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Jefferson23's Journal
Jefferson23's Journal
April 20, 2016

Sanders Vows to Fight Until the Convention Despite New York Loss

Despite Hillary Clinton's double digit win in New York State, the Sanders campaign insists they have a path to victory in the Democratic primary


Sanders Vows to Fight Until the Convention Despite New York Loss(THIS TRANSCRIPT WILL BE UPDATED)

HILLARY CLINTON: Thank you, New York!


Hillary Clinton secured a crucial victory in the Democratic New York State primary on Tuesday April 19th, but the Sanders campaign has vowed to fight until the convention. Republican front-runner Donald Trump easily secured victory in his home state.

DONALD TRUMP: We are close to 70%, and we are going to end on a very high level, and get a lot more delegates then anybody projected, even in their wildest dreams.

NOOR: Former Secretary of State Hillary CLinton handily defeated opponent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders by double digits, picking up 129 delegates to Sanders 98. The election was marred by voting irregularities and news over 100 thousands voters had been stricken from the voting rolls.

HILLARY CLINTON: The race for the Democratic nomination is in the home stretch and victory is in sight!"

NOOR: The Clinton campaign had the full weight of the state’s democratic party leadership behind it with Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio stumping on her behalf. Clinton supporters have argued Sanders can’t against defeat a Republican opponent in a potential a November match-up, despite polls showing otherwise. Exit poll data showed Clinton winning majorities of Latino and African American voters.

The Sanders campaign had predicted a victory in New York, outspending Clinton, & mobilizing the full weight of its extensive grassroots campaign. Sanders did not address supporters after results were announced, instead traveling to Vermont to quote " get recharged and take a day off." His campaign is faced renewed calls from pundits like Chuck Todd to step aside.

CHUCK TODD: He's got an opportunity, he could lose the battle for the nomination, but win the long-term ideological war, if he plays his cards right.

How does he act as a candidate tomorrow morning? Is he again the head of a movement or does he go and hard nose after Hillary Clinton like he's done the past five days.

NOOR: But in Vermont, Sanders told reporters he’s going to fight onto the convention.

From Baltimore, this is Jaisal Noor

April 19, 2016

The Real Reason Millennials Love Bernie Sanders

Nikhil Goyal is the author of Schools on Trial. He has volunteered for Bernie Sanders' campaign.

Sanders may be a disheveled old white dude, but he’s also one of us

Pundits and analysts have been scrambling to understand how a white, male 74-year-old democratic socialist from Vermont has been able to acquire remarkable stardom among the youth. Bernie Sanders has trounced Hillary Clinton in poll after poll among voters under 30. A recent survey of 1,000 Americans aged 18 to 26 found that he is the most respected political figure, and that more would prefer to have dinner with him than Beyonce, Kanye West and Justin Bieber. What’s going on?

When you talk to the members of my generation, it all makes sense.

We are living in an age that is the product of austerity measures, deregulation, skyrocketing student-loan debt, high unemployment and a lack of affordable housing. Many of us cannot remember a time when the U.S. was not dropping bombs on the Middle East. Democratic socialism sounds like a much better alternative than our current system.

So when a disheveled old white dude comes along and says our society is rigged for the rich, perpetual warfare is not the answer, and people of color should not be slaughtered by the police—and then asks for our help and a few dollars to bring about a revolution—you’re damn right we’re going to stand with him.

Sanders is the only candidate who has been a champion of the oppressed throughout his entire political career—even when it was not popular. He refuses to be bought by Wall Street or the defense, fossil fuel, insurance, drug and private prison industries. And he has a policy platform rooted in the interests of the poor and working class. From calling for corporations to start paying their fair share of taxes to breaking up the Wall Street banks to raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour to dismantling institutional racism, he has radical, bold visions for transforming this nation.

Sanders’ supporters like myself are declaring: Our institutions and the political and economic establishment have been royally screwing us over, and we’re not going to take it anymore.

One of the common lines of attack from Clinton is that Sanders’ proposals are impractical and “pie in the sky.” And yes, single-payer health care, free public college, campaign finance reform, and racial, economic, and climate justice may seem unrealistic today. But so did the crusades for civil rights and marriage equality. Unless we fight for our dreams and what arguably belongs to us as human beings—a life of freedom and dignity—we will never achieve any of it.

When Clinton was a U.S. Senator, she visited my middle school in New York. Two years ago, I met her for the first time and spoke on a panel about revolutionizing education at the Clinton Global Initiative University. My familiarity with her political record makes me more enthusiastic to vote for Sanders.

Many of us young people can see through Clinton’s faux progressivism. We are not fooled by her many political calculations and evolutions. We believe that voting for the Iraq War should disqualify a candidate from ever holding public office again, and that taking money from financial institutions that destroyed the livelihoods of so many American families is blatantly immoral.

The insurgency of the Sanders campaign also arrives at a moment in American history when there is a wave of civil disobedience and direct action for social justice, especially on colleges campuses. “Bernie is a protestor,” observed Erica Garner, the daughter of the late Eric Garner, the black man who was killed by police on Staten Island in 2014. As a student at the University of Chicago, Sanders fought against segregated schools and housing, and was once arrested at a protest of the city’s segregated public schools.

Sanders’ theory of change is in tune with young people and remains sound: Change always comes from the bottom up. He’s one of us. Perhaps his greatest accomplishment is inspiring millions of people to participate in our political process for the first time. Whether young Sanders supporters win the battle this time is unforeseen, but we will win the war. We are the future of the Democratic Party. As a 20-year-old native New Yorker, there is no politician I would be more delighted to cast my first vote for today.

Vote for the Bern


April 17, 2016

They can't figure out how to make Bernie look like a hypocrite and prove he's sold out

progressives. The reason they can't is due to their endless EMPTY spinning.

Bernie has the RIGHT to speak to the pope, has the RIGHT to attend the conference,
has the RIGHT to follow his message which he has had FOREVER about greed and
income inequality. Try and remember Clinton supporters, Bernie is NOT OFF
SCRIPT. This is his thing, big hearted, Mr EQUALITY....FOREVER, that is Bernie Sanders.

Good luck, I give you credit for trying.

April 14, 2016

Closing Panama Tax Haven Will Require Fighting the Most Powerful Lobby In the World ( Vote Bernie)

April 14, 2016

Economist Michael Hudson says oil and mining industries and the State Department created Panama and Liberia for the express purpose of tax evasion


Michael Hudson is a Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He is the author of The Bubble and Beyond and Finance Capitalism and its Discontents. His most recent book is titled Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy.


