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On Friday, 12/10/2010, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders walked on to the floor of the US Senate & began speaking. It turned out to be a very long speech, lasting over eight & a half hours. It hit a nerve. Millions followed the speech online until the traffic crashed the Senate server. A huge, positive grassroots response tied up the phones in the senator's offices in Vermont On Friday, 12/10/2010, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders walked on to the floor of the US Senate & began speaking. It turned out to be a very long speech, lasting over eight & a half hours. It hit a nerve. Millions followed the speech online until the traffic crashed the Senate server. A huge, positive grassroots response tied up the phones in the senator's offices in Vermont & Washington. Pres. Obama reportedly held an impromptu press conference with former Pres. Clinton to deflect media attention away from Sanders' speech. Editorials & news coverage appeared throughout the world. In his speech, Sanders blasted the agreement that President Obama struck with Republicans, which extended the Bush tax cuts for millionaires & billionaires, lowered estate tax rates for the very, very rich, & set a terrible precedent by establishing a "payroll tax holiday" diverting revenue away from the Social Security Trust Fund, threatening the fund's very future. But the speech was more than a critique of a particular piece of legislation. It was a dissection of the collapse of the American middle class & a well-researched attack on corporate greed & on public policy which, over the last several decades, has led to a huge growth in millionaires even as the US has the highest rate of childhood poverty in the industrialized world. It was a plea for a fundamental change in national priorities, for government policy that reflects the needs of working families, not just the wealthy & their lobbyists. Finally, Sanders' speech--published here in its entirety with a new introduction by the senator--is a call for action. It's a passionate statement informing us that the only people who will save the middle class of this country is the middle class itself, but only if it's informed, organized & prepared to take on the enormously powerful special interests dominating Washington. Sen. Sanders is the longest-serving Independent in the history of the US Congress. He's represented Vermont in the Senate for four years & in the House for sixteen years. He served four terms as Mayor of Burlington, VT, during which time the city was recognized as one of the most livable cities in America.


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On Friday, 12/10/2010, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders walked on to the floor of the US Senate & began speaking. It turned out to be a very long speech, lasting over eight & a half hours. It hit a nerve. Millions followed the speech online until the traffic crashed the Senate server. A huge, positive grassroots response tied up the phones in the senator's offices in Vermont On Friday, 12/10/2010, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders walked on to the floor of the US Senate & began speaking. It turned out to be a very long speech, lasting over eight & a half hours. It hit a nerve. Millions followed the speech online until the traffic crashed the Senate server. A huge, positive grassroots response tied up the phones in the senator's offices in Vermont & Washington. Pres. Obama reportedly held an impromptu press conference with former Pres. Clinton to deflect media attention away from Sanders' speech. Editorials & news coverage appeared throughout the world. In his speech, Sanders blasted the agreement that President Obama struck with Republicans, which extended the Bush tax cuts for millionaires & billionaires, lowered estate tax rates for the very, very rich, & set a terrible precedent by establishing a "payroll tax holiday" diverting revenue away from the Social Security Trust Fund, threatening the fund's very future. But the speech was more than a critique of a particular piece of legislation. It was a dissection of the collapse of the American middle class & a well-researched attack on corporate greed & on public policy which, over the last several decades, has led to a huge growth in millionaires even as the US has the highest rate of childhood poverty in the industrialized world. It was a plea for a fundamental change in national priorities, for government policy that reflects the needs of working families, not just the wealthy & their lobbyists. Finally, Sanders' speech--published here in its entirety with a new introduction by the senator--is a call for action. It's a passionate statement informing us that the only people who will save the middle class of this country is the middle class itself, but only if it's informed, organized & prepared to take on the enormously powerful special interests dominating Washington. Sen. Sanders is the longest-serving Independent in the history of the US Congress. He's represented Vermont in the Senate for four years & in the House for sixteen years. He served four terms as Mayor of Burlington, VT, during which time the city was recognized as one of the most livable cities in America.

30 review for The Speech: A Historic Filibuster on Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class

