Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The only true Populist discussing a run for president 2016: Bernie Sanders

Senator Bernie Sanders - Photo courtesy of  Bernie Sanders website

I know {blah...blah...blah...} Rand Paul
I know {blah...blah...blah...} Ron Paul
I know {blah...blah...blah...} Elizabeth Warren
Green, Libertarian, Constitution (and variations on a theme) {Blah...Blah...Blah}

One can find pages and pages on Facebook and other social media sites dedicated to the regurgitating ruminations of dogmatic ideologues deluded by their imagined deities that will "save us" from the perceived "corruption" of the U.S. Government. The pinning of all hopes and dreams of perfection on  "potential candidates," from Rick Perry (the Al-Gore-Democrat - until Karl Rove, misogynist for profit and secessionist Push Me Pull You) to Rand Paul (Mr. Drones should never be used in the US unless its to take down a guy who just robbed a liquor store...How about that due process! Sounds like Ayn Rand moved to Louisville by way of Trinidad, CO) to Ron Paul ( Racism by any other name meets under the table jack) to Mitt Romney (Hey all you 43%'ers, this 1%'er wants to own your asses too - Love Bain - oops, I "didn't say that") to Hillary Clinton (Neo-Con lite) to Chris Christie (The Bully from NJ) to Elizabeth Warren (not running; insists she is not running - but then WTF does she know about the planet outside the US?  Israel ,apparently, can do no wrong since AIPAC paid her over $87K to vote their position on Israeli/Palestinian matters and Iran), who are no more than a new mask on the same right wing corporate owned criminality called the 'Mericun" 2 party system.

The Democrats on the left side of right wing corporatism and the GOP on the right side of right wing corporatism.

For those who haven't a real idea of what corporatism actually is...

  1. ...the organization of a society into industrial and professional corporations serving as organs of political representation and exercising control over persons and activities within their jurisdiction ("Corporatism." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 31 Aug. 2014).
  2. Theory and practice of organizing the whole of society into corporate entities subordinate to the state. According to the theory, employers and employees would be organized into industrial and professional corporations serving as organs of political representation and largely controlling the people and activities within their jurisdiction. Its chief spokesman was Adam Müller (b. 1779—d. 1829), court philosopher to the Fürst (prince) von Metternich, who conceived of a “class state” in which the classes operated as guilds, or corporations, each controlling a specific function of social life. This idea found favour in central Europe after the French Revolution, but it was not put into practice until Benito Mussolini came to power in Italy; its implementation there had barely begun by the start of World War II, which resulted in his fall. After World War II, the governments of many democratic western European countries (e.g., Austria, Norway, and Sweden) developed strong corporatist elements in an attempt to mediate and reduce conflict between businesses and trade unions and to enhance economic growth."Corporatism" Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 31 Aug. 2014).
  3. the theory and practice of organizing society into “corporations” subordinate to the state. According to corporatist theory, workers and employers would be organized into industrial and professional corporations serving as organs of political representation and controlling to a large extent the persons and activities within their jurisdiction. However, as the “corporate state” was put into effect in fascist Italy between World Wars I and II, it reflected the will of the country’s dictator, Benito Mussolini, rather than the adjusted interests of economic groups. ("Corporatism." Encyclopedia Britannica, Britannica Concise Encyclopedia)
After decades of economic and social reforms under Roosevelt, Truman (don't get me wrong, Pendergast's Harry the Haberdasher, born of the sphincter of organized crime, was not one of my favorite presidents), Eisenhower (a war horse beholden to the War Machinery - thoroughly entrenched and made strong through WWI/II, he, at least, saw the necessity of the public good and warned of his owners, the Military Industrial Complex), Kennedy (an actual old guard Liberal experiencing real cognitive dissonance with his move towards corporatism with large tax cuts to business. Stood against Nuke 'em LeMay and helped talk down a holocaust of America)  began its swing to the far right under the corrupt guidance of Richard Nixon - Law and Order; Drug War and spying on the people Dick had no respect for the people and he feared us.

Sure, there was a tiny respite under a marginalized Carter, but everything he tried was dismantled by the Neo-Con "Dons" (Cheney, Rummy, Wolfowitz, et al) who put an old, Alzheimered, "better-dead-than-red" fool out as their front man.  The nation, of which I had known for my life, was virtually destroyed - "trickle down" proved nothing more than Wall St pissing on the people; "Star Wars" was no more than a give-away to the MIC, "fighting communism" no more than supplying arms to Juntas and dictators for the slaughter of innocents; and de-warehousing no more than a mill for creating the nation's homeless population.  The Rich were sanctified as feudal lords with even more government benefits.  The rest of the populace?  On a fast track to indentured servitude.

