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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

How Sanders Exposes the Democratic Establishment's Neoliberal Underbelly


A view from abroad

"It looks as though Clintonites are fast discovering that as far as the Sanders platform is concerned, progressives cannot have Wall Street and their equality politics too."

On Friday April 2nd, President Obama observed, in a gently scolding tone, that “people pay attention to American elections”, and indeed they do. The pantomime-like atmosphere of US Presidential campaigns has a frenetic and transfixing appeal, as do the gaffs and quips and dressing downs generally, but there is more to the drawing in of international bystanders than entertainment. The outcomes of US elections are duly noted and folded into the daily efforts of almost everyone on the planet to navigate a world vacuum packed by globalisation. What happens in America doesn’t stay in America. What changes America changes everything.

Certainly few races have been quite as revealing or compelling as the last few months of the Presidential Primaries. The increasing absurdity of the Trump extravaganza has focussed international incredulity to a point of high mania. Undoubtedly, mainstream political commentators did not expect Trump to get so far, but then no one expected Sanders to still be in contention either. Where Trump has become the media’s go to sideshow, Sanders has been maligned and ignored, treatment which has oddly, oxygenated both campaigns. The refusal of Sanders to politely bow out when the Clinton corner gave the nod has infuriated Democratic Party faithfuls, and ratcheted up antagonisms between camps from the centre to the far left and everywhere in between. If Trump represents some kind of Rubicon moment for Republicans, then Bernie is staging a pretty seismic shakedown too.


Wall Street Should Pay a Sales Tax, Too


When a high-rolling trader buys millions of dollars' worth of stocks or derivatives, there's no levy at all.

In case there was any doubt, the presidential election fight has confirmed that blasting Wall Street, even eight years after the financial crisis, is still a vote-getter.

Hillary Clinton has said she’d like to jail more bankers. Donald Trump has skewered the hedge fund managers who are “getting away with murder.” And Bernie Sanders has made Wall Street accountability a centerpiece of his campaign.

Of course, financial industry lobbyists aren’t about to take this lying down. (FB- Please note that Barney Frank is know on the Board of one of the large WS Banks making him a lobbyist and corporate stooge) In recent weeks, they’ve turned up the heat on lawmakers to block one particular measure that Sanders has mentioned in nearly every stump speech: taxing Wall Street speculation.

Americans are used to paying sales taxes on basic goods and services, like a spring jacket, a gallon of gas, or a restaurant meal. But when a Wall Street trader buys millions of dollars’ worth of stocks or derivatives, there’s no tax at all.

Sanders has introduced a bill called the Inclusive Prosperity Act
, which would correct that imbalance by placing a small tax of just a fraction of a percent on all financial trades. It wouldn’t apply to ordinary consumer transactions such as ATM withdrawals or wire transfers.


Bernie out front and leading yet again. Hillary, No We Can't

Michigan governor Rick Snyder faces racketeering lawsuit over Flint water crisis

Well Here's some welcome news! - FB


The lawsuit brought by Flint residents alleges the two-year crisis was the result of ‘intentional’ actions by state officials to cut costs amid bankruptcy fears

A federal racketeering lawsuit by hundreds of resident in Flint, Michigan , is alleging the city’s two-year water crisis was the result of an“intentional scheme” crafted by state officials and Michigan governor Rick Snyder to balance the city’s budget.

In a press conference announcing the 17-count racketeer influenced and corrupt organizations ( Rico ) complaint on Wednesday, attorneys said the state of Michigan ran Flint’s day-to-day operations through an emergency manager, who prioritized balancing the city’s budget through a cost-cutting measure: switching Flint’s water source in April 2014 from Lake Huron, which serviced the city for more than 50 years, to a local river.

Clinton Machine on the Ropes as Sanders Takes Momentum to NY


New York primary has become 'the war to settle the score' after Sanders sweeps seven out of eight recent match-ups

Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton is on her heels having now lost seven of the past eight presidential nominating contests, thrusting the upcoming primary in New York front and center.

"This is the war to settle the score," declared Van Jones, CNN correspondent and former green jobs adviser to President Barack Obama, on Democracy Now! Wednesday. "New York City is the capital of the world and two titanic forces in the Democratic Party are clashing on the world stage in New York City."

A Brooklyn native, Sen. Bernie Sanders is no stranger to New York and after securing yet another double-digit win in Wisconsin on Tuesday, he has set his sights on a real showdown in the Empire State. Jones cautioned against "assuming" a Clinton win there, which he pointed out is her "third declared home state" after Arkansas and Illinois.


"Clinton now faces the unavoidable fact that she must win New York by a convincing margin or face a barrage of questions about whether her campaign is faltering," Politico's Gabriel Debenedetti reported Wednesday.

In Fact, Sanders Has a Very Clear Plan on How to Break Up Too-Big-to-Fail Banks


Sanders campaign, analysts counter media frenzy lambasting Daily News interview

Following suggestions that he somehow "bungled" when asked about how he would, if elected president, break up Wall Street's largest and most dangerous institutions, the Bernie Sanders campaign on Tuesday offered a detailed explanation of how he would end "too-big-to-fail' banks."

Sparking corporate media's "great feeding frenzy" was an interview the presidential candidate had April 1 with the New York Daily News editorial board, the transcript of which was published online Monday.

The Washington Post described it as "pretty close to a disaster," while Jeremy Stahl wrote at Slate that Sanders "appeared to struggle" on the details of how to break up the big banks.

