Sanders smeared as communist sympathiser as Clinton allies sling mud

A war of words between Hillary Clinton and Sanders has erupted in recent days as polls show him in the lead among voters in New Hampshire and Iowa

by DAN ROBERTS

Attacks on Bernie Sanders by rival Democrats are likely to turn increasingly to his record on the economy and foreign affairs, according to a new dossier seen by the Guardian that accuses him of sympathising with communists and “not believing in capitalism”.

A ferocious war of words between Hillary Clinton and Sanders has erupted in recent days as polls showing the Vermont senator taking the lead among Democratic voters in both New Hampshire and Iowa have sent shockwaves through the party establishment and prompted growing personal attacks.

On Thursday, Sanders aides accused David Brock, a political operative who runs aSuper Pac set up to defend Clinton, of “mudslinging” after he claimed Sanders was acting as if “black lives don’t matter” in a new campaign ad.

This follows a week of steadily mounting criticism from other campaign surrogates such as Chelsea Clinton, who accused the senator of wanting to “dismantle Obamacare”, and foreign policy adviser Jake Sullivan who warned that Sanders’s proposals for tackling Isis would put Israel at risk.

Such characterisations are vigorously rejected by Sanders who argues his healthcare plans build on Obama’s reforms and that a regional coalition is necessary to defeat Isis in Syria.

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Liberals No Longer Amused by Bernie Sanders’ Presidential Campaign

by KEVIN GOSZTOLA

“It is one thing to vote for Hillary Clinton and other Democrats, who are more than happy to serve the moneyed elite, if you actually believe in what she stands for as a presidential candidate,” writes Gosztola. “But it is quite another thing to delude people into voting for her simply because it is your view that Bernie Sanders’ vision is difficult to make a reality.” (Photo: Charlie Leight, Getty Images)

The objective of the week for liberals appears to be to make clear Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is some kind of pariah. Despite how his candidacy has transformed into a phenomenon over the past months, establishment liberals maintain the U.S. senator from Vermont should not be considered a “serious” candidate. They believe it would be a huge mistake if a Democrat with unapologetic socialist leanings won the nomination, especially over Hillary Clinton.

But these cases against Sanders are really arguments against citizens voting their conscience. The uncertainty and dismissiveness toward Sanders serves to silence any critics of the corporate-driven politics entrenched in the Democratic Party. It suggests a fear that Democrats might actually stand against corporate power for a change.

“What [the liberal establishment] argument really amounts to is an argument that Democratic Party politicians and the operatives who run their campaigns would be uncomfortable with talking openly about socialism because that would alienate the corporate interests they have cozied up to in order to win elections.”

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Feds Cheerlead for Charter Schools, Aiding Private Philanthropy’s Takeover of America’s Public Schools

by DUSTIN BEILKE

With the Walton billionaires doubling down [3] in their efforts to accelerate the charter school industry and with the Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, throwing in $100 million [4] to privatize traditional public schools, one might think that the U.S. Department of Education would be a major line of defense for America’s public schools educating the most underserved students or even a bold investor in sustainable community schools that are truly public.

One would be wrong.

The U.S. Department of Education, as with the education agencies of many states, has been co-opted by the spending frenzy of the billionaire class.

It’s not just the Waltons and Hastings using their fortunes to undermine public education: Eli Broad has pledged nearly a half billion [5] dollars to privatize the public schools of Los Angeles. They are mounting a radical–or really a reactionary–effort to remake public schools into private enterprises, and charters are a key component of the transition the billionaires seek.

And editorial decisions by many in the press have aided and abetted this effort.

For example, the Walton family’s press release about its new spending—which comes on top of the nearly $200 million they already spend on education “reform” each year—was widely reported, while the federal budget deal allocated $330 million [6] more for charters was barely covered. The federal expansion of funding comes in the face of numerous scandals involving poor test results from so-called virtual charter schools and the documentation of more than $200 million of fraud and waste [7] of taxpayer money by charter school operators.

But the billionaires’ star power garnered coverage and repetition of the “reform” talking points, despite the manifest evidence of the failures[8]of many charter school experiments.

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Poisoning Black Cities

They emptied New Orleans. Now they have poisoned Flint, Michigan. The corporate campaign to ethnically cleanse U.S. cities knows no bounds. Michigan’s emergency financial manager law is “part of Wall Street’s tool kit to starve, bulldoze, redline, over-price, oppressively police, and even poison Black people out of the urban centers.”

by Glen Ford

It has taken the poisoning of an entire city of 100,000 people – 52 percent of them Black – to draw national attention to the human effects of systematic corporatization of the public sphere under neoliberal U.S. capitalism. Republican Governor Rick Synder promises to “fix” the ruined water infrastructure of Flint, Michigan, now hopelessly corroded and saturated with lead – a repair that could cost as much as $1.5 billion. But, even if Snyder is forced to resign, as demonstrators demand, or is jailed, as filmmaker Michael Moore would prefer, it won’t fix the irreparably damaged brains of the city’s children or prevent a cascade of Flint-like catastrophes from unfolding across the country.