All leading us to decades of degradation - from the  bumbling, "read-my-lips" ex-Spook, to a sly and slick neo-liberal, to the blustering drunkenness of the Neo-Cons' puppet, to the latest smooth-talking, "transparent and accountable" prevaricator - at the hands of a long line of Wall Street machinery, sliding  towards 2016. Over 40 years of corporatist hell set up to bleed the people of the planet for the benefit of the "Vamps" of Corporatism sucking us dry.  

All achieved through fear-mongering to promote classism, misogyny, homophobia, exceptionalism and just plain xenophobia, creating the balkanization of America... Leading us to a nation of  right wing political hacks drunk on the blood of the people.  Those hacks run the spectrum of neo-con right to neo-liberal right to nutjob crazy and all combinations in between.  The promoted "ideals" and moral compass stomped in the ground and covered with the hate and fear of anyone not us.

Is it any wonder that the Left has said "fuck you" to voting - refusing to vote nationally or not at all, the centrists and right of center think they are "liberal" and everything else is balkanized by race, color, creed, sexual preference, class, locale, and outright stupidity?

Sanders, now 72, has no illusions about calling 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. home four years from now.
The cost of a national campaign, the constant travel and the vitriol he’d surely encounter on the campaign trail are enough to discourage anyone from seeking the presidency, he said.
“There are people in this world who, ever since they were 12 years of age, they decided they wanted to be president of the United States,” Sanders said.
“That is honestly not me,” he continued. “Anyone who really, really wants to be president is slightly crazy because this is an unbelievably difficult job given the crises that this country faces today.”
Still, Sanders says he is willing to consider making a run if no one else with progressive views similar to his ends up taking the plunge.
It is essential, he said, to have someone in the 2016 presidential campaign who is willing to take on Wall Street, address the “collapse” of the middle class, tackle the spread of poverty and fiercely oppose cuts to Social Security and Medicare.
Self - sacrifice for a cause... what a concept!  Something we haven't seen in the political arena in decades - well, at least, since the 1960's.

If and when you do start a full-fledged campaign, and if you want to run against conventional politics, how far do you go? Do you go to the point of running as an independent? That’s a great challenge to conventional politics, but it is also one where we have seen some honorable, some capable people stumble.

That’s an excellent question, and I haven’t reached a conclusion on that yet. Clearly, there are things to be said on both sides of that important question. Number one: there is today more and more alienation from the Republican and Democratic parties than we have seen in the modern history of this country. In fact, most people now consider themselves to be “independent,” whatever that may mean. And the number of people who identify as Democrats or Republicans is at a historically low point. In that sense, running outside the two-party system can be a positive politically.

On the other hand, given the nature of the political system, given the nature of media in America, it would be much more difficult to get adequate coverage from the mainstream media running outside of the two-party system. It would certainly be very hard if not impossible to get into debates. It would require building an entire political infrastructure outside of the two-party system: to get on the ballot, to do all the things that would be required for a serious campaign.

The question that you asked is extremely important, it requires a whole lot of discussion. It’s one that I have not answered yet.

Unspoken in your answer is the fact that you have a great discomfort with the Democratic Party as it has operated in recent decades.

Yes. It goes without saying. Since I’ve been in Congress, I have been a member of the Democratic caucus as an independent. [Senate majority leader] Harry Reid, especially, has been extremely kind to me and has treated me with enormous respect. I am now chairman of the Veterans Committee. But there is no question that the Democratic Party in general remains far too dependent on big-money interests, that it is not fighting vigorously for working-class families, and that there are some members of the Democratic Party whose views are not terribly different from some of the Republicans. That’s absolutely the case. But the dilemma is that, if you run outside of the Democratic Party, then what you’re doing—and you have to think hard about this—you’re not just running a race for president, you’re really running to build an entire political movement. In doing that, you would be taking votes away from the Democratic candidate and making it easier for some right-wing Republican to get elected—the [Ralph] Nader dilemma

You’re not really saying whether you could run as a Democrat?

