Bernie Needs Your Help

Bernie needs some help in creating a credible foreign policy that puts America on a path to dealing with the excesses, abuses and failed policy of previous administrations. His foreign policy also has to support his economic goals. It seems unlikely that the US can continue to support the enormous costs of military engagements, the ongoing costs of sustaining the veterans of those engagements, the costs of nation building in the countries where the US has destroyed infrastructure and created political chaos as well as the costs of an oversized global military footprint to maintain US hegemony at the same time as enormous investments are needed at home to rebuild infrastructure and provide for the needs of citizens.

If you are one of the millions of people who are tired of the endless wars of choice, the war tactics and equipment that seem to keep showing up in the hands of domestic police, the encroachment of the surveillance state on virtually everybody - among other things, then getting Bernie to commit to correcting those wrongs is the right thing to do.

Politicians never listen better than when they want something from you. This is the time to make your favorite politician a better representative of your interests.

It will have the benefit of making Bernie a better candidate. Whatever you think of #BlackLivesMatter, they engaged Bernie - and his platform, his performance on the stump and his currently proposed legislation are better for the challenge.

Guns and Butter

Lyndon B. Johnson was the last president with a truly ambitious social agenda and a simultaneous commitment to making and escalating a war. Johnson thought that he could have both guns and butter:

President Lyndon Johnson, with a large Democratic majority in Congress after the 1964 elections, enacted sweeping reforms in education, health care, and transportation, along with landmark civil rights legislation. But the pressure of spending on the Vietnam War — the guns vs. butter debate of the 1960s — eventually brought this last, great program of genuine American liberalism to a halt and scuttled the hopes of its architect for a second presidential term. ...

Johnson believed that he could have both guns and butter. “We are a country which was built by pioneers who had a rifle in one hand and an ax in the other,” he proclaimed. “We can do both. And as long as I am president we will do both.” ...

History could have marched down a different path in 1965. After all, as a candidate in 1964, Johnson argued that “we don’t want to get involved in a nation with 700 million people [China] and get tied down in a land war in Asia.” As president, however, Johnson did exactly that: committing U.S. ground forces to Vietnam in 1965. This decision ultimately doomed his presidency and the Great Society. We’ve been living with the Considerably-Less-Than-Great Society of the neoliberals and neoconservatives ever since.

Candidate Bernie Sanders has also laid out an ambitious plan which includes a great deal of social spending. Like LBJ, it is unlikely that Bernie's plans can be executed if he is also spending trillions of dollars on wars of choice, spending nearly $10 million a day on bombing ISIS, maintaining a global empire of bases, spending who knows how much operating secret wars in 135 countries, risking that any one of these special operations could blow up to become another larger war, and continuing the trend of military budgeting:

In the decade following Sept. 11, 2001, military spending increased 50 percent, adjusted for inflation. In comparison, spending on every other non-military program – things like education, health care, public transit, and science –grew by only 13.5 percent over the same time period.

You can probably see how these military priorities can and will crowd out other spending.

In order to protect his social agenda, Bernie needs to create a foreign policy that defines a more circumscribed role for the US military going forward.

Just which interests should the military protect?

Bernie has made a start at a policy statement, but the rough outline needs some alterations and a bit more flesh on the bones.

His opening statement is very nice, and it includes this bit:

Senator Sanders will protect America, defend our interests and values, embrace our commitments to defend freedom and support human rights, and be relentless in combating terrorists who would do us harm. However, after nearly fourteen years of ill-conceived and disastrous military engagements in the Middle East, it is time for a new approach. We must move away from policies that favor unilateral military action and preemptive war, and that make the United States the de facto policeman of the world.

Kind of boilerplate stuff, but right off, it might be nice for Bernie to have a little discussion of what American "interests" include and exclude. There has been an enormous push for war that seems to have been catalyzed by 9/11. Reports of military plans to create regime change in many mostly Middle Eastern countries that seemed kind of eerie and improbable some time ago now seem prescient. The Bush Neocons' dreams of global domination have given way to Obama's lower-profile, boots on the ground-less, death-from-above bombing and drone invasions of seven countries - 3 more than his predecessor so far. Along with being really good at killing people, Obama seems to have a talent for sabre-rattling having engaged Russia and "pivoted" to China.

Bernie needs to make clear what the US military is to be used for. Is it the traditional role of promoting US business interests, securing US access to resources, maintaining US hegemony, or to "spread democracy" by destabilizing governments? Is it simply a machine to make money for war industries as Pope Francis indicated in his recent speech to Congress?

One would hope that the answer to all of those questions would be a resounding "no." Given that Bernie says that he wants to have a new approach that eschews unilateral actions and preemptive wars - which is the current doctrine, he needs to describe that new approach with much more specificity.

One of Bernie's recent ideas about moving away from unilateral military action has been to demand that ruthless, serial human rights abuser Saudi Arabia make war in Syria, providing the troops and support to "battle for the soul of Islam," and "win that war with our support." He thinks that the US should "continue air strikes," and "use special operations forces when we can."

Bernie does not appear to really be calling for multilateral action here so much as he seems to be calling for other people to get their hands dirtier and pay more of the costs of a war that the US is quite culpable for instigating and continuation of which (regardless of who pays for it and supplies ground troops) supports the current US policy aims.. Implicit in Bernie's approach to this conflict is that regime change in Syria, possibly followed by a struggle to remove the excess jihadis is still the goal of his policy, he just wants the dirty work done by a proxy.

Bernie's policy needs to specify when (or if) it is appropriate to use military action to accomplish regime change. Further, Bernie's policy should correct our relationships with "allies" like Saudi Arabia's brutal regime that fund groups like ISIS.

