Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Tuesday ramped up the platform to overhaul Wall Street at the center of his campaign, proposing a set of measures that would go well beyond the 2010 Dodd-Frank law to rein in big financial firms and give more clout to consumers.
In a speech here, the Vermont senator reiterated his calls for breaking up banks that are too big to fail and to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, which kept commercial banks and investment banks separate. Reinstating the 1930s law would effectively break apart banking behemoths such as J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has said that other measures would be more effective than reinstating Glass-Steagall.
Mr. Sanders also intensified his attacks on Mrs. Clinton, whose campaign had criticized his policies on Monday. She “says we just need to impose a few more fees and regulations on the financial industry. I disagree,” Mr. Sanders said Tuesday. “Real Wall Street reform means breaking up the big banks and re-establishing firewalls that separate risk taking from traditional banking.”
Mr. Sanders’s rhetoric and policy proposals drew roars of approval and chants of “Break them up!” from the audience of several hundred at New York’s Town Hall. Mr. Sanders has made curtailing what he calls Wall Street greed a focus of his campaign.
Sanders couldn’t be clearer on this topic. Banks the size of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. have no place in the financial system. Sanders, who calls himself a democratic socialist, blames Wall Street for the 2008 financial crisis, for taking taxpayer money and for dodging criminal penalties.
Clinton has tried to position herself as the more sophisticated candidate on financial matters by arguing that shadow banking -- often citing the failings of American International Group Inc. and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. -- needs to be dealt with more urgently than Wall Street banks. With lenders now facing a slew of new rules under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, she says less regulated firms are more likely to cause the next meltdown.
Sanders said his list of firms that should be demolished would include the biggest shadow banks and insurers. He said shadow banks “did gamble recklessly” in the crisis, but he said Clinton is wrong to give the banks a pass on their culpability.
Besides breaking up the biggest firms, Sanders would reinstate legal separations between deposit-taking commercial banks backed by government insurance and investment banks that are engaged in securities trading. Clinton, whose husband removed those barriers when he was president, doesn’t advocate bringing them back.
Larry Wilmore was barely one minute into a bit about anti-Donald Trump skywriting at the Rose Bowl Tuesday night when his big guest for the night strode onto the stage to dispute the suggestion that he was behind the airborne messaging.
“Wait a minute,” Bernie Sanders said as the crowd began to chant his name. “Here’s the story. I don’t have to spend money to make Donald Trump look dumb. He does it all by himself!”
Less than four months after their somewhat awkward “soul food sit-down,” Wilmore and Sanders seemed like old friends. The host noted that in his estimation Sanders has won each of the “top secret” Democratic debates, held at times when the fewest number of viewers will watch. “Who do you think is more against you, the Republican Party or the Democratic Party?” Wilmore asked.
“Well, we are taking on the Establishment,” Sanders said graciously. “And I think it is fair to say, I’m not the candidate of the Establishment.” Moving on to foreign policy, the Vermont senator highlighted the fact that he voted against the Iraq War while his primary opponent Hillary Clinton voted for it. As he has done before, Sanders argued against “perpetual warfare in the Middle East.”
Progressives are hailing a New York Times editorial endorsing the expansion of Social Security benefits as an influential blessing to a position that, until recently, was relegated largely to liberal think tanks and activists.
The editorial published over the weekend encouraged presidential candidates to address Social Security as part of a strategy to confront a growing retirement income crisis, rather than merely as a problem to be fixed.
Closing Social Security’s funding gap “can’t be done by broadly cutting benefits,” the paper’s editorial board said. “In fact, there’s mounting evidence that Social Security, which has become ever more important in retirement, needs to be expanded.”
The editorial from the paper of record marks a coup for progressive advocacy groups, economists and lawmakers, including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who have steadily advanced the once-marginal pro-expansion stance into the mainstream.
U.S. Sen Bernie Sanders issued the following statement today after President Barack Obama announced he will sign a series of executive orders on gun safety:
“It’s become clear that no mass shooting, no matter how big or bloody, will inspire Republicans to put children and innocent Americans over the interests of the NRA. They are simply more loyal to gun lobbyists than our children. That’s why I support President Obama’s executive actions to make our communities safer. A vast majority of the American people, including responsible gun owners who are sickened by the deaths of so many innocent people, agree with the common sense reforms announced today. As president, I will continue these executive orders because it’s past time to end the moral outrage of Aurora, and Newtown and Charleston.”
When I left VA a couple years ago, I went through my records and worked out that, over five years, I had interacted with 40-odd Senators and several hundred Representatives and their offices. Sitting here now, though, I can only count on two hands the combined number of Senators and Representatives who met my personal "best practice" trifecta:
- Being personally engaged
- Being knowledgeable about the issue
- Being outcomes-driven
Senator Sanders is the first person who comes to mind on that list.
The Senator prefers not to wade into something until he’s satisfied that he’s gotten all the facts, and that he understands the processes required to arrive at a solution. I have no doubts his initial restraint and fact-finding is what allowed him to eventually partner with Senator McCain and Congressman Jeff Miller – both of whom, and in particular Rep. Miller, have very different governing philosophies to Sanders – to craft bipartisan legislation.
It’s not that I think he wasn’t compelled by the urgency and severity of the matter, but he never came across as the kind of person to do something for the sake of appearing like he’s doing something. That was not at all my experience with many other Members of Congress, many of whom wanted to rush to press as soon as possible to “get ahead” of the situation – often at the expense of the facts on the ground and without any real solutions to offer.
