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Showing posts with label Bernie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bernie. Show all posts

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Momentum Shift - Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

Momentum Shift

And so it happened, the momentum in the race for the Democratic Party’s nominee for President has shifted.

It is important to note that the shift is not hypothetical, it is marked by the fact that primaries and caucuses have been held and the people have come out to vote. The field has winnowed and we are down to a two person race.

There are many people who cast this race in terms of so-called “progressive wing” and the so-called “corporate wing” of the Democratic Party. Please be aware that while Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden have many different policy proscription for what ails America, they have much more in common with each other, and their values are far more closely aligned with the values of the average American than the vacuous and amoral menace, that confused and cowardly villain who is currently operating a criminal regime out of the oval office.

There are many of my friends who are upset about what took place in the primaries over the last week, suggesting that the elites in the democratic party rigged the vote against Bernie’ no they didn’t. The voters voted, and the votes that were cast came from a demographic sampling that represents America, and the Democratic Party.

One condescending friend of mine, a middle-aged, middle-class European American had the nerve to suggest that the Presidential race has come down to two white-racist-septugenarians, and he was angry about it. Never mind the fact that African Americans voted overwhelmingly for Joe Biden. My out-of-touch white friend thinks he knows a thing or two about racism, and about what is good for people of color, and he wants everyone else to think that people of color don’t know what is good for themselves, and thought hat person is a friend of mine, I think the sentiment is disgusting. He and all the other Bernie supporters need to just settle down and check their own implicit bias at the door.

Be mindful, the race is far from over. The momentum has shifted, but only enough to make it a contest. The next few weeks might show us that the shift in momentum represent ted a C change, but we are not there yet.

Both candidates, and everyone who follows them should stay positive, spend their time and energy articulating the values of the Democratic Party, move forward, and not succumb to the kind of internal feuding that the Trump campaign and Russia are fueling.

That should both stay in the race until it mathematically impossible for them to win, and then the certain loser should drop out, endorse the other, and work not just for their election, but work tirelessly for democratic candidates up and down the line, in both local and national races.

I have this last thing to say to my progressive friends.

The progressive platform they are dreaming of and working toward is a grass roots movement. Grass roots movements do not typically work through the implementation of executive action at the top. They work from the ground up, and if we want the Green New Deal, Single Payer Health Care, College Financing Reform etc…we are going to need Senators and Representatives in Congress to author and sponsor and pass that legislation.

If you want Constitutional Amendments, you need to have super majorities everywhere, not just in Federal Offices, but in State Houses and Governor’s Mansions all across the country.

If we refuse to stand together, then we will fall apart.  

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Overreach - Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion


We have to be careful not to overreach.

Not just those who are seeking to be nominated by the Democratic Party, to be our candidate for President, it is not just those people who have to be careful not to overreach, we all have to be careful not to overreach, not to expect them to overreach just to satisfy our desire to have a candidate who says the things we want to hear:

1.      Take the Assault Weapons Away
2.      Universal Health Care
3.      Universal Basic Income
4.      Universal Pre-K
5.      Universal Higher Education
6.      Medical Debt Forgiveness
7.      Student Loan Forgiveness
8.      The Green New Deal
9.      Impeach Donald Trump

I want all of those things, but almost none of those things issues to campaign on.

I know a lot of people disagree with me, a lot of my friends especially, and they are right to assert that the role of President is to articulate a vision that leads the country forward, not back or sideways, or a vision that has us standing still.

Be mindful of this, and don’t put the cart before the horse.

The campaign for the presidency is much different than the presidency itself, and our candidates would do well to hold back on their more spectacular ambitions until that have not only won the nomination, but won the office. Because, the campaign itself is just that, a campaign, it is a contest, and popularity is only one of the factors in it. A campaign is like warfare, the candidates have to take ground and hold. This is both literal and figurative, the candidates have to win the hearts and minds of people, they have to engage the people in culturally and geographically diverse communities all across the country, they have to win the hearts and minds and hold them, and it is not just the presidency that is online, it is also the control of congress, and redistricting after the 2020 census.

This is an important year in American politics.

