Corruption, Media, politics

The media war against Bernie Sanders

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Bernie Sanders is a hot potato the media can’t handle. After a prolonged media blackout failed to stop the Bern, conglomerated media set it’s sights on taking him down. With breathtaking shamelessness corporate media has thrown all scruples overboard to become a one-sided propaganda machine against Sanders.

Media corporations are doling out donations much like the now famous donations of Wall Street, and lets not forget that both media and financial deregulation occurred in tandem from the same president Clinton.

The cast of characters paying for politicians forms the monolith of corporate power in America. Taken as a whole, they are indeed big and powerful; Big Media, Big Pharma, Big Insurance, Big Oil, Big Finance, and so on, all have interests in direct opposition to the public interest. The Sanders campaign is based on breaking up the power and influence of these forces, the 21st century puppet-masters of American politics.

In the war against Bernie Sanders, media created a series of false narratives along the way, continuously repeated to give living breathing reality to outright lies. Listed below are a few noticed examples.

“There’s nothing so absurd that if you repeat it often enough, people will believe it.” – William James

The Bernie-bro narrative:

The Bernie-bro suggests that Sanders support comes from sexist men who will not vote for Hillary because she’s a woman. Specifically, the Bernie-bro is an angry male Sanders supporter who goes online to write vile, sexist comments about Hillary Clinton.

The Bernie-bro narrative is used to drive a wedge and deepen the chasm of gender divisions for political purposes.

Sanders supporters are equally male and female, with more younger women supporting Sanders than Clinton. This narrative has no basis in fact. The biggest sexist attacks in the Democratic campaign come from the endless repetition of the Bernie-bro narrative. Bill Clinton even went on a public tirade to battle the elusive Bernie-bro.

The pragmatist narrative:

The pragmatist narrative, with it’s flip-side “pie-in-the-sky,” is an attempt to portray Sanders as impossibly unrealistic, with Clinton portrayed as a pragmatic realist willing and capable of passing policy proposals.

This narrative assumes total belief in Clinton’s progressive credentials, while overlooking Sanders presidential run as being entirely based on pulling the curtain from the Clinton charade.

Also sold is the assumption that Republicans would be more willing to work with Clinton than Sanders. This requires total amnesia of how Obama was obstructed at every turn by a radical party calling him a communist. Those whacky Republicans even obstructed Obama on Social Security cuts when Obama tried to sneak the chained-CPI in as merely an “adjustment.” It’s unlikely they will suddenly warm up to Hillary over Obama.

To pop the “vision” balloon, calling Sanders policy proposals “promises” limits the imagination of discourse. It’s unlikely Sanders believes that every piece of legislation he pushes will be passed within 4 years if elected. The truth is, those issues would never have seen the light of day if not for Sanders campaign.

Sanders signifies a shift in direction and priority for the country, and a call for a new Progressive Era. A newly energized Democratic party could realistically take back the Senate, and what’s impossible today becomes possible tomorrow.

A Hillary administration being obstructed the same as Obama doesn’t equate to pragmatism, and a centrist farther to the right than Reagan isn’t really a centrist.

The single-issue narrative:

Sanders has come to end the Gilded Age; He’s been screaming it from the rooftops: the big banks, campaign finance – our entirely corrupted political system. This problem is the 800lb gorilla of modern politics, requiring a necessarily political solution. Bernie’s big issue is an umbrella under which sit many other issues.

The single-issue narrative is used to characterize Bernie’s passionate attack on a corrupted system as being to the exclusion of all else. Sanders has well thought out positions on all major issues. His perceived weakness on foreign policy is debatable considering America’s self-inflicted mid-eastern quagmire following Iraq.

The single-issue narrative is based on things like debate performances, and is an effort to minimize the 800lb gorilla for those with a limited ability to register complicated, unsensational problems. To many, “wedge” issues are just as (or more) important than the 800lb gorilla. The gorilla requires some political education to be seen and understood. Without that, Bernie must seem an eccentric odd-ball indeed. Instead of media informing the public, we’ve seen them fan the notion that Sanders is some know-it-all kook focused on one bizarre issue that isn’t even important.

The electability narrative:

Bernie is unelectable, he would never stand a chance against the Republicans. Once they call him a socialist it’s all over.

The Republican contribution to this long-standing narrative was sounded by John Kasich during a televised debate:

“We’re going to win every state if Bernie Sanders is the nominee, that’s not even an issue. And I know Bernie. And I can promise you he won’t be president of the United States.”

Assuming that both the Democrat and Republican establishment are sympatico in their fear of Sanders, this can be seen as an attempt to perpetuate the unelectable narrative from both sides. The real view of Sanders from the right, however, comes from Anne Coulter in this revealing comment:

“If you ran Bernie Sanders, it would be much tougher to beat him than Hillary. He cares about the American working class. Hillary doesn’t, she’s like the elected Republican. She cares about the Chamber of Commerce.”

