To put it briefly, it’s the movement that matters. The office of the President is secondary to the movement, and almost, but not quite, peripheral. Winning the presidency is significant. It can be a rallying point which inspires the people to further action, and to greater goals and greater victories. But it is secondary to the movement itself — significant, but secondary. The movement is what is essential. And what’s more, if the Bernie Sanders supporters stay strong, there can be victory in both regards.
It looks like it is going to be a contested convention. That means the pundits are irrelevant, because anything can happen. Remember that. And here are a few other important points we should remember, and bear in mind, as the battle just begins.
To put things into perspective, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump represent extreme right wing political trends and policies. Hillary is a neocon, carrying forward the legacy of Ronald Reagan, Bush Senior, her husband, the Bush-Cheney regime, and Obama, who together, successfully rolled back the greater part of the social gains made by the New Deal, and even, quite literally, since the Magna Carta, further consolidating the powers of the ruling corporate elite, unleashing corporate globalization, and deregulating Wall Street, beginning the construction of a police state and the demolition of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and democracy and freedom in America, and intensifying and expanding the already raging imperial wars abroad — all for the sake of elite interests and corporate profits, of course.
So Hillary comes from that tradition, that legacy, and that ideology, and is a proven neocon, like her husband, Bill Clinton, like Bush I and Bush II, like Obama, and very much like Reagan and Thatcher. She presents herself as a liberal progressive, and a populist democrat, exactly as Obama did. But brand Obama turned out to be a disguise and a PR cover for a continuation of further neocon policies, exactly as I warned in 2007, before he was first elected as president, and Shillery Clinton is no different. She works for Wall Street and the military-industrial complex. That explains it all, and that summarizes it all.
As Ron Paul said of Hillary, “She’s a neocon. She could run as a Republican.” And now she’s courted the Bush family, and is seeking, and gaining, the support of the establishment Republicans — meaning, the necon Republicans — just as she has the backing of the establishment Democrats, who are the other wing of the US corporate party, as Chomsky has said.
Hillary is a psychopath, frankly, with a maniacal lust for war and a proven track record of habitual lying, hawkish militarism and empire fetish, and loyal service to Wall Street — she can be supported by no one of sound mind or sound conscience, under any circumstances. Period.
Trump is even further to the right than Hillary in some ways. And we should remember that the Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower would have considered Hillary a lunatic, and an extreme right-wing fanatic.
So we have, once again, exactly as in 2012, two major candidates in the US presidential election who are on the far right — Hillary and Trump. They don’t present themselves that way of course, because the great majority of the people of the US hold centre-left views, and so, they try to play the role of centrist or center-left populists, which they decidedly are not. They are slight variations on Dick Cheney, and nothing other.
Bernie is the one candidate in the 2016 US presidential election who is resisting the ominous slide to the far right and the on-going corporate take-over of the nation and the world. He is neck and neck with Hillary in the polls now — pretty much even; but the fact that Hillary commands the most powerful political machine in the United States — at the present moment at least, though it is rapidly crumbling — and is overwhelmingly favoured by the Democratic party establishment, is deeply worrisome. Remember, however, it ain’t over ‘till it’s over. And as Thoreau said, there is more day yet to dawn.
“I think Clinton supporters have done a huge disservice to America by turning their backs on Bernie in favor of a war hawk neocon establishment shill like Hillary. All they have done is help the establishment continue screwing us all. It’s beyond my comprehension that we could have had an indomitable coalition of moderate independents and conservatives along with progressives and liberals that make up Bernie’s supporters, except for a bunch of moderates that were either fixated on electing the first female President, lack the vision and courage required to stand up to the establishment, or are blind to the problems this country faces, choosing to support the candidate of choice for the very establishment that’s screwing us all. We could have stopped worrying about Trump or any other Republican long ago had Clinton supporters joined our political revolution. We could have been focused on the Congressional and Senate races and getting the progressive candidates elected. Instead we are on the verge of losing this once in a lifetime opportunity to make America by the people, for the people, and possibly losing the general election as the result. How sad is that?
