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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 46,179

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Am I the only DUer who remembers,

back before DU 3, when DU self-identified as a "left-wing" discussion board?

Now DUers think it's okay to attack, marginalize, and disenfranchise the left.

THAT'S what neoliberalism gets us.

Bernie Sanders and guns

For the record, I have never owned a gun. I've never wanted to. I DID once, back in the 1980s, shoot at some tin cans because some people I knew thought I would have fun. I didn't. What I did, at that time, was go back without them to clean up the mess they left out in the desert.

That said, I live rurally, and am surrounded by a culture that uses guns. Many of my students and their families fill their freezers for the winter by hunting. Their hunting trips are family traditions; they all go, even if only a few of them are doing the actual hunting. I spend a lot of time creating independent studies for hunters every fall. It's a different world, and a different take, from urban and suburban areas. Vermont is the most rural state in the U.S., and Sanders' position about guns reflects that constituency, as it should.

This is what he said recently:

In the wake of last week's Charleston, S.C., church shootings, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders explained his competing concerns between gun rights and gun safety.

"I think guns and gun control is an issue that needs to be discussed," Sanders told NPR's David Greene in an interview airing on Thursday's Morning Edition. "Let me add to that, I think that urban America has got to respect what rural America is about, where 99 percent of the people in my state who hunt are law abiding people."

In the wake of the shooting deaths of nine African-Americans at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, many Democratic politicians have renewed calls to tighten gun-control measures. Sanders said he's open to a conversation about what to do next on gun-control measures and would go along with stricter background checks, for example. But he noted in the interview that those measures alone wouldn't solve the problem of gun violence in America.

The article goes on to say,

For left-leaning senators from largely rural, pro-gun states — like Vermont — it can be tough to strike a balance talking about guns. Sanders has had a mixed voting record on guns. He voted to end the "gun-show loophole" and in favor of the 2013 universal background check bill and assault-weapons ban following Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre that left 20 children dead. But, previously, Sanders voted to allow guns on Amtrak and against the Brady bill.


I agree that "it can be tough to strike a balance talking about guns." I believe that Sanders is correct in trying to strike that balance, and in supporting his rural constituents. I also see that this is one issue that many progressives will disagree with him on. I think that's okay; it's never happened, at least in my 55 years, that I've found a politician I agree with every single issue on. Sanders, frankly, comes as close as any and closer than almost all. That said, I disagree with his votes on the Brady Bill and to allow guns on Amtrak.

I do not believe that, as POTUS, he would stand in the way of stronger gun control legislation presented to him by Congress. He's just said, as quoted above, that he is open to the conversation.


I don't remember the dogpile you refer to. Not that it didn't happen, but since, before there was no other choice, Clinton and Obama were tied for last place at the bottom of my primary rankings, I wasn't in the middle of that fight. Neither was I in the middle when they were the only two left standing. I didn't really have much to fight about, since I didn't support either one of them. I didn't bother to pay attention to the convention that summer, or the ge campaign. I had no "dog" in that hunt.

In the later primaries, I did lean HRC, simply because the constant mantra of Obama being "not dlc" was so aggravating, as his neo-liberal positions were on open display for all to witness.

Frankly, I found the devolution of the Democratic Party during the '08 primaries to be a public humiliation. Here was the party that was supposed to stand for the underdogs dividing along the lines of race and gender. THAT NEVER SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED. Supporting one candidate over another? Fine. Trying to postulate that issues of race were more important than issues of gender, or vice versa? Discpicable hypocricy, imo, reducing the issues to campaign talking points instead of real world problems.

When my primary rolled around in late May, it was all over but the shouting, so I cast a protest vote for HRC.

I haven't seen a dogpile at this point, either. But then, I don't read most threads about HRC. Again, she's at the bottom of my list, and I have a better candidate to focus my attention on. I HAVE seen legitimate criticism from her own party, and I expect Republicans to spew all kinds of shit, which, even though she's not getting my vote, I'll defend. Most of that shit, though, would come in the GE should she be nominated.

I'm a woman. I'm not angry when HRC is called on her neo-liberal policies. I won't be rising to defend her from those. I won't be supporting her. I save my angry energy for neo-liberals, neo-conservatives, and all those who support the erosion of social and economic justice.


I think it's a reaction to threat; I've experienced it myself, although not about guns.

I think anytime we think that someone is threatening our autonomy we react defensively, and, in more extreme cases, offensively. It triggers an amygdala hijack.

It happens to all of us; when our emotions are engaged, reason is often short-circuited. Political and religious propaganda of all types take full advantage of this phenomenon.

