Monday 25th of May 2020

the old man is back to win the presidentials of 2020...

sanders

Though he is apparently leading the Democrat field for the 2020 Presidential elections, old Bernie won't get the nomination. It's a bitch getting old. The clattering of aluminium tubing in the zimmer frames parking lot at the NSW Oldie Week was quite muted this year. Most oldies have had their hip replacements and their new titanium knees since last year's festivities. It was thus a really funny occasion at the Sydney Town Hall a couple of days ago at the Comedy Show for seniors. Of course, old Gus could not miss having to cross the light rail/train tracks still in construction in the middle of George Street to get to see the cream of the comic profession, such as Wendy Harmer and Peter Berner. The best skit of the morning belonged to Uncle Allen Madden, who did the Welcome to (Aboriginal-Eora nation) Country. 

"When there is a will.... there is family..." he said without cracking a smile alla Buster Keaton. The oldies knew what he ment and rolled onto the floor with laughter.

This is why the Liberal (CONservative) government of New South Wales continues the 61 year old tradition of honouring those who have passed their used-by-date with FREE concerts and shows throughout town for a week.

Unfortunately, we as a nation are still under the influence of "The Lion King", that Disney's awfullity designed to brainwash kids into hierarchical oligarchy. Tommy Dean reminded us that most of our children's books about animals tend to forget Australian wildlife. This is why as grandparents he asked the audience to incorporate the cockatoo that goes SHRIEK for the letter C — or was it for T or S? I forgot. 

This is the common problem to oldies and comedians. We forget stuff. At least they can improvise. We're just sitting behind a tall hairdo, twisting our neck to see the stage. Thus the free concert/comedy demands we see the physio at 200 bucks the next day... 

At the end of our life, we've got to ask: "was it worth it?" 

 

Of course it was. We had a good laugh. A great laugh. 

And DEMOCRACY is still a work in progress. 

We tried our average at fixing it or not. Let's admit we prefered barbecues to boring political meetings. As Tommy Dean told us, we were here assembled in this magnificent building with one of the greatest organs in the world, to audition for Cocoon 3 — and we all passed the test. Goodo.

 

Is Bernie auditioning for Cocoon 3 as well? Let's hope he gets the gig... He will definitely need the help of aliens...

 


singing while being lean and hungry...

THE SHOEMAKER AND THE BANKER 

 

A Shoemaker sang from morning to evening: 


It was wonderful to hear him sing, 


Wonders of music; he sang big warbles, 


Happier than any of the Seven Marbles. 


His neighbor, to the contrary, being loaded with gold, 


Sang none, slept little. 


He was a finance man of old. 


If at daybreak, he fell asleep, 


The shoemaker's singing, would wake him up. 


So the banker complained 


That Providence and her gifts ordained


Were not on the market to sell sleeping, 


Like eating and drinking. 


He thus asked the shoemaker to come and see him


"Now, Sir Canary, What do you earn per year?”


Per year ? Honestly, Sir Rathbone,


Said the shoemaker with a laughing tone, 


It's not my way to count in this way; 


I don’t really add up the tray,


From one day to the other: it is enough that at year's end 


I have a few cents to spend...


Every day brings its fluff. 


Well, what do you earn, tell me, by day? 


Sometimes more, sometimes less, the problem is that always 


(Otherwise our earnings would be sufficient enough), 


There are times in the year, intermingle days 


when one must stop work… We are ruined by such festivities. 


Too few days between one and the other; and the parish priest 


With some new Saint always charges for his sermon. 


The banker, laughing at the naivety, 


Said to him: I want to place you on the throne today. 


Take these hundred crowns: keep them carefully, 


To use this cash as needed. 


The shoemaker thought he’d just seen all the money that the earth 


Had, for over a hundred years' worth


Produced for the use of all people. 


He returns home; in his cellar he hides in a hole


The money and his joy at the same time. 


No more singing; he lost his voice 


From the moment he got what causes our troubles. 


Sleep left his house, 


Worry became his doghouse, 


Full of suspicions and vain alarms. 


All day long, he kept a watchful eye; and at night, 


If some cat was making a noise, 


The cat was raiding the money store. 


In the end, the poor shoemaker 


Ran to the one he did not wake anymore. 


"Give me back my songs and my sleep, he tells the banker

 

And take back your hundred crowns."

 

 

 

 

Translation by Jules Letambour

http://www.la-fontaine-ch-thierry.net/savfinan.htm

 

This La Fontaine fable is somewhat wonky but educational.

 

It tells us we should be singing, while being lean and hungry. It’s relatively simplistic as we are still dependant of the "shoe market"...

 

Democratically speaking, we do not have to be poor to understand that greed can spoil our enjoyment of life. We need to be clever about this.

 

At the modern level it’s a question of intensity of what we seek and what we can be. Money has lifted humanity away from the monkey-do. The major problems now are to minimise abuse of greed while incorporating sustainability of planet earth in our songs...

 

Thus Democracy demands some efforts, which to say the least few of us may be prepared to do with real nous.

 

The democratic citizenry demands attention to:

 

Education (clever atheism and humanism)

 

Motivation (unwaving)

 

Sustainability (for the planet and environmental sake)

 

Awareness (of the tricksters, thieves and scrooges)

 

Dedication (to a relative equality)

 

Are we ready to commit? Or are we lazy/dumb enough to let the sharky oligarchy run the show?

his old ideas could be better than new pretty farts...

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump was quick to tweet that he wishes “crazy Bernie” well, shortly after US Senator Bernie Sanders announced his plans to enter the 2020 presidential race.

Despite working on the US senator’s first presidential campaign, Democratic Party Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has refused to endorse Bernie Sanders for the 2020 presidential elections.

Ocasio-Cortez’s spokesperson Corbin Trent declined to directly comment on Sanders’ drive to run for the presidency, just saying that they are “excited to see so many progressives in the race” but that they are “not thinking at all about the next election”.

READ MORE: Bernie Sanders’ 2020 Bid Tainted By 2016 Sexual Misconduct Concerns

Twitter users quickly reacted to the news, with some taking Ocasio-Cortez’s side and noting that Sanders is “old with old ideas”.

 

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/viral/201902211072629467-bernie-sanders-us-elect...

 

 

 

Read from top.

dwarfed by crooked hillary...

The activist left wing of the Democratic Party generates a lot of energy and dreams of having a greater influence. But unfortunately for Bernie Sanders, it always gets dwarfed by the mainstream in the end, writes John Barron.

Most of the attention this 2016 US presidential campaign season has been focussed on the Republican contest, in particular the stunning poll dominance of businessman Donald Trump.

But over on the Democratic side, something rather unexpected is also happening.

Just as nobody really saw Donald Trump being a serious rival to presumed Republican frontrunner Jeb Bush, did anyone really think 74-year-old socialist Bernie Sanders would be giving Hillary Clinton a run for her money in early-to-vote states like Iowa and New Hampshire?

I don't know, but I doubt even Bernie did.

Whereas the Republicans mustered a Melbourne Cup-sized field of close to 20 candidates, the Democrats could only scrape together four potential rivals to Hillary in 2015, and two of them (both one-time Republicans) have already dropped out.

But even of the remaining two, Bernie Sanders and former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley, most would probably have tipped O'Malley to emerge as the alternative to Clinton.

Not so, he's struggling in the low single digits, while Sanders is coming a close second to Hillary in Iowa, and beating her in most of the polls in New Hampshire.

In that position just a couple of weeks out from the first caucuses and primaries, any other candidate would be seen as a real threat to Hillary, so why not Bernie?

A few years back, I set out to answer a similar question.

It was 2007, a year when Democrats had assembled a large, impressive field of presidential candidates, confident in the belief that as the Iraq and Afghanistan wars dragged on and the US economy blundered into a financial crisis, the Republican Party of George W Bush was toast.

In that race were a few names you will have heard of: Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, Senator Hillary Clinton of New York, and Senator Joe Biden of Delaware. Others seeking the Democratic nomination that year included former Iowa governor (now US Agriculture Secretary) Tom Vilsack, Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, former Alaska senator Mike Gravel and Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio.

It was the last of those candidates I was most interested in - Kucinich.

An online poll was taken in early 2007 which had listed the policies of the various Democrats, and at the end of the poll you were matched with the candidate that most reflected your views. A bit like the ABC's Vote Compass today.

The candidate who came out on top, ahead of Clinton, Obama and all the rest was, you guessed it, Dennis Kucinich.

Yet poll after poll of Democrat voters had Kucinich struggling to get 1 or 2 per cent support.

Why, if so many people agreed with Kucinich, wasn't he doing better? Did it have something to do with the fact that he was a five-foot-6-inch vegan with comb-over hair and a name that rhymes with "spinach"? Was it because he simply didn't fit into the Central Casting image of what a president should look like?

