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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

Expecting Sanders Supporters to "Close Ranks?"


Think again. Here's why many won't.

"Expecting people to 'close ranks' around the Democratic nominee harkens back to a time that no longer exists."

When the Clinton campaign and the corporate press call for Sanders to drop out and turn his supporters over to Hillary, they reveal just how out of touch they are. Sanders’ army is not his to command. They arose out of a profound dissatisfaction over politics as usual, and many – if not most – will not be persuaded to vote for a status quo politician they perceive to be part of the problem, no matter how frightening a Trump Presidency could be.

Here are some of the reasons why:

Reason #1 – Party Affiliation Doesn’t Matter as Much as it Used to. In 1960, 75 percent of Americans belonged to one of the major political parties, and just 20 percent claimed to be independents. Today, 44 percent of Americans call themselves independents, and only a little over half of the people belong to a party. Most of the dropouts came from the Democratic Party, which claimed 50 percent of Americans in 1960. For the most part, Republicans have hovered between 20 and 25%, standing at 23% today.


Reason #2 – The Myth of the Centrist Majority and the Disenfranchisement of the People.
Democrats’ share of voters fell sharply after Carter, and continued to fall thereafter, as the DLC brand of corporate centrist Democrats took over the party – something both Clintons embraced whole-heartedly. In short, as the party abandoned the people, the people abandoned the party. The further Democrats drifted from the New Deal, the more ground they lost.


"The oligarchs controlling the Party believed people had nowhere else to go, particularly with Republicans having a protracted psychotic breakdown, and until Sanders, it worked."


Reason #3 -- In Response to their Diminished Status, the Democratic Party Moved to Protect the Entrenched Status Quo, rather than to Assure a Democratic Process. Closed primaries shut out independents -- the largest block of voters -- and in some states, including New York, rules made it difficult for the young or newly interested voters to engage.


Reason #4 -- The Rise of the Oligarchy: In their landmark study, Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups and Average Citizens, Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page found that the US was functionally an Oligarchy, not a democracy.


"Significant Security Risks": State Department Says Clinton Broke Rules Using Private Email Server


By Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh, Democracy Now! | Video Interview

An internal government watchdog has concluded Hillary Clinton broke government rules by using a private email server without approval while she was secretary of state. That was the key finding of a long-awaited report by the State Department inspector general. The report concluded that Clinton would not have been allowed to use a private server in her home had she asked department officials in charge of information security, because it posed "significant security risks." This contradicts claims by Clinton that use of a home server was allowed and that no permission was needed. The report also criticized Clinton for not properly preserving emails she wrote and received on her personal account. According to the report, Clinton and eight of her deputies, including Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan and Huma Abedin, declined to be interviewed for the inspector general's investigation. Clinton's use of a private email server for State Department business is also the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation. We speak to journalist Michael Tracey.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: An internal government watchdog has concluded Hillary Clinton broke government rules by using a private email server without approval while she was secretary of state. That was the key finding of a long-awaited report by the State Department inspector general. The report concluded that Clinton would not have been allowed to use a private server in her home had she asked department officials in charge of information security, because it posed, quote, "significant security risks." This contradicts claims by Clinton that use of a home server was allowed and that no permission was needed. The report also criticized Clinton for not properly preserving emails she wrote and received on her personal account. Clinton responded to the report during a campaign event in California [sic].


AMY GOODMAN: Michael Tracey, we just have a minute, but two quick questions. One, the effect of one of -- the person who installed the server in the Chappaqua house being granted immunity? And the other, the reason that they would do this? Is it possible it's related not -- to not wanting to have FOIA requests of emails and questions about these emails that were involved with countries that had dealings with the Clinton Foundation?


Neck-and-Neck in California as Sanders Virtually Erases 50-Point Deficit


New poll shows Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in statistical tie less than two weeks before California's Democratic primary

Less than two weeks before California's critical Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are locked in a dead heat in that state, according to a poll released Wednesday.

The same poll (pdf) shows Sanders outperforming Clinton in a hypothetical match-up against presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

The survey, conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), shows that among Democratic primary likely voters, 46 percent support Clinton and 44 percent support Sanders. Sanders leads Clinton among those who are very liberal (64% to 35%) as well as among younger voters (66% to 27%). Latino voters are slightly more likely to support Clinton (52% to 43%), while white voters are more divided (47% Clinton, 41% Sanders).


As Politico notes, a Sanders victory on June 7 would create "an awkward situation for Clinton, who could be celebrating being dubbed the 'presumptive nominee' even as she loses the nation's largest state—and one of its most diverse."

Obama Visits Vietnam to Promote the TPP


President Obama is in Vietnam promoting the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The free trade agreement is not about boosting the US economy; it's about multinational corporations moving jobs to countries with poor labor records and pocketing the difference in wage and environmental costs.

