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

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Bernie Sanders, Netroots Nation, and Black Lives Matter





As most everyone knows now, there was a “confrontation” between members of the Black Lives Matter organization and Democratic presidential candidates, Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders during a forum at Netroots Nation in Phoenix, Arizona last weekend. The social media response has been all over the place with much criticism being leveled at Senator Sanders and his supporters for being “insensitive” to the issue of racial injustice as well as a reluctant “tsking” at the #BLM folks for daring to “attack the only candidates in the race who are truly on their side.” I have a little bit of a different take on the whole incident.

I am obviously a strong support of Bernie Sanders for POTUS. Therefore my initial reaction was to defend the 73 year old 1st generation American son of Polish immigrants who fled Nazi Germany (where many of his family members had died in the concentration camps) who had been arrested 50 years ago in the struggle for civil rights and had participated in the MLK Jr March on Washington...etc. etc., etc. and to criticize the Black Lives Matter activists for “hi-jacking the candidates”  and not allowing them the opportunity to gather their thoughts and engage in a meaningful dialog on the issues of racial injustice and police reform they were forcefully injecting into a forum on Comprehensive Immigration Reform. But pretty quickly a more pertinent question popped in to my head: Where was Netroots Nation’s responsibility in this?

I understand why the young activists would feel the need to criticize the Progressive movement and those who strive to carry the banner forward. At this time of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, the Charleston 9 and so much more racial injustice, “extreme policing” – systemic racism in this country, one would think that, at the “largest gathering of Progressive activists in the country” there might actually be a forum dedicated to this national issue; a place where concerned voices could come together for some meaningful dialog. It is easy to see why, with the absence of such a platform, the advocates would seek out their own platform to be heard. And what better venue and timing than when the two candidates who actually cared enough about the gathering to show up in the first place would be appearing at the same time to discuss another issue that is on the national radar and, therefore, bound to attract attention? Sadly, what ensued had nothing to do with a desire for dialog and everything to do with shining a spotlight on an issue. And what have the organizers for Netroots Nation had to say on the matter? Mostly they have washed their hands of the matter and made a few statements about the “importance of Black Lives Matter” and how they too believe that the candidates should have done a better job of dealing with the interruption. Could the candidates have done a better job under the situation they found themselves victims of? Of course; but the bigger question for the Progressive community is: where do we go from here? Who will set up the forum and invite the candidates to come together with the activists to hold a real dialog to determine what needs to be done and what can be done to combat the systemic racism that lives on in our country and around the world? It is time to show that black lives do matter by bringing folks together to find common ground; solutions and opportunities to change the status quo. Candidates need to bring their “A Game” and be prepared to give detailed plans for addressing police reform and economic equality and educational access.

I still believe that Bernie Sanders has been unjustly criticized as being “out of touch” or “out of tune” in addressing the racial justice issues in this campaign. While it is true, his primary focus is on economic equality, he has addressed the issues of mass incarceration, the militarization of police forces, the mistreatment and killing of unarmed black youth at the hands of the police, and the lingering effects of systemic racism in this country at event after event on the campaign trail and during his congressional career. Here is what Bernie had to say yesterday to MSNBC host, Ed Schultz on the subject:
 
 
 
 
Peace,
Chad (The Left) Shue
 
 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Sanders Polling Matches Clinton's in Key Republican Matchups



Some very interesting numbers coming out of the latest Quinnipiac poll regarding one-time “POTUS-n-waiting” Hillary Clinton; as well as her chief rival for the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders. While the poll is highlighting Clinton’s apparent slide against potential Republican nominees, it would seem to show that Sanders should be considered on an equal footing with the former First Lady-NY Senator-US Secretary of State.

The poll, conducted between July 9th and 20th, included just over 1200 voters each from Iowa, Colorado, and Virginia. In each of those states, Clinton is polling behind Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, and Marco Rubio anywhere from 2 points to 9 points. The good news for the Bernie Sanders campaign and his supporters is that, for the first time, ALL of the Democratic candidates are thrown into the mix and it is apparent that Sanders is not only polling as well as Clinton but he would seem to be in a better position to improve his numbers.


