Archive for Bernie Sanders

Feeling the Bern-Out? Feel the Movement

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 7, 2016 by jtoddring

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.

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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.

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“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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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,

May 2016

Democrats Can Still Snatch Defeat From the Jaws of Victory
http://www.nationofchange.org/news/2016/04/24/democrats-snatch-defeat-jaws-victory/

The Establishment Is WRONG About Hillary’s Chances
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp_eSLOM3eo

Polls: Trump Closing In On Hillary
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8NQ7jUDbSI

Why the Superdelegates Need To Switch To Bernie Sanders Immediately
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_FqAJ8k7oY

“She’s Baldly Lying”:
Dana Frank Responds to Hillary Clinton’s Defence of Her Role in Honduras Coup

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hS-tDVwSHlA

Noam Chomsky Predicted the Rise of Trump Six Years Ago
http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/05/05/noam-chomsky-predicted-rise-trump-six-years-ago

Noam Chomsky: Bernie Sanders Is Not A Radical
https://www.facebook.com/democracynow/videos/10154098568373279/

Hillary The Inevitable
https://medium.com/@ElsevanderBerg/hillary-the-inevitable-4268fd333a46#.32ppckrib

Bernie Sanders Calls For Contested Caucus — National Press Club
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=035I6c3PuGI

The Death of the Democratic Party, J. Todd Ring, Medium
https://medium.com/@jtoddring/the-death-of-the-democratic-party-4ade2df36ecf?source=user_profile———1-

Revolution and Uniting the People: Bernie Sanders, Thomas Jefferson and FDR

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2016 by jtoddring

 
I would say that Bernie Sanders is not only a good candidate for US President, and beyond that, the only serious candidate for the people, since he is the only one who is not thoroughly indebted to the Wall Street money masters, owned by Wall Street, and in service to Wall Street; but he would be the best US president since FDR, and arguably, since Thomas Jefferson.
 
Of course, it is Congress which holds the greater power, and not the President, but having a true populist progressive in the White House would be an enormous stride in the right direction – especially when it is one who is so passionately and fiercely determined to reign in Wall Street and get big money out of politics.
 
I realize that conservatives tend to despise FDR, or at least despise his policies, but they should remember that it was FDR’s policies which got the US out of the Depression, put millions of Americans back to work, and, along with the labour movement, helped to create the middle class – which is now being systematically eliminated by the neoliberal/neo-fascist/globalization policies of the super-rich billionaire class of business elites, the very people that both FDR and Bernie Sanders so fiercely oppose.
 
(And no, war did not end the Great Depression, as some people imagine. The policies of FDR, and his very real stimulus package, which built or re-built the US infrastructure and put millions of people back to work (unlike the current neoliberal “stimulus” packages which rob billions and trillions of dollars from the treasury and the people and give it to the super-rich banking elite) is what began the long road to US and global economic recovery. Once the economic recovery was underway, WWII began, and the US prospered from it – mainly for three reasons: one, the US did not suffer the disastrous effects of waging a war on its own soil, as the European powers did; two, after the war, the US emerged as the world’s “first truly global super-power” and globally dominant power, precisely because war had left the great powers of Europe in ruins; and three, because US business elites profited handsomely by trading with the enemy, (that includes George Bush’s grand-daddy, Prescott Bush) and by selling to both sides – for example, IBM providing the office machines and data management for the extermination camps and gas chambers. War is disastrous to economies invariably, except for these very unusual conditions, and in any event, the economic recovery was well under way before the war even began.)
 
More to the point, the majority of Americans, well over 70%, are not conservatives, but center-left in their views, as poll after poll has shown for decades – so if Bernie Sanders does become the next President of the United States, conservatives will simply have to – pardon my expression – suck it up.
 
But it is also a fact that many sensible conservatives, and even many sensible Republicans – and yes, there is such an animal, believe it or not – support Bernie Sanders, or at least respect and admire him for his integrity, and his honesty and courage. They may not like all of his policies, but they realize that he is the best choice available at this time, and the only candidate who is willing to stand up to the greatest threat facing the country and the world – Wall Street and the international corporate elite. The more sensible also recognize that the Republican candidates, along with Hilary, represent the interests of the same crypto-fascist (and more and more brazenly fascist) corporate oligarchs and plutocrats. In short, Bernie is not only the best the people have at this time – he is all the people have at this time, at least in terms of presidential candidates.
 
“Before you Republicans and Hillary supporters say anything about Bernie, let’s look at his history. He was the only one in Senate to stand up for gay soldiers in 1995. He actively participated in the Civil Rights Movement along with Martin Luther King Jr. He voted against the Iraq War. (Which Hillary still considers a “mistake”.) He practically predicted the Wall Street Crash of 2008.He has been consistent with his political views for the past 30 years [and] ever since he joined the senate. He is the longest serving independent in Senate history. He believes climate change is the most threatening problem we have today. He has over a million individual donations from actual people donating whatever they can to support the campaign without any Super PACs. (Rest of the candidates would be struggling to equal Bernie’s collections without SuperPac money.) I just have to say Bernie is the real deal. Believe it or not.” – Arnav Garg
 
Actually, it’s 2.5 million individual donations now, which Bernie has raised, averaging less than $30. (And Bernie is setting all new records for the fastest rate of raising individual donations in US history.) All the other candidates are deeply indebted to Wall Street, and in service to Wall Street. Bernie is the only serious candidate for the people. Period.
 
‪#‎FeelTheBern‬
What is more, now that Bernie Sanders has begun to unite progressives, liberals, the left, environmentalists, labour, large segments of the black community, including, most notably, leading black American scholar and activist Cornel West, along with many sensible conservatives – due to his fierce opposition to Wall Street, big money in politics, and the increasingly fascist police state which Bush and Obama have created – Bernie stands a serious chance, not only of winning the next US presidential election, but winning by a landslide – as he should.
This is enormously significant: Robert F. Kennedy, leading black American activist and scholar Cornel West, and now, the major US progressive organization, Move On, amongst many others, including diverse figures ranging from actor John Cusack, UFC fighter Ronda Rousey, to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, have come forward to endorse US President – oops – US Presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders.This could be the straw the breaks the back of the ruling political elites and their Wall Street masters, and puts a true progressive populist democrat into the White House. Let us pray we are so lucky – or so determined.
 