While we're on the topic of allies with dubious human rights records, Bernie's current policy statement rightly calls out Israel for its disproportionate violence against Palestinians and the widespread Israeli killings of Palestinian civilians. A credible policy must see to it that US law, the Arms Export Control Act is faithfully executed when countries like Israel egregiously violate the terms under which they receive enormous amounts of US military aid. It's hard to see how the US could, as Bernie suggests, credibly play a leading role in creating a two-state solution when it turns a blind eye towards Israel's war crimes committed with American weapons. Brokering a peace deal requires the broker to be fair and even-handed. Bernie's policy statement should also stop participating in the hypocrisy of railing against Iran about its non-existent nuclear weapons while turning a blind eye to Israel's significant nuclear arsenal and refusal to admit that it has nuclear weapons, much less act like a responsible member of the world community and join the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

Surely a nuclear weapons-free world should be a foreign policy goal of any progressive (or socialist) government. Continuing to enable Israel's irresponsible behavior certainly undercuts any credibility that the US might have when negotiating with other nations to stop nascent development programs or for the purposes of reductions in established stockpiles.

Defending American values

Bernie says that along with our interests (undefined) he is going to defend our values. If he is to defend our values, then he needs to do more than include some statements about torture being wrong and unacceptable as "official policy." A credible foreign policy should not only stop American torture which continues at Guantanamo - but also commit to investigate and prosecute war crimes including torture as US treaties demand, rather than continuing to sweep it under the rug.

Unless the US does the right thing by coming clean about its past offenses and creates a transparent process to punish wrongdoers, the moral standing that Bernie laments our loss of will not return.

Bernie also laments the loss of moral standing over the actions committed at the Guantanamo detention center and says that we must close it. He does not, however, articulate what is to be done with the people who are incarcerated there. In order to retrieve our lost moral standing, again, there must be a transparent process that investigates what was done to the Guantanamo detainees, whether the evidence collected against them was collected under torture or is otherwise suspect and would not hold up under the scrutiny of a real court (as opposed to a military tribunal of questionable competence).

While we're on the subject of defending our values, Bernie should make clear that in defending our interests, relentlessly combating terrorists and protecting America, certain un-American values exhibited by previous administrations need to be corrected. To wit, Bernie's policy must make clear that the unconstitutional role of the president as judge, jury and drone executioner will not continue - there must be no more presidential "kill lists." Bernie should also make clear policy on disappearances (extraordinary rendition) and maintaining secret foreign prisons. While we're at it, Bernie ought to define what an "imminent threat" is in plain language, given that its meaning seems to be quite different for the government than it is for regular people. Further, Bernie will need to explicitly commit to reining in the Pentagon's assault on the first amendment, granting itself the power to hold journalists as "belligerents." Bernie will also need to eschew and work to revoke the unconstitutional powers granted by the NDAA to indefinitely detain people without charge.

There are obviously many things that I have failed to include here that need to be included in the foreign policy statement of a candidate. My focus here was to focus on correcting some of the many egregious errors of recent administrations, pushing for transparency and fostering the recognition that Bernie's social agenda cannot be implemented without addressing the shortcomings of American foreign policy which is currently over-dependent on the insertion of a bloated and costly military into situations whose solutions are political, not military.

Even a cursory glance at Bernie's foreign policy agenda reveals that it is shallow and lacking in any sort of specificity. Bernie's supporters and the voting public deserves a better effort from Bernie.

Give him a hand, or perhaps better, a push.

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Comments

joe shikspack's picture

i wrote this with the idea that i might publish it at another site that has a heaping helping of bernie sanders supporters.

what did i forget to include?

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Unabashed Liberal's picture

that most of the wonderful policies that he speaks of, mostly likely won't/can't go forward unless there is a major course correction regarding funding the MIC.

BTW, thanks for the effort. If you'll provide a link to your DKos (?) diary, I'll gladly rec/tip it.

Mollie


"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."--Helen Keller

Post Script: I've included a 'Disclaimer' that I'll use at all the larger progressive blogs. If there are any suggestions for improvement, please let me know.

WinkComment Disclaimer:

"I'm not here for pie fights--just to discuss issues."

Therefore, the content of my comments are intended to further policy discussion; and, my principled disagreement(s) with a particular policy should not be interpreted as a personal repudiation of any candidate or lawmaker.

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Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

joe shikspack's picture

to get the day shift's attention. if i do, i'll post the link here and in tomorrow morning's open thread.

thanks for the kind words!

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OLinda's picture

change my previous comment to Morning Blues Special Edition. Wink

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- - - -
If you don't like the Mafia, why don't you join it and change it from the inside?

Unabashed Liberal's picture

an 8:45 a.m. appointment tomorrow, but I'll join in (here and over there) as soon as we return home.

[Unfortunately, I don't have the cell phone posting skills that DK seems to have.] Wink

I'll see if I can think of anything substantive to add to this post. But, aside from some of Nancy's recommendations, it seems that you've pretty well covered the subject matter.

If taken in a positive light (as intended by you), this diary could have an awesome impact on Bernie's movement.

So, fingers crossed, and

Good'M'


"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."--Helen Keller

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Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

mimi's picture

What did you forget to include? To tell us, where else this should be posted... Smile

I try to spread this. I am so happy about this article. Couldn't have been better analyzed and written. Thanks.

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TTTT (too tired to talk)

mimi's picture

Did you see this?
Bernie Sanders Gets a Foreign Policy - Posted on Sep 27, 2015 - By David Swanson
Swansons seems to be your soul brother, Joe.

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TTTT (too tired to talk)

mimi's picture

...hilarious.

