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Gender: Male
Hometown: Connecticut
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Member since: Thu May 15, 2008, 04:37 PM
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Journal Archives

Bernie Sanders endorsed Jessie Jackson for President of the United States:

**The establishment was never a Bernie fan, why would they? We're fans of the establishment now? lol
Is that's what happened and no one told me?

Sanders did show up at the Burlington caucus that April, awkward as it was, and he delivered a spirited endorsement speech casting Jackson's candidacy in decidedly Sanders-like terms.

"Tonight we are here to endorse the candidate who is saying loud and clear that enough is enough, that it's time that this nation was returned to the real people of America, the vast majority of us, and that power no longer should rest solely with a handful of banks and corporations who presently dominate the economic and political life of this nation," he declared. "It is not acceptable to him, to me, or to most Americans, that 10 percent of the population of this nation is able to own 83 percent of the wealth, and the other 90 percent of us share 17 percent of the wealth."

Sanders received an icy reception at the caucus from some Democrats, who stood up and turned their back to the stage during his address. "And when I returned to my seat, a woman in the audience slapped me across the face," Sanders recalled in his 1998 book, Outsider in the House. "It was an exciting evening."

Jackson went on to win the Vermont caucus, one of his handful of victories outside the South. If there was a lesson in the Jackson campaign for Sanders, it was "realizing he didn't always really need to be in opposition to the Democrats," says Greg Guma, a Burlington progressive activist who joined Sanders in supporting Jackson. In essence, Sanders had formed his first political alliance—one he would continue in 1990 when he won his first congressional election with Democratic endorsements. After that, he began huddling with Democrats on Capitol Hill, and he formed the House Progressive Caucus, which included mostly Democrats. "Bernie is viewed always as an idealist," Guma notes. "But at the same time you have to recognize that this is a fairly pragmatic politician that will drive his agenda forward, and he makes alliances based on this practical calculation."

Throughout the 1988 campaign, Sanders maintained that Jackson would have been better off running as a third-party candidate. And he told Mother Jones in 1989 that the time was right for a new lefty party to challenge Democrats, as he had done in Burlington. But Sanders had no regrets about his endorsement. When Sanders arrived in Washington as a first-term congressman-elect, Jackson—along with Ralph Nader—hosted a "welcome to DC" event for him at Eastern Market. A grungy looking band played "This Land Is Your Land," as balloons fell from the rafters.


Interest in New Chomsky Documentary Has Grown So Large Even the NY Times Ran a Review and Praised It

February 4, 2016

Full title: Interest in New Noam Chomsky Documentary Has Grown So Large That Even the NY Times Ran a Review—and Praised It!

In the new documentary Requiem for the American Dream, produced and directed by Peter Hutchison, Kelly Nyks and Jared P. Scott, Noam Chomsky argues that the collapse of American democratic ideals and the rise of the 1% means that the American dream is harder than ever to achieve. And unlike during the Great Depression, there seems to be no end in sight to this class struggle.

“The effect of the concentration of wealth is to yield concentration of power. [Therefore] the very fact of inequality has a corrosive, harmful effect on democracy," Chomsky states.

Chomsky was raised in an American middle-class immigrant family in the 1930s. Filmmakers use interviews with Chomsky and archival video from the 1950s onward to illustrate the golden age of American history, as Chomsky calls it. The average worker was able to buy a home, a car and live a life of relative comfort. Upward class mobility was not only aspirational, but achievable.

The widening wage gap, he claims, is "a result of over 30 years of a shift in social and economic policy, completely against the will of the population.” Today, young families are slightly wealthier than their parents were three decades ago, according to a recent BMO Economics Report. However, millennials need to pay more to get their foot in the door and are accumulating debt loads about 260% higher than their parents did at their age.

"It goes back to the founding of the country. If you read the debates at the Constitutional Convention, James Madison, the main framer, said the major concern of society has to be to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority," Chomsky says.


