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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

Panama Papers: The Sham of Austerity and the Storms to Come



...We need education budget cuts, no infrastructure repair, no health care reform, because look, see, we're broke.

No, we aren't. We were robbed, and we can get that money back if we choose to act. This is a fiction we live in, cunningly crafted to cover the tracks of those who care only for themselves. Between the bloated "defense" budget and all that untaxed money lying offshore, we have the revenue required to address these pressing issues and chase the "austerity" argument off like a diseased cur.

But will we? There is a distinct possibility that the leading candidates for the highest office in the land, their friends and top donors, are hidden in the pages of the Panama Papers. We may never know, because according to the Guardian, much of the content will remain secret, sealed off, buried.


There is another storm coming, rumbling the deep thunder of discontent just over the horizon. Those who stole from our present and future would do well to heed that noise. If and when that storm does come, it will not be my little girl who is afraid. It will be them.


There is ONLY 1 candidate who is on the correct side of this incredible problem - and always has been.

It is not possible for a Clinton to fix this, even IF they wanted to. They are in too deep.

Paul Krugman Is Not Making Much Sense


He needs a reality check. His screed against Sanders in the NY Times misses the boat completely.

Paul Krugman has been a voice in the wilderness for liberals for decades. But when he issues screeds in the Times against Bernie Sanders’ alleged lack of policy credentials and Sanders’ “petulant self-righteous” followers, he misses the boat completely.

Krugman needs a reality check: Wonkish policy details about economic reform are irrelevant. Sanders isn’t an economist. Neither is Clinton. As president, his economic initiatives will have more to do with whom he surrounds himself, not with whether or not he gets it exactly right about the role of the “big banks” in the 2007 Great Recession.

And Sanders is right enough. Big banks, with their bloated indebtedness and irresponsible lending and support for risky derivatives that even they didn’t always understand contributed greatly to the meltdown. Further, these bankers took the bailout money they received from taxpayers and gave themselves big bonuses the next year (until they were shamed into temporarily rescinding them). So, Sanders, I expect, will surround himself not with Wall Street insiders like Lawrence Summers and Timothy Geithner (these are more likely Hilary supporters and fellow-travelers) but, instead, with progressive economists like Dean Baker, Joseph Stiglitz, Robert Reich, and Krugman, himself. The economic policy details that Krugman now demands will most likely emerge from this Sanders-led brain trust, not from a candidate interview with the N.Y. Daily News.

Furthermore, I think Krugman should quit being a martyr by repeatedly saying that Bernie supporters are out there accusing him and other anti-Sanders ideologues of being “corrupt or even criminal.”....


Krugman should get his head out of his “inside-the-academic economics-blogosphere” and think about real world politics for a change.

........ we know when we’re being screwed and we resonate when a candidate acknowledges that fact.

Who Has Two Thumbs And Is Wrong About The Financial Crisis? ... This Krug man.


Somebody is wrong on the Internet, and his name is Paul Krugman.

It is hard for liberal America when Krugman is wrong, because he is liberal America’s best — and most important — economic columnist.

In a column on Friday devoted to hitting Bernie Sanders for a long list of transgressions, Krugman said the financial “crisis itself was centered not on big banks but on ‘shadow banks’ like Lehman Brothers that weren’t necessarily that big.”

You read that correctly: Big banks didn’t cause the financial crisis, and Lehman Brothers, which was a shadow bank, known less creepily as a non-bank financial institution, wasn’t even that big.

Lehman Brothers had a peak market cap of $60 billion just 18 months before it collapsed. When it failed, it was the fourth-largest U.S. investment bank, and with $600 billion in assets became the largest bankruptcy in the country’s history.

But never mind the numbers. Even Paul Krugman can agree that Paul Krugman’s column today is wrong.

Who do you think is more qualified, Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton?

ON M$NBC website. This must be putting a kink in Tweety's colon

Granted, not scientific but interesting

72,000 votes cast so far

66,000 for Bernie
6,116 for Hillary


Sherman, Set the Wayback - Keith Olbermann Special Comment: Clinton-Obama Assassination

Keith Olbermann delivers a special comment about Hillary Clinton and her recent reference to Robert Kennedy's assassination and the inference to why she is continuing her campaign. "My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it."
She's Sorry Again
I'm not saying she literally hopes he dies soon. (Plus, she's apologized, so case closed, right?) But Hillary didn't mean what she said this time just like she wasn't exactly shouting out to hardworking white people, and Bill didn't quite say Jesse equals Barack, and her surrogates never meant to push the whole image of him as a druggie in the 'hood, and she never meant to reanimate the whole highly racial Jeremiah Wright hoo-ha by saying—gosh darn the timing, just as things were dying down—that he woulda never been her pick for pastor. But either Hillary Clinton is one smart, savvy, and occasionally even on-message politician—in which case she is well aware of what it means to reference the possible assassination of a black leader in this country—or she isn't and doesn't. It can't be both.

No such thing as an accident
I think we know exactly what Hillary meant:
"Nice nominee you got there... sure would be a shame if anything happened to him."
Awfully big-hearted of her to be willing to stick around through August, just in case....