“MoveOn has spent more than 17 years bringing people together to fight for progressive change and stand up against big money interests. MoveOn’s fight to give the American people a voice in our political system was reflected in the group’s internal democratic process. I’m humbled by their support and welcome MoveOn’s members to the political revolution.”
– Bernie Sanders, As reported by Fortune Magazine
(I would like to see Bernie seek out and receive the support of Ron Paul, by the way: the maverick, anti-establishment conservative Senator who consistently fought for the people, and against the same crypto-fascist, pro-war, neo-feudal big money interests which Bernie so strongly opposes – a person who has tremendous integrity, and who also has tremendous support among conservatives and many thoughtful people on the grassroots right. This, Sanders should do, and do immediately, and this support he should gain. Someone please notify Ron Paul that his help is needed here, and now.)
I also realize the some people on the left are very critical of Bernie Sanders, feeling that he is not radical enough for their liking. But while such individuals have valid points to make, and useful criticisms, they too will, I am afraid to say, and will bluntly say, have to suck it up, because the policies of Bernie Sanders, while they do not go far enough in some important ways, not only represent a very good starting place, but are also supported by the majority of Americans.
The criticisms from individuals on the left with regards to Bernie’s foreign policy, where he is admittedly weak, are particularly valid and important; but frankly, despite that valid criticism, I think that Bernie’s critics on the left are not only throwing the baby out with the bath water, but are simply out to lunch, and out of touch with reality. And there is one simple reason for that statement.
At this time, when a crypto-fascist corporate oligarchy has taken over the nation, as well as the economy, the financial system, the monetary system, most of the media, the culture and the political process, there are only two options available to the American people – at this moment at least. One is revolution – and as much as I have been urging revolution, I do not think that there is reason to believe that the American people are yet ready for it. The other is Bernie Sanders. Say what you will about Bernie, but he is the best hope for America at this time.
Do I think that Jill Stein would make a better president than Bernie Sanders? Possibly she would. Do I think that Jill Stein has any chance of becoming president at this time? No. Therefore, I will support Bernie Sanders, as the only legitimate choice amongst candidates who stand any chance of winning the election – and again, a person who would make the best president since FDR, if not Thomas Jefferson. Is he perfect? No, but I, for one, am not looking for a messiah, but simply a person who will serve the people, as Bernie Sanders has done for over 30 years, and will continue to do. There will always be critics. Let’s just get the job done, shall we, and get on the with urgent business of creating, at least a starting point, for some urgently needed social change.
What would be wise for Bernie to do is to continue to reach out to the black and Hispanic communities, immigrants, progressives, labour, environmentalists and the left, as well as independents; but also to reach out to sensible conservatives and people on the grassroots right, who share his passionate opposition to the domination of Wall Street and corporate America over the economy, the political process and the country.
If he does this, Bernie Sanders may very well become the next president of the United States. And that, I would say, would be a very good thing, and the beginning of some very hopeful, and very real change.
J. Todd Ring,
January 12, 2016
 
For more analysis and social commentary, see my recently published book, Enlightened Democracy: Visions For A New Millennium – available now on Amazon.com.

Bernie Sanders: socialism, anarchism, corporatism and democracy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2015 by jtoddring

I support Senator Bernie Sanders in his candidacy to become the next US president. I would very much like to see him win, and I think he very may well. Now, some people will say, but Bernie Sanders is a self-declared democratic socialist. I see no problem with that. And 49% of Americans, and a larger percentage of people in most nations today, also have no problem with that. And the percentage who do have a problem with that continues to shrink, virtually every day. This is not 1955, and the McCarthy era is over. Let’s try to live in the 21st century.

Bernie Sanders, for a start, is no more socialist than the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. – whom the great majority of Americans revere, and rightly so. And he is less socialist than Jesus, whom the majority claim to revere. We should look at the contradictions here, and give them some serious thought.

Bernie Sanders has been called the second most popular socialist in America, after Jesus, and I think that is a fitting and accurate statement.

Bernie Sanders is not radical. Peter Kropotkin, the Russian anarchist socialist philosopher, scientist, evolutionary biologist, and peer, or superior, to Darwin, was radical – radical in a positive sense, from the original meaning of the word, which is derived from the Latin, radus, meaning root, and meaning, to get to the root of. But Bernie Sanders is not radical. He is simply sensible. Let’s try to keep things in perspective here.

If Bernie had said, let’s take over all the factories and corporate farms in America, and turn them into worker owned democratic co-ops, through revolution, that would be radical. Seeking election to office in order to remove big money from politics, is not radical, it’s just sensible and honest politics – which is something we haven’t had for a very long time, so it seems shocking to some.

Supporting Bernie Sanders’ presidency should not be alarming; it should be a matter of common sense. What would be alarming would be to vote for any other candidate, and to allow the de facto corporate rule of the political process, the government and the nation to continue. That would be shocking, that would be alarming, and that would be unconscionable, as well as frankly insane.

*

Am I a socialist? Yes – an anarchist socialist, and one who would settle, in the short term, for democratic socialism, but yes, a socialist. Of course I am a socialist – what else would a thinking, feeling, person of conscience be? But first and foremost, I am a democrat.

I supported Ron Paul, though I disagree with him on major points, because he took a strong stand against the dominance of Wall Street over the political process and the government. I support Bernie Sanders for the same reason, and with the same qualifications. I don’t agree with either of these two men on everything, but I agree on the central thing, which is that the power has to be returned to the people, and taken back from the corporate elite who have stolen it and who have effectively taken over.

*

All the indications are that mixed economies work very well. The Nordic and Scandinavian countries are a good example. They have free markets and a capitalist economy, but they also have socialist elements in the society and the economy as well – such things as health care and education being publicly owned and publicly controlled, through the democratic process, and freely available to all.

