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Bernie Sanders seeks U.S. presidency again in 2020

Getting ready for Bernie 2020

Postby smix » Thu Feb 28, 2019 4:16 am

Getting ready for Bernie 2020
SocialistWorker.org

URL: http://socialistworker.org/2019/02/27/g ... ernie-2020
Category: Politics
Published: February 27, 2019

Description: DONALD TRUMP used his State of the Union address to throw down the gauntlet before the new socialist movement. “We are born free, and we will stay free,” Trump declared. “Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.” Following the president’s script, news cameras cut to the disgusted scowl on the face of America’s most famous socialist, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who gave a stinging rebuttal later that night: “People are not truly free when they can’t afford to go to the doctor when they are sick.” But his real reply came two weeks later when Sanders announced his 2020 presidential candidacy. In the first 24 hours, Bernie’s campaign raised $6 million from 250,000 individual donors. Trump barely had that many people come to his inauguration — and half of them were probably just there to drop off unmarked envelopes of cash with Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen. If the past month is any indication, one of the most hotly debated topics in the next presidential election will be the meaning of socialism itself: Is it the catastrophe playing out in Venezuela or a planetary-saving Green New Deal? Meanwhile, for hundreds of thousands of Sanders supporters, the bruising campaign ahead will further their disgust with the machinations of the Democratic Party. All of this means that Bernie’s 2020 campaign presents tremendous opportunities to expand the new socialist movement that his 2016 run partly inspired.

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But to make the most of those opportunities, those of us who see socialism as not just a set of domestic policies like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, but the vast, unruly power of the global working class making its own history, also need to soberly assess the campaign’s limitations. Most obviously, the socialism invoked by Sanders is limited to U.S. borders, an untenable lead to follow for socialists organizing inside the world’s largest and most violent empire. Beyond that, Sanders’ talk about “political revolution” and people needing to “stand up and fight back” may evoke for some of us images of strikes and protests, but generally refers to sweeping election victories for a Democratic Party that has been revived under Sanders’ influence. Sanders’ political revolution is simultaneously an indictment of the corporate two-party system and a call to re-infuse that system by giving the Democrats a new dose of young, radical energy. There have been and will continue to be debates in Socialist Worker about whether we’re better off working inside or outside the campaigns of socialists like Sanders who operate inside a Democratic Party that we understand to be irredeemably hostile to working-class interests. Whichever side of that argument you fall on, it’s important to grapple with how radicals can critically engage with Bernie 2020 to help shape how the largest audience in generations will understand what socialism is and how we can get there.
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THE MOST obvious way that Bernie’s second presidential run will be different from his first is that he’s starting off with the very thing he lacked in early 2015: vast name recognition and a huge base of supporters. That could make all the difference in the world in early primaries in the Southern states, where the then-lesser-known Sanders got hammered by Hillary Clinton in 2016. This time, Bernie is also bolstered by prominent socialists like Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose elections to Congress last year now make Sanders look less like a lone prophet and more like a trendsetter. Just as importantly, these dynamic women of color will greatly blunt the impact of the “Bernie Bro” charge — the cynical narrative from 2016 promoted by Democratic operatives to manipulate the questions about whether struggles against racism and sexism had a prime place in Sanders’ political revolution into an argument for the empty neoliberal platitudes of the Hillary Clinton campaign. Speaking of which, another obvious change from the last election is that many Democrats who lined up behind Clinton’s “Three cheers for the neoliberal status quo!” campaign are now tacking far closer to Bernie’s positions. Presidential candidates are tripping over one other to support Medicare for All, including New Jersey Sen. Corey Booker — previously known as the senator from Big Pharma. It’s become commonplace to say that Sanders has moved the Democratic Party to the left, but let’s make an important distinction: While Democratic voters are genuinely moving left, many Democratic politicians are following them like a cornerback looking to swat away a pass. Talk, after all, is notoriously cheap. As Eoin Higgins recently reported for New York, a number of incoming Democratic members of Congress have already started walking back their campaign promises to support Medicare for All. There’s a similar dynamic regarding the Green New Deal. While party leaders like Nancy Pelosi grumpily dismiss the ambitious plan to put millions to work building an economy based on renewable energy as “the green dream, or whatever they call it”, other liberals are eager to grab hold of the Green New Deal and strip it of all radical content. A prime example came from the New York Times editorial board, which “endorsed” Green New Deal legislation from Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey, only to completely redefine it. “Read literally,” the Times wrote, “the resolution wants not only to achieve a carbon-neutral energy system but also to transform the economy itself. As Mr. Markey can tell you from past experience, the first goal is going to be hard enough. Tackling climate change in a big way is in itself likely to be transformative.” As if the Green New Deal’s entire premise isn’t that we can stop climate change by transforming the economy!
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IN 2016, Sanders, Trump and Clinton laid bare a developing political reality: The U.S. may have two political parties, but it is moving toward three political bases: right-wing nationalists, neoliberal centrists and an emerging left made up of New Deal liberals, radicals and socialists of different stripes. One of the key debates facing this left is whether it should be working toward establishing independence from the centrists who continue to have a firm grip on the Democratic Party or whether it needs to unite with the center against the hard right. It’s not a simple question for everyone to answer given the tremendous threats posed by the continuing rule of Trump and his band of white nationalists. When it comes to protests to defend our rights from the Trumpists, we need maximum unity of the type seen in the Women’s Marches and in the aftermath of Charlottesville murder. But when it comes to putting out a positive vision of what we’re for — which is what elections are supposed to be about — it’s urgent for this country to finally develop an independent left that represents the people of all races, genders and nationalities who make up the vast working-class majority. One thing that hasn’t changed from the last election is Sanders’ contradictory message about this key question of unity versus independence. If anything, his increased stature has only heightened the conflict. Unlike last time, Sanders is running to win from the start, and he’s doing so without any signs of watering down his platform. That’s both a powerful statement of independence and a bid to unify the party under his left-wing leadership. Despite his rhetoric about both parties being under the influence of the billionaire class, Sanders has generally been unwilling to subject the Democratic Party to his withering criticism — a reticence he ascribes to sticking to a positive message, but that also mirrors his longtime strategy of not straying too far from the party’s good graces. But if Sanders wants to win a race against candidates who are trying to co-opt his policies, he’ll have to argue why he should be more trusted to fight for them, which could push him toward sharper critiques of his rivals and their party. If that happens, Sanders will be showered with howls of protest that he’s weakening a party that needs to unite against Trump — which would damage his claim that he’s capable of leading it.
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IT’S UP to Sanders to deal with the contradictions of a socialist candidate trying to win the Democratic Party nomination. It’s up to us to navigate the different contradictions we face of bolstering his radical message while challenging its limitations. Here are some initial thoughts for how we go about it:
* Work with activists inside and outside the Sanders campaign to organize rallies and teach-ins around Bernie’s initiatives like Medicare for All, free college tuition and others; defend them from Republican smears and Democratic dilutions; and use every opportunity to expose the good cop-bad cop routine of the two-party system. Use the same method with Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and Ilhan Omar in defense of the Green New Deal, cutting funds to ICE and Palestine solidarity — and publicly fight for this approach with allies who fear it jeopardizes anti-Trump unity.
* Publicly criticize Sanders on his lack of internationalism, and urge his most left-wing supporters to do so as well. Sanders is not a war hawk like most leading Democrats. But he doesn’t challenge the Pentagon the way he calls out Wall Street, and he’s virtually silent on his party’s deep ties to the war machine. His statement about last month’s coup attempt in Venezuela was a tepid condemnation of the history of U.S. intervention in Latin America that said nothing of the Obama administration’s far more recent sanctions and destabilization efforts against the Maduro government. Just as importantly, Sanders has repeatedly supported trade sanctions against China and protectionist measures against “American jobs” going overseas. It’s critical for the new socialist movement to argue that U.S. and Chinese workers have more in common with each other than we do with our bosses.
* Build local socialist electoral campaigns outside of the Democratic Party to lay the groundwork in the coming years for the independent party that Tlaib, Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders could be helping to lead right now if it existed.
***
DURING BERNIE’S first campaign, many of these ideas might have seemed abstract with little opportunity for implementation. But that’s the other major difference this time around: a larger and more radical left. Recently, a comrade of mine recalled a prediction that I had made in 2016. Here’s what I wrote: Whether or not the most determined Sanders supporters grow disillusioned from this experience [of Sanders’ endorsing Hillary Clinton after the party convention] or more radical depends in large part on the degree to which the small but real forces of the U.S. left are working to provide independent alternatives — from Jill Stein’s campaign to Verizon strike solidarity committees to revolutionary socialist organizations. This forecast, the comrade helpfully pointed out, turned out to be very wrong, and that’s a great thing. Hundreds of thousands of Sanders supporters have grown more radical through a myriad of channels I never anticipated: the waves of protests against Trump’s atrocities; the campaigns of new socialists like Tlaib and Ocasio-Cortez; the growth of socialist groups like the Democratic Socialists of America and protest organizations like the Sunrise Movement; a profound new awakening of survivors speaking out against sexual assault; and the return of old-fashioned class struggle in the form a now yearlong teacher strike wave. For the first time in many decades, the building blocks for a powerful socialist left in the U.S. are coming into view. We all need to think about how we can use the opportunity of Bernie’s second campaign to make that left larger and stronger coming out of 2020.
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Bernie Sanders Files To Run As A Democrat — And An Independent

Postby smix » Tue Mar 05, 2019 3:10 pm

Bernie Sanders Files To Run As A Democrat — And An Independent
NPR

URL: https://www.npr.org/2019/03/04/70012142 ... ndependent
Category: Politics
Published: March 4, 2019

Description: Bernie Sanders filed Monday to be a candidate for the Senate in 2024 — as an independent. But last month, Sanders filed as a Democrat for president. It's not unusual for candidates to file with the Federal Election Commission for re-election to their current office, which allows them to begin raising money. Most candidates file shortly after Election Day, in fact. But with Sanders, it creates the odd situation of having a high-profile presidential candidate file to run for two different offices with different parties, just as the Democratic Party is adopting rules mandating presidential candidates take something of a loyalty pledge. Sanders also filed as a Democrat in 2016 to be able to run in the Democratic presidential primary — and had already filed for his 2018 Senate campaign as an independent, a status he's held in Congress for many years. Sanders' ambiguous party loyalty was one reason the Democratic National Committee adopted rules for 2020 candidates to affirm that they are, in fact, a Democrat, and will run and serve as one. Sanders has influenced many changes to rules within the party. The DNC, for example, has scaled back the role of superdelegates. But it wants a degree of loyalty in return. The party is requiring "affirmation" forms returned in writing to the party chairman declaring that fact. The DNC gave the form to all the declared campaigns last week during a briefing at party headquarters. Sanders and the others have until the middle of this week to return it. The Sanders' campaign says he intends to sign it. But filing as an independent for a future campaign could disturb already ruffled feathers among some Democrats. The new DNC rules state that a candidate must "be a bona fide Democrat whose record of public service, accomplishment, public writings, and/or public statements affirmatively demonstrates that the candidate is faithful to the interests, welfare, and success of the Democratic Party of the United States who subscribes to the substance, intent, and principles of the Charter and the Bylaws of the Democratic Party of the United States, and who will participate in the Convention in good faith." And candidates must affirm in writing to the DNC chairman that they "are a Democrat... are a member of the Democratic Party; will accept the Democratic nomination; and will run and serve as a member of the Democratic Party."