In Colorado, the numbers look like this:

 

Bush: 41 - Clinton: 36 / Walker: 47 – Clinton: 38 / Rubio: 46 – Clinton: 38

Bush: 43 – Sanders: 37 / Walker: 44 – Sanders: 36 / Rubio: 46 – Sanders: 35

 
In Iowa:


Bush: 42 – Clinton: 36 / Walker: 46 – Clinton: 37 / Rubio: 44 – Clinton: 36

Bush: 42 – Sanders: 38 / Walker: 44 – Sanders: 36 / Rubio: 43 – Sanders: 36
 
In Virginia:
Bush: 43 – Clinton: 39 / Walker: 43 – Clinton: 40 / Rubio: 43 – Clinton: 41
Bush: 46 – Sanders: 36 / Walker: 44 – Sanders: 36 / Rubio: 44 – Sanders: 37
 
 
As you can see, the numbers look relatively close between Clinton and Sanders; there certainly are matchups that favor each candidate. However a deeper look into the numbers exposes a bigger problem for the current national front runner for the DNC. The overriding thrust of this poll is in highlighting the strong unfavorable rating for Hillary Clinton in these states. And this is where things look nothing but up for Sen. Sanders as he continues to move his message out to his continuing record setting campaign rallies around the country. The “Net Favorable” rating for Clinton and Sanders in the three states are:
 
Colorado
Clinton: -21 Sanders: -2
Iowa
Clinton: -23 Sanders: +4
Virginia
Clinton: -9 Sanders: +1
 
 
 
To understand why these numbers would appear to be so much better for Bernie Sanders you need to see one more answer in the poll. In determining the favorable/unfavorable number, one of the responses was: “Haven’t heard enough about the candidate.” Let’s look at that number:


Colorado:

Clinton: 6% - Sanders: 39%

Iowa:

Clinton: 9% - Sanders: 39%

Virginia:

Clinton: 7% - Sanders: 46%



As you can see (and what the Sanders folks have been saying all along) is that the Independent senator from Vermont still has a lot of work ahead of him in becoming better known to the voters but when he does his numbers have nowhere to go but up. Sec. Clinton, on the other hand, would appear to be a pretty well know figure already (after almost 20 years in the eye of the public) and people seem to have made up their minds about her pretty solidly.

The Clinton camp loves to brag about her standing in the national polls; leading all the Democratic challengers by astronomical margins but even if the race is won in the Electoral College, the electors still come state by state. Obviously polls taken in July are only a snap-shot in time and there hasn’t been a single vote cast (and all the rest of that stuff). However, I don’t how these numbers can be interpreted in any other way that to suggest that, for Democrats, it might be time to start thinking more closely about who will really have the best chance to defeat the Republicans come the general election.
#BernieSanders2016
 
 


Peace,

Chad (The Left) Shue
 



 
 

 
 

 

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Feeling the Bern




Some thoughts (and questions) on Bernie Sanders:

It has now been just over 2 months since Bernie formally announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for POTUS. In that time, he has been on an almost non-stop (he is always mindful that he still has a day-job in Washington DC) campaign juggernaut  that has taken him from Vermont to Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado, Maine, and parts in between. He has spoken before crowds that range from 200 to 10,000 (the largest crowds of any candidate on the road). In those two months, some 250,000 individual donors have contributed over $15 Million to the campaign and at least that many have also signed up to volunteer at events in their local area when the campaign needs them. Social media has been totally abuzz with Bernie Sanders related content. Facebook has been saturated with so many Bernie Sanders groups it is virtually impossible to determine the number of individuals who are engaging (due to the cross pollination of memberships) however the official Bernie Sanders page is sitting at 3/4 million (758,000) “likes” and growing every day.

