Month: April, 2015
Suggested tactics on how Bernie may handle the Hillary thing
| April 30, 2015 | 10:04 pm | Bernie Sanders, political struggle | No comments
By A. Shaw
Most supporters of Bernie Sanders for the DP nomination don’t want to see Bernie beat up on an opponent who has been crippled by a vast network of GOP liars.
Bernie doesn’t have to defend Hillary and her husband from this crafty GOP mudslinging which uses every degree and kind of lie, gossip, hint, brazenness, and innuendo.
No doubt, Hillary will take offense if Bernie rushes to her assistance as if she were helpless.
So, Bernie has to be real careful not to add advertently or inadvertently to the beating that Hillary is now taking from GOP swine because the core supporters of Hillary will be extremely unforgiving if Bernie slips up.
Recent interviews of Bernie by Fox News and CNN show GOP swine ensconced in the big bourgeois media trying to put or slip words, demeaning of Hillary, into Bernie’s mouth.
So far, Bernie has brilliantly and bluntly rebuffed attempts by GOP swine in the lying cappie or capitalist press to slip words, degrading Hillary, into his mouth. Bernie’s rebuffs refuse the advice or opportunity the swine offer him and his rebuffs reprimand the swine themselves for merely offering the advice.
Good show, Bernie.
More than ever before, all viable campaigns in 2016, GOP as well as DP, will be fundamentally media operations.
So far, the GOPs have chiefly used free media to defame Hillary.So, the GOPs hardly spend a dime to undermine Hillary. The aim of their free media operation seems to be to undermine Hillary both in relation to her GOP and DP opponents. The GOPs want one of her DP opponents to beat Hillary so that the GOPs will face a DP who is assumed weaker than Hillary in the general election.
This may prove to be a costly assumption on the part of the GOPs.
Bernie Sanders, an extremely effective and attractive campaigner, will rely heavily on free media since he rejects financial contributions from the “billionaire class.”
Bernie Sanders is running for President
| April 30, 2015 | 10:02 pm | Bernie Sanders, political struggle | No comments

http://stewartacuff.com/sanders2016/

Senator Bernie Sanders is running for President

bernie_sanders_2016_candidate_sticker-ra04a05746d9741e4b749b26252d66f47_v9w0n_8byvr_324“I am running for president. I intend to stand up and fight for working families all over the country.” -Bernie Sanders

My friend and one of my heroes, Bernie Sanders, is running for President of the United States–and I am very happy for it. We need a strong, loud, courageous voice with the platform and the megaphone of a presidential campaign who is unbeholden to the rich and powerful to tell the full truth about what is happening to our country and our people.

The Koch Brothers and their ilk, the radical right-wing Republicans with the assistance of the highest court in the land are quickly dismantling our democracy.  Money now outweighs the voice and votes of the people in elections. The aftermath of the Wall Street meltdown, recession, depression showed that. While our people lost their jobs, their homes, their pensions and, in way too many cases, their lives, those who caused the meltdown got more bonuses and more wealth.

The dismantling of our democracy has played hell with our lives. The evisceration of our labor movement and collective bargaining has led to 35 years of stagnant wages and a declining quality of life and insecurity for our families.

The dismantling of our democracy has destroyed an economy based on a large, deep, strong middle class. More and more our economy is based on obscene oppression of workers and the consequent impoverishment of workers.

Bernie will tell these truths and intensify his fight to change these truths.

I’ve known Bernie Sanders since 2003 when he and Vermont Jobs With Justice sponsored the first mass meeting on the just introduced Employee Free Choice Act. We held that wonderful event on the floor of the Vermont state legislature.

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He is a loyal and true friend, a bold and brave political leader, and a man of his word. He is a man of old fashioned and old school values like working for the common good, integrity, honesty, transparency, solidarity, fortitude in struggle, and fighting for “the least of these” as the Bible says. He does not give up nor give in, he never loses faith. Bernie’s dedicated his whole life and being to the betterment of all of us, and we’re lucky to have him.

