Dr. Jeffrey Sachs wrote this piece about the difference between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. It does a lot to explain how the Democratic Party under Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, while they may have championed progressive social issues, have avoided dealing with our wealth inequality issues in order to keep the support of the big money Wall Street interests. In return, Wall Street interests have provided the financial support they needed to get and stay in office. Hillary Clinton would be a continuation of this very same policy.
To the great surprise of the Party establishment, Bernie Sanders has managed to mount a serious challenge to the Clinton campaign and has done so via massive participation of small contributors rather than the Super Pacs on which Clinton largely relies. This signals a serious revolt occurring in the Democratic Party. Large numbers of Democratic grassroots supporters are demanding real change. Large numbers of first time participants and independents are also flocking to the Sanders Camp, all supporters that Hillary Clinton will require to win against any Republican candidate.
While the Party establishment has engineered the primary process to favor their favored candidate, their dilemma is how to bring the Sanders supporters into the fold in their battle against the GOP in the general election. It is not by any means a given that Bernie’s supporters, motivated by a strong desire to see social and economic change in our country will turn out for Clinton.
Tuesday night’s primary results underscore that Americans want more than a continuation of the game that Bill Clinton played 25 years ago, says Jeffrey Sachs.
I read this stuff and just wonder what some folks are thinking. The idea that Bernie’s “hype” is somehow different than any other candidates “hype” is ridiculous. Criticizing a candidate’s stump speeches for being formulaic and simplistic is completely unrealistic and a professional commentator should know better.
Campaign speeches do two things. First, and most obvious, is to define the candidate relative to his or her opponents and generate enthusiasm for the candidate. This isn’t in any way an intellectual exercise, it is entirely emotional. It is about outlining what the candidate stands for in broad strokes, not about the details. Can you imagine what an analytical, fact based speech would look like? Well, we’ve already seen that… Remember Ross Perot with his charts and graphs? No, I didn’t think you did, because it was as exciting as watching paint dry.
In actuality, Bernie Sanders has been more specific about exactly what his plan is than any other candidate. Typically candidates try not to be too specific because it just opens them up to attacks from their opponents. The idea is to be as vague as possible about the hows and inspiring about the generalities. Certainly that was the Clinton campaign’s intention initially. Only because the Sanders campaign was so specific about his agenda has Clinton’s people had to talk more about the specifics.
If one wishes to see what Bernie Sanders proposes, just go to his website Bernie Sanders CampaignThis is not secret information but details like this do not belong in a stump speech… That would put people to sleep. Speeches are to people’s hearts not minds. They are all about why you should love me, why you should be scared of the other folks. No candidate doesn’t used this strategy.
Additionally, trying to pin down any candidate in the minute details of how they will actualize their agendas is also unrealistic. Sure, like Hillary Clinton, there will be areas on which they are real experts. No one in the 2016 is going to stand up to Clinton on foreign affairs. But the President of the United States is really a high level manager and big picture thinker. He or she is not the person who has to work out the details of how to do something. They hire experts for that. What they do is outlines the direction, they work out the big picture agenda and then find specialist who can help them work out legislative proposals to send to Congress. Even then, it isn’t the President who typically writes the actual legislation any more than the President actually votes on it. That’s the job of Congress. The President sets the direction and then, as leader of his or her Party, gets the Party members in Congress to make these proposals happen.
Bernie Sanders has been very specific about the initiatives his administration would take. More so than any other candidate… But his current team is about getting him elected. His eventual Cabinet will not be the same people for the most part. It’s a different set of skills. When so-called pundits sit back and take shots at the candidates with criticisms that are just unrealistic and actually distort an understanding of he real process, they reveal once again that it is about generating readership or viewership rather than doing reporting that enhances an understanding of the real issues. This article is one such report.
Here is the original article.
Why are some of us immune to the Bernie hype and not others? Here’s a philosophical examination.
