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Ear to the Ground

Bernie Sanders Wants Answers, Writes Legislation to Get Them

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Posted on Mar 3, 2009
Bernie Sanders

Fed chief Ben Bernanke may be able to dole out trillions in the blink of an eye, but on Tuesday he ran headlong into Congress’ only independent democratic socialist. Sen. Bernie Sanders demanded to know where all the Fed’s money was going. Bernanke said “no.” Sanders fired back by introducing a bill that would require such information to be posted to the Fed’s Web site.


When Sanders pressed on whether Bernanke would name the firms that borrowed from the Fed, the central bank chairman replied, “No,” and started to say that doing so risked stigmatizing banks and discouraging them from borrowing from the central bank.

“Isn’t that too bad,” Sanders interrupted, cutting him off. “They took the money but they don’t want to be public about the fact that they received it.”

According to the text of the proposed legislation, e-mailed by Sanders’ staff, he wants the central bank to identify any firm that has received financial assistance since March 24, 2008, including details on the type of borrowing, amount, date, terms and the Fed’s rationale for lending.

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Gulam's avatar

By Gulam, March 8, 2009 at 7:09 pm Link to this comment

This is the way freedom of the press and freedom in general work in an America where the press is owned by a very few war industries. Yes, the other side is allowed to speak, but only if they are someone that is not likely to be taken seriously. Yes, Bernie often is on the side of the angels, but he is a Jewish, socialist from Vermont. It is safe for him to make good points, in fact it is just great, because it lessens the chance that these points will ever be given serious consideration by the majority, the vast number of your average American consumers. I was charmed when I came across Bernie in an old dirty army jacket in a small greasy spoon diner in Vermont many years ago, but in a society programmed to believe only those in black suits (or red suits on women), having Bernie promote a policy is the next best thing to censorship of those ideas, and many times it may well be more effective demoting those ideas. Your celebration of Bernie is naive.

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By Sepharad, March 6, 2009 at 6:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ed, we rarely agree but as you said re Bernie Sanders, “Damn, he’s good.” Trouble is, the stand-up-to-the-big-guys has come way too late. None of this is going to work well enough or fast enough, and I have no idea what Americans are going to wake up to
when the economy is in ruins around our ankles. (Well, I have SOME idea. My husband’s parents and my own lived through the Depression and told us a lot.
WWII got us out of it largely by creating manufacturing demand, but the only wars we are involved in are making things worse. Only hope Obama is intelligent enough to keep us out of any further “dumb” wars—his description for wars he is not in favor of—and to come up with a way to put a lot of people to work in useful projects we need anyway. No wonder his hair is turning gray after only 44 days in office.)

coloradokarl—would that your suggestions come true.

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By rylly, March 6, 2009 at 5:24 pm Link to this comment

The idea of a Federal Bank that lends, sounds so much safer than doling out money to banks to do whatever they want, which is what they do regardless of the stipulations.

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ApprxAm's avatar

By ApprxAm, March 5, 2009 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment

Information or not, this sh^t is going to blow up any day now. Sanders and the rest of them are just posturing and the principle of protecting the markets and the connected interest of those involved with AIG is a stall; for what, one can only guess. Armageddon I’d gather.

CitiGroup’s share price tanking today and it’s inevitable collapse is foretelling the horrible future that awaits us all, Cheney/Bush, Clinton, BushI, Reagan and dammit, if you’d like Paris Hilton and OJ have all brought upon us the abject failures we’re witnessing today. AIG’s mess was obviously so shocking as to cause the state of New York’s then AG, Eliot Spitzer, Wall Fleece chaser, to turn away from his pursuit of corruption and collusion charges and settle the case in which he had AIG dead-to-right. 

It’s all over kids, this sh*t is getting thick. The only thing left to do is to make a social statement as a people, the American people, and demand that long and harsh prison sentences be the consequence of Wall Street’s ruinous and avarice endeavors.  And I just don’t mean Madoff, Stanford and the other ponzi schemers. The “Heroes” of industry and the money changers must be brought to real justice, with real punishment; really!

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By kevin, March 5, 2009 at 11:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Good job Bernie! Put those bastards hands to the fire.

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By Wonderstruck, March 5, 2009 at 11:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When I listened to Bernie Sanders question the Fed Chairman on C-SPAN, I was struck by the utter brazoness of the Bush-now-Obama financial “regulators.”  The stated reason the Fed will not disclose the recipients of the $2.2 trillion bailout (the amount our government currently admits to)—because it would discourage troubled banks from seeking the funds—is preposterous. 

Even without further transparency, any reader of the financial pages knows that a huge number of nonbanks renamed themselves as banks so their executives could get their little mits on taxpayer money.  American Express and the aptly-named Goldman Sachs (sacks!) come to mind.

