citizens united

1. He is not running against Hillary Clinton

“I’m not running against Hillary Clinton,” he said. “She’s a candidate, I’m a candidate, and I suspect that there will be other candidates. The people in this country will make their choice.” His socialist platform is “one that resonates” with the American people, and he believes he can effectively appeal to them no matter who his opponent is, or how large her war chest is. But, as he’s said, he’s engaged in “a real struggle against the billionaire class.”

2. Yes, we did say “socialist”

Twice now, actually, because not only is Senator Sanders not afraid of the word, he openly embraces it. Earlier this month, he freely admitted that he wanted to make America “more Scandinavian” — by which he meant, a democratic country with a socialist backbone when it comes to healthcare, education, and retirement. “If you see the transfer of 99 percent of the wealth to the top one-tenth of the one percent,” he’s said, “you’ve got to transfer that back.”

3. President Sanders would overturn Citizens United

“The major issue of our time is whether the United States of America retains its democratic foundation or whether we devolve into an oligarchic form of society where a handful of billionaires are able to control our political process by spending hundreds of millions of dollars to elect candidates who represent their interests,” he said last September. The best way to do that, he said, is to overturn Citizens United, because “freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to buy the United States government.”

4. Senator Sanders is about as anti-corporate a candidate you can imagine this side of Noam Chomsky

He has proposed what would, in essence, be a “Wall Street sales tax,” and his opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership is based on the fact that only “[m]ultinational corporations that have outsourced millions of good-paying American jobs to China, Mexico, Vietnam, India and other low-wage countries think this is a great deal.” Whereas “every union in this country…opposes this agreement that will wipe out jobs and depress wages.”

5. And about those unions…

Senator Sanders’ top five campaign contributors since 2009 are all unions, and 69 percent of the money he receives from political action committees comes from union PACs. “I’m not going to use a super PAC,” he’s said, and the facts bear him out. He has one, but it hasn’t raised any money for his presidential bid to date.

6. He believes public education — all of it — should be free

From elementary to middle, through high school and into community college or a university, Sanders believes that education should cost the student nothing. It’s not merely a personal investment, he believes, it’s a public good — and as such should be funded by the public. “These are not utopian ideas,” he’s said. “They are not radical ideas. They are fairly commonsensical ideas that can happen when you have a government that is directed by the people themselves and not by wealthy powerful corporate interests.”

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It’s time for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United
The Supreme Court’s decisions in Citizens United and other cases opened the gates to a flood of billions of dollars that threatens to undermine our democracy.

What we need now is a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

Sign the Petition 

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The average donation to Bernie Sanders’ campaign is $24.86. Still, he raised $26 million in the 3rd quarter, and just yesterday raised $1.3 million in the four hours after the #DemDebate. 

“In other words, we are running a people’s campaign. And the millionaires and billionaires may have more money than we do, but we have something they don’t have.” — Bernie Sanders

Wall Street bankers are exploiting Citizens United to grow more powerful than ever. That’s why Bernie Sanders is fighting to BREAK UP the big banks and restore power to the American people.

Urge Congress to pass Bernie’s bill to break up the big banks

http://act.endcitizensunited.org/page/s/too-big-to-fail

Why We Must Try

Instead of “Yes we can,” many Democrats have adopted a new slogan this election year: “We shouldn’t even try.”

We shouldn’t try for single-payer system, they say. We’ll be lucky if we prevent Republicans from repealing Obamacare.

We shouldn’t try for a $15 an hour minimum wage. The best we can do is $12 an hour.

We shouldn’t try to restore the Glass-Steagall Act that used to separate investment and commercial banking, or bust up the biggest banks. We’ll be lucky to stop Republicans from repealing Dodd-Frank.

We shouldn’t try for free public higher education. As it is, Republicans are out to cut all federal education spending.

We shouldn’t try to tax carbon or speculative trades on Wall Street, or raise taxes on the wealthy. We’ll be fortunate to just maintain the taxes already in place.

Most of all, we shouldn’t even try to get big money out of politics. We’ll be lucky to round up enough wealthy people to back Democratic candidates.  

“We-shouldn’t-even-try” Democrats think it’s foolish to aim for fundamental change – pie-in-the-sky, impractical, silly, naïve, quixotic. Not in the cards. No way we can.