The main stream media has begun to open up to the campaign and Sanders has appeared on most if not all of the major Sunday shows now. While the overriding consensus of these talking heads is that Bernie is still the longest of shots to win the nomination, it is hard to find one that treats his campaign as a sideshow. Watching poll numbers in the early caucus and primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire as well as the huge crowds turning out to hear him speak; even the most cynical of the pundits is starting to take notice. Most of the questions center on him being a “socialist” or trying to get him to say something about Hillary Clinton that might make a headline or two. To his credit, Bernie uses the opportunity to educate about his brand of Democratic-Socialism and to repeat his criticism of the media for avoiding issue driven journalism in favor of blood and mud. What is most refreshing is when he is given to opportunity to speak to the issues he is running on, he speaks in full sentences to describe the issue and his proposal to find a solution in as much detail as he can in the time allotted. He pulls no punches and has been known to actually catch the interviewer off-guard by answering questions directly when they are presumably expecting a poll driven dodging of the details.

Then, of course, there is the impact Bernie seems to be having on the other campaigns. The Clinton surrogates are already “outing” Bernie as a “Socialist” as if he has been trying to hide that news from people. Missouri Senator, Claire McCaskill tried to suggest that the media might be giving him a free pass on that fact – when it is usually either tossed out in his introduction, “Independent Socialist from Vermont, Bernie Sanders” or “self-proclaimed Socialist, Bernie Sanders” or it is one of the first two or three questions he is asked in the interview (to which he responds, “Yes, let me tell you what that means….”) Perhaps the more bizarre claim by the Clinton surrogates is that Bernie Sanders might be “too liberal” for America – because he wants universal healthcare and affordable college. Oh, and he doesn’t “have any concerns about deficits.” Universal healthcare and affordable higher education have been in the Democratic platform since Harry Truman (perhaps Claire might make herself familiar with the ACA or President Obama’s recent call for free community college). As for deficits, Sanders has not addressed an issue yet where he does not also propose the revenue plan for paying for the solution – most times it calls for increasing taxes on corporations or the 1%. Oh wait; maybe that is who Sen. McCaskill is more worried about offending.

So it would appear that things are moving well for Bernie Sanders right now but I am still concerned about how to get to the people who don’t read past a headline or listen past the sound bite. I was reading again just this morning from supposed Democrats who say they “like Bernie but he is a socialist” and they still believe in capitalism. I wonder how they can “like Bernie” and yet not know that at no point has he ever addressed retiring capitalism as our economic model. He calls for a more regulated form of capitalism so that Wall Street and the big banks can’t repeat their actions of 2008 and 2009 that almost collapsed our economy. I don’t understand those that say “he is calling for a redistribution of wealth” as if; number one, they haven’t already seen their own wealth redistributed to the top 1% due to the deregulation put in place by every president since Reagan, and number two, they don’t realize that they are the ones Bernie wants to redistribute the wealth toward. I guess I am especially baffled by the Democrats who say, “I would vote for Bernie but I am not sure he can win.” Well he certainly can’t win if you won’t vote for him. Some of these folks will say, “I really like where Bernie is coming from but I can see that Hillary is coming around too. Maybe he can pull her more to the left. Again, two points: why wait for Hillary to come around when Bernie is already there, and of course; if you need to pull someone along, can you be really sure they will stay there once you arrive?

Bernie Sanders is the real deal – even more so than Howard Dean and I am still proud to call myself a Dean Democrat. But Bernie Sanders has been walking the talk for decades; unafraid, unashamed, and unfiltered. He has spent his entire adult life fighting for the common good of the masses. Income equality, human rights (racial, ethnic, gender; equality and dignity for all people), the environment; world peace, he has been in the fight (usually in the front lines). The one common thread spoken about him by friend and foe alike is about his honesty and integrity. Whether folks agree with him or not, he does not back down from his core beliefs and does not shy away from stating them.  

In less than 7 months Iowans will be gathering for the 1st in the nation caucus, followed shortly thereafter by the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries and the campaign will be in full swing. There are fewer than 7 months to get to know Bernie Sanders and get him introduced to your friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors. A phrase I seldom use, “this may be the most important election in our recent history” is only appropriate now because Bernie Sanders is in the race. It is time to reclaim our democracy and make our economy work for the people as well as business. Bernie is willing to lead if we will join with him in the fight. He is asking for our help. I am proud to be a part of the Bernie Sanders Revolution. How about you?