In terms of key indicators, the Nordic countries of Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland, with their mixed economies and democratic socialist traditions, lead the world in terms of meeting UN Sustainable Development Goals, and are far ahead of most nations. The US ranks near the bottom, along with Egypt, Chile, Mexico and Greece.

The US figures on homelessness, hunger, poverty and infant mortality also rank it with Third World nations. So something is clearly going wrong, especially considering the US is the richest nation in history, and yet, it lets its people go hungry and homeless, and go without proper health care.

There is something deranged, even pathological, with this picture. Yes, you are your brother’s keeper. The professed Christian values, along side a callous and cold-hearted set of policies, in numerous regards, and shocking levels of poverty and inequality, rapaciousness, violence, militarism and greed, materialism, narcissism, vanity and consumerism, simply appall the world. The people of the US need to be aware of this fact; and more and more of them are, and wish to change it.

Civilized nations, as leading trend analyst, Gerald Celente has said, have universal health care for all. Civilized countries have dikes to keep flood waters out, and serious disaster relief when disaster does strike, and exceeds our capacities to cope with it.

Civilized countries do not let their people die in the streets, from hunger or cold, or leave them to fend for themselves in the face of disaster, as the US government did, in the face of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.

The US is in a disgraceful state, and most Americans know it, and want the situation changed. And this time, they don’t want hollow speeches about change, that amount to nothing.

In terms of human happiness, the global polls continue to show that the Nordic countries, with their mixed economies, their universal public health care, free education, several weeks of yearly paid vacations, much higher minimum wages, excellent pensions, paid sick leave and parental leave, rank as the best places in the world to live. And again, the US is far, far below. So clearly, there is much to be said for a mixed economy.

The lesson applies to the United States as well.

The United States is not a pure capitalist society. In fact, as Chomsky has pointed out, a purely capitalist society would disintegrate in no time, and is completely self-annihilating. There is a corporate welfare state that protects and serves and supports big business, as it has always done, but only more so in recent years. Instead of having the state intervene to benefit the rich and the corporations, however, the state could be used, through democratic means, to protect and serve all of the people, and not just the rich and the large corporations. This is what Senator Sanders is seeking to do.

For example, Bernie Sanders is proposing to bring in, not only universal public health care, but universal free education, up to and including college and university, and also, to re-invest in America, and rebuild the economy and the infrastructure, both of which are in tatters, and create jobs for all.

How would that be paid for? By making the richest 1% and the large corporations pay their fair share of tax. Right now, they pay little or no tax, which means a loss of hundreds of billions of dollars in revenues a year. Add to this the massive subsidies, which total hundreds of billions of dollars more per year, and the bailouts and “stimulus” packages, which together have handed $20 trillion to the big banks from the Treasury and the public purse, and you can easily see how such programs that benefit the people could be funded: end the corporate welfare system, make the rich and the big corporations pay a reasonable level of tax, say 30, 40, or 60%, end the enormous subsidies to big business, and stop bailing out the “too big to fail” banks. If they’re too big to fail, then, as Bernie says, they’re too big to exist – break them up. The money is there. It is simply being misspent. Or rather, it is being stolen by the criminals on Wall Street, and their accomplices in the White House, Congress and the judiciary.

Bernie is here to cast the money changers from the temple. There are good precedents for that, and it is needed again today.

And as far as the US being a mixed economy, as I say, it already is, but in limited ways, and in highly distorted ways, due to the excessive corporate dominance over the political process and the government. But already, the US has many elements of socialism, and the great majority of the people like it that way: public schools, public libraries, public roads, sewers, bridges, water treatment, fire departments, colleges and universities – few people would want to do away with these things, and these things are socialist.

Other countries which are democratic and capitalist, also have mixed economies, but with higher levels of socialist elements within those capitalist-democratic societies. Britain, France and Germany, for example, have universal public health care, as does most of Europe. Bernie Sanders is simply proposing that the US enter the civilized world, and bring in universal public health care, like every other civilized nation, and is proposing relatively modest increases in the socialist elements that exist within the basic framework of US capitalist democracy. I do not think that is unreasonable. And more importantly, the great majority of the people in the US are in support of Bernie Sander’s proposed policies.

So we can put the Red Scare terror aside, because under a Sanders administration, the economy would simply become more fair, and would be rebuilt, but the basic framework of the capitalist-democratic system would remain intact.

The main thing that Bernie would help to accomplish, is to get big money out of politics – which is something that 78% of Americans, including the great majority of both Republicans and Democrats, strongly support. In fact, it is the single hottest issue in the nation, and Bernie Sanders is the only major candidate who is seriously addressing it – which is why he is so immensely popular, and why his grassroots support is rising exponentially, every day. We now even have the phenomenon of Republicans For Bernie Sanders. He is taking the country by storm.

*

I believe in democracy – which is to say, to be clear, constitutional democracy, and not simple majority rule, and constitutional democracy with guaranteed rights and freedoms for all people. And I believe, more over, that democracy has been evolving for a long time, and is still evolving. It was not born a finished work, but a work in progress.

Initially, only the rich, white, male land owners could vote or share in political power. Then women and people of colour won the right to vote. Now, we need to wrest democracy from the big money interests who have taken it over, and restore democracy.

And beyond that, once we have restored democracy, we can further evolve democracy. Part of that evolution of democracy is to apply it, not just to the political realm, but also the economic realm. If we believe in democracy, then we should also have economic democracy. This is the next logical step in the evolution of democracy.

But first things first: first we must recapture and reclaim our democracy from the corporate elite who have stolen and high-jacked it. It’s time to take the power back.

*

Right now, we have what is in reality, not democracy, but oligarchy. We have a plutocracy, or rule by the rich; or oligarchy, rule by the few. What we have is a neo-feudal corporatism, which, as Mussolini himself said, is the proper term for fascism, for it is the merger of business and the state. Now, you may say what you will about democracy, but it is certainly preferable to fascism, and it is certainly preferable to an oligarchy run by bankers and billionaires and other corporate elites.