We are keenly aware of the problems facing this nation and we are aware that neocon Dems and neoliberal Republicans are cut from the same cloth. They just pander to different base voters so neocon Dems like Hillary pay lip service to progressive and liberal ideals and Republicans pay lip service to conservative and evangelical “Christian” ideals. Both ultimately serve the same master: the oligarchy and the plutocrats. Those that have come to this realization have no allegiance to either party.”
– Patrick Steele
Well said. I absolutely agree. But I still hope that Bernie can win, in one way or another — if not through the primaries, then as a third party candidate — and I think that he still can. At this point, anything is still possible, and the game is far from over. But regardless, Bernie is not the revolution, but only one of its many leading figures. With or without capturing the White House, we go on. And that is the most critical thing to remember.
We should remember also, for context, something that Chomsky has pointed out, and which should be obvious, and that is: the entire political landscape in the US, and both major parties, have slid so far to the right over the past fifty years, that what was once a moderate Republican stance, under Eisenhower, which is a New Deal democratic policy framework, is now viewed as the radical left. The Democratic party establishment is now a right wing neocon/neoliberal party, firmly ruled by Wall Street and big business, and entirely subservient to the ruling corporate powers; while the Republican party has become a party of the extreme right. These simple facts must be understood and born in mind if we are to have any sense of perspective on the current US presidential campaign at all. If we fail to realize this, we are completely and utterly lost.
Chomsky gives a lucid overview of the state of US politics in 2016, and which Common Dreams writer Jake Johnson elaborates upon, and it is worth quoting at length, and contemplating in depth:
“”It is very similar to late Wiemar Germany,” Chomsky said. “The parallels are striking. There was also tremendous disillusionment with the parliamentary system. The most striking fact about Wiemar was not that the Nazis managed to destroy the Social Democrats and the Communists but that the traditional parties, the Conservative and Liberal parties, were hated and disappeared. It left a vacuum which the Nazis very cleverly and intelligently managed to take over.”
For decades, Chomsky has warned of the right turn of the Democratic Party, which has, in an effort to win elections, adopted large swaths of the Republican platform and abandoned the form of liberalism that gave us the New Deal and, later, Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society.
Trump has been viewed with bewilderment by politicians who have divorced themselves from the needs of the people and who have sold them false goods to get ahead. But Trump, as Chomsky’s prescient interview demonstrates, was inevitable.
This new approach was canonized by Bill Clinton, who triumphantly declared that the “era of big government is over.”
With this declaration, Clinton ushered in a new era of the Democratic Party (the so-called New Democrats), which left behind the working class and cultivated amiable relationships with corporate executives and Wall Street financiers; many of them would eventually occupy key positions in Clinton’s government, and many of them emerged once more during the presidency of Barack Obama….
Democrats, in short, have left the working class in the dust, often using “the excuse,” as a recent New York Times editorial put it, “that they need big-money backers to succeed.”
Republicans, meanwhile, as Chomsky has observed, are “dedicated with utter servility” to the interests of the wealthy, and their party, with its longing for war and denial of climate science, “is a danger to the human species.”
So we are faced with a political system largely devoted to the needs of organized wealth, which leaves working people anxious, worried about the future, and, as we have seen, very angry. In essence, political elites — on both sides — have created a vacuum into which a charismatic and loudmouthed demagogue can emerge.”
– Jake Johnson, Common Dreams
It is a very positive development that the subject of fascism has now re-entered the public discourse, because, as I have been saying for a long time, that is the direction we are being led — or driven, like cattle down a cattle chute — as the corporate elite and their political minions continue to wage a war on democracy and constitutional law, and to build a police state to protect and consolidate their power in the face of a deep and ever-growing crisis of legitimacy and rising populist movements world-wide. This is the underlying context which we must bear in mind, or else be completely lost and bewildered.
The people are beginning to awaken to the real threats and dangers at hand — and they are at home, not abroad. But the hour is very late.
However, the story continues to unfold. And we should remember, history is not just for reading: it is also for writing — meaning, we do not need to content ourselves with watching history unfold, but should instead, ourselves engage in the making of it.
Whatever happens with Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, he has already accomplished at least four extremely important things. He will be the next president, against the apparent odds, I do believe; but whatever the outcome of this election, much has been accomplished already, much more needs to be done — and much more is at hand, and will be done.