They seemed like good questions to ask, given that the 2008 contest for the presidency was already promising to break the mould of who was considered a viable presidential candidate, with a woman (Clinton), an African-America (Obama), an Italian-American (Giuliani), a Latino (Richardson), a Mormon (Romney) and a complete jerk (Edwards) among the leading candidates.

I followed Kucinich on the campaign trail for a week or so, loitering outside his various hotel and rallies hoping for an interview, and spoke to political insiders, academics and even his celebrity friends like actress Shirley MacLaine.

They all gave various reasons why Kucinich wouldn't be elected; he's too left-wing, some said. He is so anti-war he could never be commander-in-chief of the US military, others pointed out. As a member of the House of Representatives, he has too small an electoral base, the political scientists mused.

He looks like an elf, MacLaine observed with a raucous laugh.

It was fascinating nonetheless to travel with Kucinich (and eventually speak to him) on the campaign trail. He was exasperated by the label "he's not electable", wryly pointing out he would be electable if people voted for him. Quite so.

Now, to suggest that only tin-foil-hat-wearing crackpots supported Kucinich would be unfair. Although it is also true to say that one of his biggest campaign events was held in Fairfield, the small rural Iowa town that is home to the global headquarters of Transcendental Meditation group founded by The Beatles' former guru, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

The followers of TM believed strongly in Kucinich, just as they believed they could become airborne by bouncing on their buttocks for long periods of time.

But what, I hear you Sanders supporters cry, does that have to do with Bernie? Kucinich only had 1 or 2 per cent support, Bernie is getting around 40 per cent in Iowa and New Hampshire!

Well, I would suggest that if Kucinich was running in a field of three candidates as Sanders is, he would be getting some fairly strong numbers as well. Certainly in his earlier presidential tilt in 2004, Dennis was the last man standing against the eventual nominee John Kerry, and won a respectable 16 per cent in Oregon, 17 per cent in Minnesota and 31 per cent in Hawaii.

The bottom line is this; there is an activist left wing of the Democratic Party which, like the Christian conservative right of the Republican Party, generates a lot of energy and dreams of having a greater influence over the wider party.

Those activists are highly motivated, and can mobilise - particularly in smaller states like New Hampshire and Iowa where you are lucky to see 300,000 voters turn out. And they can also bombard online polls like the one I read that put Kucinich in front - it was rigged.

I believe that those are the folks who will tend to support Bernie Sanders, just as they did Dennis Kucinich. But when the nominating contest heads towards bigger delegate-rich primary states, the activist base is dwarfed by the mainstream.

That's where candidates like Obama and Kerry beat candidates like Kucinich, and where Hillary Clinton will beat Bernie Sanders.

John Barron is an ABC journalist, host of Planet America, and research associate at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.

 

Read more:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-18/barron-why-sanders-wont-be-presid...

---------------------------

In this naive analysis, John Barron believed in Father Christmas. Bernie only got defeated because the DNC machine wanted to get rid of him (see the Wikileaks emails). He HAD MORE SUPPORT THAN CLINTON AMONGST THE PEOPLE, even with her rich mates' support (she collected THREE TIMES AS MUCH CASH than Trump did for this election). Bernie was far better at giving what the majority of people in the USA needed and wanted (then). Meanwhile Hillary was part of the ESTABLISHMENT, bending the knees in front of the "Deep State" (a euphemism for bankers, industrialists and warmongers' alliance)

 


all aboard on the Социализм земля...

 

The Magic Socialist

CJ Hopkins

So here it is, the announcement we’ve been waiting for … all aboard for another cruise on the new and improved U.S.S. Magic Socialist with your captain Bernie Sanders at the helm! If you’re not familiar with this extraordinary vessel, it’s like the luxury liner in The Magic Christian, except catering to credulous American socialists instead of the British filthy rich. Tickets start at just $27 dollars … so hurry, because they’re going fast!

That’s right, folks, Bernie is back, and this time it’s not just a sadistic prank where he gets you all fired up about his fake “revolution” for fifteen months, gets cheated out of the nomination, then backs whichever corporate-bought candidate the Democratic Party orders you to vote for.

No, this time the Bernster really means it! This time, when the DNC rigs the primaries to hand the nomination to Harris, or Biden, or some billionaire android like Michael Bloomberg, Bernie is not going to break your heart by refusing to run as an independent candidate, unbeholden to the corporations and oligarchs that own both political parties, or otherwise make you feel like a sucker for buying his “revolution” schtick. He’s not going to fold like a fifty dollar suit and start parroting whatever propaganda the corporate media will be prodigiously spewing to convince you the Russians and Nazis are coming unless you vote for the empire’s pre-anointed puppet!

Bernie would never dream of doing that … or at least he’d never dream of doing that twice.

There are limits, after all, to people’s gullibility. It’s not like you can just run the same con, with the same fake message and the same fake messiah, over and over, and expect folks to fall for it. If you could, well, that would be extremely depressing. That would mean you could get folks to believe almost anything, or that we were stuck in some eternally recurring multi-dimensional reality loop. The next year and a half in American politics would play out like one of those Groundhog Day knock offs meets The Magic Christian meets The Usual Suspects, directed by David Lynch, on acid. We’d be barraged by recycled Feel-the-Bern memes. Hacky sack shares would go through the roof. That creepy little bird would come fluttering back, land on Bernie’s podium again, and chirp out “L’Internationale.” People would start booking Tim Robbins for interviews. Ben & Jerry’s would roll out another revolutionary flavor of Bernie ice cream… and in the end it would all amount to nothing.

But that’s not going to happen this time. No, this time, the U.S.S. Magic Socialist is setting sail straight for Socialismland! This time, it’s really the Revolution! The end of global capitalism! And the best part of the whole deal is, you don’t even have to take up arms, stage a series of wildcat strikes, blockade major highways, occupy airports, or otherwise cripple the U.S. economy … all you have to do is vote for Bernie!

See, that’s the magic of electoral politics! The global capitalist ruling establishment, despite the fact that they own the banks and the corporations that own the government that owns the military and intelligence services, and despite the fact that they own the media, and all essential industries, and channels of trade, and are relentlessly restructuring the entire planet (which they rule with almost total impunity) to conform to their soulless neoliberal ideology, and are more than happy to unleash their militarized goons on anyone who gets in their way … despite all that, if we elect Bernie president, they will have no choice but to peacefully surrender, and transform America into a socialist wonderland!

Sure, they won’t be happy about it, but they will have no choice but to go along with whatever Bernie and his followers want, because that’s how American democracy works! We’ve seen it in action these last two years, since Donald Trump got elected president. The establishment wasn’t too thrilled about that, but they had to put aside their own selfish interests and respect the will of the American people … because imagine what might have happened if they hadn’t!

For example, they might have concocted a story about Trump being a Russian intelligence asset who was personally conspiring with Vladimir Putin to destroy the fabric of Western democracy so that Russia could take over the entire planet. They could have had respected newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post and television networks like CNN and MSNBC disseminate this story, and subtly reinforce it in endless variations, on a daily basis for over two years. They could have appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the facts of their made-up story, and indict a bunch of unextraditable Russians and a handful of inveterate D.C. slimebags to make the whole thing look legitimate. At the same time, they could have had the media warn everybody, over and over, that Trump, in addition to being a traitor, was also the second coming of Hitler, and was on the verge of torching the Capitol, declaring himself Führer, and rounding up the Jews. They could have generated so much mass hysteria and Putin-Nazi paranoia that liberals would literally be seeing Russians and Nazis coming out of the woodwork!

Fortunately, the global capitalist establishment, out of respect for democracy and the American people, decided not to go that route. If Americans chose to elect a jabbering imbecile president, that was their right, and far be it from the empire to interfere. Tempting as it must have been to use all their power to demonize Trump in order to teach the world what happens when you get elected president without their permission, they restrained themselves … and thank God for that! I don’t even want to contemplate the extent of the rage and cynicism they would have fomented among the public by doing those things I just outlined above. That might have left people with the false impression that their votes mean absolutely nothing, and that the entire American electoral system is just a simulation of democracy, and in reality they are living in a neo-feudalist, de facto global capitalist empire administrated by omnicidal money-worshipping human parasites that won’t be satisfied until they’ve remade the whole of creation in their nihilistic image.

Thankfully, the ruling classes spared us all that, so now we can hop aboard the Magic Socialist and take another cruise with Cap’n Bernie! Considering how magnanimous they’ve been with Trump, once Bernie wins the election fair and square, the empire clearly won’t have any problems with him nationalizing the American healthcare system, tripling taxes on the super-rich, subsidizing university education, and all that other cool socialism stuff (i.e., the stuff we mostly still have here in Europe, along with some semblance of cultural solidarity, although the global capitalists are working to fix that).

