Bernie Sanders Mr. Sanders is still running the Windows 95 version of progressive politics.

Bernie Sanders is still running the Windows 95 version of progressive politics.

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Senator Bernie Sanders

Team Bernie

By John V. Walsh

As the Democratic primaries came to an end Tuesday night, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton met. Mr. Sanders presumably made a strong case that the ideas and ideological direction of his campaign should be incorporated into her campaign and, if she wins, her presidency.

Earlier in the day, in anticipation of the meeting, he said, “I think the time is now — in fact, the time is long overdue — for a fundamental transformation of the Democratic Party.”

Mr. Sanders’s achievement has been to show the leadership of his recently adopted party that Democrats and many independents under 35 — that is, those who weren’t adults during Bill Clinton’s administration — are eager for a full-throated progressive agenda and are unafraid of backlash. While Democrats in the 1990s — notably Bill and Hillary Clinton — worried about the party’s mistakes of the 1970s, many in this decade worry more about triangulation and the cautious politics of the 1990s.

What will a post-Sanders progressive agenda look like? The first stop will be the official party platform. But for all the work and squabbling that go into them, platforms have long been throwaway documents.

The real progressive agenda will be written over the next few years, either to push the Clinton administration or to shape a challenge to a Republican president and Congress. But it’s unlikely that this new progressive agenda will be Mr. Sanders’s agenda, specifically, or that Mr. Sanders himself will be the leading advocate and arbiter of progressive policies in the way that Senator Edward M. Kennedy once was. Mr. Sanders is still running the Windows 95 version of progressive politics.

For one thing, he has never had the kind of influence with his colleagues that he found with the grass roots this year, in part because he never defined himself as a Democrat. No one expects that he’ll run for president again at 78 or 82, so he won’t have the clout of a senator who is seen as a potential president. And any institutional power he may gain as chairman or a ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee sounds a lot bigger than it really is. The committee’s main job is to produce a nonbinding budget resolution, and in many recent years, it hasn’t even done that.

But the biggest reason that Mr. Sanders won’t shape the next progressive agenda stems from a little-noticed aspect of his campaign: His policy proposals were consistently out of step with the ideas that have been emerging from progressive think tanks like Demos or the Center for American Progress or championed by his own congressional colleagues.

For example, many liberal Democrats would agree with Mr. Sanders, in theory, that single-payer health insurance could be fairer, more efficient and cheaper than our fragmented system. But the president and Congress made the decision in 2010 to build on the private insurance system, in the form of the Affordable Care Act, in part because single-payer wasn’t politically viable. A Democratic administration’s next moves will be to expand and strengthen the Affordable Care Act, not start over.

Like many of Mr. Sanders’s policy proposals, single-payer is an all-or-nothing proposition that creates few openings for legislators who want to do something incremental that could lead to a bigger goal. Congressmen like Senator Kennedy or Representative Henry Waxman of California often put forward ambitious ideas, too, but with manageable steps to build a structure that could be expanded later or that could attract enough support to pass.

Similarly, while progressive organizations such as the Roosevelt Institute have developed fairly complex visions for strengthening regulation of Wall Street and banks and reducing the overall “financialization” of the economy, Mr. Sanders continued to fixate on restoring the Glass-Steagall Act, which separated investment and commercial banking but had become outdated long before it was repealed in 1999. His plan to “break up the big banks” sometimes seemed to consist simply of ordering the Federal Reserve to break up the big banks. The real progressive agenda has moved well beyond that to focus on raising and strengthening capital requirements, or the amounts that banks are required to keep as cash or safe investments.

Mr. Sanders made the $15 minimum wage a cornerstone of his campaign, probably accelerating the momentum that led to its passage in two states and the District of Columbia. But his campaign barely focused on other issues related to work, such as the challenges posed by new employment models in the on-demand, or “gig,” economy, a topic of a speech by Senator Elizabeth Warren in May. Ms. Warren called for a new social contract under which “all workers — no matter when they work, where they work, who they work for, whether they pick tomatoes or build rocket ships — should have some basic protections and be able to build some economic security for themselves and their families.”

This difference is part of a larger gap between Mr. Sanders and other progressives in their approaches to economic inequality. Where Mr. Sanders talks about “redistribution” of wealth from “the billionaires” to the middle- and low-income classes through high tax rates, others, such as the economists at the Economic Policy Institute, have focused more on what is sometimes called “predistribution,” wages and the conditions of work. They would reduce the gains at the top — such as by putting some meaningful constraints on executive pay — but also make sure that workers got a greater share of the profits, not only in the form of money, but also time, flexibility and predictable scheduling. If the initial distribution of benefits and money is badly skewed, it will be hard to use tax and transfer policies alone to redistribute it.

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Mr. Sanders’s achievement in 2016 deserves respect: He has been the first insurgent Democratic candidate to emerge from the true left of the party since the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s two campaigns in the 1980s, and by far the most successful. That success points the way toward a new and more vigorous progressive agenda.

