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ROBERT B. REICH is Chancellorâ€™s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fourteen books, including the best sellers â€œAftershock, â€œThe Work of Nations,“ and"Beyond Outrage,” and, his most recent, “Saving Capitalism.” He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, INEQUALITY FOR ALL.
Updated: 3 hours 9 min ago
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BERNIE’S 7 LEGACIES
Bernie Sanders’s campaign is now officially over, but the movement he began is still just beginning. He’s provided it seven big legacies:
First, Bernie has helped open America’s eyes to the power of big money corrupting our democracy and thereby rigging our economy to its advantage and everyone else’s disadvantage.
Polls now show huge majorities of Americans think moneyed interests have too much sway in Washington. And thanks, in large part, to Bernie’s campaign, progressives on Capitol Hill are readying a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, and bills requiring full disclosure of donors, ending gerrymandering, and providing automatic voter registration.
None of these will get anywhere in a Republican-controlled Congress, but they will give progressives a powerful theme for the upcoming election. It’s called democracy.
Second, Bernie has shown that it’s possible to win elections without depending on big money from corporations, Wall Street, and billionaires. He came close to winning the Democratic nomination on the basis of millions of small donations from average working people. No longer can a candidate pretend to believe in campaign finance reform but say they have to take big money because their opponent does.
Third, Bernie has educated millions of Americans about why we must have a single-payer health-care system and free tuition at public universities, and why we must resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act and bust up the biggest banks. These issues will be front and center in every progressive campaign from here out, at all levels of American politics.
Fourth,the Sanders campaign has brought millions of young people into politics, ignited their energy and enthusiasm and idealism.
Fifth, the movement Bernie ignited has pushed Hillary Clinton to take more progressive positions on issues ranging from the minimum wage to the Trans Pacific Partnership, the XL Pipeline, Wall Street, and Social Security.
Sixth, he’s taught Americans how undemocratic the Democratic Party’s system for picking candidates really is. Before Bernie’s candidacy, not many people were paying attention to so-called “super-delegates” or whether independents could vote, or how primary elections and caucuses were run. From now on, people will pay attention. And the Democratic National Committee will be under pressure to make fundamental changes.
Seventh is the real possibility Bernie has inspired of a third party – if the Democratic Party doesn’t respond to the necessity of getting big money out of politics and reversing widening inequality, if it doesn’t begin to advocate for a single-payer healthcare system, or push hard for higher taxes on the wealthy - including a wealth tax - to pay for better education and better opportunities for everyone else, if it doesn’t expand Social Security and lift the cap on income subject to the Social Security payroll tax, if it doesn’t bust up the biggest banks and strengthen antitrust laws, and expand voting rights.
If it doesn’t act on these critical issues. the Democratic Party will become irrelevant to the future of America, and a third party will emerge to address them.
Bernie, we thank you for your courage, your inspiration, your tireless dedication, and your vision. And we will continue the fight.
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The Five Principles of Patriotism
We talk a lot about Patriotism, especially around July 4th, but we need also to take to heart its five basic principles.
First: True patriotism isn’t simply about waving the American flag. And it’s not mostly about securing our borders, putting up walls and keeping others out.
It’s about coming together for the common good.
Second: Real patriotism is not cheap. It requires taking on a fair share of the burdens of keeping America going – being willing to pay taxes in full rather than seeking tax loopholes and squirreling away money abroad. Not just voting but becoming politically active, volunteering time and energy to improving this country.
Third: Patriotism is about preserving, fortifying, and protecting our democracy, not inundating it with big money and buying off politicians. It means defending the right to vote and ensuring more Americans are heard, not fewer.
Fourth: True patriots don’t hate the government of the United States. They’re proud of their country and know the government is a tool to help us solve problems together. They may not like everything it does, and they justifiably worry when special interests gain too much power over it. But true patriots work to improve our government, not destroy it.
Finally, patriots don’t pander to divisiveness. They don’t fuel racist or religious or ethnic divisions. They aren’t homophobic or sexist or racist.
To the contrary, true patriots seek to confirm and strengthen and celebrate the “we” in “we the people of the United States.”
Have a happy and safe Fourth of July.
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8 REASONS WHY REPUBLICANS MUST DUMP TRUMP
The Republican Party still has time to change its mind. Right now it’s supporting for President of the United States a man
1. who divides us by race and ethnicity and religion.
He says undocumented Americans “bring drugs, crime, they’re rapists.” That the Mexican government “sends bad ones over because they don’t want to pay for them.” And who says he’ll round up and deport all 11 million undocumented workers in the United States.
This is a man who equivocated on repudiating an endorsement from David Duke, former head of the Ku Klux Klan. And when asked to repudiate the vicious anti-semitism of some of his followers said “I don’t have a message to the fans.”
