Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Political Soul of the Nation

                                                                               March 27, 2016

K.C. Shepherd

The battle for the political soul of the nation will not be fought in the general election.  Rather, it is being fought right now in the Democratic nominating process.

That the Republicans are morally bankrupt is beyond dispute.  Their escalating antics speak for themselves.  It is not only Trump.  The Republicans overall might as well live on another planet.  They are so stuck in stale and failed ideology and religious rhetoric that they have outlived any relevance they may think they once had.  The personal insults and foul behavior of Trump and Cruz are already a tremendous embarrassment.  If there are any honest Republicans left, they ought to be ashamed that their party has sunk so far to the gutter.

Here are a few issues that illustrate the contrast between the Sanders and Clinton campaigns.

Social and Economic Justice:   Sanders represents substantive institutional change.  Clinton represents incremental change and the status quo.  Sanders is supported by more than 6,000,000 private donations of around $27 each.  The Sanders campaign has raised over $140,000,000 this way, something never before done in the history of United States elections.  Clinton has raised most of her money via Super PACS and the support of the very institutions that are poisoning our political process and our planet:  Wall Street, Big Banks, Pharma, Private health insurance, Extraction, Armaments, Private Prisons, Media and Corporations.  How can Secretary Clinton express intention to crack down on these institutions while taking their money?

Foreign Policy:  Ironically, foreign policy may be Secretary Clinton’s area of greatest vulnerability.  She claims strength in foreign policy due to her experience in that area.  However, it is not only experience but judgment that counts.  In 2002, Bernie warned that an invasion of Iraq would lead to civil war and chaos.  Senator Clinton voted to empower George W. Bush to invade Iraq.  Now ISIS, an unholy alliance of religious opportunists and former Saddam Hussein Baathist army remnants has filled the vacuum.  We see also in Libya that the Clinton policy of regime change can have the unintended consequence leaving behind a failed state and yet another vacuum to be filled by jihadists.  Clinton’s hawkish foreign policy views more closely resemble Republican views than the considered caution of Sanders.

Climate change:  As Secretary of State, Secretary Clinton traveled the world speaking to the benefits of fracking.  Sanders is opposed to fracking.

Civil rights:  Bernie Sanders marched with Martin Luther King, Jr.  He fought for housing desegregation in Chicago.  Sanders was a champion of civil rights before it was a popular idea.  In Chicago, he was arrested for his activism.  Bernie is appalled by and in opposition to the mass incarceration (disproportionately of people of color) that shamefully exists in America today.  Secretary Clinton claims to oppose the mass incarceration, yet she accepted the money of private prisons and in the 1990’s supported Bill Clinton’s crime bill.  That bill and mandatory minimum sentences were a big mistake; even Bill Clinton now admits that.

The contrasts in the Democratic campaigns are numerous and vast.  Differences in issues of the two campaigns are as wide as or wider than used to be the case between Democrats and Republicans.

The establishment of the Democratic Party is willing to give Secretary Clinton a pass on her campaign donors.  They are willing to go along with a hawkish foreign policy which has been a clear failure, destabilized the Middle East, and unintentionally created conditions ripe for the rise of ISIS. 

Perhaps this establishment is clinging too hard to the myths of Clinton inevitability and electability in the general election.  Consider these observations:  Clinton draws crowds of 4000 to 5000.  Bernie filled Safeco Field in Seattle and regularly draws crowds in excess of 10,000.  Even Trump does not draw so well.  Clinton may claim more votes cast in the nomination thus far.  However most of this majority is in the deep south where no Democrat is expected to win in November. Polling shows that Bernie is the only candidate in either party with positive approval and trust ratings by the American people.  Moreover, polls continue to demonstrate that Sanders does much better in a general election against either Trump or Cruz.

The important question to ask in this battle for the political soul of the nation is this:  Do we want and need significant structural change in America or will incremental change be sufficient?  An honest look at the state of the nation and of American politics will  answer that question.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Safeco Field, Seattle Washington

The press will complain about the empty seats in the upper deck.

Someone commented that Bernie drew a bigger crowd than the Mariners.  Maybe politics is better than baseball.