But let’s start with what has already been accomplished so far, and in a very short time, in less than a year. Firstly, Bernie Sanders has excited and engaged millions of people, not just in the US, but across the Western world, many of whom were previously cynical, quietly despairing, apathetic and disengaged. Second, he has injected the rhetoric, the language, and more importantly, the reality of populist politics into the political culture in the US and across the Western world. Third, he has injected the question of class, which is not the sole question, but is the central question, into the political culture in the US and across the Western world. And fourth, and perhaps most importantly, he has successfully injected a very considerable and growing class consciousness into the political culture of the US and the entire Western world. These are tremendous accomplishments, and accomplishments of great and profound, far-reaching significance, and also, tremendous potential.
Having said that, this is not the time for backing off, much less for giving up. This is not the time to bow out, concede defeat, and quietly return to our arm chairs to collectively congratulate ourselves and pat ourselves on the back, or to mourn and lick our wounds. This is the time to press forward, and to carry this new wave of populism to its furthest potential.
Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump represent the establishment. They represent Wall Street and the corporate elite. We should be perfectly clear about that. The corporate elite have backed Hillary as their anointed, chosen candidate, and the corporate media is doing everything it can to present her in the best possible light, and to present her as the inevitable winner. But she is quite literally guilty of war crimes, her record in terms of loyalty to Wall Street and the military-industrial complex is clear, and it is damning, and beyond that, in every match-up poll that has been conducted it has been made clear that she would lose to Donald Trump, whereas Bernie Sanders would win against him by a wide margin. So if we want power restored to the people, and the power of Wall Street and big money removed from politics, as most people now want, and realize is vitally essential, we cannot support either Clinton or Trump. Or, even if we simply want to ensure that Trump loses, we cannot support Hillary, but must instead support Bernie, because that is the best way to ensure that Trump does not become the next president.
As has been said, and should be perfectly clear, Hillary is basically a neocon in drag as a populist progressive — Bernie is an actual populist progressive: that is the central difference. 64% of the American people do not trust Hillary Clinton — about the same percentage, almost exactly, as those who do not trust Trump — and with good reason; and the more that people find out about Hillary, the less they trust her. Remember also, she has a negative approval rating, and is under investigation by the FBI.
No US presidential candidate in history has won the election with a negative approval rating, or while under investigation by the FBI. Hillary has both going against her, and could be indicted by the FBI any day. Does the Democratic party really want to endorse a presidential candidate that is under investigation by the FBI? She may be the darling of the establishment, but that would still seem to be a very reckless and ill-considered move, to say the least.
Hillary has proven herself to be a staunch racist, classist, loyal servant of the elite, and a right-winger who pushed for more prisons, harsher sentences, cuts to welfare and the end of federal support for the poor, the deregulation of Wall Street, wars and coups abroad. And she now presents herself as a populist progressive. Ahis is slithery Shillery Clinton, the arch-deacon of the establishment and elite rule.
The corporate media are portraying Hillary, not only as the inevitable winner — which is anything but assured; but the media are also portraying Hillary as the candidate with experience. Well, let’s look at that experience.
Hillary in the 1990’s argued for more prisons, tougher prison sentences, and “bringing to heel” the urban black youth, who she called “super-predators.” Hillary supported her husband’s deregulation of Wall Street in the 1990’s. Hillary supported the massive bailouts to the “too big to fail” banks. Hillary voted for the Patriot Act, which shredded the Constitution, civil liberties and the Bill of Rights. Hillary has supported illegal wiretapping and the surveillance state. Hillary has been a civil liberties catastrophe. Hillary has received millions of dollars for speaking engagements to the big banks, the transcripts of which she refuses to released; and has received many millions more from Wall Street for her election campaign: and in return, she has defended Wall Street and the banking elite from any proposals to seriously reign them in, or to break up the “too big to fails”. And to repeat an essential point, Hillary is guilty, furthermore, of war crimes.
In an interview with Bill Maher, a well-meaning and good-natured, but clearly naive MSNBC journalist asked Bill Maher, rhetorically, “Would you really want Bernie Sanders stepping off Air Force One?” Bill Maher, after a moment of dumbfounded shock and incredulity on his face, replied, “Fuck yes. Anyone who got it right on Iraq, I want that person in the Oval Office.”
