Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who sought the Democratic presidential nomination in the 2016 election but lost out to Hillary Clinton, on Monday criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his policies.
“As someone who believes absolutely and unequivocally in Israel’s right to exist… we must say loudly and clearly, that to oppose the reactionary policies of Prime Minister Netanyahu does not make us anti-Israel,” Sanders told the annual conference of the J Street organization.
He took issue with Israel’s response to the recent riots along the border with Gaza, claiming Israel “massively overreacted” to the protests.
“The presence of Hamas members among a crowd of tens of thousands does not justify the level of violence we saw, and frankly it’s amazing to me that anyone would find that point controversial,” Sanders said.
“I have condemned Hamas’s use of terrorist violence and will continue to do so. But that violence cannot excuse shooting at unarmed protesters, and it cannot excuse trapping almost two million people inside Gaza,” he charged.
Sanders also said that the United States “must play a much more aggressive and even-handed role in ending the Gaza blockade and helping Palestinians and Israelis build a future that works for all.” He added that, If the White House does not do that, Congress must take the lead.
“Too often, our foreign policy debate here in Washington is dominated by those whose answer to complicated international situations seems always to involve dropping more bombs, rather than engage in the hard work of diplomacy and negotiation,” said Sanders, who opined that the best way to achieve peace between Israelis and Arabs is the “two-state solution”.
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Bernie Sanders in the Deep South By Briahna Joy Gray
Last week, I joined Bernie Sanders in Memphis, Tennessee, and Jackson, Mississippi, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. Sanders was overwhelmingly well received by both passersby and the local audiences who came to hear him speak. But so far, the media coverage of his trip has revolved around a brief aside, in which Sanders faulted the Democratic Party for its recent legislative failures:
“The business model, if you like, of the Democratic Party for the last 15 years or so has been a failure,” said Sanders. “People sometimes don’t see that because there was a charismatic individual named Barack Obama. He was obviously an extraordinary candidate, brilliant guy. But behind that reality, over the last ten years, Democrats have lost about 1,000 seats in state legislatures all across this country.”
Twitter erupted immediately, and critics, like former South Carolina representative Bakari Sellers, accused Sanders of “arrogance” and of “dismissing” President Obama. But Thursday’s critiques were only loosely tethered to Wednesday’s words, which, on their face, were fairly uncontroversial: Who could defend as successful the “almost unprecedented” loss of legislative seats over the last ten years, or Hillary Clinton’s defeat to game-show host Donald Trump? In Mississippi, when Sanders called the Democratic Party a “failure,” the audience erupted into applause. And of course, President Obama was a uniquely charismatic and brilliant president.
In fact, if Beale Street could talk, it would tell a very different story about Bernie Sanders than the now-familiar critique that he is insufficiently sensitive to racial issues. As I walked with Sanders down Memphis’s famous thoroughfare, his popularity, including among the predominantly black crowd attending the commemorative festivities, was self-evident. The senator was stopped every few feet by selfie-seekers and admirers. Yes: Perhaps this is to be expected of any politician with a national profile, but given his poor showing in Mississippi during the 2016 Democratic primary, in which he secured less than 17 percent of the black vote, I had thought the senator and his small cohort might go unnoticed. I was wrong.
Over dinner afterward, Mayor Lumumba elaborated on the unique conditions of his state to @BernieSanders highlighting why economic justice matters: The per-capita income in Mississippi is only about $19,000 per year. – @briebriejoy pic.twitter.com/Nvueu15oKe
— Nina Turner (@ninaturner) April 11, 2018
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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Monday that he will oppose Mike Pompeo to lead the State Department days before his nomination hearing.
“Mike Pompeo is absolutely the wrong choice to serve as the United States’ top diplomat, and I will vote against him,” Sanders said in a statement.
Pompeo, who is currently CIA director, is slated to testify before the Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday.
Sanders isn’t a member of the panel and previously opposed Pompeo’s nomination to lead the CIA.
He added on Monday that “we need a secretary of State who will represent the best principles of the United States to the rest of the world.”
Sanders pointed to Pompeo’s position on climate change, “longstanding relationship with anti-Muslim extremists” and “hawkish” foreign policy views.
Mike Pompeo is absolutely the wrong choice for secretary of state. He is a supporter of the Global Gag Rule. He opposes LGBTQ rights. And as the top recipient of money from the Koch brothers, he's stymied action on one of our most serious security threats: global climate change.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) April 9, 2018
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Participants in Ann Arbor’s 47th annual Hash Bash found themselves under the influence of more than just cannabis Saturday afternoon, as thousands gathered at the University of Michigan’s Diag: several politicians also found their way to the city’s popular weed festival, all hoping to convince voters they were biggest supporters of legalizing it. Many participants and organizers came hoping this year’s Hash Bash will be the last before marijuana is legalized in the state of Michigan. Many believe state Congress will approve ballot proposal in November to legalize the use of recreational marijuana for those 21 and older.
Speakers at this year’s event included many notable marijuana legalization activists and professional athletes, such as Detroit Lions running back Mike James, former Detroit Red Wings hockey player Darren McCarty and former NFL player Eugene Monroe. Local political figures addressed the crowd, including Ann Arbor City Councilmember Jack Eaton, D-Ward 4; Councilmember Anne Bannister, D-Ward 1; and state Rep. Yousef Rabhi, D-Ann Arbor. State politicians such as gubernatorial candidates Abdul El-Sayed and Gretchen Whitmer also made appearances.
El-Sayed spoke on his support to legalize marijuana, stating the current law unjustly incarcerates youth.
