The week’s round up in Bernie Sanders news…
Bernie Sanders hits the Las Vegas Strip, takes aim at billionaire Sheldon Adelson
By Philip RuckerJune 19, 2015
LAS VEGAS — Directly across the Las Vegas Strip from the Venetian, the lavish hotel and casino built by wealthy political donor Sheldon Adelson, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders rallied more than 700 supporters here Friday to join his revolution against the billionaire class whose greed he says is crushing the United States.
“Today we live in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, but the vast majority of the American people do not know that, do not feel that, because almost all of that wealth today rests in the hands of a tiny few,” Sanders said. “What we are saying to the billionaire class is, ‘Your greed, which is destroying this country, has got to end.'”
Sanders, an independent senator from Vermont who describes himself as a socialist but caucuses with Democrats, took direct aim at Adelson, who together with his wife, Miriam, spent roughly $100 million to help elect Mitt Romney and other Republicans in 2012.
“People like Sheldon Adelson — you know who he is! — and the Koch brothers are now spending unbelievable sums of money,” Sanders said. When he argued that such political spending had created an “oligarchy” and wrecked “the foundations of American democracy,” the crowd stood on its feet and chanted, “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!”
Sanders received a raucous reception here Friday, with repeated standing ovations and loud cheers. The hour was early, especially by Las Vegas standards — 9 a.m. — but hundreds of people, young and old, streamed in, sipping coffee and munching on muffins and breakfast cake.
The Sanders campaign received so many responses from locals wanting to see him that they relocated his town hall meeting from the University of Nevada Las Vegas to a venue that could accommodate hundreds more — the ballroom at Treasure Island, a hotel and casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
Read the rest of this article on WashingtonPost.com
Luke Russert leads a discussion on Bernie Sanders and his performance in the polls:
Bernie Sanders Wants To Bring Back Your 40-Hour Workweek
WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) thinks Americans may have forgotten about the 40-hour week.
“A hundred years ago workers took to the streets” to fight for 40 hours, Sanders told The Huffington Post. “And a hundred years have come and gone, we’ve seen an explosion in technology, we’ve seen an explosion in productivity, we have a great global economy, and what do you have? The vast majority of people are working longer hours for lower wages.”
American workers with full-time jobs work an average of 42.7 hours per week, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Including part-timers in the calculation puts the average American workweek at 39 hours.
Sanders said he wants to appropriate the term “family values” from Republicans, who have historically used it to talk about social issues, and use it to promote legislation mandating paid vacation, paid sick days and paid parental leave for U.S. workers. Just 11 percent of workers had access to paid leave to care for newborns in 2012, according to the BLS.
“What the Republicans talk about when they speak of family values is to deny a woman the right to control her own body, to deny a woman the right to get contraceptives, opposition to gay rights and gay marriage,” Sanders said. “I don’t think those are family values.”
Last week Sanders introduced a bill that would require employers to give at least 10 paid vacation days annually to any employees who have worked at the company for at least a year.
“What our legislation says — and we think this is absolutely a family value — is that a mom and a dad should have the right to at least a couple of weeks off of paid vacation so they can spend quality time with their kids,” Sanders said.
Read the rest of this article on HuffPo
Inside the mind of Bernie Sanders: unbowed, unchanged, and unafraid of a good fight
Paul Lewis in Burlington, Vermont
Friday, June 19, 2015
He is the rising star of the battle to be the Democratic nominee for president. But who is the real Bernie Sanders? His close friends and family shed new light on what is motivating the 73-year-old senator, while never-before-seen documents from his first foray into politics – as a Vermont mayor – reveal activist roots that were 30 years ahead of their time
The diplomatic overture was dispatched to Hu Yaobang, chairman of the Chinese Communist party, on 29 October 1981. A near-identical letter was sent to the Kremlin, for the attention of Leonid Brezhnev, general secretary of the Communist party of the Soviet Union.
“Like an unconscious and uncontrollable force, our planet appears to be drifting toward self-destruction,” the newly installed socialist leader of somewhere called Burlington wrote. He urged them “in the strongest possible way” to disarm militarily and begin immediate negotiations with other world leaders.
Bernie Sanders, the ardently leftwing mayor of Vermont’s largest city, dispatched similar missives to Downing Street, the Élysée palace and the White House, before releasing a statement declaring: “Burlingtonians cannot calmly sit back and watch our planet be destroyed – with hundreds of millions of people incinerated.”
The correspondence, unearthed by the Guardian, confirms what has long been said of America’s longest-serving independent member of Congress who, at the age of 73, recently launched a bid for the Democratic nomination for president. Bernie Sanders is unafraid of punching above his weight.
Never has that been more the case than now. Six weeks into his campaign, Sanders has gained the kind of momentum few expected from the Vermont senator, establishing himself as the primary obstacle between Hillary Clinton and the Democratic ticket for the White House.
