Peace, Love, and Rock-n-Roll from a proud Lefty, Liberal, Socialist Hippie

Friday, May 22, 2015

Has the Promise of America Been Broken?

Declaration of Independence

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…


Preamble to the US Constitution

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


Washington’s Farewell Address

The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.

For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. Citizens by birth or choice, of a common country; that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts of common dangers, sufferings, and successes…


From time to time I like to look back upon some of the historical documents from the founding of the country. They usually give me a sense of pride in being an American. I have to admit though, that after reading these things, I often have to wonder why so many people can have so many different opinions on the purpose and the function of “the government” in their lives and the life of the nation.

The initial colonists were a collection of mostly western European descent; with different native tongues, cultures, skills, and life perspectives. They had come to this country for variety of reasons; to escape persecution of one form or another, to seek opportunity in a land with so much potential, or to advance their position within the government that had sponsored their emigration. After a time there grew disenchantment with having their affairs overseen and dictated to by a government thousands of miles away and the desire to separate from those bonds began to swell. And while each of the colonies were content to maintain their own identity, they understood that only by bonding together under one flag and pooling their available resources (human and material) would they be able to throw off the bonds of foreign rule. Thus became the United States of America.

Simplistic yes, but in fact, the formation of the U.S.A. was totally deliberate. “…in Order to form a more perfect Union…” – E pluribus unum “Out of Many, One” A country dedicated to the proposition that the people should reign supreme and that their governance should be by their consent (vote). From the very beginning of the republic, the purpose of the government was to ensure that the people would be free to pursue their various endeavors with the minimal amount of interference except in cases of direct conflict with another individual or the ability of the collective unit to provide equal opportunity for all. I would (and do) argue that nothing has changed in the structure of the government. However, sadly the level of participation by the governed has dropped to appalling lows and helped to create a real and dangerous assault on the foundations of our government.

One of the themes I hear more and more these days is that the government is attempting to run everything and that overregulation of business is damaging the country. One of the primary functions of the congress, as laid out in Article 1, Section 8 was to “regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.” It would seem that somewhere along the line, someone managed to convince some people that it really was the purpose of government to regulate the people for the sake of business. What I really don’t understand is how regular folk can so willingly lay down their position of dominance in “the government” and allow it to be usurped by the very entity they have been charged with overseeing.


"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves."

John Adams, U.S. President, 1785


There has been a debate raging in this country for some time over “the government’s” role in education. Yet how can there be a debate about the role education plays in the ultimate “Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness” of the individual? It is so strange to hear people who were educated in a public school system prior to the “Reagan Revolution” now say that education should not be free for their own children and grandchildren. It should an imperative for our country to strive for a well-educated future generation; not burdened by massive debt as soon as they enter the work force. Instead we have working class folks saying, “Please make it harder for me to send my children to college or let them graduate already so far in debt that they become indentured servants immediately upon graduation.” Is this really the America we want to pass on to our children?  “…and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”

I see the United States at real cross roads today. Do we remain a nation “Of the People, By the People, and For the People.” Or do we simply surrender our governing responsibilities to the soulless corporations who will simply take what they need to improve their bottom line and discard the rest? When the people don’t vote or even step up to the plate and run for office to help shape the debate and decide the rules (which should be few) someone will fill the vacuum. From where I sit, I can see who is jumping right in to take up the slack. I can only imagine what Tom, and George, and Ben would be thinking. How about you?



Chad (The Left) Shue

Thursday, May 21, 2015

In a Contest for Progressive Champion it's Sanders Above the Crowd

A recent article in “The Hill.com” talks about the momentum being gathered by the Bernie Sanders campaign and how it “threatens to crowd out Martin O’Malley”, former mayor of Baltimore and Governor of Maryland, from the race for the Democratic nomination for POTUS. The piece, written by Niall Stanage,  addresses Sanders’ early entry into the mix, his steady rise in poll numbers, and how O’Malley’s late start could be costing him any chance of bumping Bernie out of the role of ‘chief rival’ to Hillary Clinton. However, just as with most articles out of the mainstream media, everything is framed in the context of, “Very few observers believe Sanders could truly endanger Clinton’s pursuit of the Democratic nomination. He’s not a member of the Democratic Party and is relatively unknown compared to Clinton.” The piece begins:

“Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is moving fast to corner the market for a firebrand liberal alternative to Hillary Clinton in 2016 — complicating life for former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

O’Malley would like to position himself to the left of Clinton and capitalize on a perceived unease about the former secretary of State among progressives.