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TTTT (too tired to talk)

joe shikspack's picture

i hadn't seen that. i've always appreciated swanson's work, he's a long-term peacenik.

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OLinda's picture

You could do an Evening Blues Special Edition. Just be sure to put Bernie's name in the title!

Evening Blues Special Edition
Bernie Needs Your Help

Add a couple videos and you're good to go!

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- - - -
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joe shikspack's picture

yeah, but if i posted it as an eb there, it'd probably just grab comments to the effect of, hey, what's this? you're back? B)

i'll probably post it in the morning and hope to get some eyeballs.

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OLinda's picture

good point.

I'll watch for it, joe.

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- - - -
If you don't like the Mafia, why don't you join it and change it from the inside?

gulfgal98's picture

Positive action is something that I can support rather than just railing away.

I would say that the listing should not only include policy statements such as those you have written up, but also those actions which, as President, Bernie Sanders would have executive powers to implement without Congress. Then another listing would be an action plan by which President Bernie would move to curb the power of the military by cutting its budget and other similar actions, which would be much more difficult to do.

With the Department of Defense, the monster is a money sucking self perpetuating system. What I would like President Sanders to do is to call for an audit of the Department of Defense. I also think there should be a truth in advertising as to the mission of the Department of Defense whose mission is NOT defense, but war. As far as drone strikes, this is probably one of the most egregious things that we are currently doing. Bernie has not ruled out drone strikes and this is extremely troubling.

Finally, a truthful admission that the war on terror has been an abysmal failure and that our approach to curbing terrorism has actually resulted in more unnecessary deaths and spawned even more terrorism would be a refreshing admission by candidate Sanders.

This are my first thoughts off the top of my head. Thank you for trying to do this Joe.

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." John F Kennedy

joe shikspack's picture

at some point i will probably come up with a list of executive actions, but that will take a good bit more research.

regarding auditing the pentagon, i wouldn't bother. the services all have gaggles of auditors that we're paying to not fully account for the funds that congress appropriates. my proposal is that whatever amounts the pentagon can't account for with documentation are stripped out of the military's base budget in the next year.

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gulfgal98's picture

and I was just thinking a little too far ahead. I will definitely be looking forward to your post at the other site tomorrow. Smile

My position has always been one of trying to find a way to move us forward in making a better way for all of us. This is why I am very happy to see your post about this. Right now Bernie is the best available vehicle for us and if we can improve on that vehicle, I am all for it!

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." John F Kennedy

LapsedLawyer's picture

I hope that it's not getting to be like "Lord Voldemort" over here -- The-Site-That-Must-Not-Be-Named Wink

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"Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I'm liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That's what's insane about it."
-- John Lennon

Shahryar's picture

"Daily Cesspool" (or dCess for short)

"Hillary is 45" was a favorite of mine but the owner is already revising history. He always said the nominee would be Hillary or Bernie.

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Azazello's picture

By all means republish.

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Commit to not funding any military
adventures - including equiping and
training proxy fighters, including those
of NATO "allies" - on credit.

If we want to fight wars, let's do it the
old-fashioned, financially responsible
way by paying for it with a war tax.

This is the kind of idea that disaffected
citizens who've given up on both
parties can get behind.

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Only connect. - E.M. Forster

joe shikspack's picture

as a proposal when i was writing the guns and butter section. it's a good idea. i'd like to see a special windfall profits tax on war industries, too.

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hecate's picture

Constitution places but a single restriction on the appropriations power of Congress: money may be appropriated for an army for a period of but two years. To wit, "The Congress shall have Power . . . To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years[.]" The men who wrote the Constitution inserted that clause because they did want the nation to have a standing army. They knew from historical experience that any nation that had such an army, would use it. Whether there was reason to, or no. And thus become a permanently militarized state.

Madison: "A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive, will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defense against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people."

Mr. Sanders could announce that he would veto any budget in which the Congress appropriated "To raise and support Armies" any monies over the amount of $0. And that if he determined that some time, somewhere, the US would "need" to go to war, he would then go to the people and ask them to approve a war tax. The people would have to agree to it, and to pay for it, before any war ever commenced.

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have the people that really want the war pay for it. Also go back to having the Army do stuff in-house rather than relying on contractors. Also on "contractors" mandate that no contractor can be paid more than what an actual government employee or soldier would be paid for doing the same work.

No way in hell mercenaries should be paid more than the people actually serving their country for the same work. Whether this means paying our soldiers more or the Rent-a-Goons less is for someone else to decide.

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They say that there's a broken light for every heart on Broadway
They say that life's a game and then they take the board away
They give you masks and costumes and an outline of the story
And leave you all to improvise their vicious cabaret-- A. Moore

mimi's picture

Also go back to having the Army do stuff in-house rather than relying on contractors. Also on "contractors" mandate that no contractor can be paid more than what an actual government employee or soldier would be paid for doing the same work.

Contractor work ... subcontractor work ... sub-subcontractor work ....shit like hell.

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TTTT (too tired to talk)

Unabashed Liberal's picture

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Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

Shahryar's picture

"contractor" makes it sound like they're making muffins for the soldiers. Or doing the laundry. When really they're going in and killing.

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Big Al's picture

he will be operating under the same illusions and false narratives that facilitate the Empire and U.S. imperialism.
He will base his policies using the same false narratives about the War of Terror, 9/11 and the Afghanistan war, Putin and
Russia, China, Venezuela and South America, Syria, Libya, everything. He already has. So in other words, he will be
basing his answers on lies like all of them.

So what's he going to say?

That's why he threw out that ridiculous notion of Saudi Arabia doing more of the dirty work in the MENA. I mean that is another
example of how he will follow the same bullshit.