12 Reasons Bernie Sanders Supporters Are Justifiably Angry at The Media

I found this Huffington Post article to be insightful and offer a clearly optimistic view.
Please read:

Easy To Be A Straight White Guy

I posted the following in a community called Progressives in response to the claim that it is easy to be a straight white guy and say a Republican presidency would be as bad as Hillary.
This is also in response to those who say that opposition to Clinton is based on the perception of her as a career politician and insider and that she is a woman.  How absurd is that?

My post:

I do not oppose Secretary Clinton because she is a career politician or a woman. I oppose Clinton because she and her establishment Democratic supporters have chosen to disenfranchise voters in caucuses and primaries around the country rather than deal fairly with much larger than expected turnout.  I oppose Clinton because she is untrustworthy. I oppose Clinton because she has co-opted many of Bernie Sanders progressive ideas, yet will pivot away when it is expedient for her. I oppose Clinton because she is a dangerous regime changing war hawk. I oppose Clinton because she accepts money from the very institutions poisoning our political process and our planet. I oppose Clinton because she believes she is inevitable (she believed in her inevitability in 2008 also.)  I oppose Clinton because she supported NAFTA and the war in Iraq.  Finally, I oppose Clinton because she and Bill moved the Democratic party to the right furthering Reagan/ Bush deregulation and eroding of New Deal and Great Society ideals.

Do not fool yourselves.  Men and women, white people and people of color, straight and gay people share my sentiments.  Aversion to Hillary Clinton is not born of privilege but of considered judgement.  I for one do not support a "status quo" president.  Consider where that has gotten us over the last 25 to 30 years.  

Clinton has won the South by overwhelming numbers.  It is easier to schmooze the African American community as the Clintons are so adept at doing than to have marched with Dr. King and been arrested in support of housing desegregation as did Sanders.  Sanders has a 100% rating from the NAACP and enjoys the support of many prominent African Americans such as Nina Turner, Spike Lee, Dr. Cornell West, and Killer Mike to name a few of the more well known.  Winning the South garnered many votes and delegates for the Secretary.  However, it is unlikely that any Democrat will carry that part of the country in November.

If by now you do not "Feel the Bern" I will most likely not be able to persuade you:  even in a community called Progressives.  Bernie Sanders is not the target of an FBI investigation involving 150 agents and a potential breach of National Security.  Sanders would beat Trump or Cruz by much larger margins than Clinton and most likely help Democratic Senate and Congressional candidates. Bernie is trusted and liked by greater numbers than any other candidate of either party.  Even people who disagree with him praise his honesty and authenticity. He is without a doubt the strongest Democratic candidate going into the general election.  Clearly, Bernie Sanders is the best chance to avoid a Republican Presidency which, I think we can agree we do not want.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Feel The Bird?

This is going to go viral, I guarantee it.  Simply awesome.

The Democratic Party No Longer Exists

                                                                                               March 25, 2016

K.C. Shepherd

Hillary and the Clinton machine are the establishment.  She is the most crooked candidate since Nixon.  The dynamic of Democrat vs. Republican is an illusion (since 1992) designed to divert attention from the rigged economy and rigged election process.  Hillary represents big corporate money and the willingness to rig elections in every way.

The only alternative is Bernie.  But he may have done too good a job of exposing Clinton for what she is.

This is my 11th presidential election since I have been a voter.  My dad was a New Deal Democrat.  He lived through the Great Depression and had the greatest respect and admiration for FDR.  I too was a lifelong Democrat until my recent switch to Independent.

Bernie said last August that he would support the Democratic nominee if it were not him.
I still believe, even in the face of DNC and Clinton election fraud and swindle, that Bernie will win the nomination.  I had vowed earlier that if Clinton won the nomination I would hold my nose and vote for her to block the Republican.

I am having second thoughts about that.  The Sanders campaign is about opposing everything that the Clintons advocate:  Corporate Culture, Wall Street, Big Banks, Pharma, armaments, extraction and neo-con global adventurism.  Her words may sound similar to Bernie's, but she lives in a culture of money corrupt politicians.  In short, the Clintons are the problem, not the solution.

Now, unless he changes his mind Bernie would not oppose Clinton in a general election.  A write in campaign is unlikely to succeed.  I am loathing abdicating my franchise.  These are my thoughts:

1.  Bernie wins nomination-no problem
2.  Clinton is indicted or so damaged that, fearing loss in the general election, the party forces her to suspend her campaign-no problem  

3. Clinton wins nomination and Bernie runs as an Independent-no problem
4. Clinton wins and Bernie throws support to her-PROBLEM
Trump is repugnant and dangerous.  Clinton offers a further entrenching of the corrupt system that got us to this dreadful point.  If scenario #4 is the case, I am inclined write in Bernie.  

