This Day in History

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Thursday, June 22, 2017
A Middle Of The Road Viewpoint


U.S. Civil War ll: Unpredictable Dangerous Crossroad

By Allan Duffis

Published Saturday, June 11, 2016



 

“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

Abraham Lincoln

“However, the people, by popular choice can fool themselves"

The Editor

 

America is now at a critical point in its history where it is looking into a mirror of time that reveals its own history: the beginning is its end and the end is – in reality – a new beginning

Such a conundrum is often referredd to as a course correction. However it is a correction hampered by the present state of dissolution of a fractured nation and its people, who are no longer united.  In essence the country is at - a fork in the road.

Incredible as it may seem, that ‘fork in the road’ of the American Democratic System is represented by one politically stubborn individual who preaches what he believes in and has steadfastly refused to give up the stage, the fight, or the election, to his adversaries. That individual, the man of the hour, is none other than - Vermont Senator Bernard Sanders.
 

The Bernie Sanders Dilemma:

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont (born September 8, 1941) is running for the nation’s presidency as something he has never been before – a Democrat.  And to be truthfully observant, it is political suit that fits him as badly as the ones he wears throughout his campaign.  Initially billing himself as an Independent, he generally described himself as a ‘democratic socialist’.

From the beginning of his career, which all facts indicate was that of an early 60’s political protestor during the Viet Nam War, the former Brooklyn New Yorker was poetically resolute; he wanted to help people.

He attended James Madison High School, Brooklyn College, and the University of Chicago, whereupon graduating, he moved to Vermont.

After settling in Vermont in 1968, Sanders ran unsuccessful third-party campaigns for governor and U.S.. senator in the early to mid-1970s. Sanders moved to Vermont because he had been "captivated by rural life." After his arrival there he worked as a carpenter, filmmaker, and writer who created and sold "radical Left Wing film strips" and other educational materials to schools.

In 1981, he entered the local election and shocked the entrenched political establishment by being elected mayor of Burlington, the state’s largest city; just making it by just 10 votes. He was reelected three times and in 1990 he was elected to represent Vermont's at-large congressional district in the U.S.. House of Representatives.

 In 1987, U.S.. News & World Report ranked Sanders as - one of America's best mayors.

During the 1980s, Sanders was a staunch critic of U.S.. foreign policy in Latin American. In 1985, Burlington City Hall hosted a foreign policy speech by Norm Chomsky. In his introduction, Sanders praised Chomsky as "a very vocal and important voice in the wilderness of intellectual life in America" and said he was "delighted to welcome a person who I think we're all very proud of."

Sanders' administration balanced the city budget and drew a minor league baseball team, the Vermont Reds, then the Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, to Burlington.

Under his leadership, Burlington sued the local television cable franchise, winning reduced rates for customers.

As mayor, Sanders led extensive downtown revitalization projects: One of his signature achievements being the improvement of Burlington's Lake Champlain waterfront.  In 1981, Sanders campaigned against the unpopular plans by Burlington developer Tony Pomerleau to convert the then-industrial waterfront property owned by the Central Vermont Railway into expensive condominiums, hotels, and offices.

Sanders ran under the slogan "Burlington is not for sale" and successfully supported a plan that redeveloped the waterfront area into a mixed-use district featuring housing, parks, and public space. The waterfront area now includes many parks and miles of public beach and bike paths, a boathouse, and a science center.

Sanders hosted and produced a public-access television program, Bernie Speaks with the Community, from 1986 to 1988. He also collaborated with 30 Vermont musicians to record a folk album, We Shall Overcome, in 1987

In 1987, U.S.. News & World Report ranked Sanders as - one of America's best mayors.

In 1991 Sanders co-founded the Congressional Progressive Caucus, where he served as a congressman for 16 years before being elected to the U.S.. Senate in 2006. In 2012, he was reelected with 71% of the popular vote.

Sanders rise to national prominence followed his 2010 filibuster against the Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010. He favors policies similar to those of the social democratic parties in Europe, (particularly those of the Nordic countries), and has built a reputation as a 'leading progressive voice' in congress on issues such as - campaign finance reform, corporate welfare, global warming, and income inequality.

In November 2015, Sanders announced that he would be a Democrat from then on, and will run in any future elections as a Democrat.

In October 2015, on the late-night talk-show Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Kimmel asked Bernie, "You say you are culturally Jewish and you don't feel religious; do you believe in God and do you think that's important to the people of the United States?"

Sanders replied: “I am who I am, and what I believe in and what my spirituality is about is that we're all in this together. That I think it is not a good thing to believe as human beings we can turn our backs on the suffering of other people ... and this is not Judaism, this is what Pope Francis is talking about, that we can't just worship billionaires and the making of more and more money. Life is more than that.”

Sanders quote:” Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit.”

In 2016, he stated he had "very strong religious and spiritual feelings" and explained, "My spirituality is that we are all in this together and that when children go hungry, when veterans sleep out on the street, it impacts me."

However in his recent frantic run against Democrat Hillary Clinton, it is clear to anyone who looks closely at his political history that Bernie Sanders is, in reality, a firebrand – Soapbox Socialist.

