Yes, Let’s Talk…Thanks for daring to say it Bernie Sanders!

Imperialism has been a “gift that keeps on giving” that Europe has imposed on the World for centuries and it did not start there, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could move beyond that in the Twenty First Century! One of the BIG and I MEAN HUUUUUGE! differences between the foreign policies of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton is that Hillary Clinton wants to keep the status quo going and Bernie Sanders wants to emphasise dialogue.

I will do a series of articles on this topic including my thoughts on our relationship with Russia several countries in South America, but this article will focus on Iran.

Iran has played a very large role in US politics since 1980. It could be argued that some rather trivial mistakes made by President Jimmy Carter in 1979, mostly as a result of listening to bad advisors…a topic worth another set of articles…, led to the hostage crisis and gave ex-head of the CIA George Bush the opening he needed to orchestrate the October Surprise that ended up being the deciding factor in the 1980 election that brought the Reagan/Bush era into existence. It is hard to overstate what a drastic negative impact that had on the United States and World Politics in General.

This series of videos gives you a good overview of the history behind our current situation with Iran. Kind of a must watch.

Iran and The West 1/3: The Man Who Changed The World – BBC (Feb 7, 2009)

Iran and The West 2/3: The Pariah State – BBC (Feb 14, 2009)

Iran and The West 3/3: Nuclear Confrontation – BBC (Feb 21, 2009)
Episode 3 is the most telling regarding the current situation. The Bush administration was blocking any semblance of trust and Iran returned the favor by electing a hardline regime so the negotiations simply could not happen. Even when Iran was willing to talk, the Bush administration just put a line in the sand and when the Iranians complied the US moved the line. The film was made in 2009, so it ends with Obama extending a hand to the Iranians so now there is an agreement. But once again, the Republicans are trying to undermine it. If they do it will end in tears for everyone involved. The bottom line is: The Republicans SUCK!

The Truth Behind The Iran Nuclear Talks
And here is an interesting and ironic twist to the entire situation.

Sanders on Human Rights

From the article:
19 Examples of Bernie Sanders’ Powerful Record on Civil and Human Rights Since the 1950s–From fighting segregation to standing against police violence.

  1. Raising Money For Korean Orphans while in High School!
  2. Being Arrested For Desegregation while in College.
  3. Calling For Full Gay Equality 40 years ago!
  4. Standing Up For Victims Of U.S. Imperialism In Latin America in 1985.
  5. Condemned And Opposed Welfare Reform and Dog Whistle Politics implemented and supported by President Bill Clinton.
  6. Vocally Condemned and Opposed “Tough on Crime” policies his entire career.
  7. Voted Against Cutting Off Prisoners From Federal Education Funds in the 90’s.
  8. Took the IMF, the Clinton administration and Robert Rubin over workers rights in Indonesia.
  9. A 93 percent rating from the ACLU and a 97% rating by the NAACP.
  10. Voted Against the PATRIOT Act: The USA PATRIOT Act.
  11. Opposed Both Iraq Wars.
  12. Sanders practices “solidarity politics” organizing to protect workers in “both” countries.
  13. Endorsed Jesse Jackson.
  14. Speaks Up For Palestinians.
  15. Strongly Condemns Police Violence.
  16. Embraced Immigrants When Hillary Clinton Refused To Talk To Them.
  17. Defender of the Voter Rights Act.
  18. Fights Against Employment Discrimination for LGBT Communities.
  19. Has a Detailed Plan to End Economic Crisis in Minority Communities

As Mayor, U.S. House of Representative Member and Senator of the State of Vermont, these were not issues that were high on the agenda of his constituents, so that fact that he has consistently made these issues such a high priority over the years speaks Volumes.