#BernieSanders2016


 


Peace,
Chad (The Left) Shue
 

 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Hillary's Assault on Bernie Sanders




For  those of you who may have thought Bernie Sanders might have an easy path to the Democratic nomination for POTUS by simply working within the party to secure the nomination, perhaps it’s time you starting looking at the line of attack that will be coming from the Hillary Clinton camp (via her surrogates mostly, of course).

First there was the notion that this first generation American; son of Polish immigrants, might have a negative view of immigrants, as offered by Clinton surrogate, Rep. Luis GutiƩrrez (D-IL) speaking tointerviewer, Larry King:

In an interview that will air Tuesday with Larry King on ORA TV’s PolitiKING, GutiĆ©rrez, who is backing Hillary Clinton for president, first failed to remember Sanders’s name before blasting him for not doing enough to push immigration reform.


“We’ve got the socialist; uh I can’t remember his name. Bernie Sanders,” Gutierrez said. “I don’t know if he likes immigrants because he doesn’t seem to talk about immigrants. But sooner or later, he’ll tell us. I hope he likes immigrants. I haven’t heard him say anything. He’s been kind of quiet and silent.


You might notice he got also got a nice little “socialist” shot in there as well. Then, this morning, Missouri senator, Claire McCaskill took her turn on the MSNBC morning political talk show, Morning Joe by (surprise – surprise) hitting Sanders with the “socialist” label again.

“I think the media is giving Bernie a pass right now,” said McCaskill on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “I very rarely read in any coverage of Bernie that he’s a socialist.”


“I think Bernie is too liberal to gather enough votes in this country to become President, and I think Hillary is gonna be a fantastic President,” said McCaskill.


Now I am not compelled in the least to “defend” Bernie against this line of attack except to say that Bernie need make no apologies for his stellar voting record on immigration reform while serving with Rep. Gutierrez in the US House or since moving on to the Senate. As for the socialist labeling, I find it very gratifying that poll after poll continue to show that Bernie’s economic agenda is supported by vast majorities of Americans – including Democrats, Independents, and Republican. Now this obviously begs the question, if Bernie’s policies are accepted by a majority of Americans AND a more recent poll indicates that nearly half of Americans today would vote for a Socialist for president, who exactly are the Clinton camp trying to reassure by this line of attack on Sanders. Perhaps the oligarchs their policies and voting records have promoted and protected?

More to the point, however, I am hoping that those who read this page and hear these attacks on Bernie Sanders become more aware of the critical need to reach out to as many people as we can to join the political revolution that is so necessary at this time in our history. Greens, Socialists, Independents, unaffiliated activists, 1st time voters, disaffected Democrats, young, old, working poor, and all who understand that the status quo is not working for the average American; we must come together not only to help wrest the nomination from the grip of the entrenched moneyed interests of the New Democrats but to recruit and elect as many truly Progressive new members of congress as we can.

Now, there are voices on the left who are working just as hard to keep their constituencies away from Bernie just as there are in Hillary’s camp. They are labeling him a sell-out or a sheep dog trying to move would be leftist activists into the Democratic fold. On one hand this is totally understandable as they are working hard to remain true to their principles and values and see any venturing into the corporate political machine as a slippery slope. However, I am still hoping that at some level they will see that only by working together where we are able will there ever (short of a violent revolution) be a better opportunity to achieve real change in the political structure in this country. Make no mistake, this will require great sacrifice as those who are proud Greens and Socialists will be asked to pledge allegiance to the Democratic Party for at least long enough to help Bernie secure the nomination. However, if we are successful, the entire landscape in American politics will be changed. Is it possible? Bumble bees can fly, right? Is it probable? Far from it, but I would love to be proved wrong.

I am proud to be a part of the Bernie Sanders Revolution. Are you?
 
 


Peace,
Chad (The Left) Shue

Monday, June 15, 2015

Bernie Sanders: A Worker; Not a Savior






So you may ask, “What’s so special about Bernie Sanders? What sets him apart from the others seeking the office of President of the United States?” Well here is just one example of why I am supporting Bernie Sanders. The following is from an email he just sent out to supporters of his campaign:

Chad -


One of the biggest mistakes President Obama made once he was in office was, after mobilizing millions of Americans during his brilliant 2008 campaign, to basically tell those supporters, 'Thank you, I’m going to sit down with John Boehner and Mitch McConnell and take it from here.’


