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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

Hillary Will Never Admit Publicly That She Supports Fracking, But She's a Booster Behind Closed Door


There's only one presidential candidate who forthrightly supports a ban on fracking: Bernie Sanders.

Hillary Clinton fielded a question about whether she supports fracking in Sunday’s Democratic presidential debate.

Here’s her equivocal answer and a rebuttal:


Wonder how much of this is addressed in the Wall Street Speeches?

ANd before you defend Fracking and worry about the price of oil watch "Gasland" and address the health problems it is and will be causing.

How Bernie Sanders' Solutions Would Dramatically Improve Wages, Poverty and Inequality


A handy guide to explain the specifics of Sanders' economic agenda.

Senator Bernie Sanders has proposed an ambitious program of social reform, including regulatory changes to raise wages and protect workers’ rights, progressive tax reforms, and universal health insurance (Improved Medicare for All). Taken together, these policies would not only dramatically increase employment and national income, but would also raise wages, reduce poverty, and narrow the gap between rich and poor Americans.

The Sanders program will end wage stagnation. (See Figure 1.) I project that, under the Sanders program, real wages would grow by 2.5% a year, returning to the growth rates of the late 1990s. Faster wage growth would result from

1) faster economic growth, which would raise wages by improving the bargaining position of workers, and
2) government regulations restoring the real value of the minimum wage and protecting workers’ rights to overtime pay, equal pay for women, and workers’ right to organize unions.

In addition, universal health insurance financed through progressive taxation would lift the burden of health insurance premiums off workers and employers, freeing up employers’ expenses on labor to be paid in higher money wages.


What's Hillary's Plan?

Sanders Accepts Challenge to Kill TPP If Elected... Nothing from Clinton So Far


Talking trade policy in Ohio, Sanders also picks up key endorsement from Congresswomen Marcy Kaptur

Accepting a challenge and passing it on ahead of primary voting in Ohio and elsewhere on Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders vowed that if elected president he would refuse to present the contoversial TransPacific Partnership (TPP) agreement to Congress and asked his rival Hillary Clinton to join him in that pledge.

America could have no stronger Democratic leader for jobs in America, for fair trade and for economic progress for all, not just the privileged few, than Bernie Sanders." —Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio)

As he spoke about trade policy and other key issues to a packed indoor stadium in Toledo on Friday night, Sanders told the crowd that if voters turn out in the manner they did recently in Michigan, his campaign will continue to surprise pollsters and the establishment media pundits who have continually downplayed the seriousness of his campaign and its supporters.

What Was Hillary Thinking? A History of Poor Decision-Making


We cannot afford to elect a President with a history bad judgement, inconsistent positions, and who has used public service as a vehicle for private gain. In other words, we cannot afford the status-quo.

What was Hillary thinking when she supported Barry Goldwater -- a dyed-in-the-wool Republican who voted against the Civil Rights Act -- for president in 1964?

What was she thinking when she voted to authorize the war in Iraq despite having access to confidential information from the intelligence community that clearly stated that Iraq did not represent an imminent threat to the United States?

What was she thinking when she supported NAFTA? A bad trade deal between the US, Mexico, and Canada that cost American's over 700,000 good manufacturing jobs because it made it easy, inexpensive, and cost effective for manufacturers and big businesses to relocate or outsource their workforce.

Or when she called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) "the gold standard in trade agreements"? The same trade agreement that would force American workers to compete for jobs with South East Asia workers who earn $0.56 per hour?


We cannot survive repeated lousy judgement and Status Quo thinking

Why Bernie May Have a Better Shot at Winning in November Than Hillary


The nomination remains an uphill fight, but Sanders’s victory in Michigan demonstrates his unique ability to mobilize working-class voters.


But Tuesday’s Michigan primary made me rethink my beliefs on the relative strengths of the Bern and the Hill. A key reason for Sanders’s Michigan victory was his record of opposition to the trade deals of the past quarter-century, the deals that decimated the once-industrial Midwest. Sanders’s credibility on this issue can’t be challenged; voters understand that it’s part and parcel of his opposition to any policy that benefits capital at labor’s expense.