The polls back this up, reversing the unelectable narrative and putting Clinton in the crosshairs. In the polls Clinton is fairing badly against nearly every Republican in contrast to Sanders landslide victories.

The socialist narrative:

The socialist narrative from the Republican side claims that Bernie is of the same ideology as Hitler and Stalin. He’s a communist who will lead us to the gulag and gas chamber.

The socialist narrative from the Democrat side stokes fear of what people might think. The media has pushed a steady drum-beat against the term “socialism” since the rise of the Tea-Party agenda, and with the Clintonian Democratic establishment equating appeasement of the Tea-Party to pragmatism, it’s important to remember that those who disagree with socialism also disagree with Social Security and public education.

The success of the socialist narrative relies on a lack of political education. Thankfully ignorance seems to be losing this battle, as the public has generally understood that Sanders American style democratic socialism stands for New Deal style programs and regulations in the public interest.

Although difficult to quantify, it’s probable that the Bernie-blackout slowed the growth of the Sanders campaign enough to impact this election. With false media narratives, ignorance is fanned rather than informed, and a broken political system is reflected in broken information as the news becomes a mouth-piece for established corruption.

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Humanism, politics

Expanding Social Security

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For the last several years my Grandma, near age 90, has been living in a nursing home not far from where she used to live with her husband when he was still alive. The expense of the nursing home is more than both her pension and Social Security can pay for, so her house was sold and that money is going to her nursing home costs.

My Grandma has a regular visitor at the nursing home, a cousin she’s been friends with for many years who is near age 80. This friend didn’t make a lot of money, spent years as a stay-at-home mom, and it seems the men in her life were not always so good. Now that she’s past retirement age, she has to keep working because her Social Security is too low to live on. She’s had a tough life according to my Grandma, and now she’s having a tough old age. She’s been a loyal friend to my Grandma for many years and visits her regularly, keeping her company and bringing gifts.

You can see she lives in pain, as many at that age have to contend with arthritis and other things we can look forward to if we live long enough. Women tend to live longer than men, and for those who stay at home and raise a family, Social Security is often the only safety net to prevent total destitution should you outlive your economic usefulness. My Grandma’s friend works crappy jobs out of necessity for people who don’t really care to employ her. This woman is but one of many who fall through the cracks of an imperfect system.

Nearly every politician admits that the Social Security trust fund was raided and robbed. The Republican solution is to cut the program, the Democrat solution is to compromise with the Republicans.

Out of all the issues to come out in the Democratic campaign, my hope is that the expansion of Social Security will take the forefront. Programs like Social Security form the bedrock of a humane and civilized society, and only those who share this belief should be let anywhere near the engineering of such an important program.

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politics

The Bernie Sanders of 20th Century America

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The 1930s were momentous years for America. During this period a series of reforms were put in place under the leadership of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, transforming life in America and radically changing the basic power imbalance between average citizens and big business interests. It took serious bravery to introduce socialism on this scale, and the world would never be the same.

Roosevelt had the crazy idea of doing something bold in the public interest, and he didn’t care if the wealthy business interests of the time liked it or not.

It was a great period of government working in the best interest of the public. It was the same kind of socialism Bernie Sanders is campaigning on.

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It was called the New Deal and it brought stability not only to the lives of ordinary people, but also to capitalism itself. No longer was our financial system hostage to greed and excess, or the catastrophic boom and bust cycles of the reckless past. The New Deal and other bold reforms saved capitalism from itself.

The New Deal brought humanity to an inhuman system of numbers and gross inequality, ushering change not only for America, but for the entire democratic world, which consequently moved into a hybrid system of capitalism and socialism. The 20th century was the American century.

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Media, politics

Turning up the Bern

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The media is against Bernie Sanders and supports Hillary Clinton. Isn’t the media supposed to be impartial? Of course, but it isn’t, and that’s a reality we’re living with.

Hillary is a damaged candidate of declining popularity, regardless of her excellent acting performance in the first DNC debate. There’s still no place to go but down, and with so many democrats soured by Clinton and her obvious corruption, its possible the republicans may win against a Hillary ticket. Big corruption is what Americans detest, even if they can’t agree on the actual problems or how to fix them. Hillary is a face of corruption to both republicans and about 1/3 of democrats according to polls.

Bernie rallied to his base during the debate, probably too much. There are things he could have done differently, and still can, to woo voters from outside his white college-educated northeastern base.