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The interpretation and enforcement of those rules could be tricky, however, especially with a candidate as high-profile as Sanders, someone who has a deep base of fervent supporters. Some within the party view the rules as strictly applying to the presidential campaign. The party is not requiring Sanders, for example, to change his party affiliation in the Senate. But some Democrats, Clinton supporters in particular, partly blame Sanders for her loss in 2016. They feel that by not embracing the party label, Sanders sowed a sense that there wasn't much difference between the parties and, therefore, between Trump and Clinton. Clinton, herself, wrote in her book What Happened that Sanders did "lasting damage" to her candidacy — and that he never wanted a Democrat to win. "He didn't get into the race to make sure a Democrat won the White House," Clinton wrote, "he got in to disrupt the Democratic Party." She called him "fundamentally wrong" about the party, ticked off the things Democrats have done and noted, "I am proud to be a Democrat and I wish Bernie were, too." Sanders supporters dismiss those concerns and believe they are unfounded, noting that the Vermont senator, who caucuses with the Democrats in the Senate, endorsed Clinton and traveled the country campaigning for her and wants nothing more than to defeat President Trump in 2020.
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Socialists Turn Common Sense into Nonsense!

Postby smix » Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:27 am

Socialists Turn Common Sense into Nonsense!
Canada Free Press

URL: https://canadafreepress.com/article/soc ... o-nonsense
Category: Politics
Published: March 12, 2019

Description: If you listen to the rhetoric of Bernie Sanders, you’d think that the United States is on the precipice of an economic disaster and that his socialist policies are the antidote to “make America great again”. This from a man who has never held a private sector job and has been on the government payroll for most of his adult years. In other words, he has been sucking on the “teat of Uncle Sam” practically forever. And he’s telling us what to do? Why has he had such a great impact and following on the part of the Millennials and other supposed “losers” in our country? Being an avowed socialist, ole Bernie is promising “free” this and “free” that, like he was handing out candy to the kids on Halloween. He implores the masses to vote for him and by doing that he will pay off their student loans, will give them free tuition at public colleges, he will raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and his biggest plum of a promise, “free heath care” in the form of universal Medicare for all. Sounds great? But, one might ask, how will he pay for all this largess that would be doled out by the government? Well, that’s not a problem to ole Bernie the socialist, he’d raise the taxes on the wealthy for all those “freebies” he plans on giving to the masses. Little does he realize that even if he levied a tax of 100% on the wealthy, he wouldn’t even come close to the $94 trillion his plan would cost over a 10 year period. He is selling a Pig in a Poke.

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Contrary to what Bernie, and his socialist acolyte Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says, freedom, liberty, and free enterprise better insures that people get what they want. Profits (a dirty word to liberals) create incentives for businesses and entrepreneurs to meet the needs of its customers, you and I, the public. Without customers a business will fail. Central planning (the major feature of socialism) cannot compete with countries that embrace free enterprise capitalism. Albert Einstein, famed mathematician and physicist, once stated that “Sometimes one pays most for things one gets for nothing”. Bernie, to his pals, is the “Pied Piper of Doom and Gloom”. He derides the excellent economy we are now experiencing by proclaiming that he is in favor of a “total transformation” of the American economic system (isn’t that what Obama ran on in 2008?). He wants to change (unwittingly) the historically low unemployment rate (which is below 4%), he wants to add more restrictive regulations on the “greedy” businesses and corporations, and he wants to raise taxes on the wealthy businesses and entrepreneurs (the job creators) up to 70% of their income, all in the name of “fairness”. Doesn’t he realize that the top 10% of wage earners pay a little over 70% of all income taxes? By punishing success and taking the incentive out of our economic blueprint, we will become a “mediocre” nation or worse, another Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, South Africa, and other socialist oriented countries. So yes, if ole Bernie gets elected (by some fluke of nature), his socialist “common sense” will be nothing but “nonsense”. We must not let him and his pals ruin the greatest economic machine on the face of the earth, the United States of America.
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Bernie Sanders in the 1970s urged nationalization of most major industries

Postby smix » Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:08 am

Bernie Sanders in the 1970s urged nationalization of most major industries
CNN

URL: https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/14/politics ... index.html
Category: Politics
Published: March 14, 2019

Description: (CNN) - Bernie Sanders advocated for the nationalization of most major industries, including energy companies, factories, and banks, when he was a leading member of a self-described "radical political party" in the 1970s, a CNN KFile review of his record reveals. Sanders' past views shed light on a formative period of his political career that could become relevant as he advances in the 2020 Democratic primary.

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Many of the positions he held at the time are more extreme compared to the more tempered democratic socialism the Vermont senator espouses today and could provide fodder for moderate Democrats and Republicans looking to cast the Democratic presidential candidate and his beliefs as a fringe form of socialism that would be harmful to the country. Aspects of Sanders' plans and time in the Liberty Union have been reported before, but the material taken together, including hundreds of newly digitalized newspapers and files from the Liberty Union Party archived at the University of Vermont, paint a fuller portrait of Sanders' views on state and public-controlled industry at the time. In a statement to CNN, Sanders campaign spokesman Josh Orton said, "Throughout his career, Bernie has fought on the side of working people and against the influence of both the powerful ultra-rich and giant corporations who seek only to further their own greed. The record shows that from the very beginning, Bernie anticipated and worked to combat the rise of a billionaire ruling class and the exploding power of Wall Street and multinational corporations. Whether fighting to lower energy prices or expand access to capital for local development, Bernie's first priority has always been -- and will always be -- defending the interests of working people across the country." After moving to Vermont in 1968 several years after graduating college, Sanders became an active member of the left-wing Liberty Union Party. Under the Liberty Union banner, Sanders, then in his early 30s, ran for governor of Vermont in 1972 and 1976 and as a candidate for US Senate in 1972 and 1974. Sanders, also served as chairman of the party from 1973-1975. During this time, Sanders and Liberty Union argued for nationalization of the energy industry, public ownership of banks, telephone, electric, and drug companies and of the major means of production such as factories and capital, as well as other proposals such as a 100% income tax on the highest income earners in America. Sanders also rejected political violence and criticized the anti-democratic nature of communist states such as the Soviet Union. "I favor the public ownership of utilities, banks and major industries," Sanders said in one interview with the Burlington Free Press in 1976. In his career as a US Senator, Sanders has backed away from such ardent calls for nationalization, but maintained similar rhetoric on wealth inequality. In one 2015 speech, he said he didn't want the government to take over private business or "own the means of production." But his early views are notable because they are far to the left of the current Democratic party and most candidates running for office. Sanders left the Liberty Union Party in 1977, over what he said was the party's lack of activity between elections.

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Sanders said in his farewell that workers would need to take control for the country to be sustained. "The function of a radical political party is very simple," he said. "It is to create a situation in which the ordinary working people take what rightfully belongs to them. Nobody can predict the future of the workers' movement in this country or the state of Vermont. It is my opinion, however, that if workers do not take power in a reasonably short time this country will not have a future."
The energy industry
In 1973, during his time as chairman of the Liberty Union Party, Sanders took to a Vermont paper to oppose Richard Nixon's energy policy and oil industry profits, calling for the entire energy industry to be nationalized. Consumers at the time had been facing steep price increases and heavy shortages as a result of the OPEC oil embargo. "I would also urge you to give serious thought about the eventual nationalization of these gigantic companies," Sanders wrote in a December 1973 open letter to Vermont Sen. Robert Stafford that ran in the Vermont Freeman. "It is extremely clear that these companies, owned by a handful of billionaires, have far too much power over the lives of Americans to be left in private hands. The oil industry, and the entire energy industry, should be owned by the public and used for the public good -- not for additional profits for billionaires."
Electric and telephone utilities
Efforts to push for public ownership of Vermont's utilities like telephone and electric companies played prominently in Sanders' political career in the 1970s. Sanders ran for Senate in a January 1972 in the special election and governor in that year's November election, registering in the low single digits in both races. When he launched his first campaign for the Senate in 1971, Sanders said state utilities needed to be run by the state of Vermont on a nonprofit basis and that if revenues exceed expenditures they could be used to fund government programs and lower property taxes. In 1976, Sanders went even further: calling for the state to seize ownership of Vermont's private electric companies without compensation to investors. He defended his proposals routinely by pointing out that municipally owned utilities, not uncommon throughout the country, often had lower consumer prices. Utilities like the Green Mountain Power company and the New England Telephone company had been steadily pushing, successful and unsuccessful at times, for approval from state regulators for rate increases. Sanders was particularly incensed by a proposed 27% rate hike by the New England Telephone company, and it became a rallying cry for his political campaigns. In 1973, as chairman of the Liberty Union Party, Sanders had organized boycotts to stop proposed rate increases from New England Telephone company. Sanders' efforts through the "The Vermont Telephone Boycott Committee" -- a committee he coordinated that year -- proved successful in blocking NET rate increases. Newspapers commended Sanders for efforts when the rate increases were blocked by the state's utility regulators. Sanders would declare for the Senate again the following June in 1974 and for governor in 1976, and Vermont's utilities would remain a major focus point of his campaigns and Liberty Union Party. Sanders' rhetoric was strongest during his 1976 campaign for governor of Vermont, his last before he left the Liberty Union Party. In a press release on his policy positions, Sanders campaigned on the public ownership of the state's electric companies, without compensating the banks and stockholders. "I will be campaigning in support of the Liberty Union utility proposal which calls for the public ownership of Vermont's private electric companies without compensation to the banks and wealthy stockholders who own the vast majority of stock in these companies," he said in a July 1976 press release. "I will also be calling for public ownership of the telephone company -- which is probably the single greatest rip-off company in America." Sanders argued utility companies engaged in "economic blackmail," saying the state gave the companies the right to charge "outrageous" rates for utilities or have consumers suffer from poor service. Sanders' comments went beyond the Liberty Union's proposal for public takeover of state utilities, which said investors and bondholders with more than 100 shares would have to convert their holding to non-voting stock and income bonds which carry no fixed claim to dividends or interest payments.
Public ownership of banks, corporations and the major industries
Sanders' policy proposals that year also included an ambitious plan to deal with companies attempting to leave towns. "We have got to begin to deal with the fact that corporations do not have the god-given right to disrupt the lives of their workers or the economic foundation of their towns simply because they wish to move elsewhere to earn a higher rate of profit," Sanders said in a press release in August 1976. Sanders' plan would require large businesses attempting to leave cities to get permission from the towns and the workers in them. If the company did not get that approval they would be required by law to pay a guaranteed two years of severance for workers and 10 years of taxes for the town. Nationally, Sanders said, legislation corporations leaving cities would have to be dealt with by turning the means of production over to the workers. "In the long run, the problem of the fleeing corporations must be dealt with on the national level by legislation which will bring about the public ownership of the major means of production and their conversion into worker-controlled enterprises," he said. Campaign literature that year from Sanders, including a 1976 brochure for the party, said, "I believe that, in the long run, major industries in this state and nation should be publicly owned and controlled by the workers themselves." Public control of the economy would become the key issue in his race. Speaking at one forum, Sanders called for workers to control of capital, factories, banks and corporations. "There is a handful of people sitting at the head of the main banks controlling the destiny of underprivileged nations, the country as well as Vermont's economy," Sanders said. "That is not tolerable. That control cannot be held by them. We need public control over capital; and the capital must be put to use for public need not for the advancement of those who made the investments." In an interview with the Burlington Free Press, Sanders argued the richest two or three percent should not control capital. "I favor the public ownership of utilities, banks and major industries. In Vermont we have some $2 billion of deposits in our banks," Sanders told the paper. "In Vermont, as well as nationally, it is not tolerable to me that the control of capital would remain in the hands of the richest two or three percent of the population to do with it as they like." Sanders called that year in a policy paper for Vermont's banking laws to be "radically" revised, so that the public and the state "determine in what manner our savings are invested so as to make Vermont a better place to live."
Socialized medicine and public ownership of drug companies
Asked about healthcare, Sanders said there would need to be publicly-controlled drug companies.
"I believe in socialized medicine, public ownership of the drug companies and placing doctors on salaries. The idea that millionaires can make money by selling poor people drugs that they desperately need for highly inflated prices disgusts me," he said.
Taxing assets at 100%
Heavy taxation of wealthy people played prominently into Sanders' plans to pay for expanding government services. In February 1976, Liberty Union put out a state tax proposal calling for a radical revamping of the system, including the removal of all taxes of sales, beverages, cigarettes, polls, and the use of telephones, railroads or electric energy. Tax rates for those earning more than $100,00 would be 33.47%, $50,000-$99,999 would be 19%, $25,000-$49,000 would be 13.56%, and $10,000-$14,999 would be 4%. Anyone earning less than $10,000 would pay no state income tax. But Sanders' rhetoric at times went much further. During his 1974 Senate run, Sanders said one plan to expand government included making it illegal to gain more wealth than person could spend in a lifetime and have a 100% tax on incomes above this level. (Sanders defined this as $1 million dollars annually). "Nobody should earn more than a million dollars," Sanders said.



