Monday, May 4, 2015

A Vote for Bernie is a Vote for Liz

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) almost EXACTLY mirrors and supports the same "progressive" issues and causes as Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) — and just as passionately. The only difference is, Bernie has been advocating for these issues and causes much longer than Warren.

According to the Boston Herald, upon the news of Senator Bernie Sanders running for President, Senator Elizabeth Warren said, “I’m glad to see him get out there and give his version of what leadership in this country should be. I think that Bernie Sanders is going to play out a vision for America, and that it is important for people to hear what he has to say.”

Sanders is going to run as a Democrat (rather than as an Independent), and thus would be a direct primary challenge to Hillary. So if Senator Elizabeth Warren is really serious about NOT running for President, then why wouldn't progressive groups support Bernie Sanders now that he's running for President? Are they so insistent on Warren that they will push voters towards a more right-leaning "moderate" (pro-corporate) Democrat like Hillary Clinton if they can't have their own way?

Bloomberg writes, "Ask the passionate Warren boosters for a single issue where she's superior to Sanders — and they come up empty."

So if Warren steadfastly refuses to run in 2016, wouldn't a vote for Bernie be the next best thing? In a way, wouldn't a vote for Bernie also be a vote for Elizabeth?

Of course, some people have suggested that both Sanders and Warren could run on the same ticket in 2016. While there is far too much to paraphrase in this post, here are some quotes from a very thoughtful and comprehensive article on this subject over at Common Dreams:

Social movement actors serious about using the presidential race as a tool to advance a democratic justice agenda against surging economic inequality should actively promote a joint Warren/Sanders ticket. This is the Left's best opportunity to engage in the 2016 presidential elections...Sanders and Warren are each heavy-hitters in their own right, but the combined star power of both leaders standing together, crisscrossing the country in a united electoral front, could galvanize a powerful coalition of grassroots constituencies under one banner...A joint ticket approach would also make it more likely that the money, organization, and national network were all in place early on to mount a full-fledged ground game assault in early caucus and primary states...Although either Sanders or Warren could probably, on their own, raise enough money to build the necessary organization to run a national campaign, a unified ticket approach would make the task much easier and could return far bigger dividends. The double team offense could electrify a grassroots base of activists inside already existing movement infrastructure...If the Sanders and Warren camps join forces it would prevent a worst-case scenario where both were to run independently of one another, dividing the electoral Left, splitting scarce financial and movement resources, and all but guaranteeing a primary win for Clinton...A Warren/Sanders ticket, with the Democratic populist receiving top billing ahead of the democratic socialist, would be by far the strongest formation, with Sanders’ supporting role as an experienced independent and elder statesmen giving Warren key credibility among some movement actors skeptical of party Democrats.

And there's also this website ... www.sanders-warren2016.com

If Senator Elizabeth Warren doesn't run, but were to come out and formally endorse Bernie Sanders for President, would that change the dynamics of the fence-sitting progressive groups who are still attempting to draft Warren? Would these groups begin to enthusiastically support Bernie — or will they instead back a "Third Way" candidate like Hillary Clinton? So far, we know Nevada hookers and Hustler's Larry Flint endorsers Hillary, but that's probably just because she's a woman (and because Liz isn't running.)

Will the "liberal" Democratic-leaning media give Bernie the same amount of news coverage that they have given to Warren? And if so, and if Warren doesn't run (and the corporate media finally accepts that), will they also give Bernie positive coverage — or will they subtly demean him to boost Hillary's ratings? Rather then emphasizing Bernie as a "Socialist" (with a big "S") to scare people, will they refer to him as a "democratic socialist" (with a small "s") — like those who more or less advocate for the same things that "democratic progressives" do — those who currently caucus with the Democrats?

