On the right side of history
In his 35 years of public service as mayor of Burlington, VT, then representative of the state of Vermont, and now Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders has championed progressive Democratic values throughout his career. His consistency and persistence is remarkable in a line of work where flip-flopping and doublespeak is the norm. Bernie has spent his career on the right side of history, aggressively fighting NAFTA, the Iraq War, PATRIOT Act, and Wall Street bailouts. What’s more, Bernie has shown such a keen understanding of history and the dynamics of power, that he was able to predict such supposedly “unforeseen” consequences as the economic crash, Panama papers, and rise of ISIS, and continues to warn us about the devastating direction our country is headed in if we do not take drastic measures to correct our country’s course in the realms of climate change, healthcare, infrastructure and economic/Wall St reform.
Predicting the future since 1985
- Bernie Sanders Grills Alan Greenspan: Sanders Predicts Wall Street Collapse
Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) interrogates Alan Greenspan on risky Wall Street practices and crony capitalism – Sanders eerily forsees, almost 10 years to the date, the collapse of financial markets. The easy-money policies of the Fed during Greenspan’s tenure have been suggested by some to be a leading cause of the subprime mortgage crisis, which occurred within months of his departure from the Fed.
- He opposed the Wall Street bailout.
It’s important to specify that these deals are often not about free trade. They are massive stealth legislation, written by lobbyists, containing policies not even the most corrupt Congressmen would want in their voting history. Yet they are worse than bad legislation because they make the attack on our rights, privacy, and environment a matter of effective international law as a treaty – virtually impossible to fight later. Corporations can actually sue a government for introducing particular regulations – including environmental protections. They do not even work economically, because they lock in a right to profit for established big business that will eventually inhibit small business and innovation. Mr. Sanders has opposed NAFTA and TPP from the start. His opponent vigorously supported these, and only later, at the start of the presidential campaign, opposed the enormously dangerous TPP in its “present form.”
“I have not heard any estimates of how many young American men and women might die in such a war, or how many tens of thousands of women and children in Iraq might also be killed. As a caring nation, we should do everything we can to prevent the horrible suffering war will cause. War must be the last recourse…..[And] who will govern Iraq when Saddam Hussein is removed? And what role will the US play in an ensuing civil war that will develop in that country? Will moderate governments in the region who have large Islamic fundamentalist populations be overthrown and replaced by extremists?”
It is a lot more than the Iraq War. Bernie understands that the philosophy of elective regime destabilization, without proper rebuilds, ultimately provides opportunity for terrorists.
Bernie is not just a simple automatic vote against any military conflict. He supports a global coalition against ISIS, importantly, with a major role for Muslim presence on the ground. He reluctantly voted to use force as a last resort in a few cases, but always advocated caution and nuance in a government where most politicians acknowledge neither. “If anyone thinks there is a simple solution to this problem, then you know very little about this problem.”
- In college he was a student leader of the Congress of Racial Equality and, chained to a fellow protester, was arrested for protesting institutional segregation. His views were cemented in 1963 when he marched on Washington and witnessed Martin Luther King, Jr.’s pivotal “I have a dream” speech.
- Bernie Sanders has been consistent in his belief that the LGBTQ community deserves equal rights, and has supported them long before it was politically expedient to do so. In a letter he published in the early 1970’s, when he was a candidate for governor of Vermont from the Liberty Union Party, Sanders invoked freedom to call for gay equality and an end to the drug war. Video: In 1995, while Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was in place, Bernie angrily chastised a Republican congressman who referred to “homos in the military” as a problem.
- Video: Bernie Sanders opposed the PATRIOT Act from the very beginning. He has consistently opposed similar government surveillance and introduced legislation to protect our privacy. No other candidate would fight harder to restore American civil liberties.
- Bernie has long opposed our government’s over-reliance on incarceration as an answer to crime. Bernie in 1994: “Through a grossly irrational set of priorities, we are dooming tens of millions of young people to a future of… drugs, crime, and violence.” Sanders opposed the 1994 crime bill and spoke passionately against it; but when it’s passage was obvious and assured he traded his then meaningless support for it in exchange for the Violence Against Women Act and bans on certain assault weapons. Hillary in 1996: “They are often the kind of kids called ‘super-predators’. No conscience, no empathy.” His opponent supported and promoted the bill and only recently admitted it was wrong, after mass incarceration has become so obscene that Democrats, Republicans, and even the Koch bros. admit it.
Present History: Panama
“Panama’s entire annual economic output is only $26.7 billion a year, or about two-tenths of one percent of the U.S. economy. No-one can legitimately make the claim that approving this free trade agreement will significantly increase American jobs.
Then, why would we be considering a stand-alone free trade agreement with this country?
Well, it turns out that Panama is a world leader when it comes to allowing wealthy Americans and large corporations to evade U.S. taxes by stashing their cash in off-shore tax havens. And, the Panama Free Trade Agreement would make this bad situation much worse.
According to Citizens for Tax Justice, “A tax haven . . . has one of three characteristics: It has no income tax or a very low-rate income tax; it has bank secrecy laws; and it has a history of non-cooperation with other countries on exchanging information about tax matters. Panama has all three of those. … They’re probably the worst.”
Mr. President, the trade agreement with Panama would effectively bar the U.S. from cracking down on illegal and abusive offshore tax havens in Panama. In fact, combating tax haven abuse in Panama would be a violation of this free trade agreement, exposing the U.S. to fines from international authorities.
Adding insult to injury, Mr. President, the Panama FTA would require the United States to waive Buy America requirements for procurement bids from thousands of foreign firms, including many Chinese firms, incorporated in this major tax haven.
Finally, Panama is also listed by the State Department as a major venue for Mexican and Colombian drug cartel money laundering.”
Future History: Technology And Climate
- Tech policy activists find Bernie Sanders is best bet – while Trump is the worst | US news | The Guardian Sanders opposed PIPA, saying “It is absolutely essential that the internet remain open and free of censorship or the chilling effects that result in self-censorship.” and supports net neutrality. His opponent called for censoring social media to fight terrorism: “You’re going to hear all of the usual complaints, you know, freedom of speech, etc.”
- Bernie correctly identifies climate change as the greatest danger to civilization and recognizes that, as the U.S. military has stated, it has national security and foreign policy implications. No other candidate has come close to prioritizing climate in the way he has, consistent with the scientific record.
My go-to response to anyone questioning whether or not Bernie’s track record is as good as people say it is.