Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Bernie Sanders

 

Bernie Sanders Campaign Suspends Jewish Outreach Coordinator for Vulgar Remarks About Netanyahu

By Jason Horowitz, Apr. 14, 2016

Note: Since when the terms“arrogant, deceptive, cynical, manipulative.” are considered vulgar Mr. Sanders? And do you know that Sanders voted in Congress 1995 for Jerusalem to be Capital of Israel?

Updated, 12:22 a.m. | The Sanders campaign’s announcement on Tuesday that Simone Zimmerman would be its national Jewish outreach coordinator delighted her fellow left-wing Jewish political activists and encouraged their belief that public expressions of disgust with the Israeli government had edged into the acceptable mainstream of Democratic politics.

They might have been getting ahead of themselves.

On Thursday, Senator Bernie Sanders’s campaign suspended Ms. Zimmerman, 25, after revelations that she had used vulgarities in Facebook posts about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Hillary Clinton.

The suspension, hours before a Democratic presidential debate in Brooklyn, made for an embarrassing misstep for Mr. Sanders, a secular Jew who, despite having lived briefly in Israel (How brief and for what purpose?) and being the most successful candidate of his faith in American history, is being pummeled by Mrs. Clinton among Jewish voters.

But the suspension was also an important moment in the small but deeply felt universe of Democratic Jewish politics, which has been torn apart on generational and ideological lines over the acceptable level of criticism of Israel’s right-wing government.

With Ms. Zimmerman’s history of opposition to Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza, her hiring drew concerted and ultimately overwhelming pressure from American Jewish leaders.

Her suspension showed that when it came to the high stakes and intense scrutiny of presidential politics, the establishment’s view of Ms. Zimmerman and her brethren as dangerous radicals still held sway even with Mr. Sanders, a candidate promising a revolution.

The fact that he acted shows that obviously he didn’t think it was acceptable,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

A chorus of Jewish figures, including Abe Foxman, the president emeritus of the Anti-Defamation League, had joined Mr. Hoenlein in calling for Ms. Zimmerman’s firing.

The final straw was a report on Wednesday in the Washington Free Beacon, which found a Facebook post in which she used a vulgarity and described Mr. Netanyahu as “arrogant, deceptive, cynical” and “manipulative.”

She then used more aggressive language and continued that he had “sanctioned the murder of over 2,000 people this summer.” (If this allegation is wrong, sue her instead of hiding these facts under the carpet)

Michael Briggs, a spokesman for Mr. Sanders, wrote in an email, “She has been suspended while we investigate the matter.” (Yeah. Kind she committed a crime?)

After Mr. Sanders won the New Hampshire Democratic primary in a landslide, Ms. Zimmerman also wrote triumphantly on Facebook, “The first Jew in history just won a primary, as a proud socialist calling for political revolution.” Then she criticized Mrs. Clinton and added a vulgarity.

Ms. Zimmerman declined to comment on her suspension, but supporters noted that she wrote the Facebook post about Mr. Netanyahu in March 2015, an emotionally charged time, when Mr. Netanyahu infuriated liberals across the United States by addressing Congress to argue against President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. (Context has no value in politics?)

“This is the American Jewish community eating its own,” said Peter Beinart, a mentor to Ms. Zimmerman and a leading voice in liberal Zionism. “Simone is the best of the best. Most of the other kids have given up on the community. She cares deeply and wants to make it live up to its own stated ideals.”

In an interview last year about the shifts in American Jewish politics, Ms. Zimmerman talked about how she had grown up in an active Jewish community and household in Los Angeles, with a grandparent who had fought for Israeli independence. Other relatives were killed in the Holocaust, she said.

After receiving training from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying group, Ms. Zimmerman entered the University of California, Berkeley, she said, with the intention of defending Israel. But she began doubting Israeli policies regarding the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, settlements, and what she viewed as the excessive use of military force.

She then became the national president of the student branch of J Street, a pro-Israel lobbying group that is critical of the Netanyahu government. She started a grass-roots movement of thousands of young Jews who sought to stop American Jewish groups from supporting Israeli policies in the occupied territories.

She protested in front of the offices of Mr. Hoenlein, among others.

“They claim to speak for the American Jewish community,” she said, adding that “young people make the establishment the most worried.”

But apparently the Sanders campaign, despite its popularity among young liberal voters who tend to agree with Ms. Zimmerman on the question of Israel, became worried, too.

A significant number of Jewish voters consider Ms. Zimmerman and her allies to be radicals, and the Sanders campaign, already facing a more than 30-point deficit among New York’s Jewish Democrats, according to a new NBC New York/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll, took action.

In Thursday night’s debate, though, Mr. Sanders advocated a critical discussion of Israel that, while popular with his young liberal base, was unlikely to please the Jewish establishment figures who had sought to hold a common line on Israel in Democratic politics.

Mr. Sanders criticized Mrs. Clinton’s pro-Israel orthodoxy, called the Israeli army’s use of arms against Palestinians “disproportionate” and argued that “we have to say that Netanyahu is not right all of the time.”

Ms. Zimmerman would have approved.

Find out what you need to know about the 2016 presidential race today, and get politics news updates via FacebookTwitter and the First Draft newsletter.

Correction: April 14, 2016
An earlier version of this article misstated Abe Foxman’s position with the Anti-Defamation League. He is a former national director of the group, not the current president.
 Well, that was fast.

I wonder if, when he hired her, he had ANY IDEA what he was stepping in. He just doesn’t seem that hip on the current state of Palestine/Israel discourse. He might have just thought she seemed like a nice girl with a good resume.

Then again, he has worked in Washington for quite a long time. How could he not know about the Israel lobby or its power or epic tetchiness? Maybe just because he’s kind of stayed out of the Israel question for the most part?

Both the hiring and the suspending raise many questions. It’ll be interesting to see how it shakes out.

But I can say if I were running for president right now, I probably wouldn’t try to be ruffling any Israel lobby feathers at this point.

There’s no benefit in it right at this moment (especially in freaking New York), and there’ll be plenty of time for that battle once you’re in the Oval Office. (Like when? This state of horror has been going on for 7 decades. Trump just openly supported Israel and he won on other issues)

Don’t trust their rhetoric: Blatant hypocrisy of these Senators and Congressmen

Those US Senators and Congressmen voted in 1995 to have Jerusalem Capital of Israel

Zionism infiltrated the Evangelical sects in the USA. Since 1915 the USA has been the instigator for establishing the State of Israel, by pressuring England in WWI to  recognize a land for the Jews in Palestine in 1917. Over 200,000 US soldiers died in that war and many fold from the “Spanish Flu” once they returned home

The battle-cry on Jerusalem crisis: Pressure US Congress to rescind its law of 1995 of Jerusalem Capital of Israel. Otherwise, UN will postpone indefinitely the creation of a Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as Capital. This will go counter to the world community desires to put to rest this century old situstion.