In the current media environment the party primaries are extensions of the national campaign, we cannot play the old game of pandering to the base, then tacking to the middle. That will not work, and some of the leading candidates will shun the middle no matter what.

Moderation and centrism are dirty words among political activists, I hear the pundits talk about how boring such policies are, and that the people will not turn out for a candidate that does not excite them.

As much as it may be true, it is also the wisdom of fools.

Pay attention.

Beto is right, we should have a mandatory buy-back program for assault rifles, but he is politically in-astute to say it. Such legislation would fail in congress, if put forward as an executive order it would lose in the courts. In taking this bold position he has only succeeded in bringing a losing issue to the forefront of the campaign. It does not matter that he is right, or that he is attempting to lead, because a policy that goes nowhere, that cannot go anywhere, those policies are not leading anything.

We have to exercise the same type of caution for the rest of the wish list that is at the forefront of Democratic Party ideals.

Democrats are mistaken if they think they will get somewhere by pulling one another into the morass of policy initiatives that most American’s find dubious, murky, full of uncertainty, and give them pause to doubt.

We do the people a disservice by campaigning on policies which any reasonable observer of government knows will not make it through the legislative process.

Speaking in general about the ideals which inform those policies is much more important.

Remember, the voters are not going to go to the ballot box and vote for a plan, they are going to vote for a person, who they feel understands them, who they feel a connection with, one that they can relate to; right or wrong that is the way it is.

Don’t overreach, don’t get out over your skis, don’t advance beyond the line; bring the whole country with you, one step at a time.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Progressives Fall Apart - Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

Progressives Fall Apart

I was reading some posts on my Facebook page and a friend of mine was slagging on Joe Biden.

First predicting that Biden would wrap up the nomination for Democrats (which is a reasonable assumption) and then tearing into the proposition because Biden does not live up to his ideological standards.

Secondly he predicted Biden would lose to Trump, and he was laughing about it, as if that were a laughing matter, and then there was a great deal of self-grandiosity where he was begging people not to Blame him, or Bernie or Susan Saradon when Biden looses, because it would be the democrats fault for picking a corporate centrist, a Joe Biden, a moderate shill.

Someone else on his page proffered the hash-tag NewJimCrowJoe, blaming Joe Biden for the passage of the Omnibus Crime bill of 1994, establishing a “new” era of Jim Crow laws, or so he says.

Set aside for a moment any arguments concerning that, there are faults with such an argument but there are merits to. The Jim Crow era, from the period of reconstruction after the Civil War, to the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, was an era of de facto Apartheid and permanent second class citizenship for African Americans.

What came from the Crime Bill of 1994, was different, there were unjust and draconian measures, but it was not the same.

More importantly, these blow-hard, so-called progressives want to hold Biden accountable for authoring the bill, Maybe they would be content to hold Bill Clinton responsible for signing it, but never mind the fact that Bernie Sanders, Jim Clyburn, Maxine Waters, Alcee Hastings, Kweisi Mfume and dozens of other notable civil rights activists voted for it.

I pointed that out on his page, and shortly thereafter my comments disappeared.

We are just getting started in this nominating contests and the progressives are falling apart.

They are replete with tribalistic sympathies that will not allow them to accept anyone they do not identify with, they are blindly following the standard and pushing it on other with a level of authoritarianism that belies their intelligence and threatens to undermine their stated goals.

American Progressives will get nothing of what they want for our country and the world if T-Rump is re-elected. They will not get any of it, everything will get worse.

We have to stick together.

Encourage your people to campaign like this: state your values, share your vision, promote your candidate, make your case for them, not against anyone else. Let’s see who captures the hearts and minds of the people, and let’s get behind them.

Let’s not fall apart.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Chasing the Dragon - Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion


Chasing the Dragon

Have you ever heard an addict talk about their addiction; heard them talk about “chasing the dragon,” talk about the way in which they got hooked on whatever it is that they got hooked on: whisky, cocaine, heroin…the adulation of a crowd, or a feeling of righteousness, how they got hooked because they kept looking for the experience that was as the blissful, as fulsome, as perfect as the first time they ever used.

They were chasing the dragon.

