*Capital in the Twenty-First Century, [Engl. Translation] 2014.
A personal commentary • »Eternity is a mere moment, just long enough for a joke.« --Hermann Hesse
Here's an article from last May in which Paul Krugman calls out the Obama administration for failing to address criticisms of the TPP. It's hardly a ringing denunciation, but even Krugman, who has what you might call free trade DNA, saw that this agreement isn't really about trade at all, but corporate privilege. So, Paul, I call on you now: DENOUNCE THE TPP and explain in your inimitable style why it's a bad deal for the American public as a whole.
A space elevator is a proposed type of space transportation system. Its main component is a ribbon-like cable (also called a tether) anchored to the surface and extending into space. It is designed to permit vehicle transport along the cable from a planetary surface, such as the Earth's, directly…
CNN Poll results released today, 9/25/2015
CNN Poll results released today, 9/25/2015
Democratic Primary, New Hampshire • Only identified Democratic voters polled
Sanders "favorable" 78%
Clinton "favorable" 67%
ratic Primary, New Hampshire
Sanders "favorable" 78%
Clinton "favorable" 67%
I thought I would take a second to, sort of, unpack that, because I could tell there's a lot of people, both Evangelical conservative folk and more liberal Bernie-supporting folk, who are very confused that I could occupy both worlds. So, I thought, I'll take a few seconds and explain myself, and maybe that will be helpful for the conversation.
So a little bit about me. I am not a current student at Liberty. If I was, I actually wouldn't have been able to post onto that Reddit board and say that I'm supporting Bernie. There is an Honor Code at Liberty University, and while it's not always enforced, if you support a candidate who is pro-choice or pro-gay marriage, you can be punished by the University, up to and including expulsion from the school. So as a graduate of Liberty University, I'm in a good position to represent folks that might go there and people from the Evangelical tradition, but not be within the world that they can, you know, punish me for my opinion.
So I got my Bachelors degree in Religion from Liberty University, and I also got my Masters degree from Liberty University in Marriage and Family Therapy. In 2004 I worked for the George W. Bush campaign. I spent about 8 years as a Conservative pastor. And also as a schoolteacher at a conservative Christian academy. And today I serve my community as a therapist and also a pastoral counselor, somebody that folks from churches might go see to get counseling whenever they want to see somebody who's both a clinical counselor but also a pastor.
So I serve all those roles. I think I'm pretty much a card-carrying Evangelical Christian. I still subscribe to a conservative evangelical theology. And what that means, a lot of people get confused when they hear the word 'conservative,' they assume you mean politically. 'Conservative theology' means that I believe the Bible is trustworthy, I think that God inspired it, Jesus was absolutely real, and really died on the cross, and really did resurrect three days later; and I am an Evangelical Christian in that way.
So, how did I come to find myself supporting Bernie Sanders? How did that evolution take place? How could it be that in 2004 I was working for the George W. Bush campaign, and today in 2015, as a double Liberty University graduate, under Jerry Falwell—when I went to school, Jerry Falwell was the Chancellor—how is it that I could be now supporting Bernie Sanders, who's a very progressive, very liberal guy; he describes himself as a 'democratic socialist.' How do I find common ground on those two things?
Well a lot of people I think falsely believe that in order to do that you have to give up one of your sides. Either you have to not really be a progressive, and you're just an Evangelical who just likes Bernie, or you have to not really be an Evangelical, and just secretly be a Progressive who's faking it and pretending to be an Evangelical, but wouldn't actually pass the litmus test of being an Evangelical.
I pass both tests, I am very much 100% legitimate in both camps, and I want to explain why that's not a mythological thing, that's not a disconnect. Some people call that a contradiction, or hypocrisy, it is absolutely not. I believe that my views are 100% consistent. And so I think that the shock value for that comes in beginning to appreciate that the Bible and Jesus, in my opinion and in my very moderate reading of the Bible and the words of Christ, leads us to a Progressive worldview. And that is shocking to a lot of people, especially folks back home in the Evangelical community, they hear that and go, "What are you talking about? That's heresy—" it's like, hold on. Hear me out. There is a Biblical argument for voting for Bernie Sanders, believe it or not, and I'm gonna walk you through it really quick on some key issues.
