What’s So Funny About Peace, Love & Understanding

I just cannot believe how many people I am supposed to hate.

I’m a Progressive, proud Liberal, All American Bleeding Heart, a Socialist too albeit one that favors Free Enterprise Capitalism and disdains Free Market Capitalism, occasionally I can be a (Liberal) Libertarian. I also favor Democracy over any other form of governance, but I recognize it’s limitations.

I am supposed to hate all Republicans, except the Libertarians.  It would be presumed that I hate Donald Trump, perhaps John McCain but probably not until the next time he votes for another war. Some, perhaps many might believe that I adore Hillary Clinton, after all I am a member of the Democratic Party. That belief would be false, I’m a Berniecrat, but I don’t hate Hillary, I don’t hate John McCain, Donald Trump, or all Republicans.

Some of the harshest language that I hear comes from fellow Berniecrats. Many of them now hate Senator Sanders, along with Debbie Wasserman Shultz, John Podesta, Elizabeth Warren, and countless others that our Main Stream Media have dubbed Progressives. The online crowd I run with has a list a mile long and only a handful squeak by the tighter and tighter reins of the so-called alt-Left on who to love ad who to hate. And they are right, politicians like Senators Warren and Booker are not currently the aspirational Progressive voices this country desperately requires and is, in fact, yearning for.

Enough with hate. Because someone gave money to Hillary Clinton’s campaign means I should hate them. Because Hillary and company stole the primary from Bernie, is not reason enough to hate viscerally anyone.

Hate is a very strong and powerful word.

Using things or ideas of such power requires restraint. Hate the outcomes of their actions, not the actor. As an example lets look at John McCain. I “hate” that he advocates for policies of military aggression. I do not hate John McCain. I “hate” that John McCain is still in the Senate. I do not hate John McCain.  The same can be said for Hillary, Trump, the Koch Brothers, George Soros and countless, dizzying others.

A Rabbi taught that we should love others as we would love our brother or sister. That teaching of having goodwill toward each other, is not about any religion, instead it is about dispensing with personal vindictiveness, replacing it with a bias toward understanding. Think about ISIS, nearly all Progressives recognize their anger is fed by the actions of Western nations. We need to treat our political opponents the way we would like the US to treat ISIS. With respect.

I know and acknowledge that treating the DNC and Nancy Pelosi with respect is very hard when they are working so very hard at marginalizing the Progressives by using the name for themselves and otherwise ignoring us. We are being disappeared, like in Stalin’s Soviet Union and in Orwell’s 1984.

This is a callout to Progressives. Stop hating. It is making me nauseous.  Thank You.

VOLUNTEERS OF AMERICA

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What is the political Revolution that Bernie Sanders is talking about? Is he asking that we take to the streets, block traffic and commerce until the wealthy agree to share their riches? How about, we congregate at nearby military bases and police stations and block all the exits until the various government agencies agree to make the wealthy share their riches? What is this revolution about, how does it work, and will the US be the new Soviet Union after it’s all over?  I have no doubt that as the 2016 Presidential campaign continues, this is a subject that Senator Sanders will discuss at length. Until then, here is my take of what a political revolution in America is about.

As Bernie Sanders has pointed out, our political system is broken and it’s in danger of collapsing under the weight of oligarchy. An oligarchy is where all the functions of state are managed by a few. In the case of America the oligarchy manages the state covertly to its own financial gain. To do that, they have strategically manipulated the voice of the people to either agree with their agenda or be unaware of its existence. Take a step back and consider how we would like the system to work without an oligarchy. Then consider how the system actually works, and the existence of an oligarchy becomes plain. If you are like me and nearly everyone I know, no matter what political persuasion, the system does not work how we would like it to.

The political system is the processes we follow in order to select the people to administer our various governments. But for this entry, lets just stick to the federal government. It is this political process that Bernie Sanders wants to revolutionize by reinventing it. We can also call the revolution he is championing as a reinvention of the political processes used to elect members of the House, the Senate and the Presidency. Currently our elections require (unofficially) for candidates to belong to one of two parties, obtain funding to mount a campaign and devote themselves almost 24/7 to campaigning and funding. Running for elected office forces one to compromise their principles and ignore morality in the belief that you can overcome the compromises and amorality. But once you enter this world and make your first bargain, you are forever in the debt of the oligarchs that supplied you with the money to buy some newspaper ads, and a few TV ads. And you can say whatever you want, but don’t actually do anything that will jeopardize the oligarchs. Over and over, well-meaning people choose a party, get some funding and suddenly find themselves having to choose.  The hardest part is avoiding that first compromise.

The political revolution will change that. The very fact that Bernie Sanders, a Congressional Independent, who claims his political leanings are toward a Democratic Socialist system, can legitimately run for President as the candidate of one of the two established parties is itself a political revolution. Sanders is in a unique position to be able to this. He began as a mayor of the largest city in a state that at the time really did have more cows than people. However he won that position without going the party route and won by a razor-thin margin. When he decided to try for a promotion to Congress, he refused to use a party, refused big money and he won. Then he went on to become a Senator using the same model. Now he is running for President following the same revolutionary model and undertaking a long shot revolutionary takeover of the Democratic party. He can lead the revolution because he is not compromised by the oligarchy.

But, Sanders has never been about himself. He is the well-meaning person, except he never had to change his mind on issues just to keep getting elected. He wants to alter the system so that all the well-meaning people don’t have to join a party, their campaigns will not be dependent on who can get the most money for the most ads. Public financing of elections and outlawing Super Pacs are two of his campaign platforms. That alone will revolutionize the political process.