Closing Panama Tax Haven Will Require Fighting the Most Powerful Lobby In the World
SHARMINI PERIES, TRNN: It’s the Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore.

Within a week the 11 million documents called the Panama papers, published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, has become a household name. The documents are connected to the Panama law firm Mossack Fonsesca that helped establish offshore accounts for some of the wealthiest and most powerful leaders to launder money and evade taxes.

On Tuesday the police in Panama raided the Mossack Fonseca law firm to search for more documents linked to illicit activities. But what are they expecting to find, since we have already known for some time now that offshore accounts are being used to evade taxes by the banking sector, essentially white-collar crooks, at institutions such as Credit Suisse and others? But who is really behind the creation of these mechanisms and loopholes for tax evasion?

Our next guest, Michael Hudson, says Panama was created as a tax haven by certain sectors of our economy for this purpose. Joining us now from New York is Michael Hudson. Michael is a distinguished research professor of economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and he’'s a former balance of payments economist for Chase Manhattan bank. He is the author of many books, and the latest among them is Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy. And if you want to know more about that book, on our site you’ll find Chris Hedges interviewing Michael Hudson on this book. Thanks for joining us, Michael.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Good to be here, Sharmini.

PERIES: Michael, so let’s begin with a short history of the creation of Panama and how it was bought from Colombia by the United States, and its relevance today vis-a-vis the Panama papers.

HUDSON: Well, Panama was basically carved off from Colombia in order to have a canal. And it was created very much like Liberia. It’s not really a country in the sense that a country has its own currency, its own tax system. Panama uses U.S. dollars. So does Liberia. And the real story that didn’t come out in the Panama papers, which naturally focused just on criminal people laundering money, Panama wasn’t designed to launder money. It was designed to launder earnings. Mainly by the oil and the gas industries, and the mining industry. And Panama and Liberia were long noted as having “flags of convenience.” That meant that oil tankers and mineral ships would register themselves under the corporate flags of Panama or Liberia, or some other country that used the U.S. dollar, not its own currency.

Well, I first found out about this about 40 years ago, when I was doing a study of the balance of payments for the oil industry. And I went to Standard Oil, whose treasurer met with me to walk me through their balance sheet. And I said, I can’t figure out whether Standard Oil and the other oil companies make their money at the producing end of oil, or at the distributing end of refining and selling it. And he said, well, we make our earnings right here in New York, in the Treasurer’s office. I said, what do you mean? He said, well, we sell the oil that we buy from Saudi Arabia or the near East at very low prices to the tanker company that’s registered in Panama or Liberia. And they don’t have an income tax in their country, because they’re not a real country. And we sell then the oil to the downstream distributors in the United States or Europe. We sell that crude oil at a very, very high price. So high that there’s no profit to be made at all in refineries or selling the oil. So we don’t pay the tax collector in Europe anything. We don’t pay the American government anything. All of our earnings are reported as being made in the tankers.

And I said, well, I’ve looked at the balance of payments reports here from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Bulletin. I see here’s Europe, here’s Latin America, here’s Africa and Asia. I can’t find where these profits are. And he said, ah, look at the very last line. And it’s international. And I said, well, international, of course, aren’t all these countries, Europe, international? He said, no. International means they’re really part of, they’re part of the United States abroad. They’re the offshore banking centers. Panama, Liberia, et cetera. So I found out that basically Panama, Panamanian companies, were set up initially to register oil tankers and mineral ships in order to make the appearance of taking all of their profits on the transporting the oil, or the copper, or the minerals, from third world countries to the United States and Europe.

And the United States went along with this. This made the oil industry tax exempt really since the 1920s. The income tax was created in 2013, 1913 and ‘14, and it was intended to capture basically economic rents. But the big rent extractors, oil and gas and minerals, got away with that.

PERIES: Michael, you have indicated in one of your articles that you were actually approached by a State Department operative in 1967. Tell us more about that experience.

HUDSON: Yeah. From a State Department person who’'d gone to work for Chase. I was--. The problem that America had in the 1960s was the Vietnam war. The entire balance of payments deficit of the United States in the 1950s and the ‘60s, right down to the early ‘70s, was military spending abroad. And the problem was that the dollar was either going down or the United States had to sell gold, and that’s what led to Nixon finally taking the dollar off gold in 1971. Well, the United--it’s tried to fight against that.

So the State Department came to Chase, and they said, we’'ve got to figure out some way of getting enough dollars to balance the military deficit. And we found out the way to do it. We want to make the United States the new Switzerland of the world. The most--Michael, can you make a calculation of how much criminal capital there is in the world? How much do the drug dealers make, how much do the, criminals all over, the dictators. How much goes to Switzerland, and how can we get this criminal money in the United States? Well, the end result was that the U.S. government went to Chase and other banks and asked them to be good American citizens, and make America safe for the criminals of the world to keep their money so that we would support the dollar. And Chase had already, when Chase had been asked to have a bank in Saigon so that the Army and other people wouldn't put their money in French banks that would end up with General De Gaulle cashing it in for gold, Chase said, okay, we will help set up banks.

And other banks really did this not to evade the law, not to break the law initially, but to be good citizens and attract crooked capital from all over the world. Now, the same thing happened with the British West Indies. They had declared their independence, but in order not to be a real country, in order to attract flight capital to England, they rejoined the empire as a colony so that they could serve as money laundering. And the idea was to have all of this money come to the United States.

Well, all of this context can easily be traced. If you look at the money that goes into Panama and other offshore banking centers in the Caribbean, none of this money stays in Panama.

PERIES: Michael, which is a question I wanted to ask you. Over the next few days there has been many questions raised about why there are not many Americans or even Canadians named in the leaked documents. Some speculate that this is because in the U.S. they don’t need tax havens, because it is one. States such as Nevada, Wyoming, and South Dakota are considered the new Switzerland of tax evasion. Explain how the process works, because this is all interlinked.

HUDSON: You usually have not only one or two, but often three or four. The idea is not simply to put money into the United States. Imagine you’re a Russian kleptocrat, or a Ukrainian kleptocrat, and you want to take a billion dollars, and you want to keep it safe. You’re not going to put it directly into a Delaware corporation, or a Wyoming corporation. The money is going to end up in a Delaware corporation. But if you put it right in then the U.S. government and the bank would say, wait a minute. Here is the president of Ukraine with a billion dollars, right, in our bank.

