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Don midwest
Don midwest

Foreign Policy establishment threatened by Bernie

Oh NO!

And as Sanders has noted repeatedly in recent days, he opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq that most U.S. leaders, including former vice president Joe Biden, supported, advancing an argument that he is the most unwavering antiwar candidate in the race.

“I think it would be a fundamental shift, assuming his principles hold in the transition from campaigning to governing,” said Aaron David Miller, a former adviser to six secretaries of state and now a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “You’ve had a consensus in this country on certain principles. Joe Biden represents that consensus. And to a degree, Obama as well.”

How dare he challenge the establishment consensus which has kept us in war all of this new century.

How Bernie Sanders would upend America’s global role

The second paragraph above features Aaron David Miller. He spoke at Chautauqua several years ago for an hour each afternoon. He spoke about the Middle East and I strained to understand the complex situation he described. Later I realized he was a fuzzy Zionist, one to keep the conversation going about Israel, but not tackling it. He spent years at the Wilson Center in DC which is a think thank partially supported by the government which has been around for 50 years.

Note that Biden and Obama represent consensus. An appeal to the democratic status quo which has worked hand in hand with republicans to build the military state.

And Bernie spoke out about Bolivia right away. How did he know about the coup right at the start? Maybe, seen these for decades supported by US government.

Don midwest
Don midwest



Interesting that Solomon doesn’t point out that the Warren camp has done most of the escalating here and unlike Bernie I have seen no walk back from Warren from the tensions. Solomon is probably right not to get in the he said she said because that would do nothing to de-escalate the war of words.


For progressives, the need for a Sanders-Warren united front is crucial. Yes, there are some significant differences between the two candidates, especially on foreign policy (which is one of the reasons that I actively support Sanders). Those differences should be aired in the open, while maintaining a tactical alliance.

Sustaining progressive momentum for both Sanders and Warren is essential for preventing the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination from going to the likes of Biden or Buttigieg—a grim outcome that would certainly gratify the 44 billionaires and their spouses who’ve donated to Biden, the 40 billionaires and their spouses who’ve donated to Buttigieg, and the oligarchic interests they represent.

It would be a serious error for progressives to buy into corporate media portrayals of the Sanders and Warren campaigns as destined to play a traditional zero-sum political game. The chances are high that by the time the primaries end this spring, Sanders and Warren—as well as their supporters—will need to join forces so one of them can become the nominee at the Democratic National Convention in mid-July.

In the meantime, during the next few months, top corporate Democrats certainly hope to see a lot more headlines like one that greeted New York Times readers Monday morning: “Elizabeth Warren Says Bernie Sanders Sent Volunteers ‘Out to Trash Me’.”

(Sanders tried to defuse what he called a “media blow up” on Sunday, saying: “We have hundreds of employees. Elizabeth Warren has hundreds of employees. And people sometimes say things that they shouldn’t.” And: “Elizabeth Warren is a very good friend of mine. No one is going to trash Elizabeth Warren.”)

Keeping eyes on the prize this year will require a united front that can strengthen progressive forces, prevent any corporate Democrat from winning the party’s presidential nomination, and then go on to defeat Donald Trump.

It would be a serious error for progressives to buy into corporate media portrayals of the Sanders and Warren campaigns as destined to play a traditional zero-sum political game.


Warren really disappointed me on that one. Someone gave her bad advice.


Speaking of advice. She is not really who she is pretending to be.🤔😮


If she doesn’t come out to disavow all this, then yes.

I just saw yet another media outlet, five minutes ago, assert the nonsense as fact. I haven’t seen such a campaign of propaganda catapulting like this since 2002, in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq.

The word “reportedly” is used twice in the short piece and then there’s this:

were given scripted talking points criticizing Warren and suggesting her supporters are elitist.

That word, elitist, is nowhere to be found in the so-called script, only in the title of the Politico hit piece. Yet there it is, stated as fact.



Something’s happening with Bernie Sanders that looked unlikely to many a few months ago: Progressive leaders and organizations are lining up behind him, not Elizabeth Warren, in the lead-up to voting.

Two groups run by young people — the Sunrise Movement, which seeks to combat climate change, and Dream Defenders, which advocates for people of color — endorsed him last week. He’s also won the backing of People’s Action and the Center for Popular Democracy, which together claim more than 1.5 million members, as well as three lawmakers in the so-called “Squad” and liberal-minded labor unions.

The consolidation of left-wing support is a remarkable turnaround for Sanders. In September, the Working Families Party became the first major national progressive group to endorse a candidate when it picked Warren — despite siding with Sanders in 2016. Warren was surging at the time, and looked poised to overtake Sanders as the leader of the progressive movement and a frontrunner for the nomination.