Oh, yeah, and in case you’re worried about Bernie backing the empire’s ongoing regime change op in Venezuela, don’t be. He’s just playing 4D chess, like Obama did throughout his presidency, by pretending to do the empire’s bidding while he actually went about the business of resurrecting hope and eradicating racism. Bernie’s just being sly like that! It might seem like he’s aligning himself with mass murdering thugs like Elliot Abrams and sadistic ass freaks like Marco Rubio, but he isn’t. Not really. It’s just an act. I mean, he has to get elected, doesn’t he?

How else are we going to get to Socialismland?

 

Read more:

https://off-guardian.org/2019/02/26/the-magic-socialist/

a bad dream for the capitalists...

The Coming Socialist President?

Just because Democrats are lurching leftwards doesn't mean they're going to lose in 2020.

By ROBERT W. MERRY

Lately we have seen numerous conservative commentators posit the thesis that the Democrats are disqualifying themselves from a 2020 presidential victory by lurching too far left on key economic and social issues. The idea is that the American people simply aren’t prepared to follow the Democrats into the leftist territory that seems to be their nesting place these days. Ergo, the party is in the process of ceding the White House to the incumbent Republicans, meaning a likely Trump reelection triumph.

This may be comforting to conservatives, but it is based on faulty political analysis. There is a strong prospect that 2020 will see the emergence of a new leftist president who represents democratic socialism of the European style—a brand of politics eschewed by America since at least the end of World War II. 

This perception is based on four broad political axioms worth exploring as the 2020 presidential spectacle gets under way. 

Axiom 1: Presidential elections are largely referendums on the incumbent or incumbent party. In my 2012 book, Where They Stand: The American Presidents in the Eyes of Voters and Historians, I posited that if the incumbent’s record is adjudged by the electorate to be exemplary, it doesn’t matter much who the challenger is or what he or she says or does. The incumbent will win. If that record is perceived as unacceptable, then again it doesn’t much matter who the challenger is or what he or she says or does. The incumbent or incumbent party will lose.  

Of course, referendum politics shouldn’t be viewed as the be-all end-all of every presidential election. Other factors come into play—the character of the candidates, the record of the challenger, the issues being joined, the relative likability of the combatants. But incumbency performance is by far the most compelling factor. In Where They Stand, I noted the analytical framework for predicting presidential elections laid down by Allan J. Lichtman and Ken DeCell in their 1990 book, The 13 Keys to the Presidency. I also used that framework in the summer of 2016 in suggesting that, contrary to nearly all conventional wisdom at the time, Trump’s chances were being underestimated. “Trump,” I wrote, “actually can win.” I based that on what I adjudged to be Barack Obama’s failed second term, characterized by “a stalled domestic program, Mideast chaos, the ISIS threat, growing Islamist terrorism at home, intraparty frictions, and a lingering scandal” involving former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s private email server. Based on how the electorate had reacted to such lapses through history, I concluded that the Lichtman-DeCell keys pointed to a Trump victory. 

Similarly, the 2020 fate of Trump and his party will be driven far more by the president’s performance than by the advocacy—even very liberal advocacy—of the challenger.

Axiom 2: In politically unsettled times, such as we’re experiencing today, the nation often opts for experimentation

If Trump’s presidency is the product of referendum politics, then it also is a product of the country’s willingness to try new things when the political class screws up. Hardly anyone thought Trump could be elected because few analysts sufficiently took into account the degree of ennui and anxiety in the land. But to many Americans, that ennui and anxiety rendered thinkable the prospect of a Trump presidency, whereas in normal times his boorishness and repellent traits would have made him entirely unthinkable as a president.

The campaign of 1980 was also waged in unsettled times, with raging inflation mixed with economic stagnation, sky-high interest rates, and fears of Soviet expansionism. Yet the conventional wisdom was that incumbent Jimmy Carter would likely win reelection because challenger Ronald Reagan was just too erratic, too extreme in his conservative views, and too much of a lightweight. But Reagan won big, not because the electorate suddenly turned conservative in its collective political outlook, but because the incumbent had squandered his claim to the job and because unsettled times called for trying new things, meaning a new president. 

Or consider the 1850s, when the slavery issue roiled the nation and raised questions as to whether the matter could be settled short of war (of course it couldn’t be). During those turbulent times, the country witnessed the demise of the previously powerful Whig Party, the emergence of the replacement Republicans, a seemingly hopeless split within the Democratic Party, and the 1860 victory of Abraham Lincoln under the banner of a party that hadn’t existed eight years before. None of this was even remotely predictable. Similarly, during the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt captured the presidency for the Democrats after the GOP had maintained a hold on the office for 56 of the previous 72 years. One of FDR’s recurrent campaign themes was the need for governmental experimentation in a time of economic crisis. This represented a case study in referendum politics mixed with a widespread national desire for change.   

Axiom 3: Socialism is on the rise in America

Much has been written of late about rising “inequality” in the country. A lot of it has been tendentious, but there is a growing perception that the country’s elites have fostered policies from which they have massively benefitted while leaving the middle class in a state of economic decline. This perception happens to be correct, and it is the single largest factor driving American politics today. It elevated Trump to the White House. 

But if Trump fails (a distinct possibility, based on what we see of his governing style), the resulting increase in civic anxiety and a natural desire for experimentation could drive the country to the left. That is precisely what Democrats are banking on. 

They note, for example, the recent SurveyMonkey poll conducted for The New York Times, which indicated that 62 percent of respondents want the government to take actions to reduce the wealth gap. As two Times reporters put it, “Nearly two-thirds of Democrats say it is immoral to have an economic system where some people have billions of dollars while others have very little.” 

The poll also indicated significant support for Democratic policies that many conservatives consider beyond the political pale. Fully 61 percent, for example, support a 2 percent tax on net wealth above $50 million (advocated by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren) and a 70 percent marginal rate on annual incomes above $10 million (hobby horse of fledgling phenom Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez). The poll didn’t ask about the so-called Green New Deal, another massive governmental expansion proposal put forth by Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, but no doubt there is substantial support for it on the left. 

Much has been written also about the political outlook of the Millennial generation, those born between 1981 and 1996. The Pew Research Center, after extensive surveys of these younger Americans, characterized their outlook as “distinct—and increasingly liberal.” Among them, Trump’s approval rating, according to a poll conducted last year, was only 27 percent. 

All this suggests that we shouldn’t discount the possibility of a national lurch to the left, particularly in light of the final axiom. 

Axiom 4: In today’s divided America, political decision making resides on a knife’s edge of parity. 

Trump won the presidency in 2016 by collecting just enough votes in just the right states to cadge an Electoral College victory. That means we’re operating these days on the margin of politics. Even quite small swings in just a few states could turn the next election against him. And Trump, with his lack of success so far in expanding his base beyond his current 39 to 43 percent approval level, doesn’t project the kind of political force that would make him a strong reelection candidate. 

None of this is a prediction. A lot could happen over the next two years. But the idea that the Democrats are killing their prospects for 2020 by lurching leftward isn’t based on sound analytical thinking. The four axioms above suggest that the dynamics of American politics are more complex than that.

So it’s possible that the country could get, for the first time in its history, an experiment in socialist governance, mixed with a far-left push on high-voltage social issues such as immigration, political correctness, and racial politics. That would be a recipe for failure, leaving the country even more desperate for political leadership to restore stability.

Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington journalist and publishing executive, is the author most recently of President McKinley: Architect of the American Century

 

Read more:

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-coming-socialist-pr...

 

Read from top....

Please don't worry Robert (W. Merry)... Bernie has as much chance to get the gig as a worm in my garden can become US president... Bernie may rattle the populace into going full socialism ahead (or half-speed — or slow like that of "Europe") which would not be a bad thing, even at a slug-pace, but reading the article above this one, will let you know why this won't happen: the ESTABLISHMENT (that includes the media)... the "Deep State" and the local grocer who dreams of becoming Jeff Bezos... and of course the cannon merchants.

 

an old democrat...

Can a septuagenarian socialist who just survived a heart attack and would be 80 years old in his first year in office be elected president of the United States? It’s hard to believe but not impossible.

As of today, Bernie Sanders looks like one of the better, if not best, bets for the nomination. Polls have him running first or second in the first three contests: Iowa on Monday and then New Hampshire and Nevada.

If Bernie can best main rival Joe Biden in Iowa, he will likely thump Joe in New Hampshire. Biden’s campaign, built around “electability,” could suffer a credibility collapse before he reaches South Carolina, where Joe is banking on his African-American base to rescue him if necessary and give him a send-off victory straight into Super Tuesday.

If Sanders can beat Biden two or three times in the first four primaries in February, the last remaining roadblock on Sanders’ path to the nomination could be Mike Bloomberg’s billions.