There are maps of Palestine of 1920, 1947, 1949, the Oslo II of 1995, the Wye Plantation of 1998, the Charm el-Cheikh of 1999, the Camp David map including Jerusalem, the Taba I and Taba II, the two Sharon’s plans of 2001, including Jerusalem. No wonder these are never displayed: these Swiss cheese subdivisions and the implantation of Jewish colonies would speak louder than any article.

 

Should Joan Baez endorse Bernie Sanders?

Pledged my allegiance not to a flag or a nation state but to humankind

 Joan Baez· April 7, 2016 at 7:12am ·

I’ve had conflicting feelings as to whether or not I should officially endorse Bernie Sanders as the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

I would be making this decision for only the second time in my life.

The first time was for Barack Obama, the master of the spoken word whose brilliance (and smile) brought people together and ignited our spirits for the first time in decades. Aside from endorsing Barack Obama, I have refused to step into the arena of party politics.

My choice, from an early age, has been to engage in social change from the ground up, using the power of organized nonviolence.

A distrust of the political process was firmly in place by the time I was 15. As a daughter of Quakers I pledged my allegiance not to a flag or a nation state but to humankind, the two often having little to do with each other.

Ideally, both Obama and Sanders could have used their unique gifts to build a grass roots movement, sidestepping the Oval Office and going directly to the streets to organize from the sidewalks, street corners, living rooms and churches.

Gandhi himself refused to be part of the newly formed Independent India government after he led the country to independence, and remained committed to nonviolent opposition.

Can a true political revolution ever start from within the party system?

It does seem like an insurmountable contradiction. And to imagine that more than a fraction of Bernie’s agenda could ever come to fruition is probably setting expectations too high.

Yet Bernie has won my heart.

He supports causes in which I have been personally involved for decadesI take great strength from his firm stance against the death penalty, (amazing!) his belief that Palestinians should have a place at the bargaining table, (unheard of!) his understanding that the prison system must transform its agenda from punishment to rehabilitation,

his desire to treat immigrants as human beings, and of course by his grass roots funding and astonishing refusal to sell himself to the devil on Wall Street, or anywhere else for that matter.

I am profoundly moved by this elder statesman, his compelling honesty, and his ability to engage young people.

Why am I not spending my time trying to woo Bernie into grass roots organizing?

For the moment I’m going with my heart, which I mentioned, he has won. I am not sold on “the system” and never will be. I’m sold on the guy from Brooklyn.

I’ve learned a lot while writing this piece. I know that I am ambivalent about supporting someone who will be thrown to the lions if he wins.

He is a lion in his own right, and I want to see him win. Not just to conquer the growing evil in the other party, but also to see what he can do to bend the system towards a less corrupt and more generous country than we are at present.

I joyfully and wholeheartedly endorse Bernie Sanders to be the nominee for the Democratic Party in the 2016 Presidential Election.

-Joan Baez

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Rousing Sanders Attack on Vapid Media Coverage: And Cable News Edits it Out

Bernie Sanders garnered one of the biggest applause lines during the debate Tuesday night — and a trending hashtag — when he slammed the media for focusing on Hillary Clinton’s “damn emails” instead of asking the candidates about poverty, inequality, trade policies, and the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

But from watching television coverage of this dramatic moment in the debate, you would only hear half of the story. Playing clips from the debate, CNN and other networks focused almost exclusively on the political impact of Sanders expressing solidarity with Clinton about her damn emails —  while editing out his comment about the failures of the media to talk about the biggest issues facing America.

Andrew Bossone shared and commented on this link

I stay away from commenting on the lamelections, but this one I couldn’t. Don’t disagree with Bernie on this one that the issues matter, but questions about a candidate breaking the law and hiding her communications ARE relevant.

theintercept.com

At the 00:58 moment in the clip above, Sanders is heard saying: “The secretary is right, and that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails…. Enough of the e-mails. Let’s talk about the real issues facing America.”

But here’s the part that was edited out:

SANDERS: The middle class — Anderson, and let me say something about the media, as well. I go around the country, talk to a whole lot of people. Middle class in this country is collapsing. We have 27 million people living in poverty. We have massive wealth and income inequality. Our trade policies have cost us millions of decent jobs. The American people want to know whether we’re going to have a democracy or an oligarchy as a result of Citizens United.

The way MSNBC covered it left viewers with the impression that Sanders was going after the Republican Party for obsessing over Clinton’s private email server. In fact, he was railing against the sensationalism-obsessed media that ignores bread-and-butter issues affecting normal Americans as well as systemic corruption in politics.

A similar example of unnecessary editing occured this morning on CNN, when host Michaela Periera played clips of the debate that received the biggest reaction on social media. Here is a transcript of the CNN coverage this morning:

PEREIRA: Moving along, the big moment on Facebook, I could have predicted this one. The “damn e-mails” comment from Bernie Sanders, the senator from Vermont. If you didn’t get a chance to hear it, let me refresh your memory.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: I think the secretary is right. And that is, that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails.
CLINTON: Thank you. Me too! Me too!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PEREIRA: What’s interesting, many thought that he might have taken advantage of the fact that this was a big opening, but instead he essentially kind of defended her. This moment really, really rang true to a lot of people online.

Again, a cable media outlet failed to show the next sentence uttered by Sanders, when he goes after the media for failing to do its duty in covering major issues of the election.

While many corporate media outlets expressed shock that Sanders would dismiss discussion of Clinton’s private email server, the senator from Vermont has consistently asked reporters all year to discuss substantive policy issues instead of topics such as hair style or horserace-style jabs at his opponents.

To its credit, DemocracyNow covered Sanders’ repeated criticism of the corporate media in its coverage of the debate last night.

As former MSNBC producer Jonathan Larsen noted, CNN’s seemingly endless pre-debate coverage provided “virtually zero issue-prep” by failing to show “issue explainers, conflict previews, history, context, etc.” for its audience.

For instance, the transcript of CNN’s 11:30am pre-debate coverage does not discuss any policy issues. Instead, guest Brett O’Donnell spoke about whether Clinton will “appear real,” anchor John Berman discussed whether Sanders can appear “presidential,” and anchor Kate Boulduan chatted about how “Mitt Romney likes to be around Ann and the kids.”