Bernie Sanders' truly awful answer on his newfound millionaire status
CNN

URL: https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/10/politics ... index.html
Category: Politics
Published: April 10, 2019

Description: (CNN) - Bernie Sanders is (finally) going to release his tax returns. But questions over how he handles his wealth in the context of his campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination remain. And the early returns should be concerning to Sanders' backers. In an interview with The New York Times on Tuesday, Sanders said that "April 15 is coming," adding, "We wanted to release 10 years of tax returns. April 15, 2019, will be the 10th year, so I think you will see them." (Sanders, despite effectively running for president without pause since 2015, has released only a single year's tax return, for 2014.) Reminded by the Times reporter that he is now someone of considerable means, Sanders retorted: "I wrote a best-selling book. If you write a best-selling book, you can be a millionaire, too."

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Uh, what? Sanders got a pass on some of his acerbic-ness during the 2016 presidential campaign because a) most people didn't think he could win and b) others found it part of his cantankerous but righteous personality. But let's think about that campaign for another minute. Close your eyes and imagine if Hillary Clinton, who beat Sanders for the Democratic nomination, when asked about the extent of her wealth, said "I wrote a best-selling book. If you write a best-selling book, you can be a millionaire, too." She would have been pilloried! People would have blasted Clinton for being out of touch with the average person who, obvi, doesn't have the opportunity to write a book -- best-selling or not. Telling the average middle-class American that they too can be rich if they only write a best-selling book is like telling them that if they would just star in a movie then they could be a big star, too. Yes, it's true. No, for almost everyone, it's not realistic. In 2016, Clinton was the frontrunner -- and most of the attention and energy in the political media was focused on her. But now Sanders is one of the frontrunners. Which means that he simply cannot be as dismissive, curt or out-of-touch as his "write a best-selling book" comments come off. Then there is the broader problem of Sanders' wealth as it relates to his core campaign message that "millionaires and billionaires" have cornered far too much wealth and power in this country -- and need to be reined in by a more activist federal government. Now that Sanders is one of those "millionaires and billionaires," it could complicate that message -- and his appeal as the underfunded outsider taking on the monied interested in Washington. Faiz Shakir, Sanders' campaign manager, told CNN on Tuesday night that the senator "believes in opportunity for all, and the fact that he is somebody who has personally benefited from that opportunity is something that he feels should be a shared opportunity with everyone else. He's made some money off a book. And I think that the opportunity that he has had is evaporating for so many others. He feels that strongly." Sanders, talking to the Times, tried to draw a line between himself and the likes of President Donald Trump, a self-described billionaire. "Not being a billionaire, not having investments in Saudi Arabia, wherever he has investments, all over the world, mine will be a little bit more boring," Sanders said of his returns when compared to those of Trump's. (The President has never released any of his tax returns and pledged again Wednesday morning that he is under no obligation to do so.) On the most practical level, Sanders is right. He isn't as rich as Trump. There's a big difference between a millionaire and a billionaire. And there's no reason that someone who is wealthy can't speak powerfully about the economic plight of the less fortunate and the deeply negative impact the wealthiest of Americans are having on society. But this is politics. And the combination of Sanders now being a member of the economic strata he has long derided and his totally tone-deaf answer on how he got there spells at least the potential for trouble down the line for the Vermont senator.



Bernie Sanders in 1970s Senate race called millionaire senators 'immoral'
CNN

URL: https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/24/politics ... index.html
Category: Politics
Published: April 24, 2019

Description: (CNN) - Bernie Sanders harshly criticized the wealth of US senators during his first campaign for office in 1971, calling it "immoral" that half the members of the Senate were millionaires. Sanders' decades-old comments, which were picked up in December 1971 by the Bennington Banner, a local Vermont newspaper, are resurfacing as the US senator from Vermont has acknowledged that he is now a millionaire in large part due to his 2016 best-selling book, "Our Revolution." In a statement to CNN, Sanders campaign spokesman Josh Orton said, "Yes, it is true: Senator Sanders said in the 1970s that it is immoral that the government too often represents the interests of the super-wealthy and large corporations — and yes, it is also true that Senator Sanders has continued to demand a change from that for his entire life." Orton continued, "As the son of an immigrant who grew up living paycheck to paycheck, Senator Sanders believes elected officials should represent the interests of working people, not corporations, special interests or the ultra-wealthy. This view has guided his work in politics, not the pursuit of personal wealth. Senator Sanders' family has been fortunate, and he is grateful for that because he knows the stress of economic insecurity. That is why he works every day to ensure every American has the basic necessities of life, including a livable wage, decent housing, health care and retirement security." Sanders defended his newfound wealth in an interview with the New York Times. "I wrote a bestselling book," Sanders said. "If you write a bestselling book, you can be a millionaire too." According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, taking inflation into account, $1 million in 1971 is nearly $6.2 million in 2019. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group that tracks money in politics, more than 70% of senators were millionaires as recently as 2015. Sanders made the comments when he was running for US Senate at the time under the banner of the Liberty Union Party, a self-described "radical political party" that advocated nationalization of industries and redistribution of wealth to tackle inequality. The senators serving at the time, Sanders said, advocated "the interests of corporations and big business ---- their fellow millionaires." In the same article, Sanders proposed eliminating the annual salary of members of Congress (which was $42,500 in 1971) and instead replacing their pay with whatever the average income was in their home state. At the time, Sanders said it would amount to $7,600 for representatives from Vermont. "I think the result would be that this country would immediately stop wasting billions on weapons which never get off the drawing boards, and on the support of military dictatorships throughout the world," Sanders said in the Banner, "I also have a feeling that a lot of tax loopholes that the corporations and millionaires receive would soon disappear." Facing both Republican and Democratic opposition, Sanders' third-party campaign for senator earned less than 3% in the January 1972 special election. Sanders would run for office three more times under the Liberty Union banner before leaving the party in 1977. In his race for governor, later in 1972, he attacked the wealth of his opponents. Sanders lost each election in the 1970s, never earning more than 7% of the vote. "Either they (the candidates) are millionaires to begin with or they get it from the corporations," Sanders said in September of that year, adding that senators refused to take on corporations.
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Is Jane Sanders the most powerful woman not running in 2020?

Postby smix » Sun Mar 17, 2019 6:14 pm

Is Jane Sanders the most powerful woman not running in 2020?
AP

URL: https://www.apnews.com/bb512b6ff6174474bf7ae3ccfbead19b
Category: Politics
Published: March 17, 2019

Description: WASHINGTON (AP) — Before Bernie Sanders took the stage to formally launch his 2020 presidential campaign this month, the candidate’s most influential adviser took the mic. To cheers, Jane Sanders introduced herself to the Brooklyn crowd as “Bernie’s wife,” then conceded that wasn’t the most politically correct label. To be sure, identifying Jane Sanders as “the wife” hardly captures the scope of her influence on her husband’s political career. Across 30 years and a dozen campaigns for federal office, she has served variously as her husband’s media consultant, surrogate, fundraiser, chief of staff, campaign spokeswoman and top strategist.