So what you have to do is you have to launder the money. Likewise with the Colombian drug cartel. They’re not going to put the Colombian drug cartel balance in a Delaware bank. It has to go through a lot of stages. So the money goes out of the Ukraine and out of Russia into Latvia, primarily, into the banks of Riga. And the Riga banks, and I’ve met with individuals there, Americans who provide the service of setting up maybe 30 companies for the money launderer. And they will send the money, say, to the British West Indies. From the British West Indies it’ll go to Panama. And then it’ll go from Panama, ultimately, already being concealed, ending up in a Delaware corporation at the end.

Now, you can look in the balance of payment statistics and you can find liabilities of bank branches in Panama or the British West Indies or whoever to the U.S. head office. And you can find out, you can look and see how many, how much American stocks, how much American bonds, how many American bank deposits, all come from these islands, and the magnitude is so enormous that that is what’s been supporting the dollar. And Congress is right behind this. In the 1960s, basically, criminals are the most liquid people in the world. They don’t want to tie down their money and property, because property can be seen, it’s visible. And finance in the balance of payments reports is called invisibles. So the idea, if you’re a criminal, you want to have your finance invisible, and you want to keep it safe. And the safest investment is U.S. Treasury bonds.

So there was an argument in Congress in the 1960s: do we want to have tax withholding on the Treasury bonds, especially to foreigners? And it was pointed out that most foreigners who hold Treasury bonds actually are criminals. And so Congress said, we need criminal money. We are not going to withhold criminal taxes. We’re going to make crime tax-free. We’re going to tax American industry, we’re going to tax American labor, but not foreign criminals, because we need their money. So we’re not going to withhold on what they hold through their fiduciary accounts in Delaware, was the main at that time, or New York, or London. So the London branch of the U.S. banks were the single major depositor and source of revenue of growth in the 1960s for Chase, for Citibank, and for others. They were called eurodollars. And the eurodollars flowing into these branches were very largely from drug dealing and arms dealing, and third world dictators in Africa and other places.

So the whole international banking system, under U.S. pressure, was set up to facilitate the money laundering of drug capital. So the reason the Americans and the Canadians were not particularly noteworthy in the law firm’s records is the law firm was setting up money laundering, concealed means of getting money. But the oil industry doesn’t conceal it. The oil industry declares all of the income it gets, and the mining industry declares all the income that it gets from the Panamanian shipping companies, from the Liberian shipping companies. But because Panama and Liberia don’t have an income tax there’s no tax liability for this. It’s stolen fair and square from the tax collector.

PERIES: Wow. The big question here in all of these discussions and leaks is what are the solutions to this problem, and is it attainable at all?

HUDSON: Well, the solution is to tax companies on their worldwide earnings. If you know that a U.S. company like Standard Oil, Exxon now, makes X billion dollars earnings, say it doesn’t matter whether you take these in Panama or the United States. We’re going to treat the income that you declare from your Panamanian shipping company as earned in the United States, and we’re going to tax it.

Now, this explains why there’'s not going to be a solution to money laundering. Because if you would solve the money laundering problem, and tax companies, you know, and their worldwide earnings, you would tax Apple on all of the income that it makes tax exempt in Ireland by using Ireland as a tax avoidance center, you would take on the largest vested interests in the United States. Oil, gas, monopolies. And I don’t think any politician is strong enough to attract campaign contributions from these main contributors and at the same time really push to tax them. They’re going to go after the little guy. But it’s very hard to go after the little guy and the small tax evaders without catching the big fish. And the big fish are the biggest corporations in the United States. That’s why the problem is not going to be solved. And it won’t be solved largely because the United States wants to support the dollar by attracting all of this money, just like England wants to support sterling by making itself the flight capital center for all of the biggest criminals in the world, from the Russian kleptocrats to the African dictators, to the Asian money launderers.

So the whole financial system, basically, has been criminalized in the process of being militarized, to subsidize the fact that countries like the United States and Britain have very heavy military budgets. This is how they finance the military budget, with money laundering by the world’s criminal class, and the byproduct is to leave the largest companies tax exempt, from Apple to Exxon, right down the line.

PERIES: And there’s a lot in there, Michael. Thank you so much for joining us today, and we hope to have you back to unpack some of those very important sections you were talking about in terms of solutions, as well as how to get legally at some of the people involved in creating these loopholes and evasions. I thank you so much for joining us.

HUDSON: Thanks a lot, Sharmini. It’s good to be here.

PERIES: And thank you for joining us on the Real News Network.

April 13, 2016

“Liberal” Economists Cheered the New Democrats’ Deregulation of Finance (William K Black)

April 13, 2016

By William K. Black
April 11, 2016 Bloomington, MN

This is the second part of my series on how Hillary and Bill Clinton and Paul Krugman have pivoted in response to Bernie Sanders’ series of electoral wins and are racing hard right on finance and crime. In my first column I wore my criminology “hat” to explain how Bill was disinterring outrageous (false and racist) positions that Hillary and he had once championed. This was all the more bizarre because Hillary and Bill had recently repudiated those positions. In the mid-1990s, Hillary and Bill sought to spread a “moral panic” about subhuman black “super predators” in order to secure passage of the crime bill that led to mass incarceration and then to maintain the 100-to-one disparity in sentencing for crack v. powder cocaine once it was known that the scientifically baseless sentencing disparity was leading to a dramatic rise in the incarceration of blacks and Latinos. I also deplored Bill’s false claim that Black Lives Matter protesters were “defending” those who murdered black children.

In this second column I provide context essential to understanding Krugman’s race to the right on finance. Readers are unlikely to understand how ultra-right wing the economic policies were of the Clinton administration. Bill Clinton and Al Gore were two of the most powerful leaders of the “New Democrats” – a group of Democrats determined to move the party strongly to the right on economics, budget, national security, regulation, and crime. The New Democrats’ policy apparatus was funded overwhelmingly by Wall Street but its ideological support came from economists who were “liberal” on some social issues. The Clintons and Gore delivered for Wall Street by embracing the three “de’s” – deregulation, desupervision, and de facto decriminalization that encouraged and allowed twin bubble to rapidly expand. The “dot com” bubble was the first bubble to burst. The housing bubble burst in late 2006, leading to the financial crises of 2008 and the Great Recession that began in 2007.

