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  • Quote: There is nothing that war has ever achieved that we could not better achieve without it.  -- Henry Ellis.
  • Article: Release: Sanders Puts Hold on Bernanke by Bernie Sanders.

    "WASHINGTON, December 2 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today placed a hold on the nomination of Ben Bernanke for a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve.

    “The American people overwhelmingly voted last year for a change in our national priorities to put the interests of ordinary people ahead of the greed of Wall Street and the wealthy few,” Sanders said. “What the American people did not bargain for was another four years for one of the key architects of the Bush economy.”

    As head of the central bank since 2006, Bernanke could have demanded that Wall Street provide adequate credit to small and medium-sized businesses to create decent-paying jobs in a productive economy, but he did not.

    He could have insisted that large bailed-out banks end the usurious practice of charging interest rates of 30 percent or more on credit cards, but he did not.

    He could have broken up too-big-to-fail financial institutions that took Federal Reserve assistance, but he did not.

    He could have revealed which banks took more than $2 trillion in taxpayer-backed secret loans, but he did not.

    “The American people want a new direction on Wall Street and at the Fed. They do not want as chairman someone who has been part of the problem and who has been responsible for many of the enormous difficulties that we are now experiencing,” Sanders said. “It’s time for a change at the Fed.”

    The Federal Reserve has four main responsibilities: to conduct monetary policy in a way that leads to maximum employment and stable prices; to maintain the safety and soundness of financial institutions; to contain systemic risk in financial markets; and to protect consumers against deceptive and unfair financial products.

    Since Bernanke took over as Fed chairman in 2006, unemployment has more than doubled and, today, 17.5 percent of the American workforce is either unemployed or underemployed.

    Not since the Great Depression has the financial system been as unsafe, unsound, and unstable as it has been during Mr. Bernanke's tenure. More than 120 banks have failed since he became chairman.

    Under Bernanke's watch, the value of risky derivatives held at our nation's top commercial banks grew from $110 trillion to more than $290 trillion, 95 percent of which are concentrated in just five financial institutions.

    Bernanke failed to prevent banks from issuing deceptive and unfair financial products to consumers. Under his leadership, mortgage lenders were allowed to issue predatory loans they knew consumers could not afford to repay. This risky practice was allowed to continue long after the FBI warned in 2004 of an "epidemic" in mortgage fraud.

    After the financial crisis hit, Bernanke's response was to provide trillions of dollars in virtually zero-interest loans and other taxpayer assistance to some of the largest financial institutions in the world. Adding insult to injury, Bernanke refused to tell the American people the names of the institutions that received this handout or the terms involved.

    “Mr. Bernanke has failed at all four core responsibilities of the Federal Reserve,” Sanders concluded. “It’s time for him to go." "

  • Article: Bernanke Channels Willie Sutton In Assault On Social Security: 'That's Where The Money Is' by Ryan Grim.

    "Ben Bernanke has overseen the greatest expansion of the Federal Reserve's balance sheet in its history, pouring trillions of dollars into Wall Street firms at roughly zero interest rates.

    His generosity, however, has a limit.

    In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee today, where he's seeking re-appointment as the Fed's chairman, Bernanke called for cutbacks in Medicare and Social Security even as unemployment rises and the middle class is endangered.

    Citing legendary bank robber Willie Sutton, Bernanke said of the retirement and health care funds that are the legacy of the New Deal: "That's where the money is."

    Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) sympathized with Bernanke, saying that, because of entitlement spending, "you're going to be looking at a situation where the Congress will be unable to provide any kind of fiscal discipline because of the mandatory spending. That puts an enormous burden on your plate."

    "Well, Senator, I was about to address entitlements," Bernanke replied. "I think you can't tackle the problem in the medium term without doing something about getting entitlements under control and reducing the costs, particularly of health care." "

  • Dwight Eisenhower letter to Edgar Newton Eisenhower, November 8, 1954.

    "But to attain any success it is quite clear that the Federal government cannot avoid or escape responsibilities which the mass of the people firmly believe should be undertaken by it. The political processes of our country are such that if a rule of reason is not applied in this effort, we will lose everything--even to a possible and drastic change in the Constitution. This is what I mean by my constant insistence upon "moderation" in government. Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid. ..."

  • Article: Bush rejects Taliban offer to hand Bin Laden over, 14 October 2001.

    "President George Bush rejected as "non-negotiable" an offer by the Taliban to discuss turning over Osama bin Laden if the United States ended the bombing in Afghanistan.

    Returning to the White House after a weekend at Camp David, the president said the bombing would not stop, unless the ruling Taliban "turn [bin Laden] over, turn his cohorts over, turn any hostages they hold over." He added, "There's no need to discuss innocence or guilt. We know he's guilty". In Jalalabad, deputy prime minister Haji Abdul Kabir - the third most powerful figure in the ruling Taliban regime - told reporters that the Taliban would require evidence that Bin Laden was behind the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US, but added: "we would be ready to hand him over to a third country"."

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