The expression comes from Arthurian legend. Old King Pelinore, was most famously on this quest. He was a king in his own right, and a knight of the Round Table. He was the father of Elaine; wife of Sir Lancelot, mother of Sir Galahad. He was something of a laughing stock; because he was always leaving court to go on the quest for what most of his peers believed was an imaginary beast.
He was chasing the dragon.

Pelinore was pure of heart. Lancelot beheld the Holy Grail while he was staying at his castle, where sanity returned to him and he wedded Elaine, and conceived their child Galahad, who fulfilled the quest for the grail together with Sir Percival, and Sir Bores.

The other knights would often tease Pelinore, and making up stories about having seen the beast. He would immediately get up and go to find it. Some, like Percival, and Sir Palomides (The Saracen), joined him on the quest. Like Pelinore, they were believers, and it did not matter to them what they risked, what they gave up; in terms of prestige, reputation, standing, and wealth. What mattered to them was the quest itself, it was the proper role for the knight, when he was not serving his king at war, to be on the quest for justice, and peace, for truth, and goodness, for beauty’s sake, for love.

They were chasing the dragon, the questing beast.

Senator Sanders is chasing the dragon now. Is he a goodly knight; like Pelinore, Percival, and Palomides? Or is Bernie Sanders a junkie, just looking for his next fix?

Does he actually want to advance the progressive agenda, or does he want one more big rally to take him to the edge?

I do not know the answer to this question.

I suspect that BS does not know the answer to this question either. I do wish that everyone who is following him, ardently supporting his candidacy; I do wish they would answer this question for themselves.

All of the quest knights shared certain qualities in common; humility, grace, and peace they also possessed a strength in direct proportion to their faith, and purity. When they were true they could not be defeated, and of that there was no doubt.

One thing I know from my experience with addicts, is that when they do not get what they want, they become angry, bitter, resentful. They begin to blame everyone and everything around them for their failures. They risk more and more, until they lose everything, destroy their relationships and are left bereft.

BS is chasing the dragon, and he seems increasingly delusional. He risks squandering all of the good will he has amassed from his colleagues; for being on his quest and fighting the good fight. He has succeeded in moving the focus of the democratic primary significantly toward the issues that he is most passionate about. I believe that the democratic party is grateful for this, and grateful for the energy he has brought to his campaign. Even though it was not enough to give him a victory, and even though his prospects were always statistically improbable.

Is he the same progressive idealist today that he was a year ago when he started his campaign? Is he a Pelinore or a Percival motivated by purity of heart, or has he lost his mind like Lancelot, junked out for something he could never have?

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Bernie Sanders is Lying to You - Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion


Bernie Sanders is Lying to You

Have you heard of Senator Bernie Sanders?

Bernie Sanders is running for the nomination of the Democratic Party; running to be its candidate for President of the United States in 2016.

Have you heard of Bernie? Have you heard that he is an ethical person? Do you believe it? Why?
BS has raised two hundred million dollars in his bid for the nomination, he has squandered it. He has about twenty million in cash on hand.

Where did the money go?

He spent it all on rallies, where he trashed the reputation of his opponent; creating a lot of media buzz, but it was all a fa├žade. He was losing the election virtually every step of the way, and he would not admit it.

Did you know that BS is not a Democrat?

He is running for the nomination of the Democratic Party, even though he only joined the party in 2015, and he does not wear the label well; Democrat, he shuns it, calling himself a Democratic Socialist (whatever that is) instead.

He joined the Democratic Party for the sake of formality, he could not run for its nomination without doing that. It was a lie. BS is not a Democrat, he is not helping the Democratic Party with the broader aspects of the election in 2016, he is not helping to raise money for other candidates, like his opponent; Secretary Clinton does. His membership in the party is a self-serving canard, a farce. It may be worse; a bait a switch.  

BS pretends that he is doing something noble by raising money form small donors (then wasting it). He asserts that Hillary Clinton is corrupt (in some way) because she takes large donations, and has a “Super Pac” that does so on her behalf. He says that that if Hillary takes large donations for her campaign, or if a “Super-Pac” does, this makes her and them beholden to an “evil power,” the evil of “special interests”. This is a ruse. He cannot cite any proof of this. He just wants you to believe it.

