Search This Blog

Showing posts with label Senator Sanders. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Senator Sanders. Show all posts

Saturday, August 27, 2016

May You Live in Interesting Times ~ Ancient Curse Part Three

Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

May You Live in Interesting Times ~ Ancient Curse

Part Three

The Associated Press put out a story this week; insinuating that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave special access to people who were donors to charitable foundations her family had started.

It blew up on the air waves for a day or so, and then went up in a puff of “Mehh…” because there was no evidence of wrongdoing, criminality, ethics violations, or anything else, just bad politics, and not the kind of bad politics that hurts people. No one was suggesting that the Clinton Foundation, or the Clinton Global Initiative do bad work. They are well respected around the world. It was just bad politics in the sense that it created a bad public image for the Democratic Party’s nominee. It made for bad PR.

It was ridiculous.

In the meantime; Senator Bernie Sanders got together with the political action group he is attempting to organize in the wake of his failed bed for the Democratic Party’s nomination. The group is called Our Revolution, it is intended to harness the political power of Bernie Sanders’ supporters to help elect progressive candidates down ballot, and into local offices.

Bernie hoped to organize TV parties nation-wide, with millions of viewers in attendance. He intended to encourage them to pull together, even as they were falling apart over questions of leadership, in-fighting, and who would control the agenda.

For all of you ultra-left progressives who are still smarting over the fact that your guy lost; be happy that he did. The soft implosion of his Our Revolution organization is exactly what would have happened to any organization he tried to put together if he had won. Political actors on the far left, those who are always trying to push us toward a third party, toward a Green party, a Jill Stein, a Ralph Nader; they are by their nature, quitters. When they lose a bid for something they throw their hands up in protest and quit. They have all quit on Bernie now, and they would have quit at the first sign of anything that was not indicative of their getting their way. The virtue of partisanship is sticktoitivness. Hang together, through thick and thin, preserve your strength and energy for the win.

Donald Trump; the T-Rump this week reorganized his campaign and threw in with the right wing extremists of Britebart News. White supremecists, neo-nazis, the Ku Klux Klan; while out of the otherside of his mouth he began calling HRC a bigot.

The campaign is deteriorating into a celebration of the bizarre.      

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 10, 2016

Momentum is Not a Rationale for Governing - Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion


Momentum is Not a Rationale for Governing

I have been hearing this argument since January, but over the last couple of weeks it has gotten increasingly more passionate. The argument has two prongs, and it is this:

Bernie Sanders has the momentum
Bernie Sanders leads the republicans by wider margins than Hillary Clinton in the survey polls
Bernie Sanders can win
Vote for Bernie Sanders

This is not a policy discussion. This is not a debate about substantive issues, this is BS.


BS has legitimate energy and enthusiasm behind his political campaign, there is no denying that. So does HRC. Over the course of the campaign they have each had moments where they were surging and winning contests by large percentages.

If you were to look at a single segment of the race, and focus only on a single upswing for a given candidate you could make that argument with equal validity for either one.

If you were to look at the arc of momentum over the whole race (up until now, this could change over future contests), you have would have to conclude that the inertia belongs to HRC. The enthusiasm of the voters for her candidacy has yielded more statewide victories, the support of more pledged delegates, and 2.5 million more votes.

The momentum in the campaign belongs to HRC (at the moment), regardless of the fact that her numbers appear to be in a trough at this time. She will likely peak again very soon. The inertia is hers, and the BS campaign appears to less and less of a movement that stands on its own and more of thing that simply drags at HRC campaign’s numbers.

Demographic Polls:

For several weeks I have heard BS on the stump touting the fact that he leads all of the republican candidates in the demographic polls. Based on this he says that you should nominate him.

HRC beats the republican candidates as well, also by wide margins (though they are smaller).

While this kind of data is important, and it is important for campaigns to track; at this moment in the race it is not in the slightest way an argument for electability. This is a bait and switch. The polls will change, all reputable pollsters agree. The margins of both candidates over their republican opponents will shrink, at times it may disappear completely, or hover around the margin of error. That is normal in a campaign cycle.

These arguments are never arguments for electability, they can only be arguments for or against the probability of victory; probabilities which are always in flux.

Furthermore, this is the exact same argument as Donald Trump makes in his speeches, and it is unworthy of a serious politician. BS should stop.

This is the case:

Both Senator Sanders, and Secretary Clinton can win. They both have great momentum. Bernie has fantastic rallies, Hillary has earned more votes than any candidate in the race (from either party). The enthusiasm of their supporters looks different from one to the other, but it is real. In the end, whoever wins will need the support of the other

I hope that whoever is nominated by the democratic party will get your vote. Either of them would be better than any of the republicans, just as the Democratic Party agenda is better for the America people than the Republican Party agenda.