I discuss two articles illustrating how ultra-right the “liberal” economists of the Clinton-era were in shilling for the pro-corporation policies championed by the New Democrats. Both articles were published in Fortune in spring 1999 – roughly one year before the peak of dot com bubble. In that era, the magazine was proudly pro plutocrat. The tone of economist that authored the article was one of pandering to the plutocrats’ prejudices.

It is important to understand the intersection of the economic and political contexts in spring 1999 in the United States. Clinton took the extraordinary step in 1996 of nominating Alan Greenspan to continue to run the Fed. Greenspan was an Ayn Rand acolyte originally appointed to run the Fed by President Reagan. Greenspan was infamous as a supporter of Charles Keating, the most notorious fraud of the savings and loan debacle. All of Greenspan’s praise of Keating’s operations and predictions of success for Lincoln S&L proved catastrophically wrong. Greenspan had long led an unholy war against Glass-Steagall, seeking to eviscerate through dozens of rule changes and interpretations designed to destroy its protections. Greenspan was also hostile to using the Fed’s unique statutory authority under the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act of 1994 (HOEPA) to prohibit all lenders, including what Krugman now stresses were “shadow” firms not normally subject to federal regulation that specialized in making predatory and fraudulent liar’s loans. Greenspan refused to use HOEPA to stop the predatory and fraudulent lending even as it grew massively. Greenspan’s successor Ben Bernanke (another Republican who would be appointed by President Obama to continue to run the Fed after the financial crisis made indisputable his regulatory failures) also refused to use HOEPA to protect the American people from these predatory and fraudulent loans. He finally used the HOEPA authority to adopt a rule banning liar’s loans only in May 2008 – roughly a year since the secondary market had died and liar’s loans had virtually ceased. Even then, he delayed the effective date of the rule until November 2009, lest he inconvenience any active fraudulent and predatory lender.

The Clinton administration had already shown its intense hostility to financial regulation at the SEC, working with Republicans to block key reform efforts by SEC Chair Arthur Levitt. Beginning in 1998 and continuing in spring 1999 the administration successfully blocked the efforts of Brooksley Born to protect the global economy from coming problems involving financial derivatives – and later in 1999 passed an act that forbade any future regulator from providing such protection. The Clinton administration was working with the most conservative Republicans in Congress to effectively repeal the Glass-Steagall Act. In 1999, Citigroup and Travelers Insurance agreed to the largest merger in financial history – in open defiance of the Glass-Steagall Act in order to successfully extort Congress to repeal the Act. Robert Rubin, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs, the government leader in destroying Glass-Steagall, announced that he was stepping down as Clinton’s Treasury Secretary. He promptly joined Citigroup. By 1999, even before the effective statutory repeal of Glass-Steagall, the banks that were first to take advantage of Greenspan’s evisceration of Glass-Steagall and began to trade securities were already suffering severe losses.

“Liberal” economists were the critical supporters of the Clinton administration’s destruction of effective financial regulation. Part of this effort was deregulation, but desupervision was its even more destructive handmaiden. I have taken key excerpts from one of these economists to illustrate how far right wing they were.

The First Article

The author of the first article (April 26, 1999) chose a deliberately provocative title. “Want Growth? Speak English THAT CERTAIN JE NE SAIS QUOI OF LES ANGLOPHONES.” The article made the triumphal assertion that speaking English was a key to economic growth. The economist ran through major English-speaking nations and declared them great successes. Ireland had the highest growth rate.

There is Ireland, the recently dubbed “Celtic tiger,” growing at an amazing 8% rate for the past five years.

It should be clear that the economist was weak on bubbles. He described the U.S. growth rate (largely a product of the dot com bubble) with the same term he used for Ireland (“amazing”). Ireland’s property bubble would hyper-inflate (relative to its GDP) to twice the size of the U.S. residential real estate bubble. The economist, however, saw massive growth when he observed (but did not recognize) disastrous bubbles.

The economist contrasted the great success of English-speaking nations with others.

Latin Americans who thought they had put their past behind them are watching with horror as financial crisis strikes once again.

The economist did not mention that “Latin Americans … thought they had put their past behind them” because U.S. economists had assured them that with their adoption of the mantra of English-speaking economists’ “Washington Consensus” of hard right economic policies their low-growth pasts were “behind them.” Instead, right wing economics championed by English-speakers in the form of the Washington Consensus produced one “financial crisis” after another throughout Latin America.

Even as China was emerging as the growth champion (and before that growth became dependent on bubbles, the economist pronounced English as the explanation for the national differences in growth rates.

What do the countries that have managed to remain prosperous while the world suffers have in common? Well, the answer is plain to the naked eye–or make that the naked ear. Yes, the common denominator of the countries that have done best in this age of dashed expectations is that they are the countries where English is spoken.

The Economist’s Heroes: Alan Greenspan, Larry Summers, Margaret Thatcher & M. Friedman

The economist was only getting started with his Anglo-Saxon triumphalism. He and his colleagues made several explanations for the supposed triumph.

First, there’s the Alan Greenspan theory–or is it the Larry Summers theory? Economic policy in English-speaking economies tends to be run by smart economists with one foot in the academic world, who therefore make better decisions than the doctrinaire mandarins who run ministries of finance. And in a world where the rules have suddenly changed, the story goes, clever men and women who went to MIT are better able to adapt than bureaucrats whose only expertise is in office politics.

A slight variant is the Margaret Thatcher theory. In the 1980s there was an ideological groundswell in the English-speaking world in favor of markets and against government intervention; perhaps the rest of the advanced world missed the tide because it couldn’t read Milton Friedman in the original.

One particular point that a friend made to me is that e-mail and the Internet put people who use nonalphabetic writing, like the Japanese, at a particular disadvantage.

In 1999, well after the collapse of its twin bubbles, Japan was the second-largest economy in the world and China was already growing at such a high rate and so persistently that it would soon become the second-largest economy. If using a non-alphabetic language is a critical restraint on growth, then the Chinese and Japanese must be far better at economics than are English-speakers since they have prospered so greatly while carrying the equivalent of thirty pounds of non-alphabetic lead in their saddles. But the economist missed the logical flaw in his friend’s speculation.