I will not make that mistake.


What we’re building together as part of this campaign is not just about electing a president. No one person, not me or the best president you could imagine can make the changes we need by him or herself.


What's necessary to make change happen is a mobilized grassroots movement. That’s especially true when a few wealthy billionaires and corporations have their sights set on buying our elections.

If we’re going to accomplish what we want for this country, it won’t happen by negotiating with Mitch McConnell — it will only happen when millions of Americans get out and make their voices heard.

We have a chance to do that today.


Last week, the House of Representatives stopped a bad trade deal that would have continued the approach that forces American workers to compete against workers in nations that have near non-existent minimum wages, where independent labor unions are banned, and where people are thrown in jail for expressing their political beliefs.


But make no mistake, Wall Street, corporate America and their representatives in Congress will try again to pass this bad trade deal … as soon as tomorrow.


This is our chance to make our voices heard. Click here to enter your information and be automatically connected to your member of Congress. Urge your member of Congress to hold fast and vote against any legislation that would allow the president to “fast track” the disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The TPP follows in the footsteps of other unfettered free trade agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA that have been supported by corporate America and that cost America millions of decent-paying jobs.


Since 2001, nearly 60,000 manufacturing plants in this country have been shut down, and we have lost almost 5 million decent-paid manufacturing jobs. NAFTA alone led to the loss of almost three-quarters of a million jobs — the Permanent Normalized Trade Agreement with China cost America four times that number: almost 3 million jobs. These agreements are not the only reason why manufacturing in the United States has declined, but they are important factors.


The TPP would also give multinational corporations the ability to challenge laws passed in the United States that could negatively impact their “expected future profits.” Take, for example, Phillip Morris, a company using this process to sue Australia and Uruguay for passing legislation designed to prevent children in those countries from smoking. Or a French waste management firm suing Egypt for over $100 million for increasing the minimum wage and improving labor laws.


Virtually every major union and environmental organization in the United States is against the deal that Congress could vote on again tomorrow. Major religious groups are as well because they know what it could mean for some of the poorest people on the planet.


Click here to be automatically connected to your member of Congress and urge her or him to vote against legislation that would enable the implementation of the TPP.


Not a lot of presidential candidates would use their campaigns to influence legislation being considered in Congress. Some candidates haven’t even expressed an opinion on this critical issue, which, frankly, I don’t really understand.


But as I’ve said before, this campaign is not about Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, or Jeb Bush -- it’s about the needs of the American people.


And we need a new approach to trade in this country — one that benefits working families and not just the CEOs of multinational corporations.


Make your voice heard,


Bernie Sanders


 

A couple of things that I would point out about this email; first, there is no “money grab.” Not once in this email am I asked to send him money. Compare this to the last email you may have received from any candidate to any office. Next; Bernie Sanders is speaking plainly and clearly in that he cannot bring about any change on his own. He is asking for the people to take part in their government; make their voices heard; stand up and be counted. No “pie in the sky”, “Elect me and your problems are over.”

The phrase that Howard Dean burned into my brain during his 2004 campaign; “You have the power!” still resonates within my whole being. Bernie Sanders is asking us to use that power and offering suggestions on where to direct our actions. I would suggest that the first place you can direct your power and your energy is at BernieSanders.com
. Sign up and offer your support (ok, a few dollars wouldn’t hurt if you can spare them). Plan to attend your Democratic caucus and/or vote in your primary to prove that votes still outweigh dollars. Talk to your friends and neighbors. Ask them to join the Bernie Sanders Revolution.

The thing that sets Bernie apart? Bernie will fight with us; not for us. He will stand with us so long as we will stand united to say, “Enough is Enough!” It’s time to make our government be ‘of, for, and by the people’ once again.

I have joined the revolution….will you?

 


 

 

Peace,

Chad (The Left) Shue