  1. 4 out of 5

    Roy Lotz

    Greed, in my view, is like a sickness. It is like an addiction. Say what you will, this presidential race has been, at the very least, an intensely interesting affair. Of course, there is the debacle of the Republican primaries; but those are mainly interesting in the same way that a car accident is interesting—you can’t help but rubberneck, even if you’re a bit disgusted with yourself for doing so. Much more engrossing, for me, has been the rise of Bernie Sanders, something which seems to ha Greed, in my view, is like a sickness. It is like an addiction. Say what you will, this presidential race has been, at the very least, an intensely interesting affair. Of course, there is the debacle of the Republican primaries; but those are mainly interesting in the same way that a car accident is interesting—you can’t help but rubberneck, even if you’re a bit disgusted with yourself for doing so. Much more engrossing, for me, has been the rise of Bernie Sanders, something which seems to have surprised everybody, even Sanders himself. I should admit right off the bat that I like Sanders; but I’m going to try my best in this review, however ineffectual that may be, to maintain some skeptical distance. I suggest you do the same for me. This book was first released in 2011. As its back cover will tell you, it is a transcription of Sanders’s long filibuster speech, delivered on December 10, 2010, on the eve of a deal, brokered by Obama and the Republicans that extended the Bush tax cuts on the super-rich, among other things. The whole speech is on YouTube, if you’re interested, all eight-and-a-half hours. This book is just a transcription of the speech. As Sanders warns in the beginning, this speech is quite repetitive, deliberately so; he expected viewers to turn in for only a few minutes on CSPAN, and not to stick through the whole thing. This redundancy is probably the worst aspect of this book. I don’t see why it couldn’t have been edited and neatened up. Even so, despite the recurring sections there is just enough new material scattered throughout the speech to keep the reader’s interest—or at least to keep mine. The subject of Sanders’s speech is most immediately the financial legislation in question and its shortcomings; but Sanders uses this as a jumping-off point to discuss what he sees as the pressing and dire problems facing the United States. Sanders is a remarkably consistent politician, and you will see him focused on the same issues, often using the same language that he’s employed during his presidential bid this year. The core of Sanders’s speech (like his campaign) is income inequality. Truly, the level of income inequality in the United States is staggering and hard to wrap one’s head around. Sanders does his best by hammering his listeners with statistic after statistic, numbers so big and so stark that they baffle the mind. After about five repetitions, they start to sink in; and after ten, your own moral outrage begins to simmer along with Sanders’s. It’s worthwhile to compare Sanders’s speaking style with that of Obama. Obama is, I think, certainly the stronger and more versatile speaker. He is capable of sharp wit, of passionate outrage, of good-natured jocularity. But where I think he most excels, and what was his biggest asset when he ran for president, was his ability to inspire. He does this mainly through the use of anecdotes. He makes his speeches very personal; the way he speaks of nurses and teachers and firefighters is not at all condescending or pandering, but really makes you feel he knows them, knows them personally and intimately. Sanders’s approach is quite different. For one, he is certainly more narrow in ability and focus. What Sanders conveys with his voice, with his words, with his thrashing body language and unkempt appearance is moral outrage. Indeed, I find something Biblical about Sanders’s speeches. He shouts until his voice cracks, until he is absolutely hoarse, detailing in a long, grotesque list how unfair and unequal our society has become. You don’t so much feel inspired as galvanized, jolted with a mixture of desperation and indignation. To create these feelings, he does not tell stories, but recites facts. It’s astonishingly simple, really; he just has to read off a long list of ways that America is doing poorly—our shamefully huge prison population, our crumbling infrastructure, our soaring college tuition and health costs, and of course the absurd level of wealth and income inequality. To speak personally for a moment, I remember the moment when his message really hit me. First I have to tell you that among my friends it’s almost a cliché to talk about how much better life in Europe is than in America. In fact, one of my friends, after a long vacation in Europe, said to me: “It’s honest really depressing how much better life is over there.” And it’s not just us; a lot of people have these thoughts. You get used to thinking of the United States as poorer, less prosperous, more benighted than places like Germany and Denmark. Anyhow, one day when I was listening to a Sanders speech, he said: “Some of you may not know this, it’s easy to forget it sometimes, but the United States is the wealthiest country in the history of the world.” This really made something click within me. I’d gotten so used to thinking of the United States as poor and inferior—a place where you can’t afford to go to school or to get sick—that I was shocked to be reminded that we have more wealth in this country than anywhere else. This, I think, is what’s so effective and compelling about Sanders: you feel you’re being snapped back into reality. So this is what I like about Sanders. What I dislike is his tendency to demonize the rich. He speaks of the super-wealthy as if they’re a bunch of nefarious, mustache-twirling, conscience-less devils trying to enslave the rest of the world. I just don’t see this rhetoric as necessary. First, everybody pursues their own interests—the poor, the middle-class, and the wealthy—so I don’t see any reason to act morally superior. And second, I simply don’t think it’s true, strictly speaking, that the economy is hurting solely because of the greed of the wealthy. Yes, I am sure that a lot of stupid, selfish greed contributed to our economic situation today; but the economy is bloody complicated; it’s not a moral playground, but a vast system that even the best minds have failed to understand. The cynical side of me sees this finger-wagging as just the sort of us-versus-them rhetoric that politicians use to gain power. But I do think, to be honest, that Sanders is not capable of something so underhanded. He’s been ragging on the rich for his whole career; it’s only recently that this strategy has started to pay off. And besides, I do think his larger point is not only valid, but vitally important—namely, that the influence of the wealthy class on politics, with campaign contributions and corporate lobbyists, has to be curtailed in order to preserve a working democracy. As for Sanders’s political vision, I can’t deny that it appeals to me deeply. In a nutshell, Sanders’s vision is to make the United States more like Europe, with cheap college education, with free healthcare, with a strong social safety net, with higher taxes on the rich, with stronger infrastructure, and with a great deal more economic regulation. For the truth is, life in European countries often sounds too good to be true to young Americans. Let me give you some concrete examples. Just the other day, I was in a car with a Spaniard. We got on the topic of vacation. She said she has a friend in the States who only gets 8 vacation days per year. "Is that typical?" she asks. Yes, we tell her. In my last job I got 15, but my girlfriend only had 5. Our driver is aghast. “I get thirty,” she says, “and I think that’s too few!" Here’s another example, with regards to infrastructure. A monthly subway card in New York City costs $117; the equivalent here in Madrid costs 55€, and only 20€ if you’re 25 or under. What’s more, the subways in New York are overcrowded and dirty, with constant delays due to lines being shut down for repair; whereas the metro here is clean and always has good service. I’ve even seen a video—here’s the link—which shows some of the machines being used today in the NYC subway system. They were built in the 1930s, if you can believe that. And this is not to mention the looks of shocked disbelief on the faces of Europeans when I tell them just how expensive college and healthcare are in the United States. So really, when you’re reminded that your country—the place with the slow and expensive and obsolescent trains, where every young person is several thousand dollars in debt from college, and where we still have high levels of unemployment and child poverty—is the richest country in all of history, it hits a nerve. And while I don’t like demonizing the rich, I do agree that the rich in the U.S. live in a world apart. This was illustrated for me last year when, by chance, I found myself looking through a yacht magazine. Have you ever seen one? It was unbelievable, and I mean I honestly couldn’t believe what I saw. These ships were just huge. Inside they had bowling alleys, movie theaters; they had personal gyms and helicopter landing pads; they had living rooms created by world-famous interior designers. The boats were, I admit, super cool. But what does it say about our society that there are people who can afford things like this when on every corner is somebody on the street? This review has already dragged on too long, and still there is so much to be said about Sanders and what his campaign means. The pundits dismissed him before he began, and even now, even in some liberal publications, he’s discussed—discussed all too rarely—with a kind of guarded skepticism. Ironically enough, the only thing that seems to get the journalists' attention is how much money Sanders is managing to make without accepting donations from corporations—which says quite a lot about the American media. Some have said that the media is ignoring him because of their corporate overlords. But in general I don’t think conspiracy theories are necessary. The news media in the U.S. is not evil, it’s just shamefully bad. Almost every prediction I’ve heard about this election cycle has been shown to be foolish, so perhaps I should demure. But let me give it a go. Even if he doesn’t quite win, I think Sanders will surprise everyone on election day by how close he gets. And even if he loses, I predict that his presidential run will serve a similar function as Barry Goldwater’s did, back in the 60s, giving impetus and direction to a new political movement in the country. In other words, even if he loses the political battle, I think he’s already won the battle of ideas. And who knows? Maybe he’ll win the political battle, too.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bradley Jarvis

