Posts tagged with "Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont)"

Bernie Sanders calls on Biden to block U.S. funding for Netanyahu’s ‘war machine’

March 12, 2024

On Sunday, March 10, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) called on President Joe Biden to deny Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu more U.S. funding for his “war machine” unless Israel allows for more humanitarian aid to reach civilians in Gaza, reports HuffPost.

In an interview with CBS’s “Face The Nation,” Sanders said the ongoing offensive—which already has killed over 31,000 Palestinians and displaced millions, according to local officials, cannot be allowed to continue with the blessing of the USA.

“We are looking at the possibility of hundreds of thousands of children starving to death,” Sanders said. “The United States of America cannot be complicit in this mass slaughter of children.”

Health officials in Gaza have said 20 people, including children, have died of malnutrition, according to The Associated Press, with many warning the situation is likely to deteriorate even further.

Taking a harsher stance toward Netanyahu to pressure him to take into account the suffering of innocent Palestinians, Sanders added, would be both the moral thing to do and “good politics” for Biden.

“The truth is, whether you’re a conservative Republican or a progressive, you do not want to see children in Palestine starve to death,” Sanders said.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu is planning to expand his country’s offensive to the southernmost city of Rafah, where millions of Palestinians have sought refuge during the conflict, appearing to ignore calls from the USA to back away from that plan.

Sanders warned attacking Rafah would be an “unmitigated disaster,” adding, “My view is, of course, we cannot support an attack of that kind on Rafah,” Sanders told CBS’s Margaret Brennan. “Bottom line is, though, Netanyahu has got to be told no more money for his war machine, unless there is humanitarian aid coming in to feed the people.”

Biden has warned Netanyahu against going ahead with a Rafah offensive—but said, ultimately, even if Israel did proceed with its plans, he wouldn’t pull U.S. funding for the country.

“It is a red line, but I’m never going to leave Israel,” Biden told MSNBC. “The defense of Israel is still critical. So, there’s no red line where I’m going to cut off all weapons so they don’t have the Iron Dome to protect them.”

But Netanyahu told Axel Springer his only “red line” is to make sure Israel never goes through another attack like the one his country experienced on October 7—when Hamas killed 1,200 people in Southern Israel and took hundreds of hostages, some of which still remain in its custody.

So far, cease-fire talks between Israel and Hamas brokered by Egypt, Qatar, and the USA , despite earlier hope for a pause to hostilities by the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Starbucks committed ‘egregious’ violations in battling union, judge rules

March 3, 2023

Starbucks committed “egregious and widespread” violations of federal labor law while trying to halt union campaigns, ruled a federal administrative law judge, who ordered the coffee giant to reopen closed stores and reimburse back pay and damages to employees who launched a nationwide organizing drive at the company, reports The Washington Post.

Starbucks showed “a general disregard for the employees’ fundamental rights,” Judge Michael A. Rosas wrote in a 220-page order released on Wednesday, March 1.

In resolving an extensive case that combined 33 unfair labor practices charges from 21 stores in the Buffalo area, Rosas held that the company retaliated against employees affiliated with Starbucks Workers United as they began a union drive in 2021. Since then, 268 of the roughly 9,000 company-owned U.S. stores have voted to unionize, and Starbucks’s interim Chief Executive Howard Schultz has drawn the ire of liberal political leaders.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, said Wednesday that he would force a vote to subpoena Schultz as part of a hearing about unionization efforts at Starbucks.

“To order a company to reopen stores that it’s closed should be embarrassing for Starbucks,” said Rebecca Givan, an associate professor of labor studies at Rutgers University.

Rosas’s order requires Starbucks to halt a sweeping list of behaviors that include:

  • Retaliating against employees for unionizing;
  • Promising improved pay and benefits, if workers renounced the union;
  • Surveilling union-supporting employees while on-site;
  • Refusing to hire prospective employees who back the union; and
  • Relocating union organizers to new stores to halt the group’s activity, while overstaffing stores ahead of union votes.

Starbucks, the judge said, must reopen stores it closed as union momentum swelled among workers, rescind dozens of disciplinary actions taken against Buffalo-area employees, pay “reasonable consequential damages,” and offer to reinstate terminated workers to their jobs.