Just to be clear… Bernie Sanders is NOT a Socialist. Bernie Sanders is a candidate who advocates for a mixed capitalist economy in which certain services are considered existing “for the public good” and therefore should not be controlled by privatized, for profit entities. Things like Health Care, Education, our Corrections System, etc. should be seen as a “public good” and should be operated as such, not for profit. So, they should be publicly funded. That’s what Bernie Sanders advocates. Not any kind of wild radicalism there…
Nowhere does he call for the end of private property. Nowhere is he advocating the nationalization of Ford Motor Company or any of the other major “means of production”. He’s fine with private industry but does feel strongly that they require government regulation to keep them on the straight and narrow given the inherent tension between what is best for the country and what is best for their stock holders. So, they get to do what is best for their stock holders, as long as it doesn’t against the public good. Now how radical is that?
Full Definition of socialism
1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2a: a system of society or group living in which there is no private propertyb: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
3: a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done
If you really want to understand why the war on terror isn’t “winnable” in anything like the way we are conducting this war, read this article.
I am in the strange position of knowing that I am on the ‘Kill List’. I know this because I have been told, and I know because I have been targeted for death over and over again. Four times missiles have been fired at me. I am extraordinarily fortunate to be alive.
Now that Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign is generating lots of media attention, the word “socialism” is in the news. But few Americans know what it is or what Sanders means when he describes himself as a “democratic socialist.”
This from the New York times. If the President did bypass the Senate and appoint Garland, the Right would almost certainly sue. So, the question would end up being the Supreme Court charged with deciding whether the President could appoint a justice to that same court if the Senate refused to participate.
Through inaction, the Senate is waiving its constitutional duty to act on nominations.
The Right maintains that President Obama is somehow responsible for the creation of ISIS, that pulling our troops out of Iraq was a mistake. Somehow, we reduced troop strength in the country “too soon”. Ostensibly, the same thing applies to Afghanistan where the Taliban seems to be slowly reasserting itself.
Frankly, this “illogic” completely ignores any of the lessons one might derive from a knowledge of history, a mistake that governments make over and over. Hubris prevents them from learning anything from history. They always seem to assume that they know better, are more competent, stronger, more committed than those that have gone before.
Vietnam presents a perfect lesson that people are ignoring in pursuit of their agendas. Vietnam was a colony of France, known as French Indo-China. The Vietnamese resisted French colonization… the Viet Minh fought them until the beginning of WWII when the Japanese invaded in 1940. So, then, the Vietnamese proceeded to fight the Japanese, many under the impression that their alliance with the Western powers against Japan might result in independence after Japan’s defeat in 1945.
After WWII ended, the colonial powers attempted to maintain their empires, despite the fact that the battle against the Japanese had created resistance movements with nationalist aspirations throughout their empires.
So, with US support, the French battled with the Viet Minh lead by Ho Cho Minh which had turned its organization to fighting for independence against the French once again. A little known fact is that the US actually offered France two nuclear bombs to use against the Viet Minh but, to their credit, they refused the offer.
In 1954 the French were decisively defeated at the battle of Dien Bien Phu by General Giap’s Viet Minh forces and Vietnam was “temporarily” partitioned by the Geneva accords. . The war then transitioned into a war of reunification. The Viet Minh transitioned into the Viet Cong in the South.
Supporting a corrupt and unpopular Catholic leader in the overwhelmingly Buddhist South (President Diem), the US is increasingly drawn into the conflict directly. President Kennedy, looking for an “easy” victory to show he was tough on Communism (after the fiasco of the Bay of Pigs) commits advisers in increasing numbers. In 1964, the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which didn’t really happen, provided Congress with the excuse to put in combat troops.
By 1968 we have half a million troops in the country.that the war is going well, that victory is just around the corner and the American public is completely unaware of what is really happening in the country. The Viet Cong initiated the Tet Offensive in 1968. They simultaneously mounted offensive actions in every major urban area in Vietnam, their forces actually made it into the American embassy in Saigon and the Ambassador was forced to flee to save himself.
This was certainly not the action of an enemy that was near defeat. The shock waves went through the American public, a serious anti-war movement began to coalesce, Nixon escalated the war, bombed the North, mined Hai Phong Harbor, etc.