The best kind of lie has a certain logic to it, it makes a kind of “philosophical” sense. BS is good at it, he has been doing it a long time.

Is taking money from millions of people in small increments, and being beholden to none of them, better than taking money from large donors and groups who would expect you to be in some kind of dialog with them? BS would have you believe this, and it is another BS lie.

BS would have you think his campaign is about you, that it is about social justice…for you, but in reality it is about him, it is about his vanity, his projection of righteous indignation, his idealism. It is about Feeling the Bern. His campaign is about him, just as his slogan suggests.

In leveling this criticism, I am not suggesting that HRC is not vain, or that she does not possess any number of character flaws (she is a politician just like him), nevertheless her slogan is simply: Hillary for America, and there is the tell.

BS is lying to you when he claims to have the momentum in the race, with his narrow constituency of middle-class white people giving him victories in what are for the most part red and rural states.

BS is lying, and asking you to deny the candidate with the real power in the race; the power of millions of more votes, hundreds of more delegates, a half dozen more contests won. He wants to deny the legitimacy of her victory, and usurp her candidacy instead.

BS is lying when he suggests that a theoretical lead in some demographic polls of the general election, polls which show him doing better against Trump than HRC does; he is lying when he suggests that this is a sufficient rationale to overturn the will of the voters in the Democratic primaries and caucuses. BS is lying to you.

BS is lying to you. He is playing to your fears. He is pretending to be a problem solver, and pretending to be a team player, while at the same time threatening the unity of the Democratic party, and the hopes of the progressive movement.

He would have you believe that a proposal to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $12 an hour, a proposal which his opponent has made, is a betrayal of the progressive movement; because it does not go far enough. He is lying to you when he says that she does not support a $15 minimum wage, when in fact she does, she support those legislative moves in cities and states where they have taken place. He is lying to you.

BS is lying to you when he talks about a revolution. He does not have the votes to win the Democratic nomination (and he knows it); never mind the notion that he would have a mandate to reshape the American government, its industries and economy. There is no revolution, the BS revolution is a vanity play.

Bernie Sanders is not the man for the job, but his ego will not let him stop.

He is lying to himself, and he is asking you to believe it.


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Bernie for VP? - Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion


Bernie for VP?

Senator Sanders has not suspended his campaign. He pretends that he has the momentum to overtake Secretary Clinton’s lead in the delegate count; in the remaining contests. Bernie makes these pretenses even though he loses ground even as he chalks up wins, like the win he posted in Indiana last week.

Bernie Sanders Suggests that he will arrive at the convention with the hearts and the minds of the Democratic Party behind him. He makes this suggestion even though Hillary Clinton has won more statewide contests, has won more votes, has won more pledged delegates, and has more support among the so-called “super-delegates” the free agents of the Democratic Party; the roughly five hundred delegates who are selected from among the parties elected officials and other party officials. To overcome Hillary’s lead among both pledged and “super” delegates, Bernie would have to earn 101% of the remaining delegates before the convention; an impossibility.

Bernie’s plan, the plan of the BS campaign, is to come to the convention floor and make an argument for electability, not based on the votes he has earned, the states he has won, the support he has garnered from his colleagues, but based on some demographic polling from organizations like Gallop, and Rueters, etc…

I understand the desire to not give up, to keep fighting until the fighting is done, I cannot fault BS for this, but I do take his denial of the present realities as evidence for the claim that I have been making all along, that BS is just another ordinary politician, who cares more for his own ego than he does about the future of the progressive movement. BS stands by while his supporters attack his opponent, he refuses to ameliorate the situation. He effectively endorses the criticism of HRC, that she is corrupt, that she is no better than a Republican; by doing nothing he fuels it. That is wrong.

I support the desire of the BS campaign to compete until the convention, and use the support he has earned to shape the rules, and influence the platform, the is the appropriate place for the idealism he championed to be channeled. It would be disingenuous and disastrous for him to come to the convention still fighting and vilifying HRC.

The latest news from the campaign is that Bernie has intimated that he would consider a place on the ticket with Hillary as her Vice President. I am wondering if his followers and supporters like that idea?