Nearly 60 percent of voters in Michigan’s Democratic primary believed (correctly) that trade deals had eliminated more jobs than they created. For that matter, 55 percent of voters in the state’s Republican primary believed the same. And not surprisingly, Sanders captured the lion’s share of the trade skeptics in the Democratic contest, as Donald Trump did in the Republican one.

Not just because they were misled by the polling, many in the media expressed surprise at the level of anger in both parties directed at the nation’s free trade policies of the past three decades. But the widespread rage at the offshoring of American manufacturing should have been apparent to anyone with a modicum of interest in how the other half lives. Even for those who didn’t wish to subject themselves to tours of abandoned factory towns, there have been surveys. This January, a poll conducted for the Roosevelt Institute and the Democracy Corps by Stanley Greenberg’s firm found that the percentage of independents who viewed NAFTA unfavorably exceeded those who viewed it favorably by 27 percent. Independent voters also opposed the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership by a margin of 29 percent. Among Republicans, the negative views exceeded the positive ones by 23 for NAFTA and 33 percent for the TPP. No wonder Trump has brought new voters into the GOP primaries: He’s the first Republican candidate since the 1930s to voice an opposition to trade deals, even though that opposition is shared by a clear majority of GOP voters.

Bernie Is Mainstream


Although his opponents seek to paint him as too far left, Bernie Sanders' views are mainstream. At Wednesday's Washington Post-Univision debate in Miami, for example, Hillary Clinton argued that Sanders' ideas are not realistic and too expensive. "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is," Clinton said. In fact, the ideas that Sanders has injected into the campaign are hardly radical. Sanders is in sync with the majority of Americans on most key issues.

Here's a brief run-down:

Big Business

About three-quarters (74 percent) of Americans -- including 84 percent of Democrats, 72 percent of independents, and 62 percent of Republicans -- believe that corporations have too much influence on American life and politics today, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll. In contrast, only 37 percent think that labor unions exercise too much influence.

The Pew Research Center discovered that 60 percent of Americans -- including 75 percent of Democrats -- believed that "the economic system in this country unfairly favors the wealthy."

Fifty-eight percent of Americans said they would support breaking up "big banks like Citigroup," a key plank of Sanders' platform and the goal of a bill that Sanders sponsored in the Senate.

Seventy-three percent of Americans favor tougher rules for Wall Street financial companies, versus 17 percent who oppose stronger regulation.

Sixty-four percent of Americans strongly or somewhat favor regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, factories and cars and requiring utilities to generate more power from "clean" low-carbon sources.

Progressive Taxation

More than three-quarters of Americans....

Inequality and Poverty


Money in Politics


Minimum Wage and Workers' Rights


Health Care and Social Security


Higher Education


Same-Sex Marriage

Michigan Breakthrough Shows Rust Belt Bern Could Lift Sanders


Sanders' message of economic populism transcended demographics in Michigan

As pollsters, pundits, and the Hillary Clinton campaign continue to reel from Bernie Sanders' stunning upset in Michigan on Tuesday, observers are now breaking down what went right for the once-longshot candidate and what it could mean moving forward in the Democratic primary.

Sanders' presidential campaign has been defined by his focus on economic populism, which has been ridiculed by Clinton for being "single issue." However, in a state like Michigan, that has been hit particularly hard by economic recession, the Vermont senator's steadfast messaging—which includes a critique of corporate power, Wall Street, and trade deals that have crippled the nation's working class—was arguably his greatest asset.

International Business Times (IBT) senior editor David Sirota, reporting on Michigan exit polling, notes that "58 percent of those who voted in Michigan’s Democratic presidential primary said that trade with other countries takes away American jobs—and of those, 58 percent voted for Sanders." The final tally had Sanders with 49.8 percent of the vote, compared with Clinton's 48.3 percent.

A $15 Minimum Wage Is What We Need - and Here's Why the Attacks on It Are Bogus


Let’s keep our eye on the prize: employees taking home money that allows them to survive.