As America became increasingly war weary, the new policy became “Vietnamization” where we supposedly would pass the war off to the Vietnamese themselves and we would provide support. As everyone is aware, on April 30th 1975 North Vietnamese troops captured Saigon and the war was over. After winning every major battle we fought in the country for over a decade we lost the war itself.
Why does any of this matter? What it should do, is point out that in the modern world, invading and occupying other countries has become an untenable strategy. The Vietnamese never stopped resisting French occupation starting in the late 1800’s until 1954. US arrogance caused us to belive that we would be “different” and we stepped right into the same mess that had defeated the French.
We dropped more explosives on Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia than had been dropped in all of WWII, yet the end result was defeat. One million Vietnamese were killed in the conflict with the US. The vast majority were killed by air strikes, which meant that the US killed most of them. So, in order to gain independence, the Vietnamese fought us for over ten years, and despite losing every major military engagement with the US, sustaining a million killed, and far more wounded, they never gave up, their resolve to expel the foreigners never wavered.
Does any of this sound familiar? Perhaps one might reflect that the Afghans lost a million or so people just fighting the Russians. Despite that fact, they never cease the struggle and Russia with drew in defeat. So, what did we do? We invaded that same country, a country with the nickname “graveyard of empires”. Doesn’t anyone read history any more? The results have been very similar for us. Close to 100,000 Afghan dead in fighting and 350,000 dead as an indirect consequence of the fighting all since 2001. Yet, as we have withdrawn, the opposition simply reasserts itself. It seems that the only way to keep control of the country is to maintain overwhelming force in an occupation role. And the enemy shows no sign of wavering.
How about Iraq? We used a bogus red herring, weapons of mass destruction, to justify going in (sound like the Gulf of Tonkin fake incident?) We have now invaded the country twice. We installed an unpopular leader to run the country (like Diem?) that has failed to unify the country. We have killed at least a quarter million Iraqis and with countless more casualties (over a million). The strategy has been to pass the war off to the Iraqis themselves (sound like Vietnamization?) and the results have been just about as bad as in Vietnam. This is all so predictable… yet we fail every time to look at the lessons provided by our past experience.
So, the Right would say that we have pulled out “too soon”, that Obama is responsible for the rise of ISIS. What does “too soon:” mean? This has been the longest war in US history. The narrative that says that we could have prevailed if we had just stayed longer, just committed more troops, just bombed some additional targets is bogus at best. We used everyone of those rationales in Vietnam and they refused to stop fighting. They NEVER gave up despite everything we did. Who thinks that the Afghans, the Iraqis, the Syrians or the Libyans are somehow different? Are they less committed to ridding their countries of foreigners? Do they resent our interference any less? Do we actually think that, after killing hundreds of thousands, supposedly to free them from Saddam, they are going to view us as friends?
The President has made the only decisions he reasonably could make and that has been to withdraw our troops. The governments of both Afghanistan and Iraq both requested that we do so. It’s their country right? These wars are unwinnable in the sense that we can successfully achieve an end that we would like. We destabilized the entire middle east when we invaded Iraq and deposed Saddam. There is simply no way to put the Genie back in the bottle. President Obama is criticized for his “incremental” approach to the conflict.
But it is a fact that there is simply no way we are going to engineer any outcome that is satisfactory to our interests. Pretending that we can apply strategies that have failed in the past in other circumstances to make it all right is delusional. One of the definitions of insanity is to repeat the same thing over and over expecting different results. Right-wing bellicosity may play well with an electorate baffled and frightened by events in the region, but not a one of them has proposed any solutions that are viable and are not just a repeat of disproved and failed strategies of the past.
One of the amazing (sic) revelations coming out of the continuous release of more information from the so-called “Panama Papers” is just how many rich and powerful people have family members who own multiple shell companies registered via Mossack – Fonseca. We have wives, fathers and mothers, cousins, in-laws, and so on. It’s amazing how many close relations of these public figures are business people themselves… Often the wife of a huge multi national CEO might actually “own” more companies than her husband does. Isn’t that amazing! Business skills clearly run in families.