Hillary Clinton may sneer, “Nobody likes him,” but Bernie has a large, dedicated, loyal following, especially among Millennials, and tens of thousands more small-dollar donors than any other Democratic candidate.

He is flush with cash. He has a radical agenda that appeals to the ideological left and the idealistic young. The rising star of the party, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is campaigning alongside him.

And say what you will, Sanders is no trimmer or time-server. He has consistently voted his values and views. He voted no to Bush 41’s Gulf War, no to Bush 43’s Iraq War, no to NAFTA, no to GATT. In the ’80s, when President Reagan battled the Marxist Sandinistas in Nicaragua, Sanders was on the other side.

But what makes Sanders an appealing candidate for the Democratic nomination may prove poisonous to him as a party nominee in the fall.

For what does Bernie promise?

Free tuition at public colleges and forgiveness of all student debt. “Medicare for All,” a single-payer government-run health care system that would require a huge hike in middle-class taxes and abolish private health insurance for the 160 million Americans currently enrolled.

He would break up the big banks, go after Wall Street, add $60 trillion of federal spending in the next decade, and raise income, corporate, capital gains, estate, and inheritance taxes.

He would expand the government’s share of the U.S. economy to levels rivaling that of France, the highest in the free world.

Bernie was first to back the Green New Deal and pledges to reach carbon neutrality in 10 years in energy and transportation. As for our oil, gas, and coal producers, says Sanders, they “have evaded taxes, desecrated tribal lands, exploited workers and poisoned communities.”

How would Sanders deal with the millions of illegal migrants now within the country? He’d welcome them all in.

Bernie has proposed the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection and wants to provide a pathway to citizenship for the 11 to 22 million illegal migrants already here. He would decriminalize border jumping and give health and welfare benefits to the invaders.

He would decriminalize the breaching of America’s borders.

“My first executive orders,” tweeted Bernie last week, “will be to reverse every single thing President Trump has done to demonize and harm immigrants, including his racist and disgusting Muslim ban.”

Leaders of the center-left think tank Third Way warn that a Sanders nomination risks a Democratic rout of the magnitude of the 49-state losses of George McGovern in 1972 and of Walter Mondale in 1984.

Vulnerable Democrats in moderate and swing districts would have to jump ship, abandoning the ticket to survive the slaughter.

Fearful of such an outcome, super PACs run by moderate Democrats have begun to dump hundreds of thousands of dollars into attack ads to blunt his momentum in Iowa.

What socialist Jeremy Corbyn did to Britain’s Labour party—leading it to the worst defeat since the 1930s—Sanders could do to the Democratic Party, write Jon Cowan and Jim Kessler of Third Way.

In 2016, Sanders ran a surprisingly strong race for the nomination, and it was later learned that a supposedly neutral DNC had been in the tank for Hillary Clinton. The Democratic establishment, the party elite, had collaborated to put the fix in against Bernie.

Yet Sanders supported Clinton that fall. If, however, Bernie’s last chance at the nomination is aborted by an establishment piling on, party super PACs running attack ads against him, and major media taking time out from trashing Trump to break Sanders, the Democratic Party will have the devil’s time of it bringing Bernie’s backers home in the fall.

Bernie’s believers might just conclude that the real obstacle to their dream of remaking America is neither the radical right nor Donald Trump, but the elites within their own party.

-------------

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever. To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.

 

 

Read more:

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/buchanan/democratic-elites-take-...

 

Read from top.

 

 

 

Oh and by the way...

 

"Trump and his allies have repeatedly made unfounded and false claims to allege that the Bidens acted corruptly in Ukraine."

 

Read more:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-administration-reveals-its...

 

 

Here most likely, the full extend of the "corrupt" behaviour of Joe Biden has been put on ice for the moment by the Republican senators... Should Biden gets the Democrat's nomination, the full force of his dealing with Poroshenko will hit him in the face during the final contest. See:

 

According to UkraineGate, Shokin was getting too close to the Biden's cash cow in Ukraine... and thus to the hold the USA had over Ukraine through Poroshenko...

 

 

Read more:

http://www.yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/35235#comment-48226

 

 

 

 

 

is the NYT gunning for or against bernie?...

Look, I know the primaries aren’t over, and it’s still possible that Democratic centrists will get their act together. But Bernie Sanders is now the clear favorite for the Democratic nomination. There are many things to say about that, but the most important is that he is NOT a left-leaning version of Trump. Even if you disagree with his ideas, he’s not a wannabe authoritarian ruler.


America under a Sanders presidency would still be America, both because Sanders is an infinitely better human being than Trump and because the Democratic Party wouldn’t enable abuse of power the way Republicans have.


And if you’re worried about his economic agenda, what’s your concern, exactly? That he’ll raise taxes on the rich part way back to what they were under Dwight Eisenhower? That he’ll run budget deficits? Trump is doing that already — and the economic effects have been positive.

I’m more concerned about (a) the electability of someone who says he’s a socialist even though he isn’t and (b) if he does win, whether he’ll squander political capital on unwinnable fights like abolishing private health insurance. But if he’s the nominee, it’s the job of Dems to make him electable if at all possible.


To be honest, a Sanders administration would probably leave center-left policy wonks like me out in the cold, at least initially. And if a President Sanders or his advisers say things I think are foolish, I won’t pretend otherwise in an attempt to ingratiate myself. (Sorry, I’m still not a convert to Modern Monetary Theory.) But this is no time for self-indulgence and ego trips. Freedom is on the line.

 

Read more:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/23/opinion/bernie-sanders-trump-2020.htm...

 

 

Not ready for the revolution of the oldies, yet...

 

Look, I know the primaries aren’t over, and it’s still possible that Democratic centrists will get their act together. But Bernie Sanders is now the clear favorite for the Democratic nomination. There are many things to say about that, but the most important is that he is NOT a left-leaning version of Trump. Even if you disagree with his ideas, he’s not a wannabe authoritarian ruler.


America under a Sanders presidency would still be America, both because Sanders is an infinitely better human being than Trump and because the Democratic Party wouldn’t enable abuse of power the way Republicans have.


And if you’re worried about his economic agenda, what’s your concern, exactly? That he’ll raise taxes on the rich part way back to what they were under Dwight Eisenhower? That he’ll run budget deficits? Trump is doing that already — and the economic effects have been positive.

I’m more concerned about (a) the electability of someone who says he’s a socialist even though he isn’t and (b) if he does win, whether he’ll squander political capital on unwinnable fights like abolishing private health insurance. But if he’s the nominee, it’s the job of Dems to make him electable if at all possible.


To be honest, a Sanders administration would probably leave center-left policy wonks like me out in the cold, at least initially. And if a President Sanders or his advisers say things I think are foolish, I won’t pretend otherwise in an attempt to ingratiate myself. (Sorry, I’m still not a convert to Modern Monetary Theory.) But this is no time for self-indulgence and ego trips. Freedom is on the line.

 

 

Read more:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/23/opinion/bernie-sanders-isnt-the-lefts...

 

Who are the Democrat Centrists? The Warrens, the Bloombergs, the Bidens or the other losers? apart from Tulsi but the Dems won't have a bar of her.... The only one who really could hold Trump to ransom is Pete... And Trump knows it. But Pete is gay...

 

Come to the Sydney Mardi Gras parade, Pete... It won't affect your chance one way or the other at the presidentials but it will boost the moral of the community and annoy all the right-wing shockjokery of this fair town... while you can have a great time! I know a few gay Yanks (exiled) who would be shuffled to see you!

 

 

Read from top. See also:

 

memories...

hypocrite biden...

 

...

Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders faced criticism from fellow Democratic candidates over recent comments on the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Sanders said during his interview on a CBS ‘60 Minutes’ segment that, regardless of his personal opposition to “the authoritarian nature of Cuba”, it’s “unfair to simply say everything is bad” under the rule of Fidel Castro.

Sanders rivals seized the opportunity to attack the leading Democratic candidate, with former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign spokespersons suggesting that the firebrand Senator's remarks illustrate “a larger pattern throughout his life to embrace autocratic leaders and governments across the globe,” according to The Hill.

Biden senior adviser Cristobal Alex went so far as to suggest that Sanders' comments were “deeply offensive” to people in the US that have fled political oppression.

 

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/us/202002251078397411-bernie-sanders-infuriates-...

 

Yes, it was not all that bad in Ukraine, under Biden's friend, the Nazi corrupt Poroshenko, and Biden is of course like all good Americans, an allied of the nasty despotic Saudi Arabian Royal Family... And before Castro, Cuba was a bed of corrupted roses for the elite. Yes, Sanders tells the truth, and the warmongers and liars like Biden can't take it... Oh, and most of the people who fled Cuba were corrupt... but even historians are too afraid to say it...

proportional voting?... blimey...