Bernie Sanders is Not a Radical, He Has Mass Support for Healthcare & Tax Positions

Bernie Sanders is an extremely interesting phenomenon. He’s a decent, honest person… But he’s considered radical and extremist, [and] he’s basically a mainstream New Deal Democrat.” – Noam Chomsky

During an event Tuesday night, Noam Chomsky was asked about Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and said he considered him more of a “New Deal Democrat” than a radical extremist, as some have portrayed him.

Chomsky said Sanders’ positions on taxes and healthcare are supported by a majority of the American public, and have been for a long time.

He added that Sanders has “mobilized a large number of young people who are saying, ‘Look, we’re not going to consent anymore.’

If that turns into a continuing, organized, mobilized force, that could change the country—maybe not for this election, but in the longer term.”

Chomsky is a world-renowned political dissident, linguist, author and institute professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he’s taught for more than half a century.

He spoke at the Brooklyn Public Library at an event hosted by Live from the NYPL.

The event also featured Greece’s former finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis. He discusses his role in the country’s financial crisis in his new book, “And the Weak Suffer What They Must?: Europe’s Crisis and America’s Economic Future.”

Varoufakis will be a guest Thursday on Democracy Now!


TRANSCRIPT

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

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, Bernie Sanders is an extremely interesting phenomenon. He’s a decent, honest person. That’s pretty unusual in the political system.

Maybe there are two of them in the world, you know. But he’s considered radical and extremist, which is a pretty interesting characterization, because he’s basically a mainstream New Deal Democrat. His positions would not have surprised President Eisenhower, who said, in fact, that anyone who does not accept New Deal programs doesn’t belong in the American political system. That’s now considered very radical.

The other interesting aspect of Sanders’s positions is that they’re quite strongly supported by the general public, and have been for a long time.

That’s true on taxes. It’s true on healthcare.

So, take, say, healthcare. His proposal for a national healthcare system, meaning the kind of system that just about every other developed country has, at half the per capita cost of the United States and comparable or better outcomes, that’s considered very radical.

But it’s been the position of the majority of the American population for a long time. So, you go back, say, to the Reagan—right now, for example, latest polls, about 60 percent of the population favor it. When Obama put through the Affordable Care Act, there was, you recall, a public option. But that was dropped.

It was dropped even though it was supported by about almost two-thirds of the population.

You go back earlier to the Reagan years, about 70 percent of the population thought that national healthcare should be in the Constitution, because it’s such an obvious right.

And, in fact, about 40 percent of the population thought it was in the Constitution, again, because it’s such an obvious right. The same is true on tax policy and others.

So we have this phenomenon where someone is taking positions that would have been considered pretty mainstream during the Eisenhower years, that are supported by a large part, often a considerable majority, of the population, but he’s dismissed as radical and extremist.

That’s an indication of how the spectrum has shifted to the right during the neoliberal period, so far to the right that the contemporary Democrats are pretty much what used to be called moderate Republicans. And the Republicans are just off the spectrum.

They’re not a legitimate parliamentary party anymore. And Sanders has—the significant part of—he has pressed the mainstream Democrats a little bit towards the progressive side.

You see that in Clinton’s statements. But he has mobilized a large number of young people, these young people who are saying, “Look, we’re not going to consent anymore.” And if that turns into a continuing, organized, mobilized—mobilized force, that could change the country—maybe not for this election, but in the longer term.

Susan Sarandon posted 

“Around the rest of the world, Mr. Sanders represents a point on the political spectrum that is mildly left of centre.

His “wacky” ideas of free education, free healthcare, regulating banks and corporations and so on are all actually staple ideas of many of the happiest and most prosperous countries in the world.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at the happiest countries in the world index for 2016.”


The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Joan Baez opinions on the candidates and the political system

Tonnie Ch shared this link

I’ve had conflicting feelings as to whether or not I should officially endorse Bernie Sanders as the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

I would be making this decision for only the second time in my life. The first time was for Barack Obama, the master of the spoken word whose brilliance (and smile) brought people together and ignited our spirits for the first time in decades. Aside from endorsing Barack Obama, I have refused to step into the arena of party politics.

My choice, from an early age, has been to engage in social change from the ground up, using the power of organized nonviolence. A distrust of the political process was firmly in place by the time I was 15. As a daughter of Quakers I pledged my allegiance not to a flag or a nation state but to humankind, the two often having little to do with each other.

Ideally, both Obama and Sanders could have used their unique gifts to build a grass roots movement, sidestepping the Oval Office and going directly to the streets to organize from the sidewalks, street corners, living rooms and churches.

Gandhi himself refused to be part of the newly formed Independent India government after he led the country to independence, and remained committed to nonviolent opposition.

Can a true political revolution ever start from within the party system? It does seem like an insurmountable contradiction. And to imagine that more than a fraction of Bernie’s agenda could ever come to fruition is probably setting expectations too high.

Yet Bernie has won my heart. He supports causes in which I have been personally involved for decades.

I take great strength from his firm stance against the death penalty, (amazing!) his belief that Palestinians should have a place at the bargaining table, (unheard of!) his understanding that the prison system must transform its agenda from punishment to rehabilitation, his desire to treat immigrants as human beings, and of course by his grass roots funding and astonishing refusal to sell himself to the devil on Wall Street, or anywhere else for that matter. I am profoundly moved by this elder statesman, his compelling honesty, and his ability to engage young people.

Why am I not spending my time trying to woo Bernie into grass roots organizing? For the moment I’m going with my heart, which I mentioned, he has won. I am not sold on “the system” and never will be. I’m sold on the guy from Brooklyn.

I’ve learned a lot while writing this piece. I know that I am ambivalent about supporting someone who will be thrown to the lions if he wins. He is a lion in his own right, and I want to see him win.

Not just to conquer the growing evil in the other party, but also to see what he can do to bend the system towards a less corrupt and more generous country than we are at present.

I joyfully and wholeheartedly endorse Bernie Sanders to be the nominee for the Democratic Party in the 2016 Presidential Election.

-Joan Baez

Note 1: Nicolas Sawaya My article “Bernie Sanders’ record on Palestine” has been published at Mondoweiss.

Bernie Sanders is clearly more progressive on the Palestinian issue than any other major candidate for the Presidency including Hillary Clinton.
Still, Nicolas Sawaya says that when viewed from a P…
mondoweiss.net

Note 2: Ralph Nader explained how difficult it is to be an independent candidate.

The two-party system is suffocating independent challengers By Ralph Nader March 25, 2016
Follow RalphNader a consumer advocate and author of “Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.” Ralph Nader: Why Bernie Sanders…

The two-party system is suffocating independent challengers

By Ralph Nader March 25, 2016

a consumer advocate and author of “Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.”