It is particularly heartening to see how the leaders of current and former “Communist” powers are now investing in the future of Capitalism by parking their “investments” in companies in the West.
Speaking of the West, it has been noted that a dearth of major Western leaders has been revealed so far. Could it be that our business and political leadership is more honest, less hypocritical, more willing to pay their fair share than the leaders of other countries? Or, more likely, could it be that since our elites own virtually all of the major media, including the publications whose journalists have been working through the leaked documents, they might actually be filtering the information in such a way that these very elites are sheltered from public censure? Could it be?
The Chinese leadership has had it the easiest. They have simply shut down any and all mention of the Panama Papers, criticism of officials or their families, etc. Since Putin has control over most Russian media, he has turned his spin doctors loose using a tried and true strategy, it’s all a plot by the West and the CIA to discredit him and weaken the “Rodina”.
But, it’s harder for the elites in the West. They have to try to at least pretend that we are democracies, that we have freedom of the press, free access to information, etc. It’s not quite in their power to completely shut down the revelations. So it’s all about being selective… filtering out what would be damaging or embarrassing for our prominent elites while leaking enough information about totalitarian leaders, leaders of developing countries (where we simply expect such things), sprinkled with a few leaders from the West (Iceland of all places) to make things seem even handed.
If, like me, you are old enough to remember the leaking of the Pentagon Papers back in 1971, you will remember that it took some time for people to work through the massive stack of volumes that comprised the secret history of our involvement in Vietnam (much of which put the lie to the conventional wisdom of the time). The damage the leak did caused Nixon to set up the “plumbers” (to stop leaks). They attempted to discredit Daniel Ellsberg, the analyst who leaked the papers, and eventually the same folks were caught burgling the Democratic Headquarters at the Watergate complex. So, in a sense, the Pentagon Papers changed the world.
The Panama Papers have the potential to blow the lid off the way in which the moneyed elites hide their wealth from the tax man and from the citizens that they have ripped off. The critical point to understand is that these documents came from just one small company in Panama, one of many that do this sort of shady work. What else is out there to be discovered? Clearly what we have seen is the tip of the iceberg. It’s going to be interesting to see what’s next.
It isn’t enough to send Bernie Sanders to Washington as President if we also do not give him a supportive Congress. Four to eight years of Congressional gridlock with the Right fighting a continuous holding action against the changes we so desperately need to be addressing? We can’t afford that.
If you can see your way to contributing, ActBlue is raising funds that will be split evenly between the candidates who have endorsed Bernie Sanders. Lte’s send a “team Sanders” to Washington! ActBlue Congressional Progressives Campaign
Bernie Sanders – Radical?
Most of what Bernie Sanders advocates, we ALREADY have in some form. And they are massively popular programs with the public.
Tax payer funded public education for K – 12 is a fundamental underpinning of our society. There would be zero support for getting rid of tax payer supported from anyone, regardless of political party affiliation. Bernie Sanders proposal that we provide tax payer supported education through the four year degree level isn’t “radical”, it’s merely an expansion of an existing program that is totally non-controversial. America long ago decided that income should not be the determiner of access to education. That was back in the day when a high school diploma was needed to ensure success. Now, it is a college degree and it only makes sense to simply extend the program through the four year college level. Our existing state and community college system would be the mechanism. What is “radical” about that?
Single payer health care… We have two Federally funded health care systems in the US. Medicare and the Veteran’s Administration are tax payer funded systems for covering the costs of health care for our elderly and our veterans. Virtually no one in the American public thinks we should get rid of these programs. What Bernie advocates is merely an expansion of these programs to cover everyone and not just the old and veteran communities. In a country in which the number one cause of personal bankruptcy is medical expense and the largely privatized health care system has the highest costs of health care in the world this only makes sense.
Let’s stop calling things “radical” when they aren’t. “radical is putting the Bankers up against the wall. Radical is nationalization of industries. “Radical” is NOT taking already existing successful programs and expanding them.