By Doug Porter
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders will be running for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016, according to stories on Vermont Public Radio and in major media outlets around the country.
Sen. Sanders’ outspoken and honest nature should be a game-changer for what was shaping up to be dull primary season for Democrats. His presence in the race means we should see more than token discussions about the economic issues facing the country. And, best of all, he’s not afraid of offending the billionaire bankers at the top of the heap.
Party regulars inclined to dismiss his candidacy because of the inevitability of a Clinton victory would do well to reconsider their stance. Just ask the Democratic party in Burlington, Vermont, which led a tea party-style obstructionist revolt after Sanders was elected Mayor in 1981.
Sanders’ car was even ticketed for parking in the mayor’s reserved space at city hall. In his final run for the mayor’s office in 1987, Sanders defeated a candidate endorsed by both political parties. The man’s got some grit.
Since I know our local media well enough to know that the Commie Scare Card will be played over the next few months, I’ll be sharing some tidbits about Sen. Sanders today.
From the Washington Post:
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a blunt self-described socialist who has become a favorite of progressive activists for his denunciations of big banks and the financial elite, will jump into the 2016 presidential campaign on Thursday, according to two people familiar with his plans…
…Sanders chose to run in the Democratic primary because of to his interest in participating in the party’s primary debates, according to confidants. If he ran as an independent, he would not be able to engage with the national Democratic infrastructure or act as a direct foil to Clinton in the early primaries and caucuses.
I fully expect some staunch party regulars to call his candidacy a spoiler, pointing to the campaigns of George McGovern and other politicians who’ve run away from the center.
From the Nation:
The senator always said that he would not be a spoiler—pulling votes from a Democratic nominee in a November race that might tip to a right-wing Republican. And the intensive “Run Bernie Run—as a Democrat” campaign mounted by the group Progressive Democrats of America made the case that Sanders could run his kind of campaign in the Democratic caucuses and primaries….
…Sanders wasn’t just looking for numbers as he traveled the country over the past year, however. He was looking for enthusiasm—not just for his candidacy but for his idea that American needs that “political revolution.”
“A campaign has got to be much more than just getting votes and getting elected. It has got to be helping to educate people, organize people,” he explained. “If we can do that, we can change the dynamic of politics for years and years to come. If 80 to 90 percent of the people in this country vote, if they know what the issues are (and make demands based on that knowledge), Washington and Congress will look very, very different from the Congress currently dominated by big money and dealing only with the issues that big money wants them to deal with.”
From the Los Angeles Times:
“I will not play the role of spoiler,” Sanders says.
Nor would he wage a negative campaign, he says, suggesting he wouldn’t even run against Clinton, per se: “I run on the most important issues facing America.”
But Sanders has always been blunt, which wouldn’t change just because some Democrats would prefer a bloodless coronation.
I expect the race is Hillary Clinton’s to lose. I’d like to see a dose of honesty injected into the political arena. So I’m happy about Sen. Sanders entry into the contest.
“Bernie is in many ways a 1930s radical as opposed to a 1960s radical,” says professor Garrison Nelson of the University of Vermont. “The 1930s radicals were all about unions, corporations — basically economic issues rather than cultural ones.” Richard Sugarman, an old friend who worked closely with Sanders during his early political career, concurs. “We spent much less time on social issues and much more time on economic issues,” he told me. “Bernard always began with the question of, ‘What is the economic fairness of the situation?…’
…While Sanders is clearly to the left of today’s Democratic Party, the platform he laid out in Waterloo, Iowa, was not as extreme as the word “socialist” might lead people to think. “He’s a ‘small S’ socialist,” says Nelson. “He’s not, ‘Let’s totally revamp the government, break up the corporations, create five-year plans.’ He doesn’t get out too far on an ideological limb…
“…He knows the game,” Nelson says. “Most radicals don’t know the game, and they don’t want to learn the game because it would compromise their purity. But he likes to win elections, and he has got a very good sense of what will work and what won’t.” In Waterloo, Sanders voiced confidence that the views he’s pushing were broadly popular. “What I believe is on all these issues we have the vast majority of people on our side.”
Baltimore: It’s Complicated, Part 1
For all of you folks who’ve been hooting and hollering about the woman collaring her son on the streets of B’more, I offer up writer Goldie Taylor’s (a rising star, IMO) take:
From the comfort of our living rooms, or from behind a computer keyboard, we watch the unrest unfolding in cities like Ferguson and Baltimore. Why can’t they be like us, we ask, with no small irony. Why can’t they be like Dr. King?
We are the arbiters of their rage. We decide what, if anything, they have to be angry about. We decide when they can march and whether it will be on the street or the sidewalk. We castigate the lawlessness, the broken windows and vandalized squad cars. We call them “savages” and “thugs,” believing we would be better—more moral—given similar circumstances. Why would they burn their own community, we beg to know.
On the one hand, we lift up and celebrate the non-violent legacy of Dr. King. On the other, we want to know why aren’t there more mothers, like the one in the video, willing to beat their children into submission. Forgive me cable pundits, if I am not able to hear you talking out of both sides of your neck.
You really should read the entirety of We Celebrated That Mother in Baltimore. Now Are We Willing to Face Our Own Hypocrisy?
Baltimore: It’s Complicated, Part 2
— April (@ReignOfApril) April 29, 2015
San Diego’s Police Problems: It Ain’t Over ‘till It’s Over
The City council voted 8-1 this week to finalize $1.56 million in settlements with women suing the SDPD alleging inappropriate sexual conduct.
From the Times of Washington:
One of the lawsuits was filed by three women who claimed they were sexually abused during interactions with former Officer Christopher Hays in 2012. According to city documents, the City Council voted in closed session last month to settle with two of the plaintiffs — one for $1.25 million and another for $60,000….
…In the other case finalized by the council, a woman sued following a Feb. 4, 2013, encounter with ex-Officer Donald Moncrief. The council gave tentative approval last month to a $250,000 settlement with the woman.
She alleged that Moncrief, who patrolled South Bay communities, groped her and exposed himself after arresting her in 2013. He was not charged with any crimes, though he was placed on leave and eventually left the SDPD.
District 8 Councilman David Alvarez issued a statement about his vote against the settlement:
I did not vote in support of this settlement because this is simply not an issue we can continue to sweep under the rug.The actions that led to this settlement sicken me, and if I was at liberty to talk about them, I think the public would agree we need to face this problem head on and hold management accountable.
The lawsuit plaintiff known as Jane Doe held out from settling her case against the SDPD for months, demanding more concrete steps be taken to avoid future incidents. She eventually got $5.9 million. Our sorry excuse for a City Attorney took a series of steps aimed at slut shaming the woman, backing down after media accounts appeared.
But now, everything’s okay. Honest.
In response, the Police Department issued a statement saying Chief Shelley Zimmerman has reformed the department since taking over a year ago.
“Chief Zimmerman has tackled issues head on and has not swept anything under the rug,” the statement said.
On This Day: 1943 – The special representative of the National War Labor Board issueed a report, “Retroactive Date for Women’s Pay Adjustments,” setting forth provisions for wage rates for women working in war industries who were asking for equal pay. Women a year earlier had demanded equal pay for comparable work as that done by men. 1975 – The U.S. embassy in Vietnam was evacuated as North Vietnamese forces fought their way into Saigon. 1992 – Rioting began after a jury decision to acquit four Los Angeles policemen in the Rodney King beating trial. 54 people were killed in 3 days.
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