He and I both have worked to add power to the struggle of Florida fruit workers through the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. I had the great privilege of sitting in Bernie’s Senate office when the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and the McDonald’s Corporation signed an agreement giving the workers more pay and better working conditions in the fields.

  • Do not dismiss Bernie. We must first make certain that he has the opportunities and means to speak loudly for social and economic justice. Listen to your better angels, to the light within, to the still, small voice that calls for your best.
  • Do not dismiss a person speaking the truth of your life for the future of your kids and grand kids.
  • Do not dismiss a person who will always fight for you and for us.
  • Do not dismiss your friend and brother.

Image sources: Politicaltshirts on Zazzle & @SenSanders

Response to: “The Problem for Bernie Sanders: The Narrow Lane to Hillary Clinton’s Left”
| April 30, 2015 | 9:56 pm | Bernie Sanders, political struggle | No comments

The mindset of working people is clearly in flux and moving towards a “change the system” point of view. How could it be otherwise in an economy where working people’s standard of living is constantly at risk if not already dramatically depressed? It is up to those of us who claim to be radicals, if not revolutionaries, to help give form to this movement and lay the blame where it belongs: on the nature of this stage of state monopoly capitalism. For too long we have defined “defensive struggles” as capitulation to the dictates of those who are opposed to any real change.

 

The single biggest obstacle to be overcome is the low level of political consciousness represented by our current political system, where there are almost no alternatives to those who refuse to look at the systemic causes of our current crisis; whether it be union busting, wage depression , unemployment, the climate crisis, the urban  crisis, the escalation of racial and national repression or the continued exploitation of women. However one estimates what Clinton represents, she is  no such alternative.

 

Bernie Sanders understands this better than most politicians, moreover he is willing to act on it. Progress can never be made within the current electoral system so long as those with the most to lose do not vote. They see no one to vote for. Their bitter experience is that those whom they have putin office too often capitulate to the powers that be. Whether Bernie has the resources to mount a nationwide campaign (he has never been a  “Don Quixote” tilting at windmills because it is the “right” thing to do) he must think that this effort is more than symbolic. If his record of success as an avowed (if undefined) socialist in the Democratic wilderness proves anything, it is that he is a very practical politician who always knows what his goals are, what it will take to reach them, and what “victory” means. Those on the left who either think he is “too left”, or “not pure enough” are going to miss this boat.

 

Will Bernie force Clinton away from the favored positions of big business and Wall Street? Will he force her away from her militarist tendencies? Will  he force her to make real commitments to labor? Will he force her to forthright positions on the TPP, on climate change, on funding education and housing? Time will tell. However, if she doesn’t move in that direction she will probably lose, or win with such a narrow margin that the Republicans will be able to hold her hostage on any progressive issues.

 

Will Bernie win? Frankly, that is the wrong question. People like Nate Cohen only bring it up to disguise what is really at stake.

 

Mike Bayer

The Problem for Bernie Sanders: The Narrow Lane to Hillary Clinton’s Left
| April 30, 2015 | 9:49 pm | Bernie Sanders, political struggle | No comments

 

 

Response to: “Here’s what you need to know about the trade deal dividing the left” (Mother Jones article)
| April 30, 2015 | 9:42 pm | Bernie Sanders, political struggle | No comments

It is a good “objective” summary of the issues that the powers that be want people to focus on. Unfortunately, the author is not a “skeptic” about capitalism, let alone an opponent of the “free market.”

I am somewhat surprised that (according to the author) both Baker and Krugman are not agreeing with Warren, who understands how the system really works.

For socialists I would think that the major issues are:

1. The TPP is a firewall against China, both for competitive reasons, and because of the latent fear that China may not be firmly on the road to capitalism.
2. It is a means to reduce the value of labor power in the advanced capitalist countries by creating worldwide pressure towards the bottom of the competitive heap.
3. It is a means of preventing the value of labor power in the less developed countries from increasing as they develop their economies because of globalization brought on by the large capitalist countries themselves.
4. It is an attempt to “manage” inter-imperialist rivalry, notice the assertion that rules under the TPP would be “stricter” than those of the WTO.

