candidates, write about a bunch of people that have little to no chance of winning, and thank the heavens we are one day closer to the end of all of this.

In case you're new here, read our explainer about how all of this works:

The 2020 Democratic primary power rankings are an attempt to make sense out of the chaos of the largest field of candidates in global history.

Each candidate gets a unique score in at least thirty categories, measuring data like polling, prediction markets, fundraising, fundamentals, media coverage, and more. The result is a candidate score between 0-100. These numbers will change from week to week as the race changes.

The power rankings are less a prediction on who will win the nomination, and more a snapshot of the state of the race at any given time. However, early on, the model gives more weight to fundamentals and potentials, and later will begin to prioritize polling and realities on the ground.

These power rankings include only announced candidates. So, when you say "WAIT!! WHERE'S XXXXX????" Read the earlier sentence again.

If you're like me, when you read power rankings about sports, you've already skipped ahead to the list. So, here we go.

See previous editions here.

20. Wayne Messam: 13.4 (Last week: 18th / 13.4)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

A former staffer of Wayne Messam is accusing his wife of hoarding the campaign's money.

First, how does this guy have "former" staffers? He's been running for approximately twelve minutes.

Second, he finished dead last in the field in fundraising with $44,000 for the quarter. Perhaps hoarding whatever money the campaign has is not the worst idea.

His best shot at the nomination continues to be something out of the series "Designated Survivor."

Other headlines:

19. Marianne Williamson: 17.1 (Last week: 17th / 17.1)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Marianne Williamson would like you to pay for the sins of someone else's great, great, great grandparents. Lucky you!

Williamson is on the reparations train like most of the field, trying to separate herself from the pack by sheer monetary force.

How much of your cash does she want to spend? "Anything less than $100 billion is an insult." This is what I told the guy who showed up to buy my 1989 Ford Tempo. It didn't work then either.

Other headlines:

18. John Delaney: 19.7 (Last week: 15th / 20.3)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Good news: John Delaney brought in $12.1 million in the first quarter, enough for fifth in the entire Democratic field!

Bad news: 97% of the money came from his own bank account.

Other headlines:

17. Eric Swalwell: 20.2 (Last week: 16th / 20.2)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

The Eric Swalwell formula:

  • Identify news cycle
  • Identify typical left-wing reaction
  • Add steroids

Democrats said there was obstruction in the Mueller report. Swalwell said there “certainly" was collusion.

Democrats said surveillance of the Trump campaign was no big deal. Swalwell said there was no need to apologize even if it was.

Democrats said William Barr mishandled the release of the Mueller report. Swalwell said he must resign.

Democrats say they want gun restrictions. Swalwell wants them all melted down and the liquid metal to be poured on the heads of NRA members. (Probably.)

16. Seth Moulton: 20.6 (NEW)

Who is Seth Moulton?

No, I'm asking.

Moulton falls into the category of congressman looking to raise his profile and make his future fundraising easier— not someone who is actually competing for the presidency.

He tried to block Nancy Pelosi as speaker, so whatever help he could get from the establishment is as dry as Pelosi's eyes when the Botox holds them open for too long.

Moulton is a veteran, and his military service alone is enough to tell you that he's done more with his life than I'll ever do with mine. But it's hard to see the road to the White House for a complete unknown in a large field of knowns.

Don't take my word for it, instead read this depressing story that he's actually telling people on purpose:

"I said, you know, part of my job is take tough questions," Moulton told the gathered business and political leaders. "You can ask even really difficult questions. And there was still silence. And then finally, someone in the way back of the room raised her hand, and she said, 'Who are you?' "

Yeah. Who are you?

15. Tim Ryan: 21.6 (Last week: 14th / 20.7)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

When you're talking to less than sixteen people in Iowa one week after your launch, you don't have too much to be excited about.

Ryan did get an interview on CNN, where he also talked to less than sixteen people.

He discussed his passion for the Dave Matthews Band, solidifying a key constituency in the year 1995.

Other headlines:

14. Tulsi Gabbard: 25.2 (Last week: 14th / 25.9)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Tulsi Gabbard torched Kamala Harris in fundraising!!!!! (Among Indian-American donors.)

No word on who won the coveted handi-capable gender-neutral sodium-sensitive sub-demographic.

She received a mostly false rating for her attack on the Trump administration regarding its new policy on pork inspections, a topic not exactly leading the news cycle. Being from Hawaii, the state which leads the nation in Spam consumption, she was probably surprised when this didn't go mega viral.