Would it be a good idea? Would Bernie be a good soldier in a Hillary administration? If Bernie is willing to serve under Hillary, what does this say about him, and her? Dos it suggest perhaps, that all of the critique he has issued about her fund raising and her speeches, that it was all a smoke screen and political nonsense? If Bernie is willing to come on board, to participate in that organization, he must not really be opposed to it.

Does Bernie think he would enter Hillary’s administration as her VP, and then perhaps force her to some higher moral standard than she would otherwise adhere to? Is that where he now sees his path to power?

Money may be the root of all evil, though to put the saying in it proper context, it is not money itself but the love it that feeds the evil in the human heart. But it is power that corrupts, or to put it more accurately, it is power that attracts the corruptible.

Is this where the BS campaign is now, on the precipice of real power, with that power nearly in its grasp. It tilts toward the corrupt, it is willing to ally itself with its opponent for some purpose, either to be co-opted by her, or perhaps to undermine her?

I find the whole thing troubling, and I would sooner leave his idealism in the Senate, or elevate it to the Supreme Court, than I would have it anywhere near the HRC administration which I hope will be governing the country come January.   

Saturday, April 16, 2016

You Can’t Always Get What You Want…Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion


You Can’t Always Get What You Want…

As I have been watching the campaign this week, the campaign for the nomination of the Democratic Party for president; I have been reminded of the chorus from the classic Rolling Stones song.

You can’t always get what you want…But you get what you need

The message coming from the Sander’s campaign is that they will not stop. They will carry through; into the convention. They are not going to suspend, and they may not put forward any effort to bring the support they have garnered among their young and independent minded voters, into the fold of the Democratic Party.

It remains a mathematical possibility for BS to win, but it is virtually certain that he will lose to HRC, and I think this is a good thing. The comportment of the Sander’s campaign, over the last couple of weeks, has been atrocious; rude, divisive.

BS is losing to HRC by significant margins in every measure; by millions of votes, by hundreds of pledged delegates, by virtually all of the super delegates, whose votes could sway the election one way or the other.

Now with his impending loss in New York, BS has begun to put forward the notion that he will carry out a fight for the nomination on the convention floor, regardless of the fact that he will have earned fewer votes, and earned fewer pledged delegates. He is going to try to sway enough of the super delegates to join his “movement” in order to thwart HRC from becoming the nominee. Even though it is clear that democratic voters prefer her to him.

BS does not want to hear that. He has in recent days put forward the notion that the victories of the Clinton campaign in the “Deep South” are irrelevant on account of the fact that they are “Red States” and much more conservative than the states he has won.

I disagree, but there is more than just my opinion v. the opinion of BS in this question. I would suggest that states like; Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, all of which gave victories to BS, these states are not less conservative than Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama etc.. They are all red states; “Deep Red.” That is my opinion, but what is fact is this: of the states that have already held their primaries and caucuses, of those states that voted for President Obama twice; in 2008, and 2012, HRC has won the majority of votes in those states, by a million or more.
Senator Sanders has great ideas, and sound values. He is good on the stump, but he is a terrible candidate, and would be a worse president.

It was shameful for his campaign to give their stage to a supporter who called Secretary Clinton a “corporate whore.” I was ashamed of BS all last week when he mocked HRC repeatedly in his speeches, claiming that she was “getting nervous.” Over and over again, BS himself used this line; “Hillary is getting nervous…she is getting nervous.” When in reality there was no indication of that at all. But HRC is a woman right? And that is what women do right? Women get nervous in the face of a strong man…right?

Wrong! Bernie Sanders does not make Hillary Clinton nervous at all.

BS does not have the appropriate command of the facts, or the temperament to be president.
His lack of policy details was made evident in the past couple of weeks through the interviews he gave, which clearly demonstrate that he has not thought through the practical realities of his dreams. I am not saying that he could not command those facts, I am merely saying that he has not yet bothered to pay the kind of attention to those details, which his ambitions demand. And that is not a formula for success, either on the campaign trail or in the White House.