Rosas’s order also calls for Schultz and Denise Nelson, the company’s senior vice president of U.S. operations, to read a 14-page notice that explains workers’ rights and how the company violated the law.

That same notice must be posted in each of the company’s stores, Rosas ruled, and shared digitally with employees. He also ordered Starbucks to begin negotiating a collective bargaining agreement with Buffalo-area workers.

The judge wrote that the company exhibited “widespread union animus” that colored supervisors’ decision-making, an accusation that Starbucks has repeatedly denied.

“When workers launched their organizing campaign in the summer of 2021, we never could have imagined the lengths Starbucks would go to try to stop employees from exercising their legal right to organize,” Gary Bonadonna Jr., manager of the Workers United Rochester regional joint board, said in a statement.

“This ruling proves what we have been saying all along: Starbucks is the poster child of union-busting in the United States. We are thrilled that the company is being held accountable for their actions and we will continue to fight until every Starbucks worker wins the right to organize.”

Starbucks spokesman Andrew Trull said the company believes the judge’s ruling and order are “inappropriate given the record in this matter.”

Starbucks is considering “all options to obtain further legal review,” Trull said.

The company said workers were terminated after violating company policies and not in retaliation for engaging in union activity. The judge did not accept that explanation.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Why it might help Biden if Sanders runs in 2024

May 2, 2022

Last week, a lot of pragmatic Democrats in Washington let out a groan at the news that Senator Bernie Sanders’ inner circle was laying the groundwork for a possible 2024 White House bid—which would be his third in as many presidential cycles—and once again give voice to a progressive message that so far hasn’t landed wins in battleground territory, reports Time magazine.

The self-described democratic socialist from Vermont has animated a distinct corner of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, which, to be clear, is not where Sanders calls his home when he’s not seeking its White House

nomination. (In his last election to the Senate, he won the Democratic primary but declined it, opting to run as an Independent during the general election.)

Sanders’ agenda of Medicare for All, student-loan forgiveness, and massive social-welfare spending has an audience, but it hasn’t been a winning coalition to this point.

According toTime, there’s a significant chunk of the Democratic establishment who:

  • Openly loathe Sanders for standing in the way of a clean nomination for Hillary Clinton in 2016;
  • Despise him for not rallying his base behind Clinton more quickly while he instead wrote a book that made him a millionaire; and
  • Questions why he forced Joe Biden to defend his own policy beliefs across multiple focus groups in exchange for an endorsement two years ago.

Democrats last nominated an avowed hardcore liberal when they put up Michael Dukakis 1988 and he lost 40 states. The successful Democrats who have won the Oval Office were skilled—but closeted—centrists who convinced the party’s base they were safe and unthreatening.

Indeed, Time claims, Democrats often flirt with the liberal edge of their party but ultimately have always come home to a candidate who represents the most electable contestant.”

The memo put out by his allies that Sanders hasn’t closed the door on a 2024 run laid bare the problems the party faces. Reliable Democrats freaked out about the prospects of winning the next presidential election if there’s another potential primary where the frontrunner faces a Sanders-esque candidate. But they need to keep calm and not get ensnared by the sticky Vermont maple syrup. After all, there are some caveats in the signals coming out of Burlington. If you read between the lines, the Bernie bros aren’t actually preparing for an intra-party war. They’re just tilling the soil.

They’re only carefully saying Sanders would be open to running again for the White House if Biden chooses to forgo a second term.

For another, Sanders has yet to win the nomination, despite having run against two of the most easily attacked frontrunner candidates Democrats had put forward in decades. Hillary Clinton’s baggage is legendary, yet she still bested Sanders. Biden, whose record now is the product of 50 years in public office, often reflected the mores of the era—but those sometimes don’t look quite right when seen through today’s lens. Yet he prevailed.

Finally, Time suggests, it’s actually in Biden’s interest for Sanders and his pals to float this. Historically, the party in the White House faces steep losses in Congress in its first midterm elections, and Biden’s polling suggests this fall may be more brutal for Democrats than most. If Democrats are to stand a chance, they need every friendly voter, volunteer, and donor activated.