The economist’s speculation that English-speaking nations had much faster growth because they put exceptionally brilliant economists like Greenspan, Summers (both appointees of Bill Clinton), and the economist authoring the column in charge of economic policy is revealing and humorous. It is hardly surprising that unsurpassable arrogance and Anglo-Saxon triumphalism became fellow travelers. Similarly, it will surprise no one that an elite economist would champion the idea that the special brilliance of the author and a few of his fellow elite economists explained the unique success of the Anglo-Saxon nations.

While MIT economists, Greenspan, and Summers are so brilliant that they explain America’s high growth, regulators and government officials’ are fools “whose only expertise is in office politics.” Fortunately, America places economic policy in the hands of Greenspan, Summers, and MIT economists and removes all authority from the inept bureaucrats.

But what was most wondrous from the self-described “liberal” economist was his ode to Margaret Thatcher and Milton Friedman as a likely explanation for (asserted) Anglo-Saxon superiority.

What the economists never even considered was that the relatively high U.S. growth rates they were considering in 1999 could be the product of the inflating dot com and real estate bubbles.

The Second Article

The second column by this economist appeared in Fortune on May 24, 1999 under the title “The Ascent of E-Man R.I.P.: THE MAN IN THE GRAY FLANNEL SUIT.” The economist again sought a provocative opening.

I grew up in a planned economy. [T]hose who controlled the economy’s “commanding heights,” its key industries, were administrators rather than entrepreneurs, conformists who were valued less for their productivity than for their loyalty, whose career advancement depended on their political skill. For ordinary workers, the system had some benefits: It was hard to get ahead, but once you had a good job, your life was secure. Still, the economy was often appallingly inefficient and consistently unresponsive to consumer needs.

No, I am not an immigrant from Eastern Europe. I’m talking about the U.S. economy of the ’50s and ’60s, when General Motors was the very model of a modern major company.

In those days progressive thinkers like John Kenneth Galbraith used to ridicule economists who still believed what they had learned from Paul Samuelson’s textbook, which was that free markets could be counted on to match supply and demand. After all, business itself was clearly moving away from markets and toward planning.

By contrast, in today’s cutting-edge e-businesses (see Cover Stories), the company often owns–or rather, rents–little but brainpower.

The villain in the piece is Galbraith because he is a “progressive thinker.” The CEOs of big corporations are the “man in the gray flannel suit” – too bland to be evil or even worthy of blame. The old-style CEOs who built firms like GM are dismissed with the economist’s classic insult – as “business bureaucrats.” The hero of the piece is the “entrepreneur.” (The author channels Ayn Rand and the most anti-governmental economists.) The ultimate hero for the author was the CEO of one of the “dot com” firm staffed with geniuses.

“Ordinary Workers”

Note the non-persons in his tale – the “ordinary workers.” They rate only two sentences. There is no sense that they are important to the economy or even the success of the firm. Instead, there is the muted recognition that the old system that Galbraith described led to a career for “ordinary workers” in which “your life was secure.” Implicitly, the author is acknowledging that this will become a thing of the past in the new economy that he gushes about. Rendering the lives of hundreds of millions of ordinary workers (and their families) insecure is not important enough to warrant express discussion. The economist treats their fates as simply inevitable in order to achieve the brave new world.

The Star Firms of the New Economy: Enron and Goldman Sachs

The article then turns to it real focus, examining the firm at the pinnacle of the economist’s entrepreneurial pantheon that exemplifies the brave new world.

The retreat of business bureaucracy in the face of the market was brought home to me recently when I joined the advisory board at Enron–a company formed in the ’80s by the merger of two pipeline operators. In the old days energy companies tried to be as vertically integrated as possible: to own the hydrocarbons in the ground, the gas pump, and everything in between. And Enron does own gas fields, pipelines, and utilities. But it is not, and does not try to be, vertically integrated: It buys and sells gas both at the wellhead and the destination, leases pipeline (and electrical-transmission) capacity both to and from other companies, buys and sells electricity, and in general acts more like a broker and market maker than a traditional corporation. It’s sort of like the difference between your father’s bank, which took money from its regular depositors and lent it out to its regular customers, and Goldman Sachs. Sure enough, the company’s pride and joy is a room filled with hundreds of casually dressed men and women staring at computer screens and barking into telephones, where cubic feet and megawatts are traded and packaged as if they were financial derivatives. (Instead of CNBC, though, the television screens on the floor show the Weather Channel.) The whole scene looks as if it had been constructed to illustrate the end of the corporation as we knew it.

The author’s gold standard of expertise is Goldman Sachs. The greatest compliment he can pay Enron’s leaders is that their firm is so superior to its competitors that it is the Goldman Sachs of energy. Enron paid the author $50,000 annually for what he would later describe as “an advisory panel that had no function that I was aware of.” Right, who would say no to trading on his (self-described) reputation for brilliance as an MIT economist to get $50,000 from Enron for performing “no function?”

The Ideological Shift Leading to the “Liberal” Push for Deregulation

The economist then explained what made possible this brave new world that he wrote to champion – deregulation. He explained that deregulation was driven by “a change in ideology.” He explained to his readers that “Adam Smith” was right. The problem – the bloated, bureaucratic corporation – was caused by the government interfering with the markets through regulation. With deregulation, Enron was leading the way and “making freewheeling markets possible.”

But probably the biggest force has been a change in ideology, the shift to pro-market policies. It’s not that government has vanished from the marketplace. It’s still a good guess that in a completely unregulated phone market, long-distance companies would buy up local-access companies and deny their customers the right to connect to rivals, and that the evil empire–or at least monopoly capitalism–would rise again. However, what we have instead in a growing number of markets–phones, gas, electricity today, probably computer operating systems and high-speed Net access tomorrow–is a combination of deregulation that lets new competitors enter and “common carrier” regulation that prevents middlemen from playing favorites, making freewheeling markets possible.

Who would have thunk it? The millennial economy turns out to look more like Adam Smith’s vision–or better yet, that of the Victorian economist Alfred Marshall–than the corporatist future predicted by generations of corporate pundits. Get those old textbooks out of the attic: they’re more relevant than ever.

