Prefacing the presidential debates, Bernie Sanders endorses Hillary. Jill Stein reacts. Plus…

During her first speech as prime minister, May identified her mission as being to build a better Britain. She also vowed to create a country that “works for all not just the privileged few ».

Bernie Sanders for President

FOREVER FORWARD

Sisters and Brothers,

I am writing you today to express my deep pride in the movement – the political revolution – you and I have created together over the last 15 months. When we began this historic campaign, we were considered fringe players by the political, economic and media establishment. Well, we proved them wrong.

We showed that the American people support a bold, progressive agenda that takes on the billionaire class, that fights for racial, social, economic and environmental justice and that seeks to create a government that works for all of us and not just the big campaign donors.

We mobilized over 13 million voters across the country. We won 23 Democratic primary and caucus contests. We had literally hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the country. And we showed – in a way that can change politics in America forever – that you can run a competitive national grassroots campaign without begging millionaires and billionaires for campaign contributions.

Most importantly, we elevated the critical issues facing our country – issues the establishment has pushed under the rug for too long. We focused attention on the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality in this country and the importance of breaking up the large banks who brought our economy to the brink of collapse. We exposed our horrendous trade policies, our broken criminal justice system, and our people’s lack of access to affordable health care and higher education. We fought aggressively to address the crisis of climate change, the need for real comprehensive immigration reform, the importance of developing a foreign policy that values diplomacy over war, and so much more.

We have shown throughout this election that these are issues that are important to voters and that progressive solutions energize people in the fight for real change. What we have accomplished so far is historic – but our work is far from over.

This movement of ours – this political revolution – must continue. We cannot let all of the momentum we have achieved in the fight to transform America be lost. We will never stop fighting for what is right.

It is true that in terms of winning the Democratic nomination, we did come up short. But this election was never about me or any candidate. It was about the powerful coming together of millions of people to take their country back from the billionaire class. That was the strength of our campaign and it will be the strength of our movement going forward in the months and years ahead.

In the coming weeks, I will be announcing the creation of successor organizations to carry on the struggle that we have been a part of these past 15 months. I hope you will continue to be involved in fighting to transform America. Our goal will be to advance the progressive agenda that we believe in and to elect like-minded candidates at the federal, state and local levels who are committed to accomplishing our goals.

In terms of the presidential election this November, there is no doubt that the election of Donald Trump as president would be a devastating blow to all that we are fighting for. His openly bigoted and pro-billionaire campaign could precipitate the same decades-long rightward shift in American politics that happened after the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. That rightward shift after Reagan’s election infected not just politics as a whole but led to the ascendancy of the corporatist wing of the Democratic Party – an era from which we are still recovering.

I cannot in good conscience let that happen.

To have all of the work we have done in elevating our progressive ideals be dashed away by a complete Republican takeover of Washington – a takeover headed by a candidate that demonizes Latinos, Muslims, women, African Americans, veterans, and others – would be unthinkable.

Today, I endorsed Hillary Clinton to be our next president. I know that some of you will be disappointed with that decision. But I believe that, at this moment, our country, our values, and our common vision for a transformed America, are best served by the defeat of Donald Trump and the election of Hillary Clinton.

You should know that in the weeks since the last primary, both campaigns have worked together in good faith to bridge some of the policy issues that divided us during the election. Did we come to agreement on everything? Of course not. But we made important steps forward.

Hillary Clinton released a debt free college plan that we developed together which now includes free tuition at public colleges and universities for working families. This was a major part of our campaign’s agenda and a proposal that, if enacted into law, would revolutionize higher education in this country.

Secretary Clinton has also publicly committed to massive investments in health care for communities across this country that will increase primary care, including mental health care, dental care, and low-cost prescription drug access for an additional 25 million people. Importantly, she has also endorsed the enactment of a so-called public option to allow everyone in this country to participate in a public insurance program. This idea was killed by the insurance industry during consideration of President Obama’s health care program.

During the Democratic platform proceedings in St. Louis and Orlando, we were victorious in including amendments to make it a clear priority of the Democratic Party to fight for a $15 an hour federal minimum wage, expand Social Security, abolish the death penalty, put a price on carbon, establish a path toward the legalization of marijuana, enact major criminal justice reforms, pass comprehensive immigration reform, end for-profit prisons and detention facilities, break up too-big-to-fail banks and create a 21st century Glass-Steagall Act, close loopholes that allow big companies to avoid taxes by stashing their cash in offshore tax havens and use that revenue to rebuild America, approve the most expansive agenda ever for protecting Native American rights and so much more.