People who live in fear and hate are particularly susceptible to this kind of manipulation. Which doesn't, of course, excuse acts of hate. I think hate is a mental illness, which is why I won't use the word lightly, and I do my best not to engage in hate.

Those obsessed with guns live in a state of fear and insecurity, and their guns can't cure them of that.

It might be a good conversation to talk about the purpose of, and a reasonable interpretation of, the 2nd amendment.

What was the original purpose? Does that purpose still apply, or is there another reasonable purpose?

"Arms" have evolved; what kind of "arms" fulfill the original OR evolved purpose of the 2nd amendment, and in what context?

I don't really have any answers. I've never owned a gun. I've been more concerned with other rights.

Why I don't:

If I campaign for, and vote for, a candidate with the right policies, then I've got a win/or at least hold the line situation. If I win, then I've got a politician who is actually going to fight for the right policies. If I lose, then my party is the opposition, and will mount some sort of opposition to the enemy.

If I elect someone with the wrong policies because she can win, I've surrendered before we ever made it to the front lines. I've got at least a whole term, and probably longer, of my party feeling like they have to support the wrong policies. There's no opposition to the wrong policies. There are policy shifts within my own party and the nation that move both further away, that move me further to the fringe, or throw me completely under the bus, and I'm supposed to shut up and take it out of party loyalty. Electing someone with the wrong policies from my own party doesn't hold any line. It's a lose/lose.

It's throwing my party, my country, and the 99% under the bus.

Reading through this thread again leaves me with one question.

I agree with many in this thread that the primary poses a bigger challenge for Bernie than the GE.

Since that's the case, why would Democrats who have a chance to nominate a winner who is better on every single issue than HRC, who have a chance to nominate someone who would actually work and fight to lead the country out of her neo-liberal degradation, nominate a neo-liberal instead?

Why wouldn't Democrats who align more closely with Sanders on issues not throw him their support?

The answer to that question is one I can't, while trying to honor the TOS, answer.

Of course not.

There is a massive chasm between opposing someone politically and laughing about, taking pleasure in, the death of that person.

There's a big difference even between deciding that the person should be taken down, taken out of power, and laughing gleefully about that person's death.

One is reason. The other is psychopathy: finding joy in killing people.

As for Sanders and Gaddafi? I don't find him having much to say about Gaddafi at all, except in reference to this:

WASHINGTON, March 31 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today questioned why the Federal Reserve provided more than $26 billion in credit to an Arab intermediary for the Central Bank of Libya.

The total includes at least $3.2 billion in loans that the Fed was forced to make public today in addition to earlier revelations under a Sanders provision in the Wall Street reform law.

Sanders also asked why the Libyan-owned bank and two of its branches in New York, N.Y., were exempted from sanctions that the United States this month slapped on other Libyan businesses to pressure Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s government.

“It is incomprehensible to me that while creditworthy small businesses in Vermont and throughout the country could not receive affordable loans, the Federal Reserve was providing tens of billions of dollars in credit to a bank that is substantially owned by the Central Bank of Libya,” Sanders said.


More about the bailout he's referring to:

Barack Obama recently issued an executive order imposing a wave of sanctions against Libya, not only freezing Libyan assets, but barring Americans from having business dealings with Libyan banks.

So raise your hand if you knew that the United States has been extending billions of dollars in aid to Qaddafi and to the Central Bank of Libya, through a Libyan-owned subsidiary bank operating out of Bahrain. And raise your hand if you knew that, just a week or so after Obama’s executive order, the U.S. Treasury Department quietly issued an order exempting this and other Libyan-owned banks to continue operating without sanction.

I came across the curious case of the Arab Banking Corporation, better known as ABC, while researching a story about the results of the audit of the Federal Reserve. That story, which will be coming out in Rolling Stone in two weeks, will examine in detail some of the many lunacies uncovered by Senate investigators amid the recently-released list of bailout and emergency aid recipients – a list that includes many extremely shocking names, from foreign industrial competitors to hedge funds in tax-haven nations to various Wall Street figures of note (and some of their relatives). You will want to see this amazing list when it comes out, so please make sure to check the newsstands in two weeks’ time.

This list became public as a result of an amendment added to the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill that was sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. The amendment forced the Federal Reserve to open its books for the first time and make public the names of those individuals and corporations who received emergency loans and bailout monies during the roughly two year period between the crash of 2008 and the passage of the Dodd-Frank bill.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-is-the-fed-bailing-out-qaddafi-20110401#ixzz3ayfjOksj
Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

If policy is not the first priority of politics,

I neither need nor want anything to do with politics.