“I’m here as a doctor and I’m here as a young servant, and I’m here because I’m done waiting while young people get arrested for something that should not be illegal,” El-Sayed said, according to MLive. “We’ve got to stand up and demand that we expunge records for marijuana possession and use … For too long we’ve watched as corporations have bought and sold our politics.”
LSA junior Amal Alzendani, the U-M campus field team leader for the El-Sayed campaign, came to the Diag to hear the candidate speak.
“It was great to see Abdul El-Sayed at Hash Bash engaging with voters to whom the issue of marijuana legalization is important,” she wrote in an email interview. “It seems clear that Abdul’s stances regarding marijuana, which include expunging the records of people who have previously been arrested for marijuana-related charges once it is legalized, should be the standard among democrats, as should the open and vocal support of its legalization that Abdul showed by having such a presence at Hash Bash.”
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Enough about Russia and Stormy Daniels, the leaders of the progressive movement want to talk about growing income inequality in the US.
At a live-streamed town hall event on Monday night, Senator Bernie Sanders once again circumvented cable news to host a 90-minute panel discussion on poverty, the decline of the middle class and the consolidation of corporate power.
He was joined in Washington by Senator Elizabeth Warren, director Michael Moore and economist Darrick Hamilton while roughly 1.7 million viewers tuned in to watch online, according to Sanders’ office.
Speaking to the Guardian before the event, Sanders said: “We have to fight Trump every day. But we have to not lose our vision as to where we want to go as a country. We can talk about the disastrous role Russia has played in trying to undermine American democracy. That is enormously important. But we also have to talk about the fact that we have the highest rate of child poverty in any major economy of the world.”
Sanders and Moore both complained about the media’s poor coverage of inequality and working people’s struggles. Moore said: “You turn on the TV and it’s ‘Russia, Russia, Russia!’” Sanders interjected: “And don’t forget Stormy Daniels!”
Moore continued: “These are all shiny keys to distract us … We should know about the West Virginia strike. What an inspiration that would be. But they don’t show this, Bernie, because, what would happen if they did?”
Panelists were not shy to point out who they felt were the culprits fuelling inequality in the United States. Its three wealthiest men – Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet – who collectively earn more than the poorest half of Americans, were singled out as contributing to the widening wealth gap. So too were lobbyists like the American Legislative Exchange Council and major political donors such as the Koch brothers. And, of course, representatives in Congress who are beholden to corporate donors.
The event is available for viewing here.
I say to those in the mainstream media: start turning your attention to the millions of people who are in poverty and struggling every day. #InequalityTownHall
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) March 19, 2018
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Sen. Bernie Sanders returned to Lansing on Sunday as part of a tour aimed at energizing his base from the 2016 Democratic primary, urging progressives to get involved.
“If I said it once, I’ve said it a million times, and that is real change never, ever takes place from the top on down,” Sanders told a crowd of more than 1,600 at the Lansing Center. “It is always from the bottom up.”
Change can happen only when “millions of people look around them and say loudly and clearly, ‘the status quo is not good enough, we demand change,'” Sanders said.
The rally was part of a 100-day “Repeal the Trump Tax” tour organized by Not One Penny, a coalition opposing President Donald Trump’s tax plan.
In a wide-ranging speech that mirrored his messaging in 2016, Sanders pointedly criticized Trump and the Republican president’s agenda, calling Trump “a pathological liar” and “the least-qualified president” in the nation’s history.
The independent senator from Vermont touched on health care reform, gun control, race and gender inequality, income inequality, immigration, climate change, tuition-free college, paid family and medical leave and other topics during his 45-minute speech.
Trump promised tax reform that benefited the middle class, he said. “Well, it turns out that the bill he supported and passed will provide 83 percent of the benefits at the end of 10 years to the top 1 percent. And at the end of 10 years, 93 million middle-class Americans will be paying more in taxes, not less.”
(Nina Turner speaks around the 37 minute mark and Bernie @ 45 minutes)
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A growing slate of Democratic operatives and young progressive organizers who made their bones on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential primary campaign are lining up in 2018 behind another political insurgent, Michigan gubernatorial candidate Dr. Abdul El-Sayed.
Michigan was the site of what many in Berniecrat circles still consider their most emboldening 2016 victory. After trailing by double digits in most polls in the days and weeks leading up to the vote, Sanders narrowly defeated Hillary Clinton — a result that seemed to surprise him as much as anyone else — and reignited his flagging campaign.
The candidate profiles have changed, but a similar upset for El-Sayed — front-runner Gretchen Whitmer, a former state Senate minority leader, won a quick round of labor endorsements (though the United Auto Workers have remained notably uncommitted) and led heavily in early polling — would confirm to the Democratic left that its populist playbook for the upper Midwest, and possibly beyond, is a sustainable one.
Now, key members of the group that helped deliver Michigan to Sanders are returning, or hunkering down, to boost El-Sayed, the 33-year-old former Detroit Health Department leader described by activist and supporter Linda Sarsour as “our younger version of Bernie.”
Winnie Wong, co-founder of The People for Bernie Sanders — which has endorsed El-Sayed, as have a number of local Our Revolution chapters — and an outspoken progressive rabble-rouser, has been hired as a paid consultant to the campaign. She was introduced to El-Sayed, alongside Our Revolution President Nina Turner, by Sarsour in Detroit at the Women’s Convention.
“This is really a moment when we can test our ability to actually organize and put together the ‘A-team’ to get behind Abdul,” Wong said.
More information @ Abdul El-Sayed’s official campaign website.
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