According to Al Jazeera, a 2011 Pew survey found that young people between the ages of 18 and 29 felt slightly more favorably toward socialism than toward capitalism. A 2014 Reason-Rupe poll found that 36 percent of respondents viewed socialism favorably, including 52 percent of Democrats. Michael Kazin, a Georgetown University historian, said: “Most of his [Bernie's] stances are those of Elizabeth Warren, who is not a socialist as far as I know. There’s a tradition of socialists saying a lot of the same things that Elizabeth Warren has been saying." (Here's what the Democratic Socialists of America actually say about themselves on their official website, and what they say about Bernie.)

And Bernie isn't afraid to debate Bill O'Reilly. While on the other hand, Hillary hasn't made any appearance on Fox News as of yet — and actually seems to be avoiding the "lame stream left wing media" as well. According to Mother Jones, Bernie's got her beat there as well.

It's understood that some people believe that Warren might have a better chance than Sanders of beating Clinton in the Democratic primaries (another woman vs. another "angry white man") — and that Hillary may have a better chance than Sanders of beating someone like Jeb Bush in the 2016 general election. But if Warren DOESN'T run, it makes more sense for these progressive groups to back Sanders; because at the very least (especially if Bernie is included in the Democratic debates), he can nudge Hillary more to the "left" (or to the "center" if we were in FDR's era) on issues such as strengthening Social Security and taxing corporations their fair share.

And more than likely, they (these progressive groups) would still have Hillary as a candidate against the GOP rival in 2016. Otherwise, Hillary (if elected) will be more like Jeb Bush (beholden to the status quo) — and just give us the same ole, same ole — further prolonging these political dynasties, without ever feeling obligated to make any real changes.

And no ... Warren should NEVER consider running as VP with Clinton (or take a cabinet position in a Hillary administration), or Warren would forever lose all her populist credibility — or a chance to run for President in 2020 (Her trip to the Clinton mansion has already made many people very suspicious).

And there's also this, from the Center for Public Integrity (who regularly bashes both major political parties) — 12 things to know about Bernie Sanders (Hint: No, there's no baggage in Bernie's past, unlike some candidates.)

And finally, here's Elizabeth Warren discussing Hillary Clinton in 2004.

So if we can't have Liz, let's take Bernie. Not because he's "second best" to Liz, but because he's "second to none" to anyone else running for President. Sanders and Warren --- or Warren and Sanders. Whatever. Either would be a great choice.

Sanders and Warren (or Warren and Sanders)

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Gov. Chris Christie: The Only Innocent One

David Wildstein, Governor Chris Christie's confident and political ally, recently pled guilty to two counts of conspiracy regarding the illegal lane closings of the George Washington Bridge.

At the moment this photo of David Wildstein and Chris Christie were together, the lanes on the bridge had already been closed for three days and making national news — and Wildstein knew all about it, but he said absolutely NOTHING to his old high school "acquaintance" — Chris Christie. Yeah, right!

David Wildstein and Chris Christie

Christie's former deputy chief of staff, Bridget Kelly, and his former top appointee to the authority that controlled the bridge, Bill Baroni, have also both been indicted for the illegal lane closings that hampered police and ambulance responses, kept children out of school, and made people hours late for work.

Back then, Chris Christie had said, "The moment I first learned of this unacceptable behavior I took action, firing staff believed to be accountable."

Christie had fired Bridget Kelly, but Wildstein and Baroni had resigned, which Christie claimed was unrelated to the bridge lanes closings. Yeah, right!

Christie had also forced his two-time campaign manager Bill Stepien — who was aware of the vengeful scheme and later played a role in the damage control effort — to take his name out of the running to lead New Jersey’s Republican party.

So it appears that Governor Chris Christie was the ONLY innocent party in this whole scandal Yeah, right! — and that his underlings felt emboldened enough to jeopardize their own reputations, their jobs, and even their freedom (if they ever go to prison) just to piss off a Democratic mayor who hadn't politically supported Chris Christie.

And Christie was the only person who knew nothing at all about any of this. Yeah, right!... and it passes the smell test too. Yeah, right!

So all those people who reelected him must now feel completely vindicated. Yes ... now it all makes perfect sense.

The Beat-Down Continues...