So that first issue that I'd kind of point your attention to is kind of what Bernie brought up during his speech at Liberty. Basically, the wealth inequality problem—and see a lot of us, on the Evangelical side think that what Jesus really cares about is gay marriage and abortion. And of course, the great irony is if you read the red letters of Jesus, there are no statements on abortion. There are no statements on gay marriage. Now, that's not to say the Bible doesn't speak about these things, but it certainly is to say that Jesus, founder and master of our faith, did not see fit to make these high-priority topics. It's not to say he doesn't care. But it is to say that we need to be careful not to 'major on minors.' We should be focused on the things Jesus did talk about.
So what did Jesus talk about?
So here's the interesting thing. When I was watching Bernie Sanders talk at Liberty University, I was just really shocked, and something kind of magical happened for me, because as I watched that guy stand up on that stage, here's what I saw. I saw a wild-haired Jew crying out in a hoarse voice, in a very forceful and forth-speaking way, he was convicting the Christian leaders and religious leaders in that University and calling us out for being complicit in the abandonment of those who suffer: "The least of these." And siding with the powerful and the rich and the masters of this world. And he was convicting us, and calling us out. And we scorned him, and we stared him down, and with sour faces we thought, "Who is this whacko? And why do all these people seem to follow him, seem to like him? This wild-haired Jew, crying out from the wilderness of the political Left, in his hoarse voice?"
And if you're an Evangelical listening to me today, you already know where I'm going with this. When I heard Bernie speaking in that way, when I saw that guy on stage at Liberty University, I saw John the Baptist. I saw the wild-haired, roughly-clothed John the Baptist, eating honey and wearing camel's hair, and crying out to the religious leaders, the Pharisees of his day, calling them corrupt and complicit with those who have all the power and all the money and all the wealth, and for abandoning the people that God loves, that God cares about. For the Pharisees, who were siding with those who already have power and wealth and saying that they will be the last in the Kingdom of God, and that the weak, and the meek, and the simple, and those who need help—they are first in the Kingdom of God.
And I saw that guy, that John the Baptist figure, who is standing up and saying "There is coming a messenger, there is coming a messenger who will bring equity and justice to the poor, and to the weak, and who will stand for 'the least of these.'" That's the wild-haired Jew that I saw up on that stage. I saw, and felt, the same voice coming from the Bible when I read about John the Baptist, who cried out in the desert to the Pharisees, warning them that Jesus was coming, the messenger of God. And that he was coming to restore justice, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and to value 'the least of these' when the Pharisees had failed.
And as I heard Bernie talking, and as I listened to his cries for justice, I remembered, suddenly, what Jesus had actually said in the Book of Luke, when he unravels the scroll in the synagogue, and he quotes the Book of Isaiah, which says that the Son of God was coming. And then he says, "This has been fulfilled in your presence here today." He quotes the book of Isaiah which says that the Son of God is coming to bring justice, and Jesus says "it is now come to pass in your presence." And he says, "I have come to bring Gospel to the poor."
Gospel—is that word we Evangelical Christians have based everything on. Gospel means 'good news.' And Jesus said "I have come to bring good news to the poor." To restore sight to the blind, to stand with the suffering, to set the captives free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.
As I heard Bernie Sanders crying out to the religious leaders at Liberty University, in his hoarse voice, with his wild hair, this Jew, and he proclaimed justice over us. He called us to account for being complicit with those who are wealthy and those who are powerful and for abandoning the poor, 'the least of these' who Jesus said he had come to bring good news to. And in that moment, something occurred to me, as I saw Bernie Sanders up there, as I watched him I realized: Bernie Sanders, for President, is good news for the poor. Bernie Sanders for President is good news for the poor. Bernie Sanders is Gospel for the poor. And Jesus said, "I have come to bring Gospel—good news—to the poor."
And lightning hit my heart in that moment. And I realized that we are Evangelical Christians, that we believe the Bible. We believe in Jesus. We absolutely shun those who attempt to find nuance and twisted and tortured interpretation of scripture that they would use to master all other broader interpretations, to find some kind of big message that they want to flout. We absolutely scorn such things. And yet somehow, we commit to the mental gymnastics necessary that allows us to abandon 'the least of these,' to abandon the poor, to abandon the immigrants, to abandon those who are in prison. I listened to Bernie Sanders, as he said he wanted to welcome the immigrants and give them dignity. As he said he wanted to care for the sick children, and mothers, and fathers, who do not have health care. As he said he wanted to decrease the amount of human beings who are corralled like cattle in the prisons. As he said he wanted to do justice for those who have nothing and live homeless. And I remembered the words of Jesus, who warned his disciples that there will be judgment, and on that day he will look to his friends, and he will say 'Blessed are you, for you cared for me, for I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick, and you cared for me; I was hungry, and you fed me; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was in prison, and you came to visit me; I was homeless, and you gave me shelter." And the disciples said, "Jesus, when did we do any of those things for you?" And he said, "If you have done it for 'the least of these,' you have done it for me."
