1. "Our Revolution"?
Bernie Sanders Launches New
Organization, But Key Staffers
Quit in Protest
2. How Veterans Are Losing the War at Home
3. What Israel’s Actions Have Wrought
4. Clinton Wins in A Cakewalk? Don't Bet the Ranch on It
This is a Nederlog of Friday, August 26, 2016.
is a crisis log with 4 items with 4 dotted links: Item 1
is about "Sanders' supporters" who run from Sanders' "Our Revolution"
(and I try to explain); item 2 is about American
veterans and the Veterans' Administration, and both are under attack by
the rich; item 3
is about Israel, Zionism and discrimination (I try to explain a few
things, but I don't expect any amelioriation until Netan- yahu looses
power); and item 4 is about the supposed cakewalk
to the presi- dency for Hillary Clinton, that I indeed think is a
fairly dangerous delusion.
1. "Our Revolution"? Bernie Sanders Launches New
Organization, But Key Staffers Quit in Protest
first item today is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:
This starts as follows:
Bernie Sanders and his supporters
have launched a new political organization called Our Revolution. It
seeks to support the next generation of progressive leaders, empower
millions to fight for progressive change and elevate the nation’s
overall political consciousness. More than 2,600 watch parties were
held across the country last night to witness Sanders launch the new
organization. But reports have emerged of political tumult within
Bernie Sanders’s own team. Over the weekend, eight key staffers
abruptly resigned in a dispute over the group’s leadership and legal
structure. For more, we speak with Larry Cohen, incoming board chair of
Our Revolution, and with Claire Sandberg, former digital organizing
director for Bernie Sanders’s campaign, who resigned as the organizing
director for Our Revolution.
I say. This sounds .... (I am looking for the
right term)... strange to me. I have more reasons than I will
discuss here, but it seems to me that there are
now two kinds of "Sanders supporters" who claim to be
Sanders supporterts but are not:
(1) those who say they are, but refuse to follow
Sanders' decision to support
Clinton (after he was defeated) because he
fears Trump very much, and
(2) those who say they are, but now refuse to follow
Sanders' decisions to
try to gather a lot of money for Sanders' Our
I have written about the first group. I think they are quite
mistaken, for Trump is much
more dangerous than Clinton, although I agree neither candidate is good
and both are in fact rich who also are pro rich, but then that is the only
choice one has: between a bad candidate and between a mad neofascist
candidate (for that is what I think he is).
Also, I must say I dislike a lot of the shows of moral purity of the
"Sanders supporters": I do not think it is much to ask
from your supporters to
vote for the least evil and the non-fascist alternative,
and I think those who show of their moral purity by absolutely refusing
to vote for Clinton either are too much concerned with their own
pure self image, or don't understand most politics is a dirty game in
which one is often forced to vote for the least evil.
Now we have more "Sanders supporters" who refuse
to follow Sanders, and in fact walk out. I will give only one quotation
(and skip several quotes from Sanders and the opinions of Larry Cohen:
if you want to read then click the above dotted link), and again start
this by saying I find this quite strange:
The reason I find this strange is
that it sounds completely ridiculous to me, and indeed as if
Sandberg is hiding a completely different set of
reasons for half of the staff dropping all work on Our Revolution.
AMY GOODMAN: Claire Sandberg, you were a part
of the Bernie Sanders campaign. You were the organizing director for
Our Revolution. But right before it launched last night, you and more
than half the staff quit. Why?
SANDBERG: Yes. (..) So,
last Monday, as the staff of Our Revolution was preparing for a very
busy week, gearing up for the launch event last night, we learned that
Jeff Weaver would be stepping in to run, actively manage, Our
Revolution, which was a decision that was met with unanimous concern
among the entire staff at Our Revolution. And—
AMY GOODMAN: Now, Jeff Weaver was the
campaign director of Bernie Sanders during his presidential campaign.
CLAIRE SANDBERG: Yes, Jeff was the campaign
manager at the organization. And all of us who worked on the campaign
who moved over to Our Revolution did so based on the promise that Jeff
Weaver would not be involved in Our Revolution or that his role would
be strictly constrained as a legal adviser or a board member who would
have somewhat of a token role.
