American Empire

Sen Bernie Sanders on Democratic Socialism: Let Us Finish What FDR and MLK Started

November 27, 2015 by Source

The following are the prepared remarks for a speech given by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) at Georgetown University on Thursday, November 19th, 2015.


In his inaugural remarks in January 1937, in the midst of the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt looked out at the nation and this is what he saw.

He saw tens of millions of its citizens denied the basic necessities of life.

He saw millions of families trying to live on incomes so meager that the pall of family disaster hung over them day by day.

He saw millions denied education, recreation, and the opportunity to better their lot and the lot of their children.

He saw millions lacking the means to buy the products they needed and by their poverty and lack of disposable income denying employment to many other millions.

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A Greedy Capitalist Gets His Comeuppance

November 12, 2015 by John Lawrence

Price-Gouger Martin Shkreli Becomes Known as ‘Most Hated Man in America’

asshole capitalistBy John Lawrence

Turing Pharmaceuticals chief Martin Shkreli will face new competition for Daraprim, the drug he recently hiked 5,000 percent in price, after competitor Imprimis Pharmaceuticals said it would market a similar drug for just $1 a tablet. Daraprim is used mainly to treat toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that’s common in AIDS and HIV patients, as well as cancer sufferers.

Greedy buttwipe Martin Shkreli, the hedge fund guy that bought the drug Dariprim and then raised the price from $13.50 to $750. a pill will actually lose his ass on this venture.

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Bad News Not Reported: The Drift Toward Global Plutocracy Continues Unabated

October 19, 2015 by Jim Miller

plutocracy1-300x162By Jim Miller

Recently Thomas B. Edsall penned an interesting column in the New York Times asking “How Did the Democrats Become the Favorites of the Rich?” where he observed that while the gulf between the two parties is still very wide on many social issues, on economic issues, Democrats have “inched closer to the policy positions of conservatives, stepping back from championing the needs of working men and women, of the unemployed and of the so-called underclass.”

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The Democratic Presidential Debate’s Big Winner Was …

October 14, 2015 by Doug Porter

cnn debate setBy Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

The consensus view as expressed in the mainstream media I read this morning was Hillary Clinton as “winner” of the October 13th Democratic Presidential debate, hosted by CNN. Not so fast… There’s more to this story…

Polling, social media, and focus groups told a different story, hailing the performance of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. We’ll take a look at some of the commentary on the events of the evening. I’m happy to report the debate was informative and not boring at all.

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Last Month as John Kerry Called for “Genuine Democracy” in Cuba, Oligarchs Ruled U.S.

September 15, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Last Month as John Kerry Called for “Genuine Democracy” in Cuba, Oligarchs Ruled U.S.

By Frank Gormlie

With Cuba and Cubans back in the news cycle – not only with the release of 3,522 prisoners from Cuban jails before the pope’s visit, but also with the first meeting of something called the Bilateral Commission last Friday, September 11th, I have an opening to comment on something that happened last month.

The Bilateral Commission was created August 14 during a visit to Havana by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as he presided over the official reopening of the U.S. Embassy in Cuba, and the raising of the American flag for the first time since 1961.

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Happy Labor Day? The Jury is Still Out

September 7, 2015 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

Toward the end of June, as many liberals were cheering the Supreme Court’s unexpectedly nonpartisan legalization of same-sex marriage and its equally surprising upholding of the Affordable Care Act, they missed the signal of some potentially very bad news to come this fall.

Indeed, while it was fun to see the Republicans being frustrated by a high court of their own making, that very same court reserved the right to bring some serious pain to progressives for the long term by agreeing to hear Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association in its next session.

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Upgrading the U.S. Constitution: Guns for Everyone!

September 1, 2015 by John Lawrence

we-sell-gunsBy John Lawrence

It has come to my attention that some of my conservative friends think that the American Constitution was chiseled in stone. Well, no, actually unlike the Ten Commandments which were written in stone, the American Constitution was written on parchment.

I have a lot of respect for the Founding Fathers who came up with this document based on the best Enlightenment thinking at the time with the help of French philosophes such as Montesquieu who believed in the separation of powers and checks and balances. Unfortunately, the Founders didn’t heed the advice of the Marquis de Condorcet who came up with a better voting system than majority rule.

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Tyranny of the Majority: The American Winner Take All System

August 26, 2015 by John Lawrence

Is it no wonder that among the 21 democracies in Western Europe and North America the US is next to last in voter turn-out?
tyranny of the majorityBy John Lawrence

A lot of people these days are concerned with getting the money out of politics.

That’s an admirable goal, but it doesn’t solve the problem that’s built right into the American political system: a voting system in which the majority rules and there is no minority representation because the winner takes all.

At every level the US is divided up into districts whether its state assembly and senatorial districts, US Congressional districts, San Diego city council districts or what have you. Citizens in a particular district can only vote for one candidate and the candidate with the most votes wins in that district.