President Obama is in Vietnam promoting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Vietnam? Really?

A year ago the post "Obama To Visit Nike To Promote the TPP. Wait, NIKE? Really?," noted how Nike pioneered moving jobs out of the country to take advantage of low wages and lack of environmental protections in places like Vietnam, which led to many of the problems in our economy today. It seemed that Nike was possibly the worst company to use to support claims that the TPP would benefit the American economy.

President Obama is scheduled to visit Nike's Oregon headquarters on Friday to promote the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Yes, Nike -- a company that grew to billions by outsourcing jobs to overseas sweatshops, a company that sets up P.O.-box subsidiaries in tax havens to avoid paying U.S. taxes, a company that uses threats to extort tax breaks from its "home" state.
Phil Knight, head of Nike, is now worth $23 billion because America's trade policies encourage companies like Nike to create and move jobs outside of the U.S. The 23rd-richest American is one more symbol of the kind of inequality that results from outsourcing enabled and encouraged by these trade policies. Workers here lose (or never get) jobs; workers there are paid squat; a few people become vastly, unimaginably wealthy.

One of the Worst Companies, One of the Worst Countries


A Boon to corporate whores - Suicidal for most of the rest of us.
And I'm supposed to support shit like this?

Obama and the current Democratic party are Judas Goats.

Capitalism Needs Socialism to Work—Which Is Why Bernie Is So Popular


Millions Now Understand That Capitalism Needs Socialism to Work—Which Is Why Bernie Is So Popular

Sanders' vision of democratic socialism is just capitalism with a safety net.

Three short years ago, the idea of a major candidate in a presidential election openly describing himself as a socialist would have seemed unthinkable. President Barack Obama had entered his second term and the Democratic Party had won the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections not by running to the left, but by campaigning mostly from the center. In 2013, “socialism” was still a dirty word in American politics. But that was before Bernie Sanders ran for president and before polls showed the word socialist taking on an increasingly positive connotation among millennials in the United States. The word is still rejected by most strategists in the Democratic Party, but in 2016, it at least gets a seat at the table in the marketplace of ideas.


Context is important. When Sanders describes himself as a democratic socialist, he is referring to democratic socialism as practiced in Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Italy,


Sanders is not anti-capitalist, and the economic views he identifies with are not those of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara or Vladimir Lenin, but those of President Franklin Roosevelt and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Capitalism needs a certain amount of socialism in order to function well: when Americans are broke and unemployed, they have less ability to make the purchases that keep companies in the black. And at the same time, a social safety net needs successful free enterprise and entrepreneurs to contribute to the tax base.


Let's not forget that 'trickle down' was a lie and fraud pushed by the 1%

US Government's Own Report Shows Toxic TPP "Not Worth Passing"


'This report indicates the TPP will produce almost no benefits, but inflict real harm on so many workers.'

The government's own assessment of the toxic Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) shows that the controversial trade deal will produce negligible economic benefits while damaging most Americans' jobs and wages.

The U.S. International Trade Commission's (ITC) report (pdf), issued Wednesday, shows that the TPP "would likely have only a small positive effect on U.S. growth," Reuters reported.

"This may be the most damning government report ever submitted for a trade agreement."
Leo W. Gerard, United Steelworkers

Meanwhile, the ITC estimates a worsening balance of trade for 16 out of 25 U.S. agriculture, manufacturing, and services sectors that cover vehicles, wheat, corn, auto parts, titanium products, chemicals, seafood, textiles and apparel, rice, and even financial service. Indeed, output in the manufacturing sector would be $11.2 billion lower with TPP than without it in 2032, the ITC found, with employment down 0.2 percent. And while vehicle production would gain, auto parts, textiles, and chemicals would see reductions, the trade panel said.

The analysis also estimates the proposed 12-nation trade deal—a centerpiece of President Barack Obama's economic agenda—will increase the U.S. global trade deficit by $21.7 billion by 2032.


Stop making excuses for this Abortion of Government Sovereignty and the Middle-Class

Activism Beyond 'Feeling the Bern': Violent Protests for Social Progress Happening Now in France


America's protests and rallies pale in comparison to the spirited and serious protests of France.

The presidential election in the U.S. has dominated the public's attention and produced two unlikely outcomes. The most obvious is that reality TV star Donald Trump, while breaking every rule in the book of U.S. presidential politics and offending women, minorities and just about everyone, is clearly going to be the Republican nominee for president.

The second outcome is that an avowed democratic socialist has almost kept pace with Hillary Clinton, the favorite to get the Democratic nomination. Bernie Sanders has won a string of races down the homestretch, and he keeps pushing the envelope, fighting and spending millions on advertising, even though his chances of winning the nomination are almost nil.