Hillary Clinton also seized on the interview, sending the transcript to supporters in a fundraising email that stated: "even on his signature issue of breaking up the banks, he's unable to answer basic questions about how he'd go about doing it." She also told MSNBC's Morning Joe on Wednesday, "The core of his campaign has been breaking up the banks, and it didn’t seem in reading his answers that he would understand exactly how that would work under Dodd-Frank."

But as New York Times finance and business reporter Peter Eavis argued, "taken as a whole, Mr. Sanders's answers seem to make sense. Crucially, his answers mostly track with a reasonably straightforward breakup plan that he introduced to Congress last year."

While Clinton Backed 2011 Trade Deal, Sanders Foresaw Panama Papers Fiasco


'Panama is a world leader when it comes to allowing wealthy Americans and large corporations to evade US taxes,' Sanders told Congress in 2011.

Who could have predicted that the global tax evasion by the world's ultra-rich, made public this week with the release of the Panama Papers, was ushered in with the help of a free trade agreement?

Turns out, Sen. Bernie Sanders did.

In fiery speech before the U.S. Senate in 2011, Bernie Sanders declared his "strong opposition" to the "unfettered free trade agreements" with Korea, Columbia, and Panama—agreements that were being pushed for by both President Barack Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sanders' current rival for the Democratic nomination.

"Panama is a world leader when it comes to allowing wealthy Americans and large corporations to evade U.S. taxes by stashing their cash in off-shore tax havens," Sanders stated. "And, the Panama Free Trade Agreement would make this bad situation much worse."


Bernie - Correct again, Hillary, wrong and supporting the Corporate line - as usual

TPP Would Fuel Climate Chaos and Empower Corporate Polluters


Many pundits were caught off-guard by the transpartisan fury over America’s trade policy rocking the presidential primary season. But it’s no surprise to me. I grew up in a working class family in Kenosha, Wisconsin. So I know why Americans have had enough of shiny promises, job-killing trade deals and Wall Street bailouts that propel ordinary people into an economic nose dive.

Hard working Americans of all political stripes recognize when the rules have been rigged against them, because they live day-to-day with the results. No doubt revolutionary change is an appealing alternative.

Since the North American Free Trade (NAFTA) and World Trade Organization agreements in the mid-1990s, America has lost more than five million manufacturing jobs net. Millions of service sector jobs also have been offshored.


It’s not hypothetical. Under similar NAFTA provisions, TransCanada is now demanding $15 billion in U.S. taxpayer compensation because our government (rightly) opposed construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Obama, Hillary and the DNC are on the wrong side of History and the American People on this .

A historian explains why Bernie Sanders is right about the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act


Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are talking tough about Wall Street reform. But only Bernie Sanders is advocating a reprise of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act, specifically that section of the Depression-era act that had prohibited commercial banks and investment banks from operating under the same roof. Sanders believes that the repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1999 led to the formation of banks that became “too big to fail,” contributed to the financial crisis in 2008—and will lead to another crisis without corrective legislation.

Most observers think Sanders is on a quixotic quest and, with Wall Street’s political power, the chances of any revival of Glass-Steagall are, like his election to the presidency, slim. Yet Sanders has a strong argument, one that can be effectively made using Citigroup, the two-century old bank that, along with other Wall Street banks, has a history of wreaking havoc on itself and the economy when it mixes commercial banking with investment banking


Even Sandy Weill—who once was proud to be referred to on Wall Street as the “Shatterer of Glass-Steagall”—now seems to agree. In a 2012 interview on CNBC he said, “What we should probably do is go and split up investment banking form banking. Have the banks do something that’s not going to risk the taxpayer dollars, that’s not going to be too big to fail.”


Bernie, correct again. Hillary, Wrong as usual.

Robert Reich: Here’s why mainstream media marginalizes Bernie Sanders


There are 22 states to go with nearly 45 percent of pledged delegates still up for grabs – and Sanders has positive momentum in almost all of them.

Bernie did well last weekend but he can’t possibly win the nomination,” a friend told me for what seemed like the thousandth time, attaching an article from the Washington Post that shows how far behind Bernie remains in delegates.

Wait a minute. Last Tuesday, Sanders won 78 percent of the vote in Idaho and 79 percent in Utah. This past Saturday, he took 82 percent of the vote in Alaska, 73 percent in Washington, and 70 percent in Hawaii.

In fact, since mid-March, Bernie has won six out of the seven Democratic primary contests with an average margin of victory of 40 points. Those victories have given him roughly a one hundred additional pledged delegates.

Voters Keep Investing in Sanders' Revolution, Making Clinton Nervous


The Bernie Sanders campaign has raised 66 percent of its money from donors giving less than $200

As Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton continue to spar over fossil fuel donations, The Hill reports Saturday that Sanders' $44 million March haul "has broken new ground for online political fundraising."

The Sanders campaign announced Friday that it raised more money in March than it did during its record-breaking February. The Democratic presidential hopeful has now received 6.5 million contributions from 2 million donors. Of the $184 million total raised by his campaign so far, 97 percent was given online. The average contribution is just $27.

Reporter Jonathan Swan writes: "His record-breaking sums come in spite of the fact that Sanders relies on small-dollar donors instead of well-financed millionaires and associated super-PACs and does not have a traditional finance team."

According to The Hill's analysis of FEC filings, Clinton "has raised only 18 percent of her money from donors giving less than $200, giving her a narrower fundraising base than Sanders. Sanders’s campaign has raised 66 percent of its money from donors giving less than $200."
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