We are experiencing another Katrina moment, a dreadful epiphany in which the nature of the beast that is preying upon us becomes horrifically clear. Michigan’s emergency financial manager system – a weapon of corporate dictatorship imposed selectively on heavily Black and brown cities and school systems – is the lead-tipped point of the spear that is gutting urban Black America. It is not a unique instrument – and certainly not a Republican invention – but part of Wall Street’s tool kit to starve, bulldoze, redline, over-price, oppressively police, and even poison Black people out of the urban centers.

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The 62 Richest People On Earth Now Hold As Much Wealth As The Poorest 3.5 Billion

“No one credible will say this is good for the world or good for the economy.”

By EMILY PECK – Executive Business & Technology Editor, The Huffington Post

All the money in the world is growing ever more concentrated in the hands of just a few people, a report released Sunday night makes clear.

Just 62 ultra-rich individuals — a list that is primarily made up of men and includes Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, the Koch Brothers and the Walmart heirs — have as much wealth as the bottom half of humanity. Five years ago, it took 388 rich guys to achieve that status.

The wealth of the richest 62 has increased an astonishing 44 percent since 2010, to $1.76 trillion. Meanwhile, the wealth of the bottom half of the world dropped by 41 percent.

“This is terrible,” Gawain Kripke, Oxfam’s Policy Director, told The Huffington Post. “No one credible will say this is good for the world or good for the economy.”

While the wealthy might argue that their rising wealth is just a fabulous sign of economic prosperity (the “you’re just jealous” rationale), the disproportionate growth at the top is keeping those on the bottom from climbing out of poverty, Oxfam notes in its report.

“It is unjust that people living in poverty are not getting the boost to their incomes that they desperately need, while already privileged capital owners receive a greater share of income and wealth,” the report says.

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GM foods banned from school menus

By CHRISTINE CHOU, THE CHINA POST

TAIPEI, Taiwan–Schools nationwide are prohibited from providing genetically modified foods to students, according to the latest bill passed by the Legislature on Monday.

According to the Ministry of Education (MOE, 教育部), the new regulations would take effect next semester at the earliest, and students would likely be seeing a price hike of around NT$5 per meal.

The latest amendments to the School Health Act (學校衛生法) are aimed at all school meal providers, to ban genetically modified raw ingredients and any processed foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from school menus.

The ban would affect the selection of ingredients often used in school lunches in the past, including soybeans, corn, salmon, tofu, and soymilk.

The new law would apply to cafeterias and food stands in high, middle and elementary schools, said a ministry official.

Government subsidies for underprivileged students’ school meals are expected to increase approximately NT$235.8 million per year, when calculated from a NT$5 price hike for 262,000 people, said the official.

When asked what the punishment would be for violating the new laws, the official said there are no stated penalties at present, but the MOE will ask the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW, 衛福部) to provide guidelines for schools and food suppliers to follow.

 

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Democratic Debate: Alan Greenspan’s Spouse Should Not Have Co-Hosted

By PAM MARTENS and RUSS MARTENS

Leave it to NBC to remind us that corporate media is tone deaf when it comes to facing up to outrageous conflicts of interest. The final presidential debate before the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary aired last night on NBC and was co-moderated by Lester Holt and Andrea Mitchell. Given the public focus on Hillary Clinton’s financial ties to Wall Street, it was clear that hard-hitting policy questions on reforming Wall Street would need to be asked during the debate.

So why put Andrea Mitchell on that stage instead of an objective media moderator? Mitchell is married to Alan Greenspan, the man whose 18-year stint as Fed Chairman included a two-term appointment by Bill Clinton’s White House. Greenspan was correctly dubbed by Time Magazine as “25 People to Blame for the Financial Crisis”; was the man who played a key role together with the Clinton administration’s Wall Street sycophants Robert Rubin and Larry Summers in repealing the Glass-Steagall Act that ushered in the devastating deregulation of Wall Street and subsequent collapse in 2008; and the man who attempted to lend credence to the nutty “selfishness is good/government regulation is the enemy” theories of Ayn Rand, Greenspan’s long-time economic mentor.

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Saudi Arabia: The West’s Chosen Islamist Head-Cutters

By SAMUEL ALBERT

The latest executions in Saudi Arabia should make it very clear that the Western powers’ “war on terror” has nothing to do with opposition to chopping off heads and sectarian religious fanaticism. Instead of condemning this crime, the US, UK and other Western powers have continued to give the Saudi regime, if not their public political blessing, at least their practical backing – in the name of the necessary alliances they claim flow from that “war on terror”.

These crimes were part of the beleaguered Saudi royal family’s efforts to defend its rule by wielding state violence and religious authority, both represented by the executioner’s sword. The most prominent of those put to death was Nimr al-Nimir, a leading Shia cleric tried in secret and convicted of supporting the protest movement that swept the Shia population in eastern Saudi Arabia and neighbouring Bahrain in 2011, especially among youth influenced by the Arab Spring. Several people accused of participating in political rallies at that time, arrested when they were young teenagers, are set to be executed next.

Nimir’s execution, along with that of several other Shias, was a heinous response to legitimate protests against discrimination in employment, education and other fields – proof, if any is needed, that the Saudi regime, rather than moving away from religious fanaticism under the year-old reign of King Salman and his princes, is escalating its use of religiously-justified murder against any political challenge.

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