How fitting that Twitter — a social media platform apparently built for bickering — co-sponsored a political debate on Tuesday night that often descended into an unintelligible screaming match among too many candidates whose differences belie a vast common ground.


Any one of the candidates in the Democratic race would be among the most progressive leaders ever elected to the White House, so common sense suggests that a few contenders bow out, to clarify the choice and ensure that a consensus nominee can emerge. That would be welcome. But disarray has a way of keeping even the slimmest of hopes alive.


As the country learned in 2016 with Republicans, the primaries and caucuses are a mess, giving the illusion of a choice in a situation where in fact voters have just the opposite — no clear choice. This year, Bernie Sanders won close to a majority in Nevada, but in the two earlier contests, in Iowa and New Hampshire, no candidate won more than 26 percent of the vote. This fragmentation helps those candidates with passionate followings, like Mr. Sanders, as it helped Donald Trump in 2016, but it produces nothing like a consensus candidate. Mr. Sanders has won only 2.3 percent of the 1,991 delegates needed to secure the nomination, yet he’s widely considered the front-runner.


Single-winner elections do a poor job of winnowing a large field of candidates down to one who reflects majority agreement, and encourage the type of nastiness we’re seeing now, because it’s all-or-nothing for each candidate. And the winner of this process can be the choice of as little as 25 or 30 percent of the electorate, which is another way of saying that he or she was not the choice of up to three-quarters of voters.

This is no way to pick the person who will challenge a president — one who was himself nominated first by a minority within his party, then elected by a minority nationwide.


There is a straightforward and elegant solution: ranked-choice voting, also known as instant-runoff voting. Already in use all over the world and in cities and towns across the United States, it’s a popular and proven way of electing leaders who are — what a radical notion! — actually supported by most voters. It is effective in any multicandidate race, but it’s ideal for making sense of a large and fractured pool of candidates.


Ranked-choice voting works on a simple premise: Instead of being forced to choose a single candidate, voters rank some or all of the candidates in order of preference — they rank their favorite candidate first, their next-favorite candidate second, and so on. If one candidate wins a majority of the vote outright, he or she is the winner. If not, the ballots are tallied in a series of rounds. In each round, the candidate with the fewest first-place votes is eliminated. Each ballot ranking that candidate first is then transferred to the candidate whom it ranked second. The process repeats, eliminating the lowest-scoring candidate and redistributing his or her ballots, until one candidate has more than 50 percent of the vote.


How would ranked-choice voting work in primaries with many candidates? We’ll find out this year, when four states are using it for the first time: Wyoming, Alaska, Hawaii and Kansas. As in all other Democratic primaries, they will award delegates proportionally to candidates who win at least 15 percent of the vote. But rather than simply eliminate any candidates who don’t reach that threshold, the ballots listing those candidates first will be transferred to their second-place choices, a process that will be repeated until all remaining candidates have at least 15 percent support.

Say a Wyoming voter is partial to Elizabeth Warren, but feels she doesn’t have much of a chance at hitting 15 percent. He could list Ms. Warren first and, perhaps, Mr. Sanders second. If Ms. Warren fails to get 15 percent of first-place votes in the first round, but Mr. Sanders does, that voter’s ballot would be transferred to him. Millions of votes in the Democratic primaries this year will be cast for candidates who don’t reach the 15-percent cutoff; adopting ranked-choice nationwide would make those votes count for delegates, and thus include those voters in the Democrats’ choice of their nominee.

Polls consistently show high voter satisfaction with ranked-choice voting, and it’s no surprise. By allowing voters to express their support for more than one candidate, ranked-choice voting makes more votes count. By allowing voters to rank a personal favorite first, even if that candidate is unlikely to win, it eliminates the risk of “spoiler” candidates. And by encouraging voters to find something they like in multiple candidates, it fosters consensus.


The candidates respond in turn, by behaving more civilly and reaching out to voters beyond their own base. Running a negative, divisive campaign may pay off in a head-to-head (-to-head-to-head, etc.) election, but not in a ranked-choice one, where victory can depend on appealing not just to a core of supporters, but also to voters who might not be inclined to pick the civil candidate first.


Consider what happened in Maine’s Second Congressional District in the 2018 midterms. Maine first adopted ranked-choice voting in 2016 for its statewide and congressional primaries and elections, and it was popular enough that the Legislature expanded it in 2019 to include presidential elections.


The Second District race featured the Republican incumbent, Bruce Poliquin; his Democratic challenger, Jared Golden; and two independent candidates. After the first round of ballot counting, Mr. Poliquin held a small lead over Mr. Golden, 46.3 percent to 45.6 percent. The independent candidates combined to win about 8 percent, and when they were eliminated in the second and third rounds, more of their votes transferred to Mr. Golden, who ultimately won with more than 50 percent of the vote — even though he won fewer first-choice rankings than Mr. Poliquin. In contrast to Mr. Poliquin, who had publicly dismissed the independent candidates, Mr. Golden reached out to them, and thus won over their supporters. Republicans cried foul, but the voters ended up with a congressional representative who was actually representative.


Maine is the only state to have used ranked-choice statewide, but the reform has been catching on everywhere, from California, Minnesota and Colorado to Utah, Massachusetts and Maryland. Last year, voters in New York City overwhelmingly approved ranked-choice voting for their mayoral, City Council and special elections and primaries starting in 2021 — the largest jurisdiction in the country, by far, to try it.


In fact, some Democrats have already used ranked-choice this season: early voters in the Nevada caucuses. Caucuses offer a form of ranked-choice voting, because voters gather in groups to support their first-choice candidates, and those whose candidates do not receive enough support then redistribute themselves to other candidates. The problem is that many people can’t afford to spend hours at a caucus site, either because of disability or work or family obligations. Voting early by ranked-choice ballot allowed more than 70,000 Nevadans to register their preference for multiple candidates, as though they were at their caucus.

How voters cast their primary ballots is one big area for reform. When they do so is another.


Right now, the primary calendar is cracking under the weight of its own anachronisms. Iowa and New Hampshire, two of the smallest and least diverse states, get outsize attention every presidential election year from the candidates, and therefore have power in determining the arc of the race, long before a vast majority of voters have weighed in. A better system would group state primaries in bunches, making sure to include a diversity of size, geography and demographics in each group, and rotating which group goes first every four years.


No democracy can long maintain its legitimacy with open-ended minority rule. Neither can political parties. Reforming the primary system would go a long way toward making televised shouting matches curious relics of a dysfunctional age.

 

Read more:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/26/opinion/democrats-primary-south-carol...

 

 

Proportional voting? that's a novel idea that we've had for yonks in Australia... But the problem is party leaders who can be replaced at the whim of parties — and/or other sociopath wanting to be chief-fuck... The succession of Aussie PMs since 2007 has been fast and furious, and the present loony, Scott Morrison, is trying to hang on, like a grim crooked Quasimodo clutches the rope of the church bells of Notre Dame — flying off the ground and falling back on his face at regular intervals. 

 

If ringing bells was a sport, it would be at the top of the sports rorts...

 

See from top and see move over, oldies... in pete... And by the way, considering that the Democrats are shit at straight vote counting, how do you expect them to shine into proportional voting...

bernie as seen by the right wing of the new york times...

 

By Bret Stephens

 

Most of us go through life revising our opinions. At 16 I thought “The Fountainhead” was a great book. At 18 I realized it was rubbish. At 25 I thought Bill Clinton should be thrown out of office for lying about a consensual dalliance. At 46 I don’t know what I was thinking.


In 2040, assuming I’m still kicking, I’m sure I’ll have misgivings about some of what I wrote in 2020. Maybe that will include this column.


To have our convictions knocked sideways by stronger arguments, fresh experiences, contrary evidence, maturing judgment, or simply the honesty of a second-guessing mind, is how we become educated. The alternative is intellectual stagnation, puerility, and arrogance. It takes a fanatic, or a fool, to believe that the person who’s most right is the one who almost never admits to being wrong.


Which brings me to Bernie Sanders.


There was a moment in this week’s generally awful South Carolina debate in which I briefly warmed to the senator from Vermont: when he acknowledged casting a bad vote in 2005 in connection to gun manufacturers. It wasn’t that he changed his position to something more congenial to my views. It’s that he changed his position at all.

Otherwise, the presumptive Democratic front-runner communicates a sense of moral and ideological certitude — unrelentingly sustained for decades — that seems to thrill his followers but terrifies me. Other candidates have changed their views on one thing or another over the years, albeit with varying degrees of sincerity: Joe Biden on the war in Iraq; Mike Bloomberg on stop-and-frisk; Elizabeth Warren on super PACs.