A drop-off in Sanders’ voters in 2016 may well have cost Clinton the election; two surveys found that roughly one-in-ten Sanders supporters voted for Donald Trump that year. Having lived through four years of Trump, those Sanders voters didn’t make the same choice in 2020, even if they didn’t exactly love Biden. The 2024 election could be a sequel if Trump attempts his expected comeback—but whether it’s a sequel to 2016 or 2020 may depend on the voters Democrats can inspire.

Biden’s Democratic Party isn’t capturing the imagination of the progressive wing of the party. But Sanders still knows the liberal zeitgeist. He can animate the activists who remain on his lists but perhaps on the sidelines.

If the prospect of a Sanders 2024 campaign remains an option, those progressive activists will keep clicking, retweeting, and donating. And, in doing so, they may accidentally build the foundation of a Biden re-election bid.

Thus, Time posits, in quietly signaling to the base that Sanders is open to a third bid, his allies may actually be preparing for the most unlikely of roles: keeping Biden in office.

Research contact: @TIME

As he accepts DNC nomination, Joe Biden vows to lead America out of ‘Season of Darkness’

August 24, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden cast himself as a capable leader prepared to put the coronavirus pandemic into retreat, as he formally accepted the Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday evening, August 20, and asked the American public to elect him in place of President Donald Trump, The Wall Street Journal reported..=

United, we can and will overcome this season of darkness in America,” Biden told the nation from an auditorium in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. “Here and now, I give you my word: If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I will be an ally of the light, not of the darkness.”

“This is not a partisan moment, this must be an American moment,” he added. “This is a life-changing election that will determine America’s future for a very long time.”

In his address, the Journal said, Biden portrayed the nation as resilient in the face of the pandemic and ready to move forward after racial unrest and economic losses. “I have always believed you can define America in one word: Possibilities,” he said.

Biden, who lost his first wife and infant daughter in 1972 and his son Beau Biden in 2015, spoke directly to the families of those who have died during the pandemic, telling them that he understood “how hard it is to have any hope.”

“I found the best way through pain and loss and grief is to find purpose, he said. “As God’s children, each of us [has] a purpose in our lives. We have a great purpose as a nation.” He also credited his wife, Jill Biden, and members of his close-knit family with giving him courage.

Biden spoke inside a darkened auditorium with a backdrop of American flags and the party’s convention logos, after the pandemic prompted Democrats to cancel their planned gathering in Milwaukee. According to the Journal, he never referred to Trump by name, calling him “this president” or the “current president” in his remarks.

The party has used the convention to showcase past leaders, including former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton—and to spotlight what it sees as its next generation, chief among them Biden’s running mate, Senator Kamala Harris of California.

The final night of the convention also saw former presidential hopefuls Senator Cory Booker (D- New Jersey.), Pete (“Mayor Pete”) Buttigieg, Michael Bloomberg, and Andrew Yang deliver separate speeches that focused on the human and economic consequences of the pandemic.

In addition, the televised event featured liberals in the party, led by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Republicans such as former Ohio Governor John Kasich to send a message that any Americans who are disenchanted with Trump are welcome in Mr. Biden’s coalition.

Appearing in a video on Thursday, Sanders offered a testimonial to Biden’s character, referring to his former rival as “a human being who is empathetic, who is honest, who is decent.”

“At this particular moment in American history, my God, this is something this country absolutely needs,” Sanders said, according to the Journal report.

Following Biden’s acceptance speech, the candidates joined their spouses for a fireworks display. They stood on an outdoor stage before massive American flags. Wearing masks, they locked hands and raised them to the crowd.

For his part, President Trump had sharp words for Biden on Thursday afternoon in an appearance at Old Forge, Pennsylvania, near the former vice president’s childhood hometown of Scranton.

“At stake in this election is the survival of our nation. We’re dealing with crazy people on the other side. They’ve gone totally stone-cold crazy,” said the president, adding that Joe Biden was a “puppet of the radical left movement.”

Research contact: @WSJ

Sanders pulls no punches as he enters 2020 race; says Trump is ‘pathological liar, fraud, and racist’

February 21, 2019

The Independent senator from Vermont has joined the race: Senator Bernie Sanders announced his 2020 presidential bid on February 19 in a no-nonsense campaign video designed to knock President Donald Trump back on his heels.