For now, we must continue to work and donate for Bernie to win the nomination.  If we fall short, then perhaps Bernie will reconsider an Independent run.  Forget about party unity:  there is no Democratic Party left to unify.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Do Not Support Hillary Clinton!

                                                                                                March 24, 2016

K.C. Shepherd

Achieving a great goal is often accomplished with risk.  I believe that Hillary is more dangerous than Donald.  This is why:  The democratic/ republican alliance in support of the billionaire class and their myriad minions has dominated American politics for at least 25 years.  Bill Clinton trashed the "new deal' democrat in favor of the "new" democrat or republican lite.  In so doing, he guaranteed the corporate culture a free hand to do their nefarious deeds.  Another Clinton presidency would further entrench this alliance and make it that much more difficult to enact true structural change.

As we all know, opposition to the unchecked rule of the corporate culture is the cornerstone of the Sanders campaign.  If Bernie is denied the nomination, it will not be over issues.  It will be by various swindles and cheap shots such as, most recently, the Arizona primary fiasco.  To ask Sanders supporters to embrace a candidate (Hillary) who is a shameless shill for the billionaire class is the height of arrogance and absurdity.  I can see no reason why it would be in my interest to support Hillary Clinton.  

A president is not a king or a dictator.  Even in the unlikely event that Trump was elected, he would never be able to enact his ridiculous proposals.  A wall will not be built, eleven million people will not be deported, and American Muslims will not be rounded up or persecuted.  We have a constitution and a balance of powers to counteract a potentially rogue president.  Moreover his proposals are logistically impractical and will never happen.  A Trump presidency would be a four year debacle and would open the door for a strong progressive challenge in 2020.

One way or another, I will be voting for Bernie on November 8.  If Bernie does not win the nomination (and I still think he will,) he could mount an independent challenge. While Hillary and Trump go for each others' jugglers, Bernie would continue to carry on his positive issue oriented campaign.  Some would point out that ordinarily a third party candidate is not viable.  The 2016 election is far from ordinary.  The unlikely successes of Bernie and even Trump demonstrate that we are not in a business as usual cycle.  If it turns out, as the media would have us believe, that Hillary and Donald are the candidates, they are so undesirable that a Sanders independent bid could upset them both. 

Remember, independents overwhelmingly support Bernie and they represent 41% of the electorate.  Add in the rest of us Bernie supporters and some disaffected democrats and republicans and there is a victory coalition.  Bernie is the only candidate with favorable approval ratings and also who is perceived as honest.

I will be supporting Bernie until the end, even if by write-in ballot.  That decision is why I am at peace with my conscience.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


The Sanders Campaign must file a law suit in Arizona.  If I seem outraged, Well excuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me!  I am.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Self Promotion

                                                                          March 21, 2016

K.C. Shepherd

Bernie Sanders is the most humble and unassuming person in politics.  He does not do self-promotion, nor does he need to.

Think about it:  “Feel the Bern” is a national catch phrase.  Bernie communities and blogs abound.  Songs have been written about him.  Tee shirts, sweatshirts, underwear and other clothing, coffee cups and tattoos are some of the popular merchandise items.  The hair and glasses logo is instantly recognizable.  People bake Bernie cupcakes and cookies.

The irony is that Bernie is a man of issues, not trappings.  Nevertheless, his unlikely emergence as a cultural icon speaks to the impact of his message of social justice, economic justice, and caution in foreign affairs.  No one doubts that Bernie is the real deal.  So too is the groundswell of enthusiasm that precedes him at his rallies.

Tee shirts and cupcakes do not necessarily win elections.  It is refreshing to witness the success of a candidate who runs on issues, not self-promotion.   If issues decide this election, Bernie Sanders will be President Sanders on January 20, 2017.  Keep the faith.

The Inevitability Swindle

                                                                                March 21, 2016

K.C. Shepherd

Hillary has been selling this myth since 2008.  Now, even the Donald is pitching it.