Let us quit talk about momentum, and wave frequency. Let us start talking public policy and get down to meaning full discussion of how we are going to pull this off.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Voting for Hillary Part IV - Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion


Voting for Hillary Part IV

As a supporter of Hillary (HRC), I can tell you that it was gratifying to watch the results come in from yesterday primary in South Carolina. Even though I am not anticipating it, I hope my DFL friends who are planning to caucus on Tuesday I hope we can show the same good sense. I am going to be up at Jefferson Elementary Tuesday night, March 1st; making the case.

I support HRC, it is not that I don’t think Senator Sanders (BS), has good ideas; I do. I share his ideals, but I think, as many of you have heard me say, that HRC has a much better chance of advancing the progressive agenda than BS does.

This is why I think HRC will get more traction for her agenda than BS will be able to do:

The republican establishment has been playing a long con, for the past eight years, by refusing to cooperate with Obama. They thought they could keep both social policy, and economic progress stagnant, and that this would do enough damage to the democratic brand that America would abandon both President Obama and his allies in congress. President Obama was able to get some things done, like the ACA, in the first two years, when the democratic party had control of both chambers of congress. However, in 2010 the democrats lost the House of Representatives, and the obstruction set in, and the long con began.

This gamesmanship did not work out quite the way they planned, President Obama was reelected, but the republicans did gain control of the Senate, and so they doubled down on their strategy for his second term; thinking that if things were held at a standstill the election this year, in 2016, would be viewed as a referendum on the Democratic Party and they would be able to sweep in. It was a big gamble, and the results of the 2014 election indicated that it might be working, the republicans strengthened their hand that year, and yet the con is not complete, and the risks are still risky, because the big money behind the Republican Party establishment, wants more than anything to make money. They want 4% or 5% economic growth, not 1% or 2%. They want the prime lending rate at 1% or 2% not 0%, or 0.25% which it is now.

The way I see the last eight years is that those interests basically accepted the notion of having a weak U.S. economy, one in which they were still making money, still performing better than the rest of the world (by just sitting on their capitol), with the hope that at the end of it they would have both houses of congress, the executive branch, and the Supreme Court all wrapped up. That is the con, but it did not quite work.

The economy performed better than expected. The stock market performed better than expected, the rest of the world did much worse than expected. At the moment, the U.S. economy is benefitting from the global slow down. The recent slowdown in China only benefits us, it hurts the stock market short term, it generated some uncertainty and instability, but it will help us in the longer term, because investment dollars will move away from those markets, into ours due to the long term stability that the United States provides. Furthermore, beyond those economic considerations, that long con that the republican establishment played forced the establishment to coddle the most rightwing elements of their party, and now establishment has been completely undermined by their ideological clowns, and they are on the verge losing control of it to an upstart named Donald Trump.

Here is the deal, those republican economic interests are not going to triple down on that bet. They will not play the con any longer if their gambit does not pay off. Those economic interests who are sitting on (as much or more than) two-trillion dollars in capitol, are going to free up that capitol, and return to investing it in the U.S., in our work force, in technology, in industry and in infrastructure development. Securing that capital investment, cooperatively (not by coercion), is the key to economic development and prosperity in American for the next several decades. But they will only play ball, if they have someone in office that will play ball with them. HRC will work with them.

For many of my friends, the fact that HRC will work with these interest groups is reason enough not to support her. I respect that, but I contend that it is short sighted. We want that capital investment in America, we can get to it much faster if we deal with them, than we can if the plan is to change the tax structure first, and take it from them. HRC will be able to make a deal in the short term, but only if they get some concessions. HRC will be able to cut an infrastructure deal, BS will not. This is true regarding the rest of their proposed agendas; HRC will be able to make deals and get some things done and BS will not. I am not going to put forward a long list of what HRC will be able to do that BS won’t, because that one example (on infrastructure) summarizes my argument and my point of view, and I think you can extrapolate my rationale from there.

I am certain that if Hillary puts out a reasonable plan for growth and the Republican leadership refuses to play ball, there will be some party switching, republicans will defect, and the leadership will get some marching orders from those economic interest groups; they will be told to play ball, those economic powers do not want another four or eight years of weak growth.

BS however, he will not get that consideration, because he either will not compromise, or he will not compromise enough. The strength of his idealism, will become his ideological weakness, he will not compromise enough. His idealism will have him come off looking like the crazy person at the bargaining table, and they will drive him out as a failure in four years, while at the same time holding on to the other channels of power. The republicans will triple down on their bet then, and the great con game will continue.