I want to hear what progressives have to say about that. The more radical approach would be to run as an independent, and essentially when you’re doing that you’re not just running for president of the United States, you’re running to build a new political movement in America—which presumably would lead to other candidates running outside of the Democratic Party, essentially starting a third party. That idea has been talked about in this country for decades and decades and decades, from Eugene Debs forward—without much success. And I say that as the longest serving independent in the history of the United States Congress. In Vermont, I think we have had more success than in any other state in the country in terms of progressive third-party politics. During my tenure as mayor of Burlington, I defeated Democrats and Republicans and helped start a third-party movement. Today, there is a statewide progressive party which now has three people in the state Senate, out of 30, and a number of representatives in the state Legislature. But that process has taken 30 years. So it is not easy.
If you look back to Nader’s candidacy [in 2000], the hope of Nader was not just that he might be elected president but that he would create a strong third party. Nader was a very strong candidate, very smart, very articulate. But the strong third-party did not emerge. The fact is that is very difficult to do.

You plan to travel, to spend time with activists in the Democratic Party and outside the Democratic Party. Will you look to them for direction?

Yes. The bolder, more radical approach is obviously running outside of the two-party system. Do people believe at this particular point that there is the capability of starting a third-party movement? Or is that an idea that is simply not realistic at this particular moment in history? On the other hand, do people believe that operating in framework of the Democratic Party, getting involved in primaries state-by-state, building organization capability, rallying people, that for the moment at least that this is the better approach? Those are the options that I think progressives around the country are going to have to wrestle with. And that’s certainly something that I will be listening to.

You have always been identified as a democratic socialist. Polling suggests that Americans are not so bothered by the term, but it seems to me that our media has a really hard time with it. Is that a factor in your thinking about a presidential race?

No, that’s not a factor at all. In Vermont, people understand exactly what I mean by the word. They don’t believe that democratic socialism is akin to North Korea communism. They understand that when I talk about democratic socialism, what I’m saying is that I do not want to see the United States significantly dominated by a handful of billionaire families controlling the economic and political life of the country. That I do believe that in a democratic, civilized society, all people are entitled to health care as a right, all people are entitled to quality education as a right, all people are entitled to decent jobs and a decent income, and that we need a government which represents ordinary Americans and not just the wealthy and the powerful.

The people in Vermont know exactly when I mean, which is why I won my last election with 71 percent of the vote and carried some of the most conservative towns in the state. If I ran for president, and articulated a vision that speaks to working people, I am confident that voters in every part of this country would understand that.

The truth is that, very sadly, the corporate media ignores some of the huge accomplishments that have taken place in countries like Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway. These countries, which have a long history of democratic socialist or labor governments, have excellent and universal health care systems, excellent educational systems and they have gone a long way toward eliminating poverty and creating a far more egalitarian society than we have. I think that there are economic and social models out there that we can learn a heck of a lot from, and that’s something I would be talking about.

What you seem to be saying is that, as a presidential candidate, you would try to make the very difficult combination of not just being a personality that people would like, or at least want to vote for, but also educate people about what is possible.

My whole life in politics has been not just with passing legislation or being a good mayor or senator, but to educate people. That is why we have hundreds of thousands of people on my Senate email list, and why I send an email to all Vermonters every other week. It is why I have held hundreds of town meetings in Vermont, in virtually every town in the state.

If you ask me now what one of the major accomplishments of my political life is, it is that I helped double the voter turnout in Burlington, Vermont. I did that because people who had given up on the political process understood that I was fighting for working families, that we were paying attention to low and moderate-income neighborhoods rather than just downtown or the big-money interests. In fact, I went to war with virtually every part of the ruling class in Burlington during my years as mayor. People understood that; they said, “You know what? Bernie is standing with us. We’re going to stand with him.” The result is that large numbers of people who previously had not participated in the political process got involved. And that’s what we have to do for the whole country.

I think one of the great tragedies that we face today politically, above and beyond the simple economic reality of the collapse of the middle-class, more people living in poverty, growing gap between the rich and poor, the high cost of education—all those objective, painful realities in American society—the more significant reality from a political perspective is that most people have given up on the political process. They understand the political deck is stacked against them. They think there is no particular reason for them to come out and vote—and they don’t.

So much of what [media-coverage of] politics is about today is personality politics. It’s gossip: Chris Christie’s weight or Hillary’s latest hairdo. But the real issue is how do you bring tens of millions of working-class and middle-class people together around an agenda that works for them? How do we make politics relevant to their lives? That’s going to involve some very, very radical thinking. At the end of the day, it’s not just going to be decisions from Washington. It really means empowering, in a variety of ways, ordinary people in the political process. To me, when you talk about the need for a political revolution, it is not just single-payer health care, it’s not just aggressive action on climate change, it’s not just creating the millions of jobs that we need, it is literally empowering people to take control over their lives. That’s clearly a lot harder to do than it is to talk about, but that’s what the political revolution is about.