It is no surprise that the only opposition is coming from politicians like Warren and Sanders who are committed to improving the real standards of working people, rather than the power of capital, and labor which, however limited in their analysis, know what happened with NAFTA and what is inevitable if the TPP is approved.

It is a perfect example of the need for a “left” which is based on opposition to the demands of capital even if it is not yet ready to oppose capitalism itself. Even that will not be enough in the long run, as we can see in Greece where there is definitely opposition to the attacks by international capital on the living standards of the Greek people, but not yet opposition to capitalism itself.

A better argument for an assertive Communist Party that combines the immediate struggles of the working class with a vision for changing the nature of the system that is literally killing millions around the world (including right here) can not be made.

Mike Bayer

Study accuses psychologists group of complicity in CIA torture program
| April 30, 2015 | 8:35 pm | political struggle | No comments

Published time: April 30, 2015 19:06

 http://rt.com/usa/254677-apa-psychologists-cia-torture/
Washington, DC, American Psychological Association (Image from wikipedia.org)

Washington, DC, American Psychological Association (Image from wikipedia.org)

 

The American Psychologists Association, the largest professional scientific organization of its kind, was secretly complicit in the adoption of torturous interrogation tactics used by the United States against detainees, a new report suggests.

A study released this week by noteable anti-torture critics reveals that an analysis of emails from the inbox of a deceased US government contractor demonstrates compliance on behalf of the APA with regards to the drafting of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques, or EITs, developed under President George W. Bush.

APA officials was in cahoots with members of the Bush administration, including Central Intelligence Agency employees and contractors, when the government struggled to codify policies for its torture program following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 200, according to the report – an effort led by psychoanalyst and anti-war activist Stephen Soldz as well as Nathaniel Raymond and Steven Reisner – two members of the group Physicians for Human Rights.

“The APA secretly coordinated with officials from the CIA, White House and the Department of Defense to create an APA ethics policy on national security interrogations which comported with then-classified legal guidance authorizing the CIA torture program,” the authors say.

“The complicity between APA and government entities appears to have directly influenced the APA ethics policy changes, codified into the June 2005 report of the APA’s Presidential Task Force on Psychological Ethics and National Security (PENS),” continues their report, aptly named “All the President’s Psychologists.”

Contrary to previous claims made by the world’s largest association of psychologists, the study suggests that the APA was intimately aware of the torture program but did nothing to discourage its development. Further, its authors also allege that the behavior science advisor to Pres. Bush is reported to have drafted “language related to research” that the APA inserted into its official ethics policy on interrogations published in 2005 at the height of the US-led war on terror, and that the organization failed to disclose ties with doctors linked to the EIT program.

The PENS report, the authors behind the latest study say, permitted psychologists to monitor and evaluate the safety and efficacy of the “enhanced” interrogation program, albeit after direct collusion with the Bush administration.

Nearly 700 emails from the late Scott Gerwehr – a researcher for RAND Corporation and an “apparent CIA contractor,” the study says – show the APA had numerous contacts with Drs. James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, the alleged architects of the torture program, beginning in at least 2003. Nevertheless, the APA has distanced itself from any affiliation with either, according to the study.

With more than 137,000 members, the authors of All the President’s Psychologists say the APA’s past actions, according to this week’s report, “undermines the fundamental ethical standards of the profession.”

“The analysis presented in this report raises serious concerns about the APA Board’s knowledge of, involvement in, and responsibility for allowing the US government to unduly influence and change APA policy on interrogations,”
the authors say.

“The resulting policy facilitated the continuation of the Bush Administration torture program. Additionally, the Board’s rapid codification of the PENS report’s conclusions into APA policy was accompanied by a litany of alse or obscurantist public statements issued by APA presidents, Boards, and the press office. These statements did not accurately portray the history of the APA’s connection with individuals and government entities involved in the ‘enhanced’ interrogation program.”