All of these progressive policies were at the heart of our campaign. The truth is our movement is responsible for the most progressive Democratic platform in the history of our country. All of that is the direct result of the work that our members of the platform committee did in the meetings and that you have been doing over the last 15 months.

But none of these initiatives will happen if we do not elect a Democratic president in November. None! In fact, we will go backward. We must elect the Democratic nominee in November and progressive Democrats up and down the ballot so that we ensure that these policy commitments can advance.

It is extremely important that we keep our movement together, that we hold public officials accountable and that we elect progressive candidates to office at the federal, state, and local level who will stand with us.

As part of that effort, we still have a tremendous amount of work left to do in the Democratic Rules Committee that will be meeting in the coming weeks. We have to enact the kinds of reforms to the Democratic Party and to the electoral process that will provide us the tools to elect progressive candidates, to allow new voices and new energy into the Party, and to break up the excessive power that the economic and political elites in the Party currently have. As with our fights on the platform committee, that will only be possible if we stand together.

You should know that I intend to be actively campaigning throughout this election season to elect candidates who will stand by our agenda. I hope to see many of you at events from coast to coast.

In conclusion, I again want to express my pride in what we have accomplished together over the last year. But so much more must be done to make our vision a reality. Now more than ever our country needs our movement – our political revolution. As you have throughout this historic campaign, I ask for your ongoing support as we continue through the fall and beyond.

On a personal note, I cannot say with words how appreciative Jane and I are of the kindness, dedication and love we experienced from so many people across the country. We are deeply touched by it and will never, ever forget it.

Please let me know that you will stand with me to defeat Donald Trump, and to elect candidates who will stand by our agenda as part of the future of our political revolution. Add your name now.

Forever committed, forever fighting, forever forward,

Bernie Sanders

Previously,

THE STATE OF THE UNION SPEECH – INSIDE BERNIE SANDERS’ CLOSING ARGUMENT.

Jill Stein: Revolution Undermined After Bernie Sanders Endorses Hillary Clinton – OpEd

Excerpt. ‘This false pragmatism is not the path to revolutionary change but rather an incrementalism that keeps us trapped, voting for lesser evil again and again.

Each time a progressive challenger like Sanders, Dennis Kucinich or Jesse Jackson has inspired hope for real change, the Democratic Party has sabotaged them while marching to the right, becoming more corporatist and militarist with each election cycle.

Millions are realizing that if we want to fix the rigged economy, the rigged racial injustice system, the rigged health care system, toxic fossil fuel energy and all the other systems failing us, we must fix the rigged political system, and that will not happen through the rigged Democratic Party.

Right now we have a real chance to change our rigged political system, and we must not squander this opportunity by pledging allegiance to a corrupt political insider who the majority of Americans do not like, trust or believe in.

What is most disappointing is that Sanders has refused invitations to speak to the Green Party, a truly democratic national party that has long championed the progressive stands that lifted the Sanders campaign to the top of national polls’.

I have one comment : Affirmative. But, let’s try it… and time will tell, knowing that the Impeachment is down the road… The privatization (email private server) of a public service/duty (State Dept Secretary) ????

If Stein as the Green candidate (the Green party’s contested convention is set for the first week of August), can get up to 15% in the polls so she would have to be included in the several presidential debates in the fall, where she can make her positions clear to the American people, it’s possible she could do really well against that pathetic level of competition, especially now with Clinton exposed as, if not an indicted criminal, then an unindicted one whom a majority of Americans think should have been charged for trying to hide her money grubbing sale of her office as Secretary of State from the reaches of the Freedom of Information Act by using a private server to conduct her State Department “business.” Bernie Sanders Endorses Hillary Clinton, Candidate Of Wall Street And Corporate Power – OpEd

Put aside, let’s move forward democratically this time :

« I call on the tens of millions inspired by Bernie Sanders’ call for political revolution, the 60% of Americans who want a new major party, and the independents who outnumber both Democrats and Republicans to reject the self-defeating strategy of voting for the lesser evil and join our fight for the greater good.

I ask the rising independent majority to demand our inclusion in the Presidential debates, for as Sanders proved, in fair debates we can rally the majority of Americans behind a plan for an America and a world that works for all of us ».

Sanders, by deciding to cave and endorse Clinton – he argues questionably that he has to in order to prevent the possible election of likely Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump – has gravely diminished what he accomplished. As many left critics of his campaign long warned, by endorsing Clinton he will no doubt succeed in urging many of his millions of supporters to “hold their noses” and vote for Clinton in November, and will also demoralize others who may retreat into apolitical cynicism and not vote at all. But I suspect that at least 15-20% of his supporters – and that’s 2-3 million people – will be inspired to move on to a new kind of activism, backing the Green Party and its likely candidate for president, Dr. Jill Stein, as I plan to do. (Dave Lindorff)

Dates of the presidential debates.