But he’s shown in his campaign that he’s unlikely to be the agent who fills in the details of that agenda. No doubt Senator Warren, with her ever-widening vision of economic fairness, will play a Kennedy-like role, whether she remains in the Senate or becomes Mrs. Clinton’s running mate.

Other Democratic senators, some almost as young as the Sanders enthusiasts, will play their part, as will outside organizations. If elected, Hillary Clinton will either join this new progressive wave or will be nudged and challenged by it. As Mr. Sanders finally steps back, the next era can begin.

Mark Schmitt is the director of the political reform program at the research organization New America.

As the Democratic primaries came to an end Tuesday night, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton met. Mr. Sanders presumably made a strong case that the ideas and ideological direction of his campaign should be incorporated into her campaign and, if she wins, her presidency.

Earlier in the day, in anticipation of the meeting, he said, “I think the time is now — in fact, the time is long overdue — for a fundamental transformation of the Democratic Party.”

Mr. Sanders’s achievement has been to show the leadership of his recently adopted party that Democrats and many independents under 35 — that is, those who weren’t adults during Bill Clinton’s administration — are eager for a full-throated progressive agenda and are unafraid of backlash. While Democrats in the 1990s — notably Bill and Hillary Clinton — worried about the party’s mistakes of the 1970s, many in this decade worry more about triangulation and the cautious politics of the 1990s.

What will a post-Sanders progressive agenda look like? The first stop will be the official party platform. But for all the work and squabbling that go into them, platforms have long been throwaway documents.

The real progressive agenda will be written over the next few years, either to push the Clinton administration or to shape a challenge to a Republican president and Congress. But it’s unlikely that this new progressive agenda will be Mr. Sanders’s agenda, specifically, or that Mr. Sanders himself will be the leading advocate and arbiter of progressive policies in the way that Senator Edward M. Kennedy once was. Mr. Sanders is still running the Windows 95 version of progressive politics.

For one thing, he has never had the kind of influence with his colleagues that he found with the grass roots this year, in part because he never defined himself as a Democrat. No one expects that he’ll run for president again at 78 or 82, so he won’t have the clout of a senator who is seen as a potential president. And any institutional power he may gain as chairman or a ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee sounds a lot bigger than it really is. The committee’s main job is to produce a nonbinding budget resolution, and in many recent years, it hasn’t even done that.

But the biggest reason that Mr. Sanders won’t shape the next progressive agenda stems from a little-noticed aspect of his campaign: His policy proposals were consistently out of step with the ideas that have been emerging from progressive think tanks like Demos or the Center for American Progress or championed by his own congressional colleagues.

For example, many liberal Democrats would agree with Mr. Sanders, in theory, that single-payer health insurance could be fairer, more efficient and cheaper than our fragmented system. But the president and Congress made the decision in 2010 to build on the private insurance system, in the form of the Affordable Care Act, in part because single-payer wasn’t politically viable. A Democratic administration’s next moves will be to expand and strengthen the Affordable Care Act, not start over.

Like many of Mr. Sanders’s policy proposals, single-payer is an all-or-nothing proposition that creates few openings for legislators who want to do something incremental that could lead to a bigger goal. Congressmen like Senator Kennedy or Representative Henry Waxman of California often put forward ambitious ideas, too, but with manageable steps to build a structure that could be expanded later or that could attract enough support to pass.

Similarly, while progressive organizations such as the Roosevelt Institute have developed fairly complex visions for strengthening regulation of Wall Street and banks and reducing the overall “financialization” of the economy, Mr. Sanders continued to fixate on restoring the Glass-Steagall Act, which separated investment and commercial banking but had become outdated long before it was repealed in 1999. His plan to “break up the big banks” sometimes seemed to consist simply of ordering the Federal Reserve to break up the big banks. The real progressive agenda has moved well beyond that to focus on raising and strengthening capital requirements, or the amounts that banks are required to keep as cash or safe investments.

Mr. Sanders made the $15 minimum wage a cornerstone of his campaign, probably accelerating the momentum that led to its passage in two states and the District of Columbia. But his campaign barely focused on other issues related to work, such as the challenges posed by new employment models in the on-demand, or “gig,” economy, a topic of a speech by Senator Elizabeth Warren in May. Ms. Warren called for a new social contract under which “all workers — no matter when they work, where they work, who they work for, whether they pick tomatoes or build rocket ships — should have some basic protections and be able to build some economic security for themselves and their families.”

This difference is part of a larger gap between Mr. Sanders and other progressives in their approaches to economic inequality. Where Mr. Sanders talks about “redistribution” of wealth from “the billionaires” to the middle- and low-income classes through high tax rates, others, such as the economists at the Economic Policy Institute, have focused more on what is sometimes called “predistribution,” wages and the conditions of work. They would reduce the gains at the top — such as by putting some meaningful constraints on executive pay — but also make sure that workers got a greater share of the profits, not only in the form of money, but also time, flexibility and predictable scheduling. If the initial distribution of benefits and money is badly skewed, it will be hard to use tax and transfer policies alone to redistribute it.

