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Ferd Berfel

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Member since: Sat Jan 3, 2015, 12:39 PM
Number of posts: 3,687

Journal Archives

Debunking the big ‘Bernie Sanders has a SuperPAC’ lie


Bernie Sanders doesn’t have a super PAC. At least not in the sense implied by Politico’s Kenneth Vogel, who referred to National Nurses United for Patient Protection as the “super PAC backing anti-super PAC crusader Bernie Sanders.” The thinly veiled charge of hypocrisy is dead wrong.

Sanders says on the stump that “it is unacceptable that we have a corrupt campaign finance system which allows millionaires, billionaires and large corporations to contribute as much as they want to super PACs to elect candidates who will represent their special interests.” According to Open Secrets, the total number of contributors who have given more than $200 to National Nurses United for Patient Protection this election cycle is a big, fat zero. The money comes from nurses’ union dues. According to a survey of 1,100 nurses conducted by the Lippincott Nursing Center, unionized nurses make, on average, $57,000 per year.

Contrast that with Priorities USA, the single-candidate super PAC backing Hillary Clinton. Through the middle of last November, it had received 49 donations of $100,000 or more this cycle, 15 of which were over $1 million. The difference between a PAC funded by middle-income workers and one financed by those who can afford to write a $100,000 check may elude Howard Dean, who last week told MSNBC that “labor unions are super PACs Democrats like,” but it shouldn’t be too difficult for the rest of us to grasp.

More importantly, Michael Lighty, the nurses’ union’s director of public policy, says the nurses’ super PAC functions just the way the Supreme Court’s conservative majority fantasized that they would: with genuine independence from the Sanders’ campaign. “In the case of real super PACs, the independence is a fallacy, and when they talk about us – comparing us to those other super PACs – it’s a false equivalency,” he said.

Robert Reich: Why Bernie’s Proposals Would Spur Economic Growth


Robert Reich:

A few days ago, Neel Kashkari – now president of the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis, who was the senior Treasury Department official in the George W. Bush and Obama administrations helping to save the big Wall Street banks – said “I believe the biggest banks are still too big to fail and continue to pose a significant, ongoing risk to our economy,” and called for them to be broken up. “The question is whether we as a country have the courage to actually take action now.”

That seems to me to be the question on a lot of fronts. Our health costs continue to rise and are about to soar as boomers need more health care. A single-payer system is necessary to restrain those costs and provide the care people need. Anyone who still harbors doubts should take a look at these studies: http://www.pnhp.org/facts/single-payer-system-cost .

It’s the same with widening inequality and structural discrimination.

A Bernie Sanders Presidency Could Revolutionize Bipartisanship


Instead of working through the center, Sanders could effectuate coalitions of the progressive left and the Tea Party Right. The opposition would come from the center-left and from the center-right in both parties.

Conventional wisdom dictates that should Bernie Sanders overcome all electoral hindrances and assume the presidency, much of his agenda would not get through the U.S. Congress. Since Sanders comes from the left wing of the political spectrum, it would be nearly impossible for him to persuade moderate Republicans to vote for his proposals.

Traditionally, presidents shepherd legislation through the Congress by consolidating the votes of members from their own party, then by siphoning off the votes of enough moderates from the opposing party to get legislation passed. This is how Lyndon B. Johnson got Medicare through in 1965, how Ronald Reagan pushed his tax cut proposal through in 1981, and how George H.W. Bush won approval for the the Persian Gulf War Resolution in 1991.

Along these lines, many of Sanders's major proposals would have a near impossible chance of passing without major changes to temporize the legislation. The Republicans are likely to maintain control of the House, and while there is an outside chance they could lose the Senate, the chances are de minimus that the Democrats will hold a 60-vote filibuster-proof majority.

An END to status quo, business as usual? Excellent!

Hillary Clinton Should Ask for Black America's Forgiveness Before She Asks for its Vote


Houston, we have a problem. Hillary Clinton's campaign has run into a major speed bump and it's called Bernie Sanders. As we move toward the day of reckoning known as Super Tuesday, she's dialing up Black America to answer the call to action.