What Bill Maher should have added was this.
Look at Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy record, and her “experience” with foreign policy. She was head of the State Department during a State Department / CIA coup in Kieve, a very botched as well as illegal regime change, which sent the country into civil war and chaos, and put literal neo-Nazis into power in Ukraine. She was instrumental in a coup in Honduras. And she was also instrumental in the regime change in Libya, which destroyed that country, and left it in the hands of Al Queda, and in the process, spawning ISIS and the bloodbath that has spilled over into Syria.
Hillary has been a walking disaster in terms of both foreign and domestic policy. This person should be kept as far away from the levers of power as possible. She should be tried for war crimes, and in a just society, she would be. She should maybe be given a rubber room, considering her maniacal and sadistic laughter at the public murder of Gaddafi by sodomy with a knife, but she should most definitely be kept as far from the levers of power as is humanly possible. Bernie Sanders, who had the foresight to recognize that an invasion of Iraq would be a disaster, could scarcely do worse than Hillary has done, and would in all likelihood do infinitely better.
In short, there are no honest, or sane, candidates in the 2016 US presidential election, other than Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein. Jill Stein does not have a chance in 2016, though possibly in 2020, or 2024. Bernie, although still a long shot, could still win in this election. Let’s hope he does. Hillary, Trump and the rest of the hawkish, crazed clown posse of the Democratic and Republican establishment would be nothing but a continuation of the on-going, ever-escalating disaster, both foreign and domestic.
As far as electability, we should remember that Bernie Sanders has risen, in less than a year, from being a complete unknown to being a super-star and hero to millions of people — precisely because they agree with his policies: of reigning in Wall Street, getting big money out of politics, bringing health care and affordable higher education to all, seriously tackling the truly ominous environmental issues we face, and creating a more just and equal society.
Hillary has resisted the populist onslaught as well as she has so far, for three simple reasons, and three reasons only: because she is a brand name; because she has the backing of the elite — the backing of the Democratic party establishment and Wall Street; and because the corporate media support her overwhelmingly. But time is on Bernie’s side. The more people learn about Bernie Sanders, his record, and his views and policies, the more they like him and trust him. The opposite is true with Hillary. The more people find out about Hillary, the less they support her. And it is still early. Bernie can still crash her party, and overturn the corporate bandwagon, and he may well do just that.
Again, the mainstream media have been trying to paint Hillary as the inevitable winner and Bernie as the inevitable loser from the very beginning. That is because the mainstream media is controlled by corporate interests — the same corporate interests which have lavishly “donated” to (read, bribed) Hillary and her election campaign, and who have chosen Hillary as their favoured candidate. But Bernie has won in many states, and has won in many states by a landslide, with over 60, 70 or 80% of the vote, and it is Bernie who gets the powerfully energized rallies with 20,000, 30,000, 50,000 people coming out, and Bernie who has raised over six million individual donations — a record in US history — not Hillary.
So, as Public Enemy said, don’t believe the hype. And in any event, as Yogi Berra said, it ain’t over ‘till it’s over.
A presidential candidate who is under investigation by the FBI, and still taken seriously? Now that is a sign of the times. But then again, she’s only taken seriously by the ruling class and their political and media prostitutes, and by the 36% of Americans who trust her — and even that is a rapidly shrinking minority.
Clinton should be facing war crimes trials — she has received a “get out of jail free” card and a white wash by the corporate media and the political establishment, and it is heinous in the extreme, and a sign of the severe corruption and decay of the United States.
Clinton and Trump, both, now have a 20 point net negative favorability. The overwhelming majority of people don’t trust either of them. And, moreover, they are both less favourable to the people, according to recent polls, than root canal, used car salesmen, or head lice. To their credit, they both beat cockroaches, by a small margin, in terms of favorability in polling across the US.
Meanwhile, when people are asked whether they trust Bernie Sanders, the overwhelming majority say yes, they do trust him. The people overwhelmingly do not trust either Clinton or Trump.
And again, in every single poll — over 88 polls so far — Sanders is the far stronger candidate against Trump than Clinton.