The economist who authored the April and May 1999 columns is, of course Paul Krugman. The Enron energy trading operation he gushed about was a leading center of Enron’s frauds, particularly those that caused the California energy crisis. Goldman just admitted to what the United States found to have been massive fraud. Enron was indeed the Goldman of the energy industry just as Goldman was the Enron of finance. The reader can now see Krugman’s actual views when he found it profitable to pander openly to the plutocrats defrauding the public and rigging the system against the consumer and the worker.The reader can also see why he is so dismissive of criticism of Hillary taking enormous speaking sums from Goldman for performing “no [real] function.”

Krugman’s prediction that we were seeing the death of market power by huge firms proved as accurate as his claim that Enron and Goldman were the gold standards of their industries. He is one of exemplars we use in the book we are writing that explains that economics is the only field in which one can be awarded a Nobel for proving wrong in predictive ability.


April 13, 2016

Burn Pits ( Harper's-Scott Horton )

— March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm

Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.

By Scott Horton

In 2004, Staff Sergeant Susan Clifford was stationed at Balad Air Base in Iraq, where twice a month she was tasked with dumping her unit’s waste products—including human body parts and dead animals—into a dirt pit and setting them ablaze. After a year of breathing the pit’s thick black smoke, her health began to decline. Her lungs filled with fluid, and she soon found she couldn’t engage in strenuous physical activity. She was later discharged from the Army with full disability. Clifford’s story, as New York Times journalist James Risen reported in 2010, was typical of a class of new disability cases that appeared to be linked directly to the burn pits set up across Iraq and Afghanistan by a subsidiary of Halliburton. Risen’s article led the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to publish a report on the long-term health consequences of exposure to burn pits, which clearly confirmed the linkage between the pits and debilitating illnesses affecting service personnel returning from the Middle East. But, in the years since, the media has largely ignored the issue. Last week, I caught up with journalist Joseph Hickman, whose new book, The Burn Pits, tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.

What brought you to this story, and why do you believe it’s not been adequately addressed?

In March 2010, I was the lead source in your article for Harper’s Magazine that exposed details about the death of three prisoners at Guantánamo in June 2006 (“The Guantánamo ‘Suicides,’” Report). In the months that followed, I got phone calls and emails from soldiers who were stationed at Guantánamo, as well as other detainee-holding facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most gave me their support for coming forward, but some also shared their experiences in the field. One evening, I spoke with a soldier stationed at Camp Taji, north of Baghdad. He described how he and several of his friends had been exposed over time to the burn pit there and how he and several others had fallen ill. This was the first time I heard of some of the symptoms that followed exposure to the burn pits. I made a commitment to follow up on it.

For whatever reason, the Defense Department (DoD) continues to deny that the burn pits were a health hazard. Many medical experts also believe the findings on the IOM report finalized in 2011 were not valid because the IOM only studied one of the more than 270 burn pits operating in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also, DoD refused to share the data they collected—such as plume or soil samples taken from the burn pits during their study—with the IOM, which is why the IOM report was basically inconclusive in its findings. The DoD has never offered any explanation for its refusal to share information, but of course it has always been cautious when it comes to sharing information about conditions at bases in a combat zone. But in this case, keeping secrets doesn’t help keep soldiers safe; it puts the health and well-being of soldiers at risk.

What new evidence has appeared since the 2010 disclosures and the 2011 IOM report?

remainder in full: https://harpers.org/blog/2016/03/burn-pits/

April 12, 2016

Human Rights Watch Daily Brief, 12 April 2016

Boko Haram wage war on education in Nigeria; US under fire on Yemen conflict; Saudi's women driving ban; refugee crisis; good news from Burma; Algeria jails activist for Facebook post; remembering Congo's Abbe Benoit; rocking LGBT rights in US; & child labor in gold supply chain...

Who's to blame when bombs kill civilians? The US, and other countries which arm the Saudi-led coalition as it wages war in Yemen, are coming under increasing scrutiny for their alleged role in civilian deaths.

Kenneth Roth


If Saudi-led bombers can't do better avoiding Yemeni civilians, US shouldn't be helping them http://bit.ly/1NlVrGL
3:06 AM - 12 Apr 2016

Hina Shamsi ?@HinaShamsi

Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen--backed by the US--has made al Qaeda stronger and richer http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/yemen-aqap/ … This should be a bigger scandal

April 12, 2016

The Myth that Obama’s Taking Huge Contributions from Wall Street Was Fine

By William K. Black
April 7, 2016 Bloomington, MN

I am now officially an economic advisor to Senator Sanders, and this column reflects some of that advice. Part of my advice is not to take money from Wall Street felons. (I am not taking credit for Bernie’s decision — at most I supported a decision he had already made over a year ago.) One of the reasons I reinforced Bernie’s decision was witnessing the problems President Obama experienced given his taking very large contributions from Wall Street. I channeled the prescient warning that Professor Thomas Ferguson (U. Mass, Boston) gave a group of us in 2008. He predicted, accurately, that Obama would not lead an effective crackdown on the endemic fraud by Wall Street elites that caused the financial crisis. Tom (he is a personal friend) is the expert on campaign finance. He authored the classic book on campaign finance entitled Golden Rule (as in the observation that he that has the gold makes the rules.).

Tom pointed out that (then) Senator Obama was accomplishing something unprecedented. He was not only raising more money from Wall Street than the Republicans were, he was doing so in the context of a nomination battle with (then) Senator Hillary Clinton. The Clintons were both preeminent leaders of the “New Democrats.” They crafted the coalition of conservative (on economics and national security issues) Democrats. The New Democrat’s apparatus was funded overwhelmingly by Wall Street and President Bill Clinton was famous for championing the three “de’s” – financial deregulation, desupervision, and de facto decriminalization. Even if Wall Street was willing to reverse decades of contributing primarily to Republicans, why would they choose Senator Obama over their great ally, Senator Hillary Clinton? Tom predicted that Obama would win the nomination and the election – and would reject emulating President Roosevelt’s “New Deal” and its transformation of finance. All three predictions proved accurate.