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His political revolution has become her career. And her political and business activities have, at times, become his headache. As the Vermont senator undertakes his second presidential run and scrambles his inner circle, Jane Sanders remains his closest adviser, making her perhaps the most influential woman in the 2020 campaign who isn’t a candidate. “Bernie’s top adviser always has been and will continue to be Jane,” said Jeff Weaver, a Sanders adviser. She has a voice in almost every major political decision her husband makes, travels with him for major events and is deeply involved in formulating policies, issues and campaign infrastructure. “At every level,” Weaver said, “Jane is intimately involved.” That involvement has drawn questions sometimes about her political judgment, family opportunism and flawed ethics — from political foes, good government advocates and longtime Sanders-watchers in Vermont and in the progressive movement. Most recently, critics questioned the role played by the Sanders Institute , a nonprofit co-founded by Jane Sanders and her son, for blending elements of fundraising, family and campaign policy development. Her dual roles at the institute and in her husband’s campaign carried echoes of the Clinton Foundation, which Bernie Sanders criticized in 2016 as a possible ethics conflict and back door for foreign donors seeking to influence his then-rival Hillary Clinton. “Bernie Sanders ran against Hillary Clinton in 2016 criticizing her for the vast sums of money she raised and he seems to be following in some of her footsteps,” said Lawrence R. Jacobs, director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. “Now he’s raising vast sums of money and it’s being controlled and shaped by his family.” Jane Sanders acted this past week to remove the think tank as a possible campaign ethics target, telling The Associated Press that the institute’s operations and fundraising would be suspended for the balance of her husband’s 2020 presidential campaign. Since its creation in 2017, the group raised more than $700,000, but has not disclosed most of its donors. She said the decision to put the Sanders Institute on hiatus was “a forward-looking way to deal with potential concerns.” Sanders may prove an important surrogate for her husband, particularly in a race crowded with female candidates and potentially hinging on how women vote. She publicly defended her husband when he faced criticism for the way his 2016 campaign handled accusations of sexual harassment. She’s become an essential liaison to the progressive activists at the heart of the Sanders’ base, using the institute to host meetings of policymakers and activists. An affable, if low-key public speaker, she was the star of the December “Gathering” in Burlington, Vermont, a three-day policy gathering that featured progressive speakers including environmentalist Bill McKibben, actor Danny Glover and her husband. Steeped in years of involvement in progressive causes, Sanders comfortably slipped into the role as the event’s emcee. Before a crowd of more than 250 progressive activists, she stoked applause lines for favored organizations and lavished compliments on institute fellows. Similarly, in videos posted on the institute’s website, she has led numerous policy conversations with experts in a Brooklyn accent fainter than her husband’s. Jane Sanders is not compensated for her role at the institute. Her son, David Driscoll, has been paid $100,000 a year as a co-founder and executive director, she confirmed. Driscoll previously worked for a Vermont snowboarding company and had no previous nonprofit experience, according to his LinkedIn profile. Like her husband, Jane Sanders “has learned not to trust a lot of people. Family is a lot more dependable than outsiders,” said University of Vermont political science professor Garrison Nelson, an acquaintance and veteran Sanders-watcher. Jane Sanders expressed frustration about concerns that she and some of her children have at times benefited from their activities affiliated with Sanders’ expanding political apparatus. “How can we say nepotism here? It just doesn’t fit,” she said. She added that the Sanders Institute has “developed policy and the content that we get completely separate” from her husband’s campaign. Politics has long been a family project for the couple. Jane Sanders first worked with her future husband as director of the mayor’s youth Office in Burlington. They were both displaced New Yorkers, Jane noted at the launch rally, stamped by childhood days on Brooklyn’s city streets. “We had very similar experiences,” she said. “We spent a lot of time playing stickball, running races and just hanging out on the streets with the kids in our neighborhoods.” They wed in 1988 — a second marriage for both — two years before Sanders won his first election to Congress. Jane Sanders went to Capitol Hill as his volunteer deputy — gaining experience in policy, legislation and as chief of staff.



In the early 2000s, she took on a new role along with her daughter, Carina. Two women set up a consulting firm, paid more than $90,000 in consulting fees by Bernie Sanders’ House campaigns. In 2004, the year before Bernie Sanders’ launched his winning Senate campaign, his wife was named president of Burlington College, a local small liberal arts college. In 2010, she worked out a $10 million deal for the college to buy 32 acres of waterfront land on Lake Champlain and a 77,000-square-foot former orphanage and administrative offices of Vermont’s Roman Catholic Church, which needed the money to settle a series of priest sex abuse cases. She promised at the time the deal would be paid for with increases in enrollment and about $2.7 million in donations. But her plans never took wing and under fire, she resigned from the college in 2011. The school closed in 2016, citing debt from the land deal as a major reason for its failure. Prompted by complaints filed by a Republican lawyer about her involvement in the land deal, federal investigators looked into Jane Sanders’ stewardship but informed her last November that she would not be charged. “We’ve learned we’re going to be attacked,” she said during an interview, adding “that’s the fact of today’s politics.” But she said she was confident that the decision to put the think tank on hiatus was “best for the institute to not have the possibility of misinterpretation.” The move, she said, will allow her to expand her campaign work freely for the Sanders campaign, including more solo stops on her husband’s behalf. “I will be more active throughout,” she said.



Institute founded by Sanders’ wife, son is shutting down
AP

URL: https://apnews.com/9e4794da89ab448399f3ff1457464d1b
Category: Politics
Published: March 15, 2019

Description: CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The Sanders Institute, a think tank founded by Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ wife and son, is shutting down, at least for now, amid criticism that the nonprofit has blurred the lines between family, fundraising and campaigning. The Vermont-based institute has stopped accepting donations and plans to suspend all operations by the end of May “so there could not even be an appearance of impropriety,” Jane Sanders told The Associated Press. The unexpected move by the institute’s board of directors comes as Bernie Sanders, a leading candidate for the 2020 Democratic nomination, prepares for a wave of intense scrutiny into his political network and his family’s role in its operation.

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As a candidate in 2016, Sanders criticized Hillary Clinton over her family’s nonprofit, saying the foundation run by Clinton’s husband and daughter amounted to a back door for foreign leaders and others seeking to buy access and influence. The Sanders Institute could open the Vermont senator to charges of hypocrisy. The institute was founded to promote liberal policies less than two years ago by Sanders’ family with the backing of pro-Sanders celebrities and advocates— though Sanders himself had no formal role. While it operates at a fraction of the scale of the Clinton Foundation, it has accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars during its brief existence and has declined to disclose its donors. Jane Sanders, who also serves as a chief adviser to her husband’s presidential campaign, is not compensated for her role at the institute. Her son, David Driscoll, is paid $100,000 a year as co-founder and executive director. Driscoll previously was an executive for Nike and the Vermont snowboarding firm Burton, but had no previous nonprofit experience, according to his LinkedIn profile. The lack of transparency and the family ties have drawn criticism from good-government advocates. “For a politician who runs on fairness and socialist principles, this looks like the old political games,” said Lawrence R. Jacobs, director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. “It’s a product of running a political operation in which family rules the roost.” Jane Sanders said the institute will not accept more money so long as her husband is a presidential candidate. Driscoll and the organization’s two other employees would be laid off with no severance by the end of May, and its Burlington, Vermont, office would be closed, she said. Sanders said questions of nepotism have no merit because the senator himself played no role in the organization, which was led by an independent board of directors. “I think that was the most important thing to do — to not accept donations, because nobody should think that they’re giving money to an organization and that gains them access or favor to anybody else and anybody running for office,” she said in an interview this week. She added: “It just seemed the responsible thing to do.” In her own founding role at the institute, Jane Sanders acted as the organization’s curator, both online and in person. She was the star of the organization’s December “Gathering” in Burlington, an assemblage of progressive speakers that included her husband as well as environmentalist Bill McKibben and actor Danny Glover. Her continued involvement with the institute and her active role in her husband’s campaign could have raised questions about the nonprofit’s tax status under federal law. The institute was founded under Section 501c3 of the U.S. tax code, which prohibits it from substantial involvement in influencing legislation or participating “in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.” The institute’s only available federal tax return showed it raised $459,000 in 2017. Jane Sanders told the AP that the group raised about $730,000 last year, much of it in “small donations from about 10,000 donors.” When she unveiled the think tank in June 2017, Jane Sanders said she and her husband had donated $25,000. The institute also received a $105,000 loan from the Sanders-affiliated political action nonprofit, Our Revolution, which was repaid last summer. “We haven’t disclosed names and contribution amounts because we’ve relied mainly on small donor contributions from thousands of people. The bulk of our donations come from donors that contribute less than $100,” Driscoll said. “Some of our biggest contributors were organizations that came on to partner with us for the Sanders Institute Gathering, such as National Nurses United, Healthy Housing Foundation and Our Revolution.” Sanders’ Senate campaign has stressed that both Our Revolution and the Sanders Institute have independent boards and are not directed either by his presidential campaign or his Senate office. But some figures have crossed easily between the groups. Institute fellow and Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner recently resigned as president of Our Revolution to be co-chairwoman of Sanders’ presidential campaign. Turner could not be immediately reached for comment. Some in the Sanderses’ orbit expressed disappointment at the shutdown, suggesting concerns about nonprofits and disclosure were unfair and unnecessary. Glover, a founding board member, defended the Sanders family’s involvement but acknowledged that critics within the Democratic Party would question the legitimacy of the institute whether the criticism was fair or not. “It’s sometimes important to play it safe,” Glover said in an interview. “This is a very dangerous moment.” One of the many fellows at the institute, the former public policy director for the California Nurses Association, Michael Lighty, said he was proud of the policy work the institute spearheaded. As a fellow he worked on an exhaustive report examining the cost of Sanders’ “Medicare for All” plan that was later presented to members of Congress. The report was one of several accomplishments highlighted by the institute, which also produced a six-video series about climate change, a video series on threats to voting rights and additional content on student loan forgiveness and federal budget priorities. “From my point of view, we went very far in terms of policy development and promotion,” Lighty said in an interview. “In this political environment, the optics sometimes come to the fore in ways I wish they didn’t. ... The dissolution will be seen by good-government people as a good thing.”
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Bernie Sanders Wanted ‘Public Ownership of the Major Means of Production’ in 1976

Postby smix » Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:49 pm

Bernie Sanders Wanted ‘Public Ownership of the Major Means of Production’ in 1976
Reason

URL: https://reason.com/blog/2019/03/14/bern ... wnership-o
Category: Politics
Published: March 14, 2019

Description: There’s a word for that….