Not Bernie! The young man who joined the Young People’s Socialist League as a student at the University of Chicago in the early 1960s on the hoary notion that “capital” should be in the hands of workers, not capitalists, is now the old man who rails compulsively against “the billionaire class” and wants to nationalize the health insurance industry. The guy who was angry about the downfall of Salvador Allende’s Marxist regime in Chile in 1973 is still angry about it today.


He isn’t entirely letting go of Fidel’s achievements, either, even if it risks Florida’s 29 electoral votes. Yes, literacy in Cuba (largely for purposes of indoctrination) is high, and Sanders thinks he has a moral obligation to affirm this.


This isn’t to say that everything Sanders ever thought as a young man — and still thinks today — is wrong. At Chicago he helped force the university to end racial segregation in its private housing. He made the definitive case, in the pages of the college newspaper, for the right of students to have sex. He joined Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.


These are things of which the senator can be proud. Other things, not so much.


He was affiliated with the Trotskyite Socialist Workers Party when it was shilling for the Khomeini regime during the Iran hostage crisis. He shilled for the Ortega regime in Nicaragua in the 1980s, while denouncing skeptical journalists as “worms.” In 1985, as mayor of Burlington, Vt., he made the case for bread lines: “Sometimes American journalists talk about how bad a country is because people are lining up for food,” he said. “That is a good thing! In other countries, people don’t line up for food. The rich get the food and the poor starve to death.”

This isn’t just a callous comment. It reveals a whole substructure of political ignorance and moral idiocy that was altogether common among Sanders’s wing of the political left, both in the U.S. and abroad. Some members of that wing, like Germany’s Joschka Fischer or France’s Bernard Kouchner, came honestly and openly to grips with their youthful errors, which commends them, and, more important, changed their minds on fundamental questions.


I know of no similar decisive break by Sanders with his past comments and associations. Yes, he now downplays his association with the S.W.P. and clears his throat about his opposition to the Castros and Ortegas of the world. Good for him, and it’s not for me to doubt his sincerity.


But I do doubt his seriousness. In America’s 46-year Cold War with some of the vilest regimes in history, Sanders’s main contribution was loudly to find fault with America while remaining remarkably mum about the sins of the other side — when he wasn’t finding occasions to praise them. The least he can do is acknowledge that he was wrong.


The Cold War is long over, and Sanders deserves to be judged chiefly on the merits of his proposals and the strength of his character. I have serious doubts on the first score, but that’s for future columns. For now, what needs saying is that a man who refuses to make an honest break with the worst convictions of his youth should never be entrusted with the presidency.

 

Read more:

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/28/opinion/bernie-sanders-2020.html

 

See also: 

https://www.democracynow.org/2020/2/26/

 

 

 

TranscriptThis is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Two out of seven. That’s the number of Democratic candidates in last night’s debate who are billionaires. Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer were at either end of the debate stage in Charleston, South Carolina, with front-runner Bernie Sanders front and center, facing a barrage of criticism from his challengers. He was flanked by former Vice President Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Amy Klobuchar and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who all tried to appeal to African-American and moderate voters in a battleground state. This is moderator Norah O’Donnell questioning Bernie Sanders during the debate, which was sponsored by CBS and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute.

NORAH O’DONNELL: Senator Sanders, we haven’t had a national unemployment rate this low for this long in 50 years. Here in South Carolina, the unemployment rate is even lower. How will you convince voters that a democratic socialist can do better than President Trump with the economy?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Well, you’re right. The economy is doing really great for people like Mr. Bloomberg and other billionaires. In the last three years, last three years, billionaires in this country saw an $850 billion increase in their wealth. But you know what? For the ordinary American, things are not so good. Last year, real wage increases for the average worker were less than 1%. Half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck. Eighty-seven million Americans have no health insurance or are underinsured. Forty-five million people are struggling with student debt. Five hundred thousand people tonight are sleeping out on the street, including 30,000 veterans. That is not an economy that’s working for the American people. That’s an economy working for the 1%.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: I think that Donald Trump thinks it would be better if he’s president. I do not think so. Vladimir Putin thinks that Donald Trump should be president of the United States. And that’s why Russia is helping you get elected, so you’ll lose to him.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Oh, Mr. Bloomberg. Let me tell Mr. Putin, OK, I’m not a good friend of President Xi of China. I think President Xi is an authoritarian leader. And let me tell Mr. Putin, who interfered in the 2016 election, tried to bring Americans against Americans: Hey, Mr. Putin, if I’m president of the United States, trust me, you’re not going to interfere in any more American elections.

AMY GOODMAN: So, this was the final debate before Saturday’s primary in South Carolina and Super Tuesday, when 14 states will vote. South Carolina TV station WCSC reported the Charleston County Democratic Party offered tickets to people who sponsored the debate at a cost of $1,750 to $3,200 per sponsorship, calling it the, quote, “only guaranteed way to get a ticket” to last night’s debate.

In a few minutes, we’ll go to South Carolina to get reaction there, but first we’re joined here in New York by Anand Giridharadas, editor-at-large of Time magazine. His book is called Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World. On Sunday, he had a cover story of The New York Times Week in Review titled “The Billionaire Election: Does the world belong to them or to us?”

Welcome back to Democracy Now!, Anand.

ANAND GIRIDHARADAS: Thank you for having me, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: So, that’s pretty astounding. Two of the seven Democratic candidates, considered so often the Republican — the people’s party, are billionaires. What does this say to you? Who were on the stage last night.

ANAND GIRIDHARADAS: Running to replace a self-described billionaire, who actually probably isn’t one. You know, let’s just stick with the physical scene that you just showed those shots of, because I think it’s a metaphor for what I have called the “billionaire election,” or the billionaire referendum that 2020 is. So, you’ve got these seven people on stage. On two ends are actual billionaires. The two candidates in the middle, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, are candidates who have risen to prominence precisely on the platform of running against billionaires and the idea that billionaire power is excessive and is suffocating the American dream for people. Then you have the $1,700 to $3,200 tickets, which captures the way in which the Democratic Party is an ostrich, not understanding that we live in an age in which people are actually rising up against plutocracy, and this is the kind of, you know, foot fault that you don’t want to make. And then you have, you know, CBS, this big corporation, hosting the debate. Twitter is collaborating. That’s owned by a billionaire. Billionaires are the stewards, the captains of an economy that has generated so much of the rage this year that is being — that is presenting itself in the election.

And so, this is an election in which you have to have a stand. You have to know where you stand on the question of billionaires in order to vote in this primary and in this general election. If you don’t have a perspective on billionaires, you can’t actually make this choice meaningfully, because for very long in this country, the story that we have told about billionaires is they are like helium balloons. They’re just people who happened to have drifted up from among the rest of us. That’s been the story. And yes, they had more, and maybe the gap was a little too high, but they were just people who drifted up, and maybe if we could get more people a little helium and drift them up, then we’d be better off.

A new story is emerging, a truer story, which is that a lot of those folks, and certainly that class of people, is up there because they are standing on other people’s backs. And they stand on people’s backs by using and abusing tax havens like Bermuda — hello, Bloomberg. They stand on people’s backs by profiting from an economy, like the financial sector that has destroyed the American dream for so many people — hello, Michael Bloomberg. They stand on people’s backs by lobbying for bottle-service public policy that is of private benefit to them but detrimental to the public. And I think Americans are actually waking up to the fact that we have been living in this, what I call this winners-take-all America, in which the country is not being run for Americans. It is being run for money.

I actually have gotten tired of the language of inequality, even though I wrote an entire book about it — multiple books about it, because I think people don’t — it doesn’t click with people, what we’re actually talking about. So, if you are someone listening to this who’s not — I mean, you’re probably not, because you’re watching Democracy Now! — but someone who’s not so excited about the inequality issue, think about it this way. In every year, in this country and in all countries, a certain amount of future rains on all of us. A certain amount of progress rains on all of us. A certain amount of innovation rains on all of us. Right? “Innovation,” the Latin word for new stuff. And the question then becomes: When that new stuff, the future, progress, rains on us, who gets it? Who harvests the rainwater?

And what has actually happened is the future has become a thing that is privately gated and enjoyed and monopolized by very few people, which means that you can be living in an age where extraordinary things are being invented, the internet is being invented, medical advances are happening, but if you are not in the gated community that enjoys the fruits of the future, you are stuck in 1979. And that’s true as a matter of wages for many people. It’s true as a matter of health access for many people. It’s true as a matter of information access for many people, who are listening to media that is distorting their minds. And I think what’s at stake in 2020 is we wake up to the idea that either we are going to resign ourselves to living in a country that billionaires rule, or we’re going to actually muster the gumption to remind billionaires that they are living in our country.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to go not to last night’s debate, but the Las Vegas debate, the time when Mike Bloomberg, you might have called him the piñata in Nevada. And this is the exchange between Senator Sanders and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. This was moderated by MSNBC.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: What we need to do to deal with this grotesque level of income and wealth inequality is make sure that those people who are working — you know what, Mr. Bloomberg? It wasn’t you who made all that money; maybe your workers played some role in that, as well. And it is important that those workers are able to share the benefits also. When we have so many people who go to work every day and they feel not good about their jobs, they feel like cogs in a machine. I want workers to be able to sit on corporate boards, as well, so they can have some say over what happens to their lives.

