Just when it looked like the 2016 Presidential election was going to be a choice between a to-be-announced corporate Republican and a preordained corporate Democrat, independent Bernie Sanders announced that he is going to run for President as a Democrat. If that isn't a game changer, I don't know what is? Now we have a clear choice and can vote for someone who has spent his whole career fighting for the middle class and the poor. Bernie's track record shows that he is all action, not someone who utters a few noncommittal words or worse yet, says the words that you want to hear then in a stealthy way, sides with corporations, billionaires and Wall St. after the election.
Look, I've never been shy about expressing my strong disdain for middle class and poor people who support and vote for Republicans that only help corporations and billionaires. Similarly, I have equal disdain for middle class and poor voters who call themselves Democrats, but vote for “lesser of two evils” candidates that “compromise” with Republicans after the election. Voters in the second category effectively turn a two party system into a virtual one party system by limiting our choices to bad and worse. Kind of sounds like a 1950's Soviet style election doesn't it? The difference is that you have a choice of two people cut from the same corporate cloth?
Sadly, the people who prevent any substantive change in our country and doom us to a life of income inequality are the vociferous enforcers of the status quo who on social media and elsewhere, use fear as their weapon of choice. These people are nothing less than political bullies who are trying to force you to vote their way or else! Their phrase that enslaves is “If you vote for a third party candidate, the Republicans will win. Remember Nader in the 2000 election?” By running in a Democratic primary election, Bernie Sanders effectively eliminated that argument. The same people might now present the false argument that Bernie doesn't have a chance because conservative voters won't vote for him in a general election. My reply to that would be that Democrats shouldn't court Republicans by adopting their values?
The take away is this: The only way that Bernie Sanders doesn't have a chance is you don't vote for him in the primaries and in the general election. For true democracy, forget the bullies and vote for Bernie.
If you've been listening to my radio show or reading my columns on this website for any length of time, you know that I believe in encouraging you to think for yourself. That's why I am so upset with the way the Democrats are handling Hillary Clinton's long expected announcement that she is running for President. High up Democrats are literally falling all over each other in their rush to endorse her candidacy. Additionally, some organizations that I thought were progressive stopped talking about the prospect of running a certain progressive Senator from Massachusetts and want to turn her into a wing of the Democratic Party as if she were an inanimate part of a building. Ostensibly, they want to use this Senator, or should I say wing, or should I say Senator Wing to influence the now anointed Queen Hillary the first to run on progressive principles. That kind of talk, even if it is accompanied by the halfhearted phrase “or any potential candidates” discourages any potential progressive candidate from running and runs contrary to democratic principles.
Here are some solid reasons why we need to pick the next Democratic Presidential contender from a vast field of primary candidates:
There's been lots of talk about the Trans Pacific Partnership that many of you seem to be mentally tuning out. I have been surprised by the level of apathy on social media websites. It seems like progressives and union people are the only ones who are actively fighting the TPP. That's unfortunate because the TPP is the mother of all “free” trade agreements that has something in it that will hurt almost everyone except for billionaires and corporate CEO's.
I feel that the reason that many of you are so indifferent to the serious problems that the TPP will bring about is that the mainstream media has done a successful job of not covering stories about or discussing the implications of that agreement. The fact is that, for various reasons, the mega-corps that own the mainstream media want the TPP fast tracked because they stand to gain from the onerous intellectual property parts of it that will seriously restrict the free flow of ideas on the internet. Therefore, it is up to me and other alternate media folks to get the truth out before it's too late.
Since enlightenment requires active participation, I am going to ask you a few questions that will help you draw your own conclusions.
If the TPP is going to benefit the average American:
• Why is it being negotiated in secret where the only details that are available are whatever has been leaked? If the agreement is really good for us, why keep it a secret? I think that we all know the answer to that question!
• Why are only a handful of people, most of whom are corporate CEO types, involved in the super secret negotiations? Are they the only ones affected by the agreement? Don't labor unions deserve to have input on an agreement that will adversely affect their members and all workers for years to come? Don't we, the people deserve to have a say in our future?
• How can we believe our electeds when they claim that the TPP will bring jobs to our country when previous “free” trade agreements like NAFTA were also ballyhooed as bringing jobs here, but actually cost us many jobs? How often do they expect us to fall for that lie? Why do supposedly pro-labor Democrats Like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama always seem to join hands with corporate Republicans in trying to foist job killing “free” trade agreements on us?
