Democracy Spring After the DNC

Democracy Spring way fwdI just had the pleasure of reading Democracy Spring’s piece entitled “Democracy Spring After the DNC”, posted on Medium. It spoke not only to me, but also for me. Here is my summary, or rather Cliff’s notes version of that piece. The link to the full version will be at the bottom of this page. It is well worth your time.

First, the social view of power tells us that popular movements can win regardless of who holds authority in government.
Further, voting must be clearly understood, as Noam Chomsky argues, not as “a form of individual self-expression [but rather] as an act to be judged on its likely consequences.” Predictable social impact, not preferred alignment with personal values, must guide us.

Second, the fundamental structure of the United States electoral system limits our options for effective political action. Denying these constraints won’t help us change them.
Ours is a first-past-the-post, winner-take-all, single-member district electoral system. Further, if a minor party candidate gains substantial minority support they actually empower the major party most opposed to their positions by pulling a potentially decisive margin of votes from the more closely-aligned major party. The “spoiler effect” is real.
At no level of government is this more true than the Presidency. In the US, the presidential candidate who wins a majority of electoral college votes wins the race.

Thus — a third key point — in the US, movements win by mobilizing popular support to shift the political landscape and force at least one of the two parties to adopt and institutionalize their demands.

Together, these three points lead to a clear conclusion: strategic voting and effective electoral engagement for progressive struggles in our country requires that, with rare exceptions, we shape the terrain of political struggle in our favor by supporting egalitarian challengers like Bernie Sanders in Democratic Party primaries and — to defeat Republicans who firmly oppose our demands — critically supporting Democrats in the general election.

First, we must defeat Trump. In this populist moment, Trump’s fascism represents the greatest possible threat to the democracy movement and any progressive insurgency.

Second, we must accept the fact that Trump will only be defeated by electing Hillary Clinton. Because of the electoral rules we reviewed above, a minor party candidate like Jill Stein — despite her bold progressive platform and transformative aspirations — simply will not win.

However, let us be very clear. By voting for Clinton, we are not choosing a friend, a leader, or a champion of our values. We are choosing the better option among two possible political battlefields.

We must also acknowledge — if only to recognize the victories and power of progressive movements — that Clinton has been pushed to adopt many just positions including the key demands of our movement, DAPA, the fight for $15, debt-free college, and opposition to the TPP. These promises matter not because Clinton is a trustworthy leader, but because the support of a presidential nominee legitimizes our positions, shifts the debate in our favor, and creates political costs for elected officials (including her) who fail to enact our demands.

Third, we must remember that despite the importance of the Presidency for defining the political landscape, control of Congress is even more critical for our fight.

With the Equal Voice For All Declaration (EVFA) and decentralized nonviolent direct action. We will challenge competitive Congressional and down-ballot candidates across the country to sign the EVFA and go on the record in support of democracy reform.

No reform, we shut it down. Then in 2018, we take over.
Full article: Democracy Spring After The DNC



Bernie & Jane’s Real Estate

Yes, Bernie and Jane Sanders purchased a third home in August 2016. At a reported $575K.
So what?

Jane had inherited a lake house in Maine that had been in her family since 1900 and which they rarely had an opportunity to visit.
They sold that property and reinvested the proceeds to purchase the modest summer house on Lake Champlain. Reinvesting the proceeds of a real estate sale is also what intelligent people do in order to avoid ungodly Capital Gains taxes.

Wash DC home
And yes, it is their third home. They also own a home in Washington, D.C. Where, by the way, Bernie has worked for many years.
It only makes sense that he would have purchased a home in the city where he works, rather than throwing away his money on rent.
The DC house is one bedroom, 896 sq ft.

Which brings us to Bernie and Jane’s Burlington, Vermont home.

In the end, what Bernie and Jane Sanders choose to do with their money is their business and only their business.

Not mine. Not yours. Only theirs.

Bernie Sanders Buys $575,000 Lakefront Vacation Home

Bernie Sanders’ New House: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know



Bernie or Bust

Bernie or Bust. What does it mean? More specifically, what it means to me.

First, for the record, let me just get this out of the way: I do not accept anybody else’s definition of what “or bust” means. No web page, no facebook page, and certainly no pledge.