Hillary Clinton’s defense of taking millions of dollars in contributions from Wall Street and her extraordinary fees for speeches to Goldman Sachs is that Obama took even more money from Wall Street – indeed, more than anyone has ever taken from Wall Street.

snip* We also need to ask a more fundamental question of Hillary – why? Why with your huge Super PAC funding from Wall Street, your delegate lead, and the criticism you are getting from progressives and will get from independents and Republicans do you continue to take enormous sums from Wall Street felons? It is clearly a liability politically. It blows your cover as a self-describe convert to progressive approaches to regulating (and prosecuting) Wall Street.

remainder in full: http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2016/04/myth-obamas-taking-huge-contributions-wall-street-fine.html

Banking Expert Who Exposed Savings & Loan Corruption Joins Sanders Campaign
By Reno Berkeley
Crossposted from Inquisitor.com

An expert in banking corruption and finance has joined the Bernie Sanders campaign. William K. Black, an associate professor at the University of Missouri-KC, is Bernie Sanders’ new economic advisor. Black was one of the central figures in exposing and prosecuting corruption in the savings and loan crisis from the late 1980s and mid-1990s. His addition to the Sanders campaign brings important knowledge in laws pertaining to finance and banking.

The savings and loan banking crisis resulted from a multitude of causes, one of which were two laws that helped deregulate them. The Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act of 1980 was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter. That law allowed credit unions and savings and loans to offer checking deposits, and to charge any loan interest rate they chose.

In 1982, Ronald Reagan furthered the deregulation of savings and loans by signing the Garn-St. Germain Depository Institutions Act, which allowed property owners to put real estate into trust accounts to avoid future lawsuits or creditors. Both bills reduced regulatory oversight and by the time the crisis was in full swing in 1995, 1,043 out of 3,234 savings and loan associations had failed due to risky and illegal behavior.

in full: http://www.inquisitr.com/2979022/banking-expert-who-exposed-savings-loan-corruption-joins-sanders-campaign/#AAKVKckTPF0U3RSI.99

April 12, 2016

Hillary and Bill and Paul Krugman Race to the Right to Stop the Bern

*Full disclosure, William K Black is officially an economic advisor to Senator Sanders.

By William K. Black
April 8, 2016 Bloomington, MN

(Crossposted from Huffington Post. Postscript added for NEP)

Remember several weeks ago when Hillary Clinton was complaining that Democrats did not consider her a “progressive?” Bernie Sanders’ big win in Wisconsin ended that tactic and propelled Paul Krugman and Hillary and Bill Clinton to race to the right, inadvertently proving Bernie’s point that they are not progressives on the key issues.

In the last week, Hillary and her surrogates have pivoted hard right and retreated to their long-held positions on the major issues. Indeed, in several cases they have gone even farther to the right than the policies they pushed over a decade ago – even though those policies proved disastrous. They also inadvertently demonstrated the terrible policies that were produced by the Clinton’s vaunted “pragmatism” and compromising with the most extreme Republican demands. That was the story of Clinton’s infamous welfare “reform” – a policy both Clintons championed. Tom Frank details in his new book entitled Listen, Liberal how the Clintons’ “pragmatism” and zeal to work with the worst elements of the Republican Party led to the welfare “reform” bill. Zach Carter has just written the article I was planning to write about that travesty. He entitled it “Nothing Bill Clinton Said To Defend His Welfare Reform Is True.” I encourage you to read it.

As a criminologist (I am also an adviser to Bernie on economics), I will begin my two-part series on Hillary’s race to the right with Bill Clinton’s effort to defend his drug law policies and Hillary’s denunciation of black drug users as “super predators.” The second column explains Krugman’s race to the right on banking in his effort to support Hillary’s harp pivot to right.

Bill’s defense of his policies that helped feed the mass incarceration of blacks and Latinos for drug offense came in the same April 7, 2016 campaign speech in Philadelphia that led to Zach Carter skewering his defense of welfare “reform.” Bill’s speech was strongly protested by Black Lives Matter members, which led to unscripted, angry attacks by Bill on some of the protesters and prompted his defense of his crime bill and Hillary’s attack on “superpredators.”

Bill made four key points about crime in his attempted defense and attacks on the protesters. First he claimed that his 1993 crime bill led to a huge decrease in crime. The reality is that street crimes were declining before his bill and the trend continued after the bill passed. (Elite financial crimes were surging due to the Clinton’s championing of the three “de’s” – deregulation, desupervision and de facto decriminalization of finance – but the Clintons and the authors creating and spreading the myth of the black and Latino “superpredators” ignored them.)

Second, Bill claimed that the bad parts of his crime bill were caused by Republican demands. Tom Frank’s book shows how the Clintons’ “pragmatism” and promises to work with the hard right led to him crafting a bill that produced the mass incarceration of Americans. This problem was compounded by his sentencing provision that punished crack cocaine users 100 times more severely (by weight) than powder cocaine users. When the bill was drafted it seems likely that the drafters did not know that crack cocaine was used overwhelmingly by blacks and Latinos and powder cocaine overwhelmingly by whites. A wide range of people eagerly created what social scientists call a “moral panic” about crack cocaine even though its effects were the same of powder. Bill’s crime bill achieved bipartisan support, including Bernie.

What Bill did not discuss, but what Tom Frank’s book emphasizes, is that the immense racial disparity in sentencing – and the lack of any basis for it given the chemical equivalency of crack and powder – became clear within a year after passage of the act. By 1995, the U.S. Sentencing Commission had gathered the data, conducted the analysis, and done all the drafting to repeal the disparity – and Bill and the Republican Congress promptly worked pragmatically and in a bipartisan manner to block the repeal of the racist sentencing disparity. After he left office, Bill repeatedly apologized for his Crime Act, but a few days ago in Philadelphia he reverted to praising his disastrous law. He is moving exceptionally hard right back to his natural instincts when he gets off script.

Third, Bill moved so far right that he resurrected a racist position Hillary had enunciated (and later repudiated). Hillary attacked blacks who used crack as “super predators.” That phrase was crafted as part of the effort to generate a moral panic in order to produce the mass incarceration of blacks. CNN reported on Hillary’s use of the term.

“They are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘super predators,'” Clinton said in a 1996 speech, when crime was a major public concern, according to polls at the time. “No conscience, no empathy, we can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.”

Hillary was quoting phrases from three ultra-right authors that were Reagan officials. None of them was a criminologist, yet they claimed that overwhelmingly black “super predators” were growing at such epic rates that we should be so terrified by them that we would support a full scale “war” against black and Latino drug users. They did not simply coin the term “super predator” and stress that they were primarily black – they called them “feral.” That is the word used for a once tame animal that reverts to a wild animal. Black crack users were demonized as subhuman – wild animals whose ancestors had once been tame (as slaves) and who, as Hillary demanded, must be brought “to heel” like trained dogs.

None of this was true, but the racist lies succeeded in creating the moral panic that caused enormous damage to our Nation. Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness is an excellent treatment of the shameful result.