Ralph Nader: Why Bernie Sanders was right to run as a Democrat

The two-party system suffocates independent challengers.

I would know

During a recent town hall in Columbus, Ohio, Sen. Bernie Sanders said the unthinkable.

At least, you would have thought he did, judging by the response of several Democratic operatives. Sanders was deemed “extremely disgraceful” by Donna Brazile, vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, and “a political calculating fraud” by Brad Woodhouse, a former DNC communications director.

What was his crime?

The old-fashioned Rooseveltian New Dealer had answered a question about why he is running as a Democrat, instead of as an independent, with typical candor: “In terms of media coverage, you had to run within the Democratic Party,” he observed, adding that he couldn’t raise money outside the major two-party process.

As one of the more successful third-party presidential candidates in recent U.S. history, I know firsthand the obstacles Sanders might have faced if he had run as an independent.

The reality is that Sanders is right, and the backlash against him reflects all too well what two-party tyranny can do to a more-than-nominal third-party challenger.

This is especially true of candidates like Sanders, who — despite advancing political views similar to the classic Democratic New Deal platform — now sits well to the left of the party’s corporatist, hawkish establishment.

I chose to run on the Green Party line in the 2000 presidential election with a pretty clear idea of what I was in for. I had run a limited write-in campaign in New Hampshire in 1992 and had accepted the Green nomination in 1996.

My interest in moving politics past the two-party duopoly began long before I first ran for president in 1996. Historically, many major reform movements (abolition, women’s suffrage, labor) have come out of smaller parties that never won national elections, starting with the anti-slavery Liberty Party in 1840.

Several different parties for women’s suffrage followed. Then came parties representing farmers’ struggles against railroads and banks, a movement that peaked in 1892 with the Populist Party.

Labor parties — which fought for fair labor standards, the right to organize and progressive taxation — rose to prominence in the 20th century, along with the Socialist Party of America, formed in 1901.

But when the Communist Party got on the national ballot after World War I, it drew widespread venom, and the two major parties began to raise barriers to ballot access and undertake other efforts to prevent these small parties from competing in elections.

Admiring these reform movements and critical of the Democratic Party’s decay, I knew what it would mean to run as a third-party candidate.

Just appearing on the ballot is a challenge for independent candidates.

While any Democrat or Republican who wins their party’s nomination is guaranteed a place on general-election ballots nationwide, smaller parties must, in many states, petition election officials to be listed.

And that is a delicate process, easy for the major parties to disrupt. Their operatives have a number of tools at their disposal to knock third-party candidates off the ballot, render their campaigns broke, and harass and ostracize them.

In 2004, Democratic operatives were especially zealous in their efforts against my campaign. They hired private investigators to harass my campaign’s petition circulators in their homes in Ohio and Oregon and falsely threatened them with criminal prosecution for fake names that saboteurs had signed on their petitions, according to sworn affidavits from the workers and letters containing threats that were presented in court.

Our petitions were also disqualified on arbitrary grounds: In Ohio, complaints submitted in court and to the office of the Secretary of State by groups of Democratic voters led officials there to invalidate our petitions. They disqualified hundreds of signatures on one list, for instance, because of a discrepancy involving the petition circulator’s signature.

In Oregon, Democratic Secretary of State Bill Bradbury retroactively applied certain rules in a way that suddenly rendered our previously compliant petitions invalid.

Democrats and their allies (some later reimbursed by the DNC, according to both campaign finance reports and a party official in Maine who testified under oath) enlisted more than 90 lawyers from more than 50 law firms to file 29 complaints against my campaign in 18 states and with the Federal Election Commission for the express purpose of using the cost and delay of litigation to drain our resources.

“We wanted to neutralize his campaign by forcing him to spend money and resources defending these things,” operative Toby Moffett told The Washington Post in 2004.

Democrats falsely accused my campaign of fraud in state after state.

In Pennsylvania, they forced us off the ballot after challenging more than 30,000 signatures on spurious technical grounds.

My running mate, Peter Camejo, and I were ordered to pay more than $81,000 in litigation costs the plaintiffs, a group of Democratic voters, said they incurred. In an effort to collect, their law firm, Reed Smith, which the DNC also hired in that cycle, froze my personal accounts at several banks for eight years.

A criminal prosecution by the state attorney general later revealed that Pennsylvania House Democrats had, illegally at taxpayer expense, prepared the complaints against our campaign, and several people were convicted of related felonies.

A federal court in Pennsylvania ultimately struck down the state law used against me that had led to the order that I pay the litigation costs. But Reed Smith was still allowed to keep $34,000 it withdrew from my accounts, because state courts wouldn’t let me present evidence that could have permitted me to recover the money.

With the exception of this handful of felony convictions, most of the partisans who fought to keep me from running got away with it.

Given another chance, I still wouldn’t run as a Democrat; I continue to disagree with the party’s platform and direction. Sanders is different, though: However he’s appeared on Vermont ballots in the past, he’s really a progressive Democrat. He has caucused with the party in Congress for decades, even if its corporatist core has abandoned his New Deal priorities. This is perhaps why he has been able to make it so remarkably far.

But as the backlash against his Ohio comments demonstrates, the party’s patience with Sanders is wearing thin.

With today’s dominant Democrats favoring hawkish foreign policy and the entitlements of Wall Street, Sanders is seen as a Trojan horse. Cries of “get out,” already sounding in some Democratic quarters, will become increasingly fervid, notwithstanding Sanders’s years of support for Democratic causes and his pledge to endorse the Party’s eventual nominee.

By running as a Democrat, Sanders declined to become a complete political masochist, and he avoided exposing his campaign to immediate annihilation by partisan hacks. Because if he had run as an independent, he would have faced only one question daily in the media, as I did: “Do you see yourself as a spoiler?”

The implication being, of course, that he had no chance of winning. His popular agenda would have been totally ignored by a horse-race-obsessed mass media, which would have latched on instead to a narrative in which Sanders was unfairly hurting Hillary Clinton’s chances against whichever Republican wound up with the other major-party nomination, as if any Democrat is automatically entitled to the votes of progressives.

Knowing that this is the fate of most independent candidates, as he put it simply in Ohio, Sanders made the right choice to campaign as a Democrat. Should he win the nomination, he will have no ballot-access obstacles to overcome in the fall.

He gets to participate in televised primary debates, widely covered and commented on by the mainstream media. His scandal-free record and appealing message have resonated among younger Democratic and independent voters who are the future of progressive politics.

A loyal base that believes he has a viable chance to win has allowed him to smash through the ritual of catering to fat-cat donors and super PACs to amass a highly credible campaign treasury.