Sanders vs. Clinton on Wall St. Reform


William K. Black, author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One, teaches economics and law at the University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC). He was the Executive Director of the Institute for Fraud Prevention from 2005-2007. He has taught previously at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and at Santa Clara University, where he was also the distinguished scholar in residence for insurance law and a visiting scholar at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

Black was litigation director of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, deputy director of the FSLIC, SVP and general counsel of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, and senior deputy chief counsel, Office of Thrift Supervision. He was deputy director of the National Commission on Financial Institution Reform, Recovery and Enforcement.

Black developed the concept of "control fraud" frauds in which the CEO or head of state uses the entity as a "weapon." Control frauds cause greater financial losses than all other forms of property crime combined. He recently helped the World Bank develop anti-corruption initiatives and served as an expert for OFHEO in its enforcement action against Fannie Mae's former senior management.

Mike Konczal is a Fellow with the Roosevelt Institute, works on financial reform, structural unemployment, consumer access to financial services, and inequality. He blogs for New Deal 2.0 and the Rortybomb, and his work has appeared at The Atlantic Monthly's Business Channel, NPR's Planet Money, the Baseline Scenario, Huffington Post, and The Nation. He was formerly a financial engineer and mathematical analyst. Konczal holds a MS in Finance and a BS in Mathematics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


NYT Endorsement of Hillary Not Surprising Since It Buried Bernie's Presidential Bid


Jeff Cohen is a media critic and lecturer, founding director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College, where he is an associate professor of journalism. Cohen founded the media watch group FAIR in 1986.


SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome back to the Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore. And I'm speaking with Jeff Cohen. Jeff is a director for the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College, and he was the founder of the media watchdog FAIR. He's also the co-founder of RootsAction.org. And in segment one I was speaking with Jeff about the Iowa primaries, the results, and what the various candidates, actually the two Democratic candidates, had to say last night. And we were unpacking that. So if you didn't see that, go watch that.

And on this segment we're going to deal with the media, how media covered the Iowa primaries, as well as the endorsements that media is--many of them are giving to Hillary Clinton, like the New York Times. So Jeff, welcome back.

JEFF COHEN: Nice to be with you.

PERIES: So Jeff, let's dig right into this. The New York Times came out on Sunday endorsing Hillary Clinton, that is the editorial board of the New York Times. What do you make of that?

COHEN: Totally expected. What we've had at the New York Times, and most of the corporate mainstream media, is the traditional Gandhi quote, attributed to Gandhi. It's also been said by early feminists and labor leaders. First, they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. Then they attack you. Then you win.

And you know, at first it was ridicule--at first it was ignoring. And you might remember that when Bernie Sanders announced he was running for president, the announcement in the New York Times was on a back page, very small, page A-21. And when a lot of these Republicans one after another was announcing for president, they got big, front-page coverage in the New York Times. In Iowa, Bernie's 50-50. And he was on the back page of the times. These Republicans who walked away with one, two percent of the vote in Iowa, they got front-page treatment.

So I think what's happened is it started as ignoring, it went to ridicule, and now the New York Times is going to come out for Hillary editorially. The Washington Post ran two editorials in two days attacking Bernie. And the first editorial was an utter doozy, basically defending Wall Street status, and saying that the big banks are now safely regulated, suggesting that Bernie is a demagogue when he talks about Wall Street. So we're definitely moving into this state where you can expect the corporate mainstream media to be on the attack.

The important thing for activists, and the kinds of people that get their news from the Real News, to understand is that this problem plaguing Bernie, the bias against Bernie, well, it's long-standing that in mainstream media you've had a narrow spectrum of views, political views, among the punditocracy. It goes from the center to the right, from corporate centrist Democrats to the far right. It's a spectrum no broader than from General Electric to General Motors. A corporate spectrum.