A man who claimed “thousands and thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the Twin Towers collapsing, when there’s no evidence at all to support that statement. And whose response to terrorism is to prevent all Muslims from coming into the United States.
A man who, in response to the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, did not mourn the victims, but instead crowed “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!” and repeated his call for his temporary Muslim ban – even though the shooter was an American citizen. “What has happened in Orlando is just the beginning. Our leadership is weak and ineffective. I called it and asked for the ban. Must be tough,” he said.
A man who says black criminals are responsible for 81 percent of homicides against whites, which turns out to be a racist myth.
2. whose incendiary lies are inciting violence across this land, but he excuses them.
When he learned that some of his supporters punched, kicked and spit on protesters of color at his rallies, he said “people who are following me are very passionate.”
When a handful of white supporters punched and attempted to choke a Black Lives Matter protester at another of his rallies, he said “maybe he should have been roughed up.”
3. who bullies, humiliates, and threatens those who dare cross him.
He mocks their physical characteristics, makes up lies about them, degrades them, tries to intimidate them by unleashing hostile attacks on the Internet – announcing, for example, that a family who donated money to a political opponent “better be careful, they have a lot to hide.”
He calls a federal judge who’s considering a case against Trump University a “total disgrace” and a “hater,” and alleging he’s Mexican although he was born in the United States.
4. who spreads baseless conspiracy theories.
He conjectured that President Obama was not born in the United States, and that the government hid information about the Ebola virus and a plague would start in America if flights from Ebola infected countries weren’t cancelled. He opined that Ted Cruz’s father was with Lee Harvey Oswald during the Kennedy assasination in Dallas, and that child health vaccinations cause autism.
Such baseless conspiracy theories can do great damage, when, for example, parents don’t vaccinate their children because they fear autism.
5. whose hateful and demeaning attitudes toward women and boastful claims of sexual dominance have been filling the airwaves for years.
They’re best summed up in an interview where he said “women, you have to treat them like shit.”
6. who believes climate change is not caused by humans, contrary to all scientific proof.
And he calls for more fossil fuel drilling and fewer environmental regulations, vows to cancel the Paris agreement committing nearly every nation to curbing climate change, and to rescind Obama’s rules to curb planet-warming emissions from coal-fired power plants.
7. who proposes using torture against terrorists, and punishing their families, both in clear violation of international law.
And if all this weren’t enough,
8. who wants to cut taxes on the rich, giving the wealthiest one tenth of one percent an average tax cut of more than $1.3 million each every year - exploding the national debt and endangering the future of Social Security and Medicare.
This man is Donald Trump, and the Republican Party wants him to be President of the United States.
Why are there so few statesmen left in the Republican Party? Are there no principled Republicans whose loyalty to the nation is greater than their eagerness to win back the White House? No Republican leaders with the courage to stand up and say this is wrong – that this man doesn’t have the character or the temperament to be president, and his election would endanger America and everything we believe in and stand for?
If not, shame on them.
Republicans still have time to dump Trump. For the good of the country and the world, they must.
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It’s Not Over Until It’s Over
This morning I heard from an old friend here in California who said “I’m for Bernie, but he doesn’t really have a chance anymore. So isn’t my vote for him in the California primary just prolonging the agony, and indirectly helping Trump?”
I told him:
1. True, the electoral numbers are daunting, and Bernie faces an uphill task, but a win Tuesday will help enormously. One out of 8 Americans lives in California.
2. Regardless of the electoral math, Bernie’s candidacy has never been mainly about Bernie. It’s been about a movement to reclaim our democracy and economy from the moneyed interests. And a win for Bernie in the California primary (and in other Tuesday primaries in Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota South Dakota, and New Mexico) will send an even clearer signal to Washington, the Democratic Party, and the establishment as a whole, that a large and growing share of Americans is determined to wrest back control.
3. The goals Bernie has enunciated in his campaign are essential to our future: getting big money out of politics and reversing widening inequality; moving toward a single-payer healthcare system and free tuition at public universities (both financed by higher taxes on the richest Americans and on Wall Street); a $15 minimum wage; decriminalization of marijuana and an end to mass incarceration; a new voting rights act; immigration reform; and a carbon tax. All will require continued mobilization at all levels of government. A win Tuesday will help continue and build on that mobilization.
4. Bernie’s successes don’t help Trump. To the contrary, they are bringing into politics millions of young voters whose values are opposite to those of Trump’s. Bernie has received majorities from voters under age 45 (as well as from independents). He’s won even larger majorities of young people under 30 – including young women and Latinos. Many have been inspired and motivated by Bernie to become political activists – the last thing Trump and the Republicans want.