Letter to Black Movement Law Project regarding Hillary Clinton Endorsement

While listening to an interview with Nicole Lee of the Black Movement Law Project on the KPFA Hard Knocks Radio show, I was surprised to hear that the Black Movement Law Project has chosen to endorse Hillary Clinton, given Hillary Clinton’s dismal record of race related issues. Here is the letter I wrote to Nicole:
Dear Nicole Lee,
The office of the President in this country is very, very important and anyone who claims otherwise only needs to consider Jimmy Carter proudly boasts that he raised the minimum wage and that there was not a single bomb dropped while he was President, versus the Reagan/Bush years where there was scandal after scandal and wars after war. Jimmy Carter waged a war on poverty, Ronald Reagan waged a war on the poor and minorities and Black America was firmly in the crosshairs. The President sets the mood of the country in so many ways and this November is CRITICAL so I am hoping you will carefully consider what I have to say in this email.
I was listening to you talk on Hard Knocks radio and I was very concerned. I too am very tired of compromising who I vote for, but a third party is not the answer. Although the democratic party is a machine that needs to be broken, the way to break it is to infiltrate it rather than to oppose it. I HATE the Tea Party, but look at what they have done to the Republican Party. They infiltrated it and now every single one of the republican candidates is acting like a Tea Party puppet. And here is the thing…it is happening to the democratic party now. What Bernie Sanders has done by entering the race is to shift the debate so that topics like poverty, inequality, honesty and fairness are the main topics. These would not be the topics of discussion if Bernie Sanders was not in the race. Bernie Sanders is setting the agenda and the agenda he is setting will overwhelmingly benefit black lives and the Black Lives Matter movement’s goals. Here are a few things to consider:
  • Arrested in 1962 for protesting segregation in public schools in Chicago.
  • Strongly against the so called welfare reform implemented under President Bill Clinton’s watch.
  • Sanders has long been a critic of “tough on crime” policies saying “let’s not keep putting poor people into jail and disproportionately punishing blacks”.
  • Sanders came out for Black Lives Matter before Hillary CLinton ever spoke about the issue.
  • Called For End to War On Drugs, For-Profit Prisons and Migrant Detention Quotas.
  • In 2002, he achieved a 93 percent rating from the ACLU and a 97% rating by the NAACP in 2006.
  • Community policing, hold the police accountable etc….things he has been talking about for 20+ years:
  • Bernie Sanders’s net worth is $350,000. He is not interested in getting rich.
The fact that he has done so much for civil and minority rights despite the fact that his constituency is not one that would naturally demand it speaks to his character and wide empathy that isn’t shared by many politicians.
Hillary Clinton’s long term record is not so good, especially when you look at her actions rather than her words.
There are no credible scandals involving Bernie Sanders. He has worked on racial issues his entire life and for the past 28 years as a very small minority of the House (16 yrs) or the Senate (12 yrs).
We are at a very important junction. It is CRITICAL to get EVERY voter out to vote in November. Only a MASSIVE VOTER TURNOUT will result in the Democratic party regaining the House and the Senate and that is the only way either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders will get anything done. I do not even want to think about what will happen over the next 4 years in the Republicans keep the House and the Senate AND win the White House!
The media likes to claim that Bernie Sanders is singularly focused on one issue, but this is definitely not true. Yes, Bernie Sanders is laser focused on creating jobs for low income, minorities and youth, breaking up the predatory banks the kicked so many to the curb, universal single payer health care, free education for all AND prison reform. The prison reform parts of his speeches are not new, he has been saying them for years. He has also been talking about demilitarizing the police, community policing and holding law enforcement officers accountable for their crimes. He has speeches on this topic dating back to the 90’s and he spoke on those issues even before BLM took over his campaign speech in Seattle. AND I agree that was actually a good move because it got both candidates to talk about BLM more, but it will only help if the voter base is rallied to participate rather than discouraged.
Bernie Sanders is not a business as usual candidate. The MOST IMPORTANT thing we all need to do is get people to the voting booth in November. If the Republicans maintain their position things are going to get a whole lot worse for everybody except the 1%. If we can mobilize all of the various communities to get out the vote and we succeed in taking back the House and the Senate, then and only then will Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton be able to help the Black Lives movement.
Reality check: How is Bernie Sanders going to achieve all of this? Well the fact is that he won’t get these things done right away, but he has proven that he is in it for the long haul. If you watch the debates carefully one thing that is crystal clear is that Bernie Sanders is not trying to one up Hillary Clinton, he says the minimum he needs to say to address the whatever attack she presented and then he goes straight back to his agenda. His agenda is no secret and he will keep saying these things once he is in office.
It can only happen if he gets a MASSIVE voter turnout in November. If we all really motivate our bases we can all influence people who are on the fence to get out and vote for democrats at all levels of the government. We need to get OUR candidates in office, the ones that ACTUALLY CARE about Black Lives Matter not the ones who are just speaking to the issues like the Republicans are famous for and something that Hillary Clinton is frequently guilty of but Bernie Sanders is clearly not guilty of. There may not be good candidates everywhere, but over time the bar will be raised if the public is there.
Paul de Jong

My Open Letter To Bernie Sanders

Dear President Elect (projected) Bernie Sanders,

I deeply admire your commitment to running a positive campaign and it is very important, but pointing out facts is not running a negative campaign, even if the facts are negative. Pointing out the facts is in fact necessary so that you don’t by association become a party to those facts. I agreed with you on “enough about those damn emails”, but the Clinton/Wall Street/Goldman Sachs/Gary Gensler/etc./etc. connection needs to be stated by you to counter her remarks during a debate or any other open attack. You simply need to answer the question, point out her lies and state what the actual truth is.

Not doing so is a disservice to all of us and here is why: First off, the Republicans will bring these things up and will win the election if the actual facts are not discussed before the end of the primaries, because it will result in the abstentionist staying home in November. This will give all three (actually 4 since the courts are now making laws) branches of government to the Republicans. Second, it’s the truth about her politics. Third: Black Lives Matter needs to hear these things from you.

Here is an example from TruthDig: Bernie Blew It He Sold Out Instead Of Confronting Clinton 2015-10-16

Finally, we need to finish the primary as soon as we can so we can start to focus on the House and the Senate seats. Without a major overhaul your first two years will be hell, obviously. Once the primaries are over, mobilizing the Bernie Sanders movement towards the House and the Senate will be critical to the overall success of the movement itself. Everyone needs to have a fire lit under their resp. … to get to the polls in November.

The ace in the hole that you have over Obama is that you will keep saying the same things just as loudly as you are now once you are in office and your movement will continue to grow until eventually, some sanity is restored…

Let me put in a strong vote for Elizabeth Warren as your VP because it will take 16 years to unwind Wall Street, Health Care as well as our disastrous foreign policies.

On foreign policy…I think Bush started a 100 year war, so I do not envy you inheriting that. It’s the saddest thing. Syria is more akin to Rwanda than Iraq, although it is clearly a consequence of our intervention in Iraq so we have a lot of responsibility. We should be the ones taking in millions of refugees.

I have been waiting for this since Jimmy Carter’s Presidency was overthrown by the Bush Machine.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Paul de Jong