Let’s not miss the forest for the trees here, or divide ourselves unnecessarily. We need to take our democracy back. That is step one. And that is something that Bernie Sanders can help us in doing. He deserves our support – whether we are socialists, anarchists, liberals, conservatives, progressives or libertarians, because the alternatives are far worse: Clinton and Trump represent Wall Street and the agenda of the billionaire class. Bernie represents the other 99% of the people. At this time at least, these are the only sides, and the only battle lines, that truly matter.

Democrats and Republicans alike, along with independents and Greens – and anyone who wishes to see power returned to the people, and Wall Street and big money removed from political power, should vote for Bernie Sanders in 2016. It is important, and I do believe he can win. More over, there is simply no other choice.

Don’t worry – Bernie Sanders is not going to abolish capitalism. Some will be angered by this fact, some relieved, but it is a fact. What a Sanders presidency would do, is to begin to restore the power to the people, within the context of a capitalist-democracy, and to make the system more fair for everyone, so that it is not just the top 1% who benefit, or who have power, but all the people. And while this is far from utopian, it is a good first step, and it simply needs to be done.

There are those who believe that Bernie cannot win, or worse, that no real change is possible. I say, let us avoid the iron cage of cynicism, which turns a great many otherwise intelligent people into functional idiots, and set aside, for a moment, our disbelief. If we do so, there is the very real possibility that we will be pleasantly surprised. But as Chomsky has said, if we assume that nothing can be done, then we have created our own self-fulfilling prophecy, and nothing will be done.

But above all, let’s be clear about the choices at hand. It’s Bernie or Wall Street in 2016. Let’s make the right decision.

Vote, and vote in your interests, not against them. Bernie’s got your back. Clinton and Trump want simply to be on it.

Follow the money. Clinton has the backing of Wall Street and corporate America, and is awash in their money – and that is because they know she is going to continue to work for them. Bernie Sanders has raised more money than any other candidate – and he’s done it through half a million small scale donations, averaging $31. This says everything.

The corporate media are clearly favouring Clinton and Trump, and grooming them for power. That should tell us all we need to know about who is the true ally and friend of the people. It is Bernie Sanders.

J. Todd Ring,
October 17, 2015

Chomsky on Socialism

Chomsky on the Soviet Union – which was anything but socialist

Naomi Klein on Neoliberalism and Mixed Economies

Tony Benn: A 10 minute lesson on neoliberalism, socialism and democracy

Big Ideas That Changed The World – The History of Democracy, with Tony Benn, BBC

Bernie Sanders? This man deserves to win – and he just might.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2015 by jtoddring

Bernie Sanders? This man deserves to win – and he just might.

He should also read my book, Enlightened Democracy: Visions For A New Millennium. We’re very much on the same page, in most regards, except that I tend to contextualize things with a broader and longer term vision, and a more philosophical and historical context. But from all that I have seen, Bernie Sanders would be a great president, and would probably help to bring about some much-needed, and in fact, urgently needed changes.

I sincerely hope he wins. Certainly, Hillary Clinton and the Republican candidates are in no way supportable, due to their lack of strength – to put it mildly – on environmental issues, and due to their penchant for war; to say nothing of their taking big money from Wall Street and corporate America, and being, by all indications, wholly subservient to their corporate masters.

Bernie is different. Bernie is a veteran, long term activist with a remarkable record of consistency in fighting for the middle class and poor. While most politicians line their pockets by playing the servants of the super-rich and the billionaire class, Bernie has consistently fought for the 99% of the people who are not among the elite.

Bernie is anything but establishment – he is the true anti-establishment candidate. Trump poses as the anti-establishment candidate, but he’s a billionaire corporate vulture, so who takes that seriously? And Hillary poses as an environmentalist and progressive populist, but is clearly owned by Wall Street.

Bernie is a true democrat, a genuine populist – not a fake one, like Hillary or Obama – and a definite friend and ally of the people. He is the only candidate for the US presidential election worthy of support. So of course I hope he will win. And I think he can – and will.

J. Todd Ring,
October 2, 2015

The evolution of Bernie Sanders’ wildly popular campaign – in pictures
The Guardian

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2015/aug/23/bernie-sanders-campaign-evolution-in-pictures

Bernie Sanders would win – if US elections weren’t controlled by big money….. But he just might win anyway, and he is well on his way

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2015 by jtoddring

The Independent Senator from Vermont, and US Presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, is riding a fast-growing wave of popular support across the United States. Sanders is getting ten times the turn-out for rallies as any other candidate, and the momentum continues to build.

Bernie Sanders is getting higher turn-outs to rallies than the Republican candidates, even in conservative strongholds. And Hillary still hasn’t had any turn-out that comes remotely close to those of Bernie.

If elections really were free and fair in the United States, Bernie Sanders would almost certainly win. But they are not. They are owned and controlled by Wall Street and the super-rich.

Beyond this, 90% of the media is controlled by the same large corporations and corporate elite who control Wall Street, the economy, the financial system, the electoral system and the major political parties. So a free and fair, open, democratic debate on the issues, or any free and fair, open discussion or coverage of elections, politics or any issues in the country, is very near to impossible. Propaganda, spin, noise and distraction, gossip and sensationalism are the rule, and this is very hard to break through.

There are excellent sources available for news and analysis, discussion, commentary and debate – sources which are not controlled either by big business or the government – such as Global Research, Trends Journal, CounterPunch, Z Magazine and The Real News Network; and the audience for independent media continues to grow rapidly and exponentially, while people continue to walk away in droves, in a virtual mass exodus, from the network media and the corporate press; but it still remains the fact that the corporate elite control the mainstream media and the major news outlets today: which means, they dominate and shape the public discussion, and to a great degree, control what can and cannot be discussed.

Until we have major media reform – meaning, most essentially, that anti-trust laws are applied to the media empires, and they are broken up – democracy will continue to be more theory than reality in the United States and other “leading” industrial nations. So media control and media monopolies are a major barrier to getting any decent person or party elected to government, including Senator Bernie Sanders.