    During the height of last year's debate over extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, Independent Senator Bernie Sanders spoke in opposition for several hours on the Senate floor. During his speech, reproduced (with minor editing) in this book, Sanders laid out the many problems with the agreement between President Obama and Senate Republicans which ultimately - and unfortunately - became law. The speech was, more than anything, an indictment of how greed and corruption have rui During the height of last year's debate over extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, Independent Senator Bernie Sanders spoke in opposition for several hours on the Senate floor. During his speech, reproduced (with minor editing) in this book, Sanders laid out the many problems with the agreement between President Obama and Senate Republicans which ultimately - and unfortunately - became law. The speech was, more than anything, an indictment of how greed and corruption have ruined both our economy and our democracy, devastating the lives of millions of hard-working, innocent people, and setting the stage for the U.S. becoming a third-world country. Using both statistics, news accounts, and the personal stories of real families struggling to survive, Sanders made a convincing case for getting money out of politics and reestablishing limits on personal wealth that in the past enabled our country to have a thriving middle class. While I personally believe that the world can't survive a U.S. consuming as much as it once did, and that we must replace our entire physical infrastructure with something totally different from what we've enjoyed (instead of more modest modifications that merely deal with fossil fuel consumption), Sanders is on the right track, much more so than Republicans who want to give welfare to the extremely rich at the expense of everyone - and everything - else. If you're looking for an excellent primer on the state of economics and politics in our country, this book is for you. If you want to understand what the Occupy Wall Street movement is about (which came into being months after the speech), this book provides invaluable insights. I highly recommend it to everyone.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Richard Sahn

    A must read for young people trying to form political opinions. He pulls no punches in exposing the hypocrisy, greed, and corruption of his colleagues in Congress. This book makes readers aware of what they're not getting from mainstream media and pundits—in fact, just the opposite. Sanders is fiercely critical of politics as usual. A must read for young people trying to form political opinions. He pulls no punches in exposing the hypocrisy, greed, and corruption of his colleagues in Congress. This book makes readers aware of what they're not getting from mainstream media and pundits—in fact, just the opposite. Sanders is fiercely critical of politics as usual.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Bernie Sanders is a hero and an inspiration for the incredible work and time and energy he put into his efforts to halt the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts. In this amazing filibuster he repeatedly calls on the American people to take action and let their Senators and representatives know that in this age of crumbling infrastructure, rampant child poverty, joblessness and homelessness they do not think it is necessary or wise to extend tax breaks to the multimillionaires and billionaires of t Bernie Sanders is a hero and an inspiration for the incredible work and time and energy he put into his efforts to halt the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts. In this amazing filibuster he repeatedly calls on the American people to take action and let their Senators and representatives know that in this age of crumbling infrastructure, rampant child poverty, joblessness and homelessness they do not think it is necessary or wise to extend tax breaks to the multimillionaires and billionaires of this country. He reminds us that it is important to voice our opinions to our elected officials, and I am making a personal resolve to do that in the future. Bravo, Bernie and thank you for your extraordinary efforts on behalf of the poor and working class and middle class of this country! I was underlining and starring throughout the whole book. Here are a couple of passages. Also, this is from the bare-bones edition without the introduction, just a transcript of the filibuster: "As I indicated a moment ago, the Fed said this bailout was necessary in order to prevent the world economy from going over a cliff. But 3 years after the start of the recession, millions of Americans remain unemployed and have lost their homes, their life savings, and their ability to send their kids to college. Meanwhile, huge banks and large corporations have returned to making incredible profits and paying their executives record breaking compensation packages, as if the financial crisis they started never happened." (p.17). "I will never forget - never forget - Hank Paulson coming before the Democratic caucus - I am an Independent and have long been serving as an Independent in Congress - saying that within a few days he needed $700 billion or the entire world's financial system would collapse. My suggestion to him at that meeting was: If you need the money, why don't you go to all your banker friends and millionaire friends and billionaire friends and get some of that money, and don't go to the middle class of this country that has already been harmed." (p.89).