AMY GOODMAN: Why is that,
SANDBERG: Well, Jeff has
gone on the record admitting that he wanted to form the organization as
a 501(c)(4) for the express purpose of accepting billionaire money,
which of course flies in the face of what all of our supporters were so
excited about, that we were taking a country back from the billionaire
class without the use of billionaire money, $27 at a time.
That is: I just don't believe this is the real reason -
and in case it is
I think it is again a rather ridiculous show of moral purity: "We won't
accept any contribution of any billionaire (no matter how carefully
we "Sanders supporters" want to win out battles with contributions of
$27 dollars at a time." Really?!
I am sorry, but if this is the real reason, all I can conclude
is that you are not
Sanders supporters; you are much more concerned with your own
self image about your own moral purity than with doing
realistic politics; and it seems you don't realize or you deny that
much of politics is a dirty game.
And as to the billionaires: If some want to contribute millions to
Sanders' Our Revolution, I'd welcome them, though I would tell
them (if I were - for example - Sanders) that I am grateful, but they
will not be rewarded with any
chance to influence Our Revolution except by giving money.
On that understanding, I fail to see what could be wrong with also
soliciting for big money, for Our Revolution does need
a lot of money, if only because the opposition has a lot more.
2. How Veterans Are
Losing the War at Home
The second item is by Ann Jones on Truthdig and originally on
This starts as follows:
A friend of mine, a Vietnam vet, told me
about a veteran of the Iraq War who, when some civilian said, “Thank
you for your service,” replied: “I didn’t serve, I was used.” That got
me thinking about the many ways today’s veterans are used, conned, and
exploited by big gamers right here at home.
Near the end of his invaluable book
cataloguing the long, slow disaster of America’s
War for the Greater Middle East, historian Andrew Bacevich writes:
“Some individuals and institutions actually benefit from an
armed conflict that drags on and on. Those benefits are immediate and
tangible. They come in the form of profits, jobs, and campaign
contributions. For the military-industrial complex and its
beneficiaries, perpetual war is not necessarily bad news.”
Bacevich is certainly right about war
profiteers, but I believe we haven’t yet fully wrapped our minds around
what that truly means. This is what we have yet to take in: today, the
U.S. is the most unequal
country in the developed world, and the wealth of the plutocrats on top
is now so great that, when they invest it in politics, it’s likely that
no elected government can stop them or the lucrative wars and “free
markets” they exploit.
I mostly agree: Veterans are right to
conclude they were used (deceived by propaganda)
rather than that they served (an honest end, honestly stated),
and I also think Ann Jones is probably right in writing that "the wealth of the plutocrats on top is now so great that,
when they invest it in politics, it’s likely that no elected government
can stop them or the lucrative wars and “free markets” they exploit".
My reasons to believe the last proposition
are rather indirect, and include the fifteen years of
continuous wars engaged in by the USA; the enormous power
enormous wealth give; the egoism and greed of very many; the systematic
misadministration of trillions by the Pentagon; the great profits of
the American suppliers of arms; and considerably more that includes Powell
call to the rich to organize themselves to defend their own interests
and riches, and 35 years of deregulations
that much increased the riches of the few rich, while
contributing nothing to the many poor.
Also, this is a fairly long article, and I
will skip a lot. First, here is a statement that in fact goes mostly
back to the Supreme Court's decision that money = votes (and yes, I know
they did not quite put it like that, but that is what it
comes down to):
I think this is correct, but my reasons are
again indirect, though I agree that one very important
consequence of enabling and allowing that big money could go into
politics is that it did, and did so in a very thorough way,
and tries to buy influence in far more political institutions
of many kinds than merely Congress, and that it also has mostly
succeeded (for there are few motives stronger than getting
a lot of money, in the present world, and hence very many can be
While the contest between Trump and
Clinton fills the media, the big money is evidently going to be aimed
at selected states and municipalities to aid right-wing governors,
Senate candidates, congressional representatives, and in some cities,
ominously enough, school
board candidates. The Koch brothers need not openly
support the embarrassing
Trump, for they’ve already proved that, by controlling Congress,
they can significantly control
the president, as they have already done in the Obama era.
