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Bernie Sanders: Dear Mr. President

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In case you missed it, here is Senator Bernie Sanders’ speech from earlier today calling for shared sacrifice in the deficit negotiations:

And here’s link to a petition to the President demanding such shared sacrifice. Go ahead and sign it. I did, and I feel great.

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June 27th, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Trancript of Bernie Sanders’ Speech 12/10/10

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Here is a link to a transcript of Senator Bernie Sanders’ speech, delivered in the Senate on Friday, December 10. Somebody should print it an d distribute it as a pamphlet.

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December 12th, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Bernie v Bernie (Goldberg v Sanders)

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First they ignore you. Then they mock you. Then they fight you. Then you win.

I have seen this formula attributed to Ghandi, but then I have heard others say that Ghandi never spoke or wrote these words. Whoever first made this statement it does describe how a movement progresses from oblivion to victory.

The Burlington VT or San Francisco city councils may have Greens or socialist members but at the state or federal levels the United States, unlike most if not all advanced democracies does not have a viable left wing party. Lefties who want to participate in government are therefore driven into the Democratic Party.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont does not play that game. He was elected Mayor of Burlington as a Socialist, and serves in the U.S. Senate as an independent. Still, his approach to policy and legislation is as a socialist, that is (if I may be so bold as to define Sanders’ socialism for him) someone who believes that power and wealth should be more equally shared and that an affluent society should ensure that all are provided for.

Though an independent, Sanders caucuses with the Democrats for tactical reasons. He supports Democratic legislation most of the time. That is why during his mock filibuster yesterday, Sanders was supported by other Democratic Senators like Sherrod Brown. But in terms of left wing, socialist, social democratic or labor oriented legislators, Bernie sanders is it. Maybe that is why his speech yesterday has drawn so much attention from both the Left and the Right.

Here is how Andrew Leonard at Salon tries to summarize Bernie’s “rant”:

His epic rant — perhaps one of the most extraordinary critiques of how the American economy has been managed over the last several decades delivered in living memory — is an endless sequence of connecting the dots from one outrage to another. Even as I wrote this paragraph, he segued effortlessly from trade policy to Wall Street.

“But it is not just a disastrous trade policy that has brought us where we are today. The immediate cause of this crisis, and it gets me just sick talking about it … is what the crooks on Wall Street have done to the American people.”

Sanders then delivers a capsule history of deregulation, blasts Alan Greenspan, notes that in the late ’90s he had predicted everything that ultimately happened, but failed to rally legislative support to stop the runaway train — “and the rest is, unfortunately, history.”

From there, a class warfare sideswipe: “Understand, that in this country when you are a CEO on Wall Street — you can do pretty much anything you want and get away it.”

“And what they did to the American people is so horrible.”

On to the bailout! His scorn is so caustic it could disintegrate an aircraft carrier: “We bailed these guys out because they were too big to fail, and now three of the four largest banks are now even larger. ”

As Sanders’ great oration enters its seventh hour, it is, by its very nature, impossible to summarize. It is a ramble, a rant, a critique, a cry of rage, a wail of despair, and a call to action. And it is amazing. I’ve heard stories of filibusters in which senators read phone books. And I’ve watched with disgust as for years Republicans have merely threatened to filibuster, without ever actually being forced to exercise their vocal cords. But here is Bernie Sanders, seven hours in, calling for the biggest banks to be broken up, voice still hale and hearty, and looking like he could easily go another seven hours.

Another Bernie, Goldberg as it happens has skipped from ignoring to attacking, skipping mocking in the process.

Apparently Bernie Sanders speaking out today about the terrible deal being struck to make sure that the rich in America get to keep their tax cuts hit a nerve with flame thrower Bernard Goldberg. He appeared on Fox with Megyn Kelly to promote his latest op-ed where he said we should be building monuments to rich people and pissed and moaned about what percentage of the taxes they pay. Those poor downtrodden rich people that own most of the wealth in the country. How will they ever get by without the Bernard Goldbergs of the world looking out for them?