When I first saw the pledge, I did not sign it simply because I thought it belied the entire “or bust” concept. The pledge states, in a nutshell, “We’re Bernie or Bust, but only if it works out well for Bernie; then if, not we desert Bernie and run to Jill.” Hey folks – that isn’t “Bust”. That’s just “Bernie or Jill”. You’re not fooling me.

The true “or bust” terminology had its roots in the movement of pioneers crossing west over rugged terrain. It means:
– or collapse from the effort
– or die trying

Bernie or Bust. It does not mean Bernie or some other alternative thing.


I am Bernie or Bust. I’m with Bernie.




Jill Stein Green Party Town Hall

In CNN’s Town Hall tonight, Dr. Dyan Hes, a pediatrician, asked Jill Stein specifically about her stance on the vaccination schedule.

Stein’s response was to say that she had been “taken out of context” on the issue. She rambled on for several minutes, but she never responded about the schedule. Her stance on vaccinations was not the question. It was the schedule specifically.
If you are unfamiliar with this terminology, please see here:
CDC Vaccination Schedules

Regarding being taken out of context, she was probably referring to this 07/29/16 Washington Post article quote: “There were concerns among physicians about what the vaccination schedule meant, the toxic substances like mercury which used to be rampant in vaccines. There were real questions that needed to be addressed. I think some of them at least have been addressed. I don’t know if all of them have been addressed.”
Note: Stein knows full well mercury is no longer used in vaccines.
WaPo article: Jill Stein on vaccines: People have ‘real questions’

Once again, Stein avoided the question and danced around it. As a medical professional, I’ve seen avoidance by physicians many times, so I know it when I see it.

This is quite simple. Dr. Dyan Hes asked Stein about the vaccination schedule. Stein did not answer that specific question.
It doesn’t matter if all of her previous answers had been “taken out of context”. This one question was live. This one question is on video. She could have answered this one and she chose not to. She cannot walk this one back.
Start at 31:25 – CNN Green Party Town Hall 08/17/16 (Start at 31:25)


At some point tonight, Stein said she was now practicing medical politics.”What is that?”, I asked the TV. And then I remembered. That is when you are no longer a physician, but you are a politician. If you are no longer a physician – you should say so and forego the title as well as the license.



Long Live the Revolution!

Jill: “Don’t Vote out of Fear”

The anthem of those former Berners who now support Stein is:
“I will not vote out of Fear”.

But wait. Isn’t that exactly what they are doing?

Primarily, what they propose is to vote for Stein because they will never vote for Clinton.

Never mind that the Democratic platform is the most progressive platform in history and the only way we can hope to get that platform into legislation is to elect the Democratic nominee. Never mind that if Trump becomes president all of that goes down the toilet along with much much more. Never mind that Bernie Sanders himself has repeatedly asked his supporters to back the Democratic nominee.

Sure, they can say Stein has all the right ideas. But, for the most part, they’re just Bernie’s ideas, revamped somewhat. And she doesn’t provide answers about how to implement her proposals.  She lacks experience in government. She lacks experience in leadership.

Please take a day away from social media and think through this, my fellow Berners. Think about the big picture and why each vote is so very important. It’s your choice, your decision, your vote. I just don’t want you to regret it a year from now.

As Bernie says: “Going forward and continuing the struggle is what matters. And, in that struggle, the most immediate task we face is to defeat Donald Trump.”
source: Bernie Sanders’ LA Times Op-Ed


Long Live the Revolution!

Open Letter to Hillary Clinton

What ever happened to “Stronger Together” – the slogan that seemed to be aimed at Sanders supporters so strongly during the convention? I haven’t seen anything about that on your page since then.

Bernie Sanders is encouraging his voters to vote for you. But we’d like to hear from you.

Some of Bernie’s supporters are not willing to vote for you unless/until you reach out to them, and we would also like for you to ask your supporters to do the same. Some of us are not willing to follow Jill Stein. And we are absolutely not going to vote for Trump.

The only thing we are hearing from your people is negativism, and we are not used to that. Telling us to vote blue or else isn’t enough for most of us.

Bernie’s message is one of hope for the future. One of what We can do together to work towards a more progressive goal. The Sanders Institute will educate. Our Revolution will support downline candidates. Both will get more people, especially young people, involved in politics.