In the debate this week he showed his poor temperament. While he condemned his supporter who called Hillary a whore, he continued to suggest that she was in fact for sale, and yet when pressed on the specifics he could not rise to the occasion and give any details. His responses were sarcastic, sophomoric, and unworthy of a person seeking the office which he aspires to. He was smug, and chuckling when the issue of gun violence was brought up in the debate. Again, a performance unworthy of the office he aspires to.

The missteps, and miscalculations that BS made on the campaign trail this week were too many to enumerate here. Let me just say this to any of you who may be inclined to support him. I am with you, insofar as I want many, most of the things he wants for our country, but Senator Sanders is not the person to take us there, Secretary Clinton is.

You can’t always get the candidate you want…but if we hold together in solidarity on the left, we will get the candidate we need. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Mythology, Fundamentalism, Politics - Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion


Mythology, Fundamentalism, Politics

I was watching Senator Sanders speak last week. He was holding a rally in Portland Oregon, ahead of the caucuses there, which he won by a wide margin. As he was speaking a small bird landed on the stage, and then, a few moments later alighted on the podium.

The crowd went wild.

I have to say I found it amusing. I enjoyed the spectacle myself. It was an inside joke playing itself out on the national stage. It was as if mother nature herself was colluding with the Sanders campaign, as if the spirit of Portland was endorsing the candidacy of BS, as surely as the citizen of Portland would days later; in overwhelming numbers.

The crowd went wild.

People in the audience behind BS, were gazing into the heavens, hands coming together in prayer. It looked to me as if they expected the sky to crack open and the booming voice of God to announce 
God’s favor for BS.

Of course that did not happen.

Nevertheless, the mythmakers proceeded to tell the story as if that is exactly what happened. A sign was given in Portland. A bird joined BS at the Podium. God was pleased with Birdie…I mean Bernie Sanders.

I found myself feeling resentful.

It is not that I did not appreciate the joke; the symbolism, the unexpected, unplanned for, unasked for moment, the delighted look on the face of BS. It was great. However, the charm of the moment was immediately lost, as the sanders campaign and its supporters began to put forward this moment of happy fortune as a rational for his candidacy.

Human beings have a latent susceptibility to the power of myth.

I do not believe that the incident with the bird convinced anyone to support BS who otherwise were not in his camp, but the quasi-mystical packaging of the event (after the fact) validated their support in a way that I can only characterize as anti-rational.

Those of us whose political affiliation falls on the left wing of the political spectrum are not used to having the label of fundamentalist attached to us. Fundamentalist thought processes are a dominant feature of right wing conservativism. However, no ideological system is immune to it. The entry point to fundamentalist thinking is the rejection of the rational, and the embrace of magical.

The first casualty of fundamentalist thought is truth, the second is community.

Fundamentalists retreat from discourse with their opponents. Adversaries become enemies, heroes become villains, angels become demons, gods become devils. In that nexus of mythological/fundamentalist thought, the stakes of the context get magnified beyond their actual dimensions. They take on cosmic proportions. A regular campaign for the presidency, which happens every four years; becomes a “revolution,” the stakes become “our entire future,” what is at risk is “our way of life.” The hotter the rhetoric gets the more divorced from reality it becomes.

The fundamentalist denies the obvious flaws of the candidates, or belief systems they support, and imagine flaws that do not exist in those they oppose, as creationists do, or flat Earthers do, or climate deniers do.

Genuine political discourse is impossible in that environment.

Last week I listened while Susan Sarandon; actress, activist, movie star, told MSNBC that there was no way she would support Hillary Clinton if she wins the nomination. She said she would support the Republican, even if it was Donald Trump. She expressed the belief that this would “bring on the revolution” that much sooner. Her sentiment was that the Republicans, and especially Trump, would be such a disaster for the country that the revolutionary forces that support BS would then be able to rise from the ashes and usher in a new era.

Sarandon does not speak for the Sanders campaign. She is merely a supporter, but a vocal one, and it is fair to say that her sentiments represent a wide swath of the feelings of the BS supporters.
What is clear to me is that Sarandon is caught up in that mythological space, she views the campaign a revolution (which it is not nor could it be), she sees herself as a revolutionary hero; as such she must see the HRC campaign as the enemy, she would rather imperil the country in order to open up the possibility of a future victory than accept the loss that will likely be handed to them when this nomination is over.

