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Bernie Sanders seeks U.S. presidency again in 2020

Bernie Sanders seeks U.S. presidency again in 2020

Postby smix » Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:37 am

Bernie Sanders seeks U.S. presidency again in 2020
Reuters

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa- ... SKCN1Q81A9
Category: politicsNews
Published: Tue, 19 Feb 2019 20:37:40 -0500

Description: U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont progressive whose 2016 White House campaign garnered fervent grassroots support and pushed the Democratic Party sharply to the left, said on Tuesday he would again seek the party's presidential nomination in 2020. Sanders, 77, announced his candidacy in an email to supporters, vowing to build a vast movement to confront the special interests that he said dominate government and politics. Sanders said he would push for many of the same issues that powered his 2016 run and resonated with younger voters, including universal healthcare, raising the hourly minimum wage to $15, and free public college tuition. “Our campaign is about creating a government and economy that works for the many, not just the few,” Sanders said, asking for 1 million people to sign up to kick off his bid. Sanders’ insurgent 2016 candidacy against front-runner Hillary Clinton ended up capturing 23 state nominating contests, but generated tension between the party’s establishment and liberal wings that split the Democrats in 2016 and still plagues the party. He joins an already-crowded Democratic race featuring candidates touting many of the ideas he brought into the party mainstream. They include fellow Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kamala Harris of California, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Sanders has been among the leaders in early opinion polls of prospective 2020 Democratic candidates, but a broad range of progressive candidates could make it harder for him to stand out and generate the same level of support as four years ago. In an interview with SiriusXM radio, Sanders said voters “might want to look at who was there first, and who raised these issues in the past.” He condemned Republican President Donald Trump in his statement as “the most dangerous president in modern American history,” labeling him “a pathological liar, a fraud, a racist, a sexist, a xenophobe.”
‘I LIKE BERNIE’
Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, Trump dismissed Sanders’ chances, but said the senator had at least, like himself, been tough on free-trade deals. “Personally, I think he missed his time, but I like Bernie,” said Trump, who in the past labeled Sanders “Crazy Bernie.”

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Sanders enters the race with clear strengths, including broad name recognition, a proven ability to raise money from small-dollar donors and a committed set of passionate supporters. His campaign reported that Sanders raised more than $4 million from 150,000 donors in all 50 states in the first four hours after he announced his run on Tuesday morning. More than 330,000 people had signed on to support Sanders, the campaign said. But he is also likely to face questions about his age and relevance in a party that is increasingly advancing more diverse and fresh voices, including those of women and minorities - groups that Sanders struggled to win over in 2016. Sanders has hired Faiz Shakir, an experienced Democratic operative who was the national political director at the American Civil Liberties Union, as campaign manager for 2020, the campaign said. He was previously a senior adviser to former Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, and worked at the liberal Center for American Progress think tank. A former mayor of Burlington, Vermont, Sanders won a U.S. House of Representatives seat in 1990, making him the first independent elected to the House in 40 years. In 2006, Sanders won a U.S. Senate seat and in 2018 was voted in for a third six-year term. His run against Clinton, a former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state, was notable because few Democrats seemed inclined to challenge her claim on the nomination. Sanders’ candidacy swiftly caught fire, as he spoke to swelling crowds and garnered ardent support on social media. Unlike Clinton, he refused to take money from corporate political action committees, or PACs, relying on a flood of small-dollar donations. When he ultimately conceded and spoke at the Democratic National Convention in support of Clinton, he was jeered by some of his supporters. At the time, Sanders said his populist platform would endure. The primaries and caucuses that determine the party’s nominee will begin in February 2020 in Iowa, and the Democratic winner is likely to face Trump in the general election in November.



Bernie Sanders faces new challenges in crowded 2020 U.S. presidential race
Reuters

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa- ... SKCN1Q82M1
Category: politicsNews
Published: Tue, 19 Feb 2019 18:55:32 -0500

Description: Bernie Sanders is back for another White House run, but this one promises to be far different than the improbable 2016 presidential campaign that made the Vermont senator a political force. In the 2020 race, Sanders, who announced his latest bid on Tuesday, will have to fight to stand out in a crowded field of progressives touting issues he brought into the Democratic Party mainstream four years ago. At 77, he also will face questions about his age and relevance in a party increasingly embracing more diverse and fresh voices. While many of his supporters are sticking with him, some are waiting to see how the Democratic field seeking to challenge Republican President Donald Trump shapes up. “2020 is not 2016. He had his moment and 2020 may not be his moment,” said Ron Abramson, a New Hampshire immigration lawyer and a Sanders delegate to the 2016 Democratic nominating convention who now is undecided. Sanders enters the race with clear strengths: broad name recognition, an ability to raise money from small-dollar donors and passionate supporters who flocked to his insurgent 2016 campaign against one of the best-known figures in American politics, Hillary Clinton. Sanders, an independent democratic socialist who aligns with Democrats in the Senate, pushed Clinton and the party to the left in 2016 and drew fervent support from young and liberal voters with an agenda supporting universal healthcare, raising the hourly minimum wage to $15 and free public college tuition. Those are mainstream positions for the party now, with Democratic presidential contenders including fellow Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker promoting similar views. “Some of us get to open doors and others get to walk through them,” said Arnie Arnesen, a liberal radio host and former New Hampshire state legislator who calls herself a Sanders admirer. “Bernie opened the door for progressive politics, but I think he has to recognize there are new voices and a new bench.” Sanders also will face lingering resentment in some Democratic quarters over the 2016 campaign. His challenge to eventual nominee Clinton split the party and generated tension between its establishment and liberal wings that still exists.
DIVERSITY
Sanders already has moved to correct some 2016 missteps. In January, he apologized to women campaign workers who said they had been harassed or mistreated by male campaign staffers, and he acknowledged the campaign’s “standards and safeguards were inadequate.” He has been trying to reach out to black and Hispanic leaders after having trouble winning over minority voters in 2016. That could prove challenging again as a white man competing against female, black and Hispanic candidates. “I really want to be sure the person who I ultimately support is going to take a hard look at diversity and ensure they are reaching out to all communities, particularly people of color and women,” said Lucy Flores, a former Nevada state legislator and U.S. congressional candidate who backed Sanders last time but is uncommitted for 2020. Ray Buckley, chairman of the Democratic Party in New Hampshire, an influential state with an early nominating contest where Sanders won 60 percent of the vote in 2016, said Sanders’ inner circle of top supporters there is largely with him. But most prominent party activists are shopping the field, Buckley said. Some Sanders allies expect the crowded field to help him, fracturing the vote enough to give Sanders and his dedicated following more clout. “It’s going to be real hard for some of the other candidates to stand out, whereas Senator Sanders already has the name recognition and support,” said Tim Smith, a state legislator in New Hampshire and a member of the state’s steering committee for Sanders. Sanders also will benefit from grassroots groups such as Organizing for Bernie-Draft Bernie and People for Bernie Sanders, which have been building support and organizing for him ahead of his announcement. His supporters said his decades-long commitment to progressive issues will resonate with voters choosing among candidates with similar views. “These aren’t platitudes to him,” said Katherine Brezler, co-founder of People for Bernie Sanders. “Having to push somebody to believe these things is not where I need to be. Bernie would not have to be educated about these issues.” His strengths on the issues, however, may not be enough. “We need somebody who can tap a broader segment of the electorate,” said Abramson, the 2016 Sanders delegate.
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Lifestyles of the rich and socialist: Bernie Sanders has 3 houses, makes millions

Postby smix » Thu Feb 21, 2019 6:02 pm

Lifestyles of the rich and socialist: Bernie Sanders has 3 houses, makes millions
Fox News

URL: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/lifest ... s-millions
Category: Politics
Published: February 21, 2019

Description: Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., entered the 2020 presidential race this week promising to transform America with a left-wing vision of economic and environmental justice. But the self-described democratic socialist’s high-end income, multiple houses and fondness for air travel have already opened him up to criticism that his lifestyle doesn't always match the rhetoric. Sanders has pitched himself as a grassroots economic populist, focusing on income inequality and higher taxes for the rich. "Our campaign is about transforming our country and creating a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice," he said. "Together you and I and our 2016 campaign began the political revolution," he said. "Now it is time to complete that revolution and implement the vision that we fought for." But Sanders has raised eyebrows over his spending and personal wealth. Notably, he owns three houses. In 2016, he bought a $575,000 four-bedroom lake-front home in his home state. This is in addition to a row house in Washington D.C., as well as a house in Burlington, Vermont. “The Bern will keep his home in Burlington and use the new camp seasonally,” Vermont’s Seven Day’s reported in 2016.

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The multiple homes, though, bring into question past statements -- like when he asked in 2017: "How many yachts do billionaires need? How many cars do they need? Give us a break. You can't have it all." Sanders has also earned more than $1 million annually in recent years, though he remains on the lower end of Senate Democrats in terms of net worth. VTDigger reported in May that he made more than $1 million in 2017 -- $885,767 of which came from cash advances and royalties for his book, “Our Revolution” on his failed 2016 presidential bid. It’s the second time he made roughly that amount, making more than a million in 2016 also. Despite that, according to Forbes he has one of the lowest net worths among prospective presidential candidates, with an estimated net worth of approximately $700,000, according to Forbes. To compare with other Democrats, fellow left-wing firebrand Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has an estimated net worth of approximately $7.8 million. But conservatives have pointed to Sanders’ lifestyle as contradictory given his tax-the-rich mantras. “That’s why they are called limousine liberals,” Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist said on Fox Business Network's “The Evening Edit” on Tuesday. “You have enough money. You can imagine spending other people’s money as well.” “His health care plan, he admits, costs $32 trillion. He wants an 8 percent across-the-board tax on peoples’ salaries, which is only $12 trillion—an 8 percent pay cut for everybody in order to pay for his health plan [and] it only pays for a third of it,” he said. “So you can imagine the endless number of tax increases and regulations that they are looking to put on.” But other parts of his lifestyle are also drawing scrutiny, specifically when compared to his calls to limit environmental pollution and also to redistribute the wealth of the “millionaires and billionaires.” In October, he spent nearly $300,000 on air travel so he could speak to audiences in nine battleground states before the November midterms. This from a candidate who has endorsed a Green New Deal that seeks to dramatically reduce (if not eliminate entirely) air travel. Sanders’ team reportedly purchased nearly $5,000 in carbon offsets to balance out the emissions produced from the travel, according to VTDigger. A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions to compensate for emissions elsewhere. The same day his campaign paid the jet company, Sanders called climate change a "planetary crisis" in a tweet. Since Sanders announced his presidential bid, he has received a fresh wave of criticism from conservatives, with commentator Charlie Kirk quipping: “For a committed socialist he sure seems to love living like a capitalist.” Other parts of his family dealings will likely see more scrutiny also. The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday zeroed in again on the controversy surrounding Bernie’s wife, Jane Sanders, and her time as president of Burlington College. The college closed in 2016, citing the enormous debt it accrued while Sanders was in charge -- in particular when the college made a $10 million real-estate deal. Federal investigators looked into whether Jane Sanders committed bank fraud by inflating the amount of money pledged to donors by the school -- but investigators purportedly closed the investigation and brought no charges. Vermont Republicans have sought to tie the controversy to Bernie Sanders. “If she’d been Jane Doe instead of Jane Sanders, she never would have gotten this loan, it never would have survived the most basic of underwriting," Vermont Republican Party Vice Chair Brady Toensing said on "Fox & Friends" Thursday. In response to "Fox & Friends" request for comment, Bernie 2020 Senior Adviser Jeff Weaver said: "These false allegations began with a politically motivated complaint by Trump's 2016 Vermont Chairman. As Jane has said from the beginning she has done nothing wrong and pleased that the investigation came to an end months ago." "It's no coincidence after Bernie Sanders' record breaking fundraising during the first day of his campaign, Fox News is regurgitating false attacks from Trump's cronies," he said. But The Wall Street Journal claimed the saga, as well as reports that between 2009 and 2011 the school paid more than $328,000 to enroll students in a woodworking school run by Mrs. Sanders’ daughter, “shows financial incompetence and a tendency toward nepotism.” “Sounds a lot like socialism,” the editorial said.



Vintage Bernie footage shows now-presidential candidate praising breadlines, communist nations
Fox News

URL: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/vintag ... st-nations
Category: Politics
Published: February 22, 2019

Description: Presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has never shied away from his embrace of a hard-left agenda, but the democratic socialist is facing renewed scrutiny over a catalog of comments he made in the 1980s praising the Soviet Union, offering advice to Nicaragua's socialist government -- and even saying breadlines in communist countries are a "good thing." Videos of those comments have recirculated online at a furious pace ever since Sanders jumped in the 2020 race Tuesday, this time as a putative front-runner rather than the underdog he played in 2016 against an establishment favorite. With his increased stature, and role in pulling the entire field to the left, has come a tougher look at his long record talking up socialist governments. “It’s funny sometimes American journalists talk about how bad a country is because people are lining up for food. That’s a good thing,” he said in one vintage video unearthed by conservative activists. “In other countries, people don’t line up for food, rich people get the food and poor people starve to death.”



The clip is one of a number where Sanders is seen extolling the supposed benefits of Marxist and socialist governments, while casting aspersions on the U.S. government. After a trip to the Soviet Union in 1988, he held a press conference, along with his wife Jane, and said he was “extremely impressed” by the USSR’s public transportation system. “The stations themselves were absolutely beautiful, including many works of art, chandeliers that were very beautiful, it was a very effective system," he said in a clip unearthed by conservative group The Reagan Battalion. He also said he was fond of the USSR’s “palaces of culture,” which he told an audience were much better than anything the U.S. had mustered: “I was also impressed by the youth programs that they have, their palaces of culture for the young people, a whole variety of programs for young people, and cultural programs which go far beyond what we do in this country.” Jane Sanders was equally enamored with their tour, as well as "the enthusiasm and the optimism" of the people they met there, and praised the concept that work and free time were merged. “Instead of compartmentalizing their lives into a job and hobbies, it’s all interrelated and all under the banner of community involvement,” she gushed. Citizens of the Soviet Union didn’t agree with their assessment, however, rising against the communist bloc as it broke up just a few years later. Sanders also visited Nicaragua during the Marxist Sandinista regime. Despite U.S. opposition to the anti-American, socialist government, Sanders was vocal in his support for it. “The basic ‘crime’ being committed by the people of Nicaragua today is that the government there has the strange and unusual idea that they should attempt to do something for the people of Nicaragua rather than for the United States corporations,” he grumbled in one speech. "It’s a very strange idea for an independent nation to have” Critics question whether Bernie's time has passed as progressives push ideas from Sanders' 2016 playbook Another time he questioned a reporter as to why he called Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega the “Marxist president of Nicaragua” instead of the “democratically-elected president of Nicaragua.” In another 1985 interview with a local TV station, dug up by BuzzFeed News in 2015, he said of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro that “just because Ronald Reagan dislikes these people, doesn't mean that people in their own nations feel the same way." "In 1959 ... everybody was totally convinced that Castro was the worst guy in the world and all of the Cuban people were going to rise up in rebellion against Fidel Castro," Sanders said. "They forgot that he educated their kids, gave their kids healthcare, totally transformed the society."



He also said in that interview that he advised the Nicaraguan government how better to communicate their message, and made the bizarre accusation that the American media were not allowed to criticize President Ronald Reagan. “The point I tried to make to many of the people I spoke to is they’re getting killed in the American media, they just cannot compete, Reagan and his people are so sophisticated, they own the airwaves of course,” he said. “Reagan and the media, every time Reagan gives them a photo op, it's going to be thousands of: 'Oh thank you Mr. President, thank you for telling us another lie.' The media of course is not allowed to ask sharp questions of the president, that's not allowed.” In the same interview, he did not make the distinction he now makes between socialism and his own brand of "democratic socialism." "As a socialist, the word socialism does not frighten me and I think it's probably fair to see the government of Nicaragua is primarily a socialist government," he said. The Sanders campaign did not respond to a request for comment from Fox News on Friday morning.



5 things Bernie Sanders doesn't want you to know about socialism
Fox News

URL: https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/5-thing ... -socialism
Category: Politics
Published: February 24, 2019

Description: Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., announced the official launch of his 2020 presidential campaign on Tuesday, and within just 24 hours, he managed to raise a whopping $6 million. Although Sanders joins a crowded field of contenders, many analysts say the 77-year-old Sanders is the frontrunner to be the Democrats’ choice to challenge President Trump. Sanders, who nearly defeated Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in 2016, is a self-described socialist who has been peddling destructive collectivist policies for decades—everything from single-payer health care to punitive taxes and radical climate change agreements.

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Make no mistake about it, Sanders, who honeymooned in Soviet Russia, wants to fundamentally alter American society and impose a socialist agenda on tens of millions of Americans who want the federal government to stay out of their homes and businesses. Sanders is undoubtedly hoping that his candidacy will benefit from the recent rise of socialism in the United States. According to a February Fox News poll, one-quarter of U.S. voters have a favorable view of socialism, and the number is even higher for millennials. Similarly, a 2018 Gallup survey found 57 percent of Democrats support socialism, while only 47 percent said they have a favorable view of capitalism. Although the popularity of socialism has clearly increased in recent years, it’s largely because most Americans don’t understand what socialism is or its long history of failure around the world. It’s up to those of us who support individual liberty and free markets to tell our friends, neighbors, children, and grandchildren the truth about the dangers of socialism.