Yet for all their influence, the Koch name
means nothing, pollsters report,
to more than half of the U.S. population.
Next, part of the story is - in fact - about how the American Veteran
Administration got abused by manipulated and false information
pharmaceutical corporations on prescription opioids, which were
originally sold on the basis of the falsehood that they were not
Those painkillers were also dispatched
to the war zones where our troops were physically breaking down under
the weight of the equipment they carried. By 2010, a third of the
Army’s soldiers were on prescription
medications—and nearly half of them, 76,500, were on prescription
opioids—which proved to be highly addictive, despite the assurance of
experts like Rollin Gallagher. In 2007, for instance, “The American
Veterans and Service Members Survival Guide,” distributed by the
American Pain Foundation and edited by Gallagher, offered
this assurance: “[W]hen used for medical purposes and under the
guidance of a skilled health-care provider, the risk of addiction from
opioid pain medication is very low.”
That is what many medical doctors (who
somehow also earned a lot from their prescribing these opioids) did
Here is what happened, and it goes in two
moves. First the addiction of very many veterans to the opioids
that they were prescribed with the promise that
these were not addictive:
By that time, here at home, soldiers and
vets were dying at astonishing
rates from accidental or deliberate overdoses. Civilian doctors as
well had been persuaded to overprescribe these drugs, so that by 2011
the CDC announced
a national epidemic, affecting more than 12 million Americans. In
May 2012, the Senate Finance Committee finally initiated an investigation
into the perhaps “improper relation” between Big Pharma and the pain
foundations. That investigation is still “ongoing,” which means that no
information about it can yet be revealed to the public.
And second, once they were
addicted, the move of many veterans to a cheaper opioid, which
is as effective, and that happens to be illegal heroin:
Next, I again skip a lot, and turn to a
different tack, which is the attempt to replace the Veterans
Administration by a quite different organization, which is - you are
amazed, no doubt! - much more run by private corporations
(rather than the government):
Meanwhile, opioid addicts, both veterans
and civilians, were discovering that heroin was a cheaper
and no less effective way to go. Because heroin is often cut with
Fentanyl, a more powerful opioid, however, drug deaths rose
In other words, instead of
funding added staff and speeded-up service, the commission recommended
the creation of an entirely new, more expensive, and untried system.
Then there was the fine print: as in the plan of Concerned Veterans of
America, there would be tightened qualifications, out-of-pocket costs,
and exclusions. In other words, the commission was proposing a
fragmented, complicated, and iffy system, funded in part on the backs
of veterans, and “transformative” in ways ominously different from
anything vets had been promised in the past.
There is again considerably more that I leave
to your interests. The article ends thus:
The plutocrats who corrupted veterans’
health care and now want to shut it down, and the plutocrats who profit
from this country’s endless wars are one and the same. And they have
bigger plans for us all.
Yes indeed - and the very rich have enormous
amounts of money with which they can corrupt most, which they
are now allowed to do since 2010 by the Supreme Court.
And this is a recommended article, in
which there is considerably more.
3. What Israel’s Actions Have Wrought
The third item is by Lawrence Davidson on Consortiumnews:
This has a subtitle:
Israel’s repression of the
Palestinians is often rationalized by the historical abuse of the Jews,
but Israel’s misconduct is having the disturbing effect of stirring up
new anti-Semitism, observes Lawrence Davidson.
Yes and no: Yes, it did create new
anti-Semitism, but then there also were Zionist organizations
who simply styled anyone who disagrees with Netanyahu's
government as "anti-Semites" also if they are Jews who are
not anti-semitic but are anti-Netanyahu or who
disagree with Israel's treatment of Gaza.
The article starts as follows:
It has been 71 years since the end of
the Holocaust. Initially, the world took that horror as a serious
lesson, and the international community created
laws against acts of genocide. Those who, even after the public
revelation of the Nazi killing fields, still held anti-Semitic opinions
kept them to themselves, and as time passed, this particular form of
bigotry seemed to be fading away.