If the corporate media don’t like you, then you are at a tremendous disadvantage – and if you don’t cater to the whims and the demands of the corporate oligarchy, then the corporate media are going to shut you out, ignore, marginalize or silence you, or else attack you, and try to portray you as irrelevant at best, if not something far worse than that. The gatekeepers of the establishment within the media play to the gains of their masters, and they will attempt to keep all doors closed to any real change.

Furthermore, the Democratic Party elite are terrified of Bernie Sanders. Why? Because he would return the power to the people. That means the Wall Street gravy train ends. And that means the gravy train for the party establishment ends. The party elite know who butters their bread. That’s why they don’t like Bernie.

But what if Bernie wins anyway? It is a long-shot, and Bernie is a definite outsider from the ruling elite circles and the establishment. But we need someone who is not an establishment man or woman, as Trump and Hillary are. And long-shots can, and sometimes do, win. Obama was a long-shot. Carter was a long-shot. And they both won, of course.

Bernie Sanders is climbing rapidly in support.

Bernie has won the support of veterans, because he fought tooth and nail for them.

Bernie is winning the support of labour, because he has said he is opposed to the TPP, which is yet another corporate rights agreement that will be disastrous for jobs and the 99% of the people who are not among the economic elite. Hilary is owned by Wall Street, and is silent, unsurprisingly, on the TPP.

Hilary laughed maniacally in a Reuters interview clip about the proposal to attack Iran, and was eager to attack. Bernie opposed the war in Iraq, and is still pro-peace.

Trump is a slime-ball corporate vulture, to be perfectly frank. Hilary is a hawkish Wall Street hack, eager for war.

Bernie Sanders is a grassroots populist who is committed to peace, environmental sustainability, a more equal society, the defence of freedom and civil liberties, universal health care and free education for all, the rebuilding of America and the US economy and infrastructure, and the removal of big money from politics. This is why he is so wildly popular with the people – because he resonates with their values and what they want. They want a peaceful and free, sustainable and democratic nation, with liberty and prosperity for all – not a war-obsessed gulag with increasing abuses of civil liberties and human rights, rule by the super-rich, the destruction of freedom and democracy, as well as the environment, and poverty or insecurity for the great majority.

Bernie Sanders is the only progressive candidate – and for that matter, the only one seriously opposed to big money controlling politics, to war, to the surveillance state and the destruction of civil liberties, to the obliteration of the middle class and the abandonment of the poor, and to the demolition of democracy in the name of profits, or for any other reason.

Embedded image permalink

Bernie Sanders is the only US presidential candidate at all worthy of support. And if he continues to build momentum like this, he just might win.

Everyone said Obama had zero chance of winning in 2008. Everyone said Hillary would definitely win. But Obama came from out of nowhere, and won. Everyone said Jimmy Carter had zero chance. But he won.

Everyone said Bernie could never win and become mayor of Burlington, Vermont. But he did. Then the establishment said it was a fluke. Then he won two more times. It was no fluke. Then they said he could never win as a Congressional candidate. But he did. And then won as a Senatorial candidate, and is now the longest serving member of the Senate.

Bernie has a proven track record, not just of fierce integrity, honesty and courage in politics, not just in a five decade long record of consistency, but in winning, when everyone said it was impossible for him to win. This man is a lion – and a lion for the people.

I heard a great comment recently about the good Senator. “Bernie Sanders is the next most popular socialist after Jesus.”

One commentator put it ironically, and well, and said essentially the same thing. He said, “You have a problem with him (Bernie) being a socialist? Jesus was a socialist. Would you rather have Donald Trump?”

Or how about Hillary, bomb-em-now, Clinton, and her Wall Street cabal?

The Red Scare tactics simply don’t work on the majority of the people anymore. This is not 1955 and the midst of the McCarthy era. People look to Denmark, Finland, Sweden, or Canada, with their democratic socialist traditions which are blended with a capitalist economy, and they think, “Well, democratic socialism seems to work just fine there – in fact, it works better for the people than what we have here.”

Some people will say, “Ok, the man has good values and strong ethics, and he is admirable, and maybe would make a great president – but he doesn’t have a chance of winning.” I can understand this view, and there are certainly some good reasons for thinking this way, but I disagree.

A very dear friend of mine, and a very intelligent, well-read woman, basically said this of Bernie Sanders: that she respects his values and his ethics, but he doesn’t have a chance of winning. To which I said the following: I really hope you’re wrong. I think you might possibly be right, but I really hope not. And even if there is only a slim chance that he could win, I want to support him. In any event, win or lose, as Chomsky has said, the very fact of his running brings up facts and arguments and ideas that otherwise would not be discussed – so even if he loses, we all win, to some significant extent at least.

And as I write this, and look further into what is happening with the US presidential primaries, I find this startling piece of information. As of August 14, Bernie Sanders had passed Hilary in the polls in New Hampshire. Remember that New Hampshire is the first primary race. Winning in the first primary goes a long way to building momentum. Bernie could take New Hampshire, and conceivably, take it all the way to the presidency.

Let’s hope the US, and the world, are so lucky.

As one savvy political observer has said, “Bernie Sanders is the guy Barack Obama pretended to be in 2008.”

Go Bernie. The people need a champion in the White House who will fight for them, and not for the ruling oligarchy of the Wall Street elite.

Frankly, I have a feeling that Bernie Sanders is going to win. I pray that I am right. A change in the presidency of the most powerful nation on earth is not enough in itself to accomplish the major changes that are needed now in the world today, or even within the United States, but it could be a tipping point, and a decisive turn of events.

Go Bernie.

J. Todd Ring,

August 21, 2015

Update, September 18, 2015:

Sanders takes the lead in polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, leading over Clinton by 10 and 20 points, respectively. I think he’s going to win. I certainly hope so.