So in all of these discussions in the week leading up to Iowa, we're going to see it in the week leading up to New Hampshire. You have a lot of these people on the panels that are big supporters of Hillary Clinton, like [inaud.] who's associated with one of Hillary Clinton's superPACs. But they have panel after panel on CNN, on MSNBC, on the Sunday politics shows, where there are supporters of the right wing, supporters of Hillary Clinton and corporate centrism, but there's no one who's an unabashed supporter of Bernie Sanders. And if I were an activist seeing that, I would immediately go and protest to these media outlets, now that it's a 50-50 campaign in the Democratic party, you can't have defenders of Hillary and no defenders of Bernie. But that's what mainstream TV news has been doing.

in full: http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=15577

Reminder from 2015: Television News Network Lobbyists Are Fundraising for Hillary Clinton
Another example of money in politics and its influence.

in full: https://theintercept.com/2015/10/29/media-fundraisers-presidential/

Single Payer Saves Money by Saying No to the Insurance Industry’

Fair and Accuracy in Reporting

February 1, 2016

Janine Jackson: A Washington Post columnist writes that we need to admit that healthcare reform’s twin goals, comprehensive universal insurance and cost control, are at odds. The New York Times reports that a single-payer system requires unpopular taxes, making it, even in the eyes of sympathetic Democrats, politically impossible. And USA Today says the US hasn’t seriously considered single payer because it would cause great disruption to the economy, result in higher taxes, and give the federal government vast new powers.

Well, those claims have some things in common: They’re all untrue, and they’ll all from 1993. It seems the story corporate media tell us about single payer—we want it, it makes a lot of sense, and it can never ever happen—hasn’t changed a great deal. For as long as that media narrative has been abroad, we’ve been checking in with our next guest about how to address it. A primary care physician for many years, Steffie Woolhandler is co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program and professor at the CUNY School of Public Health.

Welcome back to CounterSpin, Steffie Woolhandler.

Steffie Woolhandler: My pleasure.

JJ: Single payer is in headlines now because of the election, and the alternative visions for healthcare presented by Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Sanders’ proposal of a single-payer type of system makes him “exciting,” the Washington Post said, but Clinton’s attempt to “bat down hopes” about it make her “the voice of reason.” The Arizona Republic says:

in full: http://fair.org/home/single-payer-saves-money-by-saying-no-to-the-insurance-industry/

In 2016, let's hope for better trade agreements and the death of TPP Joseph Stiglitz

January 10, 2016

Last year was a memorable one for the global economy. Not only was overall performance disappointing, but profound changes – both for better and for worse – occurred in the global economic system.

Most notable was the Paris climate agreement reached last month. By itself, the agreement is far from enough to limit the increase in global warming to the target of 2ºC above the pre-industrial level. But it did put everyone on notice: the world is moving, inexorably, toward a green economy. One day not too far off, fossil fuels will be largely a thing of the past. So anyone who invests in coal now does so at his or her peril. With more green investments coming to the fore, those financing them will, we should hope, counterbalance powerful lobbying by the coal industry, which is willing to put the world at risk to advance its shortsighted interests.

Indeed, the move away from a high-carbon economy, where coal, gas, and oil interests often dominate, is just one of several major changes in the global geo-economic order. Many others are inevitable, given China’s soaring share of global output and demand. The New Development Bank, established by the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), was launched during the year, becoming the first major international financial institution led by emerging countries. And, despite Barack Obama’s resistance, the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank was established as well, and is to start operation this month.

The US did act with greater wisdom where China’s currency was concerned. It did not obstruct the renminbi’s admission to the basket of currencies that constitute the International Monetary Fund’s reserve asset, Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). In addition, a half-decade after the Obama administration agreed to modest changes in the voting rights of China and other emerging markets at the IMF – a small nod to the new economic realities – the US Congress finally approved the reforms.


Why stoking sectarian fires in the Middle East could be Saudi Arabia's biggest mistake

The Saudis are plunging into political snake pits without much idea of how they are going to get out of them

Patrick Cockburn

15 hours ago

Saudi Arabia will be pleased that the furore over its execution of the Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr is taking the form of a heightened confrontation with Iran and the Shia world as a whole. Insults and threats are exchanged and diplomatic missions closed. Sunni mosques are blown up in Shia-dominated areas of Iraq. The Saudi rulers are able to strengthen their leadership of a broad Sunni coalition against an Iranian-led Shia axis at home and abroad.