Other headlines:

13. Andrew Yang: 27.2 (Last week: 12th / 27.1)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Yang has a few go-to lines when he's on the campaign trail, such as: "The opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math." Another is apparently the Jeb-esque "Chant my name! Chant my name!"

Yang continues to be one of the more interesting candidates in this race, essentially running a remix of the "One Tough Nerd" formula that worked for Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.

I highly recommend listening to his interview with Ben Shapiro, where Yang earns respect as the only Democratic presidential candidate in modern history to actually show up to a challenging and in-depth interview with a knowledgeable conservative.

But hidden in the Shapiro interview is the nasty little secret of the Yang campaign. His policy prescriptions, while still very liberal, come off as far too sane for him to compete in this Stalin look-alike contest.

Other headlines:

12. Jay Inslee: 30.4 (Last week: 11th / 30.4)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

If you read the Inslee candidate profile, I said he was running a one-issue climate campaign. This week, he called for a climate change-only debate, and blamed Donald Trump for flooding in Iowa.

He also may sign the nation's first "human composting" legalization bill. He can start by composting his presidential campaign.

Other headlines:

11. John Hickenlooper: 32.2 (Last week: 10th / 32.0)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

John Hickenlooper was sick of being asked if he would put a woman on the ticket, in the 0.032% chance he actually won the nomination.

So he wondered why the female candidates weren't being asked if they would name a male VP if they won?

Seems like a logical question, but only someone who is high on tailpipe fumes would think it was okay to ask in a Democratic primary. Hickenlooper would be better served by just transitioning to a female and demanding other candidates are asked why they don't have a transgendered VP.

Other headlines:

10. Julian Castro: 35.7 (Last week: 9th / 36.2)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Lowering expectations is a useful strategy when your wife asks you to put together an Ikea end table, or when you've successfully convinced Charlize Theron to come home with you. But is it a successful campaign strategy?

Julian Castro is about to find out. He thinks the fact that everyone thinks he's crashing and burning on the campaign trail so far is an "advantage." Perhaps he can take the rest of the field by surprise on Super Tuesday when they finally realize he's actually running.

Other headlines:

9. Kirsten Gillibrand: 38.1 (Last week: 8th / 37.8)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Gillibrand wants you to know that the reason her campaign has been such a miserable failure so far, is because she called for a certain senator to step down. The problem might also be that another certain senator isn't a good presidential candidate.

She also spent the week arm wrestling, and dancing at a gay bar called Blazing Saddle. In this time of division, one thing we can all agree on: Blazing Saddle is a really solid name for a gay bar.

Other headlines:

8. Amy Klobuchar: 45.1 (Last week: 7th / 45.5)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Klobuchar is attempting a run in the moderate wing of the Democratic primary, which would be a better idea if such a wing existed.

She hasn't committed to impeaching Donald Trump and has actually voted to confirm over half of his judicial nominees. My guess is this will not be ignored by her primary opponents.

She also wants to resolve an ongoing TPS issue, which I assume means going by Peter Gibbons' desk every morning and making sure he got the memo about the new cover sheets.

Other headlines:

7. Elizabeth Warren: 45.3 (Last week: 6th / 46.0)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Elizabeth Warren is bad at everything she does while she's campaigning. I don't really even watch Game of Thrones, and the idea that Warren would write a story about how the show proves we need more powerful women makes me cringe.

Of course, more powerful people of all the 39,343 genders are welcome, but it's such a transparent attempt at jumping on the back of a pop-culture event to pander to female voters, it's sickening.

We can only hope that when she's watching Game of Thrones, she's gonna grab her a beer.

Other headlines:

6. Cory Booker: 54.9 (Last week: 5th / 55.5)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Booker is tied with Kamala Harris for the most missed Senate votes of the campaign so far. He gets criticized for this, but I think he should miss even more votes.

Booker is also pushing a national day off on Election Day—because the approximately six months of early voting allowed in every state just isn't enough.

Of course, making it easier to vote doesn't mean people are going to vote for Booker. So he's throwing trillions of dollars in bribes (my word, not his) to seal the deal.

Bookermania is in full effect, with 40 whole people showing up to his appearance in Nevada. Local press noted that the people were of "varying ages," an important distinction to most other crowds, which are entirely comprised of people with the same birthday.

Other headlines:

5. Robert Francis O’Rourke: 60.2 (Last week: 4th /62.6)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Kirsten Gillibrand gave less than 2% of her income to charity. The good news is that she gave about seven times as much as Beto O'Rourke. Robert Francis, or Bob Frank, also happens to be one of the wealthiest candidates in the race. His late seventies father-in-law has been estimated to be worth as much as $20 billion, though the number is more likely to be a paltry $500 million.