Mr. Sanders’s achievement in 2016 deserves respect: He has been the first insurgent Democratic candidate to emerge from the true left of the party since the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s two campaigns in the 1980s, and by far the most successful. That success points the way toward a new and more vigorous progressive agenda.

But he’s shown in his campaign that he’s unlikely to be the agent who fills in the details of that agenda. No doubt Senator Warren, with her ever-widening vision of economic fairness, will play a Kennedy-like role, whether she remains in the Senate or becomes Mrs. Clinton’s running mate.

Other Democratic senators, some almost as young as the Sanders enthusiasts, will play their part, as will outside organizations. If elected, Hillary Clinton will either join this new progressive wave or will be nudged and challenged by it. As Mr. Sanders finally steps back, the next era can begin.

Mark Schmitt is the director of the political reform program at the research organization New America.
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Posted by Ainhoa Aristizabal — Unruly Hearts editor

By John V. Walsh
Global Research, June 14, 2016
CounterPunch 13 June 2016

Region: USA
Theme: Militarization and WMD

Hillary2-400x266Hillary Clinton’s statement on the mass murder in Orlando is mostly a confection of the empty, saccharine pieties for which the entire American political class is known – but it concluded with a revealing statement.

There she said: “This is the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States and it reminds us once more that weapons of war have no place on our streets.” (Emphasis, jw)

But those “weapons of war” have been used on the streets of Iraq and in midnight raids on the civilian population in the war there that Hillary so ardently backed.

Does she even grasp what she is saying? She is saying that it is an atrocity to use such weapons on Americans – but not on the brown people, civilians in their homes, in Iraq and throughout the greater Middle East and North Africa in U.S. wars of aggression and the occupation. To be horrified by the use of those weapons on Americans but not on Arabs qualifies as racism of the basest sort.

And what about the causes of the atrocity in Orlando? In attempting to discuss the cause, she mentions the lack of gun control and the discrimination against the LGBT community. But she forgets to say in her statement that ISIS laid claim to the atrocity, lauding one of its American followers for carrying out the deed. So ISIS is responsible, and the hatred of America on which ISIS thrives is responsible.

But where does ISIS come from? It did not exist before the war on Iraq that Hillary and her fellow neocons peddled so assiduously with lie upon lie. The war on Iraq, the divide and conquer tactic that the US invaders used to set Shia against Sunni to cripple the population are the factors that brought ISIS into being. The civil war in Syria, another pet project of Hillary’s, gave a further opening and impetus to ISIS.

And Barack Obama had pretty much the same message as his evil ex-Secretary of State. Gun control and LGBT rights were front and center, but nary a word about the devastation the U.S. Empire has wrought in the Middle East that brought about the rise of ISIS.

The word “blowback” was not to be found in Hillary’s or Obama’s statements.

But of course it goes deeper than that. The U.S. has long backed Saudi Arabia where the ideology for ISIS was concocted and promoted. Saudi Arabia and the other medieval monarchies of the Gulf who have so ardently supported ISIS have long been supported by the U.S. The secular governments in the region like those of Gaddafi, Hussein and now Assad, in contrast, are targets for regime change ops – brutal ones at that. These are the very governments that fought the Islamic fundamentalists – and the US has attacked every one of them. How deep does the hand of the U.S. government, or parts of it, go in the rise of ISIS? It is a question that needs to be answered by a full Congressional investigation, but chances of that are nil while Obama and Hillary and their neocon buddies are in charge.

Finally the U.S. alliance with Israel and the backing of the apartheid Jewish state in its long, slow genocide of an entire Arab people, the Palestinians, also stirs hatred for the U.S. Does Hillary think that has nothing to do with the hatred ISIS expresses for the U.S? She apparently thinks “the price is worth it,” to quote a protege of hers. Thus Hillary in her obeisance to AIPAC and the rest of the Israeli Lobby puts herself in the front ranks of those who have given birth to events like the ones in Orlando.

Atrocities breed atrocities. Or as Andrew Kopkind remarked in another context, the skies were dark in Orlando this past weekend with the chickens coming home to roost.
Prof. John V. Walsh, MD, can be reached at john.endwar@gmail.com. He usually does not include his title in a little bio like this, but in this case the political essay above involved a bit about science. can be reached at John.Endwar@gmail.com
The original source of this article is CounterPunch
Copyright © John V. Walsh, CounterPunch, 2016

Posted by Ainhoa Aristizabal — Unruly Hearts editor

By Tyler Durden
Global Research, June 13, 2016
Zero Hedge 12 June 2016

Region: Russia and FSU
Theme: Militarization and WMD, US NATO War Agenda

The launching of the European missile defense system (Aegis) by the United States in May has repeatedly been criticized by Russia as an attempt by the US to take away first mover advantage in the event that the US ever decided to attack.

While Russia has already indicated that the deployment of of Iskander missile systems would be one certain response to neutralize the the anti-ballistic missile defense system, Russia has wasted no time in developing future responses.

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