His national poll rating has more than doubled, to over 10%, in little over a month. His rallies in Iowa and New Hampshire have been attracting crowds larger than any other candidate, Democrat or Republican. Hard copies of his memoir – mostly a dry recitation of a 1996 congressional race – are suddenly selling for more than $250 on Amazon.
The race for the 2016 presidential nomination is in its infancy, and Clinton remains the clear frontrunner by a margin most political analysts believe is all but unassailable. But Sanders is changing the contours of the race: the rise of a hard-left politician, long battling to to be heard from the sidelines, is now the first unexpected twist in the Democratic primary contest.
The Guardian has spoken to close to a dozen of Sanders’ closest friends, family, confidants and operatives. They paint a picture of a politician who has spent a lifetime obsessed with the same issues that still drive him today, and is now wrestling with the demands of a 2016 presidential race.
For his part, Sanders suggested in an interview with the Guardian that some of his policies remain a work in progress, but rejected the notion that his surge in popularity should come as a surprise. “I am a United States senator, I did win my last election with 71% of the vote,” he said last week. “So it’s not just like someone just walked in off the street and suddenly they’re Hillary Clinton’s main challenger. We’ve been doing this for a few years.”
The unquenchable optimism of an electric young politician
Sanders was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1941, into a family struggling to get by on the low wage of his father, a Polish immigrant and paint salesman. “That created tensions for our parents, and that was an important part of our life,” said the senator’s 80-year-old brother, Larry, who now lives in Oxford, England, where he recently stood as a parliamentary candidate for the Green party.
Larry Sanders recalled his brother’s first foray into politics, some time in the late 1950s, when he ran for election to be class president at James Madison high school. Sanders lost, but found consolation in defeat. “The student who won ended up adopting Bernie’s policy about raising money for Korean orphans,” Larry said.
The consensus in Washington is that the best Sanders can hope for is a similar outcome in 2016, using a campaign that will almost certainly end in defeat in order to pull Clinton to the left. The MIT academic Noam Chomsky, who was personally invited by Sanders to give a speech at Burlington city hall in 1985, gave a similar assessment.
“I am glad that he’s doing it,” Chomsky said, arguing that Sanders’ presidential campaign would promote ideas that are rarely part of mainstream political discourse. “But the chances of him winning at the primary, or even at the national level, are virtually nil in our system, which is not a democracy but a plutocracy.”
Sanders told the Guardian he was “not as pessimistic as Noam is”. “He’s right, we live in an increasingly oligarchic form of society, where billionaires are able to buy elections and candidates, and it is very difficult, not just for Bernie Sanders but for any candidate who represents working families,” the senator said. “But I think the situation is not totally hopeless, and I think we do have a shot to win this thing.”
Read the rest of this article on The Guardian
Allen Ginsberg Wrote a Poem for Bernie Sanders and It’s Pretty Great
By Tim Murphy, Fri Jun. 19, 2015
“… Allen Ginsberg wrote a poem for Bernie Sanders in 1986.
It goes like this:
Socialist snow on the streets
Socialist talk in the Maverick bookstore
Socialist kids sucking socialist lollipops
Socialist poetry in socialist mouths
—aren’t the birds frozen socialists?
Aren’t the snowclouds blocking the airfield
Social Democratic Appeasement?
Isn’t the socialist sky owned by
the socialist sun?
Earth itself socialist, forests, rivers, lakes
furry mountains, socialist salt
Isn’t this poem socialist? It doesn’t
belong to me anymore.”
Curated from MotherJones
Bernie Sanders: It’s Time For Immigration Reform
After being criticized for staying quiet about immigration, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) vowed on Friday that if elected president, he would push for immigration reform and go even further than President Barack Obama in expanding deportation relief.
“Despite the central role that undocumented workers play in our economy and in our daily lives, these workers are too often reviled by many for political gain and shunted into the shadows,” Sanders, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, said in Las Vegas at the National Association of Latino Elected Officials conference.
“Let me be very clear as to where I stand,” he continued. “It is time for this disgraceful situation to end.”
Immigration hasn’t been one of Sanders’ central issues, and he hasn’t discussed it much on the campaign trail. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), one of the leaders on immigration reform in the House, said earlier this month that he doesn’t know if Sanders “likes immigrants, because he doesn’t seem to talk about immigrants.”
“I hope he likes immigrants,” Gutierrez said at the time. “I haven’t heard him say anything. He’s been kind of quiet and silent.”
At the NALEO conference, Sanders noted that he supported the comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the Senate in 2013, as well as the never-passed Dream Act to provide legal status to undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children.
Sanders said that as president, if Congress did not pass immigration reform, he would use executive action to give deportation relief to the parents of U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents and so-called Dreamers, the would-be beneficiaries of the Dream Act.
Read the rest of this article on HuffPo