He's made millions from a family company investing in fossil fuels and pharmaceutical stocks, underpaid his taxes for multiple years, and is suing the government to lower property taxes on a family-owned shopping center.

He's also all but disappeared. It's a long race, and you don't win a nomination in April of the year before election day. If he's being frugal and figuring out what he believes, it might be a good move.

But it's notable that all the "pretty boy" hype that Bob Frank owned going into this race has been handed over to Mayor Pete. Perhaps Beto is spending his time working on curbing the sweating, the hand gestures, and the issues with jumping on counters like a feline.

Other headlines:

4. Pete Buttigieg: 62.9 (Last week: 3rd / 62.9)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

When we first put candidates in tiers earlier this year, we broke everyone into five categories from "Front Runners" to "Eh, no." In the middle is a category called "Maybe, if everything goes right," and that's where we put Pete Buttigieg.

Well, everything has gone right so far. But Mayor Pete will be interested to learn that the other 19 candidates in this race are not going to hand him this nomination. Eventually, they will start saying negative things about him (they've started the opposition research process already), and it will be interesting to see how Petey deals with the pressure. We've already seen how it has affected Beto in a similar situation.

The media has spoken endlessly about the sexual orientation of Buttigieg, but not every Democratic activist is impressed. Barney Frank thinks the main reason he's getting this amount of attention is because he is gay. And for some, being a gay man just means you're a man, which isn't good enough.

When you base your vote on a candidate's genitals, things can get confusing.

Other headlines:

3. Kamala Harris: 68.6 (Last week: 1st / 69.1)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

There are a couple of ways to view the Harris candidacy so far.

#1 - Harris launched with much fanfare and an adoring media. She has since lost her momentum. Mayor Pete and former Mayor Bernie have the hype, and Kamala is fading.

#2 - Harris is playing the long game. She showed she can make an impact with her launch, but realizes that a media "win" ten months before an important primary means nothing. She's working behind the scenes and cleaning up with donations, prominent supporters, and loads of celebrities to execute an Obama style onslaught.

I tend to be in category 2, but I admit that's somewhat speculative. Harris seems to be well positioned to make a serious run, locking up more than double the amount of big Clinton and Obama fundraisers than any other candidate.

One interesting policy development for Harris that may hurt her in the primary is her lack of utter disgust for the nation of Israel. There's basically one acceptable position in a Democratic primary when it comes to Israel, which is that it's a racist and terrorist state, existing only to torture innocent Palestinians.

Certainly no one is going to mistake Harris for Donald Trump, but a paragraph like this is poison to the modern Democratic primary voter:

"Her support for Israel is central to who she is," Harris' campaign communications director, Lily Adams, told McClatchy. "She is firm in her belief that Israel has a right to exist and defend itself, including against rocket attacks from Gaza."

Just portraying the rocket attacks as "attacks" is controversial these days for Democrats, and claiming they are responses to attacks indicates you think the Jeeeewwwwwwwws aren't the ones responsible for the start of every hostility. Heresy!

Someone get Kamala a copy of the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' before she blows her chance to run the free world.

2. Bernie Sanders: 69.2 (Last week: 2nd / 68.3)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

If Bernie Sanders hates millionaires as much as he claims, he must hate the mirror. As a millionaire, it might surprise some that he donated only 1% to charity. But it shouldn't.

It's entirely consistent with Sandersism to avoid giving to private charity. Why would you? Sanders believes the government does everything better than the private sector. He should be giving his money to the government.

Of course, he doesn't. He takes the tax breaks from the evil Trump tax plan he derides. He spends his money on fabulous vacation homes. He believes in socialism for thee, not for me.

Yes, this is enough to convince the Cardi B's of the world, all but guaranteeing a lock on the rapper-and-former-stripper-that-drugged-and-stole-from-her-prostitution-clients demographic. But can that lack of consistency hold up in front of general election voters?

If Bernie reads this and would like a path to credibility, clear out your bank account and send it here:

Gifts to the United States
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Funds Management Branch
P.O. Box 1328
Parkersburg, WV 26106-1328


Other headlines:

1. Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.: 78.8 (NEW)

Joe has run for president 113 times during his illustrious career, successfully capturing the presidency in approximately zero of his campaigns.

However, when the eternally woke Barack Obama had a chance to elevate a person of color, woman, or anything from the rainbow colored QUILTBAG, he instead chose the oldest, straightest, whitest guy he could find, and our man Robinette was the beneficiary.