Collecting nearly $150 million so far at an average donation of $27 is already a historic breakthrough for future honest candidates to emulate. In the longer run, proving that outsiders to cash-register politics can compete in the same manner may be one of the two most important legacies of the Sanders campaign.

The other is that Sanders has demonstrated the relative weakness of the corporate Democrats and their major loss of trust among the people, especially the young.

“It’s sad and ironic how undemocratic the party has become,” says Bill Curry, a former White House counselor on domestic policy to President Bill Clinton and now a writer for Salon. He compares the party to “a closely held PAC used mostly to advance the careers of political insiders and the interests of corporate donors.”

I believe that should Clinton overcome Sanders and claim the Democratic nomination, the party will continue to be the champion of war and Wall Street, little changed by the primary competition.

But perhaps after the comparative success of Sanders’s campaign, this state of affairs will invigorate more courageous candidates to follow his lead in challenging establishment, commercialized politics.

Statistics: Bernie Sanders vs Hillary Clinton

Have there ever been greater differences between two people running for the Democratic nomination?

Mary Chaet's photo.

Mary Chaet to Bernie Believers [Bernie Sanders]. December 6, 2015

Exclusive interview: Vermont senator challenges Clinton’s foreign policy record and says ties to Wall Street mean she would not take on ‘billionaire class’

posted in Portsmouth. Dec. 18, 2015

Bernie Sanders has accused Hillary Clinton of encouraging Islamic extremism in Libya, in a prelude to a Democratic debate on Saturday during which he is expected to go on the attack for the first time over the unintended consequences of the former secretary of state’s more interventionist foreign policy.

Speaking to the Guardian in an extensive pre-debate interview, the senator from Vermont criticised Clinton for carelessly fomenting regime change in Libya “without worrying” about the ensuing instability that has helped Islamic State forces take hold in the country.

“Regime change without worrying about what happens the day after you get rid of the dictator does not make a lot of sense,” Sanders said.

“I voted against the war in Iraq … Secretary Clinton voted for that war. She was proud to have been involved in regime change in Libya, with [Muammar] Gaddafi, without worrying, I think, about what happened the day after and the kind of instability and the rise of Isis that we have seen in Libya.”

Clinton has previously defended her role in airstrikes against Gaddafi in 2011, arguing he was a “murderous dictator … who had American blood on his hands” and there was pressure for US action from European and Arab allies.

But the latest Sanders comments are in stark contrast to the first debate of the Democratic presidential nomination process, where Sanders came to Clinton’s rescue during the height of the Benghazi committee’s investigation into her communications over Libya, saying: “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.”

Many of his supporters have become frustrated at what they see as a reticence by Sanders to attack Clinton’s record directly, particularly after he appeared to be a reluctant participant in foreign policy discussions that dominated the second debate, held in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks.

Since then, the 2016 presidential campaign has become overwhelmed with national security questions.

Republicans have competed to sound toughest, Ted Cruz vowing that he would “carpet bomb” Isis jihadis. Clinton has delivered three hawkish speeches in a month on the need for more intervention in Iraq and Syria, the need to stand “taller and stronger” against terrorism and the need for Silicon Valley companies to police internet access to thwart jihadi recruiters.

Though initially reluctant to let foreign policy distract from what he considers a more important domestic agenda, the Sanders campaign increasingly sees his opponent’s hawkishness as an opportunity for him to turn Saturday’s debate in New Hampshire into a clash on the best way of achieving lasting national security.

“We have to be smart and not just tough,” he said. “And that means it’s not just destroying Isis, it’s making sure we do it in a way that leads to a better future and more stability in that region. And that means, absolutely in my view, that it cannot simply be as we did in Iraq … It cannot simply be unilateral American action. What it means is a broad coalition, in which the troops on the ground are Muslim troops.”

He also turned on Republicans and hawks in the Democratic party for not heeding the lessons of recent US intervention in the Middle East.

“Sometimes in our country, especially among our Republican friends who suffer from amnesia, we forget what happened yesterday,” added Sanders. “I can remember like it was yesterday, when we had a ‘tough’ president. George W Bush, and his vice-president was even tougher. So tough! And they went into Iraq, man, and they got rid of Saddam Hussein, terrible guy.

But they forgot to be thinking about what happens the day after you get rid of Saddam Hussein. What has happened in that region, as everybody knows, is there is massive instability, human tragedies beyond belief. In terms of people in that region, in terms of American soldiers, there is PTSD, traumatic brain injury, 6,700 dying.”

Sanders concedes that his vision of the US playing a supporting role in the fight agaisnt Isis rather than leading intervention is close to that of Barack Obama, but argues a tougher approach with Arab allies in the region is needed.

“The area that I would be a little bit different from Obama is I would put more pressure on Saudi Arabia, on Qatar, which happens to be per capita the wealthiest country on earth,” he said during Tuesday’s interview in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

“I think the United States, UK, France, Germany, Russia, have the power to make sure that there are Muslim boots on the ground,” added Sanders.

He also blasted the impatience among many to provide glib reassurance to Americans in the face of complex and unpredictable domestic terror threats.

“Any idiot, especially one who is prepared to die, who has a gun, can start shooting up people,” added the Vermont senator. “Can I guarantee you, can you guarantee me that this will not happen? Nobody can.”

Certain gun control has ‘broad consensus’

Though foreign policy has become a growing part of the senator’s campaign stump speech in recent days, he has largely avoided talking about gun control – an area where Clinton argues his record as a rural state senator is weak.

“There is a gun show loophole, which says you can circumvent the background check by going to a gun show and getting guns. We have to deal with that … I believe we have to deal with what is called the strawman provision, which means that you can walk in and legally buy a gun and then sell it to him who is a criminal.”

Though less sweeping than many in the party would like, Sanders argues there is more practical chance of achieving political support for such measures.

Sanders acknowledged this was an area of vulnerability but insisted his proposals for banning assault weapons and closing background check loopholes placed him the Democratic mainstream over the issue.

“I happen to believe that certain types of assault weapons, which are manufactured and designed for military purposes to kill people very quickly, should not be used in civilian society,” he said.

“That is a broad consensus,” added Sanders. “That is what I believe, what I have voted for. It is not very different from what Hillary Clinton or anybody else believes. But politics being what it is, they saw that as a vulnerability of mine because I come from a state that doesn’t have any gun control but I think we’re handling it fine now.”

On other issues, Sanders said that Clinton has reluctantly moved closer to his position – arguing his campaign has achieved significant progress regardless of how it now fares in the party primary.

“I think we have shifted the debate … You are seeing Hillary Clinton and others beginning to move in our direction,” he said.