His problem is that Sanders is already on the battlefield and advancing.

“Sanders has energy and excitement,” said New York-based Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf. “O’Malley is late to the dance.”

In fact, the Sanders campaign is already organizing across the country, mostly through social media sites, with over 175,000 pledged volunteers and over 100,000 financial contributors having contributed over $4 Million. And the “formal” kickoff won’t be happening until May 26th. Word is that Gov. O’Malley is expected to make his formal announcement on May 30th.

The piece goes on to discuss the current state of polling in the Democratic race; where former FLOTUS, NY Senator, and US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, clearly outdistances every other candidate or potential candidate by a great margin but with Sanders up by double digits over O’Malley; and rising with each new set of polls since his announcement that he would be entering the race. For me, the key to a Sanders victory lies in an area that the article (like many others being written so far) brushes on but doesn’t take any time to explore – the potential for an Obama-like ability to attract voters who would normally remain outside the electoral process; certainly outside mainstream Democratic politics.

“A policy-driven question-and-answer session he participated in on social media website Reddit on Tuesday resulted in the Vox headline “11 moments from Bernie Sanders’s Reddit Q&A that show why he’s a progressive hero.” Among them were his outright opposition to the Patriot Act, his advocacy of publicly funded election campaigns and his assertion that “I believe a number of Republicans want to see ... perpetual warfare in the quagmire of the Middle East.”

Even Democratic insiders skeptical of the Vermont senator acknowledge he has gotten off to a solid start in his campaign.

“I think with this beginning, he seems to be engendering support and good reviews from some of the people on the left of the Democratic Party,” said strategist Jamal Simmons. “We’ll see how it progresses.”

In comparing Sanders and O’Malley and their chances of claiming the nomination from Clinton, the piece continues:

“O’Malley supporters believe this could all change once he actually gets into the race, as he is widely expected to do in Baltimore on May 30. They argue he has clear advantages, including his experience as a governor, a personal style that is both more telegenic and might have broader appeal than Sanders’s, and a capacity to connect with blue-collar voters.

This view finds some support from unaligned strategists, such as Simmons.

“I think Bernie Sanders’s audience is more academic, maybe a little bit more part of the labor elite or the academic elite, or the people of a ‘netroots’ perspective,” he said. “Martin O’Malley is a rock-band-playing former mayor of a blue-collar city [Baltimore], who can have a beer and talk about complicated policy issues.”

Even so, Simmons added, O’Malley “could well be the mainstream liberal alternative to Secretary Clinton if people are in the market for that. It’s just that I don’t really know if there is a market for that.”

Sheinkopf is even blunter.

“Sanders’s positions are very much his own. O’Malley is a governor who is not generating any excitement.”

While there are those on the left who are skeptical and even suspicious of Sanders because the long-time Independent/Socialist has chosen to seek the Democratic nomination, there is already a healthy dialogue beginning between them and the liberal Democrats who feel that the party has abandoned them and feel that Bernie Sanders may be the candidate to unite the most progressive factions. Sanders’ views on Income Inequality are bringing him support from large numbers of the “Occupy” movement who, until now, have mostly remained outside the political arena in any direct way. In addition, his stands on civil liberty and the environment are beginning to allow some moderate Republican to view him as a viable option to the tea Party circus that still controls most of what passes as the modern Republican Party. I am not convinced that these potentially new voters in a Democratic primary are being accounted for in any polling numbers.

As for O’Malley, I have to admit that I wasn’t very knowledgeable about the man until I was made aware of a piece from AOL.com describing him as a former Clinton protégé turned rival. However, after reading about the deep connections to the Clinton machine (including his early 2008 endorsement for Hillary) and this little ditty:
"O'Malley's relationship with the Clintons deepened as he became more involved with the Democratic Leadership Council, a centrist group that helped craft much of Bill Clinton's policy agenda."

I am left with an uneasy impression of a man seeking favor with the family that bought his ticket to the dance. Someone to lob a couple of harmless barbs her way as an entry into the Progressive inner circle to claim strong party ties over the socialist and then fold up tent when the time is right.