Actually, that is not quite so, at
least in Holland, which was very brave in WW II - except that
it served the SS better than the resistance ,
while over a 100.000 mostly poor Jews
were rounded up and arrested with the help of a few rich Jews (in the
Jewish Council) and who were then all murdered in German camps of
destruction. (The rich Jews survived, with
their riches also. They may not have known the Jews were intended to be
exterminated, but most were.)
I know, for my family of
communists and anarchists were among the few who went into the real
resistance (and were heavily
punished by the Nazis). And not only that:
I have heard from several sources that I
trust that in Holland in the fifties, after WW II, and after
the murder of 6 million Jews was widely known, anti- semitism was much
more active than it was before WW II, and it is quite false - in
Holland at least, were over 1% of the total population was murdered
because they were claimed to belong to "an inferior race" - that those
who "held anti-Semitic opinions kept them to
themselves". It is true they did not get
into the press, but it is simply false that they were not
stated, and indeed part of the reason they were fairly freely stated is
that there were far fewer Dutch Jews who might have protested. 
The above continues as follows:
And, indeed, that might have been its
fate if it weren’t for the strange fact that some of the victims of
anti-Semitism, in this case a subset of the Jews known as Zionists
(those devoted to the founding of a Jewish state), proved susceptible
to catching the disease of their oppressors. The Zionists took up their
own form of virulent bigotry against Palestinians, and in reaction,
this encouraged a new round of anti-Semitism.
I think this is too simple-minded.
First of all, it was a (proper) subset of the
subset of Zionists, and I think it is also a bit mistaken to hold them
responsible for the anti-semitism their actions may have helped
simply because anti-semitism hadn't died.
Next, I should say that a considerable
part of this article discusses the opinions of Joy Karega, that I
completely skip. Then there is this:
Indeed, we now have the situation where
the more anti-Palestinian the Israelis become, the more anti-Semitism
they engender. Of course, the Zionists (mistaking longevity for
permanence) have always claimed that anti-Semitism is an eternal
quality of the Christian West, as if it were something genetic. This is
nonsense, but it does allow them to maintain the claim that
anti-Semitism would be an ever-growing and threatening reality
regardless of their own bigoted behavior.
Again I must disagree.
First, I am not an anti-Semite at
all, and neither were my parents and their parents. (My father, at
least, did get punished to the concentration camp in 1941 in part
because he was against the German anti-Semitism, and precisely the same
held for his father, who was murdered in such a camp.) But I
disagree with Nethanyahu, and I disagree with Israel's
treatment of Gaza, and someone who accuses me of
anti-semitism for these reasons is regarded as a fanatic or an idiot by
Second, I don't think at all that
anti-Semitism is "genetic", but I think it is fair to say that
Christianity has caused quite a bit of anti-Semitism, for a very long
time also, and for religious
reasons. This is simply a fact, as it also is
a fact that it did not succeed in many cases, while it did
succeed in quite a few.
Finally, this is from near the ending of
Hm... I don't think all Zionists are
or were bad, and it is quite understandable
On the other hand, as noted at the
beginning of this analysis, much of this sort of anti-Semitism has been
encouraged by the actions of yet another sort of bigotry that is
organized and institutionalized. That is the bigotry inherent in
the ideology of Zionism and the practice of ethnic cleansing by the
Israeli state. This sort of bigotry does threaten the rights, and often
the lives, of Palestinians living under Israeli rule.
why they did want an Israeli state after WW II. I don't agree with how
this was realized, but then again Israel in the beginning and until the
middle Sixties was
quite different from what it is now.
But I agree many Palestinians are abused in and around Israel. And I am
afraid this will simply continue, at least as long as Netanyahu is the
strong man in Israel.
4. Clinton Wins in A Cakewalk? Don't Bet the Ranch on It
The fourth and last item is by John Atcheson on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
If you listen to the media and the
pundits, most are predicting a surefire Clinton victory – if not a
landslide. One of the reasons for this misplaced optimism is that
they seem to believe Sanders’ revolutionaries are all prepared to join
hands with the PACster politicians and DLC types dominating the
Democratic Party and sing Kumbaya.