Sanders insists the differences between them remain “very significant”: “I was from day one in opposition to the Keystone pipeline. It took her a long time to come about. Trade policy is the same thing. So I think the differences between Secretary Clinton and myself are pretty profound. She has a Super Pac. I don’t have a Super Pac.”

He also draws new parallels with her husband’s record on Wall Street, where he wants to break up big banks and Clinton does not.

“I believe, during the 1990s, President Bill Clinton and the Republicans fought very hard to deregulate Wall Street, I led the opposition to that,” he said. “I did not think it was a good idea to allow investment banks, commercial banks and insurance companies to merge. My view today is that we have got to break up these huge institutions that have so much political and economic power.”

And the Vermont senator now seems increasingly willing to draw a public line between Clinton’s fundraising on Wall Street and her policies toward the economy as a whole.

“Ultimately the real issue is which candidate is prepared, frontally, to take on the billionaire class,” he said. “Can you receive huge amounts of campaign contributions from Wall Street and the wealthiest people in this country and say ‘Well, I’m going to really take them on’? The answer is no, you are not going to do that.”

How to Rid Money from Politics? Lawrence Lessig weighs Presidential Run

“96% of Americans believe it important to reduce the influence of money in politics. But 91% didn’t think it was possible”.

So that is the politics of resignation?

 

The 2016 presidential race is shaping up to be the most expensive political race in history.

Experts predict as much as $10 billion could be spent by candidates, parties and outside groups on the campaign.

A recent analysis by The New York Times shows fewer than 400 families are responsible for almost half the money raised to date.

The vast majority of the $388 million raised so far has been channeled to super PACs which can accept unlimited donations in support of candidates.

According to the Times, the political network overseen by the conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch plans to spend close to $900 million on the 2016 campaign.

That figure dwarfs how much the Republican National Committee and the party’s two congressional campaign committees spent in the 2012 election.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has a set a fundraising goal of $2.5 billion. Today we are joined by a law professor who is considering challenging Clinton in the Democratic primary.

His platform is simple: Get money out of politics. Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig says that if he won the presidency, he would serve only as long as it takes to pass sweeping campaign finance reform. Then, he says, he would resign.

Transcript

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

AMY GOODMAN:

Today we’re joined by a law professor who’s considering challenging Clinton in the Democratic primary. His platform is simple:

Get money out of politics. Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig says if he won the presidency, he would serve only as long as it takes to pass sweeping campaign finance reform legislation. Then, he says, he would resign. (Won’t stand well with voters who need Presidents to finish the term)

In 2012, Lawrence Lessig launched Rootstrikers to fight the corrupting influence of money in politics. He’s a legendary figure in the world of cyberlaw, credited with helping to create Creative Commons, an alternative copyright system.

Lawrence Lessig, welcome back to Democracy Now! Are you announcing your candidacy for president of the United States?

LAWRENCE LESSIG: Well, what we’ve said is that if by Labor Day, September 7th, two weeks from today, we’ve raised the initial million dollars that we’re kickstarting to fund this campaign, then I would run. And I would run on a platform not of campaign finance reform, which is kind of like referring to an alcoholic as someone with a liquid intake problem.

I would run on a platform of fundamental citizen equality, because what we’ve allowed to happen in this democracy is a radical inequality in the way citizens are represented. And since—the way we fund campaigns is just one example, but it’s the most grotesque example, of why we don’t have a democracy that works.

AMY GOODMAN: So, explain the problem right now. Talk about the amount of money that is going into this election, and put it in some kind of historical and global context.

LAWRENCE LESSIG: Well, you set it up perfectly, Amy. I mean, the point is, when you have a system that raises its money from such a tiny, tiny fraction of the public—400 families for all of the money raised or 130 families for half the money that’s been raised in the Republican Party—that tiny, tiny number have enormous influence inside of our political system.

And the influence they have is not some rational influence of the elite; it’s a completely destructive vetocracy that they create, where they’re able to block any kind of reform.

So if you want climate change legislation, what we know is we won’t have climate change legislation until we fix this corrupted inequality.

If you want to deal with the problem of Wall Street, we’re not going to deal with the largest contributor to congressional campaigns until we change the way campaigns are funded.

Every important issue gets tied to the way we are funding these campaigns, this inequality. And what I’ve said is, until we address that first, all of these other things that people are talking about, things that excite us, things that especially excite us progressives, all of them are a fantasy.

And we’ve got to stop with the fantasy politics and address the reality that we have to fix our democracy if we’re going to have a democracy that works.

AMY GOODMAN: So how do you do it? And how do you deal with money being equated with free speech?

LAWRENCE LESSIG:  The reforms that I’ve proposed, in what we’re calling the Citizen Equality Act, do not trigger any of the concerns the Supreme Court has talked about.

What the Supreme Court has said is you can’t be restricting speech.

So the step, the first step, that we’re describing is a way to dilute that incredible concentration of funders. So, by increasing bottom-up, citizen-funded elections, either through vouchers, which you could give to every voter that they could use to fund elections, or matching funds, the way John Sarbanes from Maryland has described, all of these would radically change the way campaigns are funded, and radically disempower the lobbyists and the special interests inside of our political system. That’s the first step.

What we need is a mandate strong enough to get that first step.

And what I’ve said is that none of the other candidates, even if they’re talking about the right issues, which I think only  Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley are even getting close to talking about the right issues—even if they’re talking about it, they can’t begin to describe a process, a plan for them to have the mandate to actually get this enacted.

They have a great plan for getting elected, but they don’t have a plan for actually getting us a democracy back.

AMY GOODMAN: How would you do it, if you were elected?

LAWRENCE LESSIG: So if I were elected, what I’ve said is I would serve only until we passed this thing we’ve called the Citizen Equality Act, which would establish citizen-funded elections, number one.

Number two, it would end the political gerrymandering that creates an incredible disempowerment for a vast number of Americans because of the way we design districts.

And number three, it would end the ridiculous systems that try to disempower or disable people from being able to vote.

That would get us the first steps of a democracy back. And when that’s passed, I would resign. And the vice president, the elected vice president, would become president.

But the point of this mandate is it would be a referendum on this reform, and this reform for citizen equality is the kind of equality that all of Americans should affirm. I mean, I agree with Bernie about the need to deal with wealth inequality, and there are many in the progressive left who agree with Bernie about that.

What I know is that America is not yet of the view that we should become Sweden. And the fact is, we can’t rally America unanimously to this—to that idea. But I think the idea of citizen equality, and the idea which is at the core of what representative democracy is, is an idea we could rally people to, and if we did, we could build a mandate powerful enough to begin to get us the democracy we deserve.