Bernie Sanders is running for POTUS to lead the fight for real change. That change is not going to come from the Progressive wing of the Democratic Party alone. It will require a revolution, a rebirth of political activism like this country has not seen in decades. It will require courage on the part of those who will be labeled “sell-out” and worse for signing up as delegates to Democratic Party caucuses and possibly even having to declare “Democrat” as a party preference to be able to vote in a Democratic primary. But it can’t stop there, we need “more better” Democrats, Greens, Democratic Socialists, Socialist Alternatives, and more in Congress to help guide and pull and push a true Progressive agenda in this country.



Chad (The Left) Shue

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Sanders v Clinton: Where Do They Stand

So, in a primary contest, it is important to know the difference between the candidates. I decided to do some looking and came across this piece from DailyDot.com - I have decided to simply give you their analysis with limited commentary at the end. They begin:

“There is some difficulty in comparing Sanders and Clinton's positions because, as a member of the Obama administration between 2009 and 2013, then-Secretary of State Clinton stayed largely mum on many issues of consequence and has often remained vague in the years since—whereas Sanders, well, it's usually not difficult to discern where he stands on pretty much anything.

The following are summaries on how the two candidates stack up on a whole host of issues. Now that there is more than one candidate officially in the race, Democratic voters actually have a choice. This is an attempt to help them make it. Granted, the Iowa caucuses aren't for another 10 months, so you'll have plenty of time to mull all this over.


Sanders: Sanders has labeled himself a "strong supporter of immigration reform," but has voted against such efforts when the details haven't been to his liking. He is in favor of creating a pathway to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States and has advocated in favor of programs like the DREAM Act. However, he's been skeptical of guest worker programs and the expansion of things like H-1B visas that, he argues, largely serve as a way for large corporations to keep wages low. He voted in favor of "sanctuary cities" where law enforcement officials don't function as immigration police, and he opposed both making English the official language of the U.S. government and building a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Clinton: Clinton has been a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform and has advocated for a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants that includes paying a fine, filling in back taxes, and learning English. She's sponsored bills intended to fund social services, such as healthcare and education for non-citizens. Clinton was a vocal supporter of President Obama's executive action as well as the idea of "sanctuary cities." While in the Senate, Clinton voted in favor of building a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border but later backed off the idea during a debate with then-candidate Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential primary, insisting the bill she voted for shouldn't be enacted as written. 

She's also called for increases in law enforcement presence along both the Mexican and Canadian borders. She has largely opposed guest-worker programs, but she has made an exception for the agricultural sector. While on the campaign trail in 2008, Clinton spoke approvingly about the idea of giving drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants but then backtracked shortly thereafter. Earlier this year, a Clinton campaign spokesperson noted that she now fully supports the idea.

Campaign finance reform

Sanders: Sanders is pushing a constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which opened the floodgates to unlimited political contributions to political action committees (PACs), and backs strong controls and disclosure requirements on political donations. He has insisted his campaign won't enlist the help of a super PAC to funnel in an unlimited amount of cash from donors unencumbered by the giving limits imposed on the candidate himself.

Clinton: Asserting that campaign finance reform will be major plank in her campaign platform, Clinton has said that she would support a constitutional amendment reforming the campaign finance system. In 2000, she called for a ban on all soft money donations and, at one point, pushed for public financing of elections. Even so, the Clinton campaign is expected to raise in excess of $1 billion over the course of the 2016 campaign.

Same-sex marriage

Sanders: With a 100-percent rating from the Human Right Campaign as a supporter of LGBT rights, Sanders is a strong proponent of gay marriage, voting against bills in 2004 and 2006 aimed at passing constitutional amendments banning gay marriage. He also voted against a 1999 bill that would have blocked gay people from adopting children in Washington, D.C..

Clinton: Clinton made news when the video officially announcing her presidential campaign featured a same sex couple holding hands and talking about their upcoming wedding. Yet, she ran for president in 2008 as an opponent of gay marriage and recently insisted to NPR's Terry Gross that her former opposition to marriage equality came from deeply held moral beliefs rather than any kind of political calculation. During Clinton's tenure as first lady in the 1990s, her husband signed into law Don't Ask Don't Tell, the Defense of Marriage Act, and a bill prohibiting people who were HIV+ from entering the United States.