Hillary eventually (in 2016) recanted her adoption of the racist “super predator” phrase and meme. Bill is disinterring it now because he got flustered and angered by the Black Lives Matter protesters and reverted in an unscripted fit to what came reflexively.

Fourth, Bill attacked the Black Lives Matter protesters in a way that was unworthy of him. Indeed, his attack on them came directly from his bizarre effort to support Hillary’s use of the term “super predator” months after she had repudiated that term. Bill invoked the same racist myths, using the same racist language that was employed over a decade ago even though they have been completely discredited by criminologists. CNN’s report of his Philadelphia speech notes:

He also defended Hillary Clinton’s use of the phrase “super predators.”

“I don’t know how you would characterize the gang leaders who got 13-year-old kids hopped up on crack, and sent them out in the streets to murder other African-American children,” the former president said. “Maybe you thought they were good citizens — she didn’t.”

(Bill also seems to be channeling the interrogation scene from the movie LA Confidential “Were you hopped up, Ray?)

Plainly, Black Lives Matter protesters never suggested that “good citizens” “murder” “children.” Bill’s claim that they did so shows how panicked he was by Bernie’s big win in Wisconsin. Bill’s story that “gang leaders … got 13-year old kids hopped up on crack, and sent them … to murder other African-American children” is a racist myth. Even the ultra-hard right authors that invented the term “super predator” and described black crack users as akin to animals abandoned the term and their claims over five years ago. Bill has gone far to the right of the ultra-right wing by disinterring these racist myths, claiming that they were and are accurate, and making the preposterous claim that Black Lives Matter protesters support those who murder black children.


How badly did Bill do on crime in his Philadelphia speech? I’ve just found a Wall Street Journal editorial that they have posted entitled “In Defense of Bill Clinton.” The WSJ’s editorial team praises the Clintons for “telling the truth” about the “super predators,” falsely asserts that the crime bill is what reduced crime, and applauds his claim that Black Lives Matter members seek to defend those who murder black children. Murdoch’s minions then instruct Democrats and Black Lives Matter “agitators” (another racist meme buried 30 years ago that the WSJ dug up for this editorial) on why they should be praising Bill’s disinterring the racist fiction of “gang leaders who got 13-year-olds hopped up on crack and sent them out onto the street to murder other African-American children.”

Progressives at the time were happy to go along with Mr. Clinton’s New Democratic policies when center-right positioning seemed essential to winning the White House. But now they’re too intimidated by Black Lives Matter to tell the truth.


The Black Lives Matter agitators should thank President Clinton, not excoriate him.

When Murdoch’s mouthpieces purport to “tell the truth” to blacks and progressives it’s a sure sign that they are lying.


April 9, 2016

Democracy Spring Protesters Stop in Baltimore En Route to DC

Kai Newkirk and actor Sam Waterston talk to the Real News about why hundreds have promised to be arrested in Washington next week if Congress fails to end the domination of money in politics


Democracy Spring Protesters Stop in Baltimore En Route to DC CROWD: One person.

SPEAKER: One vote.

CROWD: One vote.

SPEAKER: Money out.

JAISAL NOOR, PRODUCER, TRNN: I'm Jaisal Noor for the Real News Network here in Baltimore. Just a few minutes ago the Democracy Spring march that started in Philadelphia last week, it's ending in D.C. on Monday, came to Baltimore. We spoke to some of the participants and we also spoke to Sam [Waterston], who's taking part in the march.

SAM WATERSTON: We're walking from Philadelphia, 140 miles to Washington, D.C. to call on Congress to take action and end corruption, and give us a democracy that works for all.

SPEAKER: Because everything turns on this. Every other issue that you care about, every other candidate that you care about, turns on this one question [of] how every voice is going to be heard in our democracy and what the balance of money is going to be in our democracy, and how our elections are going to be conducted, because the vote is the center of the democracy, so.

WATERSTON: Well, we've made a simple demand to Congress. You need to take immediate action to end the corruption of big money in politics and ensure free and fair elections that give us all an equal voice, right? And if they don't do anything, if they won't take one step of among the solutions that are on the table that they can move right now, then we feel we have no choice but to sit in, nonviolently, in mass numbers, in a peaceful protest, and to reclaim the people's house. They either have to listen to the people, do their job and save our democracy, and send us all to jail.

NOOR: And why do you think civil disobedience is the step right now, an escalation of the current, like, march?

WATERSTON: It's nonviolent people power. We've never made progress in our country and other countries around the world until people were willing to step up, put our bodies and our liberty on the line to take a stand and say, no, this has to change.

NOOR: And when you arrive in D.C., what's your message to concerned citizens? Obviously, this has become a huge issue in this election campaign, and it's been Bernie Sanders, independent senator from Vermont, that sort of took this in the forefront, and now other candidates have also said this is important.

WATERSTON: Yeah. Well, this is a nonpartisan movement, right? And we're calling on Americans across the political spectrum, progressive, conservative, independent to join us, to take a stand and say to members of Congress, anyone running for office, for any office, if you want to represent us, you need to make a decision. Are you with the people on the side of democracy, or on the side of big money and corruption? And if they choose the wrong side, we should take them out of office.

NOOR: So, obviously power concedes nothing without a fight. What is going to be your response if, after your sit-in, there's still no action? What is the next step going to be?

WATERSTON: Well, there's one of two things that are going to happen. Either Congress is going to come to their senses and listen to the people and take action, because there are solutions they can move on right now. This problem can be solved. We can protect the right to vote. We can get big money out of politics, right? But if they do nothing and instead they send us all to jail, day after day, patriotic defenders of democracy sitting in to demand an equal voice, it will be, we believe, from the numbers we're seeing, the largest civil disobedience of this century, and it's going to send a message that no one can ignore, that the American people are standing up.

We're going to take our democracy back, and there will be a political price to pay for anyone who defends the status quo of corruption, and I think that will impact this election. So we're going to win regardless of whether they take action now or we create a movement moment that's going to push them to ultimately take action.

NOOR: Thank you so much.

WATERSTON: Thank you. Great to be here.

NOOR: Stay tuned to the Real News on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as we're going to be live streaming the protests and demonstrations the Democracy Spring will be carrying out in Washington. As you've heard, they are prepared to carry out civil disobedience if their demands are not met. Thanks so much for watching.



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