But now it’s Sanders with the wind at his back. The endorsements, on display here Sunday when Rep. Rashida Tlaib and the Sunrise Movement joined him for a rally attended by more than 900 people, are giving him a jolt of momentum weeks ahead of the Iowa caucuses and supplying him with fresh volunteers in key areas.

A Sanders staffer said that they often encouraged leaders in those meetings to ask him a common refrain in movement politics: “What brought you to the work?” That prompted Sanders, who doesn’t often talk about his personal background, to open up about growing up in a paycheck to paycheck household and being a civil rights activist in his youth.

“They would hear him talk about the first time Bernie got arrested was fighting segregated housing and systemic racism in college,” said Analilia Mejia, Sanders’ national political director. “For many of these organizers, their activism began the same way as Bernie Sanders.”

Sanders advisers said they’ve prioritized winning endorsements of groups that allow grass-roots members to participate, believing that he performs best in those situations. While crafting their policy proposals, campaign aides said they sought the input of groups such as People’s Action and the Center for Popular Democracy. Reps. Ilhan Omar and Tlaib also made calls to the organizations’ affiliates in their districts to advocate for Sanders, according to a campaign staffer.



If you’re a part of the Democratic party’s power structures, the same structures that failed to thwart Republican takeover of local and state governments and Trump’s election, then perhaps you have reason for concern. Sanders is running a different campaign – in rhetoric, ideology and base – than other primary candidates. And he’s clearly a threat to the Democratic party status quo – its large donors and its nomenklatura would be on the outs in a Sanders administration.

But if you’re an ordinary Democratic voter, or just someone worried about the possibility of a second Trump term, there’s no need for panic. Sanders is a candidate with both a long record of electoral success and real progressive accomplishments in both executive and legislative office. He may still be something of an outsider in Washington, owing to his style and political background, but he’s far less of a radical than either his most ardent supporters or implacable foes care to admit.

Sanders represents a new political mainstream in the United States, more egalitarian in outlook than liberalism but less likely to turn off the non-partisan, irregular voters who will need to be won over in November.

In 2009, when Obama met one of his leftwing supporters, the Nation publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel, he reminded her that “the perfect is the enemy of the good”. With a commanding electoral mandate, the president must have felt confident that he had a formula for success. But under his watch, the Democrats lost 13 governorships and a whopping 816 state legislative seats.

The same figures who steered the party under Obama also assured us that Hillary Clinton was closer to the “median voter” and thus more electable than either Sanders or Trump.

Maybe it’s time we stopped pretending that Messina and Obama know how best to win elections in the United States.


For bucking a key arm of the Democratic Party establishment that has stood in the way of attracting and supporting progressive candidates, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) received applause over the weekend after she announced the launch of a new political action committee designed to directly challenge the power of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee by helping insurgent, left-leaning challengers like herself take on both Republican incumbents and centrist Democrats.

“The rumors are true,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Saturday. “Today we’re announcing the Courage to Change PAC—and we need your help. We are pushing the envelope in D.C. by rewarding those who reject lobbyist money, fight for working families, and welcome newcomers.”


Bold play! I hope it takes, as sidelining the DCCC would be a major accomplishment.



“At each pivotal moment,” Mr. Biden said of Mr. Bush, “he has chosen a course of moderation and deliberation, and I believe he will continue to do so. At least that is my fervent hope.”

On Oct. 11, he was one of 77 senators to authorize the use of military force in Iraq. Twenty-three colleagues, some of whom harbored grave doubts about the danger Iraq posed at the time, refused to back the president’s request.

Nearly two decades later, Mr. Biden, who by 2005 was calling that vote a mistake, is running for president in part on his foreign policy experience, emphasizing his commander-in-chief credentials at a moment of heightened tensions between the United States and Iran.

Yet the Iraq war vote is part of the extensive record he cites, and he has struggled to accurately account for it on the campaign trail, repeatedly suggesting he opposed the war and Mr. Bush’s conduct from the beginning, claims that detailed fact checks have deemed wrong or misleading.

The vote has exposed him to direct and implicit criticism from his chief presidential rivals, including Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a military veteran, and especially Senator Bernie Sanders, who voted against the war as a Vermont congressman and whose campaign has sharpened its criticism of Mr. Biden in recent days.

Now, three weeks before the Iowa caucuses — held in a state with a fierce antiwar streak — the issue threatens to be a campaign liability for Mr. Biden as he seeks to assure voters of his ability to handle a foreign crisis even as he works to distance himself from a war that has had enormous costs for his own family, and for the nation.