The motive for the mass execution of Sheikh Nimr and 46 others, many Sunni jihadists, was primarily domestic. The threat to the al-Saud family within Saudi Arabia comes from Sunni extremists in al-Qaeda and Isis and not from the Shia, who are only a majority in two provinces in the eastern region of the country. Furious denunciations by Shia communities and countries will do nothing but good to the reputation of the ruling family among the majority of Saudis.

Saudi Arabia and its fundamentalist Wahhabi variant of Sunni Islam has been blamed by many outside the kingdom as the ideological forbearer of Isis, but the real danger for the monarchy is that it should be seen at home as insufficiently zealous as defender of the faith.


2016: The Year of the Billionaire

This presidential election could show how private capital and secrecy conspired to take the political process away from the American people.

By Adele M. Stan / The American Prospect
January 1, 2016

In general, it can be said that billionaires in America almost always have pretty good years, by at least one important measure: They have more than a billion dollars. They’ve made it into a club composed of 536 people, in a nation with a population of 321 million.

Over the past 40 years, their fortunes have soared, and according to new report in The New York Times, they pay precious little tax on them. That’s because they’ve bought the Congress that writes the tax code, paid the lobbyists who strong-arm the legislators, and funded the think tanks that crafted the policy strong-armed on the bought-and-paid-for legislators.

OK; that may be a bit of an oversimplification—not every member of Congress is in the pocket of the 0.01 percent—but not by much.

More and more, the billionaires’ influence is conducted out of public view, thanks to a Supreme Court with a billionaire-boosting majority, and a tax code designed by the billionaires’ lackeys to hurt the brain of any normal human who deigned to apply her intelligence to it.


Remembering Syria's heroes of 2015

Amid all of the hatred and horror of Syria's civil war, there have also been stories of compassion and bravery

Abdul Halim Attar, a Palestinian Syrian refugee living in Jordan, with his daughter

For Syrians, 2015 has been a year of violence, famine, siege and brutality, but amid the inhumanity and barbarism of war there have also been acts of heroism, generosity and love.

Here are just a few examples of heroism and compassion that grabbed the world's attention in 2015.

Hope for the unborn

In September, doctors in Aleppo performed an emergency caesarian section on a woman injured in a missile strike. Shrapnel had penetrated her torso and she feared for the life of her unborn baby.

A video from the Aleppo City Medical Council, a non-profit medical service, shows doctors working to save the baby, clearing her airways and rubbing her lifeless body until she finally takes a deep breath and starts to cry.

- See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/in-depth/features/remembering-heroes-2015-1335481736#sthash.4ZDFjcs5.dpuf

Syria and Iraq: Ethnic cleansing by Sunni and Shia jihadis is leading to a partition of the M East.

Conflicts among communities that once lived together in peace brings the prospect of a refugee crisis that will continue long after the fighting ends

Patrick Cockburn

Sunday 27 December 2015

Sectarian and ethnic cleansing by all sides in Syria and Iraq is becoming more intense, ensuring that there are few mixed areas left in the two countries and, even if the war ends, many refugees will find it too dangerous to return to their homes.

Communities which once lived together in peace are today so frightened of each other after years of savage warfare that the more powerful sect or ethnic group is forcing out the weaker one. This pattern is repeating itself everywhere from the Sunni towns captured by Shia militiamen in provinces around Baghdad to Christian enclaves in central Syria under threat from Isis, and in Turkmen villages just south of the Syrian-Turkish border being bombed by Russian aircraft.

The inability of Syrians and Iraqis to return home in safety means that Europe and the Middle East will have to cope for decades to come with an irreversible refugee crisis brought on by the war.

There are good reasons for everybody to be afraid, though outside powers play down the sectarian or ethnic agenda of their local Syrian proxies and allies. “We will end up like the Christians, being forced out of the country,” says a young Sunni photographer, Mahmoud Omar, who once lived in Ramadi in the overwhelmingly Sunni province of Anbar. Many fled when Isis captured the city in May which is now under assault by the military forces of the Shia-dominated government in Baghdad trying to recapture it. Some 1.4 million people from Anbar or 43 per cent of its population are displaced, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

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