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We have long known that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has bad economic ideas, which have sadly been mainstreamed within the modern Democratic Party. We have further known that the democratic socialist at the outset of his political career in the 1970s had some, ah, unusual enthusiasms, ranging from widening freeway on-ramps for hitchhikers to the "abolition of all laws which interfere with the Constitutional right of citizens to bear arms"(!). Sanders described himself in 1976 as "clearly anti-capitalistic," and was prone that decade and others hence to embarrassing apologia for communist countries. Still, reading today's tranche of '70s Bernie-brainfartery from CNN outrage-archeologists Andrew Kaczynski and Nathan McDermott is a striking reminder, against our current backdrop of Green-New-Deal-progressive-one-upsmanship, that the foundation of Sanders's political thinking is a pile of truly garbage economics that he refuses to disavow even while distancing himself from some of its particulars. "I favor the public ownership of utilities, banks and major industries," Sanders told the Burlington Free Press in October 1976, at age 35, while making the last of four failed runs for office that decade. "There is a handful of people sitting at the head of the main banks controlling the destiny of underprivileged nations, the country as well as Vermont's economy. That is not tolerable. That control cannot be held by them. We need public control over capital; and the capital must be put to use for public need not for the advancement of those who made the investments." When pointed out by the interviewer that "That is Socialism," Sanders replied "Of course. But that word has so many connotations—like 'capitalism'—that it has almost ceased to mean anything." Well, yes and no. Pretty much every definition you can find of socialism, then as now, involves public ownership of the means of production. Which is precisely what 1976 Bernie was advocating. "We have got to begin to deal with the fact that corporations do not have the god-given right to disrupt the lives of their workers or the economic foundation of their towns simply because they wish to move elsewhere to earn a higher rate of profit," he said in a CNN-unearthed press release in August 1976. "In the long run, the problem of the fleeing corporations must be dealt with on the national level by legislation which will bring about the public ownership of the major means of production and their conversion into worker-controlled enterprises." Bolding mine, to emphasize #Socialism. It is true, and important, that contemporary Sanders and his emulators have long since discarded the general means-of-production bit, though occasionally they have to confront the fact that their vast economic wishlists will replace entire industries with a single government provider. But the most damning of the CNN findings is actually the freshest of the quotes, from campaign spokesman Josh Orton:
Throughout his career, Bernie has fought on the side of working people and against the influence of both the powerful ultra-rich and giant corporations who seek only to further their own greed. The record shows that from the very beginning, Bernie anticipated and worked to combat the rise of a billionaire ruling class and the exploding power of Wall Street and multinational corporations. Whether fighting to lower energy prices or expand access to capital for local development, Bernie's first priority has always been—and will always be—defending the interests of working people across the country.

That's a funny way of saying I was wrong. Look, there's no sugarcoating a basic fact of the last 100 years of human existence: Public ownership of the means of production has been one of the most wicked, misery inducing, environment-poisoning, dictator-enabling, freedom-destroying Frankenstein experiments ever inflicted on humankind. This was evident not just in the mid-1970s, but by the late 1930s, among anyone who cared enough to read widely available non-propaganda on the subject. Imagine being so blinkered by your wrongheaded economic priors that you travel to its most imperial practitioner, in its waning days, and laud the "cultural programs that go far beyond what we do in this country":
Bernie Sanders was lucky to be able to get to the Soviet Union in 1988 and praise all its stunning socialist achievements before the entire system and empire collapsed under the weight of its own spectacular failures.

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— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) February 25, 2019

The adult thing to do when the world demonstrably proves the monstrousness produced by the same ideas and regimes that you recently issued qualified praise for, is to take a step back, stock up on the new information, adapt your ideas accordingly, and if appropriate, apologize. It is not to quietly discard some of the excesses and otherwise insist that you've been with the proletariat all along. No. Really existing socialism makes workers poorer and less free, as predictably as night follows day. Something reasonably close to the inverse happens as well: When you move toward private ownership and free trade, you get such results as the modern miracle of one billion people lifted out of extreme poverty since Bernie's last visit to the Soviet Union. (This hasn't led to as much political freedom as one would hope, particularly in China, but citizens there have considerably more latitude than in 1989.) As Bono knows, but Bernie (and the Pope!) refuse to believe, entrepreneurial capitalism, and the kind of mutual tariff-reduction Sanders has opposed at every opportunity during his long career, have been the primary engines fueling global anti-poverty. So yeah, we knew Sanders had some weird—including some good!—ideas in the 1970s, and '80s, and even to this day. He is right about wanting to roll back both the Drug War and our Forever War. His spinoff from Seinfeld sure has been funny. But as Glenn Garvin pointed out in a great Reason profile from 2016, Bernie has been yammering about "oligarchy" and clamoring for "worker-owned businesses" for going on a half-century now, with little evident sign of self-reflection as the world disproved socialism on his watch. As pretty much the only alternative to the unlovable power-politician Hillary Clinton, Sanders was able to easily absorb flak about his past errors of judgment. But in a crowded Democratic field that includes at least some token self-described "capitalists," Bernie's bad ideas, past and present, are likely to get a far more thorough examination.



Bernie Sanders Has a Strange Affinity for Strongman Daniel Ortega. He's Not the Only Democrat Who Does.
Reason

URL: https://reason.com/2019/05/20/bernie-sa ... -who-does/
Category: Politics
Published: May 20, 2019

Description: Bill de Blasio helped raise funds for the Sandinistas in New York and subscribed to the party's newspaper, Barricada, or Barricade.
Give The New York Times credit for publishing, over the weekend, a long investigative piece about the strange enthusiasm of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders for the communist strongman Daniel Ortega, who ruled Nicaragua in the 1980s and is in power there again today. It bears remembering, though, that the group of Democratic presidential candidates who might be described as Ortega groupies extends well beyond the self-described socialist senator from Vermont. One of the newest additions to the Democratic presidential field is the mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio. The Times reported back in 2013 that during the 1980s, de Blasio "helped raise funds for the Sandinistas in New York and subscribed to the party's newspaper, Barricada, or Barricade." Sanders visited Nicaragua in 1985; de Blasio went there in 1988. The Times reported that in the late 1980s, when Ortega was in power, de Blasio "oversaw efforts to solicit and ship millions of dollars in food, clothing and supplies to Nicaragua." The Times reported in 2013 that de Blasio "to this day…speaks admiringly of the Sandinistas' campaign." Then there's the man polls indicate is the front-runner for Democratic presidential nomination, Joe Biden. A former aide to George W. Bush, Peter Wehner, has written in The Wall Street Journal that "In the early 1980s, the U.S. was engaged in a debate over funding the Contras, a group of Nicaraguan freedom fighters attempting to overthrow the Communist regime of Daniel Ortega. Mr. Biden was a leading opponent of President Ronald Reagan's efforts to fund the Contras." The voting records bear that out. On October 3, 1984, Biden voted to prohibit the Reagan administration from spending money against Nicaragua from the intelligence budget. The amendment was rejected, 42-57. On June 6, 1985, the Senate approved an amendment offered by Georgia Democrat Sam Nunn to release $38 million in humanitarian aid to the Contra rebels fighting Ortega's Sandinistas. The amendment passed, but Biden was one of 42 Senators who opposed it. Both votes wound up on the annual scorecards of Americans for Democratic Action, a liberal interest group. Biden voted again in March 1987 for halting aid to the Contras. In 1986 Biden wanted to require the Reagan administration to negotiate with Ortega's government before sending any money to the contras. Somewhat comically, Biden fetched up in December 2018 with a piece in Americas Quarterly headlined "The Western Hemisphere Needs U.S. Leadership." Now, Biden concedes, "Instead of respecting the will of their people, the governments of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua have confronted peaceful protesters with force, even armed vigilantes. They have limited the freedoms of expression and assembly necessary for political dialogue and arrested their political opponents." In fairness to Biden, one can be a critic of a regime, a leader, or its polices while simultaneously thinking that it is unwise for the American government to provide financial support to a group dedicated to overthrowing that regime. Just as President Trump is hesitant to move militarily against Iran for fear of repeating the Iraq War, politicians in the 1980s were hesitant to back anticommunist forces for fear of repeating the Vietnam War. For Democrats hoping to run against President Trump in 2020, though, the Ortega story is a complexifier. It makes it harder for Democrats to criticize Trump for cozying up to North Korea if the Democrats themselves were cozying up to Ortega. It makes it harder for Democrats to criticize Trump as an isolationist who is abandoning U.S. interests and principles overseas if the Democrats themselves wanted to cut loose the Contras and consign the people of Nicaragua to a communist authoritarian strongman. The real resonance, though, has less to do with Daniel Ortega and Nicaragua as a foreign policy case about the merits of American intervention, and more to do with the threat of Ortega-style policies here in the United States. Reasonable people may disagree about how involved America should get in rescuing Nicaragua from socialism. What's troubling, though, is the idea that a significant wing of the Democratic party might want to emulate precisely the policies—redistribution, central planning, disrespect of property rights—that have left Nicaragua as the poorest country in Central America. If President Trump wants to illuminate the point, he might offer the Nicaraguan strongman a visa to the United States. Let Ortega campaign alongside Sanders, de Blasio, and Biden in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Let the 2020 Democrats compete for the Bolshevik comandante's endorsement.



Why Bernie Sanders' Communist Misadventures Still Matter
Reason

URL: https://reason.com/video/why-bernie-san ... ll-matter/
Category: Politics
Published: June 3, 2019

Description: Sanders no longer favors government takeover of "the major means of production." But his four-decade quest for political revolution continues.



Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) has spent his entire career explaining away the inevitable downsides of massively increasing the power of the state over the individual. Sanders once identified as a socialist who, with reservations, admired the economic achievements of Cuba under Fidel Castro, of Nicaragua under the Sandinistas, and of the Soviet Union right up to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Running for office as a candidate for the Liberty Union Party in Vermont in the 1970s, Sanders sought a top tax rate of 100%, saying "nobody should earn more than $1 million." Sanders wanted to stop businesses from moving out of their original communities, arguing that the ultimate solution to protect workers was national legislation that would "bring about the public ownership of the major means of production." He favored the government seizure of "utilities, banks, and major industries," without compensation to investors or stockholders. Shortly after he was elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont, in 1981, Sanders told a room full of charity workers, "I don't believe in charities," because only the government should provide social services to the needy. He traveled to Nicaragua in 1985 to meet Sandinista leaders, who had installed a socialist government after overthrowing an American-backed dictator. Sanders attended the sixth-anniversary celebration of the Sandinistas' revolution and praised Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega. In 1988, he visited the USSR, three years before it collapsed. After his trip, Sanders praised the Soviets' social and cultural programs, saying American leaders had much to learn from the communist system. In 1989, Sanders traveled to Cuba to seek a meeting with Fidel Castro—though he ended up settling for the mayor of Havana. Today, Sanders calls himself a "democratic socialist" and has become a millionaire. He favors single-payer health care, free public college for all, and a $15 minimum wage. And he has distanced himself from some of his former positions in support of the Sandinistas and Castro, pointing instead to Nordic countries as examples to follow. But one thing has remained constant as Sanders has shifted his focus from Nicaragua, Cuba, and the USSR to Denmark, Finland, and Sweden: In all of these countries, he's misled his followers about the political and economic realities on the ground.
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Democratic Socialists of America back Bernie: 'The best chance to beat Trump'

Postby smix » Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:58 am

Democratic Socialists of America back Bernie: 'The best chance to beat Trump'
The Guardian

URL: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/201 ... nders-2020
Category: Politics
Published: March 21, 3019

Description: The group helped leftwing candidates Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib win long-shot elections to Congress in 2018