  5. 4 out of 5

    jeremy

    let me also say there is no doubt in my mind what many—not all but many—of my republican colleagues want to do; that is, they want to move this country back into the 1920s when essentially we had an economic and political system which was controlled by big money interests; where working people and the middle class had no programs to sustain them when things got bad, when they got old, and when they got sick; when labor unions were very hard to come by because of antiworker legislation. that i let me also say there is no doubt in my mind what many—not all but many—of my republican colleagues want to do; that is, they want to move this country back into the 1920s when essentially we had an economic and political system which was controlled by big money interests; where working people and the middle class had no programs to sustain them when things got bad, when they got old, and when they got sick; when labor unions were very hard to come by because of antiworker legislation. that is what they want. they do not believe in things like the environmental protection agency. they do not believe in things like social security, medicare, medicaid, federal aid to education. that is the fight we will be waging. essentially a transcript of senator bernie sanders's 8.5+ hour speech on the senate floor in late 2010, the speech: on corporate greed and the decline of our middle class finds the now-presidential candidate condemning the collapse of the working class at the hands of the greedy, powerful, and malfeasant. armed with research and statistics, senator sanders discusses income disparity, energy independence, our crumbling infrastructure, corporate taxes and refunds, bailouts, social security, the estate tax, capital gains, education, childhood poverty, unemployment, trade policies, the offshoring of american jobs, banking deregulation, the loss of manufacturing jobs, usury, and a host of other public policy matters. the longest-serving independent in congressional history, sanders's priorities have remained remarkably uniform over the decades, as has his commitment to progressive ideals and leveling the playing field for middle and lower class americans. the speech may be easily read as a campaign platform, since nearly all of the issues sanders has raised in the 2016 presidential race are expounded upon at great length. moving beyond partisan bickering and rancor, sanders offers a coherent, sane, and moral plan to restore income equality and ensure economic justice. while many of the statistics, legislation, and decades-long trends cited throughout the speech are likely to infuriate compassionate, thinking people, sanders's offers a call to action, imploring the american populace to more fully and effectively engage the political process. the very strong response to my speech in 2010 and our campaign tells me that the hunger for a discussion about economic truths, for a counterattack on the ferocious assaults that are taking place against working families, and for a practical plan on how we can reverse the obscene politics that favor the rich over the middle class and disadvantaged in our nation is growing all over america.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Scott Rhee

    The filibuster is a powerful legislative tool which can be very effective, especially in old movies when used by Jimmy Stewart. On December 10, 2010, Mr. Smith---in this case, Mr. Bernie Sanders---went to Washington and gave a seven-hour long speech on the Senate floor to persuade voting members to not approve a tax bill agreed upon by President Obama and the Republican leadership. The filibuster failed, as the tax bill was passed into law, but Sanders got his points across, and the speech has b The filibuster is a powerful legislative tool which can be very effective, especially in old movies when used by Jimmy Stewart. On December 10, 2010, Mr. Smith---in this case, Mr. Bernie Sanders---went to Washington and gave a seven-hour long speech on the Senate floor to persuade voting members to not approve a tax bill agreed upon by President Obama and the Republican leadership. The filibuster failed, as the tax bill was passed into law, but Sanders got his points across, and the speech has been published in book form. It is a compelling, well-researched, and quick read, minus all the “ums” and dramatic pauses that I’m sure a seven-hour long speech contained. Sanders may not be the most elegant or eloquent of speakers, but he is direct and straightforward and says what he means. He even manages to be somewhat politic, especially when he politely criticizes Obama for not having the gumption to stand firm on certain points and caving in too easily to Republican demands. He’s also somewhat polite when he, in a nice way, complains that too many Republicans and Democrats have big corporate money pulling their strings in voting for bills that would help the rich and super-rich and hurt the middle class and poor. Hell, he’s even nice to the Walton family, whom he mentions a lot, as being a big, fat, greedy bunch of in-breeds bent on destroying this country with their soul-sucking Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs. (Okay, those words were mine, not Sanders, FYI...) Obviously, it’s a speech, so it gets pretty repetitive. He also repeats himself a lot, mainly because it is a speech. It’s a seven-hour speech, by the way. Regardless of how you feel about the guy, that’s pretty fucking impressive. I have a hard time staying awake or on my feet for most of my eight-hour shifts at work. God bless ‘im. Seriously, though, this book is a great resource for Sanders fans. There’s a great quote worth repeating on just about every page. Sanders may sound like that grumpy old uncle that complains about everything before, during, and after Thanksgiving dinner, but he’s also incredibly smart, funny, and honest. Unlike that other guy running for the GOP ticket, the one who looks like the registered sex offender that lives down the street with that ugly toupee who’s always threatening to kill his neighbor’s dog for shitting on his lawn and hitting on middle school girls as they walk home from school.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    Longest-standing Independent Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders shown light on the curtained-off greed in politics. In this eye-opening speech, Sanders denounces the tax agreement being worked out between President Obama and the Republican leadership. He speaks out against the entrenched corporate interests on behalf of the poor, working and middle class. During the course of this speech which lasted for over eight and a half hours, Sanders criticizes continuing tax cuts for multi-millionaires Longest-standing Independent Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders shown light on the curtained-off greed in politics. In this eye-opening speech, Sanders denounces the tax agreement being worked out between President Obama and the Republican leadership. He speaks out against the entrenched corporate interests on behalf of the poor, working and middle class. During the course of this speech which lasted for over eight and a half hours, Sanders criticizes continuing tax cuts for multi-millionaires and billionaires and suggests the radical concept of investing in America. Investing in our crumbling infrastructure, relieving the crippling financial pressures of the poor and breaking up corrupt Wall Street banks. Senator Sanders has put alot of effort into improving America and his passion and insight compose this devastating manuscript. Read this book to witness a blueprint for a better America.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Evan