Houston, we have a problem. Hillary Clinton's campaign has run into a major speed bump and it's called Bernie Sanders. As we move toward the day of reckoning known as Super Tuesday, she's dialing up Black America to answer the call to action.

The woman that was supposedly married to America's first black president is now hoping that it is Black America that buoys her campaign. The problem is that regardless of whether Bill Clinton believes, as he has recently stated, that"we are all mixed-race people...", he is white and the Clintons were far from good for Black America in their last go around in the White House.

Whether we look at "The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act " signed by President Clinton in 1994, a piece of legislation which led to more black men being incarcerated than we had seen in all of America's dark history, which is saying a lot. Or, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 which nearly gutted black media ownership by removing caps on corporate media ownership. The Clinton era was marked by a reality of setbacks for African Americans that are too often understated, and are best summed up by Michelle Alexander, author of the bestseller "The New Jim Crow".

Clinton dynasty’s horrific legacy: “tough-on-crime” politics built the world’s largest prison System

Over the past two decades, the Clintons' version of the "War on Drugs" has inflicted needless suffering on millions

Hillary Clinton wants to run for president as an economic populist, as a humane progressive interested in bolstering the fortunes of poor and middle class Americans. But before liberals enthusiastically sign up for Team Hillary, they should remember this: In the late 1990s, Bill Clinton played in instrumental role in creating the world’s largest prison system — one that has devastated our inner cities, made a mockery of American idealism abroad, and continues to inflict needless suffering on millions of people. And he did it with his wife’s support.

That liberals are now being asked to get excited for Hillary’s Clinton’s candidacy, announced on Sunday, almost requires the suspension of disbelief. That the best progressive alternative to Clinton is a long-shot from Vermont is a tragedy. This is not to say that President Hillary Clinton would pursue the same prison policies as her husband — the political headwinds on criminal justice reform have shifted considerably in the past two decades, and the Clintons, accordingly, have shifted with them. But past actions should matter, and what they show is that the Clinton Dynasty embraced and exacerbated one of the late 20th Century’s greatest public policy disasters.

The explosion of the prison system under Bill Clinton’s version of the “War on Drugs” is impossible to dispute. The total prison population rose by 673,000 people under Clinton’s tenure — or by 235,000 more than it did under President Ronald Reagan, according to a study by the Justice Policy Institute. “Under President Bill Clinton, the number of prisoners under federal jurisdiction doubled, and grew more than it did under the previous 12-years of Republican rule,combined,” states the JPI report (italics theirs). The federal incarceration rate in 1999, the last year of the Democrat’s term, was 42 per 100,000 — more than double the federal incarceration rate at the end of President Reagan’s term (17 per 100,000), and 61 percent higher than at the end of President George Bush’s term (25 per 100,000), according to JPI.


Medicare's History Belies Claim That Medicare-for-All Would Disrupt Care


It Disrupted Jim Crow, but Otherwise the Transition Was Smooth

Hillary Clinton and others charge that Bernie Sanders' Medicare-for-All plan would disrupt and threaten Americans' health care. But the smooth rollout of Medicare-for-Seniors in 1965 -- which many had also predicted would bring chaos -- belies that charge.

Medicare, signed into law on July 30, 1965, went live just 11 months later. By then, 18.9 million seniors had signed up, 99 percent of those eligible.

To accomplish this feat (largely without computers) the Social Security Administration mailed an information leaflet and sign-up cards preprinted with each individual's name and Social Security number (see example below) to seniors on the Social Security and railroad retirement rolls, as well as Civil Service annuitants and a million other seniors identified through IRS records.

Mississippi Dems hope to fix ‘all the things going wrong’ by making Bible state’s official book

WTF happened to the Democratic Party?

What the hell is a Democrat doing with crap like this?


The bill to do so is being sponsored by two Democratic state representatives, Tom Miles and Michael Evans, who told AL.com the idea came from a constituent who believed it would encourage people to read the text of the Christian religion.

Christian lawmakers in Mississippi want to enshrine the Bible as the official state book, according to AL.com.