How is he going to address the inner workings of Empire like the what the CIA does, the color revolutions, the Special Forces in
135 countries, the 1000 plus bases, etc.? When it all boils down, he can't say a thing about those things because he's one of them,
he won't.

So that's the best your going to get imo. Especially when he goes up against Clinton and she and the media and the machine
paint the narratives. He's going to have to prove his foreign policy mettle and the best he can do is say war is a last resort and others
need to chip in more (like Saudi Arabia and the rest of NATO) so America doesn't have to foot the entire bill for being the global police,
another false narrative.

Well, war now is eternal, war is imperialism, war is everywhere and the fascist police state is already in place. So saying war is a last
resort is a hollow gesture.

The only thing that's going to get us out of this mess is the truth and Sanders is not going to tell it when it comes to Empire, imperialism,
and Zionism.

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gulfgal98's picture

I have absolutely zero delusions that Bernie Sanders is going to solve the problem. He is simply a conduit for our ideas. But maybe he can make we the people stronger by coalescing us to combat the oligarchs. So you have posted your griefs, but what is your answer or your solution? I keep asking this question and I really want to know your answer. I know that I keep trying and even if I am failing, I am still trying. And that is what it is all about for me. I have participated in Occupy and I have am doing my Peace vigils. I am trying. So what is what you are doing and what is your solution?

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." John F Kennedy

Big Al's picture

"supporters" at this point. They're campaigning for an election and here people are supporting them over a year out.
Although I don't think that really matters because we don't live in a democracy so all we're voting for is which part of the ruling
class gets to play God.

The only answer in my mind is to opt out of this farce and force a movement in this country to extinguish rule by the rich.
To me it's not hard, I am just refusing to vote for either of the two major political parties. What do I lose by doing that?
It becomes purely the lesser evil argument and we have to refuse to play that game.

I agree with Hedges, we're in a battle for humanity itself. To me I have nothing to lose because I AM old. That's what I
think the old people that know the truth should be doing. They are the ones who have lived a full life, let it all hang out now
regardless.

I honestly believe that if all those who are hollering the loudest for Peace and democracy would get together, organize
and demand it instead of the daily following the bouncing ball routine, that we could get it done. But as many have said,
not this way, not with Bernie.

And to the thinking that Bernie can be a conduit. There is a real danger that Bernie will in effect be a danger. If he really is a sheep
dog, willingly or not, that is a danger. If he makes people think we're on a progressive path when we're really not, that's a danger.
Already we've seen a major split on the left over Bernie Sanders. Take a look at the comments at Truthdig under the David Swanson
article. You can see it clearly. I am far from the only one saying these things.

"We' are killing children in Yemen right now. It has to stop and that's what we need to do, not support United States politicians.

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If you are not dedicated to the destruction of empire and the dismantling of American militarism, then you cannot count yourself as a member of the left. It is not a side issue. It is the issue. It is why I refuse to give a pass in this presidential election campaign to Bernie Sanders, who refuses to confront the war industry or the crimes of empire, including U.S. support for the slow genocide carried out by Israel against the Palestinians. There will be no genuine democratic, social, economic or political reform until we destroy our permanent war machine.

Militarists and war profiteers are our greatest enemy. They use fear, bolstered by racism, as a tool in their efforts to abolish civil liberties, crush dissent and ultimately extinguish democracy. To produce weapons and finance military expansion, they ruin the domestic economy by diverting resources, scientific and technical expertise and a disproportionate share of government funds. They use the military to carry out futile, decades-long wars to enrich corporations such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman. War is a business. And when the generals retire, guess where they go to work? Profits swell. War never stops. Whole sections of the earth live in terror. And our nation is disemboweled and left to live under what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls “inverted totalitarianism.” Libertarians seem to get this. It is time the left woke up.

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mimi's picture

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TTTT (too tired to talk)

LapsedLawyer's picture

a review of Naomi Klein's This Changes Everything:

The Pentagon is not only the largest institutional burner of fossil fuels on the planet; it is also the top arms exporter and military spender. America's global military empire guards Big Oil's refineries, pipelines, and supertankers. It props up the most reactionary petro-tyrannies; devours enormous quantities of oil to fuel its war machine; and spews more dangerous toxins into the environment than any corporate polluter. The military, weapons producers, and the petroleum industry have a long history of corrupt collaboration. This odious relationship stands out in bold relief in the Middle East where Washington arms the region's repressive regimes with the latest weaponry and imposes a phalanx of bases where American soldiers, mercenaries, and drones are deployed to guard the pumps, refineries, and supply lines of Exxon-Mobil, BP, and Chevron.

The petro-military complex is the most costly, destructive, anti-democratic sector of the corporate state. It wields tremendous power over Washington and both political parties. Any movement to counteract climate chaos, transform our energy future, and strengthen grassroots democracy cannot ignore America's petro-empire. Yet oddly enough when Klein looks for ways to finance the transition to a renewable energy infrastructure in the US, the bloated military budget is not considered.

A similar shortcoming I find with Sanders and his social programs.

BTW, I ran across an old (1986 -- I had a box full of yellowed copies that I needed to be rid of, so off to the recyclers with 'em) copy of The Nation I have which featured an article titled "Arms and the Democrats" by Michael Klare detailing proposals from Gary Hart (now with the Council for a Livable World) and some outfit then called the Democratic Policy Council, both of which called for a new approach to countering the "Evil Empire," the Soviet Union, by basically pursuing a "smarter" approach to defense spending.

Sound familiar? Today, it's the same idea, but now couched in terms of "meeting today's (terrorist) threats."

All of which are excuses for what is accurately called "force projection." IOW, it's not a question of whether we should be "projecting" American military forces into any region anywhere on Earth, but how we should do it.

