Bernie Sanders is no friend of Gordon Gekko

Hillary Clinton will not tame Wall Street. She'll talk the talk, but unlike Sanders, she won't walk the walk. She and her husband have always been a part of the problem. She defends Bill's record on Wall Street, so how can Hillary now claim to part of the solution? And by the way, Michael Douglas endorsed her.

In the video below Senator Bernie Sanders gives a very powerful performance when he blasted Wall Street in their own backyard in New York City on January 5, 2016. (The full transcript to the speech is here at his website: "Wall Street and the Economy".)

CNN airs almost all of Donald Trump's wacky speeches, sometimes lying in wait for him to show up at his rallies — and even interrupting regularly scheduled programming to cover his speeches. But do you know what CNN had aired on Tuesday during Bernie Sanders' major speech about financial reform? A meaningless discussion about the “Missing 18 Minutes of the San Bernardino Terrorist's Movements.” This should prove to anyone that the media blackout on Bernie is not a false charge. (It's good that we have the internet, something the corporations want to limit, control and censor, or we might not know anything!)

News Day (January 5, 2016)

Have the media stopped "feeling the Bern”? Or has the Democratic Party (which should probably be renamed the Clintoncratic National Committee) extinguished the fire? It’s both. Senator Bernie Sanders deserves far more attention than he’s getting. The media never knows exactly what Clinton is going to support — at least, not until she’s seen the morning polls. Whether it’s an oil pipeline, a trade agreement, attacks on other nations or big contributions from Wall Street. The Clinton campaign slogan would best read: “Hillary: She believes what you believe . . . today.” And she and her husband are exerting extraordinary control over the party. That’s why the Democrats are having so few debates, and at such odd times. Clinton’s attempt to control the process is understandable. But the party’s willingness to go along is foolish. And the media’s complicity is shameful.

During his speech in Manhattan last Tuesday, Bernie said of Hillary: "My opponent says that as a senator, she told bankers to ‘cut it out’ and end their destructive behavior. But, in my view, establishment politicians are the ones who need to cut it out. The reality is that Congress doesn’t regulate Wall Street. Wall Street and their lobbyists regulate Congress. We must change that reality, and as president, I will.”

And Bernie implicitly criticized Hillary Clinton for being a patron of bankers when he pointed to their huge campaign donations and noted that they provide very generous speaking fees to those who go before them. Bernie said that if elected president, he would enact much bigger and bolder plans than Mrs. Clinton and transform the country’s financial system by enforcing stricter regulations on banks.

He also offered some new consumer-friendly proposals, such as capping automated teller machine fees to $2 per transaction, and limiting credit card interest rates, which he called “usurious.”

“Greed is not good,” Sanders said in his speech as a rebuttal to another speech made by the famed character Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street. “In fact, the greed of Wall Street and corporate America is destroying the very fabric of our nation.”

Bernie also said poorer Americans needed more affordable banking options, and that banks must stop taking advantage of vulnerable people. To make such changes, he said, he would fight to allow post offices to engage in basic banking services.

Bernie also said Wall Street would be held accountable under his administration. “Not only will big banks not be too big to fail, but big-time bankers will not be too big to jail.”

The Washington Post (January 5, 2016)

In a not-too-subtle knock, Sanders also dryly noted that Wall Street provides "very generous speaking fees to those who go before them," a reference to a series of speeches Clinton gave before becoming a candidate. “We will no longer tolerate an economy and a political system that has been rigged by Wall Street to benefit the wealthiest Americans in this country at the expense of everyone else,” Sanders told a crowd of about 1,300 in a packed theater in Manhattan, where enthusiastic supporters repeatedly interrupted him with applause and even finished some lines of his speech before he spoke them. "The reality is that fraud is the business model of Wall Street," Sanders said. "It is not the exception to the rule. It is the rule. And in a very weak regulatory climate, the likelihood is that Wall Street gets away with a lot more illegal behavior than we know of." Clinton, who was campaigning in Iowa on Tuesday, called Sanders "a friend" but said that she believes she has a "broader, more comprehensive set of policies about everything, including taking on Wall Street." [This morning the Washington Post newsletter had a link to 1:33 minutes of Bernie Sanders' 45 minute speech on Wall Street.]