A review of how Mr. Biden operated in the fall of 2002, as he weighed the question of authorizing the use of military force, reveals core truths about how he has worked for decades: as a Senate dealmaker at heart, with a reverence for bipartisan compromise that his supporters admire — and that critics say has colored his judgment during some of the most consequential moments of his career.


a reverence for bipartisan compromise

That’s a great way to describe Biden. Bipartisanship is practically his religion. Bipartisanship hasn’t worked out very well for the people.

Joe Biden and the Disastrous History of Bipartisanship

For Biden and his generation of Democratic lawmakers, bipartisanship has long been hailed as a worthy end in its own right, no matter the result.

Even Chuck Todd is skeptical.

as moderator Chuck Todd told Biden at the first Democratic debate, “It does sound as if you haven’t seen what’s been happening in the United States Senate over the last 12 years.”

An increasingly far-right GOP has ruthlessly obstructed Democrats while dangling cooperation to lure them rightward. The outcome has been a disaster for progressives. The parties have cooperated to water down or kill left-leaning measures and advance a right-wing agenda, from shredding the New Deal to ramping up deportation, turning the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama into graveyards of progressive policies. Democrats increasingly understand that, if they want to generate consensus, they’ll have to do it some other way than meeting a right-moving GOP in the “middle.”

Joe Biden’s political career is an exemplar of the price the Democratic Party paid as the Right slid into the dark reaches of the political spectrum.

As overt racism faded in polite society after the 1960s, those committed to beating back the advance of civil rights found proxy issues to dog whistle a racist tune: crime, drugs, welfare and busing. They found a willing partner in a 30-year-old freshman senator: Biden.

As conflict over court-ordered busing roiled his home state, Biden led a crusade against the civil rights measure, later boasting that he made it politically acceptable for other liberals to oppose it.

Biden also led the way on budget-slashing

Bipartisanship reached its apogee after September 11, when Biden swiftly became one of the most prominent Democrats to hitch himself to President George W. Bush’s foreign policy.

In 2008, Vice President Biden found a home with “postpartisan” Obama, who, Perlstein says, “was wedded to the myths of consensus in a way that a lot of his supporters hadn’t realized at the time.”

Obama had risen to stardom with his 2004 convention speech denying the existence of a “red” and “blue” America, a feeling that suffused Democratic politics. Nary a 2008 primary debate went by without Sen. Hillary Clinton (N.Y.), for example, pledging something or other of a bipartisan nature: a “bipartisan process” to tackle Social Security, a “bipartisan way” on immigration reform, even “bipartisan diplomacy” headed by “bipartisan emissaries.”

But once president, “Republicans used Obama’s own longing for consensus and bipartisanship against him,” says (Thomas) Frank.

There’s a lot more.

Here is the author of that thorough piece:


The subtitle of the above piece:

Biden wants to bring the parties together. But for 50 years, that’s meant the Right winning every time.


Another excellent article from Ryan Grim


AS EARLY AS 1984 and as recently as 2018, former Vice President Joe Biden called for cuts to Social Security in the name of saving the program and balancing the federal budget. Last week, Sen. Bernie Sanders highlighted Biden’s record on Social Security in prosecuting the case that Biden isn’t the most electable candidate. The issue could be raised again in Tuesday night’s debate.

After a Sanders campaign newsletter continued the attack on Biden’s Social Security record, the Biden campaign complained to fact-checkers at Politifact that his comments were being taken out of context. Placed in context, however, Biden’s record on Social Security is far worse than one offhand remark. Indeed, Biden has been advocating for cuts to Social Security for roughly 40 years.

And after a Republic wave swept Congress in 1994, Biden’s support for cutting Social Security, and his general advocacy for budget austerity, made him a leading combatant in the centrist-wing battle against the party’s retreating liberals in the 1980s and ‘90s.

Biden himself, at least on his campaign website, now supports making Social Security more generous, not less. But that’s at odds with decades of his own advocacy, a record that could become a major political liability among voters concerned Biden will finally get his wish to trim back Social Security checks.

Over the years, Biden, in speeches and interviews, has often taken pains to let listeners know that he’s taking an unpopular stance, being explicit about the risk he knows he’s taking.

“One of the things my political advisers say to me, is, whoa, don’t touch that third rail,” Biden told Tim Russert on “Meet the Press,” while running for president in 2007.

With this year’s presidential contest being fought over the terrain of electability, Biden’s 35-plus-year effort to cut Social Security, arguably the most popular government program in existence, is potentially a major liability among older voters — and hypocrisy has never held Trump back from making an effective political attack. Biden’s historical position also stands in stark contrast to Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, both of whom support increasing benefits, and have offered ways to make the program solvent indefinitely.


Being a maverick to side with the wealthy and powerful…a real profile in courage there, Joe.

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