Michelle Malkin piles on:

My question is whether any Republicans can get it on the action and provide some counterbalance. The “Wall Street greed” diatribes are getting noxious.

Noxious. Sanders has their attention it appears. There is no doubt that Sanders has become a nemesis to the Right even as he has raised his profile as a hero to the Left. My hope is that Sanders’ efforts yesterday lead to more. As Michael Tomasky at The Guardian said, “(L)et’s also hope that there arises a popular groundswell behind his efforts today, enough that some other Democrats and – God help us – a few Republicans see that his view is a responsible one. It is one, after all, that majorities typically support in polls.”

I would also like to see the birth and growth of a movement if not a party that is dedicated to restoring social justice and equality to the united States. It would take more than one historic speech to bring such a movement into being, but this was a damn good start.

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December 11th, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Bernie Sanders for President

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If Obama keeps up this constant appeasement of the GOP, if he does not start listening to his base, he will most certainly face either a primary challenge or a third party candidate in 2012. I wish this fella Rachel is talking to in the clip below would run. I would work like hell on his behalf.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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December 1st, 2010 at 12:28 am

Bernie Takes on Catfoodies

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In an attempt to widen the debate over debt and deficit reduction to include the effing obvious, Senator Bernie Sanders (Working Class Hero, VT) has decided that:

…(H)e will craft and introduce his own proposals as an alternative.

The Vermont Independent said that he will work with members of Congress, labor unions, seniors’ organizations and others to develop alternative suggestions. And while he didn’t get into the weeds, he did offer a few general areas that he hopes to target, including ending Bush-era tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, chopping off Cold War-era Pentagon programs and eliminating of tax credits for big oil companies.

Of the ideas pushed by the commission co-chairmen — former Sen. Alan K. Simpson and Erskine Bowles, former President Bill Clinton’s former chief of staff — Sanders offered the following:

“It is no surprise that these two favor draconian cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the needs of our veterans, and education while proposing tax reductions for the wealthy and large profitable corporations… Simpson is a darling of the Republican right wing and Bowles is a former investment banker who made a fortune on Wall Street. Their plan was floated amid reports that the two were struggling to cobble together enough support on their own commission to go forward by a Dec. 1 deadline.”

The corporate media (with a few obvious exceptions which do not seem to include NPR or PBS) is only allowed to discuss debt and deficit reduction in terms pre-approved by the Catfood Commission and other Republicans. Bernie says “Not so fast, rich bastards. Let’s hear what real people have to say.”

Bernie is doing his job and those of both the President and the Senate Majority Leader with no bump in pay or perks. Sure could use another fifty of him.

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November 15th, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Congressional Activity, May 11-14

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Here are this weeks major votes by our local critters:

May 12: The House passed an amendment to the Internal Revenue Code to include children of Vietnam War and certain Korean War veterans receiving care and services through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for spina bifida-related medical conditions as meeting the definition of minimum essential coverage under requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

Halvorson, Hare and Schock all voted Yea.

That is it for actual legislation voted on this week. The rest of the House activity was parliamentary activity like consideration of amendments and resolutions that only monsters would vote against. Like one expressing sympathy for the victims of the floods in Tennessee , Kentucky and Mississippi. No! Boo!. To heck with the flood victims.

Over on the Senate side, Burris and Durbin have been busy with their 98 other colleagues considering the Financial Reform legislation. Some amendments passed and some failed. My favorite is the amendment introd by Bernie Sanders (Socialist, Vermont) to audit the Federal Reserve Bank. The amendment’s description is as follows:

To require the non-partisan Government Accountability Office to conduct an independent audit of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System that does not interfere with monetary policy, to let the American people know the names of the recipients of over $2,000,000,000,000 in taxpayer assistance from the Federal Reserve System, and for other purposes.

Guess what! It passed 96-0. Go Bernie, Go Bernie.

Who knew there were at least 96 socialists in the U.S. Senate.

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May 14th, 2010 at 10:54 am