Biden has been through a lot, much of it of his own making. Forget about his plagiarism and propensity to get a nostril full of each passing females' hair, his dealings while vice president in both Ukraine and China are a major general election vulnerability— not to mention a legal vulnerability for his children. But hey, win the presidency and you can pardon everyone, right?

His supposed appeal to rust belt voters makes him, on paper, a great candidate to take on Trump. The Clinton loss hinged on about 40,000 voters changing their mind from Hillary to Donald in a few states—the exact areas where victory could possibly be secured by someone named "Middle Class Joe" (as he alone calls himself.)

No one loves Joe Biden more than Joe Biden, and there's a relatively convincing case for his candidacy. But we must remember this unquestionable truth: Joe Biden is not good at running for president.

He's a gaffe machine that churns out mistake after mistake, hoping only to have his flubs excused by his unending charisma. But, will that work without the use of his legendary groping abilities? Only time, and a few dozen unnamed women, will tell.

Also, yes. Robinette is really his middle name.

If only Karl Marx were alive today to see his wackiest ideas being completely paraded around. He would be so proud. I can see him now: Sprawled out on his hammock from REI, fiddling around for the last vegan potato chip in the bag as he binge-watches Academy Awards on his 70-inch smart TV. In between glances at his iPhone X (he's got a massive Twitter following), he sips Pepsi. In his Patagonia t-shirt and NIKE tennis shoes, he writes a line or two about "oppression" and "the have-nots" as part of his job for Google.

His house is loaded with fresh products from all the woke companies. In the fridge, he's got Starbucks, he loves their soy milk. He's got Ben & Jerry's in the freezer. He tells everyone that, if he shaved, he'd use Gillette, on account of the way they stand up for the Have-Nots. But, really, Marx uses Dollar Shave Club because it's cheaper, a higher quality. Secretly, he loves Chic-Fil-A. He buys all his comic books off Amazon. The truth is, he never thought people would actually try to make the whole "communism" thing work.

RELATED: SOCIALISM: This is the most important special we have done

Companies have adopted a form of socialism that is sometimes called woke capitalism. They use their status as corporations to spread a socialist message and encourage people to do their part in social justice. The idea of companies in America using socialism at all is as confusing and ridiculous as a donkey in a prom dress: How did this happen? Is it a joke? Why is nobody bursting out in laughter? How far is this actually going to go? Does someone actually believe that they can take a donkey to prom?

Companies have adopted a form of socialism that is sometimes called woke capitalism.

On the micro level, Netflix has made some socialist moves: The "like/dislike" voting system was replaced after a Netflix-sponsored stand-up special by Amy Schumer received as tidal wave of thumb-downs. This summer, Netflix will take it a step further in the name of squashing dissent by disabling user comments and reviews. And of course most of us share a Netflix account with any number of people. Beyond that, they're as capitalist as the next mega-company.

Except for one area: propaganda. Netflix has started making movie-length advertisements for socialism. They call them "documentaries," but we know better than that. The most recent example is "Knock Down the House," which comes out tomorrow. The 86-minute-long commercial for socialism follows four "progressive Democrat" women who ran in the 2018 midterms, including our favorite socialist AOC.

Here's a snippet from the movie so good that you'll have to fight the urge to wave your USSR flag around the room:

This is what the mainstream media wants you to believe. They want you to be moved. They want the soundtrack to inspire you to go out and do something.

Just look at how the mainstream media treated the recent high-gloss "documentary" about Ilhan Omar, "Time for Ilhan." It received overwhelmingly bad ratings on IMDb and other user-review platforms, but got a whopping 93% on the media aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

This is exactly what the media wants you to think of when you hear the word socialism. Change. Empowerment. Strength. Diversity. They spend so much energy trying to make socialism cool. They gloss right over the unbelievable death toll. BlazeTV's own Matt Kibbe made a great video on this exact topic.

Any notion of socialism in America is a luxury, made possible by capitalism. The woke companies aren't actually doing anything for socialism. If they're lucky, they might get a boost in sales, which is the only thing they want anyway.

We want to show you the truth. We want to tell you the stories you won't hear anywhere else, not on Netflix, not at some movie festival. We're going to tell you what mainstream media doesn't want you to know.

Look at how much history we've lost over the years. They changed it slowly. But they had to. Because textbooks were out. So people were watching textbooks. It was printed. You would bring the book home. Mom and dad might go through it and check it out. So you had to slowly do things.

Well, they're not anymore. There are no textbooks anymore. Now, you just change them overnight. And we are losing new history. History is being changed in realtime.

