Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul – a Glimpse

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I’ve been waiting  for years for Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), whose recently announced candidacy for President of the United States is drawing astonishingly large crowds.

Ask him why he’s running and he tells you. And when he does, he speaks with two qualities that too often are estranged from one another: keen intelligence and passionate conviction. His voice resonates with a timber from deep within his soul. He’s not your stereotypical politician. He doesn’t answer questions by running in circles. He’s not afraid to offend potential supporters. He’s as bold as they come. What he’s bold about is common sense. The crowds in Minnesota and Iowa are coming out to meet him because they hear the voice of a truth-teller. No matter that Bernie speaks with a Brooklyn accent.

No other candidate for President during my lifetime has been as clear or concise as Bernie Sanders. Here’s a sample of Bernie engaging Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) on senior hunger back in 2011 before Bernie and Rand threw their names in the hat.

No one knows how far Bernie will go in his bid for the Presidency. But suddenly the mainstream media within the Washington Beltway and the New York Times the sneered at him a week ago are beginning to sense they’d better pay attention.

– Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, June 2, 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

Tax Wall Street speculation

What we forget often hurts us. Sometimes remembering helps turn the tide.

Establishing a 0.03 percent Wall Street speculation fee, similar to what we had from 1914-1966, would dampen the dangerous level of speculation and gambling on Wall Street, encourage the financial sector to invest in the productive economy and reduce the deficit by more than $350 billion over 10 years.

Senator Bernie Sanders

Wealth for the Common Good, a movement of America’s wealthiest people with a conscience, is calling for the same:

Tax Wall Street Speculation

We, the undersigned investors, business owners and executives, call on the President and Congress to institute a modest federal tax on trades of stocks, futures, credit default swaps, and options. This modest levy would dampen speculation that threatens financial markets while also raising more than $150 billion annually in revenue for the US Treasury.

– See more at Wealth for the Common Good

In the run up to the 2016 national elections, citizen support for re-establishing the speculation fee is one specific way to register voters’ desire for economic fairness and democracy.

– Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, April 25, 2015.

The Politics of Vision

Voter turnout in the November election was the lowest since 1942. Many folks have given up on the political establishment. The know that Citizens United baptized the privilege and power of the billionaire class.

Very few candidates stood up against the pejorative, demagogic ad campaigns that painted progressive candidates with a red brush. Most campaign ads focused on what the candidate opposed. Very few put forward what they stood for, as well as against.

But what if…. What if a candidate answered the question “What do you stand for?” very clearly? Something like this:

YES to raising the minimum wage.

YES to a massive jobs program rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure.

YES to transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels.

YES to pay equity for women workers. YES to overturning Citizens United.

NO to cuts in Social Security.

NO to cuts in Medicaid.

NO to converting Medicare into a voucher program.

NO to new trade legislation that sends our jobs overseas and hammers our middle-class workers.

NO to cuts to nutrition programs, education, or environmental protection.”

Someone did say this. Senator Bernie Sanders, (I), Vermont. How does America’s only socialist Senator from the small state of Vermont manage to get elected? How does it happen that conservative Vermont farmers and small business owners support him?

His “Yes” means “YES” and his “No” means “NO”. He is honest. He has a message. He doesn’t fudge the way Mitch McConnell’s Democratic opponent did in Kentucky when she re-made herself to sound tougher than Sen. McConnell on immigration enforcement.

Clarity of message is everything. So is honesty. Boldness. “Where there is no vision the people perish” [Proverbs 29:18]. Where there is (a good) vision, the people follow and thrive.

Traditional American values were not up for debate in 2014. Disgust was the issue. Anger was the issue. Distrust was the issue. Cynicism took over. Between now and 2016 we can expect more of the same. But there is also a national debate brewing about the vision.

“Write the vision and make it plain, so he may run who reads it.” [Habakkuk 2:2]

Thanks you, Bernie Sanders, for writing yours so clearly. I look forward to hearing others’ plain Yeses and No’s, such that might inspire us to run to the polls next time.