• How can any politician who considers him or herself a real American support an agreement that gives up our country's sovereignty by setting up a mechanism that lets a foreign corporation sue U.S. regulatory agencies in an international kangaroo court if the agency enforces any regulation that interferes with the foreign corporation making a profit? The founding fathers of our country declared independence from England to become a sovereign nation, how can we allow our electeds to give up our sovereignty to foreign corporations?
I leave you with one final question to carefully consider.
If the TPP is so good, why does it need to be fast tracked and rushed past any scrutiny? I think that you know the answer to this question and all of the previous questions and now know that you have to take an active part in stopping a disastrous agreement before it's too late.
Once again, the GOP noise machine and their slobbering mainstream media sycophants are fully revved-up about ObamaCare. Flush with their victories and newly gained majorities in Congress and the Senate, they are making yet another assault on a program that has signed up more than eight million people. That's eight million folks who for various reasons, wouldn't otherwise have access to health insurance. In our pay for play, everything for a buck system, that translates to eight million souls who wouldn't have access to any kind of meaningful health care.
Now if you think that from the tone of the previous paragraph, this is just another defend the Affordable Care Act article, you just might be wrong! Just because the GOP and many conservative sock puppet “organizations” (that are really thinly veiled operations financed by billionaires) have been making endless politically motivated attacks on ACA, it doesn't mean that the way ACA was “compromised” down from a potentially single-payer plan didn't create legal and ethical holes in it that invited those attacks! Although to his credit, President Obama is the first President to seriously address what amounts to a health care crisis in our nation and actually get a law passed covering people under sixty five, I resent that he made almost every aspect of it negotiable. The more he compromised, the more the GOP and those sock puppet organizations found fault with it and said so in endless TV propaganda ads. Which reminds me of one of my favorite sayings, “No good deed shall go unpunished.” Although ACA did some great things like preventing insurance corps from rejecting people for pre-existing conditions, the finished product was a compromised to death shadow of itself!
Here's some of what's wrong with the Affordable Care Act from my perspective:
I could continue for pages but in the interest of brevity, I won't. Let's just end things by saying that if the purpose of health care reform is to actually provide health care for every person in our country, than we needed single-payer health care. If the purpose of health care reform is to really control the rising costs of health care, than we need to nationalize every aspect of health care and transform it from a big corporate business to a profession! As things now stand, ObamaCare is basically the health care version of trickle-down economics. It looks out for the interests of insurance corps. first by providing them with a mandated by law customer base and leaves those customers with ever increasing premiums! Come to think of it, didn't trickle-down also happen when Wall St. and the banksters were bailed out, while ordinary folks remained unemployed? Food for thought, huh?
Do you remember the good old days of broadcast news when real journalists weren't afraid to deal with real and big issues? The broadcast journalists of the late sixties and early seventies covered major news events with a semblance of fairness and integrity. Do you remember when the staff of news magazine shows did genuine investigative reporting about issues that had a direct bearing on our health, safety, well being, personal rights and freedom? I remember a slew of news magazine stories in the early 70's about employee pensions being in danger. Those stories helped protect pensions by causing public outrage. These days, the national news media just echoes right-wing shill organization attacks on Social Security, Medicare and employee pensions and news magazines tend to cover Hollywood gossip stories.
Now that I've complained about the sorry state of our national broadcast news media, let's take a look at local broadcast news. What passes for broadcast “journalism” in my part of the country, the Tampa Florida market, is sad indeed. I'm sure that it is representative of most other local markets. Local stations cover the usual crime stories that are part and parcel of the business. They do a great job on weather coverage, which is essential in our neck of the woods. Where they fall down is in the area of consumer and investigative stories. They seem to be waging a war of the roaches, with each station visiting restaurants that failed Health Department tests for cleanliness, etc. I have a suggestion for stations that call that consumer reporting, instead of playing count the roaches cover major consumer stories! How about a thorough and not superficial story on why the dropping price of oil that lowered the price of gas at the pump didn't lower the sharply rising cost of food in the Supermarkets? After all, food corporations used rising fuel prices as a rationale to help cause an increase in prices in the first place! How about suggesting a story to your national networks about rising costs versus Stagnant wages?
National broadcast networks and local stations have to start serving the real needs of their viewers as opposed to their advertisers or other corporate special interest groups. If they continue along their current paths, alternative media people will be more than happy to fill the void and disseminate truthful and relevant newscasts, talk shows and news magazines.