HALLIE JACKSON: Mayor Bloomberg, you own a large company. Would you support what Senator Sanders is proposing?

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: Absolutely not. I can’t think of a ways that would make it easier for Donald Trump to get reelected than listening to this conversation. This is ridiculous. We’re not going to throw out capitalism. We tried that. Other countries tried that. It was called communism, and it just didn’t work.

AMY GOODMAN: If you can respond to that, Anand Giridharadas? And also talk about when Mike Bloomberg said, “I worked hard for that money.”

ANAND GIRIDHARADAS: I mean, first of all, just, you know, it’s so interesting, given that this is — you know, it’s an election. It’s a contest about actually connecting with people. It’s so interesting to me that being that rich, as Michael Bloomberg is, makes there be no one in your life who actually tells you how you come across to people. I mean, he has the charisma of like a large piece of cheese that ate a robot. You know? It’s hard to even make up how unable he is to connect to people. But he’s probably just surrounded by people who are like, “Oh my god, sir, you are connecting!” Which is part of the problem of being a billionaire.

That exchange was so telling. And what happens in Vegas absolutely must not stay in Vegas, because what he is arguing is the — he’s not just a guy who happens to be rich running in a progressive primary. He is running as a rich guy with all the rich guy intuitions, which is, “I am worth $60 billion because I earned that, and nobody else had any part in that.” And that is an ideology that just frankly does not belong in the Democratic Party. And it’s just — it’s a kind of 20th century — it’s just — it’s old, to be honest. It’s just old. I mean, I know, through my reporting, a number of billionaires, who just absolutely don’t think that anymore. Right? That’s not even cutting-edge thinking within the circle of billionaires. Right? I’ve had billionaires text me, being like, “What’s this guy doing?” Right? Like, this guy — like, let’s be just clear for a second. Michael Bloomberg is making billionaires uncomfortable with his defense of billionaires. This is a true fact, that I can attest from my iMessages.

So, I think we’ve got to think about this notion that he’s articulating. It’s a notion in which his wealth is somehow independent of all the extraordinary things in society that we’ve all paid into, from public schools to public roads to the financial regulators who allow him to build that kind of business. You know, Michael Bloomberg — look, anybody watching this should feel grateful to America. But Michael Bloomberg should feel 60 billion times more grateful than anybody watching this. Right? Like, all of your lives, watching this, are sort of dependent, pretty dependent, on America being a functioning society with nice common things. But his life is really, really dependent on those common things, because, more than anybody watching this, he really depends on Wall Street regulators doing their job. He really depends on the United States court system doing its job well. Nothing he does is possible without that. He really depends, when you’re hiring that many people, on there being a widely educated, well-educated workforce. And so, it feels particularly churlish, when you have an obligation to be 60 billion times more grateful than the average person for public systems, to denigrate them and claim that everything you made is your private prerogative that you could have done in any context in the world, without any of these shared systems.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to go back to Michael Bloomberg, but this is last night in South Carolina, talking about the influence his money had on the 2018 midterm election.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: All of the new Democrats that came in, put Nancy Pelosi in charge and gave the Congress the ability to control this president, I bought — I got them.

AMY GOODMAN: So, you’re the author of Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World. He said, “Look how I used my money.”

ANAND GIRIDHARADAS: You know, it’s so interesting. I was thinking about this. I wish I was prescient enough to write this book because I knew Michael Bloomberg was going to run for president. I didn’t. But I wrote it precisely out of a curiosity of people like him. Right?

And so, a few years ago, the phenomenon I noticed about America, that led to the book, was the Bloombergs of the world have two sides to them. If you look at Michael Bloomberg’s philanthropic activities, which rhyme with the activities of many, many people like him — we can’t deny that. A lot of money being given away, maybe more than in history. Not a lot — not a big percentage for a lot of people, but more money is flowing, $400-some billion are given away in America every year. A lot of money. And I looked at people like him giving money away, doing these ends, changing the world, giving back, making a difference — Africa, Africa, Africa. They love Africa. All this talk about these activities. But then, inconveniently, I looked at a second thing, which is also true about people like Michael Bloomberg, which is that if you looked at the actual economic data, they were monopolizing, as I said earlier, the fruits of the future. They were monopolizing progress. So, on the one hand, they were doing all these nice things, which Michael Bloomberg absolutely does, and, on the other hand, they were actually increasing, not decreasing, their share of the pie every year.

So, it started to make me wonder: What’s the relationship between all these nice activities and the bad activities, the hoarding, the generosity and the injustice? And the conclusion I came to in the book is that the kind of giving that folks like Michael Bloomberg do is the wingman of their taking. The kind of generosity they engage in is the wingman of the injustice they uphold. And the making a difference that they talk about is the wingman of their making a killing. And you see in Bloomberg how, because he is using his wealth to attempt to purchase the presidency. That’s certainly a way in which, you know, having that money and using the reputation glow of philanthropy can help you. Second, a lot of people who have endorsed him are people who have benefited from his charitable largesse. Right? So you use this making a difference to actually increase, not decrease, your power. In an age of plutocracy, which we are in, the central issue in this country is whether you’re going to find a way to break the stranglehold on wealth and power of a few people at the top. And if you do not have a plan to do that, you, by default, have a plan to perpetuate that.

AMY GOODMAN: Would you say that the billionaires election, talking about it that way, is sort of a coded way, a coded critique of capitalism? And now, when you have Michael Bloomberg coming into the race — he won’t be in South Carolina so much as Super Tuesday — his pouring millions into taking on Bernie Sanders and trying to make this an issue about socialism, redbaiting him as much as possible, trying to pose it as “You either have me, or you have Cuba.”

ANAND GIRIDHARADAS: This is such an American talking point that Michael Bloomberg is engaged in, that we all need to educate — first of all, you know, I think — look, I think there are some people who had a great life in the 20th century, who should have considered remaining in it. Right? Like, if your framework — like, if you are still running nuclear drills in your mind — right? — you may not belong in the 21st century. Like, a lot of the — and I see it on TV all the time. Like, there are people who clearly have Cold War trauma, and I feel for them, but we’re not actually in the Cold War anymore. Right? We’re in just a completely different era. Right? And just as it would have been unhelpful in the Cold War to be like talking about what we need to do in the trenches of World War I — it’s just not a helpful framework for the Cold War, because it’s just not now — it’s not particularly helpful now, in 2020, to be reliving your own Cold War trauma as guidance for the United States.

Michael Bloomberg is trying to present this old American talking point, that you’ve got two choices, people: We can either be a Goldman Sachs country, or we can be Maduro’s Venezuela. Those are your choices. Those are your — that’s the whole choice. We have come to a place in America, which I find fascinating, where our understanding of gender is more fluid than our understanding of capitalism, socialism and democracy. It’s remarkable. I never would have expected that. We’ve made tremendous progress in understanding that it’s not like men, women, nothing in between; it’s complicated. People fall all kinds of places on that distribution. But capitalism and socialism? No, no, no, it’s one or the other.

The reality is, for any person who’s actually traveled or read a book, every country in the world, with maybe a couple of exceptions, has some mix of capitalism and socialism. When you’re on the highway, the thing beneath you, socialism; the things on the highway, capitalism — the cars and the trucks carrying stuff. When you are on Wall Street, the banks, capitalism; the regulators that make sure that brokers are not stealing their money, socialism. Right? When you work for 40 years at IBM, capitalism; when you retire and have Social Security and Medicare take care of you, socialism. Right? It’s early in the morning. I have, already in the course of this day, by eating certain things, engaged in capitalism. By taking a car here, engaged in capitalism. But I have also benefited profoundly, just by 8 a.m., from socialism, from the fact that people — you know, there were roads. It was nice to have roads on the way here. It made it a much faster commute. You know, all the ways in which capitalism and socialism are actually part of every hour of our lives, let’s end this ridiculous binary and have some understanding of economic fluidity.

AMY GOODMAN: Anand Giridharadas, thank you so much for being with us, Timemagazine editor-at-large, his new book, Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World. And we’ll link to his New York Times cover story of the Week in Review called “The Billionaire Election: Does the world belong to them or to us?”

When we come back, we go to Charleston and Columbia, South Carolina. Stay with us.