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The Democratic Socialists of America has officially endorsed Bernie Sanders for president, with the organization throwing its growing political clout behind the Vermont senator ahead of the 2020 election. The DSA’s National Political Committee leadership team voted to back Sanders during a meeting on Thursday night, after the rank-and-file membership had earlier overwhelmingly pledged their support. The backing of the DSA will provide a further fillip to Sanders, who quickly outraised most of his rivals for the Democratic nomination. The DSA endorsed Sanders in 2016 and helped the leftwing candidates Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib win long-shot elections to Congress in 2018. “He has the best possible chance of the Democratic field to beat Trump,” said Jeremy Gong, a member of the NPC who voted to endorse Sanders. “Specifically because he has a working-class political agenda, as opposed to an elite, or moderate, or corporate-friendly agenda that is not exciting to anyone electorally – except a very small number of either Democratic party diehards or upper middle class or wealthy people.” Sanders announced his run for president on 19 February and raised $5.9m in the first 24 hours of his campaign, second only to Texas’s Beto O’Rourke among Democratic candidates. Sanders is running second, behind Joe Biden, in most polling of Democratic candidates – although the pair are probably benefitting from superior name recognition at this point in the election cycle. The DSA has seen a dramatic increase in membership since the 2016 election, rising from 5,000 members to more than 55,000. Ocasio-Cortez is the highest-profile beneficiary of the DSA’s political heft, her victory in New York’s 14th congressional district aided by the wealth of volunteers DSA can offer access to. Gong said the DSA was still working on its strategy to support Sanders, who is advocating for Medicare-for-all, a $15 minimum wage and a Green New Deal climate policy. There are more than 100 chapters in the US and each will decide how to promote Sanders. But Gong said the DSA was looking beyond just electing Sanders as president. “Sanders alone, once in office, is not capable of pushing through these reforms,” Gong said. “We need to have a mass movement of ordinary people building organizations like the DSA, building their union, going on strike, demonstrating in the streets, pushing for his radical reform agenda.” The DSA also aims to elect progressive candidates to local government across the country. Six democratic socialists are running for election to the Chicago city council this year, and despite Republicans seeking to use the term “democratic socialist” to denigrate Democrats, the DSA is continuing to grow. Sanders, 77, has been criticized in some quarters for entering what promises to be the most diverse race for the Democratic nomination in history, but Gong pointed to some polling which shows Sanders is popular among black and Latino voters, and said there is “not a deep bench” of candidates who have the politics and reach of the veteran senator. “It’d be better and preferable if Sanders was not an old white man, and that there be someone who has the same track record, and the same politics and the same potential to transform our society that Sanders does,” Gong said. “[But] there is no one else who is advancing the Sanders agenda and building a movement in the way that Sanders is who could also be elected president.”
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Bernie Sanders Just Hired His Twitter Attack Dog

Postby smix » Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:35 pm

Bernie Sanders Just Hired His Twitter Attack Dog
The Atlantic

URL: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/ar ... og/585259/
Category: Politics
Published: March 19, 2019

Description: David Sirota had been working unofficially for Sanders while savaging the other Democratic candidates on Twitter.

bernie-campaign-offshoot.jpg

Shortly before he gave speeches launching his 2020 campaign earlier this month, Bernie Sanders emailed his supporters, urging them to “do our very best to engage respectfully with our Democratic opponents—talking about the issues we are fighting for, not about personalities or past grievances. I want to be clear that I condemn bullying and harassment of any kind and in any space.” What he didn’t include was that one of the people already advising him and helping him write those launch speeches is one of his most famously aggressive supporters online. Since December, David Sirota has, on Twitter, on the website Capital & Main, and in columns in The Guardian, been trashing most of Sanders’s Democratic opponents—all without disclosing his work with Sanders—and has been pushing back on critics by saying that he was criticizing the other Democrats as a journalist.* He centered many of his attacks on Beto O’Rourke, but he also bashed Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Joe Biden, Kirsten Gillibrand, Michael Bennet, John Hickenlooper, Mike Bloomberg, and even Andrew Cuomo.

davidsirota.png
A screenshot of one of the more than 20,000 tweets that Sirota deleted yesterday.

On Wednesday, a spokeswoman for The Guardian, Deepal Patadia, said that Sirota informed the newspaper that he was in conversations with the Sanders team starting in January, and did not file a column forward from that point. Patadia did not address if this account was based on anything other than Sirota’s characterizations, and whether The Guardian was aware of conversations that Sirota was having with Sanders aides through 2018, as people with direct knowledge say he was. Sirota himself would not address this on the record. Sirota’s hiring as a senior adviser and speechwriter was announced by the Sanders campaign on Tuesday morning after The Atlantic contacted the campaign and inquired about the undisclosed role Sirota held while attacking other Democrats. Faiz Shakir, Sanders’s campaign manager, confirmed in an interview on Tuesday afternoon that Sirota had been in an advisory role prior to his hiring on March 11. “He was advising beforehand,” Shakir said, explaining that Sirota’s informal work for Sanders goes back months, and was meant to be a trial period to see how the senator, who famously likes to write every word that he says himself, would work with a speechwriter. The online fury of Sanders’s supporters was one of the most defining characteristics of his 2016 campaign. Sanders himself has said he is sensitive to that, as well as to accusations that he created divisions within the Democratic Party during his 2016 run against Hillary Clinton. “Negative attacks on Democratic candidates,” Sanders said in 2018, criticizing the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for putting out damaging information about an opponent to a favored candidate in a primary, “just continues the process of debasing the Democratic system in this country, and is why so many people are disgusted with politics." When people have questioned his tactics, Sirota has called them “mentally incapacitated.” Responding in mid-January to those who criticized him online for preemptively railing against the record of O’Rourke, who had not yet entered the race but had been a huge source of concern for Sanders allies since talk of O’Rourke’s potential presidential run picked up last year, Sirota tweeted, “The screaming temper tantrums by Democratic Party operatives whenever reporters scrutinize a lawmaker’s voting record is something to behold. These people quite literally hate democracy.” At another point, he said his critics “are deranged and/or running a deliberate disinfo campaign.” “Positively unhinged,” he wrote about them a separate time. Read those comments, Shakir paused. “He used those exact words?” he asked. “I’m sure he regrets the tone.” None of those comments can be found online anymore. On Monday night, after being contacted for a second time by The Atlantic with a list of specific questions about his undisclosed work for Sanders, Sirota did not respond to the email but deleted more than 20,000 tweets. He left fewer than 200 online. On Tuesday morning, minutes after his position was announced by the Sanders campaign in a long list of new hires, Sirota said he hadn’t been able to respond to my initial inquiries because he’d been caring for his sick child. He did post a photo on Twitter of himself bowling on Monday evening, wearing a turkey hat. In a brief emailed response, Sirota attributed the scrubbing of his account to having an “autodeleter that periodically and automatically deletes tweets. I started doing this many months ago.” He did not respond when asked if it was a coincidence that the tweets were deleted hours after I contacted him and the morning before he was announced as a Sanders employee. He did not respond to other questions about why he had not disclosed his role with Sanders either on Twitter or on the website Capital & Main, a left-leaning nonprofit news site.* Sirota’s ties to Sanders go back 20 years, to when he was Sanders’s press secretary in the House of Representatives. He has always portrayed that role as a past association and nothing more, despite his continuing affinity for Sanders. Screenshots taken before the mass Twitter deletion preserve the role that Sirota was playing to his 125,000 followers, trying to turn the early online conversation about the 2020 primary race against other candidates, all while unofficially advising Sanders. He’s accused Harris of giving in to big donors and changing her stance on health care, and questioned how she will defend and define being “tough on crime.” He responded to Booker getting into the race by reminding people of the New Jersey senator’s defense of Bain Capital, Mitt Romney’s former company, in 2012, and a 2017 vote favored by the pharmaceutical industry that has become a big target for Sanders and his supporters. Sirota has repeatedly attacked Bennet, his home-state senator from Colorado, over his management of the Denver school system, which he has said is “now ripped apart by chaos.” He has also attacked Hickenlooper, the former Colorado governor and a current Democratic presidential candidate, for the poor state of Colorado’s roads. He has criticized both Bennet and Hickenlooper for not responding in what he thought would have been the appropriate way during a teachers’ strike in Denver. Responding to an NBC News op-ed in January calling Biden “the Democrats’ best chance to beat Trump,” Sirota highlighted that the author used to work for the American Legislative Exchange Council, and wrote that Biden “was just endorsed” by a former spokesperson for “the group that pushes right-wing legislation in state capitals across the country.” Reacting to a CNBC article about Gillibrand’s outreach to big donors, he wrote at the beginning of February, “Welcome to the oligarchy,” and attacked her for the time she spent at a law firm with the tobacco company Philip Morris as a client. In another tweet, he mocked her for endorsing Representative Joe Crowley last year in his losing primary campaign against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He also knocked Bloomberg for how much of his fortune he spent on a presidential campaign, and for his “allegedly awesome climate policies,” which he contrasted by pointing out the former mayor’s support for responsible fracking. Asked if these attacks align with the pledge for a clean and positive campaign that Sanders has made, Shakir said, “I can only promise and pledge the manner in which he is going to work on this campaign is consistent with those values.” He said that he is sure Sirota is apologetic. “All I can say is, going forward, he is very much a team player,” Shakir said. Meanwhile, before officially joining the Sanders campaign a little more than a week ago, Sirota promoted meetings of the campaign and the Sanders-aligned Our Revolution group. Among the few people in the 2020 conversation whom he has said positive things about: Jay Inslee and Bill de Blasio. Both have appeared on his podcast. And then there’s O’Rourke. Sirota went after the former Texas congressman’s campaign-finance and voting records. He then turned those into an op-ed on December 20 in The Guardian, writing that “a new analysis of congressional votes from the non-profit news organisation Capital & Main shows that even as O’Rourke represented one of the most solidly Democratic congressional districts in the United States, he has frequently voted against the majority of House Democrats in support of Republican bills and Trump administration priorities.” “This story was reported by David Sirota of Capital & Main,” a note at the end of the article read. He wrote another piece two days later, headlined “Beto O’Rourke Is the New Obama. And That’s the Last Thing We Need.” Pushing back against those who wondered why he was tearing into another Democrat, he dismissed via Twitter “the trolls trying to de-credential me & claim I’m not a ‘real journalist.’” In December, he said anyone who questioned his motives “illustrates something important: while Dems deride Trump’s war on the press, there are a cadre of Dems who try to bully campaign finance reporters if they report facts that are inconvenient to Democratic candidates.” He also tweeted that if “you are a political reporter or DC thinktanker, you see everything in front of you as a political scheme & cant fathom the idea of non-partisan issue-based missions. Electoral politics is the prism through which you view the world & so you assume everything is political.” He added later that he’s not engaged in “some sort of secretive political conspiracy for a particular candidate.” Sirota sent a note to his own email list after the hiring announcement was made, writing, “I believe journalism is an extremely important and necessary line of work, and I will miss it (and one day in the future, it is possible I may return to it).” His hiring has been in discussion among the top levels of Sanders’s campaign since before the senator launched his bid for the presidency, according to Shakir and other sources with direct knowledge of internal discussions, but Sirota did not portray it that way. “This new job was not something I expected or planned for—but it is something I am excited to do,” he wrote in his note. “I want to express my deepest thanks to all of you who have supported my journalism work over the years—your support has meant so much to me, especially in those times when my work has generated blowback from the powerful.”