I hate hypocrisy, especially in politics because in essence, it usually amounts to people who have sold you a false bill of goods just to get in office. When I see hypocrisy in action, it's probably the only time that I believe in taking a bipartisan approach and will call out hypocrites regardless of their party affiliation. In my last post (Are Centrist Dems. Democrats Or Demorats?) I called out 28 Democratic congressmen who voted with GOP congressmen to authorize the Keystone XL Pipeline. In this post, I'm going to take a look at the GOP vote in the Senate concerning Keystone to show their hypocrisy and illustrate why Democrats who side with the GOP, in light of what it represents aren't worthy of their office.
The Keystone XL was approved by the Senate and now goes to the President's desk, hopefully for a veto. Here's some of the GOP sausage making that went into it:
Much activity took place on Senate bill S1, a bill to approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Since the GOP has the majority in both houses, the Democrats tried to mitigate the damage that the bill causes by adding amendments. Sadly, there were some Demorats who voted with the GOP.
As I said in the beginning of this post, I hate hypocrisy. I hate it regardless of the source. That's why when I heard the President refer to people who oppose job killing “free” trade agreements as living in the past, I realized that his disingenuous theme of “income inequality” made his State Of The Union speech nothing more than an unhealthy helping of his baloney washed down with a cocktail of his supporters' denial! The people that the President mentioned are not living in the past, they have long memories and remember another period of history when Democrats joined hands with Republicans to sell out American workers by passing NAFTA! Folks, no matter which party spouts the hypocrisy, we are the ones who are betrayed.
There is an element of Democratic Party supporters, or should I say self-appointed enforcers who hide in the shrubbery of various social media waiting to pounce on any progressive Democrat who expresses even the slightest displeasure with the current crop of Democratic electeds and their failure to protect and promote traditional FDR style Democratic issues. From my perspective, supporting a party that doesn't unite behind a solid set of values and goals is an exercise in futility. Many of the current crew of Democratic electeds in Congress, the Senate and the Executive branch of our government have morphed into mini-Republicans, embracing GOP terminology, issues and to some extent ideology. Democratic electeds in deeply rooted GOP districts or who want to court GOP voters by becoming pretend Republicans blur the concept of the Democratic brand in the hearts and minds of American voters and weaken the Democratic Party.
Adopting GOP doublespeak words like “job creator” is one thing, Democratic Congressmen and Senators voting with Republicans is another. I like to call Democratic electeds who vote with Republicans and the sycophants who support them – Demorats, because they betray everything that their party should represent! One prime example of Demorats in action was the recent Congressional vote where 28 slimy Demorats joined hands with their fellow corporate owned electeds in the GOP authorizing construction of the Keystone Pipeline. If they can do that, how will they vote on issues like Social Security, Medicare, "free" trade agreements, etc.? I think that you know the answer to that by their track records.
The term two party system implies that each party will vigorously oppose the ideology of the other party and truly represent the wishes of its constituency. When that doesn't happen, democracy itself is in jeopardy and must be protected by a slew of new voices from new parties that are untainted by corporate money.
Our country's Constitution has been altered beyond recognition by a Supreme Court controlled by a crew of conservative appointees who are in essence, political time capsules put in place to accomplish a corporatist agenda. Similarly, our "representatives" in Congress and the Senate who we elected to do our bidding are for the most part, representing the corporations and billionaires who own them and are ignoring us. Our founding fathers would be shocked and disgusted by the actions of every branch of what passes for democracy and government these days.
To hear me expound on this issue, just visit my Listen Here! page.
As a politician and an elected official, when you, compromise with people who take positions that are radically the opposite of yours, you devalue your party's brand in the hearts and minds of the public. Their perception being, your ideology couldn't be worth very much if you are not willing to fight for it. This becomes magnified when the people that you are dealing with won't budge on their positions. In those situations, compromise makes you and your ideas look weak. I have repeatedly said this on my shows, on social media and in my articles here.
For most of his terms of office, the President was constantly in search of new and better ways to compromise with an intransigent GOP. In 2008, he became President based on a set of campaign promises. At that time, the American public wanted him to implement those promises. The GOP and the shill organizations that game our political system for them ran vicious and deceptive attack ads that attempted to sour the American public on the value of most of his signature promises. Barack Obama met those insidious attacks with offers of compromise rather than heated counter attacks.
Contrary to the adage, you can't please everyone, Barack Obama was constantly trying to be “everyone's President.”