No, the real reason the Fed will not disclose information about the recipients of the bailout to the people who are paying for the bailout is because—quite apart from the unconscionable bonuses and corporate acquisitions that the money is being used for—these “troubled” banks are BANKRUPT and CANNOT REPAY their depositors. 

What’s keeping the system afloat is, surprise, surprise, deposit insurance.  Paid for, surprise, surprise, by current and future taxpayers. 

What Bernacke is saying, in other words, is that the Fed is terrified of a run on the banks.

We are that close to an end of capitalism’s 500 year run.  That close!  Personally, I say good riddance, but our conservative new president seems bound and determined to keep the whole debacle going—using our tax dollars as life support.

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By Aegrus, March 5, 2009 at 8:34 am Link to this comment

Bernie Sanders is America’s senator! I listen to the Senator from Vermont every Friday, and he is always incredibly insightful. The only elected official who will go on the radio without preconditions!

Kick the conservative Democrats out of the party and find thirty Bernies to replace them with!

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By cwazycajun, March 5, 2009 at 7:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Not only is bernie sanders looking out for the people of vermont but better yet he’s looking out for the people of these united states bernie is definately one of the good guys…thats why I love to listen to thom hartman on fridays when he has bernie on   good stuff

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By Bisbonian, March 5, 2009 at 7:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Go Bernie!  Get that man a cavalry hat, or something.

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By Gulam, March 4, 2009 at 11:15 pm Link to this comment

Bernie does a great job grand-standing on economic issues. Now ask him about Gaza. We have two wars against Muslim countries, and the new president’s two closest advisors are Jewish. These wars against Islam will have more profound impact on the long-term viability of the American economy than these symbolic gestures of demanding accountability by someone whom the main stream do not take seriously.

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By Shift, March 4, 2009 at 7:03 pm Link to this comment

The Government should create a number of good banks, fund them to lend the necessary money to unfreeze the credit market, then allow the rest of the banks to fend for themselves without any rescue money. If necessary, bankrupt them, sell off the bad assets at true market value, and sell of the good assets to solid banks.  Let the stock holders and bond holders take their losses and eliminate the management.

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By scared, March 4, 2009 at 5:42 pm Link to this comment

Bernie Sanders has consistently been a voice of reason since the bailout was first introduced.  He seems to be one of the only politicians left that truly cares about the American people.

Bernie Sanders September 28 on Democracy Now!:

But my main concern—I’ve only got a few minutes here—my main concern is twofold. I mean, for the longest period of time, up to literally a few weeks ago, we had our friends in the Bush administration telling us that the fundamentals of the economy are strong, everything is just fine. And now they tell us we’re on the verge of a major economic meltdown. We’ve got to give Wall Street a $700 billion bailout. And, by the way, of course, it is not going to be the people who have benefited, the people at the very, very top who have benefited financially from Bush’s reckless economic policies who are going to pick up the bailout; it is going to be the middle class, which has been suffering for the last eight years.

So the first point that we have to make is, if a bailout is necessary, it is not going to be, if I have anything to say about it, a working people picking up the cost of this; it is going to be the top one-tenth of one percent, who earn more than the bottom 50 percent. It is going to be all of these people who have made out very, very well under Bush’s reckless policies. So that’s my main concern right now.

Obviously, also we have to ensure that the assets purchased from the banks are realistically discounted, so that we don’t get ripped off in the process, and we have to require that taxpayers receive equity stakes in the bailed-out companies.

He also voted against Tim Geithner:

Well, Tim Geithner, to my mind, is more of a part of the problem that got us to where we are today rather than the solution. Geithner was actively involved in the Clinton administration in terms of the deregulatory efforts when he was head of the New York Fed. He was there when Citicorp and other groups made very, very reckless business decisions and really did not raise the red flag that had to be raised.

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By Anarcissie, March 4, 2009 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment

It might be well to communicate with your senators, congresspersons, neighbors, friends, relatives and best enemies about this bill.  Where’s the money?

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By amunaor, March 4, 2009 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment

What happened to the rally cry: transparency and accountability?

Give em hell Bernie! Make those Wally-World pigs with lipstick squeal.

Bernanke can stick his head up his ass and jump, we’ll gather around to applaud in hopes that he’ll disappear.

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By knute, March 4, 2009 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I encourage all to read about the birth of the ” Federal Reserve “. You will find that its got nothing to do with the federal goverment in as far as what controls its decisions. It was created in the first decades of this last century soley to keep the control of the money in the hands of the largest banking institutions. It is a banking Cartel. There is no “Federal” there is no “Reserve”. They create money out of thin air and charge interest to loan it out to our goverment. It was created with the help of a former congressman in the Bush family in cahoots with JP Morgans and the other large banks representitves both from NYC and Europe. JFK was talking about abolishing it or melding it back into the goverment when he was killed. Not many politicians have the balls to bring that up again. But it is the prime reason we are in so much trouble now, and also why they don’t want to devulge where “OUR MONEY” is going.