I understand their defeatism. After eight years of Republican intransigence and six years of congressional gridlock, many Democrats are desperate just to hold on to what we have.

And ever since the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision opened the political floodgates to big corporations, Wall Street, and right-wing billionaires, many Democrats have concluded that bold ideas are unachievable.

In addition, some establishment Democrats – Washington lobbyists, editorial writers, inside-the-beltway operatives, party leaders, and big contributors – have grown comfortable with the way things are. They’d rather not rock the boat they’re safely in.

I get it, but here’s the problem. There’s no way to reform the system without rocking the boat. There’s no way to get to where America should be without aiming high.

Progressive change has never happened without bold ideas championed by bold idealists.

Some thought it was quixotic to try for civil rights and voting rights. Some viewed it as naïve to think we could end the Vietnam War. Some said it was unrealistic to push for the Environmental Protection Act.

But time and again we’ve learned that important public goals can be achieved – if the public is mobilized behind them. And time and again such mobilization has depended on the energies and enthusiasm of young people combined with the determination and tenacity of the rest. 

If we don’t aim high we have no chance of hitting the target, and no hope of mobilizing that enthusiasm and determination. 

The situation we’re in now demands such mobilization. Wealth and income are more concentrated at the top than in over a century. And that wealth has translated into political power.

The result is an economy rigged in favor of those at the top – which further compounds wealth and power at the top, in a vicious cycle that will only get worse unless reversed.

Americans pay more for pharmaceuticals than the citizens of any other advanced nation, for example. We also pay more for Internet service. And far more for health care.

We pay high prices for airline tickets even though fuel costs have tumbled. And high prices for food even though crop prices have declined.

That’s because giant companies have accumulated vast market power. Yet the nation’s antitrust laws are barely enforced.  

Meanwhile, the biggest Wall Street banks have more of the nation’s banking assets than they did in 2008, when they were judged too big to fail.

Hedge-fund partners get tax loopholes, oil companies get tax subsidies, and big agriculture gets paid off.

Bankruptcy laws protect the fortunes of billionaires like Donald Trump but not the homes of underwater homeowners or the savings of graduates burdened with student loans.

A low minimum wage enhances the profits of big-box retailers like Walmart, but requires the rest of us provide its employees and their families with food stamps and Medicaid in order to avoid poverty – an indirect subsidy of Walmart. 

Trade treaties protect the assets and intellectual property of big corporations but not the jobs and wages of ordinary workers.

At the same time, countervailing power is disappearing. Labor union membership has plummeted from a third of all private-sector workers in the 1950s to fewer than 7 percent today. Small banks have been absorbed into global financial behemoths. Small retailers don’t stand a chance against Walmart and Amazon.

And the pay of top corporate executives continues to skyrocket, even as most peoples’ real wages drop and their job security vanishes.

This system is not sustainable.

We must get big money out of our democracy, end crony capitalism, and make our economy and democracy work for the many, not just the few.

But change on this scale requires political mobilization.

It won’t be easy. It has never been easy. As before, it will require the energies and commitments of large numbers of Americans.

Which is why you shouldn’t listen to the “we-must-not-try” brigade. They’ve lost faith in the rest of us.

We must try.  We have no choice.

That time Bernie spoke for 8.5 hours on the Senate floor, turned it into a book, then gave all its profits to charity.

http://smile.amazon.com/The-Speech-Historic-Filibuster-Corporate/dp/1568586841

On Friday, December 10, 2010, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders walked on to the floor of the United States Senate and began speaking. It turned out to be a very long speech, lasting over eight and a half hours. And it hit a nerve. Millions followed the speech online until the traffic crashed the Senate server. A huge, positive grassroots response tied up the phones in the senator’s offices in Vermont and Washington. President Obama reportedly held an impromptu press conference with former President Clinton to deflect media attention away from Sanders’ speech. Editorials and news coverage appeared throughout the world.