Bernie would in all likelihood beat Trump, and beat him by a wide margin. Hillary would likely lose to Trump. That should be an important consideration, and one dealt with soberly, with a clear head and without bias. Democrats who are Hillary supporters should think deeply about this before the party convention, and the final decision as to who will be the presidential candidate: someone who the polls indicate could very well lose to Trump, and likely would; or someone who would almost certainly beat Trump?
Bernie can win the Democratic primary race through a contested convention, when the question is put to the people of who will lead them to the presidential office. He can win, and he most definitely should win, if there is any shred of sanity left in the country. And he has made major strides towards doing just that.
“With the goal of 2026 pledged delegates to achieve as a majority in each primary in mind, the FiveThirtyEight tracking shows that Clinton is indeed ahead, with 108% of her target achieved as opposed to Sanders, who is at 92%. But what the media fails to factor in, is the fact that Sanders has either met or exceeded his targets in seven out of the last eight contests, whilst Clinton has actually lost six out of eight: Sanders has been catching up and there is nothing that suggests that he is about to stop fighting.”
– Else Feikje van der Berg, Hillary The Inevitable, May 9, 2012, Medium
It may seem like a tangent or an aside, at first glance, but I will say this, in brief. East and West have met — and sparks are flying as a result. The West can learn a great deal from the East, just as the East can learn from the West. We can all learn from one another. This may seem obvious, but sometimes the obvious is only obvious after it is pointed out. More commonly, what should be obvious is routinely overlooked until it is pointed out. Then everyone says, well yes, that makes perfect sense. And there are at least a couple of points from Eastern thought which bear on our subject and have immediate relevance to our discussion.
There is a Tibetan saying, “Don’t sprint to win the race.” And this is very wise. A closely related saying from Tibet is, “Don’t be sporadic.” And I would add to that a central piece of wisdom from Taoism, which says, basically, don’t rush, and don’t hesitate.
What does this have to do with contemporary politics or the Bernie Sanders campaign? Everything.
If Bernie Sanders does win, and does become the next president of the United States — which may seem unlikely at present, but is still entirely possible — then that will be just one further step towards real, positive social change. The movement will go on. The revolution will go on. And the central task of restoring and renewing democracy, civil liberties and the rule of constitutional law, and the returning of power to the people, will have only just begun. We need more than a fleeting burst of energy or enthusiasm if we are going to win the kinds of changes which are urgently needed. Whether we have short term success or short term failure, the movement must go on.
If Bernie Sanders does not win, and does not become the next president of the United States, then the movement will also go on, the revolution will go on, and the central task, the central challenge of our time, which is the renewal of democracy, the reclaiming of power by the people, and the removal from power of the corporate oligarchy and the Wall Street business elite, will continue to move forward, and must continue to move forward.
The changes that are needed will not occur overnight. We must, as the Dalai Lama said, keep a long term perspective. With or without a Sanders presidency, major changes must happen soon, and essentially immediately, or we will simply terminate ourselves as a species. So we cannot hesitate. At the same time, we must remember that this will take longer than a few days, a few weeks, or a few months, to complete the process of transformation that must occur for human beings to survive the 21st century.
We can and must be bold. And we must also keep the longer term perspective in mind. No matter what happens, we must not stop. The future of the world, and all living beings who live on it, including nearly seven billion human beings, depends on what we do, or fail to do, over the course of the next few years.
We cannot give up, we cannot surrender, and we cannot give in. Whatever happens over the next few months and beyond, we must move forward, and we must carry on with the urgent work of creating a better, more just, more equitable, more peaceful society, and a truly sustainable world.
We will not go out with either a bang or a whimper — if we are determined enough to persevere, and to be bold when boldness is required. There is a popular revolution which is emerging now: a non-violent, peaceful revolution, a grassroots movement of the people to take their power back, and to reclaim their power, and in so doing, to create a more just society, and a better world. In this task we must not falter, and we must go on. The rising tide is with us. Now, we must ride that tide to victory, in whatever way that history, boldness and ingenuity make that possible.
Whether Bernie Sanders wins of loses in the 2016 US presidential race is not the central question, nor should it be the central goal. The central question is whether the populist uprising and the grassroots political revolution which is emerging, continues after the election, or sputters and fizzles out. The central question is whether the people have been aroused and engaged sufficiently to carry the revolution forward, no matter what happens in the up-coming US election. And the central goal is, and must be, nothing short of a revolution. On this point, we must be absolutely clear, and absolutely steadfast.