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Bernie Sanders, American Socialist

August 24, 2015 by John Lawrence

Bernie Sanders bnwBy John Lawrence

Bernie Sanders has been drawing huge crowds to his rallies. The American media cannot ignore that. But they will never use the S word to describe Bernie even though that is how he describes himself.

Bernie represents those who would tax Wall Street to preserve social security and a host of other common sense proposals. He dares to suggest that college should be free rather than the first stage of a life of indentured servitude and indebtedness.

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U.S. Mayors Fed Up With Paying Wall Street Interest and Fees

August 12, 2015 by John Lawrence

Establishment of Public Banks Considered

wall street flagsBy John Lawrence

At their meeting on June 19-22, the US Conference of Mayors considered the possibility of establishing public banks as an alternative to Wall Street.

Instead of spending a fortune in Wall Street fees and interest, a public bank would keep the money right in each Mayor’s jurisdiction. Finally, Mayors are wising up.

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Robert Reich: The Revolt Against the Ruling Class

August 7, 2015 by Source

Robert Reich 02By Robert Reich / Blog

“He can’t possibly win the nomination,” is the phrase heard most often when Washington insiders mention either Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders.

Yet as enthusiasm for the bombastic billionaire and the socialist senior continues to build within each party, the political establishment is mystified.

Political insiders don’t see that the biggest political phenomenon in America today is a revolt against the “ruling class” of insiders that have dominated Washington for more than three decades.

In two very different ways, Trump and Sanders are agents of this revolt. I’ll explain the two ways in a moment.

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Here’s the List of Top 10 Groups Lobbying Our Government – and There’s Not One Union on It

July 31, 2015 by Staff

elections hands cashThere’s a group called MapLight and they keep accounts of which lobbying organizations are in our government’s face – in Congress and at federal agencies – lobbying. MapLight is a 501(c)3 research organization that tracks money’s influence on politics.

Here’s their most recent report – issued July 30, 2015, on the second quarter lobbying expenses for this year – and check it out – we’re always told by the mainstream media that government officials are pressured by labor as well as by corporate lobbyists – that union money is equal to corporate money during elections. You can see by the following list that is patently untrue – at least for this quarter: …

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Numbers Game at San Diego Anti-ALEC Protests

July 23, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Looks Like San Diego Union Tribune Is Up to its Old Tricks In Downplaying Dissent

A hell of a lot of people came out to protest ALEC’s convention yesterday in downtown San Diego. Local demonstrators had their numbers bolstered by bus-loads of union members from Los Angeles.

There were the labor locals, the environmentalists, the Democrats, the progressives and social activists – and many people energized to protest ALEC because they’ve been educated in just what it is and what it does.

There were a lot of demonstrators. Just how many is a good question. And now we’re in a numbers game in trying to determine just how many people were protesting against the right-wing lobby and legislative powerhouse – with all its corporate sponsors.

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Confronting ALEC’s ‘Everybody Does It’ Defense

July 22, 2015 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

Mike Huckabee, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz. How can you lose?

If the spinmeisters at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) hoped media coverage would focus on the three GOP presidential candidates genuflecting before their annual gathering of corporate lobbyists and state legislators this week in San Diego, they may be proved wrong.

A barrage of press releases and public statements from a wide spectrum of public interest organizations combined with the growing certainty that San Diegans would actually show up in large numbers to protest the closed-door right wing strategy meeting has begun to shift coverage away from the celebrity angle to questions about just what might be going on inside the Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel.

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A Who’s Who of ALEC’s Corporate Overlords Meeting in San Diego Beginning Today

July 22, 2015 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for A Who’s Who of ALEC’s Corporate Overlords Meeting in San Diego Beginning Today

By Doug Porter

Day One – today the 22nd – of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s 2015 Annual Meeting actually started Tuesday morning (July 21), the day before most delegates were slated to arrive. The joint ALEC Board of Directors and ‘Private Enterprise Advisory Council’ Meeting will last throughout the day. It is this meeting that will set the agenda for the coming year.

Let’s look at the membership of the ‘Advisory Council’ in order to gain insight into the policies and priorities of ALEC in the coming year. Tomorrow, the Center for Media and Democracy’s Brendan Fischer and Mary Bottari will fill-in the blanks with a post entitled Hot Topics at ALEC’s 2015 Meeting in San Diego.

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‘It’s Not Socialism, It’s Democratic Capitalism’

July 16, 2015 by Source
Thumbnail image for ‘It’s Not Socialism, It’s Democratic Capitalism’

By Jeeni Criscenzo

In a recent interview about the groundswell of popularity for Bernie Sanders, Richard Wolff, author of “Democracy at Work, a Cure for Capitalism,” opined that we are seeing a new form of socialism that doesn’t give the power to the government, but rather focuses on –

“changing the way we organize enterprises, so they stop being top-down, hierarchical, where the board of directors makes all the decisions, and we move to this idea which is now catching on: cooperation, workers owning and operating collectively and democratically their economy and their enterprise.”

