Bernie’s Speech

I wasn’t able to watch Bernie’s speech when it was first posted, thanks to YouTube, so I really appreciated this video when I found it. If you are distracted by the large number of Democratic candidates and their talking points, I recommend that you watch it.  As Bernie says this is not the time for despair.  I would add that you voters out there don’t have the leisure to choose between all those candidates.  If you still think there is a decision to be made, you don’t understand the problem.

You might also enjoy watching progressive responses to Bernie’s speech.

Michael Brooks: https://youtu.be/8PwfyrvTQKs

The Rational National:  https://youtu.be/w-tJUgPbDTU

Mike Malloy:  https://youtu.be/doDVc_lzaJ0

Status Coup:  https://youtu.be/230QzY-qWTU

 

 

The Venezuelan Embassy and Conservative Internationalism

The traditions of American foreign policy that most people are familiar with are realism and liberal internationalism.  Realists are usually conservatives or Republicans, for example Eisenhower and Ford, while liberal internationalists are usually liberals or Democrats, for example Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, and Carter.  However, these divisions broke down during the Reagan administration.  Conservative internationalism was not exactly the result of this breakdown however.  According to one author, this school of foreign policy has been a constant, if unrecognized, presence in American politics.  The arrest of the embassy protectors at the Venezuelan embassy in Washington DC seems to be straight from the playbook of this elusive  school of American foreign policy– Conservative Internationalism.  This might seem like a stunning revelation, until you realize that conservative internationalism sounds suspiciously like neo-conservatism.

Reagan is one of the heroes of conservative internationalists.  He opposed both the realist containment strategy of Richard Nixon and the liberal internationalist human rights campaign of Jimmy Carter. Instead, he adopted a strategy that used force or the threat of force assertively, as realists recommended, but aimed at the demise of communism and the spread of democracy, as liberal internationalists advocated.  But although Reagan’s policies didn’t adhere to either of these foreign policy traditions, he was not unique among American presidents.  According to a Hoover Institution article, conservative internationalism draws historical validation from Thomas Jefferson, James K. Polk, Harry Truman.

So how does this school of foreign policy explain the arrest of the embassy protectors contrary to international law and the Geneva Convention?  The Hoover Institution lists eleven tenets of Conservative Internationalism. The first tenet, the goal of expanding freedom, asserts that free countries achieve legitimacy in foreign affairs by taking decisions independently or working together through decentralized institutions.

Thus, conservative internationalists give priority to liberty over equality and work to free countries from tyranny before they recognize these countries as equal partners in international diplomacy. Jefferson and Polk were unequivocal about expanding liberty, even if it involved imperialism, because they believed that liberty would eventually bring greater equality. By contrast liberal internationalists give priority to equality over liberty and grant all nations, whether free or not, equal status in international institutions, because they believe treating countries equally will eventually encourage liberty. For conservative internationalists, legitimacy in foreign affairs derives from free countries taking decisions independently or working together through decentralized institutions; for liberal internationalists, legitimacy derives from all countries, free or not, participating equally in universal international organizations.

The remaining tenets continue the doublespeak we have become accustomed to since the Iraq war, justifying the tendency of conservative internationalists to combine realism or liberal internationalism, or both, with unrestrained aggression.   Take for example the statement that poverty and oppression are not enough to trigger intervention.  There must be a physical effect on the United States, such as the threat posed by terrorism or oil disruption.  This may not sound like a problem until you add the assertion that because it’s hard to predict these events, preemptive and preventative actions will sometimes be necessary.

Because their goals are more ambitious than liberal internationalism or realism, conservative internationalists expect to use more force.  Consider their use of the now familiar accusation hurled against leaders who use force against their own people as ‘proof’ that they can’t be expected to cooperate with the United States either.  This has been used in the past to justify unilateral force.  Liberal internationalists preferred to work with the League of Nations and the UN, whereas under conservative internationalism, diplomacy is just another word for reconstruction.

To sum up, the arrest of the embassy protectors, a brazen violation of international law, might be explained by the fact that conservative internationalists dislike internation institutions, especially if they are successful.  They want small government, not centralized government.  Actually, it would be more correct to say that they don’t like governments at all–they favor self-reliance and civil society institutions over governments, whatever that means.