⇒The first one. 26 Sept. Ohio (Wright State University of Dayton)

⇒The second one. 9 October. Saint-Louis (Washington University Missouri)

⇒The third. 19 Oct.  Las Vegas (University of Nevada)

⇒ Vice-presidents are set to debate, the 4 October in Virginia (Longwood University Farmville)

Ron Paul: No Matter the Presidential Race Outcome, the US Is Going the Way of the USSR

“we’re witnessing” in American now “something similar to the breakup of the Soviet system” decades earlier. Paul says the Soviet Union system didn’t work then, just like the United States system doesn’t work now ».

 THE STATE OF THE UNION – CHALLENGES

IMF Executive Board Concludes Article IV Consultation with United States
Press Release No. 16/332
July 12, 2016

On July 8, 2016, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation with the United States.1

The U.S. is in its seventh consecutive year of expansion. The unemployment rate has fallen to 4.9 percent and household net worth is close to pre-crisis peaks. Nonetheless, the economy has gone through a temporary growth dip in the last two quarters. Lower oil prices led to a further contraction in energy sector investment and a strong dollar and weak global demand have weighed on net exports. On the upside, real household disposable income is growing at 3 percent, the housing market is growing at a healthy clip, and the current fiscal and monetary policy mix is supporting the economy.

With activity indicators for the second quarter of this year rebounding, the economy is expected to grow at 2.2 percent and 2.5 percent in 2016 and 2017, which is above potential. Over this period, the remaining labor market gap should close before growth begins to steadily decline to 2 percent over the medium term. Inflation has remained subdued and wage indicators on the whole have shown only modest acceleration. As the output gap closes, personal consumer expenditure (PCE) inflation is expected to slowly and moderately rise above 2 percent in 2017–19, before returning to the Federal Reserve’s medium-term target of 2 percent.

Risks to the growth outlook are tilted to the downside. Given uncertainty surrounding the implications of the U.K. referendum, continued financial market volatility or a further appreciation of the U.S. dollar are possible. There are, however, upside risks from oil—both in terms of a delayed effect on consumption and a lessening drag from oil-related investment. A more complex and harmful downside risk is the possibility that potential growth rate is lower than estimated and a smaller output gap than previously estimated. If true, this would mean the U.S. economy could soon bump up against capacity constraints that would slow growth and generate domestic inflationary pressures with negative global spillovers.

Over the longer term and despite the ongoing expansion, the U.S. faces a confluence of forces that may weigh on the prospects for continued gains in economic well being. A rising share of the US labor force is shifting into retirement, basic infrastructure is aging, productivity gains are scanty, and labor markets and businesses appear less adept at reallocating human and physical capital. These growing headwinds are overlaid by pernicious secular trends in income: labor’s share of income is around 5 percent lower today than it was 15 years ago, the middle class has shrunk to its smallest size in the last 30 years, the income and wealth distribution are increasingly polarized, and poverty has risen. If left unchecked, these forces will continue to drag down both potential and actual growth, diminish gains in living standards, and worsen poverty.

The consultation focused on the medium-term challenges of an increasingly polarized income distribution, high levels of poverty, falling labor force participation, and weak productivity growth, and policies to combat these trends.

Executive Board Assessment2

Executive Directors welcomed the continued recovery of the U.S. economy, on the back of strong fundamentals and supportive macroeconomic policies. Directors noted that, while the outlook remains broadly favorable, there are important downside risks and uncertainties, in particular slower potential growth, a strengthening of the U.S. dollar further away from levels justified by medium-term fundamentals, and sustained investor risk aversion following the outcome of the referendum in the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, longstanding issues on the supply side continue to weigh on economic prospects, including low productivity growth, falling labor force participation, and rising poverty and wealth inequality.

Directors agreed that the pace of interest rate normalization should remain data-dependent, proceeding cautiously along a gradual upward path. While there may be some merits in accepting a temporary overshooting of the medium-term inflation target until the economic expansion is solidly established, many Directors were concerned over the risks of de-anchoring inflation expectations and eroding monetary policy credibility. Directors welcomed the authorities’ commitment to monitor closely economic and financial developments, both domestic and global, and their implications for the Federal Reserve’s objectives of maximum employment and price stability. They also underscored the importance of maintaining clear, effective communication of the approach to interest rate adjustment.