Sanders: Even though Sanders has an "F" rating from the NRA for his opposition to decreasing the waiting period for gun purchases and voted in favor of the 1994 assault-weapons ban, when it comes to gun control, his record is more complicated than the National Rifle Association's blanket disapproval may suggest. He voted against 1993's Brady Bill, likely the most substantial gun control law ever signed into law, as well as bills allowing firearms to be carried in checked bags on Amtrak trains and banning lawsuits against gun dealers and manufacturers for crimes committed by their customers.

Clinton: Clinton has long been an advocate of strong gun-control laws. In her book Living History, Clinton wrote that Congress's inability to pass meaningful gun-control legislation following the Columbine school shooting inspired her to run for Senate in the first place. "We have to rein in what has become almost [an] article of faith, that anybody can own a gun anywhere, anytime," she said during a speech last year. "And I don’t believe that."

While in the Senate, Clinton voted against bills shielding gun vendors and manufacturers from liability on actions taken by their customers. She recently said that opponents of gun control regulations, like the universal background checks Congress was unable to enact following the Sandy Hook shootings, "hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people." During her 2000 Senate campaign, she favored a national licensing regimen for all firearms, but told debate moderator Tim Russert in 2008 that she had since backed off from the idea.

International trade

Sanders: Sanders not been particularly happy with the Obama administration's efforts to enact the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a controversial trade deal between 12 countries in North America, South America, Asia, as well as Australia and New Zealand. "The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a disastrous trade agreement designed to protect the interests of the largest multi-national corporations at the expense of workers, consumers, the environment, and the foundations of American democracy," he wrote in a statement. "It will also negatively impact some of the poorest people in the world."

Clinton: During a 2012 speech in Australia, Clinton called the TPP "the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field." In subsequent years, Clinton has been critical of certain elements of the deal. In her book Hard Choices, Clinton argued that giving corporations or their investors "the power to sue foreign governments to weaken their environmental and public health rules" is something to be avoided, and the leaked provisions show that the TPP—the text of which is a secret—does just that. However, she has not come out and directly opposed the agreement.

Domestic surveillance

Sanders: When the Patriot Act, though which though which much of the post-9/11 domestic spying on the electronic communications of American citizens has been justified, initially passed in 2001, Sanders was one of 66 members of the House of Representatives to vote against it. In the years since, he has been one of the leading voices in Washington against domestic surveillance. After the leak of NSA documents by Edward Snowden in 2013, Sanders called the agency's wholesale collection of cellphone metadata "alarming and absolutely unacceptable." He also joined with Patriot Act author Rep. James Sensenbrenner on co-authoring a bill that would have prohibited the National Security Agency from collecting the call records of American citizens.

Clinton: In 2001, Clinton voted for the Patriot Act and then voted in favor of reauthorization six years later. Since the Snowden revelations, she has expressed concerns about the NSA's surveillance programs, but she has largely avoided the issue and not come out with concrete policy proposals. Even when Snowden is brought up in her book Hard Choices, Clinton declines to render an opinion on one side or the other.

War and peace

Sanders: Sanders is as staunchly anti-war as any elected official in Washington. He voted against approving the Iraq War in 2002 and has consistently advocated for deescalating the conflict in Afghanistan. In 2007, he cosponsored a bill that would have required the president to get the explicit approval of the Senate before taking military action against Iran and, even as far back at 1999, voted against putting U.S. ground troops in Kosovo. In the current fight against the Islamic State, Sanders opposes the United States taking a leading role in the conflict.

Clinton: Clinton's record on foreign policy is one that people like Time's Michael Crowley have labeled "unapologetically hawkish." By the time she left the Senate in 2008, National Journal rated her as the 40th most liberal senator when it came to foreign policy, putting her squarely on the right side of the party.

In the Senate, she voted in favor of the Iraq War in 2002, but later came to admit she "got it wrong. Plain and simple." As secretary of state, she backed the "surge" in Afghanistan, advocated for arming the Syrian rebels, and has been a strong defender of the military's use of targeted drone strikes.

Financial reform

Sanders: A fierce critic of Wall Street, Sanders has advocated breaking up big banks to end the era of government bailouts of "too big to fail" financial institutions. He's similarly skeptical of the Federal Reserve, leading the push to attach an amendment to the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial industry reform law that enacted the first ever audit of the institution.

