News March 8

Senator Sanders 

Climate Change Most of the Democrats in the U.S. Senate and the independent Sen. Bernie Sanders will spend Monday night and early Tuesday speaking on the Senate floor in an all-night talkathon for congressional action on climate change, The Huffington Post and The Washington Post reported online. LINK, LINK 

White House '16 Sen. Sanders told The Nation’s John Nichols that he is “prepared to run for president of the United States,” MSNBC, NBC News online, Fox News, PBS NewsHour online,, OpEdNews, American Thinker, Grist and Daily Kos reported. An election "is not about personalities, it is about policies, it is about ideas, it is about changing the country for tens of millions of people and not focusing on a handful of leaders," Sanders said in an interview Friday on The Alan Colmes Show on Fox News Radio. Callers told C-SPAN’s Washington Journal that Sanders was the progressive who best represents their views. VIDEO, LINK, LINK, VIDEO, LINK, LINKLINK, LINK, LINK,  LINK, LINK, VIDEO

White House ’16 In a discussion Friday on NPR, syndicated columnist Robert Sheer said of Hillary Clinton, “I don’t see her as representing a progressive voice.” Sens. Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, he added, “could give Hillary a good run for her money.” The vulnerability of Hillary is from the left,” Richard Lowry of National Review agreed. Katrina vanden Heuvel of The Nation said “Bernie Sanders is speaking … more powerfully than Hillary Clinton to the tragedies we face politically today. The great tragedy is the economic reality of the collapse of the middle-class, more people living in poverty and the growing gap between the rich and the poor. Interestingly, Bernie Sanders also wants to reach out to working-class element of the Tea Party. There is something trans-partisan in speaking to those left out of a rigged political system.”  AUDIO

White House ’16 “She has two burdens,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said of Hilary Clinton. “One is Obama. Is she with him? Does she repudiate him? Does she dance in between? The other, though, I thought was stated brilliantly by Bernie Sanders today in an interview. And Bernie went on to say, people are hurting, and it is important for leadership now to explain to them why they're hurting. I don't think that is the politics of Senator Clinton or the Democratic establishment. I mean, isn't it fair to say that, if you watch her go around the country at $200,000 a speech, you watch the scale of money that she and her husband raised, you watch -- the associations are getting, the size of their super PAC friends, she represents the insider big-business, big-government, big-labor system. And I think Bernie's going to run, and I think that's going to be his theme,” Gingrich said on CNN’s Crossfire. VIDEO

White House '16 Sanders is causing some national buzz by telling The Nation that he is seriously considering a run for president because Republicans and Democrats have not advocated for ordinary people, WCAX-TV, VTDigger, the Brattleboro Reformer and Green Mountain Outlook reported. VIDEO  LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK,

‘Ralph the Mouth’ On MSNBC, Ed Schultz slammed Ralph “the Mouth” Nader and said the spoiler candidate responsible for the election of George W. Bush is “in no position to offer political consultation.” Nadar urged Sanders to fulfill his "unfulfilled potential," C-SPAN’s Washington Journal reported. VIDEO, VIDEO

Veterans Bill Republican senators failed to vote in the interests of their constituents in a key Senate vote on a bill expanding veterans benefits, Joseph Rotman said in a letter to The (Champaign, Ill.) News-Gazette. LINK 

Progressive Agenda Elayne Clift in a letter to The Keene (N.H.) Sentinel that she “couldn’t agree more” with Sen. Sanders’ legislative agenda but “even Bernie Sanders doesn’t have the energy to confront all of our woes in one go.” LINK   


Moscow Raises Pressure on West in Ukraine Crisis Russia ratcheted up pressure on the West over the Ukraine crisis on Friday, moving for the first time to endorse the Crimea region’s secession plan, threatening Ukrainian customers with a gas shut-off and warning the United States that “hasty and ill-considered steps” toward sanctions would harm relations, The New York Times reported. The fledgling national government in Kiev has denounced the Crimean regional government's plans to hold a referendum to join the Russian Federation on March 16 and has threatened to invalidate the outcome and dissolve the Crimean Parliament. LINK 

Business Groups Fear Sanctions Will Cost Millions Business groups are pushing to ensure that any economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States are joined by as much of the rest of the world as possible, warning Congress and the Obama administration that unilateral U.S. action would put tens of billions of dollars of American investments at risk, The Washington Post reported. LINK


CIA vs. Congress on Torture Senate Intelligence Committee investigators obtained an internal C.I.A. review of the agency’s detention and interrogation program. Parts of the report cast a particularly harsh light on the program that the agency was defending in a prolonged dispute with the intelligence committee. Agency officials began scouring the digital logs of the computer network used by the Senate staff members to try to learn how and where they got the report. That search not only raised constitutional questions about the agency investigating its congressional overseers, but has also resulted in two parallel inquiries by the Justice Department — one into the C.I.A. and one into the committee, The New York Times reported. LINK

Keystone Comments Flood State Department The State Department is being flooded with hundreds of thousands of public comments before a Friday deadline to weigh in on its review of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, The Hill reported. Activists and environmentalists plan to deliver comments from more than 1 million people on Friday, while the American Petroleum Institute will send in more than 500,000 remarks. LINK

Former Wall Street Trader Found Guilty A jury found former Jefferies Group LLC trader Jesse Litvak guilty on Friday of violating federal securities laws by misrepresenting bond prices to his clients in an effort to boost his own trading profits, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK

Independent Generation Half of millennials identify themselves as independents up from 38 percent in 2004, according to a Pew study cited by Politico. Millennials showed the highest levels of political disaffiliation recorded for any generation in Pew Research’s last 25 years of polling. LINK


Shumlin Delays Health Care Funding The Shumlin Administration earlier this year promised to give lawmakers their first look at how Vermont might pay for single-payer health care. But the governor has once again opted to delay his financing timeline. It’s been three years since Peter Shumlin vowed to deliver the nation’s first publicly financed health care system. But he has yet to show voters what taxes he’d use to raise the $2 billion or so needed to fund the program, Vermont Public Radio reported. LINK

Pipeline Plans Concern Homeowners Vermont homeowners are concerned about the potential use of eminent domain to make way for a natural gas line, The Associated Press reported. Vermont Gas has already won permission from the Vermont Public Service Board to extend its line through Monkton and other towns to Middlebury. The next phase of construction would pipe natural gas from Middlebury to the International Paper Mill in Ticonderoga, N.Y., passing through the rest of Addison County, including Cornwall and Shoreham, and also underneath Lake Champlain. The entire project is expected to cost about $140 million. LINK

Burlington Waterfront Plan Could Begin by Fall New projects on Lake Champlain's waterfront in Burlington could begin as soon as the fall, The Associated Press reported. Plans include lighting and infrastructure upgrades, changes to the bike path, and renovations of the Moran Plant which will include a restaurant and craft brewery. LINK