    Biases out front: I love Bernie Sanders. I gave him two campaign contributions and voted for him in the Kentucky Democratic primary. I agree with his political philosophy and with what he had to say during the campaign and in the speech that comprises this book. Before I tackle the book, my rating of it is based on the question: Since we're on Goodreads, do I consider this a good read? I'm saying, not necessarily. The namesake speech of this book is actually a filibuster by Bernie opposing the 201 Biases out front: I love Bernie Sanders. I gave him two campaign contributions and voted for him in the Kentucky Democratic primary. I agree with his political philosophy and with what he had to say during the campaign and in the speech that comprises this book. Before I tackle the book, my rating of it is based on the question: Since we're on Goodreads, do I consider this a good read? I'm saying, not necessarily. The namesake speech of this book is actually a filibuster by Bernie opposing the 2010 Obama-Republican Bush tax cut extension legislation. It has the messiness and lack of craft that one might expect from a filibuster. It is not a finely honed masterpiece of oratory meant to stand high in the annals of political discourse. Nonetheless, it is historic because in this filibuster are all of the themes and even some of the catchphrases that Bernie used in his rallies, stump speeches, interviews and debates during the 2015-2016 presidential race. This 2010 speech was one of C-Span's "greatest hits," a real-time internet sensation, and, as such, a lightning rod for popular sentiment that probably alerted Bernie that the time was ripe for a presidential run. I consider this filibuster -- five years before the fact -- to be the opening salvo of his candidacy. Apart from liking its content, I like the fact that it is a real, substance-laden filibuster, with a logical argument, a consistent narrative and an attempt to enlighten and persuade --which is all in contrast to the way the Republicans have so amply and lazily used the filibuster in recent years, reciting nursery rhymes and random nonsense just to kill time and hold the floor. That kind of stuff is cute in a Frank Capra movie, but it's not impressive in terms of political oratory or as a statement of cogent political philosophy or as an ethos. One prominent news magazine noted that, despite the prolific filibustering efforts of many Republicans in recent years, it took Bernie, a non-Republican, to actually deliver a real one. What Bernie does well in this speech is show the state of neglect American has fallen into at the hands of bought-off politicians. His portrait of the Wall Street bailouts (their inherent corruption, conflicts of interest and lack of transparency) is here better presented than in his later speeches, I think, and it will make your blood boil. Bernie points out the hypocrisy of politicians who talk a big patriotic game, but when it comes to approving a $250 bonus for wounded veterans, Republicans would rather say no, and say yes to million-dollar tax breaks for stock brokerage CEOs. But, this speech also reveals the weaknesses that, in my opinion, damaged Sanders' campaign for the 2016 presidency: its heart was in the right place and its pinpointing of many key problems in the body politic was necessary and refreshing in light of the silence, evasiveness and reactionary lies typical of all the bought-off politicians around him. Bernie has the energy to filibuster and campaign, to galvanize the disenfranchised and economically marginalized and the silenced bottom 99 percent. He had to guts to eschew corporate money. But, in the end, there was not enough steam, and Bernie's tactics lacked that extra something needed to overcome a system too powerful and entrenched; one that had just enough safeguards in place to ensure the likes of him and his disaffected supporters were kept at bay. As this speech and as the campaigned proved, Bernie is not really a great public speaker. There's sincerity and logic in what he says, but he is not really rhetorically inspiring and too often repetitive. During the campaign, I found his reliance on a small number of pat themes and slogans to be limiting and ultimately damaging, and it opened him up, rightly, to criticisms and charges of having simplistic solutions to complex problems. Every speech and every sound bite from all of his campaign speeches and debates contained the same half-dozen slogans. Bernie's inflexibility and rigidity on the stump made him sound less intelligent than he was. Politicians and their handlers understand the efficacy of telling the public the same things over and over, pounding it into their heads. For me, it became tiresome. I wanted him to lunge and parry with new swords, to change things up for freshness and to demonstrate nimbleness in speeches and debates. He has demonstrated an ability to do this in the past, but frustratingly did not during the campaign. I believe this country can afford free health care and education for its citizens, just like Bernie. Vested interests do not want this for many reasons; too many to go into here. But even I was not convinced that a tax on Wall Street speculation was a realistic single source to fund those things. Even if such a tax were implemented, Wall Street and the business interests of America are too smart and too heavily invested in the infrastructure of moneymaking and the legal apparati to maintain that supremacy to simply buckle under to it. Businessmen always find ways around things, always. Loopholes are endless. If they get taxed one way, they simply invent something else: another product, another tax loophole, another shell corporation, another offshore scheme, another media misinformation campaign, another full-court lobbying press, another free-flow of campaign contributions, etc., etc. When Obamacare required companies to pay health care for employees working over 30 hours, companies of course did the right thing and did that. No. They cut employees' hours so their cheapskate asses didn't have to pay. They flouted the law and said, fuck you American worker -- again. Bernie Sanders is absolutely right in linking the fallout of the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling to the way the nation's politicians have become bought off and beholden to the interests of corporations to the detriment of the needs of most citizens. He is correct that money in politics has poisoned our government and worked against the notion of a commonwealth that exists for the common good. But, as overarching as Bernie's astute diagnosis was, he did not go far enough. The real core issue -- the one that even Bernie evades and is being talked about by no politicians -- is the fundamentally immoral imperatives of the corporate law that drives American and international conglomerates. It's that law that requires companies to -- quarter after short-sighted quarter -- return the maximum possible dividend to stockholders, regardless of how the companies' methods of doing that affect their employees or the general public. A company that operates within a society cannot simply thumb its nose to the society in which it operates, but our laws actually encourage this. And the political system of corruption we have now ensures its continuance. (This 8-plus-hour speech can actually be viewed and heard in its entirety on Youtube.) ([email protected] 2016)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Taylor T