For example, Brent
Budowsky, who knows the progressive beat as well as anyone had this to
say in Tuesday’s Observer
Make no mistake, the overwhelming
majority of Sanders supporters during the primaries are supporting
Clinton, who should win between 90 percent and 95 percent of Sanders
supporters in November—or more.
Budowsky is not alone
– this is pretty much conventional wisdom among the media.
Perhaps, but I think a simpler
explanation comes to a similar conclusion:
Who believes Hillary will win, believes the present polls will continue
until November 8 - and who believes that must be, at the very
least, very naive, though indeed there are quite a lot of them.
I am not one of them
and neither is John Atcheson, but as I suggested, I think
my explanation is more general and more adequate.
Here is what John
Atcheson does think:
I think this is dead
wrong. It could be true that 90 to 95% of the former Bernie
show up at the polls will support Clinton –
although I doubt that – but I believe a huge number of the “newly
engaged” and the progressives who did support him will simply not show
up, and a significant proportion of those that do will either vote 3rd
party or write in Sanders.
I agree, though in fact
I am again less concerned with Sanders' (former) supporters
than I am with the unreliability of polls; the fact that there
is more than 2 months to go; the fact that a lot may happen in
these 2 moths; and the fact - at least: I consider it a fact and many
others do - that Trump is quite possibly the worst presidential
candidate there ever was in the USA.
Then there is this:
Most of the pundits and even many of the
Democrats themselves ascribed the 2014 shellacking to their favorite
fantasy – that the majority of Americans are right-of-center and
liberal issues like Obamacare sunk the Party. The fact is, the
majority of Americans are left of center, and except for a brief
blip in the 70’s and 80’s, they have been since World War II.
In reality, “none of
the above” won in 2014, and the Democrats lost because instead of
running on progressive values they ran from them,
and progressives – disgusted and with no one to vote for -- stayed home
As a result, 2014
ended up with the lowest voter turnout in over 70 years.
Hm. I think in one sense
both "the pundits" and "many of the Democrats"
who think that the majority of the Americans is "right-of-center" are remarkably ignorant about what Americans think
and want, for I agree with
Atcheson that the majority is left of center (and there are many pieces
of research that show this quite clearly).
Then again, I think John
Atcheson may be overestimating the degree of democracy in the USA (and
see here): It is quite
difficult these days for
any genuine democratic leftist to find a politician who - really
- is defending
the leftist wishes of genuine democrats. There are some
(Sanders is one, and there are a few others) but not many.
But Atcheson is right
about the reasons: The Democratic Party has mostly given up on
progressive values, and runs a rightist pro rich platform, and
one of the few "good" things one can say about that platform is that it
is neither as rightist nor as a crazy as the platform of the
Republicans (who are turning more and more racist, and who deny climate
change and environmental dangers: both crazy ideas, according
Finally, there is this
from near the end of the article:
Even now, after Trump
has lurched from disaster to disaster for a month-and-half, Hillary is
only holding a slight double-digit lead over Trump.
Beyond that, campaigns are ideal times to
get buy-in on a candidate’s agenda. Clinton’s whole appeal to
voters at this point is “I’m not as bad as Trump,” so an enormous
opportunity to set a proactive agenda is getting squandered.
I agree with the first
of the quoted paragraphs, and I think the reason is
(especially) that Clinton is neither liked nor trusted by many ordinary
even when they like the Democrats considerably more than the
And I also agree this is
neither very heartening, nor is there any assurance Clinton will remain
ahead and win the elections.
But I disagree mostly
with the second paragraph: I don't like Clinton; I think she is pro
rich like her husband was; I don't like much of her program; but she is
a lot less bad than Donald Trump, and she also has
prepared many policy statements that I may not agree with, but that are
both to the left of Trump and are also nominally quite sane.
And while I think there is considerably more to Clinton than "I’m not as bad as Trump", as far as I
am concerned that is true, which ought to be a sufficient
reason, for those who dislike or fear Trump, to vote for the only
alternative: It will be bad, but it will not be as horrible as
a Trumpian presidency.