Dennis Kucinich was the last pol -- before I'd ever heard of Ron Paul -- to try to make it a question of whether we should be dumping military forces into every conflict everywhere, and whether we should be doing it anywhere.

Kucinich was a better socialist than Sanders.

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"Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I'm liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That's what's insane about it."
-- John Lennon

lotlizard's picture

In 2008 and 2012 the idea that antiwar and/or millennial Democrats might drift away from the party's designated warmongers and support some blend of Kucinich / Ron Paul foreign policy was one of the few phenomena that really seemed to put the fear of G~d into our imperial gatekeepers and overlords.

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Unabashed Liberal's picture

for a couple of hours, since I lose my MSN "Food & Drink" (cell phone) app at midnight, tonight--one of my favorite apps, no less.

*Sigh*

Regarding US militarism and imperialism--hopefully, the Dem Party primary debates will settle some of these issues for many in the Dem Party Base.

I seriously believe that there will be some 'eye-opening' moments, if any serious policy discussions are allowed during the Primary Debate cycle.

Frankly, I'm looking forward to them; because, until we are able to see how all the candidates perform before a national audience, it's sorta difficult to know what they really stand for.

After all, it's quite one thing for candidates to address their respective enthusiastic crowds of supporters, and quite another matter when they are forced to try to appeal to the broader public for votes, or support.

I suspect that after the debates begin, we may be able to have more constructive discussions, because there will be less doubt regarding at least some of the major issues.

Also, I'm curious as to whether FSC's campaign will push to accentuate her foreign policy hawkishness (as SOS), or, if they will try to avoid these issues.

Haven't a clue--guess time will tell.

(Well, off to the MSN website to save my recipes, shopping lists, etc.)

Have a good one, Everyone!

'M'

Postscript:

Unfortunately, I did not get to catch the replay of Senator Sanders interview late this afternoon, but earlier this morning, heard FSC--IMO, she did not perform very well during her interview with Chuck Todd. If I have a chance (and it's already posted), I'll provide a link to the "Meet The Press" transcript from today's show. I have to wonder who is advising her to make these appearances. After last week's appearance, one of the federal agencies had to issue a rebuttal to her statements regarding the handling of her emails.


"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."--Helen Keller

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Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

Unabashed Liberal's picture

below.

Meet the Press Transcript - September 27, 2015

And,

Face The Nation Transcript - September 20, 2015

[The interview which contained email-related statements that were partly repudiated by the Feds last week.]

'M'

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Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

and your name as the author. But glad I reminded myself (for the 101the time or whatever) to look beyond the headlines. Great post - you have included the 3 recent things he had tripped on : Palestine, Saudi and the drone wars. Can't think of anything else .

Anyway, guess you have already called it a day while I am peeping thru the window waiting for the Commie moon a.k.a Blood red moon :-), as I am typing this. The moon is eclipsed completely right now. Hope the commie moon makes an appearance on this clear/beautiful/mild summery night.

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Bernie supporters or not. Actually only a massive revolution will dismantle the empire.

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Unabashed Liberal's picture

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6 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

MarilynW's picture

Palestinian lives and their land matters.

Excellent post Joe.

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8 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

Instead for the last 12 years what's been trending is:
#BlackwaterLivesMatter
#HalliburtonHallOCostPlus
#ShockAndAweSchwitz

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8 users have voted.
Unabashed Liberal's picture

Honestly, I can see, and understand, both viewpoints--working within the Dem Party, and working outside of both the major legacy parties.

(And that is not meant in such a way as to shut down discussion of the topic--it's just to acknowledge that it may not be possible to find common ground on this issue.)

Some of the brightest minds--including Chris Hedges and Paul Street--make a highly compelling case against using the Dem Party as a vehicle for change. Others, quite convincingly, make the opposite case.

The reason that Mr M and I haven't decided who we'll vote for (yet), is because both sides of the argument are so compelling.

Also, we think that it would be worthwhile to see how the various candidates perform during the Primary Debates.

(Not that we would base our decisions solely on scripted, if not superficial, debate performances.)

IMHO, all anyone can do is make the best judgment that they are capable of, with the facts that they possess at the time.

And, I truly believe that everyone here is an honest broker--meaning that they are serious-minded and sincere in their beliefs, not to mention well-informed.

Also, I believe that all of us are basing our decisions upon what we judge to be 'in the best interests of our families, and of our nation.'

I'm not sure that we can ask more than that.

WinkNow, I'm off to MSN!

Mollie


"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."--Helen Keller
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6 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

enhydra lutris's picture

done so before. Success is never guaranteed whjether you opt for either single course of for the mixed grill, but it can be done.s

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7 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

On my phone - again- so be patient with more than usual typos/errors.

I am opposed to the endless wars and killing, and the military's waste and mismanagement of US resources. However, I do want Bernie elected as the lesser of evils. I will take more if I can get it. I am becoming more and more doubtful that anything will get better even if he's elected and sincerely fights for it.

I think that DOD not being audit able should be a huge campaign issue. It is a cauldron of fraud, waste and abuse; and until it is accountable, it should be cut by 20% a year. Same should be true for every department, program budget up there. USDOL over regulates while USDOD can't find billions. I think this is a case Bernie can make without being called a socialist.

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6 users have voted.

"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

First you demonize it and then you defund it by transferring sums of its money from drones to Veterans' Services. He has to do it with cover, or he will be labeled a pacifist, weak on terrorists, lose, and not accomplish anything. My bitch about BLM. They took a national issue with broad appeal and support, and they made it only, instead of especially, about them. Way to drain the energy, divide and alienate, an important issue.