A review of this book in the American Conservative identifies this school of foreign policy as ‘old wine in new bottles’, or the rebaptism of neo-conservatism.  This review was refuted by Henry R. Nau, the author of the Hoover Institution article.  Now here’s the really interesting thing about this discussion.  One of Nau’s arguments against the identification with neo-conservatism is that the neo-conservatives started out as Democrats.

Many neocons, however, were liberals not conservatives, advocating social engineering at home and abroad; and some democratic realists were imperialists, seeking to gain or maintain American hegemony.

My problem with this argument is that I suspect the neocons have not been straight with us about their history.  There is a very important interlude in the history of conservatism that no one seems to know about, or at least the media never mentions it.  That would be the German Conservative Revolution.  The following summary is from a description of a History 330 course at Amherst.edu, German Conservative Revolution and the Roots of the Third Reich.

It is asserted that Germany’s right wing intellectuals, who identified themselves with a German “Conservative Revolution”, played a fateful role in the ideological formation of national socialism in the wake of the Great War.  They ‘defied’ traditional divisions between the Left and Right, opposed parliamentary democracy and royalist reactionary ‘Wilhelminian’ conservatism, as well as Liberalism and Marxism.  They attempted to reshape theology, legal thought, race biology, geography, and political philosophy.

I’ve done a little reading about this ‘revolution’.  Although many of its members criticized the Nazi Party, this had nothing to do with the Party’s anti-Semitism.  Although some collaborated with the Nazi state and shared its fate, the dissenters were able to escape condemnation and wield a continuing influence. I would argue that current attempts to cordon off Nazism from contemporary right-wing theorists is a result of the failure to understand how they related to each other in the interwar period.

Now, if you’re uncomfortable about the edginess of neo-conservative foreign policy but you can’t quite figure out how former Democrats got so…uncharitable, this might explain it: there was a neocon presence in the German Conservative Revolution.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Link for Sanders Donations

I don’t know if the link I gave to you previously was correct.  The one I received by text, supposedly the one I posted in the last article, is different.  It was: https://usnot.me/deadline-ad

I donated at the first link, but it doesn’t show up in my Act Blue activity, and now the link doesn’t work. There’s a different link provided today in a tweet from Sanders.  It seems to go to the right place, but who knows?

If I go to Bernie’s ‘official website’ which is probably more trustworthy (https://berniesanders.com) the donation link is: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/bern-site?refcode=splash-top-right.

If it stops working, go to http://berniesanders.com and click on the ‘donate’ link.  If berniesanders.com stops working, manually type it in to the address bar.

 

Bernie’s March 31 FEC Deadline (Updated)

The Sanders campaign is working toward a record number of donations in this period.  I’ve decided to talk about it here because I think strong donations could counteract misleading poll numbers, like those recently published by CNN and Morning Consult.  We knew that Joe Biden was not as strong as his numbers indicate but it’s gratifying to know how they come up with the numbers. Jordan Charitan has been reporting on the contrivance behind these numbers.  For example, a major problem with the CNN Poll is that it didn’t poll Bernie’s base.  Subsequently, Morning Consult seemed to learn from CNN’s ‘mistake’.  That may be why they ommitted the background information about how the poll was constructed.

Of course this is nothing new.  Before the 2016 election Hillary’s poll numbers in the rust belt states were astronomical as polls go–in the high 90s–and it turned out the rust belt states were her downfall.

I also want to talk about another concern I have.  Gmail has been sending Bernie’s fundraising emails to my Promotions folder instead of the Primary folder.  I can’t seem to fix it from my end and if I don’t remember to go the Promotions folder I don’t see his emails.  I assume this is happening with all of his supporters.  If you want to donate go to https://b2020.me/deadline-a

This link is apparently not the right one.  I think it has been changed.  See the next article New Link for Sanders Donations or go to https://berniesanders.com and click on the ‘Donate’ link.

 

Fake YouTube Channel Taking Donations for Bernie

I noticed on Bernie’s previous rallies that another channel was broadcasting the rally and getting the sound all mixed up.  Today I watched his LA rally and the same channel was asking repeatedly for donations.  Another comment said it was not an official channel and not to donate.  I asked for further guidance but the person didn’t answer.  Then someone started deleting my messages, so I assume they deleted her messages as well.

I am more concerned now than ever about those apps I mentioned before.  It is very possible they are fake.  If they are fake that would be a great way to steal voter info.  That would allow them to ask for donations by email as well.  Someone has to deal with this now.