    This was a fantastic read, and it shows how hard Bernie has been fighting against wealth and income inequality and corporate greed for the people of this country, particularly the disappearing middle class. On December 10, 2010 Senator Bernie Sanders spoke for eight and a half hours to filibuster the tax agreement between President Obama and Republican leaders (that eventually, unfortunately, did pass). He not only brings attention to the problems with the agreement—lowering the estate tax and e This was a fantastic read, and it shows how hard Bernie has been fighting against wealth and income inequality and corporate greed for the people of this country, particularly the disappearing middle class. On December 10, 2010 Senator Bernie Sanders spoke for eight and a half hours to filibuster the tax agreement between President Obama and Republican leaders (that eventually, unfortunately, did pass). He not only brings attention to the problems with the agreement—lowering the estate tax and extending tax breaks to the richest of all the richest Americans, the top 1% of the population—and highlights the aspects that he agrees with, like extending unemployment benefits, but he also focuses on what we should be investing in to actually improve the livelihood of the middle class. Instead of giving more tax breaks to billionaires and multi-millionaires and increasing our $13 trillion national debt, Bernie Sanders was saying five years ago that we need to be investing in the children and the middle class of this country. Single-payer healthcare and affordable education. Expanded Social Security benefits, instead of raising the retirement age or gutting it completely, as well-off Republicans would like to do. We need to invest in infrastructure so we don't continue to decline toward a Third World country compared to other industrialized nations, and even China. This not only makes us more competitive, it creates much-needed jobs here, in our own country. Bernie Sanders blasted disastrous trade policies that sent companies overseas and closed thousands of factories in the US in the search for poorer workers who get paid $1/hour. We are currently importing much more than we export. We are worse off than we were 40, 50 years ago, and we have the first generation of American children who will have a lesser standard of living than their parents—because of corporate greed at the cost of the middle class. It is no surprise to me that 5 years later he's running for President. We need him. Everybody should read this book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Thyme Wisper

    I have seen more and more quotes from this senator being shared in Facebook. What he consistently said in those quotes came across to me as honest, practical, factual and were insights or opinion on a specific issue. No partisan bullets. No extreme political biting remarks. I know this seems like a contradiction in terms, but he comes across with rational emotion. He cares about the people of this nation, that is clear. And he obviously (and to me, uniquely) reads the bills that come up for a vo I have seen more and more quotes from this senator being shared in Facebook. What he consistently said in those quotes came across to me as honest, practical, factual and were insights or opinion on a specific issue. No partisan bullets. No extreme political biting remarks. I know this seems like a contradiction in terms, but he comes across with rational emotion. He cares about the people of this nation, that is clear. And he obviously (and to me, uniquely) reads the bills that come up for a vote and does deep analysis of what the enactment of any bill will DO to the average citizen, the effect to the nation. When CBS interviewed him about this book, there was given a glimmer of a possibility that he might run for President. Independents are becoming a rare breed in this polarized political environment. So I wanted to know more and decided to read this book. He explains right from the start that this is the actual 8 1/2 hour filibuster speech, just as the title states. He explains that as a speech there is a lot of redundancy. Senate members are coming in and out, for one thing. The key points of his speech thus need to be repeated. Besides this is a filibuster - the point is to keep talking for a long time. So I kept that in mind as I read the script of the speech - this book. I did not skip over the repetition as I discovered that there were the occasional supporting Senators who added to his speech. They provided additional perspective and sometimes more facts. I now want to know more about this senator.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chad Dennis

    I've read a lot of books in my time and this one is just amazing. My favorite part is when Bernie reads aloud the personal stories of Americans that are struggling. The only thing I didn't like about the book is that he repeated a lot of things (but then again they were worth repeating when he gave the speech). I can personally relate to other Americans who wrote Bernie. If you're interested in where this country is headed, I highly recommend this book. I've read a lot of books in my time and this one is just amazing. My favorite part is when Bernie reads aloud the personal stories of Americans that are struggling. The only thing I didn't like about the book is that he repeated a lot of things (but then again they were worth repeating when he gave the speech). I can personally relate to other Americans who wrote Bernie. If you're interested in where this country is headed, I highly recommend this book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Avalon Radys

    I'm still holding out for the Bern. I'm still holding out for the Bern.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joey

    Good core ideas established all the way back in 2010. You should watch the 8 hour video sometime.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Micah

    The significance of this speech was more in the act of giving it than in the speech itself, which isn't really worth reading today unless you're writing books about Bernie (which is why I read it, heh). The significance of this speech was more in the act of giving it than in the speech itself, which isn't really worth reading today unless you're writing books about Bernie (which is why I read it, heh).