Today (January 6, 2016), during an interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Bernie Sanders said America needs a president to stand up to the billionaire class and Wall Street. He said he's running for president because he doesn't think Clinton has that courage: “Do I think Hillary Clinton or many other senators have shown the courage that is necessary to stand up to Wall Street power? The answer is no.”

During the Morning Joe interview, Bernie also agreed with host Joe Scarborough that Clinton has been “flip-flopping” over the years on whether she is a moderate or progressive [as demonstrated here] and on issues such as trade and the Keystone XL pipeline. Bernie said, “I have been fairly consistent my entire political life. Some people say I'm kind of boring because I have been saying the same thing for 30 years.”

Last month Bernie Sanders wrote an op-ed at the New York Times (December 23, 2015) titled: "To Rein In Wall Street, Fix the Fed" — with Larry Summers writing a response to Bernie Sanders' op-ed (December 29, 2015). NPR (January 6, 2016) quoted Bernie Sanders from his Tuesday speech about the Federal Reserve:

We need to structurally reform the Federal Reserve to make it a more democratic institution responsive to the needs of ordinary Americans, not just billionaires on Wall Street. When Wall Street was on the verge of collapse, the Federal Reserve acted with a fierce sense of urgency to save the financial system. We need the Fed to act with that same boldness today, that fierce sense of urgency to combat unemployment and low wages. As president I will not allow the foxes to be guarding the hen house at the Fed.

While there wasn't much other news in the mainstream media regarding Bernie's most recent speech on Wall Street (at the time of this original post), a few people had posted at a progressive website:

Daily Kos (January 06, 2016)

Bernie is aiming very high indeed with these proposals, and will seek changes that will go above and beyond anybody since FDR. It's also clear that his proposals will cause all sorts of hemming and hawing among those who currently pull the levers. But he's right. The system is rigged against us, and we're starting to know it, and we damnwell have to do something about it. Bernie is squarely on the side of the American people, and has been all along, and he was positively in his element with this speech. Which offers a significant challenge to Secretary Clinton. Now she has to play catch-up. Your move Secretary.

Daily Kos (January 06, 2016)

Clinton has tried to position herself as the more sophisticated candidate on financial matters by arguing that shadow banking needs to be dealt with more urgently than Wall Street banks ... Sanders 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.

Daily Kos (January 06, 2016)

He challenged front-running candidate Hillary Clinton for being too close to Wall Street, saying her plans for reining it in amount to “a few more fees and regulations on the financial industry.” He cited the critique of former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, who has said this approach "would only invite more dilution and finagle."

Wednesday night (tonight on MSNBC's "All in with Chris Hayes") Alexis Goldstein was on as a guest and made a very good argument for Bernie and against Hillary on their diverging views. Former Senator Barney Frank (a big Hillary supporter) was also on as a guest and pushed the usual faux argument that is was only those mysterious "shadow banks" who brought down the economy, and that the big bankers were all just innocent bystanders.

Last month The Nation (December 11, 2015) wrote, "Hillary Clinton is whitewashing the financial catastrophe. She has a plan that she claims will reform Wall Street — but she’s deflecting responsibility from old friends and donors in the industry."

But if Hillary won't reign in the big banks (among other things), what other reason is there to vote for her?

  • Washington Post: "The results strongly suggest that Clinton’s gender is currently a major factor in voters’ decisions to support her bid to become the first female nominee of the Democratic Party.
  • USA Today: The captain of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team that won the World Cup last year, is going to be campaigning for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire this week "where she is fighting for the women’s vote."