The revolution can expand from there. The idea that government is limited by what it can do to help people live up to their potential will also be changed, because women and men of vision and integrity will be able to serve. A recent newspaper column claimed that Sanders is turning the phrase that JFK spoke at his inauguration from ‘ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can for your country’ around to ‘ask what your country can do for you’.  The writer is wrong, Sanders is doing exactly what JFK was talking about. He is not asking that the country elect him president for himself or even the oligarchs, he asking that the country elect him for what he can do for the country.  He is trying to revolutionize how our political process works, a process nearly everyone agrees is broken and corrupt. Without a reliable political process with integrity, how far away are we from handing it all over to an elite that only think ‘don’t ask what your country can for you, ask what you can do for us, the oligarchs’. We can stop that from happening by a political revolution, because if we continue to elect people who have chosen the party and big money route we will need a revolution that won’t resolve at the polls.

 

WRONG REASONS TO SUPPORT HILLARY

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Starting almost the day after (or maybe it was the day before?) that VT Senator Bernie Sanders announced he was running for the Democratic nomination for President there has been strong disagreement within the Democratic Party in particular, and all Progressives in general, regarding his candidacy.  Most prominently there have been numerous arguments taking place between supporters of Sec. Hillary Clinton and supporters of Sanders.

To the credit of both the former Secretary and the Vermont Senator, neither has carried much, if any, of these arguments to the campaign trail.  But for those that have not decided irrevocably for any candidate from  any party it may be useful to review some of the debate points regarding the candidacy of Hillary Clinton and how it affects Bernie Sanders. Full disclosure, I am an unabashed Bernie Sanders supporter. Also, just to be clear, as everything stands in August of 2015, I will not vote for Hillary in the General. And I can confidently add that I will also not vote for any Republican. So yes, I do have an agenda. Very simply, most of the reasons that are being pushed by Hillary supporters to not vote for Sanders are based on a set of assumptions that are not very strong.

One of the most common arguments for supporting Clinton over Sanders is that Hillary has the best resume of any candidate in modern times has had to be President. There are 2 ways that postulation is really a moot point as well as wishful thinking on the part of her supporters.

First, is that the resume includes her position as First Lady at both the state and national level.  But how does that translate into a qualification for the job of President of the United States? The answer is, it does not. Who can confidently say they are qualified to give advice about their spouse’s job? Only couples that do the same job, that’s who. And First Spouse is not the same as being the elected Governor or elected President. Yes, she was an adviser and probably a strong voice and even an participant during Bill’s administrations. So has nearly every other First Spouse, she just happens to be the first one running for President.

Second, even if we accept that her service as First Lady counted and the fact that she was a lawyer at the Watergate hearings are legitimate resume items that add to her qualifications the questions remain about the value of a resume.  For the job of President, in modern history (post WW I) the person with the best resume was clearly George H. W. Bush.  He served in Congress, was an official adviser to a President and he even served as Director of the CIA as well as Vice President. Additionally, he served as a distinguished fighter pilot. Was he a great President, or even an OK one? No. He was certainly not the worst President, but with all those qualifications his performance still fell short of anything remarkable.  Resume is not a qualification to be President.  A resume may get you an interview, but we have a long campaign season for the people to conduct their interview and to demonstrate your competence, resume or not.

Another, irrelevant attack on Senator Sanders used more and more by Hillary supporters is that Bernie Sanders is a Socialist. And we all know that Socialism means that the entire economy will come under the control of a vast bureaucracy. Sorry, but that is not Socialism, that is Communism.  While both are based on similar premises, their implementation are vastly different. The Socialism that Sanders adheres to is used throughout many countries that also support a thriving Capitalist economy integrated with Socialist principles. The Socialism that Sen. Sanders wants to bring to the US is called Democratic Socialism. The name does not mean Democrats that are Socialists, it means that the government is a democratic institution created by the people for the benefit of the people.  Sort of sounds like something a long ago Republican once said. The election of Bernie Sanders will not result in Congress being replaced by a Politburo, along with the imposition of 5 year plans and Party apparatchik enforcing conformity.  Although that does sound like something a modern day Republican might think of as a good idea. Bernie Sanders does not now, nor has he ever advocated the entire political and economic systems of the US be transformed into anything other than a democratic system operating as an advocate for the people, providing opportunity and protection against the more powerful for everyone.

Lastly, the Hillary supporters insist that having Sanders even competing against Hillary hurts her chances in November 2016. And the roughly similar argument that only Hillary can beat the Republican candidate because she can raise almost? the same amount as the Republicans. Neither of these arguments make any sense in a open democratic election. First, only the media decides who is winning based on how much money a candidate has raised. I have never heard anyone ever claim that they are voting for Rufus Firefly because he raised the most money. And unless Sanders reveals some deep secret that somehow he or his staff dug up on Clinton, he is not going to say anything that will be used as ammunition by the Republican nominee. (I am certain the Republicans have been accumulating their anti-Clinton talking points since 2006.)

The bottom line is that all the pro Hillary supporters are using misleading information that does not stand up to scrutiny.  And if you are a Hillary supporter because a) It’s her turn; b) She’s a woman; or c) We need to be sure a Republican will not win. Remember, that it is never someone’s turn to be President, and just as Hillary would be the first woman president, Sanders would be the first Jewish President. Neither is a reason to vote for either one.  If Bernie can compete against an intelligent and competent opponent such as Hillary, what makes anyone think that he cannot compete and win against any of the Republicans running.