Here he is on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. And the crowd loves him!

http://www.alternet.org/media/watch-bernie-sanders-explains-colbert-why-he-doesnt-want-billionaires-money-late-show

Update, September 28, 2015:

Millennials are now the largest voting block in the US, and they are lining up behind Bernie Sanders. So too are progressives, labour, environmentalists, and people like prominent black American scholar Cornel West and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Meanwhile, Bernie still leads over Hillary in the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, two of the key primary states, is drawing bigger crowds than any candidate, and raising more campaign funds than any candidate, despite his rejection of the billionaires’ money. This is looking interesting, to say the least.

http://www.laborforbernie.org/#letter

For more information please see:

Senator Bernie Sanders nails it, in this two minute video from C-SPAN, from over 20 years ago – just as he did before that, just as he has done since then, and just as he is doing now. Watch this short clip to see who Bernie Sanders really is, and what he stands for. I think most people will agree, Senator Sanders simply makes sense. And he has the guts to fight for what is right, what is good, what is sane, and what is meaningful – the guts to fight for the real changes that we urgently need today.

Bernie Sanders: Where is the leadership? (C-SPAN, 6/4/1992)

Bernie For President: Progress

Sanders Was Progressive Before It Was Cool

Hillary laughs about possible war with Iran

Hillary Clinton: “If I’m President, We Will Attack Iran”

On Friday, presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton addressed a hand-picked audience at a Dartmouth College campaign event. She lied calling Iran an “existential threat to Israel… I hope we are able…

globalresearch.ca

Bernie Sanders’ track record distinguished by consistency

Rachel Maddow traces the political history of Bernie Sanders, from small city mayor of Burlington Vermont, to congressman, senator and upstart presidential candidate, all while staying consistent on a core set of issues – msnbc.com

MSNBC uploaded a new video

Bernie Sanders: My “campaign is about political revolution.”

All In with Chris Hayes uploaded a new video: Bernie Sanders: “Let me tell you something that no other candi…

Bernie Sanders: “Let me tell you something that no other candidate for president will tell you”

Bernie Sanders Unveils Racial Justice Platform

Bernie Sanders On Meet The Press

Good background info on the fast-rising tide of support for Bernie Sanders (from July 1):

Huge Crowds For Bernie Sanders Should Terrify Hilary Clinton

Bernie Sanders Surges Past Hilary In The Polls

Hillary Clinton’s Keystone Crisis – Common Dreams
Hillary waivers, waffles, obfuscates, evades, and refuses to take a stand, while taking big money from big oil

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/08/21/hillary-clintons-keystone-crisis

Free Trade, CETA, TPP, and the US and Canadian Federal Elections: Some Critical Perspective

Posted in activism, Canada, economics, politics, trade, US with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2015 by jtoddring

The following is critical to understand – for the people of Canada, the US, Europe and the world: “free trade” deals such those already signed (NAFTA), and those being pushed through with great secrecy now (CETA, TTIP and TPP), are agreements which grant supra-national powers to transnational corporations, powers over and above democratically elected governments, and therefore, they are agreements which are disastrous to everyone but the few – the global corporate elite.

In both Canada and the US, the major parties all support “free trade,” aka, neoliberalism, and the wrongly labelled “trade deals” which are in fact corporate rights agreements.

Both the Liberals and Conservatives in Canada are in open support of such democracy-destroying, sovereignty annihilating, economically, socially and environmentally devastating “trade agreements,” making them the Tweedledee and Tweedledum of political prostitution to corporate rule.

In the US, the Republicans and Democrats are both staunch supporters of neoliberal policies of “free trade” – not surprisingly, since Wall Street pays for their elections, and Wall Street gains from such policies, while the middle class is wiped out, poverty and inequality soar, and the nation is eviscerated, and eaten live.

The one exception in the US seems to be Senator Bernie Sanders: a rare, sane and honest voice in US federal politics. I wish there was such a one, and such a one with such fast-rising prominence and popular support, in the Canadian federal election – but that does not appear to be the case so far.

In Canada, the Greens show promise, but require two things now to be relevant: much greater boldness and focus – for example, in terms of a strong stand on core, critical issues such as the quite monumentally significant and potentially disastrous trade deals, including CETA; and much stronger and broader popular support. So far, both seem to be sadly lacking. I beg to be proven wrong, however, and would be thrilled to see it.

Nevertheless, the Greens have shown more courage and integrity on the critical subject of trade than any of the three major Canadian political parties, and that alone places them head and shoulders above the old-guard parties of the past which still, sadly, dominate the Canadian political landscape – or have to date.

Greens in Canada and Europe have made a clear stand on CETA – a trade deal which would allow corporations to overrule the sovereignty and democracy of member nations by allowing corporations to sue governments for passing legislation which impinge upon their profits.

The Council of Canadians, a leading citizens’ action group in Canada, sums up CETA in a few stark and lucid words:

“CETA is a “next generation” free trade and investment pact that Canada and the EU have been negotiating since May 2009. But it is better understood as a corporate power grab. The Harper government clearly sees CETA as a way to further deregulate and privatize the Canadian economy while increasing corporate power and undermining Canadian and European efforts to address the climate crisis.”

And the Liberals under Justin Trudeau have also declared their support for CETA.

The Greens have said no to CETA. The Liberals and Conservatives are pro “free trade” and openly support CETA. And the NDP policy under Muclair on CETA and other similar “trade deals” – which have to date universally been corporate rights agreements? That’s anyone’s guess, since Mulcair’s NDP have been notoriously vague, ambivalent, and decidedly wish-washy, at best: or worryingly soft, to be more honest and blunt.

The Greens appear to be the only party in Canada which at present to have any resolve, conviction, clarity or vision on the matter of such disastrous “trade” deals which are in truth corporate rights agreements. The position which the big three parties have taken, it seems clear, is effectively, to roll over for corporate interests – at the expense of the Canadian people, the economy, the environment and democracy.

We must understand this:

More “free trade” = more corporate rights agreements = corporate rule and the death of democracy.

This is not the way to conduct trade – by handing over supra-national, anti-democratic powers to large corporations, over and above democratic governments. The major parties don’t agree – because they have either lost their courage, or their integrity, or both, and have become wholly subservient to the ruling oligarchy of global neo-feudal corporate rule and the billionaire class. This is where the wheat is separated from the chaff: on this key issue, and others like it of similar gravity.