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Below are five facts to help you spread the word.
1. Socialism has never worked.
One of the most damning evidences against socialism is that despite the fact numerous countries around the world have attempted to create societies in which many, most, or all industries are collectively owned and managed, those countries have never prospered. The ultimate goal of socialism, according to Karl Marx and his followers, is to create a society in which all people share wealth equally. But whenever socialism has been attempted, it has always resulted in tyranny. The reason for this is simple: In order for a society to collectively share wealth, a ruling class first has to be established that will take wealth away from those who have it. That necessitates giving significant power to a centralized authority, the government. Once government has this power, it’s reluctant to give it up, resulting in the sort of oppression we see today in Cuba, North Korea, and Venezuela.
2. Tens of millions have died at the hands of socialist and communist parties.
Because regimes attempting to create socialist utopias inevitably turn to violence, socialism and communism have caused more death and destruction than any other political or religious ideology in the past century. In research I conducted, relying on numerous scholarly studies, of 12 countries led by socialist or communist parties over the past 100 years—including parties in China, Cuba, North Korea, and the Soviet Union—I found there have been more than 167 million people who have been killed, murdered, or exiled in the pursuit of socialism. It would take roughly 56,000 terrorist events as deadly as the tragic attack by radical Islamic terrorists on September 11, 2001, to match the misery caused by socialists and communists.
3. Scandinavian countries do not have socialist economies.
For many years, American socialists have misled the public about Scandinavian countries like Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Sanders and others, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., routinely refer to these nations as “socialist,” even though the evidence clearly shows they are not. For example, in the Heritage Foundation’s 2019 Index of Economic Freedom, Denmark’s economy ranked 14th, only two spots behind the United States. And in several categories—including “business freedom,” “monetary freedom,” and “property rights—Denmark’s economy ranked much higher than America’s. It’s true Denmark, Norway, and Sweden have some large social welfare programs and high individual tax rates, but they also have very little debt, few regulations, and require all people in society, not just the wealthy, to pay a hefty tax burden. Further, the corporate tax rates in all three of these Nordic countries is only slightly higher than the current U.S. rate of 21 percent and much lower than the American corporate tax rate prior to the passage of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Perhaps most importantly, Scandinavians are not better off than most Americans. They pay much higher tax rates; earn, on average, lower salaries; and pay significantly more for housing and basic goods and services.
4. Taxing the wealthy won’t pay for Bernie’s socialist plans.
Socialists like Sanders say that they can pay for their massive, multi-trillion-dollar programs by raising taxes on the wealthiest earners, but research shows this claim is false. The Tax Foundation recently studied the potential revenues that would be gained by imposing a 70 percent tax rate on income above $10 million—a proposal backed by Ocasio-Cortez—and found that it would raise, at most, $291 billion over 10 years. That’s not enough revenue to cover even 10 percent of the estimated cost of Sanders’ “Medicare for All” health care proposal, which the Mercatus Center says would require $32 trillion in its first decade.
5. We need a wealthier world, not wealth redistribution.
Socialists like Bernie Sanders focus nearly all of their time talking about redistributing wealth, but what they never tell you is that research shows that even if the world’s wealth were totally redistributed, it would result in all people being relatively poor. According to a 2018 report by Credit Suisse, “one of the world’s leading banks,” the total wealth of all the world’s households is about $317 trillion. If we were to divide that wealth among all adults, it would only leave about $63,000 per person—and that includes the value of the person’s car, home, land, and all possessions. In other words, everyone would be poor by American standards. It’s evident from these figures that the world needs more wealth, not wealth redistribution, and history has proven repeatedly that you don’t create wealth by stealing it from some to give it to others. The only way to help the world’s impoverished is to enact policies that promote innovation and enhance quality of life for all people. Thanks to relatively free markets and capitalism, that’s been occurring over the past 200 years at breakneck speed. The last thing we need is a socialist like Bernie Sanders getting in the way.



Gutfeld on Bernie Sanders’ socialist dreams
Fox News

URL: https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/gutfeld ... ist-dreams
Category: Politics
Published: February 26, 2019

Description: On CNN, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a self-described Democratic socialist seeking the Democratic nomination for president, was asked by Wolf Blitzer if America would ever become a socialist country. Sanders said: “I am elected president, we will have a nation in which all people have health care as a right, whether Trump likes it or not. We are going to make public colleges and universities tuition-free. We are going to raise the minimum wage to a living wage of at least 15 bucks an hour. And whether Trump likes it or not, when I talk about human rights, you know what that also means? It means that our kids and grandchildren have the human right to grow up in a planet that is healthy and habitable.” It's the golden rule of socialism – when asked about how it works, focus on the ends and skip the means. Because in the end, we all want free stuff: health care, school, cheeseburgers – free anything is awsome. Especially if you believe that "free anything" exists. It doesn't.

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Take the "tuition-free" joke. More than 8 million student borrowers have defaulted on their federal loans for higher ed. Why? Thanks to all that free and easy money from the loans, there's no incentive for colleges to cut costs and no reason not to go. Education costs tripled, debt exploded. Now the streets are paved with English majors. College administrations ballooned because the loans inflated the tuition. It looked like "free," but now you're broke. Which means you can't buy cars, goods or homes. Because you're busy paying off Uncle Sam. That’s how you kill industries. That's socialism. It’s a drag on the economy. And on you. Still, so many think voting socialist means all your debts are forgiven. If students are debt-free, colleges must be cost-free. Free buildings, free books, free beer! Free you! Free me! Socialism's talent is getting people like Sanders to lie about "free." Because who doesn't want a free life? Capitalism is such a drag. Like gravity – it's a downer. But if America's slow death is boring, let’s skip to the finish line. To Venezuela, where disputed president Nicolas Maduro detained a reporter for showing a video of people eating from a garbage truck. Free food! In a socialist paradise, that's what you call a “Bernie burger.”



Bernie Sanders' hiring of non-American campaign advisers may violate federal election laws, complaint says
Fox News

URL: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/bernie ... -positions
Category: Politics
Published: March 23, 2019

Description: Bernie Sanders was hit a complaint this week, claiming his presidential campaign violated federal election laws by employing non-Americans in advisery positions. A new complaint by the Coolidge Reagan Foundation filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) notes that three members of the Sanders campaign are foreign nationals, which appears to be a violation of federal election laws that prohibit foreign interference. Maria Belén Sisa, Sanders’ deputy national press secretary who joined the campaign last month, was among the staffers named in the complaint, as first reported by the Washington Free Beacon. Sisa claims to be an illegal immigrant whose residency is protected under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era program for assisting illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. Sisa recently caused an uproar after invoking an anti-Semitic “dual allegiance” trope of Jewish Americans while defending Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and questioning whether American Jews, including Sanders, were loyal to the United States. The complaint notes that Sisa not only got a salary from Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, she also contributed money to it and is now serving in “an advisory position” in the 2020 campaign – all of which are “direct and serious violations” of federal election laws. “Senator Sanders and Bernie 2020 is permitting a foreign national, Ms. Sisa, to serve in an advisory position which allows her to directly or indirectly participate in the decision-making process of persons with regard to election-related activities in violation of FEC regulations,” the complaint reads. According to the FEC rules, foreign nationals, who aren’t lawfully admitted permanent residents, cannot directly or indirectly participate in political campaigns. Such individuals are also barred from making political contributions. The complaint also names two other foreign nationals on the Sanders’ 2016 campaign, immigration activists Erika Andiola and Cesar Vargas, who worked as the campaign's national Latino outreach strategist and press secretary for Latino outreach, respectively. “Due to the high profile of Cesar Vargas, Erika Andiola, and Maria Belén Sisa as leading activists in the undocumented community, there is reason to believe that respondents are ‘foreign nationals' within the meaning of 52 U.S.C. § 301219b)(2), and in violation of 11 C.F.R. § 110.20 (i) and A.O. 2004-26, directly or indirectly participated in the decision-making process of persons with regard to the election-related activities of Bernie 2016," the complaint continued. “There is reason to believe, having previously employed Ms. Sisa, that Bernie 2020 is currently, and knowingly, permitting a ‘foreign national' … to directly or indirectly participate in the decision-making process of persons with regard to the election-related activities of Bernie 2020.” The complaint calls on the FEC to investigate both the 2016 and the current presidential campaigns and take action to curb the violations. “The Commission should determine and impose appropriate sanctions for any and all violations,” the complaint read. “Further, the Commission should enjoin respondents from any future violations and impose any necessary and appropriate remedies to ensure respondents' future compliance with the Federal Election Campaign Act.”



Former Bernie Sanders staffer sues pro-Sanders organization for racial discrimination
Fox News

URL: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/former ... rimination
Category: Politics
Published: May 20, 2019

Description: A former Bernie Sanders campaign staffer has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the pro-Sanders group, Our Revolution. On "Fox & Friends" Monday, Tezlyn Figaro, who served as director for racial justice issues on the Sanders campaign in 2016, said she and others have been "concerned for years with issues of racism" among people working for the Vermont senator. "I'm not saying he himself is racist, but his movement is. It is a reason why no one from the 2016 black outreach department is there working for Senator Sanders," she said. Figaro said it was "important to [her]" to file the federal lawsuit laying out her allegations and what she experienced in 2016. Host Steve Doocy pointed out reports last spring that said Figaro was fired from Our Revolution for offensive comments about immigrants. Figaro denied that was the case, alleging she was fired "because of black outreach" and disagreements about her advocacy on behalf of incarcerated African-Americans. She accused Lucy Flores -- who has accused former Vice President Joe Biden of inappropriate touching -- of pushing the story to media outlets, including Politico. She said that she was accused of being anti-immigrant because of her appearances on Fox News and a comment she made about immigrants receiving benefits that Americans are not getting. Doocy said the show reached out to the Sanders campaign and Our Revolution, but did not receive a response. Figaro called on Sanders to meet with her and other former staffers who worked on black outreach efforts. "Show us that black lives really do matter, instead of just in a stump speech," she said.



Bernie Sanders: Soviet Union, Venezuela don't count as examples of failed socialism
Fox News

URL: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/bernie ... -socialism
Category: Politics
Published: June 5, 2019

Description: When criticizing socialism, don’t bring up the Soviet Union or Venezuela to Bernie Sanders. Sanders, I-Vt., dismissed the connection between the failed socialist states and his own vision for America, during an interview on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” Tuesday. “Obviously, Soviet Union was an authoritarian society with no democratic rights, and I think if you know history, you know the democratic socialists fought and stood up against that,” the 2020 Democratic hopeful said. “You can look at what existed in the Soviet Union or Venezuela, that is not what I’m talking about at all.” The Daily Show’s Jaboukie Young-White agreed with Sanders’ assessment, saying “the examples of failed socialism that critics use are not socialist democracies, but authoritarian states led by corrupt, ruthless, and paranoid dictators.” Sanders, who owns three houses and has also earned more than $1 million annually in recent years, went on to defend someone being a millionaire in his vision of a socialist society. “If what you say in life is, ‘all I want to do is as much money as I possibly can and screw everything else, I don’t give a damn,’ then no, I don’t think democratic socialism is your cup of tea,” he said. “But if you have a decent heart and say ‘look, I’m doing really well, but I also want to be a contributor to the wellbeing of society, so I’m going to pay my fair share of taxes.’” The “O.G. of socialism” in America, as he was described during the interview, also outlined why he believes younger generations are attracted to the system. “The younger generation will in all likelihood have a lower standard of living than their parents,” he said, before also claiming student loan debts and a lack of high-paying jobs and affordable housing make the idea of a “society with more egalitarianism” appealing. Sanders has promised to transform America with a left-wing vision of economic and environmental justice if he wins the White House. But the self-described democratic socialist’s high income, multiple houses and fondness for air travel have already opened him up to criticism that his lifestyle doesn't always match the rhetoric. Notably, he owns three houses. In 2016, he bought a $575,000 four-bedroom lake-front home in his home state. This is in addition to a row house in Washington D.C., as well as a house in Burlington, Vermont. Sanders has also earned more than $1 million annually in recent years, though he remains on the lower end of Senate Democrats in terms of net worth.



Sanders embraces democratic socialism, calls for New Deal revival in campaign address
Fox News

URL: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/sander ... m-campaign
Category: Politics
Published: June 12, 2019

Description: Bernie Sanders on Wednesday delivered a no-apologies address embracing and defending “democratic socialism,” as he unveiled what he dubbed an “economic bill of rights” to deal with an economy he claims is “fundamentally broken and grotesquely unfair.”

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The longtime independent senator from Vermont – who’s running a second straight time for the Democratic presidential nomination – sought to counter President Trump’s claims of a booming economy as he delivered his most detailed public explanation to date of why he brands himself a democratic socialist. Calling his beliefs a path of “justice and love” while painting a bleak picture of the country’s current economic conditions, Sanders said that “income and wealth inequality today in the United States is greater than at any time since the 1920s.” In a speech heavy on FDR references that called for finishing the work of the New Deal, Sanders cast his policies as a necessary counter to “right-wing” forces. “The challenge we confront today as a nation, and as a world, is in many ways not different from the one we faced a little less than a century ago, during and after the Great Depression in the 1930s. Then, as now, deeply rooted and seemingly intractable economic and social disparities led to the rise of right-wing nationalist forces all over the world,” he said. The speech represented for Sanders a defiant embrace of an ideology that has not only raised questions about his general election appeal but has been used as a brush by the Trump campaign to paint the entire Democratic field as far-left. Indeed, many of Sanders’ primary rivals have adopted his democratic socialism-inspired policies like “Medicare for all,” though some of those same candidates have avoided the ideological label. However, Sanders, like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has made no apologies about being a democratic socialist. And on Wednesday, he fired back at Trump and other Republicans for trying to use “socialism” as a “slur.” “While President Trump and his fellow oligarchs attack us for our support of democratic socialism, they don’t really oppose all forms of socialism,” Sanders charged. “They may hate democratic socialism because it benefits working people, but they absolutely love corporate socialism that enriches Trump and other billionaires.” Taking a direct shot at Trump, Sanders claimed that the difference between himself and the president is that “he believes in corporate socialism for the rich and powerful.” Sanders also called Trump a “demagogue” and accused him up trying to “divide people up and legislate hatred” to deflect attention from “real crises.” The senator, one of the leaders right now in the race for the Democratic nomination, said that the country must reject “that path of hatred and divisiveness -- and instead find the moral conviction to choose a different path, a higher path, a path of compassion, justice and love. It is the path that I call democratic socialism.” The populist senator argued that despite positive overall GDP and stock market numbers, “millions of middle class and working people struggle to keep their heads above water, while the billionaire class consumes the lion’s share of the wealth that we are collectively creating as a nation.” Sanders explained that he was following in the footsteps of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the Democrat who created Social Security as part of his New Deal during his four terms in the White House during the 1930s and 1940s. “Today in the second decade of the 21st century we must take up the unfinished business of the New Deal and carry it to completion. This is the unfinished business of the Democratic Party and the vision we together must accomplish,” Sanders said. And he spotlighted FDR again as he announced his “economic bill of rights,” noting that “in 1944 FDR proposed an economic bill of rights but died a year later and was never able to fulfill that vision. Our job, 75 years later, is to complete what Roosevelt started.” Punching back against GOP attacks, Sanders noted that Republicans once labeled Social Security a socialist proposal. But the address is sure to fuel Republicans eager to cast the entire field as sympathetic to a government-heavy, big-spending agenda. Further, it exposes Sanders to more criticism about his past praise decades ago for the Cuban and Soviet regimes, though today the senator has sought to distinguish democratic socialism from socialism practiced by Communist governments. Ahead of Sanders’ speech, the Republican National Committee called it a “sermon on socialism” as they described “just how extreme Sanders really is.” And tying Sanders to rest of the nearly two-dozen rivals running for the White House, the RNC charged that “Bernie’s radical views have become mainstream in the Democrat Party.” It wasn’t just Republicans attacking Sanders. One of his rivals for the nomination, former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, also was critical. Delaney, one of the more moderate candidates, said: “I believe he is wrong. The United States has been an economic and innovation marvel and our national wealth has been good for our citizens and enabled us to be a force of good throughout the world. Socialism -- or any new name Senator Sanders has for it -- is the wrong answer.” Former Vice President Joe Biden, who’s been repeatedly attacked by Sanders, didn’t engage. The clear front-runner in the nomination race right now said Wednesday morning in Iowa prior to Sanders’ speech that “I don’t put a whole lot into the labels. I’m not going to comment on Bernie’s characterization of who and what he is. He’s sincere about what he thinks and I think he should go out and say it.”



Justin Haskins: Comrade Bernie’s American Socialist Dream would be a nightmare
Fox News

URL: https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/justin- ... -nightmare
Category: Politics
Published: June 12, 2019

Description: If you were thinking Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., might back away from his pledge to transform America into a socialist paradise now that he’s running for president, think again. Comrade Bernie’s proud to be what he calls a “democratic socialist” and he wants everyone to know it. On Wednesday, Sanders – one of the leading contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination – delivered a speech featuring so much socialist propaganda that it would have probably drawn a standing ovation and tears of joy from Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stain if those comrades were still with us. Sanders spent much of his speech ranting about what he contends is an “oligarchy” of wealthy individuals and businesses that supposedly controls every aspect of American society. He could have called it “a vast right-wing conspiracy” if Hillary Clinton hadn’t already made the phrase her own. The democratic socialist senator also painted income inequality as the root of all evil, and he repeatedly (and laughably) compared our current era to Great Depression. Sanders ignored the fact that African-Americans, Hispanics, women and Americans without a four-year college degree are experiencing record-low or near-record-low unemployment. But hey, never let the facts get in the way of a good argument, comrade. According to Sanders, the only solutions to the problems plaguing America is to “take the next step forward and guarantee every man, woman and child in our country basic economic rights – the right to quality health care, the right to as much education as one needs to succeed in our society, the right to a good job that pays a living wage, the right to affordable housing, the right to a secure retirement, and the right to live in a clean environment. … This is what I mean by democratic socialism.” Somehow, Sanders forgot to mention the right to pay much, much higher taxes that socialism would give to us all. In reality, the true ruling class in America isn’t made up of wealthy business owners like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. It’s made up of the army of bureaucrats in Washington, earning six-figure salaries and the members of Congress amassing millions of dollars in wealth while allegedly “serving” the people. Sanders is one of those who have grown wealthy while serving in government, using the fame he picked up running for president in 2016 to land a lucrative book deal that made him rich. He owns three expensive houses and has amassed a $2.5 million fortune. True to his socialist roots, Comrade Bernie also declared “economic rights are human rights.” But he neglected to mention that in the U.S., where individual liberty and economic freedom have always been emphasized, “economic rights” can’t exist if we are to keep our other freedoms in place. If people have a “right” to health care, “as much education as one needs to succeed,” a “decent” job, and affordable housing, then that means individuals don’t have a right to their own property and a whole host of other rights. That’s because in order to pay for all those “free” jobs, health services, education and more you have to seize people’s money and property, and you must control people’s businesses – or take them over – to manage those goods and services. You can either have property rights or the “economic rights” laid out by Sanders – but you can’t have both. Further, you can’t have “economic rights” and religious freedom and freedom of conscience under socialism, because the collective ownership and management of property required for all these massive welfare programs makes it virtually impossible for people to live without violating their deeply held beliefs. For example, in an economy with a single-payer health care system, nuns would be required to pay for abortions and birth control pills. In an economy with a nationalized agricultural system, Hindus and members of PETA would be forced to pay for meat-packing plants and slaughterhouses. It’s impossible to have a society in which there is individual freedom and government guarantees for every good and service known to man. Comrade Bernie knows it. The Soviet Union understood this principle, too. According to the Constitution of the Soviet Union, every Soviet citizen was promised all sorts of personal freedoms, including freedom of speech and religion. But Soviet citizens were also guaranteed numerous “economic” rights, such as the “right” to free “health protection,” “the right to work,” “the right to maintenance in old age,” “the right to education,” “the right to housing,” and even “the right to rest and leisure.” Sound familiar? But all individual rights were also necessarily qualified by the Soviet Constitution, which stated” “Enjoyment by citizens of their rights and freedoms must not be to the detriment of the interests of society or the state.” In other words, the Soviets promised individual rights – but only if they didn’t get in the way of what was considered to be for the good “of society or the state.” In socialism – whether it’s the socialism of Bernie Sanders or the socialism of the Soviet Union – the good of the collective always takes priority over the rights of individual people. Sanders has said on countless occasions that it’s unfair to compare his brand of socialism to that of the disastrous systems of countries such as the Soviet Union and Venezuela. He claims the big difference is those nations were and are “authoritarian” systems, while his brand of socialism is warm, fuzzy, and, most importantly, “democratic.” But the entire socialist system is built on taking property from those who legally own it so that others who want it can have the property – even if they’ve done nothing to earn it. Socialism is inherently tyrannical. It is Big Government on steroids – able to take away rights as well as extend them. Even if Bernie Sanders is right about the “oligarchs” pulling America’s economic strings, he would have us trade one group of tyrants for another, rather than embrace the United States’ founding principles: individual responsibility, liberty, and virtue. Contrary to what Sanders often claims, socialism doesn’t work, has never worked, and will never work. If more than a century of failure hasn’t yet proven that to Sanders, I’m not sure what will.
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Bernie Sanders is running for president — and his policies would have a huge impact on business