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By Terrible, March 4, 2009 at 11:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What a Congress member SHOULD be!! Never give the bastards an inch Bernie! Because they’ll take a mile if you do.

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By samosamo, March 4, 2009 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

Another way to show that even with our newly elected administration, we still believe in the necessity of the federal reserve even though the fed res is the harbinger of this financial disaster. GO GET EM BERNIE!!!! You are truly one of the few left in congress who is trying to set things to right. One of the many wrongs that need fixing and soon.

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By A. Z. Arrow, March 4, 2009 at 10:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Who does the pan-handling Ben Bernake, and the thieving Bankster’s from the Federal Reserve think they are?

Small-time Bank robber go to jail while big-time Bankster’ crooks go to the Cayman Islands,  to Abu Dubai, and to Switzerland to stash their loot.

That is OUR TAXPAYER MONEY they are stealing to cover THEIR inflated salaries, their stolen bonuses, THEIR SHAKE-DOWN by the use of their threat and ransom demand “to totally destroy the U.S. economy by withholding loans and credits” if the U.S. Congress doesn’t hand over more money:  all of it stolen from the public treasury.

It is nothing more than a massive transfer of the publics’ wealth—from the taxpayer—to THEIR private off-shore and secret accounts.

Bernake says “no” to Congress: Bernake should be arrested for contempt of Congress!

Bernie, keep it up:

>Find out where the previous 18.4 billion dollars went.

>Who made off with our money?

>Make the regulatory laws on the theft of public funds -RETROACTIVE.

>And put the plundering Banksters and the Jekyll Island crowd right where they belong >behind bars.

You have support at home.

~A. Z. Arrow -citizen of Vermont

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Eric L. Prentis's avatar

By Eric L. Prentis, March 4, 2009 at 10:22 am Link to this comment

The Reason that Fed Chairman Bernanke doesn’t want to say where the first $140 billion dollars in AIG bailout money went is because most of it went to banks overseas and will not help the US get out of this GREAT RECESSION. Bernanke is a traitor who saves the global financial ruling class at the expense of everyday Americans, can you say, “crony capitalism.”

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By msgmi, March 4, 2009 at 9:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

One Vermont senator who has his finger on the bailout money pot pulse. The one senator who wants to know how and where is the bailout cash being spent. The one senator who wants acountability of tax payer money. Unfortunarely, the culture on the Beltway and Wall Street is consistent and that is to spend what is not theirs without accountability and transparency, a credit card without restrictions.

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By mud, March 4, 2009 at 9:07 am Link to this comment

Independent Democratic Socialist!

Got my vote Bernie. Hope you’re not knocked off first by wall street’s plunge protection team.

Not very much study shows that the massive rip off of the general public was largely created and executed by Bill Clinton (D) and George W. Bush (R), in that order. No change. “Not a dime’s worth of difference”.

We’d better get real good at killing “change” that is no change at all or it will end up killing us and our goals of Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

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By GB, March 4, 2009 at 7:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bernie’s got alot of great ideas. Reid should be consulting with Bernie more often instead of constantly wimping out to Republicans.
The secret government we’ve had these last 8 years is about as transparent as a brick wall. Tear down the wall Bernie!

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By cyrena, March 4, 2009 at 2:30 am Link to this comment

By Ed Harges, March 4 at 1:59 am #

Damn, he’s good.


Ed, you did it again. Lifted the words right out of my mind.

Indeed, he is. I’d put money on his success.

The precedent (and current momentum) is on the right (as in correct) side of the wind.

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Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, March 3, 2009 at 9:59 pm Link to this comment

Damn, he’s good.

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By coloradokarl, March 3, 2009 at 9:44 pm Link to this comment

If our Government was smart they would of cut all the Puff Necked M.B.A.s off and took the $3 trillion and started a “peoples” bank. The pitch forks and torches will come in the form of the unemployment line and watching the “Golden” boys of high finance dig ditches and flip burgers and whine about their sore backs. What goes around comes around….......

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By GW=MCHammered, March 3, 2009 at 8:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Independent Democratic Socialist?

Sounds like the much needed equal-standing third party in the next election. Just to bust up the ruling but squandering Siamese Twins.

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By article2section3, March 3, 2009 at 7:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Go get em’ Bernie.  Someone needs to keep these arrogant bastards honest.  This financial crisis is exposing the illusion of our republic.  In fact America is ruled by an oligarchy which does not answer to the people or the people’s representatives.  What will we do with this terrible knowledge?  Time to grab pitchforks and torches people.  The Wall Street crowd needs to be knocked down a few pegs.  Who’s up for a good old fashioned tar and feathering?

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