From a Bogus Website to Bernie Sanders's Inner Circle
The Atlantic

URL: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/ar ... st/585547/
Category: Politics
Published: March 22, 2019

Description: David Sirota got fired from a Philly campaign 20 years ago for a racially charged “dirty trick” before he first went to work for the progressive from Vermont.

bernie-the-butcher.jpg

Bernie Sanders first hired his new speechwriter, David Sirota, 20 years ago, shortly after Sirota was fired from a mayoral campaign for his connection to a bogus website that promoted a racially charged quotation, taken out of context, of a black opponent. In 1999, in Philadelphia, there was a crowded Democratic primary for mayor. Three of the candidates were African American: John White, Dwight Evans, and John Street, all of them friends going back years. But the race got intense early, and David Sirota, then working as the deputy campaign manager for Evans, was part of an effort to cut down White’s support: creating a bogus website, purporting to be the official home page of the White campaign, and using it to promote a racially charged quotation, deliberately taken out of context. The ruse was soon discovered. Evans, who is now a Democratic member of Congress, fired Sirota. He called Sirota “overzealous” at the time. “I do not want this race to be about race,” Evans said in 1999, calling the site in question an example of “dirty tricks.” The website took a comment that White had made in a broader interview with a Spanish-language weekly, Al Día, and presented the line as if it were an anti-white slogan: “The black and the brown, if we unite, we’re going to control this city.” Local reporters in Philadelphia received emails directing them to the site as though it were part of John White’s campaign. White, according to news reports at the time, was speaking about the increased political clout African Americans and Latinos could have if they worked together as a coalition. That was February. By the fall, Sirota was hired as the press secretary for Bernie Sanders, then in the House. He was hired by Sanders’s then–chief of staff, Jeff Weaver, who went on to manage Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign and remains a senior adviser to the 2020 campaign. On Friday morning, in response to inquiries from The Atlantic about his 1999 firing, Sirota acknowledged his role in helping create the bogus site. “I deeply regret being involved in this whole incident. I am absolutely ashamed that it happened, and I have felt genuinely terrible about this for 20 years. Even though I was a junior political staffer, I should have known better, and I certainly do today,” Sirota responded by email. Sirota did not acknowledge his role at the time of his firing. Neither Sanders nor his campaign responded when asked for comment. Sirota did not respond to questions of whether he had told Sanders’s House office in 1999 about the full circumstances that led to his firing, or whether he believes his behavior then fits with the values that Sanders is speaking about in his current presidential campaign. Through website-registration records found at the time, the site was traced back to a friend of Sirota’s from their student days at Northwestern University, under the fake name of Brock Landers, a reference to the porn-movie name used by Mark Wahlberg’s character in the movie Boogie Nights. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, an old biography on the Northwestern website listed Sirota’s online aliases as “webman,” “crowbar,” “politicaljunkee,” and “dc-dave.” The two had graduated the year before. Sirota’s degree was in journalism. “People were shocked, folks were certainly upset,” said the former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter when I spoke with him on Thursday night. Nutter was a city councilman at the time who went on to beat Evans in the 2007 mayor’s race. Evans did not respond to requests for comment, but Nutter told me he doesn’t believe Evans would have approved of the creation of the bogus website. “It was clearly out of bounds and did not represent Dwight’s values, and his mind-set,” said Nutter, who is also African American and won citywide support across racial lines. The creator of the site, Nutter said, “was really a person who did not understand the racial context of Philadelphia and made a massive miscalculation.” The White campaign discovered the fraud after being alerted to the existence of the imitation site before it had even created a real website of its own—then realized the site was being promoted using the same list of reporters’ addresses that the Evans campaign was using. “It looked like a new low in politics that really was designed to get at the issue of race in the city of Philadelphia, and potentially undermine John White’s appeal to white voters in the city,” a former aide to the White campaign said on Friday morning, reflecting on the incident. The United States attorney and district attorney investigated the incident after White’s campaign filed a complaint. But no charges were ultimately brought. Evans said at the time that Sirota had apologized to him, but White called for Evans to make an apology to the whole city. John Street, who went on to win the mayoral race, told reporters from the Inquirer at the time, “Sometimes in politics people can want to win too badly, but there’s no place for these kind of tactics.” In between working for Evans and Sanders, Sirota worked briefly at AIPAC. In a tweet on December 26, 2018, Sirota wrote, “I worked for AIPAC for 4 months right out of college, during the Clinton peace process, when I was 23 years old, as a glorified intern.” (He graduated in 1998.) The tweet was deleted along with 20,000 others on Monday evening after The Atlantic initially contacted Sirota about his speechwriting and advising duties for Sanders prior to his officially joining the campaign. In a 2008 book, The Uprising, Sirota writes of being interviewed by Weaver after applying for a job working for a “progressive” congressman, and not knowing ahead of time that it was for Sanders. He writes that he was “desperate for a way out” of AIPAC, but “I didn’t think any politician would hire me because, just a few months prior while working in one of my first jobs out of college, I had been fired from a low-level position on a local political campaign.” Sirota provides no further detail in the book about the circumstances of his firing or his role as Evans’s deputy campaign manager. Weaver and Sirota have remained friendly since working together, and it was Weaver who first brought Sirota in as an unpaid adviser and speechwriter for the campaign. Sirota was formally hired on March 11, Sanders’s current campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, said in an email on Tuesday night, but by then Sirota’s work included collaborating on the speeches Sanders delivered in Brooklyn and Chicago while launching his campaign. There’s an irony in the fact that the speeches Sirota has been writing for Sanders deal with race, given the long-standing criticism of Sanders’s record on race and Sirota’s own behavior in Philadelphia in 1999. In the recent Sanders speech in Chicago that Sirota helped write, Sanders talked about his work fighting for racial justice as a young man—younger than Sirota was when he got into trouble in Philadelphia—and cited being on the Mall for Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, as well as being arrested for protesting school segregation, as showing a through line between what he did in his early adulthood and what he stands for now. Weaver, in an interview with me hours before the Chicago speech, said that Sanders wished to demonstrate “the very real connection between his life, his history, and the policies he advocates.” Shakir did not respond on Friday to email inquiries of whether he had been aware of Sirota’s past when he was brought on to the 2020 campaign, or whether he felt Sirota’s past accorded with the values Sanders has been talking about. Earlier this week, I wrote about the fuzzy overlap of Sirota’s unofficial work for Sanders with his presenting himself as an independent journalist, and how he failed to disclose that he was advising and writing speeches for the candidate while attacking other Democratic presidential hopefuls on Twitter and elsewhere. Sirota and the Sanders campaign have insisted that Sirota did nothing improper. He only went public with his work for Sanders on Tuesday, after repeated inquiries from me about his involvement with the campaign. In the time between working for Sanders in the House and returning for the 2020 campaign, Sirota wrote for several websites, and was most recently writing for the site Capital & Main, as well as publishing pieces in The Guardian. In a December 1999 Associated Press article, asked about Sirota’s hiring four months earlier, Weaver said that he was aware of what had happened in Philadelphia, but he was satisfied with Sirota’s explanation. The Associated Press article continues, “Weaver said such conduct would not be tolerated in a Sanders campaign or the congressional office. ‘This is not the type of tactic that would be acceptable in politics in Vermont,’ Weaver said. ‘It is unfortunate that in many places in the country these types of tactics are resorted to.’” Weaver did not respond on Friday to email inquiries about whether he was aware of the circumstances of Sirota’s firing at the time he hired him in 1999 or whether he had ever informed Sanders. He also did not respond when asked whether he considered those circumstances in bringing Sirota back on board, and whether he feels that Sirota is in line with the values Sanders is speaking about now.
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ThinkProgress Attacks Sanders for Changing Rhetoric on Millionaires After He Became One

Postby smix » Wed Apr 17, 2019 4:10 pm

ThinkProgress Attacks Sanders for Changing Rhetoric on Millionaires After He Became One
Washington Free Beacon

URL: https://freebeacon.com/politics/thinkpr ... comes-one/
Category: Politics
Published: April 12, 2019

Description: ThinkProgress released a video on Thursday attacking Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) for his recent admission that he was a "millionaire." Sanders, who is running for president again, acknowledged earlier this week in an interview with the New York Times that he was a millionaire and said, "If you write a best-selling book, you can be a millionaire, too." ThinkProgress, a liberal news site and editorially independent project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, released a video on their Youtube page called, "Bernie's millionaire problem." The video said that Sanders has been railing against "millionaires and billionaires" for several years and then showed multiple clips of Sanders referencing them.



The video referenced how Sanders "slightly tweaked" his rhetoric following his 2016 presidential run when his book royalties made him a millionaire. ThinkProgress proceeded to show a line graph of Sanders's income based on his financial disclosure forms and how he stopped attacking millionaires after his book, Our Revolution, was released in November 2016, making him a millionaire. Instead of attacking millionaires and billionaires, the video shows him only going after billionaires and multi-millionaires in one case. Waleed Shahid, the spokesperson of Justice Democrats and a former Sanders staffer, slammed the video as "embarrassing," adding that he was "very confused." David Sirota, Sanders's campaign speech writer and "Twitter attack dog," quote-tweeted an Associated Press reporter questioning why the video was made. "Here's an Associated Press reporter asking why @AmProg's @ThinkProgress is now attacking @BernieSanders for criticizing billionaires. It's a good question!" Sirota tweeted. The attack on Sanders follows a repeated call by Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden not to attack fellow Democrats because it is "doing Trump’s bidding." While Sanders is an independent senator, he caucuses with the Democrats and is running as a Democrat for president.