The policies of political parties and political candidates on such “trade” agreements – which, again, must be understood to be corporate rights agreements – such as CETA, the TTIP and the TPP, FIPA, the SPP and the FTA, are the litmus test for whether these parties and candidates are in service to the ruling corporate powers, or whether they stand with the other 99% of the people. And, unsurprisingly, most parties and most candidates fail that test.

In Canada, I would say, vote Green, since they are the only party now worthy of support.

In the US there is similarly only one choice, and one candidate who in any way, or by any stretch, merits support – and that is Bernie Sanders.

There are a great many well-meaning people out there – both Democrats and Republicans, and also, Liberals, Conservatives and New Democrat supporters – who frequently fall for pretty words and hollow promises. And there are many more people yet, who can and do fall for parties and candidates with some genuinely good policies on this or that issue, while the voters miss the bigger picture entirely, and do themselves severe injustice as a result. If we do not understand what is going on with these giant, nation-dissolving, sovereignty-eviscerating, and democracy-destroying “trade agreements”, then we do not understand what is happening at all.

This is critical to understand. This is central. This is, as I say, the litmus test of a party’s or a candidate’s legitimacy in this hour. If we fail to understand this, then we understand nothing of what is happening in the world at this time.

We need to be clear, and we need to vote with clear minds. Our choices have narrowed: we can vote for the parties and the candidates of the super-rich and the ruling corporate powers, or we can vote for the rare ones who still stand with the people. The time to decide is here. Let us use it wisely.

Political parties and political candidates can have the prettiest, loftiest speeches and policy platforms on earth, but if they are not firmly and unequivocally opposed to the corporate rights agreements which are being pushed through now, then they are either deeply confused and misinformed – in which case, their words and promises will come to nothing – or they are effectively owned by the corporate elite, and are in service to them. These are the simple facts. We should vote accordingly.

J. Todd Ring,

September 29, 2015

Please see:

Picking apart one of the greatest lies in American politics: “Free Trade” – Thom Hartmann, Alternet

http://www.alternet.org/economy/picking-apart-one-biggest-lies-american-politics-free-trade

Here is an excellent analysis of the three major political parties in Canada, by Toronto Star journalist Thomas Walkom, PhD in Economics from University of Toronto. (In a nutshell, they are all shills.)

Stephen Harper, Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau Offer Little On Economy

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/08/04/stephen-harper-tom-mulcair-and-justin-trudeau-offer-little-on-economy-walkom.html

And one more brilliantly clear-headed analysis of Justin Trudeau and the Liberals:

With Justin Trudeau, Canada Now Has Two Conservative Parties, by Will Dubitsky

http://commonsensecanadian.ca/with-justin-trudeau-canada-now-has-two-conservative-parties/

And another excellent article by Walkom, on the gleeful embrace of the failed policies of neoliberalism and “free trade” by the three major Canadian political parties:

Justin Trudeau, Stephen Harper, Thomas Mulcair buy into free-trade theory that doesn’t work: Walkom

Other countries ditch free-trade orthodoxy to protect jobs. But not Canada.

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/04/19/justin_trudeau_stephen_harper_thomas_mulcair_buy_into_freetrade_theory_that_doesnt_work_walkom.html

What do you get the corporation that has everything? CETA. – Council of Canadians

http://canadians.org/ceta

Liberal Party Statement by Justin Trudeau on CETA

http://r.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0LEVrhbx8lVmXgAR9MPxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTByOHZyb21tBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg–/RV=2/RE=1439315932/RO=10/RU=https%3a%2f%2fwww.liberal.ca%2fstatement-liberal-party-canada-leader-justin-trudeau-ceta-2%2f/RK=0/RS=quEeYwXf8HagopNPlS7zn2QTnqs-

Fact Sheet: No More NAFTAs! No to CETA-TPP-FIPA-FTA… – Council of Canadians

http://canadians.org/publications/factsheet-no-more-naftas-no-ceta-tpp-fipa-fta%E2%80%A6

One Million To Stop The Corporate Death Star – Avaaz

http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_the_corporate_death_star/

BUSTED! What corporations are hiding about TPP

No more excuses

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 12, 2013 by jtoddring

We are tiny little specks, living on a tiny little speck we call the earth, which is revolving around a tiny little speck we call the sun – which is revolving around the centre of a tiny little speck of a galaxy, in a vast universe of hundreds of billions, if not trillions of galaxies in an unimaginably vast universe. If we destroy ourselves, it will be little more than the briefest flicker in one infinitely tiny little corner of the infinity of space – but it will be a great tragedy nonetheless. Let us hope we are not so foolish, nor so callous toward our fellow human beings and other living beings on this planet, to allow such a thing to come to pass.

The warning call has been sounded, as to the destruction of our only home on earth, and was made widely known by Rachel Carson, in the 1960’s – half a century ago. By the end of the 20th century, everyone knew we were in trouble. There is simply no excuse for denial or apathy now. And we know the hour is late. It is time for action.

Stephen Hawking has said that global warming is the greatest threat to human beings on earth at this time, far surpassing terrorism, for example. Terrorism kills roughly 20,000 people a year. Global warming threatens the very existence of the human species – and is already killing far more people than terrorism, through the increase in frequency and severity of storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods, crop failure, wild fires, heat waves and other extreme weather patterns. It’s time for a reality check.

Yet, despite the reality of our present situation, and the clear indications of where the real dangers lie, the sirens sound day and night, screaming out the “war on terror” propaganda – which is really a war on democracy, a war of empire, a class war that is being waged by the richest fraction of a percent of the global population against the other 99.99% and upon the earth.

Reflect on these figures for a moment.

Annual deaths globally from terrorism: 20,000

Deaths per year from auto accidents: 40,000, or one death every 13 minutes – in the US alone.

Globally, automobile accidents cause 1.2 million deaths per year – more than 60 times the death toll from terrorism. But do we see a full-out war on the private automobile, and a giant, concerted push toward mass public transit and rail? Of course not. Why? Because the big oil runs the show, along with the banking and other corporate elites, and they want maximum short-term profits for themselves – the people and the environment be damned.