Postby smix » Thu Feb 21, 2019 7:41 pm

Bernie Sanders is running for president — and his policies would have a huge impact on business
CNBC

URL: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/19/bernie- ... tform.html
Category: Politics
Published: February 19, 2019

Description: Sen. Bernie Sanders is running for president again — and his ideas are no less sweeping than the last time he ran. The independent senator from Vermont launched his 2020 presidential campaign Tuesday. The self-described democratic socialist, 77, enters a crowded Democratic primary field that largely shares his views on key policies. Since his long-shot 2016 presidential bid, Sanders has been a leading ideological voice in the Democratic Party, despite his independent status in the Senate. His broadsides against corporations and business titans reflect a wider shift toward populism in the party. Out of all the Democratic candidates, Sanders would bring perhaps the most drastic changes for businesses and wealthy Americans. Here's where Sanders stands on key issues and companies:
* Health care: In 2017, Sanders introduced a bill to transition to Medicare for All, a system where every American would get health care through the government. The proposal is seen as one test of liberal credentials: Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Kamala Harris of California, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts all endorsed his legislation. Critics have called his plan too radical or expensive. The Vermont senator has also joined Democratic leaders in introducing legislation to slash drug costs, in part by encouraging imports of cheaper drugs from abroad and giving Medicare more power to negotiate prices.
* Labor: Sanders has pushed for a $15 per hour minimum wage and urged major companies to give their workers raises. He introduced Senate legislation to hike the federal wage floor in January, calling the current $7.25 an hour a "starvation wage." Booker, Gillibrand, Harris, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Warren are all co-sponsors. Last year, his pressure on Amazon contributed to the internet retailer raising its minimum wage to $15 per hour. He has pushed other companies, from Walmart to McDonald's, to take the same step. Numerous businesses have argued a $15 wage floor would force them to reduce hours or cut jobs. Sanders also has pushed to boost dwindling private sector labor unions.
* Taxes: The Vermont senator has slammed the Republican tax plan passed in December 2017, calling it an unnecessary boon to corporations and the wealthy. To address growing wealth inequality, Sanders wants to expand the estate tax. A plan proposed in January would tax estates starting at $3.5 million, with a 77 percent rate on billionaire estates. Various 2020 Democratic candidates have unveiled proposals to either tax the wealthy more or reduce the tax burden on the middle class.
* Investing/banks: Sanders has pointedly criticized Wall Street for years. In October, he introduced a bill to cap the size of financial institutions, which would break up banks including J.P. Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. Earlier this month, he unveiled a plan to restrict stock repurchases, which would put conditions on share buybacks. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., endorsed it alongside Sanders in another sign of the Democratic Party's shift.
* Education: In 2017, Sanders introduced a plan to make community college tuition-free and eliminate tuition at four-year universities for students from families with income of $125,000 or less. He has also pushed for more student loan forgiveness.
* Climate change: The senator has endorsed a version of the Green New Deal, a plan to dramatically reshape the U.S. economy to cut carbon emissions and address climate change. Other 2020 Democratic contenders have endorsed that plan in some form, though not necessarily as outlined by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. President Donald Trump and Republican campaign groups have also seized on the freshman representative's proposal as evidence of a Democratic Party drifting toward socialism.
His top policy goals — Medicare for All, free public college and a $15 per hour minimum wage — have become more mainstream in the Democratic Party, even if the party's congressional leadership have not embraced all of those plans. Sanders acknowledged as much in a CBS interview that aired Tuesday morning. "All of those ideas people were saying, 'Oh Bernie, they're so radical. They are extreme. The American people just won't accept those ideas.' Well, you know what's happened in over three years? All of those ideas and many more are now part of the political mainstream," the senator said. Sanders, who caucuses with Democrats, has become so prominent that Republicans have repeatedly used him to cast Democrats as too extreme. "Bernie Sanders has already won the debate in the Democrat primary, because every candidate is embracing his brand of socialism," Kayleigh McEnany, a spokeswoman for Trump's re-election campaign, contended in a statement Tuesday. Not everyone in the Democratic primary field agrees with Sanders: while candidates such as Harris and Gillibrand have embraced universal Medicare, others like Klobuchar have not. Speaking to reporters at the White House later Tuesday, Trump said he thought Sanders "missed his time" in 2016. The president noted that he and the senator "would sort of agree on trade." Sanders, like Trump, has railed against U.S. free trade deals. He voted against the North American Free Trade Agreement as a member of the U.S. House in 1993, then opposed giving President Barack Obama fast-track authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2015. Sanders enters the field with high expectations after a surprisingly strong primary showing against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016. Still, the field this time is more crowded, filled with fresher faces who occupy a similar space in the party to the one Sanders fills. Some race handicappers have questioned whether Sanders will enjoy the same support in 2020, when he is not the main alternative to Clinton. Many liberals saw Clinton as too centrist. "She's gone and activists have a wide choice of candidates in '20. Is Bernie being underestimated as in '16 or overestimated because of '16?" tweeted Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.



Bernie Sanders worked on an Israeli commune in the '60s that could have influenced his politics
CNBC

URL: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/20/bernie- ... e-60s.html
Category: Politics
Published: February 20, 2019

Description: Famous for his progressive politics, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is once again running for president on a platform that champions universal healthcare, free public college and higher minimum wages. But Sanders' progressive political beliefs appear to date all the way back to his youth. In fact, Sanders, who is now 77, spent several months during his early 20s living on an Israeli kibbutz, a small collective community and farm, one that was built on many of the same ideals that are now hallmarks of his political platform. Sanders said that in 1963 he lived and volunteered at Shaar Ha'amakim, an Israeli kibbutz near the city of Haifa, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, which during the 2016 presidential campaign unearthed a 1990 interview with Sanders. While Sanders likely spent much of his time at the kibbutz working in the fields, picking apples, peaches and pears with other volunteers, he also would have been exposed to the social democratic ideology on which the kibbutz operated then and now, according to Yair Merom, the kibbutz's current chairman, who spoke to The Times of Israel in 2016. "Our values of mutual responsibility are social democratic values, and we choose willingly to create that society," Merom told the newspaper. "Sanders is talking about the social democratic approach that gives freedom to the individual, but with responsibility for the whole. We do that in a practical way." Merom added that all of the community's members were equal in every way. "They lived in identical houses. There wasn't a salary; everyone received according to their needs. The kibbutz gave everything: food, shelter, education, health," Merom said in the interview. Albert Ely, who has worked on the Shaar Ha'amakim kibbutz for six decades, told CNN in 2016 that the kibbutz's socialist ideology could very well have had an influence on a young Sanders. "It's a number of people who want to live together. And want to share everything together," Ely told CNN. "We think that you have to take care of the weak (community members). The strong can deal with themselves." Today, as a democratic socialist (running for the Democratic nomination for the White House), one of the primary drives behind Sanders' political platform is to "share the wealth" in society to narrow the gap between the rich and everyone else.

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It's a platform that certainly bears a resemblance to what Sanders would have experienced at Shaar Ha'amakim, and it's also one that has been gaining political capital over the past few years, especially with the emergence of new political leaders like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez — and Sanders has taken notice. "All of those ideas people were saying, 'Oh Bernie, they're so radical. They are extreme. The American people just won't accept those ideas,'" Sanders told CBS on Tuesday about the initial reaction to his 2016 campaign. "Well, you know what's happened in over three years? All of those ideas and many more are now part of the political mainstream." A representative for Sanders did not return a request for comment by the time of publication.
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Bernie Sanders, the Original Lefty Radical, Faces an Army of Mini-Mes

Postby smix » Thu Feb 21, 2019 7:49 pm

Bernie Sanders, the Original Lefty Radical, Faces an Army of Mini-Mes
Vanity Fair

URL: https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/02 ... ident-2020
Category: Politics
Published: February 19, 2019

Description: He lost the 2016 primary, but won the war of ideas. Is Sanders still necessary in a race full of imitators?

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Bernie Sanders, whose insurgent bid for the Democratic nomination came up short against Hillary Clinton in 2016, is giving it another go. On Tuesday, the Independent senator from Vermont announced he will once again seek the presidency, joining a crowded cast of 2020 hopefuls. “Brothers and sisters, we have a lot of work in front of us,” Sanders said in a campaign video released Tuesday morning. “If we are prepared to stand together, there is no end to what the great people of our nation can accomplish.” In his announcement, Sanders played up the fact that policy positions he’s long championed—universal health care, income equality, free college tuition for all—have gained significant traction within the Democratic party, including among some of his fellow 2020 bidders. In an interview with Vermont Public Radio on Tuesday morning, he also took direct aim at Donald Trump, suggestive of the more confrontational approach he’s signaled he’ll adopt in challenging the president: “I think the current occupant of the White House is an embarrassment to our country,” Sanders said. “I think he is a pathological liar . . . I also think he is a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a xenophobe, somebody who is gaining cheap political points by trying to pick on minorities, often undocumented immigrants.” Sanders, who has been rumored to be mulling another run for months, is almost certain to be a top-tier candidate out of the gate. His last race was as much of a challenge to the Washington establishment as it was a campaign against Clinton, and his message of economic populism has taken root within the party in the years since, sprouting up in both mainstream Democratic figures and the more progressive newcomers who have begun to push the party to the left. That leftward turn could make for a more favorable landscape for Sanders this time around, as he seeks the nomination from a party that’s become increasingly receptive to his ideas. On the other hand, the more his most transformative ideas become mainstream, the less necessary he may be. Several of his fellow candidates—particularly Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris—have positioned themselves as safer vessels for Sanders’s progressive stances, staking out similar positions on a number of issues, without the democratic-socialist label that could turn off moderates. Warren has pointedly described herself as a “capitalist,” despite announcing a radical plan to tax the rich. Harris, who has suggested that she would replace private insurance with Medicare for All, told voters in New Hampshire on Monday, “I am not a democratic socialist.” Sanders is also likely to face renewed scrutiny for his clumsy handling of sexual harassment allegations against members of his 2016 campaign, and his sometimes tone-deaf approach to race. At 77, he’s likely to face questions about his age; if he wins, he would be the oldest person ever elected president. As Vermont Public Radio’s Bob Kinzel put it in his interview with the senator on Tuesday, could he still be “the face of the new Democratic Party”? Sanders insists that he is, positioning himself as the godfather of the kind of progressivism that’s taken root within the party. Other members of that party might take issue with Sanders calling himself a Democrat. But, of course, Trump proved that voters are more than willing to take a bet on somebody with a credible claim to outsider status. And Sanders was raging against the Establishment long before it was fashionable.



Bernie Introduces His Own Plan to Eat the Rich
Vanity Fair

URL: https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/01 ... llionaires
Category: Politics
Published: February 21, 2019

Description: The socialist-lite senator from Vermont has competition from Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

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When it comes to soaking the rich, 2019’s most prominent Democrats have entered a game of one-upmanship. After Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez floated a 70 percent tax on those with a net worth of $10 million-plus—an instant hit in polling—Elizabeth Warren released her own plan to levy a 2 percent yearly wealth tax on people making $50 million or more, ratcheting it up to 3 percent on billionaires. Not to be outdone, on Thursday, potential 2020 candidate Bernie Sanders unveiled his own play on class warfare, introducing the “For the 99.8% Act,” which would tax the estates of Americans who inherit more than $3.5 million, reinstate the 77 percent estate tax rate on wealth over $1 billion, and create several new tax brackets for millionaires. According to Sanders, the plan would rake in $2.2 trillion in tax revenue from America’s current crop of living billionaires—slightly less than the $2.75 trillion Warren’s proposal projects. (In a press release, Sanders outlined the impact of his plan on several prominent billionaires: Jeff Bezos’s $131 billion, for instance, would be taxed $101 billion, compared to the $53 billion under current law.) It would also eliminate “dynasty trusts,” which protect assets passed down generationally for hundreds of years. “We need a tax system which asks the billionaire class to pay its fair share of taxes and which reduces the obscene level of wealth inequality in America,” Sanders said in a statement announcing the proposal, which comes after Senate Republicans introduced a measure earlier this week to repeal the estate tax altogether. Before 2016, when Sanders made socialism chic and Donald Trump torched the political playbook, such a proposal would likely have been dead on arrival. But the national mood has changed somewhat in the Trump era. The stock market has been on a tear, but the benefits haven’t trickled down. Trump’s trillion-dollar corporate tax cut has largely failed to register with the middle class. And Democratic politicians have woken up to the reality that Barack Obama’s careful triangulation on entitlements, deficit spending, and corporate bailouts won’t fly with younger voters. And so re-distribution is back in vogue. A recent Pew report indicated that a whopping 84 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters believe the nation’s economy “unfairly favors powerful interests,” 69 percent believe this is due to “circumstances beyond a person’s control,” and 62 percent believe the wealthy “had greater advantages in life than most other people.” Of course, there’s still room for political error—per the survey, a full 42 percent of all Americans, and 71 percent of Republicans, believe the rich earned their wealth “because they worked harder.” So potential Democratic 2020 hopefuls must still calibrate their messaging carefully as they plumb the heights of America’s top income brackets for new tax revenues. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, for instance, have proposed expanding tax credits for the poor and middle class, as well as anti-poverty programs like rent relief and job guarantees, which appear more uplifting than punitive. Sanders and Warren, meanwhile, will test the proposition that nothing turns out the base like good old-fashioned economic outrage.
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Democratic Socialists Of America Is Preparing To Potentially Launch A National Campaign To Back Bernie Sanders’ 2020 Campaign

Postby smix » Thu Feb 21, 2019 11:59 pm

Democratic Socialists Of America Is Preparing To Potentially Launch A National Campaign To Back Bernie Sanders’ 2020 Campaign
BuzzfFeed News

URL: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/ry ... t-dsa-2020
Category: Politics
Published: February 20, 2019

Description: “DSA could play an important role in supporting Sanders,” the organization told members after the senator announced his campaign.

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The Democratic Socialists of America, the largest socialist organization in the United States, is preparing to potentially back Sen. Bernie Sanders’ newly launched 2020 presidential campaign. In an email sent to DSA members after Sanders launched his bid for president Tuesday, DSA leadership alerted its chapters that it would soon begin polling membership on whether or not they’d support backing Sanders and outlined its potential strategy moving forward. “DSA could play an important role in supporting Sanders — both by helping Sanders win the Democratic Party primary and go on to defeat Trump in the general election, and by growing DSA as a serious, independent, socialist pole in the broader Sanders movement,” the email reads. The organization’s leadership said in the email that they had come to believe that for DSA to play a significant part in the campaign, “DSA must get involved in Sanders work as early as possible.” Sanders is the only presidential candidate that the group is considering endorsing, despite the large swath of progressives already in the 2020 campaign who support policies backed by DSA. DSA has already seen big organizational gains from its work for Sanders. In 2014, DSA launched a “Draft Bernie” campaign to convince the senator to run for president before endorsing his campaign and launching an outside effort. “Thanks in part to this campaign, DSA has grown about 11 times over since 2015, from 5,000 members to 55,000,” the organization’s exploratory committee said in a January 2019 report adopted by its national political committee. “DSA will most likely want to endorse Sanders again, were he to run in 2020." The national campaign, which could launch as early as this spring, would largely focus on promoting the central ideas of Sanders’ platform — Medicare for All, free college, the Green New Deal, and ending cash bail — while supporting the growth of local- and state-level Democratic Socialists for Bernie campaigns and holding town halls, canvassing, and phone banking. “If we do launch this campaign, it will be movement centered,” Maria Svart, the national director of DSA, told BuzzFeed News this week after Sanders officially announced his presidential run. “Our power comes from an organized working class, and we can express that power in communities. It’s a reflection of a strategy and theory of change. In everything that we do, we center the movement and policies we want to fight for.”

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Svart said that because the potential campaign is still in its early stages, DSA hasn’t discussed possible coordination with outside Sanders-aligned groups like Our Revolution. “We feel that Sanders is the only candidate that has a very good chance of beating Donald Trump, and who is an open democratic socialist in the primary,” Svart said. “Obviously things can change, but right now we’ve adopted the recommendation of the exploratory committee, and we’re only looking at Sanders’ campaign.” The organization has been actively encouraging its chapters to hold discussions about endorsing Sanders’ campaign, and discussions at one regional conference have already taken place. Within the next two weeks, DSA plans to poll its membership regarding a Sanders endorsement before its national political committee meets to make a final decision by the end of March. Some chapters, including the one in Seattle, and the Young Democratic Socialists of America have already passed resolutions in support of endorsing Sanders’ campaign. DSA expects to work independently of Sanders’ campaign if its members decide to endorse him. The efforts would likely include building out college campus groups through YDSA, expanding the Labor for Bernie group through its labor committee, and using its Medicare for All campaign as a base for a national organizing structure, according to the January report. “In the concrete sense of the nuts and bolts of what a campaign would look like, that means training all of our members and chapters on grassroots organizing and building a network and new generation of democratic socialists with the skills to run a campaign,” Svart said. “We need ordinary people to run ordinary people as candidates in every community in the country.”

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DSA has had several big victories over the last year as its membership has grown. The organization’s members in New York City worked to stop Amazon’s move to Queens last week, and two DSA members — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib — were elected to Congress in November. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, who is already set to play a big role in the 2020 Democratic primary, volunteered for Sanders’ 2016 campaign and campaigned with the senator last fall for progressive midterm candidates. She has not endorsed in the race, and Sanders recently told BuzzFeed News the two have not had conversations about an endorsement. A representative for Ocasio-Cortez did not respond to a request for comment when asked how a DSA endorsement decision might affect her own, or how she would vote in the members poll.

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If DSA does decide to endorse Sanders, he wouldn’t be the only candidate with outside backing. Another group on the left, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee — which first led an effort to draft Sen. Elizabeth Warren to run for the Senate in 2011 — endorsed Warren’s presidential campaign earlier this month. But many of the other new progressive groups are withholding endorsements for now. Waleed Shahid, communications director for the Justice Democrats organization, which is aligned with Ocasio-Cortez and was founded by former Sanders campaign volunteers, told BuzzFeed News earlier this month that Justice Democrats is “not aligned” with any presidential campaign, and that while the organization might endorse a candidate at some point, it didn’t plan to quickly endorse a Sanders campaign. Democracy for America — another progressive organization that attempted to draft Warren to run for president for the 2016 race before eventually endorsing Sanders — is also withholding an early endorsement while polling its membership, telling candidates that its endorsement is “up for grabs.” DSA is confident it can play a meaningful role in the presidential campaign, including if its members decide to endorse Sanders. “We have shown that it can be done, and we’ve shown that our members have the energy to do it,” Svart said. “Obviously we are operating on a member-based budget, but we’ve shown that we can put the infrastructure together and do the necessary work if our members decide to endorse Sanders.” “We are inspired and excited that so many are willing to jump right in to support Bernie's vision to fundamentally transform this country,” a spokesperson for the Sanders campaign said when asked about the DSA move. “This campaign is about building a movement, and with the unprecedented grassroots support we’re seeing, not only will we win the Democratic primary and defeat Donald Trump, but we’ll finally enact an agenda that serves all people.”
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Sanders Has a Soft Spot for Latin American Strongmen

Postby smix » Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:55 am

Sanders Has a Soft Spot for Latin American Strongmen
Slate

URL: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/201 ... alism.html
Category: Politics
Published: February 20, 2019

Description: And it could hurt him in the election.