One of the things that I find most disturbing—in fact, beyond comprehension—is that the Democrats now lose by a significant number the votes of white working-class people. How can that be? When you have a Republican Party that wants to destroy Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc., etc., why are so many people voting against their own economic interests? It happens because the Democrats have not been strong in making it clear which side they are on, not been strong in taking on Wall Street and corporate America, which is what Roosevelt did in the 1930s.

So, to me, what politics is about is not just coming up with ideas and a legislative program here in Washington—you need to do those things—but it’s about figuring out how you involve people in the political process, how you empower them. It ain’t easy, but that is, in fact, what has to be done. The bad news is that people like the Koch brothers can spend huge sums of money to create groups like the Tea Party. The good news is that, once people understand the right-wing extremist ideology of the Koch brothers, they are not going to go along with their policies. In terms of fundamental economic issues: job creation, a high minimum wage, progressive taxation, affordable college education—the vast majority of people are on our side.

One of the goals that I would have, politically, as a candidate for president of the United States is to reach out to the working-class element of the Tea Party and explain to them exactly who is funding their organization—and explain to them that, on virtually every issue, the Koch brothers and the other funders of the Tea Party are way out of step with what ordinary people want and need.

You have made it very clear that you have no taste for personality politics. But a part of why you are thinking of running for president has to be a sense that the prospective Democratic candidates are unlikely to do that or to do that effectively.


His latest interview - MSNBC's Up With Steve Kornacki....

Proving the Senator won't let MSM mouthpieces (Capeheart, really?) who refuse to address the issues and only want to focus on personality (perpetually gazing into the shiny surface of things).

Senator Bernie Sanders is an Independent for a reason - A Democratic Socialist who runs under the Vermont Progressive Party, he has to caucus with one side of the aisle or the other if he wants to get anything done.  He chooses the Democrats in Congress though he has no problem calling them out.

The Senator, currently, is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Green Jobs and the New Economy, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety, and Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, and holds seats on the following committees:

  • Committee on the Budget
  • Committee on Environment and Public Works
  • Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure
  • Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
  • Subcommittee on Energy
  • Subcommittee on National Parks
  • Subcommittee on Water and Power
  • Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
  • Subcommittee on Children and Families

Let me make one thing clear. I am done with the Janus mask of America's political system (a mask, and nothing more than a mask, covering the oozing, roiling disease of the US Political system). Currently the 2 party is two sides of the same political coin. There are few distinctions. One may be overtly racist, misogynist, classist but the other acts it out covertly while covering it up with a patronizing smile and lots of word games. The only people who will ever induce me to vote again are candidates for whom I hold some respect - I haven't seen one for over 50 years.

On the national stage, candidates tend to drop to their knees, for the big boy parties, losing any sense of "serving the public good" as they grab a hold of $Millions in donations to buy their vote. It isn't just the "evil" GOP - They both run to Wall Street, SuperPACs and big money interests to gain funds (Obama took out a massive loan with Bank of America then handed them Wachovia:). It isn't just multi-billionaires like the Kochs, the DeVos, and the Adelsons. It is lobbyist organizations (AIPAC, NRA), political organizations  and just plain con men.

The Congress and the Supreme Court are making it easier and easier for more money, more graft, more corruption to assure those power whores beholden to Wall Street win their seats - The People be damned.

Like Diogenes, I would LOVE, just once, to find an honest man....

And maybe I have...

Sure he would be a long shot, a very long shot, but he would make an impact - especially as an independent that promises to pull the left wing out of the Democratic Party and pull in those of us on the far left that have seen the evil and refuse to take part any longer.  The hope would be that a few "Party"-nistas would get a clue and see we need to pull this nation back from the RW brink of destruction.  That those few "Party"-nistas would get a clue and grab on to the basic concepts of life, liberty and freedom  for ALL - not just for the top one percent of the 1%; grab on to the idea that they don't have to be the bitch of Wall Street  - taking it up the ass and begging for more for a few pennies and the illusion of "power; grab on to the idea that they have the ability to effect real change in environmental policy, social policy, trade policy, and foreign policy - each based on mutually assured survival and respect instead of mutually assured destruction.

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