The bill to do so is being sponsored by two Democratic state representatives, Tom Miles and Michael Evans, who told AL.com the idea came from a constituent who believed it would encourage people to read the text of the Christian religion.

“Me and my constituents, we were talking about it and one of them made a comment that people ought to start reading the Bible,” Evans told AL.com, pointing out it wouldn’t force people to read the Bible.

The idea came about during a discussion about, “all the things going wrong in the world.”

Miles said he’s not trying to force his religious beliefs on Mississippi residents but believes the Bible promotes compassion.

Two Former U.S. Presidents Simultaneously Advocate for a Close Family Member as the Next U.S. Pres


Americans love to mock the British for choosing — in the 21st century — to live under a monarchy and honor the hereditary succession of a royal family. I enthusiastically participate in that derision. Few concepts are as antithetical to reason and democratic liberty as anointing families that are vested with an entitlement to wield power through dynasty and lineage.

The U.S. officially has no formal royal families, but clearly loves dynastic political power. As the U.S. becomes increasingly oligarchical — all of its institutions, including its political ones, dominated by a tiny number of extremely rich families — it is natural that all forms of hereditary power will flourish. There are still examples of people from backgrounds devoid of family wealth or influence attaining political power — Barack Obama certainly qualifies — but it’s virtually impossible for them to succeed without the overwhelming support of those oligarchical circles.


As one would expect, the children of those two families have also enjoyed substantial unearned benefits by virtue of their lineage. Despite no background or experience in journalism, both Jenna Bush and Chelsea Clinton were hired by major American networks as on-air correspondents, joining a slew of others whose sole qualification was being born to powerful parents.

Dynasty's in US Politics are dangerous.

Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and the Money


by Dean Baker

It's not just that politicians want to act to curry the favor of the rich and powerful, more typically they identify with the interests of the rich and powerful so that they don't even see themselves as compromising a principle.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has made the corrupting role of money in politics a centerpiece of his campaign. He has argued that because campaign contributions by the rich pay for political campaigns, they are able to control the political process. This gives us a political system that is very effective at serving Wall Street and the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. It is much less effective at serving the needs of ordinary people.

This has created an interesting dynamic in the race for the Democratic nomination. Secretary Hillary Clinton has flipped Sanders' claim around and challenged him to show where she has reversed a position to serve the moneyed interests. This might be a useful campaign tactic, but it misrepresents the way in which money affects campaigns.


If this sounds strange, let's imagine a slightly different scenario. Suppose Senator Sanders had spent four years in President Obama's cabinet during which time he did everything he could to try to break up the big banks and have corporate criminals put behind bars. Does anyone believe Goldman Sachs would pay him $250,000 to recount his experiences?

5 Reasons the Top (Marginal) Tax Rate Should Be 80 Percent

Looks like Bernie is correct - AGAIN!


It came up in the Republican debate again, the curious notion that striving for less inequality is somehow a form of "class warfare." The implication is that the richest people earned everything they have through their own initiative and hard work. But most of them have exploited an American financial system that has facilitated the transfer of our national wealth to the people who manage that wealth.

Informed Americans understand that an economic war has been waged against the middle and lower classes. As a result, there are at least five good reasons why the tax rate on the upper classes should be MUCH higher.

1. Massive Redistribution Has Occurred. Upward.

Total U.S. wealth increased by a stunning 60 percent since 2009, from $54 trillion to $86 trillion, but 3/4 of that massive increase went to the richest 10% of Americans. According to the New York Times, the wealthiest Americans have formed an "income defense industry" to shelter their riches, with, "a high-priced phalanx of lawyers, estate planners, lobbyists and anti-tax activists who exploit and defend a dizzying array of tax maneuvers, virtually none of them available to taxpayers of more modest means." From 2003 to 2012 the average income tax rate paid by the richest 1% went down, while for the 99% it went up.

2. Subsidies to the Rich are SIX Times Greater Than Subsidies to the Poor

The cost of the entire Safety Net is only about ONE-SIXTH of the $2.2 trillion in tax expenditures, tax underpayments, tax havens, and corporate nonpayment, the great majority of which went to the richest Americans.
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