Foreign policy and war: It was frustrating to see Bernie not give an authoritative answer on whether he would go to war if necessary. A large number of Americans are hawks on foreign policy, and I suspect a lot of voters soured with Bernie’s answer. Bernie should have come straight out and said “I will do anything to protect this nation and absolutely yes I will go to war to protect America.” After this he could have added his comments on coalitions and war being the last option, people would have understood.. I mean, if the US was invaded tomorrow, would Bernie go to war? I have no doubt the answer is yes, but he didn’t say that. He lost an opportunity and turned off some voters.

Denmark and other Scandinavian countries. Bernie is right, these countries have smarter social policy, the people live longer and are happier, living with more stability than robber-baron casino capitalism provides, yet capitalism still thrives in these countries. Bernie could have been more sensitive to the landscape of American views on this subject and put things a little differently. He should have presented himself as the next FDR, not the next president of Denmark. Bernie’s message was hurt by not communicating this in the best possible way.

Capitalism: Bernie waffled when he was confronted for not being a capitalist, he ranted about not being for casino capitalism and then left it alone. He never clearly stated that capitalism, as its called and implemented in modern America, isn’t really capitalism. There are no free markets when a few big players control too much, we’re living with corporate socialism, our system is rigged and doesn’t support true free markets and competition. Our government has been a corruptive benefactor to these groups and has stifled free enterprise through cronyism.

Bernie should have come right out and said “Yes I’m a capitalist, I believe strongly in the great things capitalism has done for America and the world.” Americans are distrustful of any candidate that isn’t a capitalist, and in truth, Bernie really is a capitalist. After this declarative statement, Bernie could have continued to talk about how unregulated capitalism needs to be saved from itself, and how a hybrid system of capitalism and socialism was the direction of the 20th century – it worked, and its why we have social security and medicare in the first place. Unfortunately Bernie allowed himself to be painted as a non-capitalist, and this likely hurt. A lot of people just don’t get the whole “big banks” thing or Citizens United, they don’t have the political education and can’t understand why these are important issues, it sounds like a bunch of hippie college stuff to them.

Which leads to talking about tuition free college education, one of the first things mentioned and repeated. This is a great thing and would result in a smarter public, and graduates less saddled with debt would be more able to put that education to good use. There are a lot of people listening to this and thinking their tax money will pay for rich kids to laze around in colleges – its something they can’t relate to. It would have been better if Bernie put more time into talking about universal healthcare, which more people would rally behind than free tuition.

Did Bernie “win” the debate? Yes, because he’s clearly on the side of the people against corporate power. He mopped the floor with Hillary over Wall Street and the decline of America’s middle class, the most pressing issue to many Americans. Thankfully O’Malley attacked Hillary for the same thing.

Hillary made it clear in the debate to those who listened, she will not help the middle class or do anything truly effective against corporate domination of government, and will stand against the fundamental changes needed to bring representation back to the public interest. Hillary stands for corruption and she should lose for this reason alone, because its the most important issue of our time. There are several more debates, and time is on the side of Bernie, but he needs to connect more effectively to the unconverted and focus less on his base.

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history, politics

To fear Bernie Sanders socialism is to fear 20th century America

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America in the 20th century was a proud social democracy. It can be hard to put history in perspective when politics in America have been pushed – inch by inch – toward extremism by a two-party system running in the same direction.

That direction is the Gilded Age, the America of the late 1800s. The Gilded Age is a term Mark Twain coined meaning a glittering surface with a rotting core – sound familiar? It was America’s closest brush with fascism. An authoritarian age of mass injustice and political corruption, robber barons bought off politicians ensuring a miserable existence and short life-span for the average worker.

This led to bloody strikes and the labor movement. America overcame this period of unregulated greed with common-sense regulation and the New Deal, leading to a social democratic America caring about the quality of life of citizens. Things like Social Security, Medicare, Food Stamps, and the GI Bill all poured from that same fountain. America changed and the world changed with it.

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Where are we now? What has America become? We now have a mass media misinforming the public, labeling the ideas of 20th century America: radical, extremist, socialist, communist, nazi. Like a soviet propaganda machine, this media charade is puppeteered by robber barons, just like during our more primitive gilded age.

The truth is, a complex organized society needs elements of socialism. Without this the law of the jungle prevails, and socialism comes anyway in other forms. Corporate socialism has become increasingly prevalent and authoritarian as the 21st century advances, and may even be called a defining feature.

The excuses given for 20th century America being ripped away – under the feet of the working class and poor – is presented as economic efficiency; They say it costs too much money.

What, then, is the gain? In this age of under-regulated greed, most Americans seem to be poorer in both wallet and spirit. There’s no real economic reason to repeal the New Deal. Its just a hit-job, perpetrated by ever more radical politics forced on us by merciless 21st century robber barons: American fascism.

The story of the 20th century was the story of the triumph of American social democracy.

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