And those words echoed in my heart. As I listened to that crazy, hoarse-voiced, wild-haired Jew, standing in front of the religious leaders of the Evangelical movement, calling us to account, as a Jew once did before. Telling us that he intends to care for 'the least of these.' To clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless, to care for the sick, to set the prisoners free.
Yes. I am an Evangelical Christian. I believe in the Bible. I follow Jesus. When I look at Bernie Sanders, and I hear the things that he's saying, it's like he's ripping them out of the pages of scripture. I would have to try to avoid the meaning of those words. I would have to bury my head in the sand to continue to support conservative policies. I am religiously conservative but I am not politically so. And I think here is the heart and soul of it:
When we chose to follow Jesus, we decided that the Kingdom of God, and the men and women and children of this world, were more important than us. And that accidentally made us all liberals. The day we decided to follow Christ, and the day we decided that we value other human beings more than ourselves, we accidentally became liberals.
And so there is no contradiction between being a Bible-believing Christian and a Bernie Sanders supporter.
I follow the teachings of Christ: to care for 'the least of these.' And I believe that just as John the Baptist once cried out in the desert for justice, and called the religious establishment to account, and hearkened unto the day that Jesus would walk among us, and declare equity and justice and good news for the poor; and just as that day came, that Jesus stood in front of the multitudes at the religious institution and said "I have come to bring gospel to the poor," I believe that Bernie Sanders now stands in front of us, wild-haired and hoarse-voiced, and he now declares justice for the poor. He declares good news for 'the least of these.' He has come to bring gospel. And I wouldn't be much of a Christian if I didn't stand on the side of gospel for the poor. Because the last time I checked, that's where my master Jesus stood, and I'll stand with him. And for now, that means I stand with Bernie Sanders.
The 2016 presidential election will be studied for generations, primarily because it's a turning point in U.S. history. Will the Democratic Party shift even further to the right, or will Democrats nominate a true progressive? Below are 25 reasons I'm voting only for Bernie Sanders in 2016. And these reasons not only highlight my value system, but also what I believe (or assumed) the Democratic Party had always stood for as well.
Jacob Heilbrunn, in a New York Times article titled The Next Act of the Neocons, writes, "It's easy to imagine Mrs. Clinton's making room for the neocons in her administration." Also quoted in The New York Times, conservative historian Robert Kagan says, "If she pursues a policy which we think she will pursue, it's something that might have been called neocon, but clearly her supporters are not going to call it that; they are going to call it something else."
In addition to voting for the Iraq War (and pushing for the disastrous bombing of Libya) while calling this decision a "mistake," her quotes in an Atlantic interview with Jeffrey Goldberg confirm that President Hillary Clinton could be a liberal Dick Cheney in the White House:
This is what Clinton said about Obama's slogan: "Great nations need organizing principles, and 'Don't do stupid stuff' is not an organizing principle."
"You know, when you're down on yourself, and when you are hunkering down and pulling back, you're not going to make any better decisions than when you were aggressively, belligerently putting yourself forward," she said. "One issue is that we don't even tell our own story very well these days."
"The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad--," Clinton said.
As if the lessons of bombing Libya during Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State weren't enough, Clinton would have armed the Syrian rebels had she been president. The problem with this is not only that half the Syrian rebels are jihadists, but also that it would have pushed the U.S. into the Syrian civil war, while we were still embroiled in Iraq and Afghanistan.
If anyone wonders why I wrote an article last year on a certain GOP Senator, saying that I'd vote for that person (I'm, of course, voting for Bernie and that piece was written from a purely anti-perpetual war standpoint), the fact that Vox says Clinton's words on foreign policy sound "super hawkish," is one of the main reasons I wrote that piece.
America has suffered enough from a neoconservative foreign policy and one look at icasualties.org highlights this reality.
In contrast, Bernie says, "I'll be damned" if America leads the fight against ISIS (calling for others to put ground troops in the region, not us) and puts American soldiers and veterans first, as evident by his recent Congressional Award from the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Unions that back Hillary Clinton should remember Reason # 10 as well.