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On Tuesday, as part of the rollout of his second run for the Democratic presidential nomination, Bernie Sanders spoke with Univision’s Jorge Ramos. After asking Sanders about his domestic platform, Ramos used the last couple of minutes to inquire about Venezuela. “Do you consider Juan Guaidó the legitimate president of Venezuela?” he asked. It’s a relevant question, not only because Venezuela’s catastrophe seems to worsen every day and will likely become a complex diplomatic challenge in the months ahead for the United States and the rest of the Americas, but also because the U.S. president whom Sanders hopes to unseat would be more than happy to make next year’s election a referendum on socialism. Just this past Monday, a few hours before Sanders announced his decision to join an already crowded Democratic field, Donald Trump took the stage in Miami to deliver an impassioned condemnation of the Nicolás Maduro regime that quickly became a denunciation of socialism in general and a politically convenient warning for the United States. “Socialism has so completely ravaged this great country [Venezuela] that even the world’s largest reserves of oil are no longer enough to keep the lights on. This will never happen to us,” Trump said, continuing a theme he had broached during his State of the Union address. In his reply to Ramos’ question, Sanders declined to endorse Guaidó and then continued guardedly: “I think there are serious questions about the recent election,” he said, referring to last year’s tragic sham process in which Maduro stole a second term. “I think the United States has to work with the international community to make sure that there is a free and fair election in Venezuela.” Still, Ramos dug further. “Is Nicolás Maduro a dictator?” he asked. “Should he go?” Sanders declined to portray Maduro as an authoritarian leader (despite ample evidence to the contrary) and instead settled on describing the Venezuelan strongman’s actions as “very abusive.” This isn’t the first time Sanders has chosen to tiptoe around Latin America’s despotic leftist regimes. In the ’80s, Sanders traveled to Nicaragua. Upon his return, he repeatedly defended the Sandinistas and their leader, Daniel Ortega. (Michael Moynihan offers an excellent overview of Sanders and Nicaragua here.) Sanders’ enthusiasm for both Ortega and the Castro regime in Cuba came back to haunt him during the 2016 presidential campaign. Three years ago, during a primary debate against Hillary Clinton hosted by Univision and the Washington Post in Miami, Sanders was shown a video shot in 1985 while he was mayor of Burlington, Vermont, in which he spoke about Nicaragua and enthusiastically described how Fidel Castro had “totally transformed” Cuban society, providing education and health care. After Univision anchor María Elena Salinas followed up, Sanders acknowledged Cuba as an “authoritarian, undemocratic country” but then proceeded to praise the Castro regime, again, for its “advances in health care” (a dubious claim at best). A few days after the debate, Sanders appeared on CNN. When Anderson Cooper brought up the exchange in Miami, asking Sanders if Castro’s revolution had indeed benefited the Cuban people, Sanders tried to dismiss the question, pivoting toward the (admittedly immoral and tragic) history of American intervention in the region. When Cooper tried to get a straight answer, Sanders promptly accused him of “redbaiting” and repeated his condemnation-praise routine of the Castro government. I personally witnessed Sanders’ discomfort and impatience when asked about the failure of the socialist experiment in Latin America when I interviewed him in Los Angeles toward the end of the 2016 primary season. I asked Sanders to explain whether the socialist model has brought Venezuela to the brink of collapse. Exasperated, Sanders dismissed my line of questioning and declined to offer an opinion. “I am running for president of the United States,” he told me, as if the position somehow impeded him from offering a clear evaluation of the Venezuelan crisis. It is entirely possible, of course, that the Democratic electorate will not care about Sanders’ history of ambivalence toward Latin America’s repressive socialist regimes. Capitalism has become increasingly unpopular among young Democratic voters, a majority of whom now express a positive opinion of socialism. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, arguably the country’s most dynamic political figure and a democratic socialist, worked on Sanders’ 2016 campaign and sees the Vermont senator as an inspiration and a mentor. Still, Democrats shouldn’t dismiss Trump’s political instinct so quickly. The Democratic primary is not the general election. Millennials and more decisively progressive voters might see the appeal of Sanders-style socialism in a time of disparity and social injustice, but the label could become a liability among older, more conservative voters in November 2020.



If he wins the nomination, Sanders’ old (and not so old) videos praising failed socialist experiments and tiptoeing around recent cruelties in Latin America will surely resurface, playing on a loop while Trump warns about the long-dreaded socialist takeover of the United States of America. This may be fearmongering, but Democrats dismiss its effectiveness at their own peril.
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‘He is not going to be the nominee’: Dems slam Sanders over Maduro stance

Postby smix » Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:21 am

‘He is not going to be the nominee’: Dems slam Sanders over Maduro stance
Politico

URL: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/02/ ... ro-1179636
Category: Politics
Published: February 21, 2019

Description: The just-announced 2020 contender declines to say whether the socialist Venezuelan dictator should go.

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Florida Democrats are denouncing Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders for refusing to call Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro a dictator — a politically explosive issue in the nation’s biggest swing state. Sanders also would not say whether he considered Venezuela’s assembly leader, Juan Guaidó, as the nation’s interim president, which is the position of the United States and a majority of Latin American countries European countries. Both of Sanders’ positions play into the hands of President Trump and the GOP, say Democrats. The president just held a rally in Miami on Monday to denounce Maduro and socialism, an appeal to the state’s growing block of Venezuelan-American voters. Many Venezuelans have flocked to the state as the country’s economy crashed and repression increased. Democrats, already alarmed that Trump’s inroads with Venezuelans could help him peel off an otherwise-reliable Democratic voting bloc in a toss-up state, were quick to denounce Sanders’ comments. “He is not going to be the nominee of the Democratic Party. He has demonstrated again that he does not understand this situation,” Rep. Donna Shalala, a Miami Democrat who represents Venezuelan exiles and, told POLITICO. “I absolutely disagree with his imprecision in not saying Maduro must go.” Shalala has filed legislation aimed at helping Venezuelan immigrants. The emerging issue hasn’t yet spilled into the broader Democratic primary for president. Most candidates haven’t weighed in, some by choice. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and former Vice President Joe Biden, however, have clearly stated they consider Maduro a dictator and Guaidó the legitimate leader of Venezuela. And Sen. Elizabeth Warren told Pod Save America that she believed Maduro was a dictator and suggested she supported the “diplomatic part” of Trump’s backing of Guaidó, though she faulted him for too much “saber rattling.” One Democratic Hispanic consultant said the remarks will cause a needless “frenzy” in South Florida’s Hispanic community. Sanders did not embrace Maduro in his Tuesday interview with Univision’s Jorge Ramos, who quickly touched on Guaidó being declared the interim president of Venezuela by the nation’s National Assembly following Maduro’s questionable election. But when he was asked whether he recognized Guaidó as the legitimate leader of the country, Sanders answered, “No.” "There are serious questions about the recent election. There are many people who feel it was a fraudulent election," Sanders added. In a follow-up question, Ramos asked Sanders if he thought Maduro is a dictator who should step down.

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Sanders refused to say yes or no. "I think clearly he has been very, very abusive,” Sanders replied. “That is a decision of the Venezuelan people, so I think, Jorge, there's got to be a free and fair election. But what must not happen is that the United States must not use military force and intervene again as it has done in the past in Latin America, as you recall, whether it was Chile or Brazil or the Dominican Republic or Guatemala.” Sanders also said that he believes “the United States has got to work with the international community to make sure that there is a free and fair election in Venezuela.” That comment puzzled Shalala. “I do agree the international comm needs to come together and the U.S. needs to work with the international community," she said. "But that’s been happening.” After Shalala posted her disagreement with Sanders on Twitter, the Vermont senator’s deputy chief of staff, Ari Rabin-Havt, replied to her that “this view represents the long and horrific history of American politicians imposing their will on the people of Latin America. Bernie stands with the Venezuelan people to demand free and fair elections and for self-determination for all people around the world.” Rabin-Havt also noted Sanders has condemned Maduro. The United States was the first to recognize Guaidó as Venezuela’s leader last month. About 64 other nations have followed. However, the United Nations still recognizes Maduro, though it has called for talks, as roughly 50 countries side with him — including U.S. foes Cuba, China, Iran, Nicaragua, North Korea, Russia and Syria. Sanders has long had sympathy for leftist governments. Once a self-described socialist — he now uses the term "democratic socialist" — Sanders has spoken favorably in the past about socialist and communist strongmen. Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, Sanders once said, wasn't "perfect" but "totally transformed" the country. And Nicaragua’s leftist leader, Daniel Ortega, was "an impressive guy," Sanders argued. Over the decades, Miami has become a home for exiles from some of those leftist governments, with Cuban-Americans leading the way and leaning strongly Republican. Venezuelans and Nicaraguans tend to vote Democratic once they become U.S. citizens and register to vote in Florida. But Democratic consultants and community leaders say there’s evidence that could change and that the GOP’s anti-socialist messaging helped Republicans in 2018 and could help Trump in 2020. Helena Poleo, a Democrat who’s a former journalist from Venezuela and is a Spanish-language commentator, called Sanders comments “disgusting. The Florida Democratic Party needs to denounce this now.” The state party made its position on Maduro clear, without mentioning Sanders by name. “Florida Democrats have been unequivocal: We recognize Juan Guaidó as the President of Venezuela, denounce the legitimacy of the Maduro regime and his efforts to remain illegally in power," the party said in a statement. Its comments echoed those of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who represents one of the largest Venezuelan populations in the United States. State Sen. Annette Taddeo, a Miami Democrat, said she was “dumbfounded” and believed Sanders wasn’t properly briefed. “He’s obviously clueless,” Taddeo said. “Seems the Senator has already written Florida off his presidential campaign strategy,” deadpanned Ric Herrero with the Cuba Study Group, which advocates for more engagement with Havana, an incidental ally of Caracas. One of the state’s top Democratic consultants for Hispanic outreach, former state party political director Christian Ulvert, said he was disappointed with Sanders for making such “extremely ignorant” comments. Ulvert, who’s of Nicaraguan descent, said he found Sanders’ comments harmful on a personal level as did his husband, who’s from Venezuela and has relatives suffering under Maduro. The day before Sanders’ comments aired on Al Punto, Ulvert had written to the Democratic National Committee chairman concerning the location of the party’s 2020 presidential convention and noted that Trump was trying to make inroads based on his anti-socialism message. Ulvert said “everyone in our party from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Joe Biden have recognized Juan Guaidó as the acting leader of Venezuela and said Maduro must go,” and now Sanders is complicating that message. “This helps Trump and it makes our job harder as Democrats,” Ulvert said. “What this will do is whip into a frenzy South Florida’s Hispanic community on both sides of the aisle. It’s an unnecessary distraction.”



Ex-Clinton staffers slam Sanders over private jet flights
Politico

URL: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/02/ ... ts-1182793
Category: Politics
Published: February 25, 2019

Description: The Vermont senator’s 2016 travel as a Clinton surrogate became ‘a running joke in the office.’

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In his campaign launch video last week, Bernie Sanders singled out the fossil fuel industry for criticism, listing it among the special interests he planned to take on. But in the final months of the 2016 campaign, Sanders repeatedly requested and received the use of a carbon-spewing private jet for himself and his traveling staff when he served as a surrogate campaigner for Hillary Clinton. In the two years following the presidential election, Sanders continued his frequent private jet travel, spending at least $342,000 on the flights. Increased scrutiny of his travel practices, which are at odds with his positions on wealth inequality and climate change, are among the challenges Sanders will face as he makes his second White House run. But he also faces another hurdle: hard feelings that remain to this day after the contentious 2016 Democratic primary. Many in the party continue to believe the Vermont senator played a role in contributing to Clinton’s defeat in November because of his criticisms of her prior to the general election, and his refusal to concede earlier when it appeared he had little mathematical chance of securing the party nomination. And they are eager to point out Sanders’ flaws and examples of what they perceive to be examples of hypocrisy now that the one-time underdog rates as one of the front-runners in the crowded Democratic field. “I’m not shocked that while thousands of volunteers braved the heat and cold to knock on doors until their fingers bled in a desperate effort to stop Donald Trump, his Royal Majesty King Bernie Sanders would only deign to leave his plush D.C. office or his brand new second home on the lake if he was flown around on a cushy private jet like a billionaire master of the universe,” said Zac Petkanas, who was the director of rapid response for the Clinton campaign. In 2016, after Sanders endorsed Clinton and agreed to campaign on her behalf, the Sanders campaign’s preferred mode of travel quickly emerged as a point of tension, according to six former Clinton campaign staffers and another source familiar with the travel. Those who had worked on his primary campaign made it known that the only logistical way Sanders could adhere to the event schedules requested by the Clinton campaign was by flying private. The Clinton campaign, however, viewed the private jet flights as a needless extravagance and wanted the senator to mostly fly commercial. The senator ended up flying private on three separate multi-day trips in the last two months of the campaign. Sanders’ flights — usually on a Gulfstream plane — cost the Clinton-Kaine campaign at least $100,000 in total, according to three people familiar with the cost of the air travel. “We would try to fight it as much as possible because of cost and availability of planes, but they would request [a jet] every time,” one of those sources said. “We would always try to push for commercial. ... At the campaign, you’re constantly trying to save like 25 cents.” Prior to working out the logistics of Sanders’ travel, “our working assumption was that 90 percent of the time it would be commercial,” said another person familiar with the matter. “If he was trying to hop from city to city in a particular state and [commercial] didn’t work, we were open to” chartering a plane. But that idea did not go over well with the Sanders camp, according to this person. “At that time, getting him on board — no pun intended —and his followers engaged for her, was a big priority,” said one former Clinton staffer, who explained that campaign leadership, including campaign manager Robby Mook, decided it was something Sanders wouldn’t budge on, so the campaign approved the requests to keep peace with the senator. “We needed all hands on deck, including Bernie, and we were grateful for his support and the generous amount of time he gave the campaign,” Mook told POLITICO when asked for comment. Sanders spokesperson Arianna Jones said it was physically impossible to get to all of the event locations in such a short period of time without chartered flights, especially since the senator was traveling to many smaller markets with limited commercial air travel options. “That’s why chartered flights were used: to make sure Sen. Sanders could get to as many locations as quickly as possible in the effort to help the Democratic ticket defeat Donald Trump,” she said. “Sen. Sanders campaigned so aggressively for Secretary Clinton, at such a grueling pace, it became a story unto itself, setting the model for how a former opponent can support a nominee in a general election.” In the final three months before Election Day 2016, Sanders held 39 rallies in 13 states on behalf of Clinton’s campaign, according to Jones, including 17 events in 11 states in the last week alone. When he went to New Hampshire, which borders Sanders’ home state of Vermont, he did not use a private jet to get there. Rania Batrice, who served as Sanders’ deputy campaign manager at the end of his 2016 campaign, said that Clinton’s campaign would send over a proposed campaigning schedule for Sanders before the two sides talked through logistics and “at no point did I ever say ‘he has to have a private plane for the sake of having a private plane.’” “The requests for a charter only came after the schedules were put in front of us. If a less rigorous schedule were put in front of us, we wouldn’t have needed a charter and that would have been fine for everyone involved, including Bernie,” she said, later adding: “Bernie worked his ass off on behalf of Hillary Clinton and the campaign.” Josh Orton, a Sanders aide, said, “The senator was proud to work tirelessly on behalf of Sec. Clinton, and we believe that we must put our past differences aside and unite to defeat Donald Trump.” To the Clinton staff, however, the issue of the senator and the private jets became so cumbersome that it turned into “a running joke in the office,” said one former Clinton staffer. The travel details weren’t the only point of tension with Sanders. At his rallies for Clinton, Sanders sometimes only wanted people who had endorsed him in the primaries to speak when he would appear, a request which frustrated the Clinton campaign, according to a former Clinton staffer and another person familiar with the matter. “Sure you can have your supporters there, but you can’t exclude the congressman who endorsed Hillary Clinton in the city you are going to,” said the former staffer. “You’re campaigning for us. That was always a battle every single time.” Batrice, who became a full-time DNC consultant for the general election, called that allegation “ridiculous” and said that the Clinton campaign actually blocked several people Sanders wanted from speaking at rallies that he was headlining, but she declined to name them. Just as many former Clinton supporters and staffers continue to hold a grudge against the Vermont senator, many Sanders supporters still nurse grievances about the way the senator and his campaign were treated by the Clinton campaign and the party establishment, including the Democratic National Committee. Michael Briggs, Sanders’ 2016 campaign spokesman who often traveled with Sanders on the private flights, said Clinton and her staff were “total ingrates” in light of the efforts the Vermont senator put in to try to help elect her in the general election. “You can see why she’s one of the most disliked politicians in America. She’s not nice. Her people are not nice,” he said. “[Sanders] busted his tail to fly all over the country to talk about why it made sense to elect Hillary Clinton and the thanks that [we] get is this kind of petty stupid sniping a couple years after the fact.” “It doesn’t make me feel good to feel this way but they’re some of the biggest assholes in American politics,” he added. Private jet travel on the campaign trail is not uncommon — either for candidates like Clinton or a top surrogate tasked with stumping for them. Often it is the most efficient mode of transportation, particularly when events are in locations where commercial air travel options are limited. One veteran Democratic operative who oversaw surrogates for past presidential campaigns said providing private planes is standard practice for the most important surrogate of a presidential campaign in the general election. In addition to Sanders, the Clinton campaign footed the private plane bill on occasion for several top celebrities, among them Beyonce, Jay Z and Katy Perry. But as a rule, when political surrogates made requests for private jets, the campaign’s answer was no — except when it came to Sanders, said one former Clinton staffer. The Clinton campaign itself spent a total of $15.9 million on jet charter company Executive Flightways in the 2016 campaign, according to a review of FEC records. That money was used to ferry Hillary Clinton, former President Bill Clinton, vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine, Sanders, major celebrities, and Clinton’s traveling press corps. The revelation of Sanders’ penchant for private jet travel, both in 2016 and in the subsequent years, could surface as an issue for him since he often demands the U.S. do its part to fight global climate change — to which CO2 emissions from aviation is a contributor. “Climate change is not only real, it is already doing irreparable harm all over this planet, including the United States of America,” he told CBS’ “Face the Nation” last November. “What Congress has got to do is take Trump on, take the fossil fuel industry on, and transform our energy system away from fossil fuel, to energy efficiency and sustainable energies like solar and wind.” But last year, when Sanders faced reelection but faced only token opposition, his Senate campaign committee spent $342,000 on Apollo Jets, a private jet service. That money was used primarily to pay for a nine-day, nine-state tour to support Democratic candidates across the country. Sanders held 18 “large public events in those days,” said Jones. “A review of airline flight schedules shows that this tour itinerary simply could not have been completed with commercial flights — it required a charter.” She noted that the tour was the only time last year when Sanders flew on a private jet and also said the campaign purchased carbon offsets to zero out the emissions produced on the trip. Cars were also used on the ground whenever possible to get him to his events. She said that Sanders also flew commercial last year to hold more than 45 major rallies and events in 18 different states. But the previous year, in April 2017, Sanders went on another far-reaching trip where private air travel was a significant component. According to a former DNC official and another person familiar with the details, Sanders’ camp requested a private jet for the “Come Together and Fight Back” unity tour with DNC chairman Tom Perez and other DNC officers — which included stops in Maine, Kentucky, Florida, Texas, Nebraska, Utah, Arizona and Nevada. The DNC paid Apollo Jets $157,000 that month, according to FEC records. The next month, Sanders’ political committee transferred $100,000 to the DNC to share some, but not all, of the costs of the entire tour, which encompassed both the plane rides and other costs associated with the trips. Asked whether Sanders will fly private for his 2020 campaign, Sanders spokesperson Jones said he “will be flying commercial whenever possible. The campaign will consider the use of charter flights based on a variety of factors, including security requirements, logistics, and media interest in traveling with the senator.”