Throughout a century of public debate, business lobbyists, trade associations, and the economic right have portrayed minimum wages as harmful to business. The criticisms raised by minimum-wage opponents display a remarkable consistency over the past hundred years, despite huge changes in our economy. Data and experience, in other words, have been irrelevant to those who oppose higher minimum wages. This is not because minimum wages actually cause widespread harm to business—the evidence is quite the opposite. It has nothing to do with the greater good of the American economy or the average American worker. It is because some conservative politicians, low-wage industry lobbyists, and large business associations (such as the National Restaurant Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) habitually reject any “interference” in their pursuit of corporate profits. But it’s not just the big-business–right-wing nexus that has created a political environment in which wage hikes are seen as potentially toxic moves. Over the past four decades, liberals also have largely accepted the trickle-down explanation of what growth is (higher profits, rather than more jobs and higher wages) and where growth comes from (lower taxes and less regulation on businesses and the wealthy). Since the late 1970s, even most liberal Democratic proposals have done little more than tinker around the edges of century-old minimum-wage laws, increasing the wage by a quarter here and fifty cents there, allowing its value to erode precipitously over the past decades, afraid to claim the moral and economic center.

And so through Republican and Democratic administrations alike, corporate America has fought for and won less regulation, lower taxes, and higher profits, while middle-class America has gotten the shaft— policies that helped lead to the economic disaster of the Great Recession and the slow recovery that followed. For a generation, America’s political class has lacked the vision or courage to articulate or defend the true interests of American workers and the middle class.

Decoding Hillary: The Truth Vs. What She Claims About Her Wall St. Record


Even when she tries to act tough on banks, Clinton can't hide her Wall Street ties.

"I went to Wall Street when I was a United States senator. I told them they were wrecking the economy. I asked for a moratorium on foreclosures. I asked that we do more to try to prevent what I worried was going to happen. I also called for closing loopholes including the carried interest loophole. I also called for changes in CEO pay. I have a record."

This was one of the most truthful and revealing responses Hillary has made during the entire campaign. It came during the Flint debate when asked when she would release her Wall Street speech transcripts. (Full debate transcript here.)

What is she really saying? As a senator from New York I have a personal relationship with these guys. I can talk sense to them. They will listen to me.

To Hillary this is playing a strong hand. To everyone else it shows weakness and a startling naïveté about power.

For starters, they obviously blew her off. She got nothing. We got nothing.

"I asked for a moratorium." They didn't do it.
"I asked that we do more to try to prevent what I worried was going to happen." It happened.
"I also called for closing loopholes including the carried interest loopholes. None were closed even when the Democrats
controlled both houses and the presidency.
"I also called for changes in CEO pay." Didn't happen.

Hillary is admitting that neither Wall Street nor her colleagues in the Senate listened to her. In short, she was incredibly ineffectual when it came to reining in Wall Street. And this comes from someone who claims she can get things done in the real world.

"I have a record."

Hillary believes her ineffectual votes and failed meetings add up to a record. They do. But not the one she would like us to see.


What is she really saying? As a senator from New York I have a personal relationship with these guys. I can talk sense to them. They will listen to me.

Remember when Bush said the price of Oil wouldn't be a problem because he knew the Saudis and could "Jawbone with them" ?

Why Bernie Sanders Is the Democratic Party’s Best Hope to Win the White House in November


What many expected to be a coronation for establishment candidate Hillary Clinton has morphed into a pitched battle for the soul of the Democratic Party. Despite all the corporate media hype to the contrary, the long slog to the Democratic nomination is just getting started. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and Bernie Sanders knows a thing or two about winning cross-country races.

For a campaign as clearly vulnerable as the Clinton campaign to be assuming victory so early in the nomination process is rather breathtaking in its hubris. Fortunately, we live in a democracy, not a monarchy, and voters in 31 more states will decide who carries the Democratic banner into the general election.


"Bernie is blazing a hopeful path to the future


In “Unless the Democrats Run Sanders, a Trump Nomination Means a Trump Presidency,” Current Affairs editor Nathan J. Robinson spells out why Sanders is the Democratic Party’s best hope against Donald Trump: “A Clinton match-up is highly likely to be an unmitigated electoral disaster, whereas a Sanders candidacy stands a far better chance. Every one of Clinton’s (considerable) weaknesses plays to every one of Trump’s strengths… From a purely pragmatic standpoint, running Clinton against Trump is a disastrous, suicidal proposition.” I agree. It would be foolhardy for Democrats to take a chance on Hillary in 2016.
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