AMY GOODMAN: Since you say, Lawrence Lessig, if you became president, you would resign after you achieved your goal, your vice president would be particularly important. Who would you choose?

LAWRENCE LESSIG: Well, I personally would love to see a vice president that excites the Democratic base to create the kind of passion and energy that would be necessary to get elected. People like Bernie have done that, Elizabeth Warren have done that.

But what I’ve also said is that the referendum president, which I’m describing here, trying to create, actually should have different power for picking the vice president from a regular president.

You know, a regular nominee selects the vice president assuming or hoping that vice president is never president. But I want to select a vice president who I want to be president the very next day after I am inaugurated. So this person is a much more significant person in the traditional balance.

And I think that means that the convention, the party, has a much more significant role in selecting and deciding who that person should be. So we would select based on what the party ratifies as the values of the party, based on also what they think is most likely to succeed in November.

AMY GOODMAN: Have you spoken, for example, with Bernie Sanders or any of the presidential candidates about your possible bid, your run for the presidency?

LAWRENCE LESSIG: Well, I tried to reach out to Bernie before I announced. I haven’t had a chance to connect with him about that. But that’s the only person I’ve tried to reach out to, because Bernie is somebody who I have enormous respect for. He’s been a hero in the movement for the right kind of change for many, many years. And I had worked with him in trying to describe what kind of change would make his campaign credible. So I tried to reach out to him, but I haven’t had a chance to talk to him yet.

But I think the critical thing is to recognize that as much as people love what he is saying—and for good reason, they should love what he is saying—what we need is a way to make what he is saying possible. And what we don’t have right now is a way to make this change or any change, frankly, possible. And so that’s what I’m trying to focus this campaign on.

AMY GOODMAN: Earlier this month, 10 leading Republican presidential candidates faced off in the first debates of the 2016 presidential election. During the debate, Donald Trump defended his record of donating to Democratic candidates in previous races but admitted that the election system is broken.

DONALD TRUMP: I will tell you that our system is broken. I gave to many people. Before this, before two months ago, I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And you know what? When I need something from them, two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me. And that’s a broken system.

CHRIS WALLACE: So what did you get? So what did you get from Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi?

DONALD TRUMP: Well, I’ll tell you what. With Hillary Clinton, I said, “Be at my wedding,” and she came to my wedding. You know why? She had no choice, because I gave. I gave to a foundation that, frankly, that foundation is supposed to do good. I didn’t know her money would be used on private jets going all over the world. It was.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Donald Trump. Lawrence Lessig, your response?

LAWRENCE LESSIG: So I think Donald Trump has been the biggest gift to this movement since the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, because what it’s done is crystallize a recognition that this system is deeply corrupted.

You know, there he is, pulling back the curtain on the way the system works, making it possible, even in the Republican primary, for people to begin to talk about the corruption of the system. And I agree with him absolutely: This system is deeply corrupted.

The difference between Donald Trump and me—well, there’s $10 billion in difference, at least—but in addition to $10 billion, the difference is that Donald Trump’s solution is that we elect billionaires, and my solution is that we actually have the representative democracy our framers gave us. The idea of electing billionaires was what we fought a revolution about, and Donald Trump’s side in that revolution lost.

AMY GOODMAN: Earlier this year, Hillary Clinton talked about campaign finance reform when she kicked off her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

HILLARY CLINTON: We need to build the economy of tomorrow, not yesterday. We need to strengthen families and communities, because that’s where it all starts. We need to fix our dysfunctional political system and get unaccountable money out of it once and for all, even if that takes a constitutional amendment. And we need to protect our country from the threats that we see and the ones that are on the horizon. So, I’m here in Iowa to begin a conversation about how we do that.

AMY GOODMAN: Lawrence Lessig, how do we do that? And what is your response to Hillary Clinton’s approach to campaign finance reform?

LAWRENCE LESSIG: We haven’t seen a lot. She’s talked about a constitutional amendment, which of course I support the idea of a constitutional amendment, but I think we have to recognize that that’s not going to be a solution in the short run.

And in the short run, we have a critical number of problems we have to have the ability to solve. She’s also pushed the idea of disclosure. In that statement, she said “unaccountable money.”

But I’m not sure what accountable money does. I don’t know why it’s any better to have billions of dollars that we can account for than billions of dollars that we can’t account for. I mean, of course I want to account for it, but still it’s the billions of dollars that’s calling the shots.

What we need is to change the way elections are funded. We need a commitment to a very simple idea, that we, in a democracy, in a representative democracy, need to be represented equally.

And Hillary has not yet articulated any plan that would get us that in any time short of when we need to get there to deal with the critical problems that we face as a nation.

AMY GOODMAN: Lawrence Lessig, I wanted to get your response to Mark Schmitt, the senior fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and former editor of The American Prospect. He was on Democracy Now! explaining why he’s opposed to a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

MARK SCHMITT: I view it as a real distraction from some real progress that we can make on money in politics, because while you can build a movement around these various—there are like 17 different versions of the amendment. While you can build a movement around this concept, the message it sends is: We can’t do anything until we have a constitutional amendment. And under the current circumstances, “We can’t do anything until we have a constitutional amendment” is exactly the same as saying, “We can’t do anything.” And so, I think that’s just sending the wrong signal to people and overlooking the tremendous progress that’s actually being made.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Mark Schmitt at the Roosevelt Institute. Your response, Lawrence Lessig?

LAWRENCE LESSIG: I think he’s completely right. I think the talk about constitutional amendments has excited an incredible base, and I think the movements that have pushed that have done enormous good to our democracy by getting people to recognize the fundamental problem we have to address.

But the truth is, we can address a vast majority of that problem tomorrow in a statute.

And so, when I talk about passing the Citizen Equality Act, that is a statute, that’s not amending the Constitution. It’s a first step that would have an enormous impact on the ability of democracy to actually function.

And I think if we can give people a sense of what’s possible, we can excite an incredible amount of energy. We, in 2013, did a poll and found 96 percent of Americans believe it important to reduce the influence of money in politics. But 91% didn’t think it was possible. So that is the politics of resignation.

And if you constantly talk about the constitutional amendment, or you make it sound like that’s what’s necessary to win, then those resigned people will stay resigned. They won’t show up to try to change the system. And that’s exactly the resignation we have to find a way to thaw.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, people are resorting to all sorts of efforts to change the system. Earlier this year, the U.S. mailman Doug Hughes made national headlines when he flew a tiny personal aircraft, known as the gyrocopter, onto the lawn of the U.S. Capitol in an act of civil disobedience. He was carrying letters to every member of Congress urging them to address corruption and to pass campaign finance reform.