Rhea Farberman, a spokeswoman for APA, told the New York Times that there “has never been any coordination between APA and the Bush administration on how APA responded to the controversies about the role of psychologists in the interrogations program.”

Last year, the results of a long-awaited “torture report” penned by member of the US Senate on the use of EITs was published despite efforts from the CIA to stifle publication. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), the chair of the committee that conducted the four-year investigation, said there was “no evidence that terror attacks were stopped, terrorists captured or lives saved through use of EITs.”

Bernie Sanders makes presidential bid announcement
| April 30, 2015 | 8:22 pm | Bernie Sanders, political struggle | No comments

Enter the Sand-man: Socialist Bernie Sanders blasts billionaires, corporations in presidential bid announcement

Published time: April 30, 2015 19:49
Edited time: April 30, 2015 21:00

 http://rt.com/usa/254665-bernie-sanders-presidential-candidate/
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) holds a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, April 30, 2015 (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) holds a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, April 30, 2015 (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)

 Noted critic of economic inequality, corporations and the rich, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said he was running for president to buck the system in which billionaire families were able to buy elections and candidates.

The Supreme Court’s “disastrous” decision in Citizens United created the situation in which “billionaires are literally able to buy elections and candidates,” Sanders argued. Billionaire families, he charged, are spending “hundreds and hundreds” of millions to back candidates, “often extreme right-wing” ones.

Sanders brought up the Koch brothers, major Republican donors, who he said were spending $900 million in the coming election to campaign for abolishing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

I wonder now, in this day and age, whether it is possible for any candidate who is not a billionaire, or who is not beholden to the billionaire class, to be able to run successful campaigns,” he said. “And if that is the case, I want you all to recognize what a sad state of affairs that is for American democracy.”

Sanders also attacked the economic system in which “99 percent of all new income is going to the top one percent,” while most Americans work harder and longer for less money than before.

This type of economics is not only immoral, not only wrong, it is unsustainable, it cannot continue,” he said, adding that the US was facing with a more serious crisis than any time since the 1930s Great Depression.

The major issue is, how do we create an economy that works for all of our people, rather than a small number of billionaires?” Sanders asked.

He criticized the official unemployment figure of 5.5 percent, arguing it was closer to 11 percent because so many people have given up looking for work. Rebuilding the crumbling US infrastructure would create 13 million jobs, he said.

Statistician Nate Silver rejected any notion of Sanders having a chance at the nomination. “I mean, literally, Al Gore is more likely to be the Democratic nominee than Bernie Sanders,” Silver tweeted.

While acknowledging that Sanders’ odds of winning were nearly nonexistent, the mainstream media hailed his announcement as good for the campaign and even the Democrats’ front-runner, Hillary Clinton. Sanders describes himself as a democratic socialist and has consistently shifted the political debate leftward on several issues, in particular campaign finance, health care, the budget and the environment.

The more attention Bernie Sanders gets, the more attention economic inequality gets, which is something Republicans would rather avoid,” wrote Paul Waldman in the Washington Post’s political blog Plum Line.

Sanders himself rejected speculation that his candidacy was symbolic and intended simply to shift the debate.

We’re in this race to win,” he told reporters.

Listed as an independent, Sanders caucuses with the Democrats, and is counted as such for committee assignments. Earlier in the week, when he first told the press about his intentions to announce a presidential bid, he said running as an independent would be impractical.

It made a lot more sense for me to work within the Democratic primary system where it’s much easier to get on the ballot and have a chance to debate the other candidates,” Sanders had said.

Sanders, 73, served as the mayor of Vermont’s largest city for four terms, from 1981 to 1989. He then ran for the state’s one seat in the US House of Representatives as an independent, losing in 1988 before winning the position in 1990. Sanders served in the House until January 2007, when he was sworn in as Vermont’s junior US senator.