Hillary is always saying in her stump speeches: "I will not be silenced!" But the media is doing a pretty darn good job of keeping anything Bernie has to say a big fat secret. The general public (many who might only rely on short blurbs and sound bites for their news) probably knows more about Hillary Clinton's emails (and Donald Trump's wall) than they do about Bernie Sanders' policy positions. The 6 corporations who control 90% of the media (and their Gordon Gekko CEOs) most likely prefer Hillary — or any other Republican LITE — to be our next president.

Last month Dean Baker at the Center for Economic Policy and Research (December 12, 2015) wrote a post titled: "Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Cracking Down on Wall Street". Check out this fantastic endorsement by one of his readers, Rachman Cantrell, the operator of Bothell Jewelers & Collectibles:

I would urge you to support Senator Bernie Sanders in the democratic primaries. I am a long time democrat but have been very disappointed that the party establishment seems to be promoting Hillary over Bernie. Bernie's proposals and policies are very much in line with democratic values and should be considered carefully by all voters. His policies have been consistent. He does not change according to polls and he will continue to fight hard for what benefits the American people, as he has done for over thirty years. He is not beholden to powerful corporations or individuals. His speeches generate much larger numbers of people and enthusiasm than any other candidate from either side. He has the ability to unite and is creating a revolution in the political system that can transform the country into one that serves the people rather than serving large corporations or the super rich. Bernie Sanders is an honorable, compassionate, decent, intelligent man! A rare commodity among politicians! If you want meaningful change in healthcare, higher education, the electoral process, the legal system, immigration, racial issues, money in politics (etc), then you should vote for Bernie. If Hillary becomes the Democratic candidate she will get none of the Republican vote and a very lukewarm Democratic vote. Bernie will get the Democratic base and many independents. He will also bring a lot of fired up young people back into the voting process and pick up a number of votes from dissatisfied Republicans. In my view he has a much better chance of winning the national election than Hillary. The American people would be very fortunate to have him as President!

Amen to that . . . but we'll need Bernie Sanders and a Congress packed full of democratic socialists, rather than the same-ole, same-ole establishment politico puppets doing the bidding of Gordie and all his pals on Wall Street. And don't forget, Gordon Gekko is endorsing Hillary Clinton.

UPDATE: Here is an interesting piece from Wall Street on Parade (by Pam Martens and Russ Martens on January 6, 2016) Key Segments of Bernie Sanders’ Speech on Wall Street Reform Disappear:

Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont gave a speech yesterday that is destined to go down in the history books of this era, further enshrining him as one of the most courageous voices of our time ... But if you watched either his official campaign’s YouTube video of his speech or the one provided by volunteers for his campaign, three key passages of what he said have gone missing from the video. We were able to reconstruct the full speech as delivered by transcribing the three missing sections from a YouTube video posted by the PBS Newshour which, notably, had no gaps in its video. Watch the PBS video of the speech at [YouTube]

* It's all a bit confusing to me, but maybe some else can read their post — and then explain it to the rest of us in a comment below. Thanks :)



Sanders wins Elizabeth Warren's praise

USA Today: "Sen. Elizabeth Warren appears to be feeling the Bern today, even though she’s not endorsing anyone yet for the Democratic presidential nomination. The Massachusetts Democrat and progressive darling heaped praise on Sen. Bernie Sanders following a fiery speech he gave Tuesday on the need for Wall Street reform."

It should also be noted that, yes, shadow banking is part of the problem, and Bernie acknowledges this. But Hillary's plan for JUST the shadow banking industry isn't the "end-all" solution. Bernie addresses many different levels, and offers a multiple-faceted approach to financial reform. Dodd-Frank isn't enough. There are already some Democrats who want to repeal portions that deal with derivatives (credit default swaps known as CDS)

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"...and their Gordon Gekko CEO's"

False charge. Gordon Gekko's speech was against corporate officers and their fat pensions and payrolls. Gordon also noted the fiscal deficit of the U.S. being at "nightmare" proportions, and that was nearly 30 years ago.

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