Hillary's Inability to Grapple With Inequality Is Making Her Vulnerable to Bernie in New York


Clinton is tone deaf on education debt and young voters are wary.

Establishment politicians running for high office live and breathe elaborate focus group-tested lines. In time, they become those lines. But every now and then, extreme political pressures can force a few unscripted words to slip through. And when that happens, we gain a rare glimpse of the candidate's deeper understanding of their world and our world, and the gap between the two.

Hillary Clinton suffered such a moment on Tuesday afternoon while speaking at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn. Before taking the podium she already knew from internal polling that Sanders was going to win handily in Wisconsin. That meant she would be a loser in six of the last seven states, and by landslides, no less. Her staff is telling her not to worry; all the math on her size. Her delegate lead is so large Sanders can't possibly overtake her.

But Hillary is not stupid. She saw Sanders draw 18,000 people in the Bronx, virtually all people of color, and that was before his latest Wisconsin victory. She knows that nothing is set in stone if your opponent is clobbering you in primary after primary. Political momentum is something to fear and could infect the big states like New York and California.

On top of that, young people are giving Bernie more than 80% of their votes. Even large majorities of young black and Latino voters are flocking to Sanders. How can that be?

Dean Baker: DC Press Corps Spins Itself Silly Over Sanders’ Specifics


The Washington press corps has gone into one of its great feeding frenzies over Bernie Sanders’ interview with New York Daily News. Sanders avoided specific answers to many of the questions posed, which the DC gang are convinced shows a lack of the knowledge necessary to be president.

Among the frenzied were the Washington Post‘s Chris Cillizza, The Atlantic‘s David Graham and Vanity Fair‘s Tina Nguyen, with CNN‘s Dylan Byers telling about it all. Having read the transcript of the interview, I would say that I certainly would have liked to see more specificity in Sanders’ answers, but I’m an economist. And some of the complaints are just silly.

When asked how he would break up the big banks, Sanders said he would leave that up to the banks. That’s exactly the right answer. The government doesn’t know the most efficient way to break up JP Morgan; JP Morgan does. If the point is to downsize the banks, the way to do it is to give them a size cap and let them figure out the best way to reconfigure themselves to get under it.

And the fact that Sanders didn’t know the specific statute—who cares?

"The DC press corps that goes nuts because Bernie Sanders doesn’t know the name of the statute under which he would prosecute bank fraud thinks a guy who calls for eliminating most of the federal government (Paul Ryan) is a great budget wonk.

Naomi Klein Explains Why Clinton's "Corporate Worldview" Cannot Be Ignored


Clinton's historically "pro-corporate ideology" shows she does not have the willingness to take on "fossil fuel companies and the banks that finance them."

Whatever Bernie Sanders thinks of Hillary Clinton's presidential qualifications, the former secretary of state is "uniquely unsuited" to the task of stopping climate change, author and activist Naomi Klein writes in a new op-ed for The Nation .

Combating climate change "requires a willingness to go head-to-head with the two most powerful industries on the planet—fossil fuel companies and the banks that finance them," she writes. "Hillary Clinton is uniquely unsuited to this task."

Among all the uncertainties in the presidential race this year, one thing is certain, Klein says: "The Clinton camp really doesn't like talking about fossil fuel money."

Following her viral face-off with a Greenpeace campaigner last week, Clinton was asked by another climate activist at a Pittsburgh rally on Thursday night if she would reject money from fracking lobbyists—to which Clinton laughed and said, "Read the articles," likely referring to recent reporting by the New York Times and the Washington Post which seemed to debunk the idea that Clinton had taken campaign contributions from oil and gas companies.

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.

Why the Panama Papers Should Be a US Election Issue

The word is that they are going to start releasing the names of Americans involved Can't Wait!


Whether US politicians are named or not, the kind of arrangements that allow the global super-rich to hide their wealth only exist with our leaders’ consent

The massive fallout from the Panama Papers investigation – the largest leak of documents in history, which has exposed the tax affairs of the world’s most powerful people – is being felt globally. (The investigation has already captured its first head of state, in the prime minister of Iceland, who resigned on Tuesday.) Yet, so far, the reaction in the US has been muted.

It shouldn’t be. While the investigation has not named any well-known US citizens – though “just wait for what is coming next”, as one of the lead editors said – the scandal should be a critical issue in US presidential election. This is especially true in the Democratic primary, where the story once again calls into question free trade agreements which the party’s elite have been pushing on its rank-and-file for years.

What makes this story particularly relevant is that it was partly predicted by Bernie Sanders when the Obama administration signed the Panama free trade agreement in 2011.

At the time, Sanders gave a prescient speech warning of the exact kind of scandal exposed by the Panama Papers. As Congress was debating the deal, Sanders said on the Senate floor: “Panama is a world leader when it comes to allowing wealthy Americans and large corporations to evade US taxes by stashing their cash in offshore tax havens. And the Panama free trade agreement would make this bad situation much worse.” (The speech is now going viral on Facebook.)
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