  15. 5 out of 5

    Don

    The book, less the introduction, is simply a transcript of the speech (hence the title) that Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont) gave on the Senate floor on December 10, 2010. It was an old-fashioned filibuster, like Jimmy Stewart in "Mr Smith Goes to Washington," except that all of the speech included actual political commentary content, as opposed to simply reading the phone book. Senator Sanders' speech was in protest against the deal that the President had reached with Republicans that extended The book, less the introduction, is simply a transcript of the speech (hence the title) that Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont) gave on the Senate floor on December 10, 2010. It was an old-fashioned filibuster, like Jimmy Stewart in "Mr Smith Goes to Washington," except that all of the speech included actual political commentary content, as opposed to simply reading the phone book. Senator Sanders' speech was in protest against the deal that the President had reached with Republicans that extended the Bush tax cuts, along with providing a payroll "tax holiday" on social security, and some other provisions. I agreed with Sanders at that time in being opposed to the deal, and being able to read the entire speech reinforces that. In terms of reading, I think it helps to remember that it is a speech that went for over 8 hours, so there is a different flow to it than written word would have, and it can be (admitted by Sanders) repetitious in parts. But its also filled with so much information about our nation's current economic disparity and the lack of economic policies that even remotely address it. It also turned out to be quite prophetic of the recent arguments that the parties had about cutting spending and the ongoing debate about the debt ceiling. As I tweeted right after I finished reading the book, if you are not mad about the way things are when you get done reading this, you aren't paying attention. There is a lot of inequality in our country and little is being done about by our government. Informative, thought provoking read, particularly for our times.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    I discovered, perhaps later than most, that this speech by Bernie Sanders, delivered on the Senate floor in 2010, is what initially elevated Sanders to the national spotlight. In his speech, Bernie Sanders lists reasons for his opposition to the 2010 Senate Bill extending Bush-era tax cuts. More importantly, I think this speech can also be read as an introduction to Bernie Sanders' political philosophy. In his speech, Bernie Sanders discusses reasons why the middle class is deteriorating, why th I discovered, perhaps later than most, that this speech by Bernie Sanders, delivered on the Senate floor in 2010, is what initially elevated Sanders to the national spotlight. In his speech, Bernie Sanders lists reasons for his opposition to the 2010 Senate Bill extending Bush-era tax cuts. More importantly, I think this speech can also be read as an introduction to Bernie Sanders' political philosophy. In his speech, Bernie Sanders discusses reasons why the middle class is deteriorating, why this deterioration is bad for America, what politicians are doing to worsen the problem, and what can be done to change things. Additionally, he touches on other problems facing America like climate change, America's deteriorating infrastructure, and unemployment. While there wasn't anything shockingly new to digest in The Speech (most long-time Sanders supporters should recognize the majority of his arguments), it was interesting to read the words that started the Bernie Sanders movement. While it seems Sanders knew his speech wouldn't prevent the Bill from being passed, it's clear he hoped his words would inspire Americans to rise up and help make a change in Washington. Based on the growing support for his Presidential campaign and his surging poll numbers, it seems Bernie Sanders may have achieved his goal. This book is worth a read for anyone on the fence about Bernie Sanders.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    In 2010, Senator Bernie Sanders spent several hours railing against a bill that would provide tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans, while job creation was stagnant, the country's infrastructure was crumbling, and the average citizen was working longer hours for less pay and fewer benefits. Since he spoke for several hours, some of his argument can become repetitive, but this is an excellent crash course for understanding Sanders' socio-economic philosophies and, even if you have an opposing vi In 2010, Senator Bernie Sanders spent several hours railing against a bill that would provide tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans, while job creation was stagnant, the country's infrastructure was crumbling, and the average citizen was working longer hours for less pay and fewer benefits. Since he spoke for several hours, some of his argument can become repetitive, but this is an excellent crash course for understanding Sanders' socio-economic philosophies and, even if you have an opposing viewpoint, it is a fascinating look into the American political process.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    I got a sense of nonplussed wonder seeing how this book did not stretch longer than 255 pages. How did this demagogue manage to fit his "historic filibuster" in so short a book? What do these words even mean any more? I have read Greek and Latin oratory of much longer duration with Prof. Rosso at my alma mater West Chester University, at Bryn Mawr, at Harvard, and at the University of Pennsylvania. Cicero! Herodotus! Demosthenes! Maybe the current atmosphere has become too polluted to accommodat I got a sense of nonplussed wonder seeing how this book did not stretch longer than 255 pages. How did this demagogue manage to fit his "historic filibuster" in so short a book? What do these words even mean any more? I have read Greek and Latin oratory of much longer duration with Prof. Rosso at my alma mater West Chester University, at Bryn Mawr, at Harvard, and at the University of Pennsylvania. Cicero! Herodotus! Demosthenes! Maybe the current atmosphere has become too polluted to accommodate for 500-page speeches. Maybe there isn't much else to say besides that the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer and no one is doing anything about it or if they are, it's not noticeable. Perhaps it is simply impossible to get too in-depth about these issues without even accidentally stumbling upon a potential solution. What I was expecting from Mr Sanders was in his preface a sounder rationale behind giving an 8.5-hour speech. I didn't know what to make of this and am still puzzled. The specifics in the book are valid and deserve more of a detailed approach in a 300-500 page study. He says, "We are headed in the direction of being a third world nation." How did our nation get this way? What can we do to avoid getting hurt? I would like to find out more information about this phenomenon. The primary reason I read this book and not the other Bernie Sanders book which is out right now was that every copy of the other book was not available right now. I could put a hold on it... DONE so I'll have the info up here... next week. What I wanted to learn from this book was how to become a better politician. So what I drew from it, in the end, is that you can give filibusters that aren't really all that long, in actuality. What I mean by that: they don't have to consist of much actual content. I've done it several times in the past, too, I know it, and I'm sorry if it distresses you. Sometimes I give relevant info, and sometimes I do not, I know this. So, I just wanted to learn from the experts how to make a real-life filibuster speech! This is how it is done!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mason Wyss