4. The Vermont Senator voted against the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 and stood up for gay rights when polls were against this issue. Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, opposed gay marriage up until 2013.
Don't claim to be outraged by Kentucky's Kim Davis if you're voting for Hillary Clinton. Both had the same views on gay marriage, only Davis didn't "evolve." Like The Guardian says, Hillary Clinton's views evolve on gay marriage, just in time for presidential campaign.
5. Bernie Sanders has a Racial Justice Platform. Hillary Clinton ran a 3 AM ad with a "racist sub-message" in 2008. South Carolina Congressman James E. Clyburn denounced Bill Clinton's remarks about Obama in 2008 and stated the Clinton's were "committed to doing everything they possibly can to damage Obama to a point that he could never win."
6. Clinton's encounter with Black Lives Matter exemplifies her outlook on race. In an interview with NPR, Daunasia Yancey, the founder of Black Lives Matter Boston, called Hillary Clinton's racial justice record "abysmal."
As for commentary on Clinton's meeting with Black Lives Matter, Benjamin Dixon and Yvette Carnell explain how Clinton politicized her meeting (and in effect, hurt the movement's momentum) with Black Lives Matter representatives.
It's no secret that Wall Street is in Hillary Clinton's corner and few believe the populist rhetoric from the former Secretary of State. Bernie Sanders, however, is a genuine reformer who eagerly takes on the "billionaire class."
8. Hillary Clinton is constantly involved in scandal and either the victim of a "surreal witch hunt" according to James Carville, a conspiracy among intelligence agencies (a Clinton spokesman says the government has "competing views" on what is classified, apparently making it alright for a retroactively classified email to be on a private server), or controversy.
Bernie Sanders can type an email without a nationwide scandal.
9. Bernie Sanders will not take money from billionaires. Hillary Clinton accepted $100,000 from Donald Trump in donations for her foundation and Senate runs in New York.
It's difficult to debate the potential GOP nominee and tell the country you're different, when you've accepted $100,000 from the billionaire.
10. Four of Clinton's top five donors since 1999 are Wall Street firms. Bernie Sanders is running a grass roots campaign.
12. It's true that Republicans have an irrational hatred of Clinton and that the Benghazi attacks have been unfairly leveled at Clinton. However, most of Clinton's scandals are based on her own decisions, not the irrational behavior of others. Not everything is Benghazi.
13. Hillary Clinton hasn't explained the political utility in owning a private server as Secretary of State.
14. I want a female president; however, I want her to be Elizabeth Warren.
15. I don't want my president to have an ongoing FBI investigation during her first term.
16. Hillary Clinton hasn't explained whether or not her server was safer or better protected than the U.S. government's server.
17. It is a fact that Clinton had classified and "Top Secret" emails flowing through her server.
18. Many of Clinton's classified emails were "born classified," meaning they weren't classified retroactively.
19. Five intelligence agencies thus far are now a part of the email saga. They can't all be part of a right-wing conspiracy.
20. Economically, Bernie is more progressive in tackling wealth inequality while Clinton addresses the issue, but continues raking in Wall Street money.
21. Bernie Sanders was active in the Civil Rights movement and also endorsed Jesse Jackson's 1984 and 1988 presidential campaigns.
22. Edward Snowden says it's "ridiculous" to think Clinton's email setup was secure. Freedom of Information Act expert Dan Metcalfe calls Clinton's email defense "laughable." Neither one is a part of a right-wing conspiracy.
24. I want a true progressive as president, especially in terms of the greatest powers of a president: getting America into wars and shaping foreign policy.
25. I trust Bernie Sanders. I do not trust Hillary Clinton or the GOP.
Finally, inherent in all 25 reasons above is the fact that Clinton's positions are too far to the right, therefore too closely related to the GOP's views on war, Wall Street, foreign policy, and other key issues, for me to accept in a president.
Ending perpetual war in American foreign policy is my biggest concern, therefore Bernie Sanders is my only choice in 2016. Also, Clinton rarely answers questions without carefully crafted wording; ambiguous to the point she can act in any manner she chooses once attaining the presidency.
As for other key issues, Clinton sides with the GOP (and away from most Americans) on the most controversial topics, which is why polling trajectory shows Bernie Sanders will win the Democratic nomination, in addition to the presidency.