The world’s left-wingers are feeling the Bern
Politico

URL: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/04/ ... ty-1254929
Category: Politics
Published: April 4, 2019

Description: Sanders is viewed abroad as a potential figurehead for a worldwide movement against right-wing populism.

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Bernie Sanders has a base that no other 2020 candidate can claim: left-wing politicians around the globe. From South America to Europe to the Middle East, leftist leaders are celebrating his candidacy, viewing him as an iconic democratic socialist with the potential to lead a worldwide progressive movement at a time when right-wing populism is on the rise across the map. Their regard for Sanders burnishes the Vermont senator’s foreign policy bona fides at a time when he is trying to shake the reputation he received in 2016 as a lightweight on international affairs. But it also carries risks for an American politician who will need to broaden his appeal and insulate himself against attacks on his progressive ideals to win the White House. "There is a danger to collecting maybe not endorsements, but positive reviews from far-left politicians around the world when American voters are still not quite sure about how they feel about democratic socialism,” said Jennifer Holdsworth, a former staffer for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 bid and the ex-campaign manager for Pete Buttigieg’s run for Democratic National Committee chairman. “And this is not just a Democratic primary conversation, this is also a general election conversation." Among Sanders’ admirers: Evo Morales, the socialist president of Bolivia who blasted the United States last year for committing the “most egregious acts of aggression committed during the 21st century.” Morales congratulated Sanders recently on Twitter for launching a second bid for the White House: “We are confident this progressive leader will have a strong support from the people of the US. Democratic revolutions are built upon democratic elections.” Not all of Sanders’ foreign fans are so controversial. Members of Parliament in the United Kingdom’s Labour Party have argued that Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn would have a “special relationship” if the two men both rose to the top of their countries. “Over the moon that @BernieSanders is running for President in 2020,” wrote Laura Pidcock, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, in a tweet after he announced his candidacy. “Bernie was never just a candidate, his campaign was a movement, galvanising millions & offering hope across the globe.” Richard Burgon, the Labour Party’s Shadow Justice Secretary, confirmed that “the two teams” — Sanders’ and his party’s — "have talked.” "Bernie Sanders’ last campaign was part of the inspiration for the way in which Labour approached the 2017 general election,” he said, “where we went to a very low position in the polls to being the biggest swing to the Labour Party in a general election since 1945.” Steve Howell, a former Labour strategist, agreed that Sanders’ insurgent 2016 primary challenge influenced thinking within the Corbyn campaign. “I was not alone among Corbyn’s supporters in reflecting on what Labour could learn from the Sanders campaign,” he wrote in 2018. “Not only was there considerable common ground on policy, they were both ‘anti-establishment’ politicians who had the authenticity and credibility, on the one hand, to counter the right-wing populism of Donald Trump and [Brexit leader] Nigel Farage and, on the other, to inspire and mobilise young people on a scale not seen for a generation.” In Canada, Israel, Germany and Spain, progressive politicians have also hailed the Vermont senator on social media and in interviews, often speaking favorably of his Medicare-for-All proposal, non-interventionist foreign policy, and advocacy for the Green New Deal. Sometimes, the excitement is borderline giddy: Stefan Liebich, a Left member of the German Bundestag, recently posted a photo of himself on social media holding a Sanders figurine, adding, “#feelthebern.” To both Sanders and his supporters around the world, it is impossible to fight climate change without international cooperation. To that end, a group called the “Progressive International” was announced at a convention last year held by the Sanders Institute, a think tank founded by the presidential contender’s wife and son. The network of left-wing politicians and activists hopes to fight against "the global war being waged against workers, against our environment, against democracy, against decency,” according to its website. Niki Ashton, a Canadian member of Parliament who joined Sanders in launching Progressive International, said the senator “has shifted the conversations both in the U.S. and around the world.” In the eyes of progressives across the globe, left-wing populism is needed to take on right-wing authoritarians such as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who recently met with President Trump. “The far right have internationalised,” Ross Greer, a Green member of Scottish Parliament who went on the TV show “Scotland Tonight” to declare his support for Sanders, told POLITICO. “They cooperate and coordinate across borders, so if we are to defeat them, we need to do the same. Bernie gets that in a way I’ve not seen from any other presidential candidate.” At a 2018 speech at Johns Hopkins University, which criticized the Trump administration’s relationship with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others, Sanders spoke of the need to stop the “growing worldwide movement toward authoritarianism.” “All around the world, in Europe, in Russia, in the Middle East, in Asia, Latin America, and elsewhere we are seeing movements led by demagogues who exploit people’s fears, prejudices and grievances to gain and hold onto power,” he said. “We need to counter oligarchic authoritarianism with a strong global progressive movement that speaks to the needs of working people.” Leftist leaders across the globe look back at the dynamics of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and its connection to the rise of right-wing populism and nationalism, and envision Sanders playing a similarly catalytic role on the left if he emerges as the Democratic nominee. In the run-up to the 2016 election, Farage campaigned for Trump, and even joined him at a rally in Mississippi. Steve Bannon, Trump’s campaign chief executive at the time, avidly backed the UK’s efforts to withdraw from the European Union. The embrace from left-wing politicians overseas, however, could pose a threat to a candidate who has been attacked in the past for expressing sympathy for leftist governments hostile to the United States, including Nicaragua and Cuba in the 1980s. More recently, Sanders’ reluctance to to call Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro a dictator, or to recognize Juan Guaidó as the interim president of the country — the position adopted by the U.S. and a majority of Latin American countries and European countries — drew criticism even from within the Democratic Party. Sanders’ staffers downplay concerns that support from socialist politicians abroad will foster the impression that his views are out of the American mainstream — which is shaping up as a central GOP argument against Democratic candidates — arguing that Republicans will label any Democratic nominee as extreme. “They’re always going to do that, no matter who the candidate is, because they don’t want to have a debate about how Americans deserve health care,” said Matt Duss, Sanders’ foreign policy adviser. “They don’t want to have a debate about making sure prosperity is broadly shared.” Within the Democratic primary field, the issue is perhaps less relevant: Close to six-in-10 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents have a positive view of socialism, according to a Gallup poll last year, and, unlike in past years, Democrats now have a more positive image of socialism than they do of capitalism. And at a time of strained American relationships abroad, Holdsworth said, “Another world leader praising an American elected official is a good thing in the age of Trump." What’s clear is that Sanders’ fate will be closely watched beyond U.S. borders, where many on the left see his campaign as testing the American appetite for left-wing policies and a global progressive movement in a way that no other Democratic candidate does. “Bernie Sanders is very exciting as part of an international movement against neoliberal economic inequality,” said Burgon. “Given that he’s gained so much appeal in the United States … where that’s a place where these progressive ideas would find it hard to get a following through the political mainstream, I think people in the UK and around the world have found that particularly inspiring.”



Bernie's mystery Soviet tapes revealed
Politico

URL: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/05/ ... ed-1330347
Category: Politics
Published: May 17, 2019

Description: Unseen by the public for three decades, a POLITICO reporter views hours of footage from his 1988 'honeymoon' to the USSR.

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BURLINGTON, Vt. — It’s 1988 and newlywed Bernie Sanders is in the Soviet Union with his wife, Jane, handing out gifts to the mayor of a midsized city they’ve befriended. The mood is festive as the two bestow the items: A Beatles album, a red “Bernie for Burlington” button, “delicious Vermont candy” and a tape of tunes Sanders recorded himself with fellow artists from Vermont, among other goodies. “I have met many fine mayors in the United States,” Sanders says, “but I want to say that one of the nicest mayors I've ever met is the mayor of Yaroslavl.” At another point, a member of Sanders’ delegation hands a Russian woman a small American flag. “If you’re wondering what’s wrong with capitalism, it’s made in Hong Kong," he jokes. "Sorry about that.” The scene is part of 3½ hours of raw, never publicly seen footage of the trip Sanders took to the Soviet Union that year — his “honeymoon.” POLITICO viewed the tapes this week, along with a forgotten hourlong episode of a TV show created by Sanders that featured the same trip, at the offices of a Vermont government access channel. Earlier this year, two minutes of the long-lost videos went viral when a staffer at Chittenden County’s Channel 17 posted a compilation of the station’s archival footage online. The clip featured a shirtless Sanders and other Americans singing “This Land Is Your Land” to their hosts after relaxing in a sauna. A few minutes later, Sanders doled out the gifts to his Russian friends with a towel wrapped around his waist. But that’s only the beginning. The hours of footage include a scene of Sanders sitting with his delegation at a table under a portrait of Vladimir Lenin. Sanders can also be heard extolling the virtues of Soviet life and culture, even as he acknowledges some of their shortcomings. There are flashes of humor, too, such as his host warning the American guests not to cross the KGB, or else. The video also paints a fuller picture of why Sanders ventured to the land of America’s No. 1 enemy in the midst of the Cold War, the anti-war idealism that fueled his journey, and what he found when he got there. Over the course of 10 days, Sanders, who was then the mayor of Burlington, and his dozen-member delegation traveled to three cities: Moscow, Yaroslavl and Leningrad, now known as St. Petersburg. Their goal was to establish a “sister city” relationship with Yaroslavl, a community along the Volga River home to about 500,000 people. At the time, the Soviet Union was beginning to open itself to the world, if only slightly — and Sanders was a self-described socialist with an unusually large interest in foreign affairs for a mayor. “It wasn’t as outlandish as it looks in the pictures,” William Pomeranz, the deputy director of the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute, said after hearing a description of the footage. “It’s the height of Glasnost and Perestroika, where there are genuine efforts by Americans to reach out to Soviet cities and try to establish these relationships.” At the time, Sanders was 46 and nearing the end of his eight years as Burlington mayor, which tracked precisely with Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Two years later, Sanders would be elected to Congress. As mayor, Sanders worried about a potential nuclear war and railed against the bloated military budgets of both the United States and the Soviet Union. A year before the trip, he laid out his vision for a sister-city relationship. "By encouraging citizen-to-citizen exchanges — of young people, artists and musicians, business people, public officials, and just plain ordinary citizens," he said in a speech, "we can break down the barriers and stereotypes which exist between the Soviet Union and the United States.” Sanders’ opponents, though, will likely find much in the tapes to call outlandish. And in a campaign season in which Democrats are concerned about nothing more than defeating President Donald Trump, there’s plenty of material that Democratic voters might worry the Republican Party could spin into a 30-second negative ad. Sanders is seen living it up with Russians. There are, naturally, shrines to Lenin everywhere. In one scene, Sanders and his wife, as well as other couples, boogie to live Russian music. “I brought my special dancing shoes!” Sanders exclaims. Later, he tells a Russian man, “I’m not very happy about this, but there are not many people in the state of Vermont who speak Russian. In fact, one of the things that we want to do is to see if we can develop a Russian studies program in our high school.” At another point, one of Sanders’ hosts jokingly warns the delegation to not upset the KGB: “Those who don't behave move to Siberia from here." For now, many of the videos will remain available for viewing only in CCTV’s archives. POLITICO learned about the tapes after reporting on a TV show Sanders created while mayor called “Bernie Speaks With the Community.” The government-access channel is not planning to put the raw tapes documenting the Soviet Union trip online because they never aired, said executive director Lauren-Glenn Davitian. However, she does intend to post the lost episode of Sanders’ TV show online soon. The tapes also reveal Sanders and his team being wooed by the Soviet Union: They eat nice-looking meals, tour a decorated subway station, take horse-and-buggy rides and watch professional dancers. A cab driver serenades members of Sanders’ delegation — it’s unclear whether Sanders was in the car — with songs for minutes on end. When they return home, the Americans said the cabbie liked them so much that he didn’t charge a fare. “The Soviet Union always treated foreign guests very, very well,” said Pomeranz said. “They always wanted to show off the best side of their country and that invariably included a big table with a lot of food.” At times, though, Sanders’ team saw behind the curtain: The tapes showed people who appear to be waiting in line for food as well as the Soviet Union’s shabby housing stock. Inside one Russian’s apartment, Sanders addresses the poor conditions. “It’s important to try to translate this,” he says. “In America, in general, the housing is better than in the Soviet Union.” There are also mundane scenes of everyday life — cars rolling around traffic circles, townspeople walking down the street, athletes playing sports on TV — rendered fascinating because of the moment in which they occurred. According to a newspaper account at the time, members of Sanders’ mayoral team paid for the trip but also received their regular salary while abroad. Throughout the videos, as well as in the final episode of “Bernie Speaks With the Community,” Sanders speaks at length about his dream of reducing conflict between the two nations by building relationships between ordinary citizens. While being interviewed by a Russian man on a bus, he says he would “love” for young people to participate in exchange programs between the two cities. Sanders suggests a similar initiative for media outlets. He tells the man that a Vermont editor is coming to the Soviet Union soon and that “I have asked her to drop in [to] your newspaper.” Sanders’ wife also talks to teachers in the Soviet Union over tea. She asks them detailed questions about their work and proposes a teacher and student exchange program. “One thing we are very impressed with is the cultural life,” she tells them. “We strive in Burlington to enrich the cultural life as much as possible. But we have much further to go.” Bruce Seifer, a top economic development aide to Sanders when he was mayor, said that 100 residents from Yaroslavl immigrated to Burlington after the trip and others visited. "Over time, it had a positive impact on to the economy,” he said. “Businesses started doing exchanges between Burlington and Yaroslavl.” Davitian, who lived in Burlington at the time, said progressives were thrilled by Sanders' trip to the Soviet Union, while everyday residents didn’t mind. “As long as the streets were getting paved, there wasn’t opposition to him as an activist mayor,” she said. When Sanders’ delegation returned to Burlington, CCTV captured the group on film in a hopeful mood, applauding the Soviet Union’s after-school programs, low rent costs and hospitality. At the same time, they admit the poor choices of available food. Sanders says he was impressed by the beauty of the city and Soviet officials’ willingness “to acknowledge many of the problems that they had." “They’re proud of the fact that their health care system is free,” he says, but concede that the medical technology is far behind that of the United States. Later that year, the relationship was officially established. Since then, “exchanges between the two cities have involved mayors, business people, firefighters, jazz musicians, youth orchestras, mural painters, high school students, medical students, nurses, librarians, and the Yaroslavl Torpedoes ice hockey team,” according to Burlington’s city government. A delegation traveled there as recently as 2016. “They were just as friendly as they could possibly be,” Sanders said at a news conference at the airport after returning from the trip. “The truth of the matter is, they like Americans, and they respect Americans, and they admire Americans.”



The Secret of Bernie’s Millions
Politico

URL: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story ... res-226982
Category: Politics
Published: May 24, 2019

Description: How did he amass three houses and a net worth approaching at least $2 million? The surprisingly conventional middle-class climbing of a radical-sounding socialist.