In his speech, Sanders blasted the agreement that President Obama struck with Republicans, which extended the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, lowered estate tax rates for the very, very rich, and set a terrible precedent by establishing a “payroll tax holiday” diverting revenue away from the Social Security Trust Fund, threatening the fund’s very future. But the speech was more than a critique of a particular piece of legislation. It was a dissection of the collapse of the American middle class and a well-researched attack on corporate greed and on public policy which, over the last several decades, has led to a huge growth in millionaires even as the United States has the highest rate of childhood poverty in the industrialized world. It was a plea for a fundamental change in national priorities, for government policy that reflects the needs of working families, and not just the wealthy and their lobbyists.

Finally, Sanders’ speech — published here in its entirety with a new introduction by the senator — is a call for action. It is a passionate statement informing us that the only people who will save the middle class of this country is the middle class itself, but only if it is informed, organized, and prepared to take on the enormously powerful special interests dominating Washington.

Newer Edition 

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We are at a moment of truth. We need to face up to the reality of where we are as a nation, and we need a mass movement of people to fight for change.

I believe America is ready for a new path to the future.

Make a contribution to our presidential campaign today. I can’t wait to see what we will accomplish together.

Watch the Video Here 

Contribute Here 

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Don’t be fooled by the propaganda. The so called “Bernie Bro” was the “Obama boy” in 2008. This is a tactic used by Hillary Clinton’s campaign to discredit Bernie Sanders supporters.

1. The rich are getting richer, the rest of us are not.

There always has been a significant gap between the top 1 percent and the rest of America. But that gap was kept under control largely through governmental tax, banking and labor policies.

You could make a lot of money in this country, but after the New Deal, unions made sure you paid a decent wage to your workers, and government made sure the wealthy provided ample tax revenues. This allowed working people also to enjoy a rising standard of living.

2. Wall Street/CEO Greed

Most of us haven’t had a real raise (after inflation) for more than a decade. Meanwhile we see our CEOs and their Wall Street partners rake in astronomical sums. The data backs up what we see and sense. As this chart shows, the gap between the pay of the top CEOs and the average worker has jumped from 45 to 1 in 1970 to an astounding 829 to one today.

The game is rigged and Sanders is calling them on it.

3. The biggest banks are getting bigger.

One of the most outrageous economics facts of life is the engorgement of too-big-to-fail banks.  We are told that they now are under control. But nothing could be further from the truth.

4. Students are crippled with debt.

Sanders wants to tax Wall Street speculation and use the money to fund free higher education.  And for good reason. Debt peonage is hitting college students as banks load them up with onerous loans. Sanders believes it’s time for us to catch up with many other developed nations that already provide free higher education.

5. We lead the developed world in child poverty

Nothing more clearly reflects the values of a country than how it treats its children. And nothing is more painful and inexcusable than children living in poverty.

The countries of northern Europe – Iceland, Finland, Nether­lands, Norway, Denmark and Sweden – have nearly eradicated childhood poverty. These also are the countries that have the lowest levels of inequality. They have made a conscious choice: less inequality, less child­hood poverty.

6. You can’t live on the minimum wage

America is the only country in the developed world in which you can work full time and still live in poverty.  That’s because our federal minimum wage is a disgrace. As the chart below shows, the real buying power of the minimum wage, after taking into account of inflation, has been on the decline since its peak in the 1960s. That’s why one of Sanders’ biggest applause lines is…

7. The tax system favors the rich

We all know that the rich are not paying their fair share of taxes. They hire the best lawyers to help make their incomes vanish on IRS papers. They shift money abroad. They use their influence to create and abuse loopholes. And they sell us the lie that decreasing taxes on the rich make all boats rise.

8. The rich buy the political system

As our economy fractures under the weight of runaway inequality, so does our entire democracy. Money is pouring into politics, especially since the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling.  As the chart below makes clear, corporations and financial institutions are taking full advantage as they flood the political process through Super PACS.

9. “The American Dream” is fading away

Many Americans still believe in the American Dream — the idea of genuine upward mobility. We cherish the idea that our children will do as well or better than we have done.

But we’re getting a wake up call.

10. The largest police state in the world

Freedom pays the price for runaway inequality. Because we refuse to use government to provide decent paying work for all those who are willing and able to work, we leave vast tracks of our cities mired in poverty.

We allow institutional racist practices (especially in housing, education and criminal justice) to trap more people of color on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder.

Read the full article (with charts!)