Instead of looking at this as a new kind of socialism, I like to think of it as a new kind of capitalism—democratic capitalism, where workers are actually free.

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“My Memories of Red House and Its Surrounding Community”

July 10, 2015 by Source
Thumbnail image for “My Memories of Red House and Its Surrounding Community”

Editor: As we approach the Centennial of the Red House, we asked friends who were in OB during the heady days of the Seventies for their memories. Our good friend, Bob, responded with the following:

By Bob

In the early Seventies I lived across the street at 5132 Cape May in the four-plex known as “The Barracks”. Our two bedroom apartment rented for $160 a month. My share was forty bucks to live a half block from the beach!

In those days, Red House, The Barracks, Little Red House (right on the beach at the end of the block) and several other apartments on the block housed probably 50 hardcore activists, progressive hippies, Lefty musicians, and fellow travelers, all dewy-eyed and hopeful at the possibility of changing America from the white bread blandness of the Fifties and early Sixties.

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Reader Rant: The Mainstream Media and the Push for Endless War

July 3, 2015 by Jeff Stone
Thumbnail image for Reader Rant: The Mainstream Media and the Push for Endless War

By Jeff Stone

Why is the mainstream media only in hysterics over ISIS and the “terrorist threats” from Muslims? Could it be that they are being manipulated, or even directed by our government agencies?

Before you accuse this writer of paranoia realize that there are only six corporations that collectively control U.S. media today: Time Warner, Walt Disney, Viacom, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., CBS Corporation and NBC Universal. Together, the “big six” absolutely dominate news and entertainment in the United States.


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Protecting Mauna Kea: “We Are Satisfied With The Stones”

July 1, 2015 by Source


By Will Falk / San Diego Free Press

The pohaku stopped the Thirty Meter Telescope construction last Wednesday. They began appearing on the Mauna Kea Access Road like raindrops. First, they were sprinkled lightly underfoot. A small rock here. A larger one there. The cops cussed and swore as they tried to remove them from the path of their seemingly unstoppable paddy wagons.

As the cops ascended, washing over the lines of Mauna Kea Protectors standing in their way, small piles grew into a drizzle of stones formed in the gathering fog. Then, the pohaku became a downpour. Looking up the road half-a-mile, I saw heavy boulders standing up, marching to meet us, making it impossible for the TMT construction crews and their police escort to climb any higher.

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Protecting Mauna Kea: This Is a War

June 23, 2015 by Source

defend mauna kea

By Will Falk / San Diego Free Press

Sitting outside the 10 by 20 foot makeshift tent that has served as my home for the last 34 days on Mauna Kea, I watch the tent poles shudder to the concussion of US Army howitzer cannons firing live shells at their training grounds below. When the wind blows just right, from the south, the rattle of automatic rifle fire reaches the occupation. There’s no denying it: A war rages in Hawai’i.

It’s a war on native peoples, a war on women, a war on the land, a war on life itself. The war did not start in Hawai’i. …

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Trans Pacific Partnership Fast Track Authority Vote Set for Today – Friday, June 12

June 12, 2015 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

Republican leaders in the House of Representatives have set a Friday deadline for a vote on a bill giving the President fast-track authority on commercial treaties currently being negotiated.

The legislation would allow the executive branch to submit trade agreements to Congress for an expedited, up-or-down vote without amendments was passed by the Senate last month. President Obama has said he wants to complete a 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership and send it for approval under that procedure.

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NSA Collection of American Phone Records Ends – Thanks to Edward Snowden

June 1, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for NSA Collection of American Phone Records Ends  – Thanks to Edward Snowden

Halt to Records Collection Probably Temporary As Senate Expected to Pass Reform Measure

By Frank Gormlie

As of today – June 1st – the National Security Agency is no longer legally allowed to collect Americans’ phone records in bulk. The NSA massive collection of telephone records ended at 11:59 p.m. EDT Sunday, right after the Senate failed to pass a measure to extend the controversial program, part of the Patriot Act.

And Americans can thank Edward Snowden for it. Snowden was the one who heroically revealed the massive surveillance program to the American public and is now sitting in Russia for his punishment.

The halt to the phone coverage, however, is probably only temporary, as the Senate is expected to okay a House-passed reform bill targeting the NSA’s surveillance program. Even if it passed, it would still take a couple of days for it to start up.

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership Vote: A Character Defining Moment

June 1, 2015 by Jim Miller

enjoy poverty

By Jim Miller

A couple of weeks ago, Bill McKibben penned a very sharp editorial in the New York Times in response to the Obama administration’s choice to allow drilling in the Arctic noting that,

“The Obama administration’s decision to give Shell Oil the go-ahead to drill in the Arctic shows why we may never win the fight against climate change. Even in this most extreme circumstance, no one seems able to stand up to the power of the fossil fuel industry. No one ever says no.”