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BURLINGTON, Vt.—Early on in his eight years as the mayor of this city, when he typically dressed in a tieless ensemble of work boots and corduroys, Bernie Sanders one day left City Hall and found a ticket on the windshield of his rusty Volkswagen Dasher. The offense: This was the mayor’s spot, and, surely, a cop had thought, this was not the mayor’s car. But it was. It matched perfectly with both Sanders’ image as a scrappy advocate of the little guy and his own shaky financial reality. It was the beginning of the 1980s, and he was approaching 40, a single father of a not-quite-teenage son, renting a sparse second-floor apartment and having a hard time keeping up with his bills. “Not only,” he wrote on his yellow, coffee-splotched legal pads kept in archives at the University of Vermont, “do I not pay bills every month—‘What, every month?’—I am unable to …” His scribbles in barely legible cursive in the margins read like reminders and afterthoughts: “gas,” “light,” “water.” He was, said Bruce Seifer, a friend of Sanders, an economic aide in his administration and one of many people who know him who told me this, “frugal.” Seifer paused and considered the right way to put it. “That’s a nice way of saying he’s a cheap son of a bitch.” Today, he might still be cheap, but he’s sure not poor. In the wake of his 2016 presidential run, the most lucrative thing he’s ever done, the 77-year-old self-described democratic socialist is a three-home-owning millionaire with a net worth approaching at least $2 million, taking into account his publicly outlined assets and liabilities along with the real estate he owns outright. In a strict, bottom-line sense, Sanders has become one of those rich people against whom he has so unrelentingly railed. The champion of the underclass and castigator of “the 1 percent” has found himself in the socioeconomic penthouse of his rhetorical boogeymen. This development, seen mostly as the result of big bucks brought in by the slate of books he’s put out in the past few years, predictably has elicited snarky pokes, partisan jabs and charges of hypocrisy. The millionaire socialist! Sanders has been impatient to the point of churlish when pressed about this. “I wrote a best-selling book,” he told the New York Times after he releasing the last 10 years of his tax returns. “If you write a best-selling book, you can be a millionaire, too.” Asked on Fox News if this sort of success was “the definition of capitalism,” he bristled. “You know, I have a college degree,” he said. Based on a deeper examination of his financial disclosures, tax returns, property records in Washington and Vermont, and scarcely leafed-through scraps of his financial papers housed at the University of Vermont, Sanders’ current financial portrait is not only some stroke-of-luck windfall, it’s also the product (with the help of his wife) of decades of planning. The upward trajectory from that jalopy of his to his relative riches now—as off-brand as it is for a man who once said he had “no great desire to be rich”—is the product of years of middle-class striving, replete with credit card debt, real estate upgrades and an array of investment funds and retirement accounts. As an immigrant’s son who started close to the bottom and has ended up near to the top, Sanders has a narrative arc that would form the backbone of the campaign story of almost any other candidate. But it’s more complicated for him. There’s never been anybody like Sanders in the modern political history of this country—somebody who made a career out of haranguing millionaires … and who is now a millionaire himself. There is no set strategy for how to run for president as a democratic socialist with an expensive lakefront summer house. Americans generally don’t begrudge millionaires their millions—and, as Donald Trump has confirmed, the aura of wealth can serve as a useful means of self-promotion—but what to make of Sanders’ apparently conflicting narratives? “He became the very thing he criticized others for becoming and at the same time didn’t fix any of the problems he’s been railing about that got him to this point,” Boston-based Democratic strategist Mary Anne Marsh told me. “He almost at times sounds like he thinks it’s inherently evil to be well-off,” veteran Democratic strategist Bob Shrum said in an interview. Does all of this make Sanders’ abiding calls for economic justice more authoritative or compelling, especially as he, the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, argues on the 2020 hustings for costly programs like tuition-free college and universal health care, or does it defuse his drilled-home political brand and somehow muffle his message? “I think it’s only awkward if someone has sort of a facile understanding of what Bernie is trying to accomplish,” senior Sanders adviser Jeff Weaver told me, “which is to give lots of people opportunities to have a modicum of security.” “It depends on how it plays out,” Shrum said. What’s certain, though, is that how Sanders has become wealthy and how he has managed his money are two of the least radical things about the self-identified radical Sanders.
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Before he had three homes, Sanders grew up in a rent-controlled apartment with 3½ rooms. The national economy boomed in the years after World War II, but in Sanders’ corner of the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, life meant cut-rate groceries and hand-me-down coats. His parents, a Polish paint salesman and a homemaker, were “solidly lower-middle class,” as he once put it, and they argued frequently about money—“arguments and more arguments,” Sanders has said. “Painful arguments. Bitter arguments. Arguments that seared through a little boy’s brain, never to be forgotten.” There was some talk at the outset of his second presidential campaign that Sanders was reluctantly ready to share more of his past, but this at least is a piece of it he’s been talking about for as long as anybody’s been listening to him and writing it down. “Money was a constant source of anxiety,” he told a reporter from the Wall Street Journal in 1983. “Money was something the family, the whole neighborhood, was constantly preoccupied with,” he told the Atlantic in 1985. “The money question to me,” he wrote in a 2010 book titled The Jews of Capitol Hill, “has always been very deep and emotional.” Sanders’ mother died when he was 18, and his father when he was 20. He got “a few thousand dollars” of inheritance. And for $2,500, the summer after he graduated from the University of Chicago, he and his first wife bought 85 acres of meadow and woods in Middlesex, Vermont, an out-of-the-way plot that came with an old maple “sugarhouse.” With no electricity or running water, life in the ascetic, dirt-floor, shacklike structure didn’t work out, and neither did his marriage. Toward the end of the 1960s and throughout the the ’70s, as he ran twice for governor and twice for the Senate as a member of the anti-war, left-wing, little-but-loud Liberty Union Party, Sanders worked sporadically as a carpenter and as a freelance writer and eventually made and sold to schools filmstrips about largely regional history. “He was always poor,” friend Sandy Baird told me. Sanders collected unemployment during one of his political campaigns, borrowed gas money for his battered beater of a VW bug and dangled extension cords to share electricity with a downstairs neighbor. He got evicted. He didn’t seem to those around him to be too worried about it. “Everyone has to make sure that they survive, so obviously money was a concern,” remembered Linda Niedweske, a nutritionist at the time who got to know Sanders and later would become a political aide, “but it was never an overriding goal.” Fellow pal Dean Corren agreed. “I don’t think he ever really worried about that on a personal level,” he said. “He didn’t give a shit about clothes,” said Tom Smith, a progressive activist and former city councilor. “He didn’t care about his car.” In this respect, according to local attorney John Franco, a longtime confidant who’s known Sanders since the 70s, Sanders fit in with many of the congenitally parsimonious citizens of his adopted home. And it’s more than even that, Franco added. It’s not just that he didn’t and doesn’t want to spend money. “He doesn’t want to be bothered.” Sanders also used his meager means to buttress his political aims, wielding it almost as a kind of authenticator for the crux of his lodestar view of the haves and have-nots. He lambasted “a United States Congress composed of millionaires.” He said again and again that it wasn’t right that their elected representatives appeared in his estimation to disproportionately serve “the interests of corporations and big business—their fellow millionaires.” In 1974, waging one of his quixotic campaigns for the Senate, he practically ran more against Nelson Rockefeller than he did his actual opponents. And in 1976, in releasing his financial disclosure as a candidate for governor, he attached a short statement that sat on the page not like an apology so much as a chest-out boast. “Unfortunately,” he said, “there is not too much to report. At the present moment, I am ‘worth’ about $1,100, which includes a savings account and a 1967 car. I own no real estate, stocks or bonds.” This steadfast posture became more locally focused when he ran for mayor starting in the fall of 1980. As the election of Ronald Reagan ushered in a conservative, pro-business age nationwide, Sanders prioritized tenants’ rights, pledged he would not hike property taxes and promised a “people-oriented” waterfront instead of an enclave of high-priced condominiums. “It is my belief, if present trends continue,” he wrote in a crinkled newsprint pamphlet tucked in the UVM files, “the City of Burlington will be converted into an area in which only the wealthy and upper-middle class will be able to afford to live.” He knocked on door after door in the cold in the city’s poorer wards. “Not having money, he was able to identify with these people,” Garrison Nelson, a Vermont political science professor and veteran Sanders watcher, told me, “and they were able to identify with him.” “He would walk into a home where people were fairly poor,” former City Councilor Gary De Carolis said, “and he’d be absolutely right at home.” He won by 10 votes. His new job came with a yearly salary of $33,824, plenty hearty at that time, the equivalent of more than $100,000 in today’s dollars and easily more than he had ever made. “It’s so strange, just having money,” he marveled to a reporter from the Associated Press. Nearing a year into his tenure, he bought a new car, a silver Honda Civic—paying $6,400 and taking out a three-year loan, committing to monthly payments of $239.69, according to records of the transaction in his files. After three fender benders, he came to regret the splurge. “I knew I should never have bought a new car,” he told New England Monthly. And shortly after his first reelection, in 1983, perhaps feeling a smidgen more secure and emboldened, he stopped renting. With a mortgage of $49,500—records don’t show what he put down, or the total price of the sale—he purchased a two-story, six-room, 1,900-square-foot house on Catherine Street, a mile south of City Hall. The decor remained spartan. “Not a whole lot of furniture,” De Carolis recalled. Even so, and even then, the fact that the socialist mayor owned just one home caused some critics to tut-tut. “I can remember lefties criticizing Bernie when he bought his first house,” Franco told me. Their suggestion, he said: “He was a bourgeois sellout when he did that.”
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“My political philosophy,” Sanders penned in one of his legal pads, underlining his mid-‘80s chicken scratch. “Ultimately, I believe in democracy—that we should live in a society where all of our citizens help decide what happens—and where all of our citizens enjoy the fruits of their labor. In practical terms, the development of a democratic society in our nation would mean a far greater degree of citizen participation, public ownership of production, and a far more equal distribution of wealth and power,” he wrote. “Essentially, I believe that 200 people years after the 1st American Rev.—we need a 2nd American Revolution.” In these private writings, he returned to this theme regularly. “There is a great deal of confusion in this country as to what politics is really about,” he wrote. What it wasn’t about: ads, TV, how a candidate looks, “inane debates between Dems and Reps, saying the same thing.” No, he wrote. “In politics, there are winners and losers,” and the losers, Sanders believed, were “the majority of our population who work hard—day after day, year after year—and often have nothing in the bank to show for their years of efforts.” Those were the people he sought to represent. “My view of politics,” he wrote elsewhere in his notes, “is that you can’t always represent everybody. Which side are you on? The Class Issue is the major issue.” When he was mayor, the monomania of Sanders’ theory and rhetoric didn’t change, obviously—but something else about him did. In retrospect, a step toward improving his finances in some sense was stabilizing the city’s. Surprising skeptical and even fearful local businessmen, surprising both Republicans and Democrats on the City Council, surprising his friends and, many say, even himself, “Hizzoner the socialist,” as the Boston Phoenix called him, proved to be a diligent and able steward of the municipal purse. “He’s not a spender,” Peter Clavelle, one of his top economic staffers who succeeded him as mayor, told me. “He was, in fact, a fiscal conservative that managed the city’s resources quite well.” With the help of a savvy treasurer in accountant Jonathan Leopold, Sanders found an unexpected surplus of $1.9 million, which he used to pave roads without hiking taxes. Putting out to bid the city’s fuel and insurance contracts, instituting the first audit in nearly 30 years of the city’s pension fund, and streamlining cooperation between departments, he saved hundreds of thousands of dollars. He upped fees for large-development building permits. He raised taxes on commercial properties, but opponents’ ads saying Sanders “does not believe in free enterprise” fell flat. From his third-floor office, with a Eugene Debs poster hanging on the wall—“Unionist. Socialist. Revolutionary,” it said—he launched an economic task force that led to the creation of the Community and Economic Development Office. “It is my view that there is probably no more important area of concern for the City of Burlington than the issue of economic development,” he wrote in announcing the endeavor. “The Republicrat administrations were acting just like a big corporation,” Sanders said in 1982 in an article in New York’s Ithaca Times, emphasizing his conviction that there was little difference between the two major parties. “They were sluggish, without motivation or ideas. We had the good fortune to inherit that moribund system and revamp it.” “Socialist Mayor Presides Over a Spell of Prosperity,” read a headline in Connecticut's Hartford Courant in 1985. City staffers sometimes claimed Sanders was “out-Republicaning the Republicans.” “Trotskyites for Sound Fiscal Management,” they joked. The “red mayor in the Green Mountains,” as Rolling Stone had dubbed him, was reelected the first time around with 53 percent of the vote, and in 1985 with 55 percent, and in 1987 with 56. If he wanted to talk about what he really wanted to talk about, which was income and wealth inequality, the burgeoning American “oligarchy,” and foreign policy, he knew, his advisers and friends said, that he first and foremost had to get right the dollars and cents. “If he did a good job there,” De Carolis said, “then he could talk about what’s going on in Nicaragua. But he couldn’t talk about the inequalities of various parts of our country if he didn’t take care of that home front.” He was, W.J. Conroy wrote in the 2016 preface to his 1990 book about Sanders that started as his doctoral thesis in the ‘80s, a “pragmatic socialist.” “Bernie himself may or may not have been a good financial manager,” Steven Soifer told me. Now the chairman of the Department of Social Work at the University of Mississippi, he is the author of a 1991 book on Sanders’ time as mayor. “However,” Soifer said, “Bernie always had the skill of surrounding himself with very competent, sometimes brilliant people.” One of them was Bruce Seifer, a higher-up in the Community and Economic Development Office. “It’s about fairness and democracy with a small ‘d,’” he told me. “You run government effectively and efficiently, No. 1, and then you make sure that everybody does the job they’re supposed to do and everybody pays their fair share of taxes.” But Sanders was at the helm. “And the thing is, he’s not a radical,” Seifer said. “He’s just, like, your commonsense uncle.”
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Looking back, the last two years of the '80s can be seen as the start of the rest of Sanders’ life—because that was the time when he really started using traditional tools of the country’s capitalistic financial system to put himself on firmer footing. In May 1988, he married Jane O’Meara Driscoll, a divorced mother of three who had been his significant other the entire time he was mayor and served as the director of his administration’s youth office. And that summer and fall, nearing the end of his fourth and final term at City Hall, Sanders ran for Congress as an independent, of course, and lost. But he lost by only 3.7 percentage points, and he beat the Democrat, effectively becoming, for the first time in his career, a realistic electoral option in a statewide race. “A real breakthrough for him,” Nelson, the UVM professor, told me. It was a hint of what was to come. At the time, though, that’s all it was—latent potential in a moment marked by unknowns and unease. Biding time and weighing his options, Sanders scrambled for paying gigs. In January 1989, he contacted the chair of the sociology department at Hamilton College, four hours away in Clinton, New York. “I believe,” Sanders wrote to Dennis Gilbert, “that I could offer your students an unusual academic perspective.” After spending a semester as a fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, he taught classes on urban sociology and social democracy at Hamilton. Leaning on the last hunk of his salary as mayor and speeches at colleges and universities, Sanders made more than $45,000 in 1989—given inflation and the rising cost of living, it was effectively less than he had made when he was first mayor. At 50 and mulling another crapshoot of a congressional bid, he fretted. “At Hamilton,” Steve Rosenfeld, his 1990 press secretary, said, “Bernie would often confide in Dennis, saying he was worried about his professional future and financial security.” Sanders and his wife responded by pooling resources. Central to their efforts? One of the most reliable ways that millions upon millions of Americans have sought to leverage and improve their financial fortunes: real estate. In September 1988, according to local property records, Jane Sanders changed the house she owned on Isham Street to a house they owned—kicking off a spate of activity and shifting legally from “sole owner” to “Jane O’Meara Sanders and Bernard Sanders, husband and wife, as tenants by the entirety.” Just two days later, they used the house to take out a mortgage of $50,000. The following February, according to a three-line recording of the transaction in the Burlington Free Press, Sanders sold the house he had bought in 1983 with a $49,500 mortgage for $82,000—a fine return on that first investment. Not quite three months later, leaving the more urban portion of Burlington and moving to a neighborhood closer to picturesque Lake Champlain, Bernie and Jane Sanders got a $140,000 mortgage to purchase for $175,500 a three-bedroom, two-bathroom, not-quite-1,600-square-foot house on Killarney Drive—“a red-paneled, boxy, split-level house,” as Rosenfeld would describe it, “that could be in any middle-class suburb in America.” Barely more than a month after that, they sold the house on Isham for $135,000. In 1990, sometimes wearing a blue blazer missing a button and working out of a cramped basement office in the Killarney house—which had plywood tables, a painted-shut window and green indoor-outdoor carpet—and getting into hot water in the news for paying his staffers as contractors instead of as full-time employees, Sanders tried again to win Vermont’s sole seat in the House—and this time, he did. In the aftermath of his victory, he was a mixture of exultant and indignant. “I’m not an insider,” he said. “I know who I am. I know where I came from. I don’t need to get down on my knees and ask rich people for help.” After having excoriated members of Congress for voting to give themselves pay raises two years earlier—“quite beyond comprehension,” he huffed in a letter to the three members of Vermont’s congressional delegation that he had made public as a mayoral news release—Sanders started making considerably more than he had ever earned: $125,100 a year. In the first half of the '90s, though—as the crotchety independent butted heads with Democrats in Washington while navigating the topsy-turvy political terrain of the time and as the election of Bill Clinton spawned the rise of increasingly virulent, Newt Gingrich-led hyperpartisanship—Sanders’ prospects were far from ensured. And he used his house to hedge his bets. He signed over power of attorney to his wife, and they refinanced their home in 1991 and again in 1993, both times with mortgages larger than the one they had agreed to in 1989—$140,500 in '91, $145,600 in '93. Sanders settled in, though, as a more and more fixed political presence in Vermont. His race in 1994 was the last one he could have lost, really, as he cemented his status and security. In 2000, with a real estate boom underway, and with a mortgage of $62,100, he and his wife bought in essence their first second home—a condominium in Burlington, which they initially bought for Jane Sanders’ elderly mother, according to Weaver, and used intermittently as a place for extended family or a rental property. In 2004, Jane Sanders was hired as the president of Burlington College, a small, middling liberal arts school. Making a six-figure salary, she saw her tenure end in acrimony after her decision to pursue a campus expansion by making a $10 million land purchase crippled the institution. She resigned in 2014 and took with her a $200,000 severance package some called a golden parachute. In 2016, the debt-beset college closed for good, felled by “an inexperienced president,” in the barbed words of Jane Sanders’ successor. In the meantime, Bernie Sanders’ career was heading in the opposite direction: up. In 2006, he was elected to the Senate. At the top of a surging real estate market in 2007, with his congressional salary at $165,200, Sanders bought a row home in Washington for $489,000, adding to the condo and house on Killarney and quietly climbing some financial stair steps when far fewer people were paying him any attention. And in 2009, when the markets were crashing and half of the 100 senators were still worth a million dollars or more, Sanders’ estimated net worth clocked in at $105,000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics—at the bottom of the Senate wealth chart. In Burlington, Bernie and Jane Sanders returned to real estate, using a mortgage of $324,000 to purchase a $405,000 upgrade: a four-bedroom, 2,352-square-foot house sitting atop a slow slope of a hill up from the street on Van Patten Parkway. (They bought the house, interestingly, from her son, David Driscoll, and his wife. In 2012, for $265,000, Driscoll and his wife bought from Jane and Bernie Sanders the Killarney house. Effectively, they swapped houses. Driscoll, Weaver said, wanted to live in “his childhood home.”) In 2013, Bernie and Jane Sanders refinanced the Van Patten house, taking out a mortgage of $312,275. And in 2015, when he started running for president, he had a net worth of a little more than $700,000, according to CRP calculations, a financial picture that had all his assets in his wife’s name and liabilities from a pair of mortgages as well as credit card debt listed as between $25,002 and $65,000. It made him, a spokesman said at the time, “a regular American.” More “regular,” perhaps, than he should have been: According to the Federal Reserve, the average household in 2015 had credit card debt of about $10,000. “Unfortunately,” Sanders said during his 2016 presidential campaign, using the same effacing opening clause and striking the same tone that he had in his financial disclosure of 40 years before, “I remain one of the poorer members of the United States Senate.” But for the politics he practiced—always—it was a useful note to sound. He all but compared his finances to those of front-running Hillary Clinton, she of the high-dollar speaking fees. “That type of wealth,” he said, “has the potential to isolate you from the reality of the world.” It wasn’t long before unprecedented money for Sanders started rolling in.
***
Driving from address to address, I recently made a quick self-guided tour of Sanders’ sequence of houses in the Queen City of Vermont, tracing from Catherine to Isham to Killarney to Van Patten the almost 40 years of the socialist’s slow climb to the upper class. I stared at his car, a red 2010 Chevrolet Aveo, parked in his driveway. Then, though, I carried on an hour so north, to bucolic North Hero, some 20 miles south of the Canadian border, to see the emblem of the economic altitude to which Sanders has ascended—the third house, the summer house, the house with rustic wood sides, a silver-colored tin roof, four bedrooms and 500 feet of waterfront that Bernie and Jane Sanders bought for $575,000, cash, through an entity they created called the Islands Trust. “Jane’s idea was to have something that would stay in the family,” Weaver told me, “over generations, and that sort of structure was the way to help accomplish that.” Past horses and silos and campsites and apple farms, it’s nestled at the end of a gravel private lane, hidden behind a cluster of evergreens, looking out over the wide, resplendent blue of Lake Champlain. Much has changed in these past four years. In 2015, Sanders had that credit card debt and two mortgages that ranged from $250,001 to $500,000, according to his Senate financial disclosure of that year. In 2016, the credit card debt was gone, and one of those mortgages had been halved. By 2018, only one of the mortgages remained; that January, records show, he paid off what was left of the $312,275 mortgage he had on his main house in Vermont. In 2015, he published a book called The Speech, basically a transcript of his memorable 2010 filibuster on (what else?) corporate greed, income inequality and the decline of the middle class. Sanders made $3,035, which he donated to charity. In 2016, though, book money began to pile up. He got a $795,000 advance to write Our Revolution. He pocketed an additional $70,484 in royalties. In 2017, the book royalties added up to $880,091.14. And last year, while they dipped, they still were a hunk of money: $392,810.37. The Sanders’ tax returns, too, tell the tale: From 2015 to 2018, their total income went from $240,622 to $1,073,333 to $1,150,891 to $566,421. Some of that, along with money from a retirement account, according to Jane Sanders, and proceeds from a sale of a share of a family home of hers, helped pay for the lake house that I sat and looked at while listening to birds chirp in the chill of spring in the northern reaches of New England. “Bernie is a known quantity in any socialist paradise,” GOP consultant Rick Wilson told me, “the party apparatchik with the dacha ...” This kind of characterization makes Sanders’ friends and others who’ve known him for years all but roll their eyes. “He’s still the same cranky guy,” said Terje Anderson, chairman of the Vermont Democratic Party. “I run into him at Hannaford shopping for groceries.” And in his cart, I asked, aren’t the finest meats and cheeses? “Hell no,” Anderson said. “There’s no change,” Niedweske added. “His priorities remain the same.” “I mean, I don’t think any of Bernie’s supporters said, ‘Oh, well, now that he’s made a lot of money selling a book … I can’t support him anymore,’” Terry Bouricius, a former Burlington city councilor and progressive who’s known Sanders since the '70s, told me. “No—I don’t think that happened to anybody.” A spectrum of politicos I talked to don’t think this is that big of a political problem for Sanders. He has problems, they said, that are bigger than his bottom line—his persistent lack of appeal to female voters and black voters, for instance, and his generally sagging poll numbers ever since an evidently formidable Joe Biden entered the race, and the slap-in-the-face mathematical fact that this time around he’s running against not Hillary Clinton but 20-plus Democrats. He is, in other words, no longer the beneficiary of the anybody-but-her voters. “The least of his problems,” Marsh, the Democratic strategist from Boston, said of Sanders' wealth. “Detractors will needle and pester and continue to push that argument,” said Joe Trippi, a Democratic strategist who’s been working on presidential campaigns for almost 40 years. “But I don’t think in the end it’s going to have much impact.” “On the list of stuff that bothers me about Bernie,” said Stuart Stevens, a GOP consultant who was the chief strategist for Mitt Romney’s 2012 run, “the fact that he wrote a book and made some money doesn’t bother me at all.” Ditto Democrat Bakari Sellers. “I’m not going to sit here and shit on Bernie Sanders for being a millionaire,” the former South Carolina lawmaker and current Kamala Harris supporter told me. Why not? “I want to be a millionaire, too!”
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On Venezuela, Bernie Sanders proves socialism's choking immorality

Postby smix » Fri Feb 22, 2019 5:04 am

On Venezuela, Bernie Sanders proves socialism's choking immorality
Washington Examiner

URL; https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opin ... immorality
Category: Politics
Published: February 21, 2019

Description: Want to understand why Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is no moral leader for a better America? Just watch the video below from Thursday, in which Sanders refused to call for the child butcher of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, to step down from power.