Celebrating Our Revolution

I decided before Bernie announced his candidacy that I would not let the opposition get to me this time. It didn’t occur to me that if I ignore all the silliness I won’t have anything to talk about. Then I realized I’m missing an opportunity. Probably the best use for the fake candidates and their outrageous lies is comic relief.

I don’t know what the establishment has up its sleeve with its unbelievable pols and fundrasing numbers and I’m not going to waste my time worrying about it, but I am a little curious. Can fake poll numbers decide a presidential race? Sometimes I wonder if they think they’re actually fooling us with their stupid tricks, or if they’re just trying to be annoying. Either way, it’s bizarre behavior for people who presume to run a country.

And about those polls, this is the first time I’ve seen poll numbers for a guy who isn’t in the race. We have a ghost candidate running for president. I hesitate to say his name on the chance that it will summon him from the underworld. Clearly, our fearless leaders have gone around the bend. What’s next? Dress up the Flying Spaghetti Monster in a suit and tie and give him a super pac?

On a serious note, I do have two concerns about Bernie’s campaign.  First, my emails from Bernie are going to the Promotions folder in Gmail.  I tried to move them to the Primary folder, but it didn’t work.  I don’t see his emals unless I remember to go to Promotions and look for them.  Second, there are a few apps out there that claim to organize volunteers for Bernie.  I tried one  two days ago.  It never had any assignments and it messed with my phone so I had to delete it.  I just found an article about Field the Bern https://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/bernie-sanders-app/ but I don’t think they have one for an android.  Has anyone used this app?  My main concern is that there are unofficial apps  that are just there to gather voter information from Sanders supporters.  .

Green New Deal Mass Action

Young people from Kentucky, Mitch McConnell’s home state, are confronting McConnell in DC today. Anyone who is close to DC is invited to join them. Everyone else can join today’s effort by flooding the Senate with calls. You can watch today’s action here:http://bit.ly/sunriselivemcconnell

Tomorrow will be a National Day of Action. “…[Activists] will be storming into offices, singing, dropping banners, rallying outside and making it clear that young people are ready to hold our politicians feet to the fire if they don’t co-sponsor the Green New Deal.”

If you have a plan for the 26th, you can put it on the map, here. https://actionnetwork.org/event_campaigns/nationwide-day-of-action-for-a-green-new-deal

Venezuela Update

The Venezuelan military has again rejected the Trump administration’s offer to join the forces of Juan Guaidó. The military is an important part of the government in Venezuela and its show of support for Nicolás Maduro is a bad sign for Trump’s regime change plans. Some readers may think the following video is too unapologetic in its support for Maduro, but there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground in this conflict. There are a few exceptions however, including Bernie Sanders .

As I said, this video is extremely pro-Maduro, but even Sanders’ more moderate analysis was met with screams of anguish from Democrats who support regime change in Venezuela. Here’s Bernie’s Univision interview with Jorge Ramos. The questions concerning Venezuela are toward the end.

The most vocal criticism of Sanders’ stance on Venezuela has come from members of Congress who represent Venezuelan communities in the United States. However, it’s important to be aware of the makeup of these communities, as a 2018 editorial in the Houston Chronicle makes clear.

This editorial is not sympathetic to Maduro, but it expresses concern about the effects of sanctions on the Venezuelan people. One problem is that sanctions hurt the country’s main source of revenue, which directly affects the people. Another problem is that the Trump administration’s sanctions ignore Venezuelan oligarchs who are living in the United States, largely in Houston and Miami. The majority of Venezuelans living in the United States have nothing to do with the oligarchs, but law enforcement officials believe that some of them have made fortunes by scamming the government and its oil company, PDVSA. The Justice Department only started prosecuting them in 2015. https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/How-can-the-U-S-help-Venezuelans-Prosecute-12945314.php

Sanders calls for a fair election in Venezuela rather than sanctions and military action. In his view, the choice of president should be left to the Venezuelan people.

Nicholas Maduro’s Message

He’s right, this is a unique moment in history. Maduro joins Andrés Manuel López Obrador as an ally of the American people. Let’s discuss how we can best take advantage of this opportunity. We would need to put pressure on the US administration, obviously, but we also need to find ways to counter the tactics of global finance. In our role as consumers we might start by decreasing our spending and boycotting specific products. Anything else?