RELATED: 'Good Morning Texas' joins Glenn to get an inside look at Mercury Museum

You have to write down what actually is happening and keep a journal. Don't necessarily tell everybody. Just keep a journal for what is happening right now. At some point, our kids won't have any idea of the truth. They will not have any idea of what this country was, how it really happened. Who were the good guys. Who were the bad guys. Who did what.

As Michelle Obama said. Barack knows. We have to change our history. Well, that's exactly what's happening. But it's happening at a very rapid pace.

We have to preserve our history. It is being systematically erased.

I first said this fifteen years ago, people need clay plots. We have to preserve our history as people preserved histories in ancient days, with the dead see scrolls, by putting them in caves in a clay pot. We have to preserve our history. It is being systematically erased. And I don't mean just the history of the founding of our country. I mean the history that's happening right now.

And the history that's happening right now, you're a problem if you're a conservative or a Christian. You are now a problem on the left, if you disagree and fall out of line at all. This is becoming a fascistic party. And you know what a fascist is. It doesn't matter if you're a Democrat or a Republican or an independent. If you believe it's my way or the highway, if you believe that people don't have a right to their opinion or don't have a right to their own life — you could do be a fascist.

Christianity might seem pretty well-protected in the U.S., but that's not the case in many parts of the globe.

On Easter Sunday, suicide bombers made the news for killing 290 innocent Christians in Sri Lanka and injuring another 500. On Tuesday, ISIS claimed responsibility for the massacre. Of course, the Western world mourned this tragic loss of life on a holy day of worship, but we forget that this isn't an isolated incident. Indeed, Christians are discriminated at extreme levels worldwide, and it needs to be brought to light. And whenever we do highlight brutal persecutions such as the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka, we need to call them what they are — targeted attacks against Christians. Sadly, many of our politicians are deathly afraid to do so.

RELATED: Hey media, there is absolutely a war on Christians!

A 2018 Pew Research Center study found that Christians are harassed in 144 countries — the most of any other faith — slightly outnumbering Muslims for the top of the list. Additionally, Open Doors, a non-profit organization that works to serve persecuted Christians worldwide, found in their 2019 World Watch List that over 245 million Christians are seriously discriminated against for their religious beliefs. Sadly, this translates into 4,136 Christians killed and 2,625 either arrested, sentenced, imprisoned, or detained without trial over the year-long study period. And when it comes to churches, those in Sri Lanka were merely added to a long list of 1,266 Christian buildings attacked for their religion.

These breathtaking stats receive very little coverage in the Western world. And there seems to be a profound hesitation from politicians in discussing the issue of persecution against Christians. In the case of the Sri Lanka bombings, there's even a reluctance to use the word "Christian."

After the horrific Pittsburgh Synagogue and New Zealand Mosque shootings, Democrats rightfully acknowledged the disturbing trend of targeted attacks against Jews and Muslims. But some of these same politicians refer to the Sri Lanka bombings with careless ambiguity.

So why is it so hard for our leaders to acknowledge the persecutions Christians face?

Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, for instance, certainly did — calling the incursions "attacks on Easter worshippers." Understandably, the term confused and frustrated many Christians. Although, supporters of these politicians argued the term was appropriate since a recent Associated Press report used it, and it was later picked up by a variety of media outlets, including Fox News. However, as more Democrats like 2020 presidential candidate Julián Castro and Rep. Dan Kildee continued to use the phrase "Easter worshippers," it became clear that these politicians were going out of their way to avoid calling a spade a spade.

So why is it so hard for our leaders to acknowledge the persecutions Christians face? For starters, Christianity in democratic countries like the U.S. is seen differently than in devastated countries like Somalia. According to Pew Research, over 70% of Americans are Christian, with 66% of those Christians being white and 35% baby boomers. So while diverse Christians from all over the world are persecuted for their faith—in the U.S., Christians are a dominant religion full of old white people. This places Christians at the bottom of progressives' absurd intersectional totem poll, therefore leaving little sympathy for their cause. However, the differing experiences of Christians worldwide doesn't take away from the fact that they are unified in their beliefs.

By refusing to name the faith of the Sri Lankan martyrs, politicians are sending a message that they have very little, if no, concern about the growing amount of persecution against Christians worldwide.

Martyrs don't deserve to be known as "Easter worshippers." They should be known by the Christian faith they gave their lives for. Decent politicians need to call the tragedy in Sri Lanka what it is — a vicious attack on the Christian faith.

Patrick Hauf (@PatrickHauf) is a writer for Young Voices and Vice President of Lone Conservative. His work can be found in the Washington Examiner, Townhall, FEE, and more.