The video enrages me. It shows Sanders' deliberate attempt to sidestep the reality of apex socialism. Listen to Sanders parsing of words in refusing to call for Maduro to step down. He knows Maduro's power is fraudulent, and comes within a hair of admitting it, but he still resorts to the escape line that Maduro's departure is incumbent upon the Venezuelan people. It's an evasion, because Sanders knows full well that a mass majority of Venezuelans are desperate to see Maduro go. They're desperate because they've seen apex socialism and felt it in the broken, starving bodies of their children and the collapse of their economy and health care system. But they need international support. If not in action, most certainly in words. Yet, Sanders argument is actually worse than that. Because not only is the gentleman from Vermont unwilling to say that Maduro should step down, he's unwilling to follow in the footsteps of the United States, the European Union, and much of Latin America in recognizing the parliamentary speaker Juan Guaido as rightful interim president. Again, Sanders won't commit here beyond saying that the U.S. "has got to work with the international community" to resolve the issue. It's an excuse for doing nothing. My point here is quite simple. I am very sick of left-wing politicians holding themselves up as arbiters of a moral politics. Where it matters, with a starving and oppressed people, Sanders has blinked in deference to tyranny. Recognizing that Sanders and others, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., are increasingly earning favor with young Americans, Conservatives must urgently call out the Left's rank moral hypocrisy. As I explained in the clip below, socialism is sustained only by spin and lies.



Bernie Sanders hires illegal immigrant to be press secretary
Washington Examiner

URL; https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news ... -secretary
Category: Politics
Published: February 28, 2019

Description: Sen. Bernie Sanders' new deputy national press secretary likely won't be eligible to vote in the 2020 election due to what she says is her status as an undocumented immigrant. The hiring of Belen Sisa, an Arizona leftist activist, was announced Wednesday evening. Sisa, who says she was brought to this country illegally from Argentina by her parents at age six, is currently protected from deportation under President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. Despite her immigration status, Sisa has remained active in liberal politics over the years. In 2016, she worked as a page to the Arizona delegation at the Democratic National Convention and in Latino outreach for Sanders' 2016 campaign. "For someone who was so scared of participating in anything, and coming out and doing this, it’s pretty hard to believe I’m standing in the middle of it all,” she said at the time. Sisa soon lost her fear of participation. She has been arrested at least twice for protests throughout her activist career. As a college senior in 2017, she was jailed for her role in a sit-in outside of Sen. Chuck Schumer's, D-N.Y., office. While in jail, Sisa told reporters that she organized a "prison strike." Just weeks before that, she was arrested for a protest outside the Senate Hart Office Building. Both protests were over immigration reform and a demand that Congress pass the DREAM Act — a bill that would permanently legalize children who were brought into the country illegally — "cleanly," without extraneous provisions. "She's so brave," Sisa's mother said at the time. "DACA is expiring every day. Hers is going to expire in one year and what are we going to do with all of these youth? Congress has to pass the DREAM Act.



Bernie's new speechwriter applauded 'Chavez's economic miracle
Washington Examiner

URL; https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news ... ic-miracle
Category: Politics
Published: March 19, 2019

Description: A left-wing journalist just added to the staff of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., once celebrated Hugo Chavez's leadership in Venezuela, claiming that "his brand of socialism achieved real economic gains."

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The Sanders campaign announced Tuesday morning that David Sirota would be joining as a communications adviser and speechwriter, further solidifying Sanders as the socialist alternative in a growing field of 2020 candidates. In 2013, Sirota wrote a lengthy defense for Slate on Chavez's reign in Venezuela shortly after the dictator's death, which he called an "economic miracle." "When, by contrast, a country goes socialist and its economy does what Venezuela's did, it is not perceived to be a laughing matter — and it is not so easy to write off or to ignore. It suddenly looks like a threat to the corporate capitalism, especially when said country has valuable oil resources that global powerhouses like the United States rely on," Sirota wrote. Six years after Sirota's column, Venezuela is currently teetering on complete economic and social collapse. As early as 2014, the country's economy begun it's downturn, leading to deadly clashes in the street between the police and citizens, despite having one of the largest oil reserves in the world. "And in a United States that has become more unequal than many Latin American nations, are there any constructive lessons to be learned from Chavez's grand experiment with more aggressive redistribution?" Sirota asked. By 2016, inflation hit 141 percent and food shortages have led to millions of Venezuelan's to flee the country in what is a migration crisis that could soon outnumber Syria's. Critics say that Sirota's defense of Venezuelan-style socialism finds an appropriate home in the Sanders campaign. Earlier this year, video surfaced of Sanders defending breadlines in the Soviet Union in the mid-1980s. "It’s funny, sometimes American journalists talk about how bad a country is, that people are lining up for food. That is a good thing! In other countries people don’t line up for food: the rich get the food and the poor starve to death," Sanders said at the time.



'Slash-and-burn': Bernie Sanders' 2020 'attack dogs' ready for internal party warfare
Washington Examiner

URL; https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/20 ... ernal-par/
Category: Politics
Published: April 4, 2019

Description: Sen. Bernard Sanders has amassed a presidential campaign team of pit bulls skilled in the art of internal party warfare — and in many cases is still grinding axes over the way he was treated by the Democratic Party in his 2016 run for the White House. Three members of his team didn’t even back Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, and instead supported the Green Party in the general election. Others have made a career of ripping the very people Mr. Sanders now faces in the 2020 Democratic primaries. Among those is David Sirota, his senior adviser and speechwriter who has earned a reputation for combativeness online. He has deleted 20,000 of his tweets, many of them harsh attacks on other Democrats, according to Politico. Mr. Sirota and the other political warriors seem to belie the image the septuagenarian socialist enjoys among the voting public. “These people are attack dogs and make it look like Bernie’s planning on a slash-and-burn campaign,” said one longtime Democratic operative with deep presidential campaign experience. “Either Bernie’s naive, which I don’t think he is, or it’s a little bit of a recognition I’m going to say one thing and do the complete opposite.” Joining Mr. Sirota on the Sanders 2020 team are Nina Turner, the campaign co-chairwoman and a former Ohio state senator who was offered a spot on the Green Party ticket in 2016; Winnie Wong, a senior adviser who in 2017 tweeted that Mrs. Clinton is “the worst person in the world”; and Briahna Joy Gray, a press secretary who voted Green in 2016 and has repeatedly attacked other Democrats on Twitter. The Sanders campaign also employs Chuck Rocha, a senior adviser who was part of the 2016 campaign, too. As was reported then, Mr. Rocha was convicted in 2013 of stealing money from the United Steelworkers, where he served as political director, and blowing his ill-gotten loot on golf junkets and tickets to the Detroit Red Wings’ 2009 Stanley Cup run. It’s not surprising that Mr. Sanders would have some bare-knuckled partisans on his team, given that many of his supporters still bristle over the last presidential election, according to political professionals. “A lot of people around Sanders believe they should have been tougher on Clinton earlier in the 2016 campaign,” said Ron Faucheux, a former Louisiana lawmaker turned political analyst in Washington. “Some of this new toughness is a result of that. This will be much harsher than was the 2016 Democratic nomination battle. Nobody’s getting an easy ride.” The Sanders campaign didn’t respond to interview requests from The Washington Times. Presidential primaries can be nasty affairs, as the 2016 installment showed. President Trump and his Republican opponents engaged in the kind of insult war that would thrill a late-night comic. On the Democratic side, things got so bad that the Democratic National Committee accused Mr. Sanders of stealing Mrs. Clinton’s data, and the Sanders campaign sued the DNC for breach of contract. Later, leaked emails showed then-DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz calling the Sanders campaign manager a liar and another top DNC staffer pondering how to push negative press coverage about Mr. Sanders. This year, Mr. Sanders is already rankling opponents with his team — and particularly his hire of Mr. Sirota, who from his perch as a columnist for the left-wing Guardian newspaper took regular shots at non-Sanders 2020 presidential candidates. One December piece examined the voting record of former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, saying the Texan backed the oil industry and strict immigration policies during his time in the House. Sens. Cory A. Booker, Kamala D. Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden also took heat from Mr. Sirota’s pen. His hire by the campaign sparked a debate within Democratic circles about whether Mr. Sirota had been writing takedowns of other 2020 Democrats while he was in talks with Mr. Sanders. The Guardian denied it. Charlie Cook, a veteran political analyst, said he doubted that sharp elbows on Mr. Sanders‘ team will matter much to voters. “In my 47 years in politics, I have never seen Democrats as focused on and determined to win the presidency as now,” he said. “Sure, each of the candidates will have attack dogs, but the mindset in the Democratic Party is such that they will have little effect. Electability is rarely an important factor in primary voters’ minds, but in 2020, unelectability may be if a candidate is perceived as not very strong against President Trump.” South Carolina legislator Terry Alexander, who backed Mr. Sanders in 2016 and is doing so again in 2020, said supporters have a reason to be upset at Democrats after the 2016 election. Mr. Alexander said he still sees Mr. Sanders as the best pick to beat Mr. Trump. Although he prefers that Mr. Sanders not attack other Democrats unnecessarily, he said all hard feelings will be forgiven in the general election. “They’ll get over it,” he said. “I’m sensing it will be Bernie Sanders who gets the nomination, and I hope he does. But whoever gets it, I will endorse that person wholeheartedly because I think the Democratic Party will come together to get rid of Donald Trump.”



Felons should be able to vote from behind bars, Bernie Sanders says
Washington Examiner

URL: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news ... nders-says
Category: Politics
Published: April 8, 2019

Description: Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said Saturday that convicted felons should have the ability to vote even while they are still serving out their terms in prison. "I think that is absolutely the direction we should go," the 2020 candidate for president said in a response to a question on the subject while at a town meeting in Muscatine, Iowa, according to the Des Moines Register. "In my state, what we do is separate," Sanders said of Vermont, which allows inmates to vote from prison. "You’re paying a price, you committed a crime, you’re in jail. That's bad. But you’re still living in American society and you have a right to vote. I believe in that, yes, I do.” While restoring the right of felons to vote has been a popular cause among the political Left in recent years, most efforts to do this have emphasized restoring the right once the criminal has served out their sentence and is no longer in jail. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., took that position at an Iowa event last week. Voting rights for those convicted of crimes vary from state to state. Restoring voting rights to felons is widely assumed to benefit left-leaning candidates, though the evidence to back that theory is largely non-existent Sanders has roughly 21.8% support, putting him in second place, behind former Vice President Joe Biden, among a crowded field of candidates vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, according to RealClearPolitics' average of polls.



Bernie Sanders says Boston bomber should be able to vote from prison
Washington Examiner

URL: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news ... rom-prison
Category: Politics
Published: April 22, 2019

Description: Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said on Monday that "terrible people" such as the Boston Marathon bomber and felons convicted of sexual assault should be allowed to vote. At a CNN town hall in New Hampshire, a Harvard junior asked Sanders if he supports voting rights for all convicted felons, including Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 25, who was sentenced to death for carrying out the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing which killed three people and wounded more than 260. The Democratic presidential candidate said earlier this month that he believes convicted felons should be able to vote even when they are still behind bars. In response to the question, Sanders reiterated his belief in a "vibrant democracy," voiced concern about policies under Republican governors which he thought could suppress voters, and stood behind his belief that felons should have the right to vote from prison. "If somebody commits a serious crime, sexual assault, murder, they're going to be punished," he said. "They may be in jail for 10 years, 20 years, 50 years, their whole lives. That's what happens when you commit a serious crime. But I think the right to vote is inherent to our democracy. Yes, even for terrible people. "Because once you start chipping away and you say, 'well that guy committed a terrible crime, not going to let him vote,' or 'that person did that, not going to let that person vote,' you're running down a slippery slope," Sanders said. "So, I believe that people commit crimes, they pay the price. They get out of jail, I believe they certainly should have the right to vote. But I believe even if they're in jail, they're paying their price to society, but that should not take away their inherent American right to participate in our democracy."



Most states place prohibitions on voting rights for felons while in prison or for life, but Maine and Vermont, Sanders' home state, allow inmates to vote from prison. Democratic governors in New York and Virginia led efforts in recent years to restore voting rights for felons who are not in prison. Sanders is polling at about 22.5% in national polls, according to RealClearPolitics' polling average, second to Vice President Joe Biden.



Bernie Sanders campaigned for Marxist party in Reagan era
Washington Examiner

URL: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news ... reagan-era
Category: Politics
Published: May 30, 2019