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Protecting Mauna Kea: Notes From the Summit

May 29, 2015 by Source

Ahinahina - Hawai'ian Silversword (Argyroxiphium sandwicense subsp. macrocephalum)

By Will Falk / San Diego Free Press

I went to the Thirty Meter Telescope construction site near the summit of Mauna Kea for the first time, today. Four-wheel drive is recommended for the road that twists steeply with hairpin turns up the Mountain, so ten of us piled into a Kanaka uncle’s (older native Hawaiian man’s) pick-up truck to go see the summit.

Leaving from the visitor center parking lot at 9,200 feet the road ascends over 5,000 feet to an elevation close to 14,000. While my ears popped, my sense of wonder grew. Conversations around the truck bed stopped as the Mountain’s power over our senses intensified.

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Bernie Sanders to America’s Billionaires: “Your greed has got to end.”

May 27, 2015 by Source
Thumbnail image for Bernie Sanders to America’s Billionaires: “Your greed has got to end.”

Bernie Sanders Announces Presidential Campaign

This is Bernie Sanders’ prepared speech*, delivered Tuesday, May 26, in Vermont.

Today, here in our small state – a state that has led the nation in so many ways – I am proud to announce my candidacy for president of the United States of America.

Today, with your support and the support of millions of people throughout this country, we begin a political revolution to transform our country economically, politically, socially and environmentally.

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Millennials see Edward Snowden as a hero – in time, so will the rest of society

May 5, 2015 by Source
Thumbnail image for Millennials see Edward Snowden as a hero – in time, so will the rest of society

By Anthony D. Romero / ACLU

Surveillance reform, like marriage equality, will come about because of generational change

About a year ago, a thirtysomething sculptor in Los Angeles began working on a bust of Edward Snowden. When he was done, he shipped the bust to his artist friends on the East Coast. Just before dawn April 6, the artists crept under cover of darkness into Brooklyn’s Fort Greene Park and installed the 100-pound bust atop a Revolutionary War memorial.

“We chose to pay tribute to Snowden through the medium of a bust because that is one of the visual pieces society uses as a guidepost to who a hero is,” one of the artists said in a video released after the bust was installed.

By 3 p.m. the New York Parks Department and police had taken the bust down. But the next morning, a different group of artists cast a holographic image of Snowden where the bust had stood.

The message to the authorities could not be clearer: Snowden is not going away.

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May 4th – 45th Anniversary of the 1970 Kent State Massacre During Student Strike

May 4, 2015 by Frank Gormlie

Kent State, Ohio, May 4, 1970



In Response to Nixon’s Invasion of Cambodia, American Campuses Exploded in Protest in May 1970

Today, May 4th, is the 45th anniversary of the infamous Kent State Massacre – where 4 students were shot to death by National Guardsmen during anti-Vietnam war protests on the Ohio campus. Protests at Kent State were part of a wave of demonstrations that swept the country right after President Nixon’s invasion of Cambodia. Ten days later, 2 Black students were shot to death by police during an anti-war protest at Jackson State.

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The Connection Between the OB Rag and the Vietnam War

April 30, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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The War in Vietnam Formally Ended 40 Years Ago Today

By Frank Gormlie

There is a direct connection between the OB Rag and the Vietnam War – which formally ended 40 years ago today when the National Liberation Front finally captured Saigon – the then-name of the capital.

Or I should say, there’s a direct connection between the OB Rag and the anti-war movement against the Vietnam War. I was a militant member of the anti-war movement on my campus at UCSD from 1968 to 1970 when I graduated – along with hundreds and even thousands of other students.

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Eduardo Galeano, Sacrilegious Women

April 17, 2015 by Source

Editor Note: Acclaimed author and champion of social justice Eduardo Galeano died on April 13, 2015. Democracy Now! provides a tribute here.


south americaHis book Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent came out in 1971 and proved to be the first vampire thriller of our American imperial age. Its blood-sucker of a plot was too outrageous not to be mesmerizing: a country called the United States declares a “good neighbor” policy for those living in its hemisphere because they just look so tasty, and then proceeds to suck the economic blood out of country after country.

Hollywood never topped it. “True Blood” and “The Vampire Diaries” couldn’t hold an incisor to it; Buffy was a punk by comparison.

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Can John Oliver Do for Mass Surveillance What He Did for Net Neutrality?

April 9, 2015 by Source

John Oliver

By Joan McCarter/Daily Kos

On Sunday [April 5], John Oliver had what is easily the most educational and fun half hour of journalism on the surveillance state that you’re ever likely to see, including an interview with Edward Snowden.

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