Sarandon is not alone. These feelings are being blasted across the country; reflected, echoed repeated thousands of times a day dividing the far left from the middle, dividing democrats and liberal progressives from one another.

I saw a meme posted by a friend of mine, a supporter of BS featuring HRC as the Wicked Witch of the West, green face and all, threatening to kill Bernie Sanders “and his little bird too,” as if BS was as innocent and plucky as the hero Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, which is ironic because in reality, his revolutionary promises, as empty as they are, make him more like the man behind the curtain; just a dude with a penchant for casting illusions.

I implore all people of good conscience to pull back from this form of extreme and dangerous thinking. It may seem funny, but it is not a joke. A successful democratic administration following that of Barrack Obama has the potential to change the direction of the country (not to remake it) for generations to come. If Obama is followed by a Republican, the gains we have made will be lost. But if there is a disaster, another economic collapse, war; the wealthy like Susan Saradon will be just fine, the American people will suffer, and the response to social/economic chaos is never an embrace of radical change, but is always a retreat toward conservativism.

Here are some facts that the supporters of BS should contend with:

HRC has won more states than BS; by one.

HRC has won more pledged (earned) delegates than BS; by two hundred-sixty three.

HRC has been given more support by “super-delegates” than BS; by four hundred-thirty eight.

HRC has won more votes than BS by; more than two and a half million.

There has been a lot of talk among the supporters of BS that HRC has the election rigged, that the fix is in, that the process is undemocratic. But the facts are these, HRC has simply won more support, more people have voted for her, and among the people who have voted for her, there is greater diversity, ethnic, geographic, and cultural diversity.   

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Berning it Down - Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion


Berning it Down

There was a subtle shift in the Sander’s campaign this week; as he continues in his quest for Democratic Party’s nomination for President. I found it troubling, and a little bit amusing, but mostly worrisome, and befuddling.

BS lost every contest on Tuesday. His campaign spent a lot of resources, and they believed they would win at least one of the contests, if not two, and they were hopeful that they could make it three.
In two of the contests; Missouri and Illinois the margin was razor thin; virtually tied, but he lost. HRC won Ohio by a by a larger margin, but it was still relatively close. However, she blew the Sander’s campaign out of the water in North Carolina and Florida.

HRC expanded her lead in the contest for delegates in a significant way, I am speaking of pledged delegates, votes that are committed to HRC.

The Clinton campaign holds a commanding lead; something like 95% of the un-pledged, “super-delegates.” Making her path to victory almost guaranteed. BS has complained bitterly about this through the contest so far; stating over and over again that if HRC only wins because of the votes of super-delegates her victory would be un-democratic and illegitimate.

This line of reason has been vociferously echoed by the BS supporters all over the Web and throughout social-media. Only now, now that his path to victory has become extremely dubious; BS has begun to suggest that he might continue his campaign all the way to the convention even if he arrives there without a majority of pledged delegates, and try to convince the super-delegates to make him the nominee anyway; in what his campaign has already called an un-democratic and illegitimate way.

I am amused by this because it speaks directly against the holier than thou, I am not a regular politician image that the BS campaign has successfully foisted on the public imagination. The amusement can only go so far because such a path risks fracturing the democratic party just at the point when it needs to be unified.

This troubles me because it is a concrete foreshadowing of what I have been asking my friends, who are BS supporters to think about; my estimation that BS would gladly tear down the party jut for a chance to win an argument. That is the kind of guy he seems to be.

Mind you, I am not saying he would tear down the party just to win an argument; he would tear it down just for a chance to win, and jeopardize any possibility of advancing the progressive agenda that he claims to care so much about.

People, who are fans of BS have made a lot of noise about the notion that the Senator is untouched by political corruption. I challenge that notion on the basis that, people can be greedy for other things than money. Human beings are corrupted by their desires, and as the Buddha says, desire is the cause of all suffering. Desire causes suffering both from within and without. Our own desires cause us to suffer, and the desires of others inflict suffering on those around them.