Description: Bernie Sanders campaigned for the Socialist Workers Party in the 1980 and 1984 presidential campaigns and was investigated by the FBI for his ties to the Marxist group. Sanders has always played down the extent of his involvement with the party, which included radicals who praised the Soviet Union and Cuban communists, and has denied ever being a member. Asked in 1988 about his role as an SWP elector in 1980, he said: "I was asked to put my name on the ballot and I did, that’s true." In fact, his ties to the party are deep and enduring. The 2020 Democratic presidential primary candidate and United States senator from Vermont, now 77, often scoffs at comparisons between his brand of self-described "democratic socialism" and communism. In recent years, he has said he is merely interested in having the United States look more like Sweden, a social democracy with a broad welfare state but a well-functioning private sector. But his personal files from his time as mayor of Burlington, from 1981 to 1989, archived at the University of Vermont, show that he supported and campaigned for the communist SWP and maintained a close relationship with its senior members. While Democrats campaigned for President Jimmy Carter in 1980 and Walter Mondale in 1984, Sanders spent the Reagan era supporting fringe Marxists with no chance of reaching the White House. In 1980, Sanders "proudly endorsed and supported" Andrew Pulley, the party's presidential candidate, who once said that American soldiers should "take up their guns and shoot their officers." Sanders was one of three electors for Pulley on the Vermont ballot, stating in a press release: "I fully support the SWP's continued defense of the Cuban revolution." Four years later, he backed and campaigned for the SWP presidential nominee Mel Mason, a former Black Panther, saying it was important for there to be "fundamental alternatives to capitalist ideology." During the campaign, Mason praised the Russian and Chinese revolutions and said: "The greatest example of a socialist government is Cuba, and Nicaragua is right behind, but it's still developing." "I think Bernie was pretty in-the-camp with us and other socialist organizations," Mason told the Washington Examiner in an interview. "We talked regularly and he also said that if I ever made it to Burlington, he was going to give me a key to the city." But Mason, 75, now a psychotherapist and former NAACP official living in California, indicated that after the 1980s, he and Sanders had drifted apart, and Sanders began touting insufficiently radical policies. "We had a long-distance relationship, but that kind of changed after he ran for Congress. I didn't have as much contact anymore. I have a lot of respect for him, but I just don't think the programs he put forward are what workers need in this country," Mason said. "We were calling for the formation of an independent revolutionary labor party. We felt that it was necessary for workers in this country to enact a revolution." During Pulley's White House run in 1980, he called for the abolition of the U.S. military and the nationalization of "virtually all private industry," as well as the abolition of the military budget and the establishment of "official ... 'solidarity' with the revolutionary regimes in Iran, Nicaragua, Grenada and Cuba," according to a New York Times report at the time. During that same campaign, Pulley hailed the Cuban revolution as a model for the U.S. and claimed that "racism [had] been abolished" on the island. His running mate, Matilde Zimmermann, described the contention that Cubans lived under a dictatorship as American "propaganda." "Working people here could learn a lot from the Cuban example," Zimmermann said .In 1979, members of SWP's leadership circulated a document that called for "the destruction of the bourgeois state apparatus," arguing such an act "is a necessary prerequisite for the conquest of state power by the working class." Archives of the SWP's official paper, the Militant, demonstrate a devotion to what its writers believe was the "true" purpose of the Russian Revolution, before it was supposedly corrupted by Josef Stalin. A 50th anniversary issue of the publication in 1979 features contributors celebrating the paper's "tradition of revolutionary Marxism in the United States." One contributor from the Canadian Revolutionary Workers League wrote, "The Militant for five decades has been an inspiration and an example to revolutionary socialists the world over." "They were certainly a revolutionary group ," said Paul Kengor, a professor at Grove City College and an expert on 20th century communism. "One of the SWP's fans was Lee Harvey Oswald, who not only wanted to overthrow our government but actually assassinated our president, John F. Kennedy." A flier in Sanders' archives shows that he was a featured speaker at the 1982 SWP "Campaign Kick-Off Rally" in Boston for the party's candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, and Congress. "At a time when the Democratic and Republican parties are intellectually and spiritually bankrupt, it is imperative for radical voices to be heard which offer fundamental alternatives to capitalist ideology. I wish Mel Mason good luck on his campaign," Sanders wrote in a letter to the Militant in January 1984. In the same issue, the newspaper's editorial board called for the "nationalization of the steel industry," as part of a required "revolutionary struggle by workers to form" a new government. In 1984, Sanders was thanked by the party for his remarks at a 1984 SWP campaign kickoff. "On behalf of Mel Mason and Andrea Gonzàlez, I want to thank you for your message to the rally to kick off the Socialist Workers Presidential Campaign," reads a letter kept in the Sanders archives. "Mel and Andrea, in speaking to the over 800 present at the rally in St. Louis, pledged to spend the new year bringing socialist ideas on how to meet the capitalist crisis to thousands of working people across the United States. We look forward to campaigning in Vermont later this year." In May 1984, the Militant praised Vietnam's communist government for viewing "Workers' needs [as a] priority." In July, the newspaper defended Louis Farrakhan's claim that "the source of war in the Mideast ... is the existence of Israel." Sanders' involvement with the SWP led to his being investigated by the FBI, prompting outrage from the then-Burlington mayor. "I would agree with the judge," Sanders said at the time, referring to a civil case arising from the incident, "who is quite correct in pointing out that when FBI agents come into a secretary of state's office attempting to 'investigate' the political background of a mayor of the largest city in the state, there's no question but that this opens up the potential for exploitation by the media and could be a source of embarrassment." The SWP has a long history of radicalism, starting at its beginning in 1938 when it was founded by devotees of Leon Trotsky, the Russian revolutionary and communist thinker who was assassinated by the Soviet government over his criticisms of the regime. Yet Trotsky's legacy lived on, not only in the Soviet Union and the developing nations, but in the United States, where it attracted trade unionists, academics, bohemians, and an ambitious Vermont mayor. As adherents of Trotsky, the SWP's members promoted an ideology of international revolution and attended communist conferences across the world. The SWP was careful never to promote armed conflict in the United States, although senior members of the group stated "that under certain circumstances engagement in guerrilla warfare can prove advantageous," District Judge Thomas Griesa wrote in a 1986 court ruling. In 1970, the SWP called itself a "combat Trotskyist party," a slogan that was echoed by SWP leader Farrell Dobbs in a speech. "All this will be possible provided there is a combat party capable of giving revolutionary leadership, and to fulfill that role, the party must be politically cohesive and organizationally disciplined," Dobbs said. "By combat we do not mean only in the insurrection that occurs at the height of the revolution," Dobbs elaborated in a separate essay. At its founding, the SWP said its purpose was "the abolition of capitalism through the establishment of a Workers and Farmers Republic" and the elimination of most private property in strict accordance with the ideology of Vladimir Lenin, Karl Marx, and Trotsky. But it also formally objected to the totalitarian impulses of the Soviet regime "in the struggle for power and the transformation of the existing social order." The SWP's activities both domestically and abroad attracted the attention of the federal government and the FBI. Under the McCaran Internal Security Act, a bill passed in 1950 and directed at subversive groups believed to want to overthrow the U.S. government, SWP members were forced to enter a federal registry. The FBI also led a multi-decade investigation into the party and routinely tried to disrupt its activities. No indictments ever came from the FBI's investigation. There remains no evidence of Sanders being a member of the SWP, but his archived records show an affinity for other radical organizations far to the left of the Democratic Socialists of America, the party that has backed Sanders' presidential campaigns. Sanders also kept dozens of socialist publications in his personal files, such as the Socialist Republic, a defunct paper published by the Marxist Industrial Union Party. Articles in the Socialist Republic touted "The Importance of Socialist Propaganda" and "social ownership of all resources and industries." Other leaflets and socialist papers celebrated Marxist revolutionaries in Latin America. By 1988, Sanders had his eyes set on federal office. While he never shed his socialist label, he endorsed Jesse Jackson in that year's Democratic presidential primary. Sanders was first elected to Congress as an independent in 1990. "Essentially, it's my very strong opinion that the leadership of both the Republican and Democratic parties are intimately tied to corporate America, to the big money interests, and that neither of these parties will ever bring about the changes in our society that are needed by the vast majority of people," Sanders said in an endorsement message for Jackson. Mason said:"I'm not in Bernie's head, so I don't know why he's changed, but I think what happens to a lot of folks who come into office as true radicals is that after you've been there for a while and begin to deal with that particular structure, that structure does change people somewhat."



Bernie Sanders praised communist Cuba and the Soviet Union in the 1980s
Washington Examiner

URL: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news ... -the-1980s
Category: Politics
Published: June 6, 2019

Description: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders warmly praised Cuba and the Soviet Union in the late 1980s after visiting each, dismissing "horrors" in Cuba as right-wing propaganda and praising Soviet infrastructure even as dictatorship prevailed and the country was on the verge of collapse. The new revelations were uncovered by a Washington Examiner investigation of archives at the University of Vermont containing papers from the time Sanders was mayor of Burlington, Vt. The documents reveal that Sanders, who calls himself a socialist, evinced enthusiasm for the two communist regimes. In 1989, Sanders effusively praised the "Cuban revolution" in a public statement from the mayor's office. "For better or for worse, the Cuban revolution is a very profound and very deep revolution. Much deeper than I had understood," Sanders wrote. "More interesting than their providing their people with free health care, free education, free housing ... is that they are in fact creating a very different value system than the one we are familiar with." Sanders mocked the notion that Cuba was an undesirable place to live, chalking up criticisms of the island nation as right-wing propaganda. "Right-wing citizens could come back [from visiting] with first-hand evidence of all the horrors in Cuba, etc., etc," Sanders wrote dismissively. He called for an end of the travel ban enacted by the U.S. government. In notes attached to a draft of the remarks, Sanders highlighted what he perceives as strengths of the Cuban regime, which includes their system of "democracy," as well as state-provided housing and healthcare. Had Sanders scheduled his trip a year and a half later, he would have witnessed what is known as " Período especial," or "The Special Period in Time of Peace," which was a nearly decade-long economic crisis that resulted in famine. From 1990-1995, Cuban adults lost an average of 5% to 25% of their body weight, according to a study from the National Institute of Health. A year earlier Sanders lauded the infrastructure he had found in Moscow. "There are some things that [the Soviet Union does] better than we do and which were, in fact, quite impressive. Subway systems in in Moscow costs 5 kopecs — or 7 cents. Faster, cleaner, more attractive and more efficient than any in the U.S. — and cheap," an official statement from the Burlington's office reads. "The train trip that we took from Leningrad to Moscow — for Soviet citizens — was very cheap." Sanders then went on to praise "programs for youth and workers" that he saw during the trip. Sanders also likened Soviet problems in "health care, environmental protection, and agriculture" to those in the United States. "Further, like the United States, Soviet industry is lagging behind in terms of technological breakthroughs, re-tooling, and plant investment," Sanders wrote in May, 1988. Yet, experts on the Soviet Union say that Sanders drew a misleading picture for the people of Burlington. "How skewed someone's perception can be on what they're observing. There were people in the West who unfortunately genuinely believed the Soviet Union was better at some things than the West, like infrastructure," Anna Borshchevskaya, a senior fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told the Examiner. "People like Sanders don't realize what the cost of tickets meant in the context of Soviet society. Nothing was 'free.'" "When I lived in the Soviet Union, everything was falling apart. People don't realize how many people Stalin killed by building the Moscow subway station. Sure, the trains worked, but that other factor is dismissed. I have no doubt Bernie was sincere in what he said, but there was a whole disregard for life and safety in every aspect of Soviet life, including infrastructure," Borschevkaya said. Three years after Sanders praised its infrastructure and said its problems were similar to those of the U.S., the Soviet Union ceased to exist.



Bernie Sanders socialism speech warns of authoritarianism, but ignores the brutal legacy of communism
Washington Examiner

URL: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opin ... -communism
Category: Politics
Published: June 12, 2019

Description: Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on Wednesday gave what was billed as a major speech outlining his sweeping vision for "democratic socialism" that he said would require nothing short of "political revolution." In the speech, he warned of the need to rise up against the "forces of oligarchy and authoritarianism." The concentration of wealth among billionaires, he said, was depriving the masses of the ability to share the benefits of economic growth, and this economic frustration was being exploited by nationalists throughout the world, including President Trump. "This authoritarian playbook is not new," Sanders said. "The challenge we confront today as a nation, and as a world, is in many ways not different from the one we faced a little less than a century ago, during and after the Great Depression in the 1930s. Then, as now, deeply-rooted and seemingly intractable economic and social disparities led to the rise of right-wing nationalist forces all over the world." Sanders goes on to mention the massive 1939 Nazi rally in Madison Square Garden as evidence that "dark forces" also tried to organize in the United States, but in his telling, they were thwarted because of FDR's bold economic policies. What's interesting, and quite telling, in the Sanders analysis of totalitarian movements in the 20th century is that he ignores the totalitarian threat of communism. He mentions Mussolini and Hitler, but does not mention Stalin. Under communism, angry rhetoric about the concentration of wealth and promises of a more economically equal society evolved into a bloody system of global oppression that was responsible for an estimated 100 million deaths, making it, as author David Satter put it, the "greatest catastrophe in human history." It also got much closer to becoming a reality in the U.S. than Nazism, with high-ranking government officials serving as communist agents. In the case of Sanders, his failure to bring up any of this when talking about authoritarian threats is a major omission, especially given his long history of active support for communist regimes. In the 1980s, Sanders visited and warmly praised the authoritarian Cuba and the Soviet Union. As the New York Times reported, he also visited Nicaragua and praised the communist government, attending a Sandinista rally where the crowd chanted, "Here, there, everywhere, the Yankee will die." Liberal Jonathan Chait has argued that Sanders has not properly responded to questions about his support for the Sandinistas. This is especially scary given that his prescription for America closely parallels his past praise for communist governments. In his speech, Sanders calls for a new Bill of Rights. Whereas the original Bill of Rights protected individual liberties by describing actions that the federal government could not take against states and individuals, the Sanders revision would manufacture new rights that require the violation of individual liberty. To Sanders, the nation cannot achieve "true freedom," without free healthcare, affordable housing, free higher education, and a guaranteed job of at least $15 per hour. But this agenda would require mass confiscation of earnings not only of the very rich, but of middle and lower income Americans. It would also mean restrictions on individuals and not just corporations. For instance, individuals would no longer be able to purchase private insurance that duplicates any of the benefits offered by his new government run plan. Sanders also declared that, "the only way we achieve these goals is through a political revolution." In 1989, as reported by my colleague Joseph Simonson, Sanders wrote, "For better or for worse, the Cuban revolution is a very profound and very deep revolution. Much deeper than I had understood. More interesting than their providing their people with free health care, free education, free housing ... is that they are in fact creating a very different value system than the one we are familiar with." Sure, Sanders claims he's talking about a revolution in which the people take on corporate interests through the democratic process. But if Sanders is going to draw a connection, as he does in this speech, between Trump and fascist movements of the 1930s, he needs to seriously grapple with the fact that his own ideology, in practice, has often turned into authoritarianism. This is especially true given his long history of having praised brutal authoritarian regimes.
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Reaction to Bernie's Candidacy Shows A Shift Within Democratic Party

Postby smix » Fri Feb 22, 2019 5:23 am

Reaction to Bernie's Candidacy Shows A Shift Within Democratic Party
Townhall

URL: https://townhall.com/columnists/jonahgo ... y-n2542031
Category: Politics
Published: February 22, 2019

Description: I'm old enough to remember a time when an independent secular Jewish socialist with a long record of support for communist regimes would be considered a force for diversity in a typical field of Democratic candidates. Think back to years past, when the likes of Walter Mondale, Gary Hart, Dick Gephardt, Al Gore and other white men vied for the Democratic presidential nomination. If you threw a Bernie Sanders into that mix, you might have been forgiven for saying, "One of these is not like the others." Not anymore. Sanders, the aforementioned socialist who never saw a communist junta he didn't like, announced he's running for president again. In an interview with Vermont Public Radio (of course), Sanders was asked how he would compete in such a diverse field. "We have got to look at candidates, you know, not by the color of their skin, not by their sexual orientation or their gender and not by their age," Sanders replied. "I mean, I think we have got to try to move us toward a non-discriminatory society which looks at people based on their abilities, based on what they stand for." The reaction from many quarters of the liberal establishment was fit for a Tom Wolfe novel. The LGBT magazine Out ran the sardonic headline, "Bernie Sanders Bravely Asks Us to Consider a Straight President." Neera Tanden, the head of the Center for American Progress, sneered, "At a time where folks feel under attack because of who they are, saying race or gender or sexual orientation or identity doesn't matter is not off, it's simply wrong." Stephen Colbert, a middle-aged white guy whose TV show is a mandatory stop in the Democratic primaries, did a Sanders impersonation, saying, "Yes, like Dr. King, I have a dream -- a dream where this diverse nation can come together and be led by an old white guy." This is amazing. For generations there's been a schism on the left between those who argue that class and economic equality should be the dominant prism for social and political reformers and those who say that race and identity should be the primary consideration. It can be traced back to the rich, fascinating history of American socialists and communists taking the lead on civil rights in the 1930s and 1940s, when mainstream parties turned a blind eye to Jim Crow. It's a complicated story, but it's worth acknowledging both the real moral leadership on these questions by many on the left and the fact that much of it was driven by the useful idiocy of American leftists who bought into Soviet and Marxist propaganda. The great socialist intellectual Sidney Hook once praised the Soviet Union for its "progressive elimination of national, cultural and racial hostilities among its heterogeneous peoples," which had been achieved "voluntary participation in a socialist economy" and "not by suppressing national units or indigenous cultures." He later recognized that this was nonsense. Regardless, the idea of colorblindness -- now considered code for "white supremacy" by many liberals -- has a rich and noble pedigree on the American left, most famously articulated by Martin Luther King Jr. in his March on Washington speech, which Sanders attended. But suddenly, Sanders' political radicalism is eclipsed entirely by his whiteness and maleness. This is partly because so much of the Democratic Party has adopted his policy positions, he no longer stands out the way he did just two years ago. Still, it's a remarkable change, made all the more remarkable because it's mostly an elite liberal phenomenon. There's little evidence that average Democrats, including minorities, care as much about the demands of wokeness as the liberal talking heads on TV claim. For instance, a majority of African-American Virginians do not want Gov. Ralph Northam (of blackface infamy) to resign. Even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the face of the new, socialist, ethnically diverse Democratic Party, owes her upset election not so much to allegedly socialism-craving people of color but to more affluent white liberals. As Politico's David Freedlander noted, Joseph Crowley, the old white male Ocasio-Cortez defeated in the primary, did quite well with blacks and Latinos, whom Crowley had served ably for years, while Ocasio-Cortez's best margins came from "highly educated, whiter and richer" precincts that could afford to virtue-signal at the ballot box. If that pattern holds, the forces of class over identity may not be as defeated as it once seemed.
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Entrepreneurship, socialism & Bernie's bread lines

Postby smix » Fri Feb 22, 2019 5:46 pm

Entrepreneurship, socialism & Bernie's bread lines
WND

URL: https://www.wnd.com/2019/02/entrepreneu ... ead-lines/
Category: Politics
Published: February 21, 2019

Description: Laura Hollis notes, 'Sanders has decades of experience raising the Red Standard'

bernie-occupy.jpg

Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders is running for president again. Fresh on the heels of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s triumph as an avowedly socialist candidate for Congress, Sanders boasts that ideas he first proposed – including a higher minimum wage, universal health care and free college for all – are now “part of the political mainstream.” That’s arguably true – at least in the sense that those concepts are front and center when listening to Democrats running for president. U.S. Sens. Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York are all dutifully towing the socialist party line. Sanders did mount a serious threat to Hillary Clinton’s ascendancy to the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016; many still believe he had a better chance of beating Donald Trump than Clinton did. And according to the New York Times, he raised a record-breaking $5.9 million within 24 hours of announcing his candidacy this week. (To put things in perspective, when he launched his 2016 campaign, he raised a comparatively paltry $1.5 million in the first 24 hours.) One thing that can be said about Bernie Sanders is that he isn’t a Johnny-come-lately to socialism, jumping on the political bandwagon because it’s “cool.” Sanders has decades of experience raising the Red Standard. His support for Marxist regimes in Nicaragua, Cuba and elsewhere is well-documented. Perhaps because he is being taken seriously as a 2020 presidential contender, videos of him from the 1970s and 1980s are now percolating throughout the internet. One features what appears to be a shirtless Sanders on his honeymoon in the former Soviet Union, singing “This Land Is Your Land” with a bunch of drunk Russians. In another, he attacks a local television journalist who calls the Nicaraguan regime “communist.” Perhaps the most “popular” Sanders video this week is one in which he defends people waiting in lines for bread as “a good thing.” It might be easy to dismiss this as youthful exuberance. But by the 1970s and 1980s, the failures of collectivist regimes were well known. Furthermore, Sanders wasn’t particularly young at the time. And he hasn’t disavowed his enthusiasm for collectivism, even as we watch yet another socialist country – Venezuela – collapse before our eyes. (Bread lines indeed. Venezuelans would consider lines with actual bread in them a step up from their current diet of trash, rats and zoo animals.) True to form, socialist President Nicolas Maduro denounces the idea of a crisis as capitalist fearmongering, and he is refusing to allow in any humanitarian aid to alleviate the suffering of his starving citizens. Lots of people who didn’t care for Hillary Clinton were cheering for Bernie Sanders as the underdog in 2016. But whether a majority of Americans agrees that socialism is the way the country ought to go is a different question. (Some Democrats – Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar among them – clearly don’t think so.) One of the aspects of America’s history that makes a transformation to socialism less likely is our strong tradition of entrepreneurship. Not only is the prospect of owning one’s own business still very much a part of the American dream, but entrepreneurship has also exploded as a field of study in the past two decades. And studying entrepreneurship makes it quite clear that socialism fails not because “It hasn’t been tried properly” but because of inherent structural flaws that condemn it to failure every single time, flaws not unique to government but to any human endeavor done the same way with a large group of people. Anyone who teaches entrepreneurship could assemble a list of solid lessons that entrepreneurship teaches us, lessons we would do well to heed as we contemplate moving away from a free market economy to more centralized control. Here are mine:
1. Every idea (and this includes public policy ideas) has untested assumptions.
2. Even if you’re an expert or a genius, you’re going to be wrong about something.
3. Innovation comes from the most unlikely places, when you least expect it.
4. You can hazard a guess, but you cannot predict the future.
5. Large organizations cannot pivot as quickly as smaller ones.
6. If you throw a lot of money at untested assumptions, you are just going to lose a lot of money.
7. A failed business model taken larger just becomes systemic failure.
8. This is why top-down decision-making and centralized control do not work.
9. Without competition, there is no accountability.
These rules apply not only to governments but also to large companies in the private sector, many of which have found out the hard way. Of course, the major difference between a government and a private company is that no one assumes a private company will never run out of money. Unfortunately, many people still think that a government cannot run out of money. That, I’m afraid, is a lie. Its citizens can contemplate that, to their everlasting regret, when they find themselves standing in bread lines.
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