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7 users have voted.

"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

gulfgal98's picture

I honestly believe that there is no way to stop the insanity of the DoD except through an audit and budget cutting. Yes, auditing the DoD should be a huge campaign issue.

I think every one here should be realistic that even if Jill Stein or Dennis Kucinich was elected, the wars and the DoD would continue on. There is no one person who can stop the madness of US militarism because the only way it can be stopped is to cut it off at its head which is funding. And Congress won't do that because they have been bought off. It is the very definition of corruption.

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6 users have voted.

"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." John F Kennedy

gulfgal98's picture

that most people here are of a very different mindset than me. But I have not advocated using the Democratic party as a vehicle for change. However I am realistic that the avenues for being able to express my opinions are very few courtesy of our political system.

Some of the brightest minds--including Chris Hedges and Paul Street--make a highly compelling case against using the Dem Party as a vehicle for change.

The problem is that we tried another vehicle for change, Occupy which was supported by Hedges and West, among others, and it was brutally destroyed by Obama and his Department of Homeland Security. Many people put themselves and their lives at risk via Occupy. Then the assholes over at dkos gloated over how Occupy was a gross failure. I was involved in my local Occupation and it was tough going even though our local government was supportive. I am involved in a local Peace vigil and it is only a one on one way of educating people. Small potatoes. On a larger scale, there was national march on climate change that drew 1/2 million people and it got very little national coverage. One half million people and not so much as a sigh from the PTB.

Al keeps advocating we drop out of the political process. Well in the last election, 2/3 of eligible voters did not participate and did that do any good? Does dropping out make a statement other than apathy? I keep asking for suggestions as to how we combat the system. I see people posting that what we have does not work or what they do not want. Duh! I know that. That is the easy part. Solutions are hard. So what do we do now? This is why I am so supportive of this diary of Joe's. It makes an excellent push toward solutions.

The system pretty precludes us, short of a military coup or a violent revolution, from exercising our power except through the ballot box. We learned that with the brutal destruction of Occupy. And the system is designed to only allow a choice of either Democrats or Republicans. Jill Stein and her running mate in 2012 were arrested when they tried to enter the Presidential debates. So if a candidate wants to gain entry into the national process, they are forced to run as either a Democrat or a Republican. I do NOT like that, but it is reality and I see no way that reality can be changed in time for the 2016 Presidential campaign.

I keep harping on this because I want some alternatives that are realistic for the people to regain power. When I said that Bernie is the vehicle for my voice, I meant that he serves as a voice for a long standing undercurrent among the people who are being marginalized in every way. I do not like his foreign policy stances as I see them as being a lesser of evils, but at least he has people talking about the pocket book issues for every day Americans, something that no other candidate is doing.

I just want people to give me some realistic ideas and solutions. Dropping out is not one of them for me.

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9 users have voted.

"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." John F Kennedy

Your voice is as valid as anyone else's
here, and, frankly, I think you express
very well the feelings of many of us
who don't at all agree with what this
country has become and is doing and
yet find ourselves stymied at every
turn as to how to effect a change in
the direction of USA #1.

Yes, Occupy was brutally shut down,
but not before it seared into the public
conversation the very phrase this
blog carries the name of - "We are
the 99%," thereby making income
inequality an ongoing awareness for
almost all Americans. That's
important. We have to identify the
problem(s) before any attempt can be
made to solve them.

Commentators can get contentious,
yes, but I believe that is a measure of
our bottled-up frustration at our
apparent impotence at even being
heard at all by our putative "leaders,"
much less making the least change
at all in the tragic trajectory of a
nation we were once proud to be
citizens of. But, Rome was not built
in a day and neither will be the
people's movement to turn around
the massive ship of state that is the
American Empire. All each of us can
do is what we can do as best
we can see to do from where we are
in our lives and our comprehension
of wtf is going on.

The important thing, which you seem
to already to understand, is that no
matter how small our contributions
to the effort may be: Never. Give. Up.

As long as we're still trying, they
haven't won yet!

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7 users have voted.

Only connect. - E.M. Forster

gulfgal98's picture

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7 users have voted.

"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." John F Kennedy

joe shikspack's picture

i couldn't agree more.

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5 users have voted.
mimi's picture

all the vehicles imaginable to arrive at the goals, we would like to achieve. I have no problems to be the village fool and make myself that target to be ridiculed, because I am a know-nothing. Luckily all the problems Joe describes in his diary are so obvious and easy to understand that the village fools know they are there. Just keep talking and walking, gulfgal98. I like your voice here. It's so calming and humane. Thanks for all you do, here and elsewhere. Hope to meet you one day.

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7 users have voted.

TTTT (too tired to talk)

triv33's picture

what can we do? I vote. As much as it pains me to admit it, I give in to the system and vote for the least worst Democrat. At this point in our history, with the system we're in, I have to. It's the only thing my conscience allows me to do. On a realistic level. As an idealist, I want more, much more, but realistically, I'm going to vote for what I think I may be able to get. Then push left with all of my might, and hope and wait. For what? A tipping point, a breaking point, something, anything, a revolution. I feel what Al feels, but my frustration doesn't change a thing, my rage is unproductive. I know there will be something that changes, as the course we are on as a country is unsustainable, but what? I hope not as bad as I fear, because I have children and I will never leave here.

One election will change very little. Still, I'll vote. If anybody comes up with a plan, hey, sign me up, but until then I have to keep on keeping on, and not let my frustration at the reality facing us defeat me. Incrementalism, lesser-evilism, whatever you want to call it, no I don't advocate it, but what else do we have? Really? Nothing.

My mom always said--If wishes were horses, beggers would ride. I'm still walking.