The success of a more radical candidate like Sanders makes progressives in America feel encouraged. And yet, despite several notable Black Lives Matters protests over racist police brutality, there has been very little protest in America about the overall economic climate; mostly a lot of voter enthusiasm for Bernie, as many "feel the Bern."

In France, it is very different. France is a far more rebellious country than the United States. People march in the streets and go on strike for the smallest reasons. But this time, there is evidence of a major revolt as hundreds of thousands of people have been protesting against a new labor law for weeks. High school and university students were the first to join the protest, to block their schools and to demand the withdrawal of the law, quickly joined by trade unions, and by the youth, in general. The grassroots movement called Nuit Debout ("Night on Our Feet" has been protesting virtually nonstop.

Clinton Delegate Claims that the last minute rule changes "Manipulation" were unjust.


Watch: Hillary Clinton Delegate Claims 'Manipulation' at Controversial Nevada Dem Convention That Angered Sanders Supporters

Clinton delegate Pat Barrett told The Young Turks that the last minute rule changes were unjust.

An awful lot has been said about the chaos at the Nevada convention last week.

"Debbie Wasserman-Schultz wants you to believe that there was incredible violence and that was all that there was at Nevada, with Bernie Bros threatening to tear down the whole house and set it on fire,” said the Young Turks host John Iadarola.

There was more to it than that, he pointed out. "They don’t actually show that the rules were clearly manipulated. There’s video evidence which we’ve shown. They won’t admit that and all the news reports about it won’t admit that either," Iadarola added.

Bubba's Toxic Economic Legacy: What Hillary Doesn't want you to remember


Bubba's Toxic Economic Legacy: When Hillary Brags About the First Clinton Presidency Legacy, She Doesn't Want You to Remember This
Hillary Clinton recently stated that her husband would be a key player on economic policy. That's not good news.

Over the past several months, Hillary Clinton has been somewhat hesitant to bring up her husband’s legacy as president, which, for many progressives, is a vexing reminder of how the Democratic Party embraced neoliberal policies towards the end of the 20th century, under the leadership of the the triangulating Bill Clinton. Faced with the insurgent campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton has tried to hype her progressive bona fides, which has meant avoiding some of Bill’s more despicable policies — from the 1994 crime bill and expansion of the war on drugs, to welfare reform and the Defense of Marriage Act. Almost two decades removed from the Clinton administration, there is a lot to find distasteful, and Hillary clearly wants to avoid discussing the worst of her husband’s presidency (which, like or not, she played a major role in).

There has been one area, however, where Hillary has been quick to conjure up her husbands legacy: the economy. On Sunday, she even said that she would put Bill in charge of “revitalizing the economy” as president.

This isn’t the first time Hillary has bragged about Bill’s booming economy, and her desire to emulate it. Take this statement from January, for example:

“I’m going to have the very best advisers that I can possibly have, and when it comes to the economy and what was accomplished under my husband’s leadership in the ’90s—especially when it came to raising incomes for everybody and lifting more people out of poverty than at any time in recent history—you bet.”

The Bernie or Bust Movement Shows No Signs of Slowing Down


The goal is to expose campaign corruption and make the case for a progressive future.

For months now, my Facebook feed has been clogged with inspirational posts about Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders getting arrested at a civil rights rally. Bernie Sanders’s modest tax returns. Bernie Sanders with a bird. Now that the delegate math is stacked against him, my Facebook feed is full of panicky moralistic posts about how Bernie or Bust is going to ruin everything, that it’s time for Sanders supporters to give up on ideological purity and unify behind the presumed nominee.

But the case for giving up on Sanders is turning out to be as difficult to make as the one for nominating him. Could it be that the Bernie or Bust movement, however righteous or quixotic, is not about Sanders at all, but another symptom of a high-rolling advertising-driven culture that has eroded all our trust in the social contract? I mean, if you’re looking for someone to blame, Edward Bernays is your man, not Sanders—and certainly not anyone who plans to write in Sanders’s name on a general election ballot.

Bernays, who was Sigmund Freud’s nephew, is the one who brought advertising into everyday life, not as billboard and print ads but as real events. In other words “public relations,” a term he also coined. Bernays kicked off his “torches of freedom” campaign for the American Tobacco Company in 1929 by hiring women to pose as suffragists in the Easter Sunday Parade and light up on cue. The point was to convince more women to smoke, but the whole campaign was dressed up as a grass-roots political movement. In 1954, “the father of spin” was hired by the United Fruit Company to set up local media in Guatemala that would coordinate with the CIA to topple the democratically elected government.
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