We know from history that when a lie is repeated loudly and stridently enough the simple minded are inclined to believe it.   This weak and illogical ploy always raises a red flag with me.  If someone’s course is inevitable, why then must they self proclaim it?

To the inevitability swindler it is a self fulfilling prophecy.  “Since I am inevitable, everyone should vote for me.”  However, an inevitable candidate may find it difficult to generate enthusiasm. 

Bernie is the candidate of non inevitability.  As we know, a year ago Bernie was polling 3% nationally.  Even during his surges and victories he is relegated by the mainstream media as unelectable. Yet, just yesterday Bernie drew 30,000 people to his rally in Seattle.  And that is far from an isolated incident. 

Significantly, the Sanders Campaign has succeeded with only the donations of regular people averaging $27.  No other candidate can proudly make that claim.  How many polls must be released showing Bernie defeating any Republican by a wide margin until the media runs the story?  As Bernie accurately points out, Democrats win when turnout is high. 

Mainstream Democrats will tend to vote for the Democratic nominee because they do not want a Republican elected.  However, Bernie brings in large numbers of young people and independents.  He also brings in the disaffected.

 After decades of “lesser of two evils” elections, many have turned away from the political process altogether.  When Bill Clinton created the “New Democrat” in 1992, he was proclaiming the end of the New Deal Democrat.  In effect, that left us with Republican and Republican lite.  This was clearly a Clinton homage to corporate America.  Is there really much difference between a “New Democrat” and a Republican?

Bernie represents the return of the FDR New Deal Democrat.  His honest and consistent message resonates with people.  He is the only candidate on either side generating enthusiasm in a positive way.  

People ought to be offended by the inevitability swindle.  It attempts to promote a candidate whose issues and policies alone are insufficient to garner wide support.  In a perfect world, a nomination would be decided on issues, not cheap shots and swindles.


My thanks to Vivian Bryan of
"Bernie Sanders for President 2016"  
for posting this musical tribute:

(if necessary, copy and paste to search bar of browser)

trust me, it is worth it

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


                                                                                                   March 16, 2016


    K.C. Shepherd

    What Bernie Sanders is Not:

1.  He is not insincere.  Even folks that disagree with him acknowledge his honesty.

2.  He is not wealthy.

3.  He is not a taker of PAC and special interest money.  The only favors he owes are to the                 American  people.

4.  He is not a shill for special interests:  the billionaires, banks, fossil fuel industry, armaments           makers, private medical insurance, and Big Pharma.

5.  He is not oblique and evasive.  When there is nothing to hide, transparency is easy.

6.  He is not a climate change denier.

7.  He is not a Middle East war hawk.  He believes in a strong national defense and comprehensive      homeland security.  He sees the folly of regime change and will not send American troops to
     meat grinders which only people of that region would be effective fighting.

8.  He is not a Communist despite the claims of Trump and other uninformed disinformation                  mongers.

9.  He is not anti-capitalism.  Bernie's Democratic Socialism resembles Franklin Roosevelt's New          Deal.

10.  He is not a "drug warrior."

11.  He is not a naive dreamer.  His programs are developed, detailed, and realistic.  Americans will       save money and the economy will thrive.  When the people are impoverished, they cannot
      spend.  Without discretionary income, our consumer based economy would eventually collapse.

12.  He is not a "free trader."  He knows as do millions of working Americans the tragedy and                  disgrace of losing good paying jobs to China, Mexico and other third world countries.

13.  He is not a destroyer of immigrant families through deportation.

14.  He is not disingenuous in his support of racial justice and opportunity.  He marched with Dr.              King and fought for housing desegregation in Chicago.  He respects and engages members
       Black Lives Matter and other activist groups and people.

15.  He is not a short term thinker.  Expanding college availability, rebuilding the infrastructure,                health care as a right, and growing the middle class are keys to the long term future of a strong        America.

16.  He is not without faith and religion.  Bernie is proud of his Jewish heritage and believes in a             connection with all people.  He is empathetic toward any person in need.  He lives by the
      Golden Rule, not the rule of gold.

      What Hillary Clinton is Not:

 1. The inevitable candidate.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Preemptive Impeachment

                                                                                    March 15, 2016

K.C. Shepherd

The Democratic Party establishment needs to consider a Preemptive Impeachment.  “Oh no” you say.  Not another goofy contrived political cliché.  Please allow me to explain.