    The Speech is an incredibly helpful and great companion to the C-SPAN video of Senator Sanders’s filibuster. The book clears up some of Sanders’s speech and corrects and adjusts some figures and statistics he gave to more accurately reflect reality. However, sometimes the book does misquote him and in doing so changes the meaning slightly of what he said. Because of this, and because of the numerous graphs and charts Senator Sanders uses, it is best to read the book with the video playing nearby The Speech is an incredibly helpful and great companion to the C-SPAN video of Senator Sanders’s filibuster. The book clears up some of Sanders’s speech and corrects and adjusts some figures and statistics he gave to more accurately reflect reality. However, sometimes the book does misquote him and in doing so changes the meaning slightly of what he said. Because of this, and because of the numerous graphs and charts Senator Sanders uses, it is best to read the book with the video playing nearby. The Speech is a passionate lambasting of the 2010 tax cuts and Sanders used this bill to demonstrate the harsh class warfare occurring in this country and the sorry state of the US for the vast majority of its people. Bernie describes this class warfare in particular detail and fury on page 73 (2:30:00) and connects this warfare to mass incarceration. Bernie also takes the opportunity to speak to the American people and tell them that their suffering is not their fault, something no other politician is likely to do it seems. And in a particular moving section that brought me to tears, beginning on page 201, he tells the stories of Americans, mostly Vermonters, who are suffering as a result of the economic crisis and who are struggling to survive. This proved to be a central idea of Bernie’s political career, as outlined in the article You Don’t Know Bernie Sanders by Ruby Cramer, that people should get the chance to speak for themselves. As Cornel West says, “Let suffering speak.” The Speech is incredibly moving and if the full C-SPAN video wasn’t available for free online it would be 5/5 stars.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    This is a tricky review. Is the book a good read? Not particularly. It's format - the transcription of a filibuster - means it is repetitive, meandering, and suffers from Bernie not being able to explore ideas as fully as they would benefit from Is it a good rallying cry? Yes? Is it a good demonstration of the credentials and for the politics of Bernie Sanders? Yes Is it a damning indictment of Republican politics, with its inherent desire to strip taxes, prioritise the wealthy over the rest of us, This is a tricky review. Is the book a good read? Not particularly. It's format - the transcription of a filibuster - means it is repetitive, meandering, and suffers from Bernie not being able to explore ideas as fully as they would benefit from Is it a good rallying cry? Yes? Is it a good demonstration of the credentials and for the politics of Bernie Sanders? Yes Is it a damning indictment of Republican politics, with its inherent desire to strip taxes, prioritise the wealthy over the rest of us, and entrench all gains made through such politics at the further expense of the non ultra-rich? You bet your ass, yes. Bernie outlines ways in which policies are rebranded to vilify them in the eyes of people who would benefit most. Rebranding the estate tax as a "death tax," for example. He outlines ways in which people are conditioned to oppose policies that would benefit them directly, through myths that convince them they would suffer when really only the ultra-rich - the number he gives is a tenth of a tenth of a percent of Americans - would actually be obliged to pay anything. It's a war drum for one side of the political aisle to enter the battle the other has been waging for decades. For wrestling back control of the narrative, and the mechanisms that enact it. And it's TEN YEARS OLD, but more relevant now than ever.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Gordon

    I read this book immediately following the Crazy Rich Asians series: an interesting juxtaposition. As other reviewers (and Bernie himself) said, this book is very repetitive which I feel kind of typifies Bernie. I agree with just about everything he says but, as in following him on social media, he sounds a bit like a broken record and it gets tiring (and depressing given the state our country has moved into since this speech). Overall, the book contains important concepts that i wish people wer I read this book immediately following the Crazy Rich Asians series: an interesting juxtaposition. As other reviewers (and Bernie himself) said, this book is very repetitive which I feel kind of typifies Bernie. I agree with just about everything he says but, as in following him on social media, he sounds a bit like a broken record and it gets tiring (and depressing given the state our country has moved into since this speech). Overall, the book contains important concepts that i wish people were more people were aware. Maybe then more people would make the (oh so minimal) effort to vote and things would change for the better.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    Bernie Sanders is a long distance runner for justice. He has been consistent and unwavering with his message. The champion of the middle class and standing up for the little guy has bee his mantra his entire life. This is a testament to just that, 8.5 hours of an unintended filibuster, this speech launches him for the first time into the public eye and sets the stage for his presidential runs. It is repetitive and outdated which is why I take away a star.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Harris

    I'm definitely a Bernie fan. I read this during the primaries and if you're familiar with his politics, it'll just be repetitive for you. It's a transcription of an eight plus hour speech he gave to congress that garnered a lot of media attention. It was a good and quick read. I'm definitely a Bernie fan. I read this during the primaries and if you're familiar with his politics, it'll just be repetitive for you. It's a transcription of an eight plus hour speech he gave to congress that garnered a lot of media attention. It was a good and quick read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Matt Stearns

    I respect Bernie's passion, but this was meant as a filibuster speech, not a book and is not very readable. Large portions of it are redundant and certain speech oddities are sprinkled throughout. I respect Bernie's passion, but this was meant as a filibuster speech, not a book and is not very readable. Large portions of it are redundant and certain speech oddities are sprinkled throughout.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    Pretty repetitive (as it was a filibuster) but I love Bernie's voice and dogged push towards a more just world. Pretty repetitive (as it was a filibuster) but I love Bernie's voice and dogged push towards a more just world.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    This is better as a speech than a book--quite repetitive.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    Essential reading for our time. This speech really lays out what the problems of the US have been since the Reagan era.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Krystalynn Headen Moore

    This is a great transcript of Bernies 2011 Filibuster on the floor of the Senate. It is cyclical in nature, but empowering and persuasive.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alex Clarke

    A book every American needs to read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Amolina Bhat

    should be a bipartisan issue but alas, super PACS... we are screwed

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