Bernie Sanders Attacks ThinkProgress, a Liberal Blog Launched by His Campaign Manager
Washington Free Beacon

URL: https://freebeacon.com/politics/bernie- ... n-manager/
Category: Politics
Published: April 15, 2019

Description: Sanders says Center for American Progress has been 'counterproductive' force in 2020 primary, questions its funding
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) said on Saturday the Center for American Progress and its affiliated blog ThinkProgress were a "counterproductive" force in the effort to beat President Donald Trump, an attack against a liberal think tank his top campaign officials were previously affiliated with. Sanders' "deep concern and disappointment" in the group was expressed in a Saturday letter to Center for American Progress board members in which he complained about what he called "personal attacks" and efforts to "smear" him and other 2020 candidates. The letter, published by the New York Times, was emailed to the liberal group by Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir, who launched the ThinkProgress blog and served as its editor in chief. Also previously employed by the Center for American Progress was the campaign's top foreign policy adviser Matt Duss, who was the liberal think-tank's Middle East director and a frequent byline on Think Progress. Center for American Progress president Neera Tanden, a frequent critic of Sanders supporters who is called out directly in the Sanders letter, responded by asking for a meeting with Shakir to discuss the "unfortunate" situation. Sanders said in the letter he will be informing his "grassroots supporters" about his issues with the Center for American Progress, but would be willing to reconsider if the group's "actions evolve." Sanders criticized both recent articles published by the think-tank and also the corporate money the organization receives, raising the possibility that donors are "influencing the role it is playing in the progressive movement." "Center for American Progress leader Neera Tanden repeatedly calls for unity while simultaneously maligning my staff and supporters and belittling progressive ideas," Sanders wrote. "I worry that the corporate money CAP is receiving is inordinately and inappropriately influencing the role it is playing in the progressive movement." The article that most directly led to the letter from Sanders labeled him a "millionaire" and "one-percenter." The blog also produced a video on his "millionaire problem," arguing that his attacks on the rich have been watered down as his own wealth increased. "Last week, you published an article on ThinkProgress criticizing me for my appearance and for the income I earned from writing a book," he wrote. "Then, a day later, you published a video that dishonestly attacked me for hypocrisy in my effort to address income inequality in America—a video that was excitedly discussed on many conservative websites." Sanders also complains about attacks on Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and Cory Booker (D., N.J.) that he viewed as unfair. "This counterproductive negative campaigning needs to stop," he writes. "The Democratic primary must be a campaign of ideas, not of bad faith smears. Please help play a constructive role in the effort to defeat Donald Trump." The Center for American Progress was founded by John Podesta, who chaired Hillary Clinton's failed 2016 campaign. It is funded by both large corporate donors and also liberal billionaires such as George Soros.



Trump Tax Law Saved Sanders Nearly $40,000 Last Year
Washington Free Beacon

URL: https://freebeacon.com/politics/trump-t ... last-year/
Category: Politics
Published: April 17, 2019

Description: Millionaire socialist benefitted from Trump tax plan

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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) saved roughly $38,000 in taxes thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the Republican-passed tax cut championed by President Donald Trump which the New York Times recently admitted cut most Americans' taxes. Sanders released ten years' worth of tax returns Monday night, fulfilling a long-standing promise to do so. The returns indicated that Sanders is now a millionaire, having collected more than $1 million in 2016 and 2017 thanks to the sales from his books Our Revolution and Bernie Sanders Guide to Political Revolution. Sanders dodged questions about his new-found wealth during a Monday night townhall on Fox, declining to say if he would pay a top tax rate of 52 percent, the highest bracket proposed during his 2016 run for the White House. He also did not respond to a question from Fox's Martha MacCallum about if he would voluntarily give money to the government to bring his tax bill up to what he thought a fair rate was. If he did, or if his tax plan were implemented, Sanders would increase his tax liability by nearly 30 percent, analysis of his tax returns indicates. Sanders has not announced any substantive changes to the income tax system during his 2020 run. However, during his 2016 run, Sanders floated a comprehensive overhaul to the tax system in order to help pay for his proposed Medicare-for-All plan. According to analysis from the right-leaning Tax Foundation, Sanders's 2016 proposal would add four new top tax brackets with rates of 37 percent, 43 percent, 48 percent, and 52 percent, It would also add a 2.2 percent "income-based [health care] premium paid by households," which the Tax Foundation writers say is "equivalent to increasing all tax bracket rates by 2.2 percentage points." Using the Tax Foundation's estimates of Sanders's brackets, as well as the senator's reported 2018 taxable income of $519,529, we can estimate a total tax liability under his schema of $170,240.11. If Sanders were paying taxes under his own plan, he would be shelling out an additional $36,819.11 to the government, and have a tax liability of 32.7 percent of his income. Luckily for his finances, Sanders does not live under his own tax regime. Rather, Sanders enjoyed a tax cut thanks to the TCJA, just like millions of other Americans. "Ever since President Trump signed the Republican-sponsored tax bill in December 2017, independent analyses have consistently found that a large majority of Americans would owe less because of the law," New York Times reporters Ben Casselman and Jim Tankersley wrote on Sunday. "Preliminary data based on tax filings has shown the same." Multiple tax-policy think tanks have provided tools to estimate tax liability with and without the TCJA. Using the information provided in Sanders's 2018 tax return, these calculators indicate major benefits to his bottom line from the TCJA. (Note: these estimators make a number of assumptions, and so may not perfectly reflect Sanders's real tax liability without the TCJA.) One tool, provided by the Tax Policy Center (a joint project of the left-leaning Urban Institute and Brookings Institute) estimates that Sanders's income tax liability without the TCJA would have been $144,451; with the tax law, it fell to $106,782, a drop of $37,669. Another estimator from the Tax Foundation estimates a total tax liability (including payroll) of $188,753.06 before the bill and $149,773.88 afterwards, a $38,979.18 drop. In other words, the TCJA—which Sanders voted against—saved him nearly $40,000 in taxes in 2018, roughly the additional tax burden he would have to face if his preferred tax code was implemented.
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The Lies, Clichés, and Hypocrisy of Bernie Sanders

Postby smix » Fri Apr 19, 2019 11:04 pm

The Lies, Clichés, and Hypocrisy of Bernie Sanders
American Greatness

URL: https://amgreatness.com/2019/04/18/the- ... e-sanders/
Category: Politics
Published: April 18, 2019

Description: There is something seriously disconcerting about the sight of the leading declared Democratic presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, embracing the most imperishable charlatan in American political history, the supposedly reverend Al Sharpton.

bernie-embraces-al-sharpton.jpg

This most improbable clergyman, although he is only 64, is so worn down by what Dr. Johnson called the “disingenuousness of years,” he now looks like an ambulatory waxwork dummy. He has been exposed countless times for scams, falsehoods, and incitements to violence. Of all prominent African-Americans, only Louis Farrakhan is more odious. Now that Sanders is the front-runner, with the possible exception of Joe (Hamlet) Biden, it is time to start taking a closer look at him. I’ve always been curious why he would have worked for a time on a Stalinist Kibbutz after the 20th Communist Party Congress where Stalin’s infamies and atrocities were publicly denounced by Nikita Khrushchev. Sanders apparently was a renegade Communist as a youth, regarding Khrushchev as a mealy-mouthed compromiser. It was eccentric that he spent his honeymoon in Moscow, but that, I suppose, is the business of no one but the then-newlyweds. Our country has seemed benignly incurious about a man running officially as a socialist with a broad Brooklyn accent and hailing from the formerly rock-solid Republican state of Vermont, (“As Maine goes, so goes Vermont,”—the only states to vote against Franklin Roosevelt in 1936). To see Bernie Sanders and listen to him for a few minutes, it is clear that there is a story to his career that is likely to be unusual and interesting. For young people, he seems to hold that odd attraction of elderly Marxists that Herbert Marcuse had for glamorous youthful acolytes in the 1960s such as Joan Baez and Angela Davis. Sanders proclaims four revolutions must take place—in health care, taxes, the environment, and justice. It must be said that his ideas about justice are very commendable. Although the president has favored penal reform and acknowledged that the country has far too many incarcerated people, Senator Sanders is the only prominent presidential contender who has gone hammer and tongs after serious reform of the prosecution system and has expressed outrage at the North Korean criminal conviction levels in American courts. Only he mentions that the United States has six to 12 times as many incarcerated people per capita as the prosperous democracies that are its nearest analogues: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom. For this, he deserves great credit, and it is clear that he has given a lot of attention to the subject, and his proposals for reform are thoughtful, including the right to vote of prisoners. On all his other revolutions, he is a broken record from the days of the gramophone; elderly, repetitive, and clichéd. He gives the socialist message—buy the votes of the people without money by taking it from people who have earned it. He will forgive all student loans: $1 trillion. Obviously something has to be done about student indebtedness, and much of the total quantum of these loans has to be considered bad debts, but an outright gift of $1 trillion is just irresponsible vote-buying. As anyone who watched any of the Town Hall meeting with Sanders on Fox News on Monday would have noted, Sanders has absolutely no idea of the cost or funding methods for his universal health care plan. Like everyone on the Left, he bandies about the phrase “single payer” as if it were a silver bullet. It isn’t, other than in the sense of being a self-inflicted wound. The single payer is the government, federal or state, but under a unitary system and the government pays all doctors on the basis of number of appointments and formulaic relative complexity of treatment. It is arbitrary and challenges the free market in that no distinction is made for results, thoroughness, or special circumstances that attach to most medical conditions. The doctors essentially are public service employees. There are customarily no user fees, so hypochondriacs and lonely people turn waiting rooms into therapeutic or social occasions, and the experience of single-payer countries is generally one of unacceptable waiting times for many treatments. In his Town Hall meeting with Fox, Sanders was good at emphasizing the shortcomings of the present health care system for the 25 percent of people who have no public or private plans, but he simply ducked and dove when costing arose. His proposed environment revolution is just the standard argument of leftists who have crowded onto the conservation bandwagon of 40 years ago after the rout of international Marxism and espouse the destruction of traditional industry as a method of assailing capitalism while masquerading as saviors of the planet. He hasn’t quite gone the distance with La Pasionaria Ocasio-Cortez and Beto and declared that if we don’t abolish the combustion engine, civil airliners, and bovine flatulence in the next 12 years, we will all be dead. Since his environmental fervor is based on hostility to capitalism and not on any rational ecological argument to support what he proposes, it is just another spasm of soak-the-rich posturing. His tax returns were released 25 minutes before the town hall meeting began on Monday and revealed that he paid the low-ball tax rate of 26 percent last year on a handsome income of $561,000, and that he donated a princely 3.4 percent of his income to charity. Having railed and voted against the Trump tax cuts and reforms, he took full advantage of them. I can’t blame him for not paying more than he was required to do to an administration he opposes, but he could have donated the quantum of the tax holiday he received to the charity of his choice. As it is, he looks like a hypocrite. He shows by his own behavior that he understands the vitality of capitalism as the only system that conforms to the universal human desire to have more. He adheres to the same motivation himself, yet he is a socialist and calls for the seizure of other people’s incomes to spread around among the underachievers and create a permanent majority of mediocrity. Four years ago, Bernie Sanders was the scrappy underdog, the candidate of the little guy, fighting gamely against the Clinton machine. Now he puts on the airs of the vindicated prophet of the Left, full of irritated complacency. Now he is a havering, geriatric windbag, and his affinity with Al Sharpton is natural, possibly even sincere. Yesterday’s dark horse is headed for the last round-up.
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    Free Classified Ads
    There are 3 ways to advertise - your choice: you can place free ads in a forum topic, in the classified display ads section, or you may start your own free blog. Please select the appropriate category and forum for the ad content before you post. Do not spam.
    Caveat emptor - let the buyer beware. Deal at your own risk and peril.
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