I suspect this is why some Berners are turning to Jill Stein. She’s a happy-go-lucky woman who posted all of Bernie’s ideas on social media, then came to the people during the convention like a pied piper, and who presents them with all the positive options. They see her as a panacea of hope.

Sorry. I’m not one of those people. I’m not taking the Dr. Jill Pill. It’s a temporary high with no long term solutions. I know that. But for now, I am stranded in this current election cycle.

Do you think all Berners are bad people? Is that why you’ve deserted us?

It really wouldn’t take that much for you to reach out your hand to Berners and for you to encourage your supporters to do the same. “Stronger Together” is a message that your campaign should still be marketing to all Berners, for the purpose of appearing to build a bridge, if nothing else.

As it stands right now, all we have is “I’ll hold my nose and vote for her.” Is that really what you want?

with her

Long Live the Revolution!

On Jill Stein

1) On 08/05/16, Bernie Sanders posted an Op-Ed in the LA Times.
“Going forward and continuing the struggle is what matters. And, in that struggle, the most immediate task we face is to defeat Donald Trump.”
Source: Bernie Sanders’ LA Times Op-Ed

2) I discovered this disturbing blog piece written about Bernie by none other than Jill Stein’s VP Pick, Ajamu Baraka; and I am furious.
On his blog, he said Bernie “was less concerned about actual political reform and more interested in a tacit commitment to Eurocentrism and normalized white supremacy.”
And that “Sanders supporters, are basically just naive shills.”
I don’t like this one iota. And neither should any of my fellow Berners. He wrote this in February, by the way, so it has absolutely nothing to do with Clinton.
Baraka, you arrogant ass. We are anything but naive shills. How dare the Stein campaign take the Sanders campaign talking points, major issues, and even our memes, ride on its coattails, and then tell us WE are the shills?
I have nothing good to say about this man who had the audacity to disparage Bernie Sanders and all Sanders supporters. Nothing.
Here it is. Scroll down to “On Bernie Sanders and his supporters:”
On Bernie Sanders and his supporters

3) I am concerned with the mixed messages Stein sends regarding vaccination. The average citizen is confused by it, and could possibly hesitate to vaccinate due to their confusion.
Her words are not clear or concise. The rumors that she is anti-vax are a direct result of her own words, putting politics first and leaving it open to misinterpretation.
Her first duty is as a physician (not a politician) – to educate and inform, clearly and succinctly. First do no harm.
Vaccinations are important for the prevention and spread of disease. She should state this unequivocally.

Even snopes says, “However, her somewhat equivocal statements surrounding that issue allow for a fair bit of leeway and interpretation..”
“When she was asked “What is your campaign’s official stance on vaccines and homeopathic medicine?”-
Stein responded at length, but she mostly offered her views on the ‘medical-industrial complex’ rather than addressing the subject of vaccinations and homeopathic medicine.”
It appears she desires to remain somewhat vague intentionally, in order to gather the support of both sides of this debate. If this was anyone else, these would be labeled dog whistle comments pandering to anti-vaxers while retaining a level of plausible deniability with respect to a general audience. But it’s Jill, so her followers give her a pass or explain on her behalf.

If she cannot even provide a straight answer as a physician, and she’s putting politics ahead of health, whatever trust or respect I might have once had for her as an individual was lost.

Please refer to my “Hillary Horrifies Me” post regarding First Past The Post to understand why a third party candidate is not viable.
Hillary Horrifies Me

Something about the Stein movement has smelled like opportunism for quite a while now, and with her posting all of Bernie’s content, it has been especially off-putting. She is not Bernie’s “surrogate” and this is not her Revolution.
She lacks the general experience to lead a nation. She lacks any experience in an elective office. She has never served as an elected official. The office of POTUS is not an entry-level position. If the green party wants to get anywhere, they need to start at the grass roots level first. Not at the highest office in the country.

I’ve been watching this unfold, and I’ve decided I’m not taking the Dr. Jill Pill. It’s a temporary high with no long-term solutions. Immediate gratification is like that.
Bernie Sanders is the Founding Father of the American Political Revolution. He’s been working at it for over thirty years and nobody else is going to swoop in and become the leader of the revolution he started.

I’m with Bernie Sanders. I’ve never really wavered. I have always said I would follow his lead if he did not get the nomination. After the convention, I had to grieve for a while. It’s time to move on now. There’s a revolution going on.


Long Live the Revolution!