In short, What was it like to work with Senator Sanders in the capacity that I had? It was great, and I can't speak highly enough of him. He and his office were never less than professional, there was never a sense that they were rushing to judgment, and I could always expect that they’d treat whatever information we provided them with fairness. It was very rare in my line of work to come across a team like the one he put together and then led by example. If everyone in Congress had an ethic like his - even if not the philosophy - I think we'd have a much better political climate.
It may seem a strange partnership: Mattie Thomas, a 66-year-old black woman in South Carolina going out of her way to gin up support for Sen. Bernard Sanders, a man born and raised in New York to Jewish immigrant parents, and who spent the majority of his life representing a state where 19 out of 20 residents are white.
But Mr. Sanders’ message resonates so much with her that Mrs. Thomas, 66, is knocking on every door in her neighborhood in Florence and planning trips to remote corners of South Carolina to make the case to fellow Democrats that the Vermont senator is the candidate their party needs.
“I’m not scared of ISIL, as African-Americans we see a cop car and we’re afraid — we’re afraid of that one cop who’s afraid of a 12-year-old boy with a toy gun,” Mrs. Thomas said. “I’m scared of going to a movie theater or a shopping mall. I do all of my shopping online. I fear that, it’s real to me.”
Mr. Sanders addresses the black community’s fears and proposes solutions to improve their lives, she said. Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton offers less clarity, and seems more ingrained and invested in a political system that’s clearly broken, Mrs. Thomas said.
“Fifteen dollars an hour minimum-wage would lift so many people in South Carolina who are really struggling,” Mrs. Thomas said. “I’ve worked and paid into Medicare my entire life and still I have to pay for medical care. Health care for everybody would be a great improvement. The school-to-prison pipeline needs to stop. Privatizing prisons was the first mistake this country ever made. It’s amazing to me how many people in this state need help. You have no earthly idea how much. Bernie Sanders speaks to them.”
Margaret “Peg” Hannigan and Rodney M. Barker, two of Newton’s most trusted and prominent Democratic Party stalwarts, are proud to announce that they will serve as co-chairpersons of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in Newton.
Hannigan, known affectionately as the “Godmother of the Newton Democratic Party,” was chairwoman of the Newton Democratic City Committee for 16 years during the 1980s and early ‘90s, a period that saw dramatic party growth and activism here in Newton. Peg is a longtime friend and confidant of several prominent officials including Secretary of State John Kerry, former Governor Michael Dukakis, former Congressman Barney Frank, Mayor Setti Warren and Newton’s entire delegation in the state Legislature. She remains an inspirational resource for political activists in Newton and for political candidates at the federal, state and local level who eagerly seek out her keen insights and sound political advice.
Barker has been an icon of government and political affairs in Newton since he moved to the United States from England in 1968. He was a member of the Board of Aldermen for 12 years and the School Committee for eight years. He was a founding member of the first Neighborhood Area Council in Newton Highlands during 1974 and is still active with the council. Barker has been chairman of the Ward 6 Democratic Committee and a key Newton supporter of John Kerry’s first senatorial campaign and an early Newton supporter of the presidential campaigns of both Kerry and Michael Dukakis.
“Bernie Sanders is the right leader for our troubled times. He is a unique and gifted political leader who has amassed a huge national following from literally millions of Americans who have enthusiastically responded to his political courage, blunt honesty, political acumen and genuine compassion for all those Americans who keep slipping behind in today’s economy,” Hannigan and Barker said in a joint statement. “The two of us have close to a century of political and civic involvement in Newton and in state and national political campaigns. Bernie is a once in a lifetime gift to the American people and this opportunity must not be squandered.”
Clinton, the former first lady, New York senator and secretary of state, has the support of 46 percent of the likely voters in June’s Democratic presidential primary, down a single point from November.
Sanders, a longtime independent who has rallied liberals and progressives to his cause, remained at 35 percent, the same as his October showing. But that’s a huge improvement from February, when the poll found him trailing Clinton, 73 to 10 percent.
But Clinton’s continuing popularity in California will make it tough for Sanders to move past her to victory, said Mark DiCamillo, the Field Poll’s director.
“Everything depends on events,” he said. “Sanders needs to hit an inside straight. If he wins Iowa and New Hampshire, things could change.”
Now Sanders volunteers have developed a smartphone app that allows canvassers to collect voter data door-to-door without any help from campaign staff.
The app, called Field the Bern, allows Sanders enthusiasts unaffiliated with the campaign to collect key voter data on their iPhones — effectively stand-ins for organizers with the more traditional clipboards. It’s unclear how much the app will help turn out voters, but it is a reflection of Sanders supporters’ impatience for the political revolution.
“Our generation is not going to be handed another FDR,” said Josh Smith, one of the lead developers on the app. “We’re not going to just be given the large-scale infrastructure change we need. We have to build it ourselves.”
The app is the latest attempt to bridge volunteer efforts with the campaign’s turn-out-the-vote initiatives. Using their smartphones, volunteers can collect detailed data from voters, including names, addresses, party registration, their preference for Sanders, as well as emails and phone numbers.
The campaign is developing software that will allow that data to be incorporated into its own database, complementing the campaign’s other on-the-ground efforts. It has a potential to increase the amount of data Sanders has access to, and if it is widely and effectively used, could help the campaign turn out voters in Super Tuesday and later states. The day after its release, 1,000 users were on the app.
“We want to be able to take all the canvass results that they’re generating, review it as a campaign and import it into our field program,” Kenneth Pennington, digital director at the Sanders campaign, said of the app.
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