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7 users have voted.

I shave my legs with Occam's Razor~

joe shikspack's picture

gulfgal98's picture

recommended it and commented too. Thank you, Joe! Smile

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5 users have voted.

"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." John F Kennedy

joe shikspack's picture

i appreciate your support and admire the way that you stand up for what you believe, much of which is conveniently what i believe, too. Smile

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3 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

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4 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

joe shikspack's picture

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5 users have voted.
gulfgal98's picture

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4 users have voted.

"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." John F Kennedy

shaharazade's picture

and recced this excellent and needed dairy. Thanks Joe. I admire your ability to address this elephant in the room as far as Bernie's campaigning on basic 'morality' goes calmly and without rancor. For me it casts a shadow over the validity of his whole movement and his calls for a political revolution. Surely Bernie is smart enough to see the connection between the military protecting 'national interests' and knows the only interest's this endless insanity protects are the global transnational pillager's and death merchants, profits and world domination. The fact that they call these crimes against humanity 'foreign policy' says it all.

Our foreign policy is connected directly with what is going on in our country. How can one advocate for a political revolution, morality, democracy and the common good here in the US and yet preach the gospel of the inevitable globalized oligarchical gangster economy and then turn around ans spew the garbage the death cult uses about protecting our interest's? Shame on Bernie. I have heard this double speak before from pols who bill themselves as democratic, moral, and a changing of the status quo.

They call on we the people to step up and be 'the change we have been waiting for' and yet tell me that the killing, impoverishing, destruction and misery are necessary for protecting our national/ global interest's. Calling this global war on terra, humanitarian is really sick. For me it cancels out everything he advocates for and professes to be against as I can't see how Bernie cannot connect the dots. The global bankster powers like Goldman Sachs who rule the world and the criminal masters of war who are their enforcers are inseparable. When he distanced himself from Corbyn's 'foreign policy' after the Hillary PAC attacked him, I thought great another pol wolf in sheep's clothing.

This statement by Bernie from the David Swanson link is irreconcilable with what Bernie says about the need for a political revolution. It's at the core of all policy and if he believes this garbage I cannot support him and will have a hard time even voting for him. I was also appalled at what he said at LU about 'foreign policy'. Supporters says Bernie is honest and tells the truth ton power. Maybe it his version of truth but how can I support this version of truth that calls for morality and decency and yet refuses to address the power that is turning this world into a killing ground for the interests of the same people he rails against and burning up the planet to boot. The root causes of 'radicalization' are obvious. Keeping America safe is straight out of the bush2 regime's propaganda fear machine.

“We live in a dangerous world full of serious threats, perhaps none more so than the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Qaeda. Senator Sanders is committed to keeping America safe, and pursuing those who would do Americans harm. But we cannot combat international terrorism alone. We must work with our allies to root out terrorist funding networks, provide logistical support in the region, disrupt online radicalization, provide humanitarian relief, and support and defend religious freedom. Moreover, we must begin to address the root causes of radicalization, instead of focusing solely on military responses to those who have already become radicalized.”

I don't think it's possible to move or push a pol even Bernie to a position that they do not hold. From what I can see and read Bernie has made his case for endless immoral illegal wars in the interest's of the global NWO. I'm not wasting my time telling him what he already knows and yet supports as the inevitable way forward. It's dangerous world alright Bernie and the biggest danger is the interest's of the global entities you say we need to protect. I don't know how to think double and cannot hold the irreconcilable 'truths' of the imperialistic mad GWOT and taking on the global anti-democratic oligarchy that Bernie preaches in my mind

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7 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

I'm not wasting my time telling him what he already knows and yet supports as the inevitable way forward. It's dangerous world alright Bernie and the biggest danger is the interest's of the global entities you say we need to protect. I don't know how to think double and cannot hold the irreconcilable 'truths' of the imperialistic mad GWOT and taking on the global anti-democratic oligarchy that Bernie preaches in my mind.

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7 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

i'm sure that bernie is well aware of what american interests are. i'm pretty sure that since he's a bit older than i am, he's well aware of the problem of guns and butter.

i wrote this for bernie's supporters, not for bernie. i couldn't give a flip about the democratic party, but i care about the people that are coalescing behind bernie. they include some of my friends and neighbors and they are the sort of people that i think want and will work for a better world. i figure that if we focus more on the issues than the candidate (the polar opposite of the obama campaign) perhaps this movement of people will stand for something regardless of the fortunes or failures of the current candidate.

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5 users have voted.
Unabashed Liberal's picture

thanks to Everyone.

Quickly, to the subject at hand--'el' makes a very good point. However, from my interpretation of Hedges' and Street's writings, they most likely could not buy into this--rightly or wrongly. [Everyone can be their own judge of that.] IOW, they appear to believe that our entire political system is so corrupt, that it negates the desirability and/or feasibility of further participating in it. Which, I suppose, is a judgment that each of us has to make for ourselves.

And, I fully understand that this would be a consideration for those folks who don't think that the Dem Party is a corrupt institution. And I very much respect those who wish to take this route. I don't pretend to know 'the only truth.'

Regarding cutting military budgets--as someone who oversaw the budget for a huge mental health/social services federal bureaucracy (on the military base level), I can attest to the fact that some of the suggestions here are not as easy or feasible as they may appear.

There are many ways to shuffle funds, and many accounting 'tricks' that are not illegal. In some instances, it could be argued that the use of them is the only moral thing to do--especially if the funding is used to heal broken minds.