A new report from Sarah Anderson of the Institute for Policy Studies shows that the Wall Street bonus pool for last year is roughly double the total earnings of all Americans who work full time at the federal minimum wage. (That's just the annual bonuses for just the people who work just in finance just in New York City.)

In his new book, The Great Divide, Joseph Stiglitz (the Nobel Prize-winning economist) writes: “I overheard one billionaire — who had gotten his start in life by inheriting a fortune — discuss with another billionaire the problem of lazy Americans who were trying to free-ride on the rest. Soon thereafter, they seamlessly transitioned into a discussion of tax shelters.” (The political conversation is most often about the free-rides of the poor, not the free-rides of corporations.)

Harvard University Press is publishing Inequality: What Can Be Done? — which lays out several steps to reduce inequality:

■ Government should be more concerned with monopolies and competition policy.
■ Trade unions should be bolstered to represent workers’ interests.
■ In addition to a minimum wage, there should be a framework to restrain pay at the highest levels (caps on executive pay).
■ Personal income taxes should be made more progressive, with a maximum rate of 65 percent. [Why not just tax capital gains as regular wages at the current tax rates?]

Pop quiz: Congress is responding to inequality by showing a resolve to...

A) end subsidies for private jets and eliminate the carried interest tax loophole for billionaires, or
B) cut food stamps and eliminate the inheritance tax on couples with estates worth more than $10.9 million.

The correct answer is "B".

New York Times: "A truck dumped eight million coins outside the Parliament building in Bern, one for every Swiss citizen. It was a publicity stunt for advocates of an audacious social policy that just might become reality in the tiny, rich country. Along with the coins, activists delivered 125,000 signatures — enough to trigger a Swiss public referendum, this time on providing a monthly income to every citizen, no strings attached. Every month, every Swiss person would receive a check from the government, no matter how rich or poor, how hardworking or lazy, how old or young. Poverty would disappear. (Update from PBS: The referendum didn't pass, but...)

New York Times: "Efforts to end prevailing-wage laws are emerging in statehouses around the nation. Opponents say these efforts would lower wages and see them as a new front in a battle by increasingly Republican legislatures to weaken labor unions."

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Rep. Alan Grayson on TPP Trade Agreement

In Rep. Alan Grayson’s (D-Florida) excellent 9 minute “Hollywood-produced” video he explains how we have "fake trade" and not "free trade" agreements.

"We're creating tens of millions of jobs in other countries with our purchasing power, while were losing millions of jobs here in America, because people in other other countries are buying THEIR own goods and services rather than ours. They’re not creating jobs in America, but they’re buying our assets — our stocks, our bonds, our mortgages, our homes, our farms, our coast lands, our big businesses and our small businesses."

He goes on to say that our debt to foreigners totals $35,000 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. — and that foreigners already own 7% of America's assets. (Last year deals worth at least $1 billion in the U.S. merger-and-acquisitions market saw the number rise 43% from the year before.)

Rep. Alan Grayson's petition:
http://tradetreachery.com/

Maybe he could be Bernie Sanders' VP ;)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Congressional Allowances

Your mom or dad might have given you an allowance for mowing the yard, taking out the trash, cleaning your room or washing the dishes. What do members of Congress do to EARN their allowances?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Baltimore

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on the Senate floor: "We cannot condone the violence we see in Baltimore, but we must not ignore the despair and hopelessness that gives rise to this kind of violence. So let’s condemn the violence, but let’s not ignore the underlying problem."

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Friday, April 24, 2015

Over Taxed? They spent $1 Trillion on Stock Buybacks

According to a study by the Roosevelt Institute (Disgorge the Cash), businesses once borrowed to invest and improve their company's long-term performance. But for the past 30 years business investment has been replaced by shareholder payouts.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Increased Productivity has No Affect on Wages

Or very little — at least, not so much these days. Jared Bernstein, former economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, recently writes:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Day in the Life of a Welfare Bum

The very first thing you do after you wake up in the morning is to