To date his campaign fundraising  strategy and impressive ‘attraction of thousands’ to his speeches has been, to say the least, nothing short of remarkable. Soliciting an average campaign donation of just $27, and convincing his fanatical young followers that, by his own words, “If large amounts of people show up at the primaries, we win.  With lower turnouts, we lose.”

Sanders Campaign Funding

$207.7M
0.02 % from Super PACs
99.98% individual donors

 

The problem for Bernie Sanders and the country as a whole is that, other than opposing the Iraq War, over the years he has shown no major interest in foreign affairs. His main concern has been the attainment of a $15 an hour minimum wage for the working population, a single payer medical system, the expansion of Social Security, and just about every other - Socialist wish list.

In fact, his entire approach to foreign affairs has been dangerously simplistic if not almost completely absent. He has clearly indicated that his philosophy is that if we leave other countries alone, and the problems they pose to themselves and us will solve themselves.  He firmly believes that foreign threats can be resolves without resorting to military action, regardless of the adversary. This includes ISIS, al-Qaida and the Taliban.

By and large, Sanders fully understands that his campaign for President of the United States will be one way or the other - his last hoorah. It will be the culmination of his entire political career and that once he has left the political stage this late in his life (he is 74), all that will remain for him is obscurity.

Therefore, no matter what he may say, he is obligated to run his adversary, Hillary Clinton, to ground in any manner he can  even if doing so, potentially, guarantees - a Donald Trump win.  Short of actually magically managing to win the election over Clinton or Trump, it is simply his only option.

Saunders is not free however from financial pre-election scrutiny and criticism from both his political rivals and the press, mainly emanating from his second marriage to (Mary Jane O’Mara in 1988) who was to earn her own scandal baggage.

Extravagant spending by Sanders’ wife sinks her former school

Mary Jane O'Meara (born October 8, 1950) is a social worker, college administrator and professional political staffer. Mrs. Sanders, a divorce (who is Catholic), was the Provost and interim President of Goddard College (1996–97) and president of Burlington College (2004–11).

She earned her college degree at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont, with a bachelor's in social work. Sen. Bernie Sanders has described his wife, Jane, as "one of his key advisers" and has employed her at various times as "an administrative assistant, spokeswoman, policy adviser, chief of staff, and media buyer". In a 1996 article in The Washington Post, she was credited with helping him draft "more than 50 pieces of legislation.

Mrs. Sanders was the fourth president of Burlington College, a small Vermont institution from 2004 to 2011 at a salary of $160,000 per year.

In 2011, the college trustees, while crediting Sanders with acquiring a permanent campus for the 200-student College, called a meeting for September 2011 and accepted Sanders's resignation. "We reached a decision which I believe is best for both the College and me," Sanders said after the meeting, "The board and I have different visions for the future and that’s perfectly fine."

It would appear that her questionable financial administration has forced the college to close its doors after this school year due to the “crushing weight of the debt”, stemming from the financially punishing purchase Mrs. Sanders made of a new campus in 2010.

“Founded in 1972 as an informal gathering of students, Burlington College grew into a small, regionally accredited liberal arts college,” the Burlington Free Press reported. “But financial strain and academic probation created by an ambitious but ill-fated expansion under then-President Jane Sanders onto prime waterfront land led to the school’s demise.” Under Mrs. Sanders‘ directive, the college purchased 32 acres of land along North Avenue for about $10 million to expand its campus.

With the College unable to collect on some promised pledges after Sanders resignation, and the enrollment increase plans failing, the Diocese settled the loan debt with the College in 2015 for $996,000, less than the agreed amount, with $1 million of the repayment made in shares of an - unidentified LLC.

Upon her resignation, Mrs. Sanders was awarded a $200,000 severance package — which some have called a “golden parachute”, because the executive pay amounted to more than four times the average annual household income in Vermont.

It is suspected by many that Sen. Sanders determined limiting of his financial disclosure to the release of his 2014 tax returns only, is that his overall worth  (estimated at a mere $300,000) may be much higher than that  projected by his  preferred projection of his image as a ‘vow of poverty Socialist’.

Presidential Prospects:

Looking through the historic magnifier of congressional reality, sincere and good man that he is, Bernie Sanders has a snowflakes chance in hell of being an effective leader, even should he somehow magically manage to pull off a victory at the Democratic convention and go on to attain the presidency.

He is in fact on reflection at the same point Hillary Clinton was in her 2008 run against an incumbent President Barack Obama.  With very little possibility of winning, she stubbornly refused to drop out of the race against her party’s wishes. And her husband Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton faced a similar circumstance when unexpectedly coming face to face in the primaries in 1992 with a politically revived Jerry Brown.

The difference this time is that our nation is experiencing the worst times of internationally, while still engaged in our longest war (Afghanistan). And must now come to terms internally by an egotistically maniacal candidate for president, powered by a rebellious populous, who may stand a real chance of winning the presidential election, namely - Donald Trump.

My fellow Americans we are at the crossroads of a  - new Civil War, only this time it will be fought and, won or lost, in November 2016 at the - ballot box.

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
Abraham Lincoln




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