In a Twitter thread early this morning, in response to Mike (The Humanist Report) Figueredo's rather catty reply to Sharon Stone's wretched tweet, before I heard that Bernie Sanders had suspended his presidential campaign:
Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is still all over the news, and Edie has been paying attention to AOC's evolution from outsider to Democratic back-bench Congresscritter. She doesn't like what she sees. She has asked me to withdraw her laudatory essay from a few weeks ago and replace it with this one, which also has plenty to say about Senator Bernard Sanders (Independent, sorta, from Vermont).
This essay rambles a bit, but Edie assures me that it rambled more before she cut it from 16,000-plus words to fewer than 4,000. I have omitted almost all the photos and other graphics that Edie lovingly inserted into the original document. Saving them and inserting them here is more work than I can manage right now without risking repetitive motion injury.
Disclaimer: I don't agree with all of it, but I present it for your consideration.
Desperately Seeking Bernie's Balls
Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have faithfully and dutifully taken up the Democratic Party’s mantra: "You have no choice; you have nowhere to go: it’s either us or the Republicans. T.I.N.A.: 'There Is No Alternative.'”
Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez can head up a third party movement and, in doing so, they can free electoral politics from the two-party stranglehold. But they refuse to do that.
Click here for an amazing video [from Jimmy Dore]. It begins with Bernie Sanders back in the 1990s arguing passionately for a third party movement. Then we hear from the all-new version of Bernie Sanders—the 2018 version of Bernie Sanders—arguing, just as passionately, against a third party movement.
His own words identify him as a sellout.
What Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are saying to those on their left is: “You have no choice; you have nowhere to go except with us.” Which is the same thing Hillary Clinton said to those on her left when she ran for president in 2008 and 2016: “You have no choice; you have nowhere to go except with me.”
As far as the Democratic Party is concerned, Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are safe. They’re in the fold. Wanna hear a joke? Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claim they’re socialists. Please! That doesn’t pass The Gag Test. Like the Democratic Socialists of America, they use the label of socialism to advance politically. Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the DSA are socialists like my Uncle Dominic wears a bra and poses for Playboy. They’re not about to rock the boat. They’ve been neutered.
Bernie Sanders isn’t a socialist, he isn’t a radical and he isn’t a revolutionary. As Alexander Cockburn, one of the co-founders of Counter Punch, put it:
Bernie Sanders, the hot air factory from Vermont, wouldn’t know a revolution if it stood up and bit him in the ass.
I almost never share these petition thingies, but I found this one from World Beyond War particularly timely.
As World Beyond War notes, during his 2016 presidential campaign, Vermont Senator Bernard Sanders was eerily silent on the subject of foreign & military policy. His website said very little on the topic, particularly about the Middle East. This was a canny calculation, betting that voters were mostly interested in bread & butter issues (see Bill "It's the Economy, Stupid!" Clinton, 1992).
Bernie & friends also knew that any talk of Israel—especially criticism, no matter how politely phrased—is a third rail that sitting US Senators must avoid. He may be making some noise at the Capitol about ending US involvement in Yemen, but only under pressure from his constituents and supporters. It took Chris Murphy (D-CT) to bring it up in the Senate—and, even then, only when Barack Obama was no longer Commander-in-Chief.
I have admired & respected Bernie since he was mayor of Burlington. However, this reticence on his part was one of several reasons I could not support his campaign.
Way back in 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King identified militarism and military spending as a grand theft from the people. Several years before that, President Dwight D. Eisenhower said something similar on national television. Why have mainstream politicians, even the progressive ones, lost sight of that undeniable fact?
Normally I would wait until Monday to post reflections on a Sunday afternoon political outing. But I couldn't wait that long to give some online kudos to the crew at Our Revolution. Mainly thanks to Facilitator Ann Rosenwinkel, the two-hour Texas Gulf Coast regional quarterly meeting at the Havens Center was well attended, ended well ahead of schedule, and accomplished quite a bit.
Mostly, the meeting gave members a chance to chat with some candidates and choose their delegates to next weekend's state meeting in San Antonio.
Sigh. Once upon a time, the Harris County Green Party could run a meeting that accomplished a lot and left attendees feeling energized afterward. Even when some members occasionally used meetings as soapboxes for their pet issues, we got stuff done.
Now that I have signed into an Our Revolution meeting, apparently I'm a member of something. Do I feel sufficiently jazzed by the experience to want to pour my blood, sweat, and tears into OR? Nah. But even if I have lingering suspicions about it being just another way to keep wayward progressives voting for Democrats, I must respect the way they ran this meeting and the group's sense of purpose.
...and I have no patience
for either of you (major political parties).
Happy Saint Valentine's Day, comrades.
BTW, there's an update at the bottom of this entry.
Yesterday, minutes after I had posted a link on The Facebook to the Redacted Tonight VIP interview with Sandernista Nick Braña of draftbernie.org (below the fold), some algorithmic magic displayed for my perusal a link to a group called Progressive Army against Trump and Republicans. I was intrigued enough to click through, but the pinned post at the top made me recoil. Run-on sentences aside, it was bad enough that I had dropped in on several #Resistance groups' meetings, including Socialist Alternative, at which working with the Democratic Party was considered an option. For this group, the Democratic Party is the One True Vehicle of Resistance.