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https://www.democracynow.org/2020/2/26/anand_giridharadas_2020_the_billi...

the superdelegates road stop...

 

Sen. Bernie Sanders: “It is a movement for economic justice, for social justice, for racial justice, for environmental justice. And when millions of people stand up and fight back, nothing on Earth can stop us.”

 

 

Sanders also rallied Thursday at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina, where he led a march of hundreds of students to an early-voting site. Later Thursday, thousands of Sanders supporters packed a rally in Richmond, Virginia — another Super Tuesday state.

The New York Times interviewed dozens of Democratic establishment leaders who will serve as “superdelegates” at the party’s nominating convention in July, and found the vast majority are so opposed to Bernie Sanders’s candidacy, they’re willing to risk damage to the Democratic Party. Of 93 superdelegates surveyed by the Times, nearly all said they would vote against Sanders in a brokered convention, if Sanders were to arrive with a plurality — and not a majority — of pledged delegates.

Many of the superdelegates are corporate lobbyists with healthcare clients opposing Sanders’s Medicare for All legislation. The Intercept’s Lee Fang reports one of them, Democratic National Committee member William Owen, donated exclusively to Republican Senate candidates during the last election cycle — including an $8,500 contribution to a joint fundraising committee designed to benefit Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Owen is backing former Vice President Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination in 2020.

 

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https://www.democracynow.org/2020/2/28/headlines/democratic

 

 

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https://theintercept.com/2020/02/27/dnc-superdelegate-convention-gop-donor/

seeking peace rather than WW3...

...

“Mayor Sanders was proud to join dozens of American cities in seeking to end the Cold War through a Sister Cities program that was encouraged by President Reagan himself,” a Sanders campaign spokesman, Mike Casca, said in a statement. “The exchange between Burlington and Yaroslavl, which continues to this day, confirmed Sanders’s long held view: by meeting face to face, we can break down the barriers and stereotypes that exist between people and their governments.”

Mr. Sanders’s involvement in the Cold War debate grew in the 1980s as he forcefully opposed the Reagan administration’s plans to have Burlington and other American cities make evacuation plans for a potential nuclear war.

Instead, Mr. Sanders reached out to the Soviet Union via an organization based in Virginia, requesting a sister-city partnership with the Cold War adversary in an effort to end the threat of nuclear annihilation.

“We were saying: The goal is to not have a nuclear war, not to plan and prepare for it,” said Terry Bouricius, a Burlington alderman at the time who accompanied Mr. Sanders on the trip.

This was also the era of perestroika and glasnost, economic and cultural changes promoted by Mr. Gorbachev that had sparked optimism among some in the West — along with skepticism from many others — that the Kremlin was prepared to adopt a more conciliatory stance abroad and provide greater freedoms to its own people.

While Mr. Sanders has taken heat from President Trump and his campaign for this outreach to the Soviets, his supporters say it was a timely effort to help defuse tensions and stands in contrast to Mr. Trump’s affinity for strongman leaders like Russia’s current president, Vladimir V. Putin.



Read more:https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/05/world/europe/bernie-sanders-soviet-russia.html

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bernie makes far more sense than dithering joe...

Thank you all very much for being here. Let me begin by reiterating what I have said from Day 1 of this campaign, and that is that Donald Trump is the most dangerous president in the modern history of our country and he must be defeated.

Tragically, we have a president today who is a pathological liar and who is running a corrupt administration. He clearly does not understand the Constitution of the United States and thinks that he is a president who is above the law. In my view, he is a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a xenophobe and a religious bigot, and he must be defeated, and I will do everything in my power to make that happen.

Last night, obviously, was not a good night for our campaign from a delegate point of view. We lost in the largest state up for grabs yesterday, the state of Michigan. We lost in MississippiMissouri, and Idaho. On the other hand, we won in North Dakota and we lead the vote count in the state of Washington, the second-largest state contested yesterday. With 67 percent of the votes having been counted, we are a few thousand votes on top.

What became even more apparent yesterday is that while we are currently losing the delegate count, approximately 800 delegates for Joe Biden and 660 for us, we are strongly winning in two enormously important areas which will determine the future of our country.

Poll after poll, including exit polls, show that a strong majority of the American people support our progressive agenda. The American people are deeply concerned about the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality in this country, and the American people want the wealthy and large, profitable corporations to start paying their fair share of taxes. Overwhelming support for that.

The American people understand that the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is a starvation wage. They want to raise the minimum wage in this country to a living wage of at least $15 an hour. And the American people understand that if our kids are going to make it into the middle class of this country, we must make public colleges and universities and trade schools tuition-free.

The American people understand that we cannot continue a cruel and dysfunctional health care system. And it is amazing to me to see that even in conservative states like Mississippi, there is an overwhelming understanding that we are now spending twice as much per capita on health care as do the people of any other country, while 87 million of us remain uninsured or underinsured. And this crisis, this absurd health care system, is becoming more and more obvious to the American people as we face the challenge of a coronavirus pandemic that we are currently experiencing. Imagine facing a pandemic and having 87 million people who are having a difficult time going to a doctor when they need.

And the American people know, unlike Donald Trump, that climate change is an existential threat to our country and the planet and that we need to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy.

And the American people also know that we need fundamental transformation of a broken and racist criminal justice system as well as a cruel immigration system that keeps millions of people living in fear.

But it is not just the ideological debate that our progressive movement is winning. We are winning the generational debate. While Joe Biden continues to do very well with older Americans, especially those people over 65, our campaign continues to win the vast majority of the votes of younger people. And I am talking about people not just in their 20s, but in their 30s and their 40s, the younger generations of this country continue in very strong numbers to support our campaign.

Today, I say to the Democratic establishment, in order to win in the future, you need to win the voters who represent the future of our country, and you must speak to the issues of concern to them. You cannot simply be satisfied by winning the votes of people who are older.

While our campaign has won the ideological debate, we are losing the debate over electability. I cannot tell you how many people our campaign has spoken to who have said — and I quote — “I like what your campaign stands for. I agree with what your campaign stands for. But I’m going to vote for Joe Biden because I think Joe is the best candidate to defeat Donald Trump.” End of quote. We have heard that statement all over this country. Needless to say, I strongly disagree with that assertion, but that is what millions of Democrats and Independents today believe.

On Sunday, I very much look forward to the debate in Arizona with my friend, Joe Biden. And let me be very frank as to the questions that I will be asking Joe.

Joe, what are you going to do for the 500,000 people who will go bankrupt in our country because of medically related debt? And what are you going to do for the working people of this country and small businesspeople who are paying on average 20 percent of their incomes for health care?

Joe, what are you going to do to end the absurdity of the United States of America being the only major country on earth where health care is not a human right? Are you really going to veto a Medicare for all bill, if it is passed in Congress?

Joe, how are you going to respond to the scientists who tell us we have seven or eight years remaining to transform our energy system before irreparable harm takes place to this planet because of the ravages of climate change?

Joe, at a time when most young people need a higher education to make it into the middle class, what are you going to do to make sure that all of our people can go to college or trade school, regardless of their income? And what are you going to do about the millions of people who are struggling with outrageous levels of student debt?

Joe, at a time when we have more people in jail than communist China, a nation four times our size, what are you going to do to end mass incarceration and a racist criminal justice system? And what are you going to do to end the terror that millions of undocumented people experience right now because of our broken and inhumane immigration system?

Joe, what are you going to do about the fact that we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any major country on Earth and are living with the fact that 500,000 people tonight are homeless and 18 million families are spending half of their income to put a roof over their heads?

Joe, importantly, what are you going to do to end the absurdity of billionaires buying elections and the three wealthiest people in America owning more wealth than the bottom half of our people?

So, let me conclude the way I began. Donald Trump must be defeated, and I will do everything in my power to make that happen. On Sunday night, in the first one-on-one debate of this campaign, the American people will have the opportunity to see which candidate is best positioned to accomplish that goal. Thank you all very much.

 

Read more:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/11/us/politics/bernie-sanders-press-conference-transcript.html

a contest between two old dithering men...

US Senator Bernie Sanders has cleared the way for former vice president Joe Biden to go head-to-head with Donald Trump in November’s critical general election.

Mr Sanders announced his decision to exit the 2020 presidential race on Thursday morning (Australian time), conceding “the path toward victory is virtually impossible”.

The 78-year-old Vermont senator held an all-staff conference call just hours prior to formally end his five-year-long quest for the White House. 

It leaves Mr Biden the presumptive Democrat nominee to take on the president. 

Mr Biden credited Mr Sanders for creating “a movement” based on ideas and drawing attention to injustices and inequalities faced by his many progressive supporters. 

 

Read more:

https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/world/2020/04/09/bernie-sanders-drops-ou...

 

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