The party will need to make a choice:  nominate a damaged candidate who may be under indictment or the threat of indictment or nominate Bernie Sanders.

Option one:  Hillary is nominated and possibly elected (the Republicans do not exactly have any sterling candidates.)  If so, we may eventually be treated to the spectacle of yet another Clinton impeachment. 

Option two:   Democratic leaders pressure Hillary to suspend her campaign for the good of the party and Bernie is the nominee.  As polls indicate, Bernie would easily defeat any of the Republicans.

“The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails”

In the first Democratic debate, October 13, 2015, Bernie gave Hillary this famous free pass.  Bernie is a gentleman who comes ready to debate issues.  At that time, the email debacle appeared to be nothing more than yet another sleazy Republican smear.

Now, despite what she says those “damn emails” are clearly a matter of great concern for Secretary Clinton.   Bryan Pagliano, former Clinton staffer who installed the infamous server has been granted immunity from prosecution by the Justice Department.  A grant of immunity involves a difficult and lengthy procedure.  These are generally granted when the government believes the individual has valuable information in a criminal case.  The usual purpose is to obtain evidence that will be used to prosecute someone higher up the totem pole. 
There are 150 FBI special agents working the case.  Eventually their investigation will be complete.  On the basis of evidence presented, government prosecutors will decide whether to convene a grand jury.  It would be then that Pagliano would have to testify.

That decision could come as early as May.  An indictment, if it happens is not a conviction.  The Secretary and her team will no doubt use all of their corporate lawyerly spin to spread fog and confusion.  That is a Clinton strong suit. 

Unless the DOJ decides not to convene a grand jury the case will likely be up in the air by convention time in July.  She will argue correctly that she has not been convicted (or possibly even charged) and therefore fully intends to carry on her campaign, go to the White House and be the inevitable President that she was intended to be.

Suppose she was merely stupid and there was nothing sinister about her actions, deleting 30,000 emails for example.  That lack of judgment at the cabinet level should disqualify her for higher office.  Imagine what her Republican opponent will do with this issue.  The smoke will not go away and the glimmer of a fire below is beginning to glow.  Hillary may be “feeling the burn.”

Option two could loom large in July.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Trump is Not the Problem


Trump is not the problem.  He is a dangerous and foul buffoon, good for reality show ratings but in no way Presidential. 

The problem that frightens me is Trump supporters.

There is an excellent book by Thom Hartman, “The Crash of 2016.”  One concept discussed in the book is the “great forgetting.”   As Hartman describes it, every seventy years a generation ages and passes away.  People who did not live through that generation’s seminal events tend to forget about them.  To be sure people are aware of these historical events but have no personal experience with them.

You probably know by now that I refer to the Great Depression and the rise of Nazi Germany.  There was a certain loudmouth buffoon with a funny Chaplin mustache in Germany named Hitler.  He enjoyed the sound of his raspy strident voice and reveled in hate speech.  For most of his political career Germans considered him a nut and a sideshow.

Then burst on the world the Great Depression.  Germans, like people all over the world were mired in poverty and misery.  Additionally the punitive terms of the Treaty of Versailles had rankled Germans (with some justification) since the end of WW1.  The German people needed someone to Make Germany Great Again.

This is my point:  If not Hitler, there would have been someone else.  Demagogues are a dime a dozen.   Angry disillusioned people who feel marginalized by a dysfunctional establishment are receptive to a shouting arm waving insult bully.   This receptivity is the problem.  They were willing to overlook the racial theories and xenophobic fanaticism against Jews.  Eventually, the people allowed themselves to embrace these evil and insane ideas.

Move ahead to 2016 America.  I do not need to delineate Trump’s crazy, mean, insulting and dangerous rhetoric.  The media has done a fine job giving Trump more than ample platform to expound.  This reality TV star is a master of propaganda.

It is unlikely he will be elected President; not this time.  What then will Trump supporters do?  They will bide their time.  Trump may come back.  If he does not, someone else every bit as nutty will.  Maybe next time the demagogue will cloak his or her self in a more civil toned down version. 

Please do not be relieved or complacent when the Trump threat goes by.  His supporters will continue to exist in large numbers.  As long as that is the case it is only a matter of time.  We must wake up to the real threat.  And that is not Trump.