While I'm not really given to describing for the public what my partner and I do in bed, I am perfectly willing to divulge this:
Last night, through the miracle of smartphone technology, we watched video streaming of Jill Stein addressing a crowd at FDR Park in Philadelphia.
It was an intimate moment that we shared with a couple thousand other Facebook users. A torrent of thumbs-up and heart icons flowed right to left across the screen of the phone. The majority of comments scrolling by were not just supportive, but filled with ALL CAPS love.
You can peruse some of the Philadelphia videos on Jill's Facebook page.
Even with the news of Bernie Sanders endorsing Hillary Clinton's candidacy, and the resulting stampede of Sanders's supporters toward Jill Stein and the Greens, the latest NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll shows Stein still hovering in the vicinity of 5% nationwide.
Any bets as to whether that number increases substantially, and how much, in the next few weeks?
The NBC/SM poll is notable for having a considerably larger sample size, and thus a smaller margin of error, than most of the academic polls like Quinnipiac and Monmouth. That sample does skew affluent and white, since, per conventional wisdom, actual voting does as well. About 8% of the respondents identified as "Black," and about the same as "Hispanic/Latino," whereas both of these ethnicities compose nearly twice that percentage of the total US population.
As we have noted previously:
Mystery & intrigue, y'all. Could Dr. Stein be that "someone else" for, say, 7% of the voters?
My imagination is getting a workout.
Senator Bernie Sanders has a reputation as a person of integrity: When he said months ago that he would support the Democratic nominee, I took him at his word. Today he went and did it.
Imagine if Sanders endorsed former Senator Hillary Clinton today with the ulterior motive of showing the Democratic Party and world how many of his supporters would vote Green rather than stay in the Democratic fold?
I use that word "fold" because, since Sanders entered the race, progressive analysts and cranks have bandied about the term "sheepdogging" to describe Bernie's purpose to the Democratic Party: attract a huge herd of Progressive sheep, then drive those sheep toward the inevitably less-progressive nominee, playing on fears of the Republican wolves. See also Kucinich, Dennis; Dean, Howard; Brown, Jerry; and Jackson, Jesse.
This quickie post is for my friends who voted for Senator Bernard Sanders in the Democratic presidential primaries and caucuses, and who do not believe former Senator Hillary Clinton is an acceptable choice in the general election.
Revolt Against Plutocracy (RAP) has called upon Sanders supporters to exercise a bit of leverage at the convention by showing the superdelegates not just the numbers, but the loyalty of those supporters. The group has set of a goal of one million names of voters who will vote for Jill Stein or a Sanders write-in campaign before they will vote for Clinton.
This is electoral politics at its most delicious in this most interesting election year. Major kudos to this group.
If superdelegates cannot see that Sanders is the better option for defeating Donald Trump and the Republicans, the party will lose what tenuous grip it has on progressives. I'm banking on the superdelegates responding with a show of fealty to Clinton, either as a direct rebuff or just ignoring RAP's petition. Why? Because they know on which side their proverbial bread is buttered and will "dance with her what brought them," as Saint Molly Ivins would put it.
For multiple reasons, I'm not supporting Bernie Sanders for President. But I will defend his right to run, whether he runs as a Democrat or an Independent candidate.
He won't win. So what? There are higher purposes in running for public office than actually winning the election. That's less true when winning requires raising and spending a billion dollars, but if you can use your political capital to point out how utterly debased the system is and advocate populist solutions, go for it.
If the political tides change drastically and he does win, he'll be 75 when he takes office. So what? He's far more lucid than our last geriatric president.
He has voted for some icky pro-Israel resolutions. He also voted for the PATRIOT Act. These are not in the "so what?" category.
I am not anti-Israel, but I am anti–Israeli aggression, just as I oppose any government's aggression against its neighbors or internal ethnic groups. I especially abhor US aggression overseas and our police state at home. I wish more US Congressmembers, whether they claim Jewish ancestry or not, had the courage to stand up to Israel and AIPAC. I wish AIPAC and friends did not loudly equate misgivings about aid to Israel as anti-Semitism.
The massive USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 was written before 11 September 2001, but it was introduced as a response to it. Our legislators didn't read it. Their staffs likely didn't read it. They had only a vague idea of its implications. In the Senate, only Russ Feingold of Wisconsin voted against it, despite 66 representatives voting Nay in the House. What does this have to do with Bernie? It shows either a) how susceptible to peer pressure he can be or b) how he is willing to break from progressive orthodoxy and vote in ways that he perceives as beneficial to the nation. (Maybe there were lucrative contracts for Vermont firms buried in the PATRIOT Act; I'm certainly not going to read it, or even research online, and try to find them.)
It is important to remember, at least occasionally, that politics and governance are complex beasts; that some of the men and women we elect have complex reasons for their actions, whether or not we approve of those actions. Also, people change. Bernie may have once been a devoted Socialist, and may still talk a good game of redistributive economics, but the man has too much Washington in his blood.
The best reasonable hope for US Greens is that Senator Sanders will energize a sleeping electorate, lose the nomination, and convince those millions newly minted Progressives and Socialists to vote Green rather than settling for insert Democratic nominee here—I'm not falling for the Hillary Clinton Inevitability Narrative.
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