Clinton: Clinton has, at times, been critical of Wall Street, and she has slammed Republican attempts to roll back certain provisions of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. But the candidate has had a long history of being cozy with America's financial elite: In fact, the top donors to her campaigns, from 1999 until 2014, include Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan Chase.

The dollar figures do no (sic), however, paint the full picture. And an anecdote Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) recounted to PBS's Bill Moyers in 2004 is likely instructive. Warren recalled how an op-ed she wrote about a proposed bankruptcy bill in the late 1990s impressed the then-first lady so much that she invited Warren to a meeting. Warren explained to Clinton the myriad problems with the legislation that swung power away from individual bankruptcy filers and toward big banks. At the end of the discussion, Clinton told Warren that they had to do whatever they could to kill the bill and, when it reached her husband's desk in shortly thereafter; it was slapped with a presidential veto. Warren was heartened, at least until the bill came up again in 2001 and Clinton, now a senator, voted for it.


Sanders: Sanders received a perfect score on his pro-choice voting record from NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Clinton: Clinton received a perfect score on her pro-choice voting record from the NARAL.”


Just a couple of things; one of a general nature and two very specific points. It should be pretty easy to see from the information here that, over the years Bernie Sanders has stood firm in his beliefs and has cast his votes accordingly. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand seems to be able to shift her opinions and attitudes. Now some will say that being able to change your mind in the face of new evidence or circumstances shows intelligence and integrity. However; on the issues listed above, I think it would be most accurate to say that the only circumstance that may have changed is whether or not she was running for election.

On the specific issue of foreign policy, the vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq must be the yard stick by which all other comparisons are based. Many of her supporters believe that it is wrong to hold her to account for that vote after all these years (of course some of these same folks are rejoicing in the current predicament Jeb Bush finds himself in over the same issue) and cite the admission of “I got it wrong” as adequate contrition. Again, given her "unapologetically hawkish" views moving forward with regards to Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya, and her full throated embrace of Obama’s “drone wars” it is hard to imagine that she would not want to “prove her mettle” as the first female POTUS by promoting the most muscular foreign policy.

On the issue of Campaign Finance Reform I think it is also fair to say that Bernie Sanders will be the first Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter to avail himself of the existing public financing rules while Hillary Clinton will unabashedly look to her long list of millionaire donors as well as a very well-funded Super PAC.

Given the areas where they agree, it is good to know that the Democratic candidates stand head and shoulders above any of the announced and potential Republican candidates in this cycle. But, because this is a primary; Progressives and Democrats have an obligation to review each of these candidates to determine which one more truly aligns with their values. Don’t give in to the straw man of “he or she is not electable” because it really does come down to who has the most votes in the end and if you are willing to fight for the values you truly believe in.


I know where my values lie. Do you?



Chad (The Left) Shue

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Bernie Sanders: Nobody's Shepherd

One of the important questions in the 2016 presidential campaign has to be; are Progressives more concerned with electing a true champion or simply waiting to hear condescending platitudes from a pre-determined nominee.

An article in The Hill.com sets the question up quite well. The article titled, “Banks Brace for Bernie” sets out to address legislation that Bernie Sanders, the Independent senator (and now Democratic candidate for POTUS), is introducing to break up the “too big to fail” financial institutions in this country but then spends much ink dismissing both the legislation and Sanders himself as having no practical effect other than to, perhaps, cause presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton, to say words that might sound like Sanders’ own. The article begins:

Wall Street is worried that Sen. Bernie Sanders’s vigorous calls for banking industry reform will pull Hillary Clinton to the left, as the two presidential candidates battle for the 2016 Democratic nomination. 

Sanders (I-Vt.) last week unveiled new legislation designed to break up the nation’s largest banks, declaring that “if an institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist...”

“…The prospects of it becoming law are nil,” said one banking lobbyist, who described Sanders’s legislations as “shrill, bombastic and misaligned.”

“But we care about whether this impacts Hillary and whether she’ll try to pander to the far left.”

Sanders has repeatedly said that he is in the race to win but the question still remains for Progressives (in and out of the Democratic Party); will we galvanize behind a true Progressive champion and help him cross over the finish line to victory or will we give in to the cynicism of the pundit class who only sees him as a speed bump / detour on Hillary Clinton’s path to the White House?