Directors noted that near-term fiscal policy remains appropriately geared toward supporting growth and job creation. However, lasting institutional solutions are still needed to enhance the budget process and minimize fiscal uncertainties. Directors also highlighted the urgency of addressing the challenges posed by demographic trends, entitlement spending, and deteriorating infrastructure. In this context, they saw value in calibrating a credible medium-term consolidation plan to help guide the path of fiscal policy toward debt sustainability.

Directors stressed the need to take a broad range of measures to tackle longer-term challenges. Priorities include boosting federal infrastructure spending; further reforming the health care and pension systems; and reaching agreement on skill-based immigration reform. Directors called for concerted efforts to advance pro-poor policies, particularly expanding tax credits to low-income households, raising the federal minimum wage, and expanding paid-family leave and childcare assistance. Complementary measures to boost long-term growth include a comprehensive reform of the U.S. corporate income taxation, and further progress on trade integration.

Directors noted that recent regulatory reforms and improved capital positions have strengthened the U.S. banking system. Nevertheless, there remain pockets of vulnerabilities that warrant continued vigilance, particularly in the asset management and insurance industries, although at the current juncture risks are unlikely to be systemic. To preserve hard-won gains on financial stability, Directors called on the authorities to continue implementing the recommendations of the 2015 Financial Sector Assessment Program. It will be particularly important to complete the regulatory reforms under the Dodd-Frank Act. Directors also recommended close monitoring and placing the insurance sector under consolidated national regulation and supervision. They supported efforts to improve data collection and reporting in the nonbank sector, strengthen requirements on beneficial ownership, and maintain dialogue and support capacity building in countries affected by the withdrawal of correspondent banking relationships.

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1 Under Article IV of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement, the IMF holds bilateral discussions with members, usually every year. A staff team visits the country, collects economic and financial information, and discusses with officials the country’s economic developments and policies. On return to headquarters, the staff prepares a report, which forms the basis for discussion by the Executive Board.

2 At the conclusion of the discussion, the Managing Director, as Chairman of the Board, summarizes the views of Executive Directors, and this summary is transmitted to the country’s authorities. An explanation of any qualifiers used in summings up can be found here: http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/misc/qualifiers.htm.

Gender diversity : another issue of great importance

IMF Executive Board’s First Report to the Board of Governors on Gender Diversity in the Executive Board
Press Release No. 16/335
July 12, 2016

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is calling on Fund member countries to take gender diversity into consideration when nominating candidates for the position of Executive Directors and their staff.

The International Monetary and Financial Committee statement in April 2016 reiterated the importance of promoting gender diversity in the Executive Board. In the Executive Board’s first report on gender diversity to the IMF’s highest decision-making body, the Board of Governors, Executive Directors noted that improving gender diversity in the Executive Board would lead to a more effective IMF. The Board pointed to growing evidence that organizations governed by diverse boards are more successful. Directors also emphasized that staff diversity and inclusion enhance the quality of the Fund’s work and engagement with member countries. In addition, the Board has supported policy measures taken by member nations to promote economic inclusion and gender inclusion where it is macro-critical for achieving sustained economic growth.

Under the Fund’s legal framework, Fund governors elect Executive Directors. Currently, there is one woman out of 24 Directors––the same average over the last ten years. To improve this situation, Executive Directors plan to seek better diversity of Senior Advisors and Advisors, which will enhance the quality of the Board’s engagement and contribute to the future pool from which to appoint future Executive Directors. They will also raise the issue of gender diversity with their constituencies and encourage female candidates to seek positions in their offices. Directors will also set nonbinding and collective goals to improve gender diversity in advisor positions.

Executive Directors said they are committed to improving gender diversity in the Executive Board and will work with Fund Governors and members to achieve that goal.

Source. The IMF

Plus – Bulgaria Will Not Contribute to NATO’s Battalions on Eastern Flank

« For the time being, the plans do not foresee Bulgaria to make contributions to the four NATO battalions which will be deployed in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

This was stated by Bulgarian Defence Minister Nikolay Nenchev on the second day of the NATO summit taking place in Warsaw on Friday and Saturday. Nenchev is part of the Bulgarian delegation which is headed by President Rosen Plevneliev.

The defence minister said that the issue of the forward presence has not been raised and at present there was no outlook for Bulgarian participation in it. He explained that the framework states have the leading role in this respect ».

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Bulgarian Opposition Demands Demilitarization of Black Sea –  Defending the Environment and piling massive arms of destruction in a small area are antinomic.