Remember, Bernie is not the movement. Bernie is not the revolution. Bernie is one leading figure among many in a rapidly emerging populist movement which aims to restore power to the people. And that movement will carry on, whatever happens in this election.
I hope the election will end in a Bernie Sanders presidency. That may be a long shot, but he has come a tremendous way, against overwhelming odds, and it’s still early. But whatever happens, the movement of the people to restore democracy and reclaim their power, and to create a more just and equal society, must continue.
We should, I think, at this point once again, crystallize our goals, so that we will remain focused and strong, and keep building momentum. I am not speaking for the Bernie Sanders campaign here. I am simply stating what I think needs to be done, as a minimum, to begin to restore power to the people, and to begin to dethrone Wall Street and the corporate elite, who have acquired and usurped far too much power — over the economy, the financial system, the media, the culture, and also the political process and the government. Without these two central tasks accomplished, or at least begun in a serious and vigorous way — which is, the restoring of power to the people and the dethroning of the corporate elite — nothing is possible, or at least nothing positive or significant, and the downward slide will only continue.
1. We must remove big money from politics. And that means overturning Citizen’s United, and banning private “donations” (more honestly called bribes) to political candidates, politicians and political parties, and making elections publicly funded.
2. We must make the banks and the financial system accountable to the people, and regulated and controlled by the people, rather than leaving the people accountable to the banks, and effectively ruled and controlled by the banks, and the banking elite who own them. To do this, we must break up the big banks, make the Federal Reserve a public bank controlled by Congress, as the Constitution explicitly stipulates and requires, and regulate and reign in Wall Street.
3. We must reject the TPP, and reject any other “trade deal” which in reality is a corporate rights deal, and which grants sweeping powers to large corporations and the business elite who control them, at the expense of the other 99.9% of the people, along with the planet, democracy, and constitutional law.
4. We must take bold and unhesitating action on climate change and the environment, and tax pollution; and reduce taxes on the middle class and the poor, along with small business, while increasing them for the rich and the large, profitable corporations — thus addressing our grave and rapidly escalating environmental crisis, while seriously addressing the deep and growing problem of increasing and extreme inequality in our society.
5. We must end the disastrous, murderous, illegal, supremely unethical, and bankrupting wars abroad, and redirect the personnel, and the hundreds of billions of dollars a year in savings, to human needs, and to the rebuilding of a crumbling infrastructure, economy and society; and put the people, not corporate profits or wars for oil and other resources, first.
If we want to fight terrorism, we should start with the greatest terrorists — the economic and financial terrorists on Wall Street, who are wreaking havoc and destruction globally, and are eating the people and the planet alive.
6. We must overturn the Patriot Act, and any and all legislation which is unconstitutional or which undermines democracy, freedom, civil liberties or constitutional law; and, at this point, considering how far things have progressed, or degenerated, towards a police state, we must formally re-instate the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which have been trampled and very nearly destroyed.
If we do not do these six things, as a start, then we can forget about having a democracy, or a republic, we can forget about freedom or civil liberties, we can forget about social justice or the environment, or even the survival of the human species, and we can welcome in a brave new world of neo-feudal, crypto-fascist, global corporate rule, leading rapidly to a new dark age, and the death of humankind.
Our choice should be clear. And our actions must be swift. The time is now. Truly, it is a renaissance or a dark age ahead — and the choice is ours.
J. Todd Ring,
Democrats Can Still Snatch Defeat From the Jaws of Victory
The Establishment Is WRONG About Hillary’s Chances
Polls: Trump Closing In On Hillary
Why the Superdelegates Need To Switch To Bernie Sanders Immediately
“She’s Baldly Lying”:
Dana Frank Responds to Hillary Clinton’s Defence of Her Role in Honduras Coup
Noam Chomsky Predicted the Rise of Trump Six Years Ago
Noam Chomsky: Bernie Sanders Is Not A Radical
Hillary The Inevitable
Bernie Sanders Calls For Contested Caucus — National Press Club
The Death of the Democratic Party, J. Todd Ring, Medium