The article correctly recognizes Sanders as, “…one of eight lawmakers to vote against Glass-Steagall’s repeal.”  Many will remember that the repeal of Glass-Steagall, the rule that prohibited the banks from, essentially, gambling with depositor’s money; occurred during the Bill Clinton presidency. For those paying attention, both Bill and Hillary Clinton have been cited as champions of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC); an economically right-leaning think tank that preaches the political virtues of Democrats adopting a more Wall Street friendly approach. But even while citing Sanders’ ability to bring his message of economic populism to the front, the Hill stills sees his efforts as merely a shepherd, moving Hillary (if only momentarily) to the left.

“Despite the vocal opposition from the business community, Sanders’s ability to activate progressive outside groups could mean he may be able to move Clinton to the left — even if, as conventional wisdom says, he poses no real threat to the former secretary of State’s eventual nomination.”  

Personally I refuse to accept the premise being offered by the “keepers of the conventional wisdom.” Every day I hear something or read something that convinces me that Bernie is the real deal. I am heartened by the growing numbers of supporters at the local, regional, and national level. However, I will remain vigilant because I have also seen what a hostile media and a well-orchestrated attack campaign can do to the morale of a grassroots army.

If you have not already joined the Bernie Sanders Revolution, what are you waiting for?

Bernie Sanders.com



Chad (The Left) Shue

Monday, May 11, 2015

Join the Revolution

Something to consider: What if Bernie Sanders’ run for the White House is the much longed-for catalyst that launched a viable multi-party revolution in this country?
Since Sanders; the proudly Independent Mayor, Congressman, and Senator from Vermont, announced his intention to seek the nomination of the Democratic Party for President of the United States, most of the questions have come from Democratic activists who ask how he will be received by that party and from the various leftist groups like the Greens and the Socialists who want to know how he can abandon his long held Independent (Democratic-Socialist) label for a more “corporate” Democrat label. But wouldn’t it be great if they would just stop for a moment to consider what could happen if they just let it happen and start finding ways to use the campaign to their advantage?
A valid argument against voting 3rd party in this country is the lack of a political infrastructure that could sustain such a movement. While it is true that there are Green Party members who have been elected at local and regional level in some parts of the country and Seattle has elected a Socialist to its city council, trying to spring from those isolated cases into a national campaign has been a fool’s errand. Enter Bernie Sanders. The fact that Sanders has caucused with the Democrats during his tenure in Congress and has supported and campaigned for Democratic Party candidates across the country, gives him all the credibility he needs to seek their nomination for POTUS. There is little doubt that he is far and away the most Progressive member of Congress and has been for some time; which has always kept him in good standing with members of the “far left.” With Sanders to rally behind, this would be an ideal time to start running slates of local and federal candidates who can find much to support in Sanders’ agenda and give Progressive voters of every stripe reason to get out to the polls to create a true political revolution in the country.
While there are any number of issues that will divide the various factions (as it should be – we are already hearing the criticisms of his “pro-gun” voting record and his “pro-Israel” position); I think Sanders offers the most comprehensive list of shared Progressive values of any candidate in recent years. From Income Inequality to Climate Change; to Universal Healthcare and Education, to opposition to so called Free Trade, to a need to balance military spending with the need to invest in our crumbling infrastructure; Progressive Democrats, Greens, Socialists and just Independent activists can come together to move this agenda knowing that they would have the unquestioned support of a President Sanders and he would have a willing Congress to help guide this agenda forward. It becomes a win-win as, moving forward, the 3rd and 4th, and 5th parties would be able to build on electoral successes and start building a viable infrastructure to move even more of their specific agenda items and candidates forward.
Why now? There is a genuine dissatisfaction in the Democratic Party, with a number of the Progressive wing truly unhappy with what is seen as the “anointment to coronation” process behind Sec. State, Hillary Clinton. The issue of income inequality resonates with Americans of all political stripes (after years of visibility on behalf of the “Occupy” movement (which, by the way, has actually taken the unusual step of endorsing theSanders campaign). Maybe most importantly the candidate himself gives us a messenger unafraid to define the issues in a way that average Americans can relate to. As for the Republican field; again this year, all the potential candidates have to offer is an attack on the working poor and more war mongering.
And so, just as Sanders has repeated since he announced his candidacy, the times call for a real political revolution. Just imagine what could be accomplished in this country in just one election cycle if Progressives around the country would take this opportunity to come together for the common good…
Chad (The Left) Shue