“You know as well as I do that we are living in a pivotal and dangerous moment in American history,” he said in his “I’m Running for President” video, adding, “We are running against a president who is a pathological liar, a fraud, a racist, a sexist, xenophobe, and someone who is undermining American democracy as he leads us in an authoritarian direction.”

Saying that he needed one million grassroots supporters to succeed in “bringing [Americans] together again” Sanders offered a message calculated to mobilize his audience of “…women and men, black, white, Latino, Native American, Asian American, gay and straight, young and old, native-born,  and immigrant. “

Indeed, his campaign reported raising $5.9 million during the first 24 hours after his presidential announcement.

The 77-year-old candidate—whom many, including President Donald Trump had openly believed “had missed his time” and had lost his luster since the 2016 race—received donations from more than 225,000 individuals in the first day of his campaign, a haul that far outpaced his Democratic rivals and some of his biggest fundraising days during his primary challenge to Hillary Clinton, The Wall Street Journal reported.

With Sanders’ entry, the field now includes a dozen major Democratic candidates and could grow larger with expected decisions soon by former Vice President Joe Biden and former Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke.

By comparison, Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) raised $1.5 million from 38,000 donors online in the 24 hours after she announced her campaign last month.

In his previous campaign, Sanders—an outlier to begin with because of his Independent politics—had labeled himself a Democratic socialist, a platform seen as too radical by the Democratic Party establishment. This time around, those same ideas—Medicare for all, a higher minimum wage, free college tuition— have gained widespread acceptance and are being embraced by mainstream candidates seeking the Democratic nomination.

“Our campaign is about transforming our country and creating a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice,” Sanders said. “Our campaign is about taking on the powerful special interests that dominate our economic and political life. I’m talking about Wall Street, the health insurance companies, the drug companies, the fossil fuel industry, the military-industrial complex, the private-prison industry and the large multi-national corporations that exert such an enormous influence over our lives.”

Sanders promised to “fight for working families and the shrinking middle class, not just the 1%.”

His campaign slogan represents a jab at the current administration: “Not me. Us.”

In response, President Trump tweeted, “Crazy Bernie has just entered the race. I wish him well!”

Research contact: @BernieSanders

Dem House Budget chairman moves forward on ‘Medicare for All’

January 9, 2019

Responding to the concerns of the American people, on January 7, House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-Kentucky) sent a letter to the Congressional Budget Office, requesting a report on the “design and policy considerations lawmakers would face in developing single-payer health system proposals.”

Yarmuth wrote, “The House Budget Committee will soon schedule hearings to review potential ways to achieve affordable, high-quality health care coverage for everyone, including Medicare for All,” adding, “… It is key that we start these discussions with a qualitative assessment of how policy design choices could affect the federal budget, national health care spending, and access to care.”

Indeed, since mid-December, nationwide access to healthcare insurance has been under siege—and Americans have made it known that they want their coverage protected and extended.

The Affordable Care Act’s changes to the U.S. healthcare system since its passage in March 2010 have been so pervasive that nearly all Americans would be affected in some way if a federal judge’s December 14 decision ruling the entire law unconstitutional is upheld, according to a new analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll.

Based on its latest polling, conducted in late December, the foundation says that fully 65% of Americans believe that the pre-existing condition protections provided by the law are “very important” to them; and 62% think that the act should be retained and strengthened because it prohibits health insurance companies from charging sick people more.

Getting input from the CBO is an important step forward for consideration of single-payer health care, (or “Medicare for All”), according to a report by The Hill. The idea has gained new momentum since Democrats took control of the House on January 3.

During the last session of Congress,Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) s requested a CBO analysis of the single-payer proposal put forward by Senator Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vermont) during the 2016 presidential campaign , in the hope that it would hurt the effort by highlighting its high costs.

Yarmuth, on the other hand, is not requesting an analysis of a specific bill, so it will not carry a headline cost number the way a score of Sanders’s bill would, The Hill reported.

The CBO report is a precursor to hearings in the Budget Committee.

Research contact: @thehill