The reason why the political game smacks of deception and manipulation is because it IS all about deception and manipulation. I'm not easily deceived, and I respond to attempts at manipulation with a large push BACK...not with acceptance, compliance, or tolerance.

A worthy goal might be to work to put politics into the correct arena...the policy arena.

A statement to that effect might be that Democrats believe in people and finding a way to bring social and economic justice for all, whereas Republicans believe in a belligerent God, unrestricted aggression and weapons to back up their bullying, and unrestricted greed. God, Guns, and Greed.

If only that statement were true. It's not. The power center of the Democratic Party is all about unrestricted capitalism/greed creating social and economic injustices in the form of neoliberalism.

Who's Ready for Hillary?

I found this an instructive read about HRC as a primary candidate several months ago. It's still instructive.


Kathleen Geier:

Frustrated voters are demanding change, but nothing in Hillary Clinton’s history suggests that she is capable of delivering it. Clinton has far more in common with the Rahm Emanuel/Andrew Cuomo wing of the party than with Elizabeth Warren or Sherrod Brown. Not only is she Wall Street’s favorite Democrat, drawing hefty donations from the finance industry, but she has supported many of the destructive neoliberal economic policies that ushered in the crisis, such as financial deregulation and free trade. She spent years on the board of the most viciously anti-labor employer in the country, Walmart, and never once spoke up in favor of unions. She voted for the odious 2001 bankruptcy bill, which made it harder for Americans to shed impossible debt. She not only supported welfare “reform” but advocated tougher work requirements—a position that put her at odds with most Democrats.

And that’s just her domestic policy. Clinton’s neocon-friendly foreign-policy record is even worse—not only her vote in favor of the Iraq War, but her advocacy of drone strikes and her saber rattling over Syria. There are also serious concerns about her executive competence: her leadership in the 1993 healthcare-reform effort and her own 2008 presidential campaign does not exactly inspire confidence.

Jamelle Bouie:

The problem with Clinton has nothing to do with process and everything to do with substance. As others in this forum have noted, Hillary Clinton is a triangulating corporate Democrat who forged her political identity against a relentless, ideologically driven GOP and built her core support among the wealthy elites of the Democratic Party. The former makes her suspicious of (if not hostile to) the left on foreign and domestic policy, while the latter—coupled with her time as New York senator—makes her receptive to the failed ideas and expertise of Wall Street.

Doug Henwood:

Hillary (and she has clearly rebranded herself as just a first name) embodies the “New Democrat” politics of the 1990s that now seem hopelessly obsolete, no match for a world of chronic economic stagnation, polarization and climate catastrophe. She was very much a partner in inventing that ideology—business-friendly, hawkish, tough on unions and the poor—with her husband. The Clintonites purged the Democrats of their social-democratic wing, consolidating the victories of the Reagan Revolution. At this point, it’s hard to say what Hillary or the Democrats stand for, other than being protectors of the status quo. But even that isn’t so clear, given that some neocons—worried by the possible ascendancy of Rand Paul–style neo-isolationism in the GOP—have been making very pro-Clinton sounds over the past few months. She does, after all, love a good military intervention.

Of course, it's long, and includes some support for Clinton as well; I don't discount that support, or the reasons behind it, but it's weak. Not enough, in my opinion. The reasons to support are not nearly strong enough to overcome the reasons not to, at least for me. I am not ready for Hillary.

Senate Proposal Cuts Off Duncan at the Knees

There are other less incendiary articles, but I chose to post this one here simply because the idea of cutting Arne off at the knees satisfies a visceral need. I hope people will call their reps to urge support for "The Every Child Achieves Act of 2015."

Suck It, Arne

That "Hands off, feds" attitude runs throughout the bill. State plans are acceptable unless proven naught by the USED, and the feds only have 90 days to do so. The Secretary must approve a state plan within the 90 days unless the department "can present substantial evidence that clearly demonstrates that such State plan does not meet the bill's requirements." To whom will such evidence be presented? A peer review board composed of "experts and practitioners with school-level and classroom experience."

Yes, unlike the waiver system that requires state bureaucrats to bow and scrape for Duncan's official okey-dokey, now the secretary must go before actual educators and prove to their satisfaction that a state plan is not acceptable. And if they say it's not, the state still gets to appeal and resubmit. This strikes me a huge shift of the balance of power.

Also, "the bill affirms that states decide what academic standards they will adopt, without interference from Washington." The feds can't mandate a set of standards, and they can't "incentivize" one, either. "States will be free to decide what academic standards they will maintain in their states."

And! The bill does away with any federal requirement for states to develop and implement a teacher evaluation system. It even axes the definition of a highly qualified teacher.

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