We are being manipulated and lied to, to state what by now should be obvious and undeniable to all.

Deaths per year due to global warming, due to increasingly frequent and severe storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods, crop failures, wild fires, heat waves and other extreme weather patterns: this figure is difficult to estimate, but we know the toll is rising fast, and it already dwarfs the death toll from terrorism, by a very wide margin.

(I realize that in the United States, unlike every other country on the planet, there is still the appearance of a “debate” as to the reality of anthropogenic global warming, and a minority of Americans still do not believe it is real. I will leave that tiny fraction of the earth’s population for others to address. Here, we will speak only to those who are not quite so lost in illusions and corporate-spun lies, and who are capable of rational thought on the subject.

It should also be noted that there is a battle being waged behind the scenes, among the world’s ruling power elite, on a number of fronts. Some of the elite want to address and combat global warming, and acknowledge publicly that it is a very real and great danger. Others among the elite, including, unsurprisingly, those with deep stakes and vested interests in big oil, want to lie and conceal the facts, for the sake of short-term personal profit and gain, presumably with the belief that their money will protect them from the coming cataclysm which they themselves are helping to ensure comes to pass.

At present, unfortunately, it is the latter group who are holding the greater power, despite the views and wishes of the global citizenry. As Naomi Klein has said, in her brilliant book, The Shock Doctrine, disaster capitalism still reigns. The big money, or a large and dominant faction of it, is seeking to profit in ways that they know very well will lead to unprecedented disaster – and then they plan to profit from the ensuing disaster as well. They are quite literally making a killing, and that seems to be just fine with them, sociopaths as they clearly are.

There are a few people, including otherwise intelligent observers and commentators, who loudly and vociferously and even rabidly assert that anyone who says that human-caused global warming is real, must be a paid-for hireling of the globalist corporate oligarchs. But both logic as well as the overwhelming body of evidence, leads us to exactly the opposite conclusion. The only scientists who have taken a stand to say that anthropogenic global warming is not real and is not happening, have been shown to have ties to the oil industry. The facts speak for themselves, for any who care to look at them.)

The Guardian reports that an estimated 150,000 people are currently dying from the results of global warming every year, and states further that this estimate is probably highly conservative, and the death toll is likely much higher. The former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan estimates the present and climbing death toll at 300,000 a year.

But even this does not adequately convey the gravity of the situation. We are quite simply destroying the basis of human life on earth – through global warming, deforestation, unintentionally causing the mass extinction of species, soil erosion, soil depletion, aquifer depletion, and the poisoning of the land, air, water and soil. We are rapidly bringing ourselves to the very brink of extinction, which the World Bank and other sources estimate may well occur in as little as fifty years or less, if we do not immediately alter our course.

And what is more, if we continue in this fashion, through our poisoning and degradation of our environment, we will make life unbearable for ourselves and for our children, long before we finally drive ourselves over the cliff and go extinct.

The “war on terror” is a smoke screen to hide the real nature and motives for the drive for a police state at home, to protect the interests of the ruling business elite against the increasingly discontent, disenfranchised and economically sinking masses; and to provide a cover for wars for oil and other resources abroad. The war on terror is a grand and truly nefarious deception, as the BBC documentary, “The Power of Nightmares,” and many other clear and honest voices, have amply illustrated.

Meanwhile, the greatest threat to human life is left unchecked, and in fact, we press ahead – at an accelerating pace – with suicidal plans to build more oil pipelines, drill more fracking wells, burn more tar sands and coal, and further enrich the corporate elite who are swimming in money from their rape and pillage of the earth and their wantonly destructive behaviour. Something has to change, clearly.

This is madness. But we cannot simply blame corrupt and inept politicians, or short-sighted, self-serving, parasitically greedy business elites – no matter how truly sociopathic their behaviour has become. We must take responsibility as well, for our part in the harm or healing done to this world – and the responsibility increases, the greater the power, or privilege, that we have.

To put things into context, we should consider this. According to UN stats, if you sleep in a bed, have clothes, no matter what condition they are in, have a phone, and have a fridge and a bank account, even if they are both empty, then you are in the top 8% of the world’s richest people. Yes, the world is a mess, and the majority of the people who will most likely read this, live within the top 20% of the richest people on the planet, whether or not they believe or can comprehend this fact, or accept it.

A few dozen countries, mainly the “leading” industrialized nations, along with Russia, India and China, produce the overwhelming majority of greenhouse gases responsible for global warming – along with producing most of the waste, and consuming most of the resources on the planet. What is wrong with this picture?

The aristocracy of the “middle class,” along with the upper aristocracy of the wealthy few, and the tiny, stratospherically rich power elite above them, together make up the richest 20% of the people on the planet – the same 20% who consume over 80% of the wealth globally, and produce over 60% of the pollution and waste. We should stop and think about this for a moment – or more than a moment: for long enough for that horrifically unjust and insanely unsustainable reality to fully sink in.

Something clearly has to change, and the problem is not primarily one of population, nor the “developing” or “under-developed” nations. The problem is a severe case of affluenza, and a serious and highly dangerous disconnection from reality, which, aside from being grossly unethical, will without question come home to haunt us if we do not return to our senses, and very soon.

Whether it is out of compassion and a sense of responsibility to our fellow human beings and other living beings on earth; or a sense of responsibility to our children and to future generations; or whether out of simple enlightened self-interest, we must come to recognize that avoidance of reality is always more dangerous than facing the truth of the matter, and we simply must change our course. We must overcome our addiction to speed, to quantity of material goods over quality of life, and the self-deceiving belief in our powerlessness and the resulting addiction to escapism, voyeurism and a chronic state of distraction and denial – so that we can live better as well as more wisely and more humanely, and so that we have a future worth living at all.

There is no question: this generation will be held responsible for our actions, and even more, for our inaction. Apathy, complacency and denial are morally unacceptable. In fact, at this time in human history, when we are racing toward an ecological holocaust of our own making, they constitute nothing less than complicity in the worst of collective atrocities. We must act now. There are no more excuses.

J. Todd Ring,
November 12, 2013