One common example was 'end-of-year spending'. Most agencies attempt to spend all of their allocations, for fear of having their budgets cut the next year. Consider a mental health agency's dilema--perhaps one year, the number of cases of PTSD that required treatment, fell off. That is good news. However, one never knows but what the next year might bring--there could be a sizable uptick in caseload. So, as a sort of form of self-protection for agency funding--again, with an honorable goal of treating mentally impaired soldiers and their families--most agencies attempt to make sure that they don't leave any funds unspent.

If we had a system that was more responsive to needs, this would not be an ordinary occurrence. And, hey, I'm all for radically "changing the system."

Wink

I also believe that a factor that figures in this discussion is the matter of 'risk aversion.' I'm too pushed to tackle this topic in detail, but, in a nutshell, I've come to believe that there are those who are not as concerned about a very radical change--viewing our system as so corrupt, that it could only improve things, versus, those who are very concerned about things--but who are fearful that their circumstances could worsen considerably, if there are/were major changes to the system.

As for us, I must admit, if we were, say 50 years old today, we might be more reluctant to consider going outside of the political establishment, because we might not have the same sense of security that we presently have, regardless of what happens. We're now in our early sixties, so we don't have a lot of uncertainty hanging over us, as do some younger folks.

Anyhoo, I greatly appreciate the discussion on this most important matter. Just rec'd/tipped Joe's diary. Will try to find my Twitter login info, and do a little "Tweeting" this evening. I'm considering joining Facebook, but I haven't mustered the nerve to do so, yet. (due to privacy concerns).

Have a great afternoon, Everyone!

Mollie


"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."--Helen Keller

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5 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

mimi's picture

I think it's pretty unnerving to see that those who have risked life and sanity the most, the Veterans in their forties, seem to be the group, who just might risk again the most, but while doing so, are judged as people with broken minds. A lot of people have broken minds and may not have anything else left to risk. But this country has cruel way to deal with people who have nothing to loose.
"Mentally impaired soldiers" in general are the ones who have their mental capacities working quite well. It's just easier to categorize their anger, frustrations, guilts and depression, and the pure negligence to provide them with a secure livable wage job after returning into the civilian world, as a sign of being "mentally impaired". Mentally impaired are those, who design those frigging wars overseas and use those man's minds as a laboratory to "check out their minds' malleability to do what is "good for the American interests", ie to kill and exploit.

Asking for a job, for a roof over their had, is not a sign of "risk aversion", it's any person's right. May be I misunderstand some of your excellent comment. No offense meant.

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4 users have voted.

TTTT (too tired to talk)

Unabashed Liberal's picture

may have misunderstood what I was trying to communicate.

I'm retired from federal service after decades of working for several federal agencies/branches--including the Air Force, and the Army. Also, I'm a former military spouse.

All but about five years of my federal career were devoted to advocating for, and counseling, airmen and soldiers.

None of my words were intended as a mockery of anyone who has served in the military. So, if that's how my words came across, I am very sorry.

Mollie


"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."--Helen Keller

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5 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

mimi's picture

because it sounded as if I was offended by your comment. I really wasn't, just a bit frustrated, and probably for other reasons than the content of your comment.

I apologize.

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5 users have voted.

TTTT (too tired to talk)

Unabashed Liberal's picture

(or think that I do) why you thought that I was disparaging military members.

Directly after I finished the section describing some of my budgeting duties related to the mental health treatment of soldiers and their families, I said the following:

I also believe that a factor that figures in this discussion is the matter of 'risk aversion.'

Actually, my discussion of 'risk aversion' was not in any way related to my budget discussion.

The proper context in which that topic should be viewed is in relationship to the original topic of my comment to 'el'--which was "whether or not, one should work 'inside, or outside' of the political system."

But as poorly constructed as the sentence was, that point was clearly not made plain. I understand that, now.

I should have said the following:

I also believe that a factor that figures in the original discussion is the matter of 'risk aversion.'

Or, better yet, I should have specified that I wonder if risk aversion might/could play a large part in whether or not one tends to want to "work inside, or outside of" our status quo political system.

Or, I could have included some squiggles (~ ~ ~ ~ ~) in between the two topics/paragraphs, so that it was plain that I had (rhetorically) returned to the original issue.

Heck, anyone could reasonably have thought that I was meaning to conflate the two topics--veterans and risk aversion--instead of adding an additional thought to my previous discussion with 'el.'

I will definitely try to be more careful in the future.

Mollie


"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."--Helen Keller

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3 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

mimi's picture

people's writing. I constantly stumble over comments, who are worded professionally, I misunderstand a LOT. Especially when I am tired and or frustrated. Forget about it please. I had just not so good experiences with mental health professionals treating soldiers, which have symptoms resembling someone who has PTSD. First it wasn't really PTSD, second, later on, the soldier can be discriminated and prejudged as having PTSD and therefore a risk to hire for employers, the last thing Veterans need. It's one of the things that come up in me and get me overly sensitive.

In the context of your comment, I just didn't read carefully enough. Again my apologies.

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4 users have voted.

TTTT (too tired to talk)

Unabashed Liberal's picture

because 'Mister B' needed to go out.

And my writing was less than precise, which reminds me of the old axiom,

"Haste, Makes Waste."

Wink'M'


"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."--Helen Keller
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4 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

lotlizard's picture

Which is to say, a highly effective machine at getting neoliberal economic and neocon foreign policy cemented into place.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/11/midterms-2014-red-wedding-democra...

Perhaps enough voters now see through this game — and if so, among people who insist on maintaining the Democratic label, all the "community building" in the world may not be enough to distract from or paper over the grim reality.

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5 users have voted.
triv33's picture

This is a discussion we ought to explore. There's a lot I could say on this subject, I just don't know if I'm up for it.

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6 users have voted.

I shave my legs with Occam's Razor~