Most people desire mundane things, material things; they are greedy for wealth, privilege, power. Some people however, have more intractable desires, more difficult for us to understand, not as easy to put our finger on, like; purity, righteousness, rightness. I contend that we have more to fear from those who crave these things than we do the other.

I ask you to think about this in the coming weeks as the BS campaign continues its rhetoric about the super-delegates, condemning HRC out of one side of their mouths for stacking the deck with these pledges at the outset of the contest, and out of the other side of their mouths giving us their strategy to capitalize on the same. While threatening to Bern down the party in the process.


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Voting – Heart vs. Head - Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion


Voting – Heart vs. Head

I went to my caucuses last Tuesday night. I showed up to vote for Hillary, and I did, as I said I would. I am proud to have done so, proud to be casting this vote for the person I expect will be the first woman to hold the office of the president.

The caucus site was disorganized. There were three different precincts voting at Jefferson Elementary, and there was not much clarity about where you were supposed to go. However, once I figured that out, matters proceeded in an orderly fashion.

I was expecting something different from what I experienced. I thought there would be a period to persuade and convince the other voters, but there was not.

I showed up; received my ballot, marked it and put it in a box. Many people left after that point. Fewer than one-hundred, of six-hundred stuck around. I did.

I listened to the organizers, tell us the rules of the caucus. They went over the agenda. We elected people to committees. I was elected as a delegate to the endorsing convention for DFL Senate District 61.

I listened as a number of ballot resolutions were introduced by various party activities. Most of the measures I supported. There were some that I was disinterested in. There was one that I spoke against. The measure I spoke against passed, and I was the only person opposed to it. It was a call for a constitutional amendment to reform campaign financing, the issue that was articulated seemed that it could be gotten too much sooner through the normal legislative process, or through the courts; than through the more onerous, and more dubious process of a constitutional amendment.

There was little, actual opposition, to any of the resolutions that were offered, though I sensed that there were real opposition that simply went unspoken.

Many of the resolutions had a “daydreaming” quality, “pie in the sky” realism.

It set me to thinking about some of the conversations I have had about my support for Hillary.
My precinct went for Bernie at a rate of about 4 to 1 (a little better). Minnesota went for Bernie in the final count. Here in my neighborhood, at my job, and among my friends I have definitely felt like I was in the minority.

When asked about my support; my response begins with this: “I have always supported Hillary Clinton. She is smart and capable, and will prove to be an effective manager of government.

“While I agree with the idealism that Bernie Sanders expresses, I do not believe that idealism and politics should mix.”

This seems counter-intuitive to most of the people I have spoken with.

There is a well-established, but uncritical norm; vote for the candidate you like, for the candidate you believe is right. Vote for the candidate that speaks to your heart, for the one that make you feel good.

The slogan of the sanders campaign is not: Understand the Bern, analyze it, asses it, and know it. The slogan is Feel the Bern.

 Feel it.

I am not suggesting that we should not feel good about our votes, but feelings are more easily moved than reason, more easily preyed upon, and more easily misdirected.

While the appeal to idealism may articulate the place we want our society to be, when that appeal is fueled by the power of emotions it does not leave any room to negotiate, or compromise with those on the other side of the table.

Idealism is too easily transformed into fundamentalism, the uncritical sense of empowerment based on the belief that you are right.

Fundamental-idealism is a powerful force. It can motivate a lot of people, but it also brings out an ugly and even violent aspect of our human nature. This is true wherever the arrow of your idealism is pointing.

I have heard a lot of my sisters and brothers on the left side of the political spectrum tell me:

If Bernie loses they will sit out the election.

They will never vote for Hillary.

Hillary is no different than a republican.

Republicans and democrats are the same, that’s why we need a socialist.

Hillary is evil and she must be stopped.

This is the place that fundamental-idealism brings us to in our politics. This is the power of the heart over the head.

We suffer the machinations of the fundamentalists on the other side of the spectrum all the time. They have taken over the republican party. Their idealism has led them to name corporations as people, to curtain the voting rights act, to fear the immigrant, to religious intolerance, and too many other atrocious principles to articulate.

Though I am predisposed to supporting the agenda from the left wing, tyranny can also flow from those good intentions, but it will only flow from that idealism if it uncritical and fundamentalistic.