Krugman in NYT this morning is must read, on what the implications of Corbyn's triumph over Labour's Conservative Wannabes will mean for Britain. It's hard not to think about the not-quite-perfect analogy with the struggle between the Clintonians and the Sanders Wing of the Democratic Party here. (Here, the Progressives have already had some success in pulling the whole party towards a more forward thinking stance, and, it must be said, Sanders is not nearly as far to the left as Corbyn... for better or worse.
Money quote: "In short, the whole narrative about Labour's culpability for the economic crisis and the urgency of austerity is nonsense. But it is nonsense that was consistently reported by British media as fact. And all of Mr. Corbyn's rivals for Labour leadership bought fully into that conventional nonsense, in effect accepting the Conservative case that their party did a terrible job of managing the economy, which simply isn't true."
It's unusual to see someone making a convincing case that, for once, the US Media seems to be actually a little better at NOT reporting Right Wing propaganda as fact than the British media.
I don't see it that way at all. I thought her Brookings Institution Speech betrayed her strong neocon credentials. She is farther to the right on foreign policy than Obama, who largely continued the Bush foreign policy. Sanders is emphasizing domestic agendas, as probably befits a presidential campaign at this point, but he has read Chalmers Johnson, Lawrence Wilkerson (a Republican, but someone who understands how international power politics works), Brent Scowcroft (ditto), and Steve Clemmons, and he knows that continued land presence in the Middle East, and attempting to prop up the regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, while maintaining an irrational double standard as regards terrorism sponsorship and human rights for Iran as opposed to our supposed "allies", Saudi Arabia and Pakistan (both Sunni and both worse than Iran by any reasonable measure)... are all mistakes that need to be ratcheted back and reversed long term. Clinton may have a lot of experience as secretary of state, but her accomplishments hard to identify, and some of the projects she was involved in, such as the TPP, are clearly antithetical to the interests of working people. Kerry has accomplished far more in a shorter period of time than she did. And I keep thinking, who do I really trust on foreign policy? Someone who saw through the lies and voted against the Bush II Iraq invasion (Sanders) or someone who didn't (Clinton)? Sanders is the obvious answer. Her experience just shows that her judgment is suspect, and I sorry to say that some of the decisions she's made even in the present campaign show that to be the case as well.
And I have to disagree with the implication that she is more or less equivalent to Sanders on domestic policy too. Her position on Keystone (refusal to say), TPP (supports, called it the "best trade deal ever," but is now being coy), $15 min. wage (no support), Glas-Steagall restoration (not supporting), and other enhancements to Dodd-Frank (sound of silence); not to mention her refusal to endorse Medicare for All, breakup of the 5 "too big to fail = too big to exist" banks, major infrastructure investment, which economists and tax experts like Krugman and David Cay Johnson agree is a "no brainer" (she has failed to articulate any such plan); or universal free public higher education (she has equivocated on this), are all MAJOR distinguishing features of their respective DOMESTIC agendas.
I will support the eventual Democratic nominee (as I certainly hope her supporters will also say). But for now, I find Clinton is the LEAST desirable, from a general Progressive point of view, of all the likely Democratic candidates (Her, Sanders, Biden, O'Malley, Lessig). And I actually believe a pretty good case can be made that she is less electable than Sanders or Biden, at least, as well. Her negatives, which are a better predicter of outcomes of elections than issues positions in polling, are awful.
"I don't understand it," a political reporter I've known for years told me this morning. "A new poll shows Sanders leading in Iowa. He's leading in New Hampshire. It makes no sense."
"It makes sense to me," I said.
"Well then, explain it to me."
"Bernie is speaking about what's true and important – the plundering of our economy and the pillaging of our democracy by big corporations and Wall Street and billionaires."
"But that's been going on for years," he said. "Why now? Why are Americans suddenly waking up to it?"
"Because it's reached a tipping point." I explained. "There hasn't been this much inequality of income, wealth, and political power since the Gilded Age of the 19th century. Americans are fed up."
"But they're disillusioned with politics. Few even vote. So why are they suddenly becoming involved now? How do you explain the crowds?" he asked.
"Because in Bernie they're discovering someone who isn't afraid to tell the truth or to propose big solutions."
"Maybe you're right," said the reporter. "But I'll believe it if he wins Iowa and New Hampshire."
"Stay tuned," I said.
What do you think?
Now the grassroots movement behind him has to PICK UP SPEED and work like hell if we hope to translate these gains into real political momentum.