Here's what compromise got the President, his party and we voters who put our faith in him:
Heath Care - Single Payer health care for all, something that could have addressed the constantly rising costs of health care became The Affordable Care Act. The GOP and their hangers-on then dubbed it “Obamacare.” It addressed some glaring issues, but kept insurance corps. entrenched in a system that, due to their profit motive and that of most players in the health care industry, will have built in annual premium increases. Affordable care could become quite unaffordable after a few years. Single payer, or even better, nationalized health care would have addressed the constantly rising costs of health care and taken the teeth out of the GOP argument that “people are losing their insurance.” When everyone gets insurance a la Medicare, everybody is insured and wins. President Obama could have been known as the LBJ or FDR of the twenty first century if he didn't compromise the original plan away.
Unions - Unions have been traditionally known as friends of the Democratic Party. Have the President and most Democratic electeds returned that friendship in any substantial way other than lots of lip service? Did the President and most Democratic electeds support The Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that would have helped level the playing field for unions during the 111th Congress which was on Obama's watch? The answer is a resounding no! Many Democratic electeds were too busy being mini-Republicans to worry about unions!
“Free” Trade - Speaking of unions, the President's ongoing support of “free” trade agreements that enable corps. to offshore jobs is something that upsets unions, union members and many of the folks who elected him in 2008. These agreements upset unions for obvious reasons, but also upset those of us who want to protect the U.S. Constitution because they violate our national sovereignty! Many of them give foreign corps the right to sue U.S. regulatory agencies in an international kangaroo court if those agencies' regulations interfere with those corps. doing business in the U.S.A. What kind of regulations am I talking about? Just pesky regulations that protect the American public in areas like food and drug safety or the environment, for example. No need to “compromise” here because both parties support “free” trade agreements!
Endless Wars – Barack Obama's campaign was based on the concept that he was different that George W. Bush. He was supposed to wind down Bush's endless wars in the mid-east that cost both lives and taxpayer money and in many cases, created and armed new and more dangerous enemies. In many cases, he has perpetuated the policies of George W. Bush with no seeming end to the wars in sight. Far more people have died in those wars than in 9/11. The President seems to worry more about Republicans saying that he has a weak defense policy than about doing the right thing for America's future. Sadly, most Democratic electeds agree with him and continually cave-in to GOP militarism! At this point, things are spinning out of control with no end in sight which is sad because Obama could have ended the madness at the start of his first term.
Openness and Transparency – For an administration that ran on a platform of transparency, its functions are hardly an open book. It seems to zealously guard its privacy and go after any whistleblowers with a vengeance. However, our privacy is invaded on a daily basis in so many ways. Many of our Constitutional protections that we held near and dear seem to be just a distant memory
Appointing CEOs and Industry Lobbyists – The President has a track record of appointing heads of regulatory agencies who are insiders coming from the industries that they regulate. Most of them are either CEOs or Lobbyists. This is kind of like letting the fox guard the hen house. He needed to appoint knowledgeable people who would look out for our interests instead of corporate profits. He could have found solid appointees by nominating people from industry watchdog groups who know how the respective industries function, but look out for the interests of the public.
All of this leaves me with a glaring question?
When did progressives, genuine Democrats who stand for the policies of FDR become unwelcome outsiders in the Democratic Party? I have seen some centrist sellouts, “Democrats” who call themselves “pragmatic” taking verbal pot shots at those who should be considered the standard bearers and core of the Democratic Party and blaming them for the GOP win. They are aided and abetted by folks who will automatically vote and support candidates along party lines without questioning that party values have changed drastically.
Democratic electeds lost out in the mid-term elections because they didn't stand up for Democratic values! Because of this, the Democratic brand was devalued in the minds of many voters who would rather vote for genuine Republicans who actually stand for something, albeit something that is detrimental to their future, than vote for disingenuous Democrats who have a “compromising” agenda that changes with the wind. Unless we can elect people who stand up for John and Jane Q. Public instead of corporations and billionaires, we can expect more losses in the future.
I hope that losing in two election cycles will wake up a few sycophantic unconditional supporters who are still in denial!
There is something inherently flawed with a system that lets corporations raise the price of everything that they sell at will, but does everything it can to obstruct workers when they try to get a decent price for their labor. There is something inherently flawed with voters who elect people that allow this to happen. There is something inherently flawed with workers who say that there is no need for unions even though unions would allow them to get fair wages. There is something inherently flawed with unions who accept the status quo and support the same electeds who betray them and their members year in and year out.
If we want change, we have to change
Have you noticed that there's no one on Talk Radio who speaks for John and Jane Q. Public? I want to change that situation. When I go into the studio and get on the air, I say the things that you've always wanted to say. The big corporate interests have their lobbyists, I want to be your voice. Just think of me as your guy fighting for your interests.
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