The letter began with a quote from John Kerry’s farewell speech to the Senate: quote, “The unending chase for money I believe threatens to steal our democracy itself,” Kerry wrote. In April, Democracy Now! spoke to Doug Hughes and asked him to elaborate on the message he hoped to convey.

DOUG HUGHES: What my letter actually said to the Congress critters was they’ve got to decide whether they’re going to deny that corruption exists, or they’re going to pretend that they’re doing something about it, or they’re going to really roll up their sleeves and be a part of reform.

But I’m looking to the local media, particularly the print media, OK, at the local level, to hold the candidates’ feet to the fire and force them to take a stand on real reform and whether or not they’re going to vote for it or whether or not they’re going to try and take a halfway, mealy-mouthed stand on it, which means they’re going to try and preserve the status quo.

The idea is, the voters can decide well if they’re informed. The national media can’t and won’t inform the voters about where the candidates stand. But the local media, which has been, you know, very weak and impotent in the political process, can really take the ball, and they can be the moving force in informing the voters.

AMY GOODMAN: And earlier this year, activists carried out a rare protest inside the Supreme Court chamber to oppose the ruling in McCutcheon v. FEC, a case critics call the “next Citizens United.”

In a 5-to-4 vote last year, the court’s conservative justices eliminated a longstanding limit on how much donors can give in total to federal candidates, party committees and political action committees in a two-year election cycle.

Without any aggregate limit, a donor can now give millions of dollars directly to candidates and parties. In early April, the five activists with the group 99 Rise stood up inside the court to call on justices to reverse their decision.

99 RISE PROTESTER: Justices, is it not your duty to protect our right to self-government? Reverse McCutcheon! Overturn Citizens United. One person, one vote!

AMY GOODMAN: So, that’s the five activists with the group 99 Rise. And then you’ve got Doug Hughes. I believe he’s going to trial—he wouldn’t take any plea deal. A lot of the media didn’t even report he was doing this for campaign finance reform; they just said he flew a gyrocopter onto the grounds of the Capitol. Lawrence Lessig, talk about what groups are doing.

LAWRENCE LESSIG: I think there’s been an incredible amount of creative protest that’s been focused on this issue. Doug Hughes is a hero. We just opened up a kickstarter on Indiegogo to raise money for his legal defense fund.

We said we needed to raise $10,000 in 30 days. In one day, we raised the money that he needs to defend himself against the felony charges that he’s now facing. And 99 Rise has done an extraordinary job raising the attention of this issue in a lot of contexts, not just in the Supreme Court.

But what I think we need to do is to raise the level of the debate.

This is not just about telling some people they can’t speak or trying to silence the ability of certain interests to be in the political process. This is about achieving the fundamental equality of our democracy.

And I think that if we raise the level of the debate so we’re not talking about campaign finance, which is just one corner of this problem, and instead talk about the commitment of a representative democracy, as Madison said, one that would, quote, “be not where the rich would have no more power than the poor in this democracy,” we could build the political movement we have to build to win, because that’s what this has got to be a fight about, not in the court, not in the—not in the court at the Supreme Court, not in a court that’s deciding whether a protester should go to jail, but in the court of public opinion, where if the public is reminded of this commitment of equality in our democracy, they could see how we could get a democracy that could work again.

And if we did, then these problems that all of us roll our eyes about, of climate change or the debt or student debt or Wall Street or gun control, all of these problems would be problems we could actually solve. We could actually have a democracy that’s responsive again, because this inequality, this corrupted inequality, has been removed.

And it wouldn’t be a world where you’ve got to stand and say, “Black lives matter,” because we would have an equality in this system where that statement would be crazy to even imagine the necessity of uttering.

AMY GOODMAN: So, Lawrence Lessig, again, to summarize, your timetable on when you will announce your candidacy for president of the United States, under what conditions?

LAWRENCE LESSIG: So we’ve just crossed—we’re at about $550,000 of the million dollars that I said we needed to raise within two weeks. And if we get there and the two—the major candidates have not said this would be their primary focus, then I will enter the race.

And I will enter the race, and we will also try to recruit 50 referendum representatives to also run, to make it so that on day one of 2017, of the administration in 2017, we would have the majority necessary to pass this equality act. So, as of—in two weeks, we’ll know whether this race will happen. And if it does happen, I’m going to give it every ounce of my energy to make it possible for this democracy to utter the words that are so obvious and self-evident, that in a democracy all of us should be treated equal.

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Lawrence Lessig, I want to thank you for being with us.

LAWRENCE LESSIG: Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: Lawrence Lessig is considering running for the Democratic nomination for president in order protest money in politics, professor at Harvard Law School. His most recent book, Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress—and a Plan to Stop It.

This is Democracy Now! When we come back, Sarah Shourd joins us. She was in solitary confinement in Iran for more than a year. She’s going to comment on the Iran nuclear deal and also talk about solitary confinement in the United States. Stay with us.

Andrew Bossone shared this link

“96% of Americans believe it important to reduce the influence of money in politics. But 91% didn’t think it was possible. So that is the politics of resignation.”

The 2016 presidential race is shaping up to be the most expensive political race in history.
Experts predict as much as $10 billion could be spent by candidates,…
democracynow.org

In 2008 and 2009, the FEd played the role of world central bank and lent to foreign multinationals and financial institutions. 

First, the US central bank encouraged the speculative financial funds and institutions to buying credit card debts, student financial aids, and car credit debts by extending up to 95% of the necessary funds at very low-interest rates of between 1 to 2%.  This mechanism was very profitable to speculative funds since they generated up to 50% profit.  Two-third of the $71 billion in Treasury Bills loans have been reimbursed in this short lapse of time.  Questions: “Who paid up for these profits? Are credit card high interest rates still applicable?  With whose money?”

Second, the independent Senator of Vermont, Bernie Sanders, wrote the amendment to the Dodd-Frank law, which forced the US central bank to disclose all the financial short-term loans extended to foreign banks in Treasury Bills.  A tentative account revealed that the Swiss bank UBS received 37 billion in October 2008, the British Barclay was infused with 10 billion (Barclay had purchased many branches of the failed Lehman Brothers), the Belgium Dexia 23 billion, the German Commerzbank 13 billion, the French BNP Paribas, Societe generale, and Natixis many billions.

In addition to banks, the FED lent to multinational manufacturers such as Toyota, General Electric, Caterpillar, Harley-Davidson, Verizon, and even McDonald:  It appears that all these companies have their own financial speculative institutions.

So far, 21,000 transactions covering 3,300 billion have been revealed:  The in-depth accounting is resuming its job.


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