Bjorn Against's Journal
Member since: Mon May 22, 2006, 07:07 PM
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Over the past few months there has been an aggressive effort to smear Bernie Sanders supporters. Many broadbrush attacks have been made, sometimes even going so far as to suggest that his supporters are white supremecists. The attacks are often not even consistent, sometimes his supporters are portrayed as the far left fringe, other times they are compared with right-wing Ron Paul or Donald Trump supporters.
Anyone who actually knows any Bernie supporters in real life however knows that these attacks against them are nothing more than smears. The vast majority of Bernie supporters are not white supremecists, they are people who are passionate about civil rights issues and want a candidate who has spent his career fighting for equality. The vast majority of Bernie supporters do not hold fringe political beliefs, they are people who believe in universal access to health care, better schools, environmental protection, ending wars, and raising the wages of workers. These are not "far left" fringe views, these are positions that are held by tens of millions of Americans.
Most of the smears that have been made against Sanders supporters have been absolutely false, yet there is a small group that continues to make broadbrush attacks. But why target Bernie's supporters and not the candidate?
The answer seems obvious to me. The Bernie campaign is about more than a candidate, it is about building a movement to shake up the status quo and bring about real change. Bernie did not achieve the level of success he has had in this campaign on his own, he achieved it because tens of thousands of people got involved in his campaign. Bernie has been clear from day one that this campaign is not about him, it is about starting a political revolution to challenge the billionaire class.
This terrifies those who want to maintain the status quo, they do not just need to stop Bernie but they also need to bring down his supporters as well because they don't want to see a political movement grow which challenges their power.
Already Bernie's supporters have shown how effective they are at organizing for change. Bernie's campaign has far more volunteers than any other, he has more small donors than any other candidate, his supporters turn up by the thousands and even tens of thousands for his events, no other candidate has a group of supporters that are as organized and motivated as Bernie's.
Bernie's supporters are just as much a threat to the status quo as Bernie himself is because they view this campaign as being about something much bigger than their candidate, they view it as a real opportunity to change the political system as we know it and eventually that is going to spill off into downticket races as well. I have no doubt that Bernie is going to inspire many new people to run for Congress, it will inspire them to run for local offices and judicial seats, it will inspire them to organize community groups to advocate for change, it will inspire a major change within the Democratic Party and across the political system.
Those who want to protect the status quo are desperately trying to stop this from happening so you can expect more attacks on Bernie supporters in the future. It is going to get nasty, but the people who are engaging in these smears will be shown to be on the wrong side of history and they are going to be the ones who end up looking very bad in the end.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Sun Sep 13, 2015, 06:25 PM (186 replies)
Bernie will win because most Americans worry far more about health care costs than they worry about socialism
They tell us that Bernie can't win because he calls himself a socialist, well I am here to say that those people are full of shit. Bernie will not be hurt by the socialist label, he will be helped by it and this is why.
Bernie's opponents seem to think that Americans will run for the hills the moment they hear the word "socialism", but the fact is that word has already been used against Bernie countless times but instead of running for the hills voters are running to the arenas to hear Bernie speak.
Here is what Republicans and the third way Democrats who like to "reach across the aisle" don't understand, the average American spends a lot more time feeling pissed off at the political establishment than they spend reliving the Cold War. The typical American thinks that our Congress is made up of a bunch of corrupt assholes that care more about themselves than they do about our country. Americans spend a lot more time thinking about how frustrated they are with our current political system than they do about the names that are on our modern day Joe McCarthy's list of suspected socialists.
If the Republicans go after Bernie on socialism then Bernie can use the same argument that he has already very effectively used, he can move the discussion beyond the single word and on to the issues. Bernie is a Democratic Socialist because he believes everyone has a right to health care, everyone has a right to a good education, everyone should be paid decent wages for their labor, and everyone should be able to get Social Security benefits when they retire. These are all ideas that most Americans find attractive and a person can not make these ideas unattractive simply by screaming "SOCIALISM!!!!111!!!" at the top of their lungs.
Every time that the Republicans and Third Wayers do scream socialism Bernie will remind them that he supports health care for all, they support a system that denies people access to health care. Bernie supports a system that increases the wages of the workers, they support a system that benefits the CEOs and screws the workers. He supports a system that allows any qualified student to go to college regardless of income, they support a system that leaves students with crippling debt. The average American worries far more about their access to health care than they do about socialism and if the Republicans think they can defeat Bernie in a debate on health care by saying the word "socialism" over and over again I think they are in for a shock.
If Bernie's opponents think they can effectively attack Bernie for being a Democratic Socialist I got three words for them: BRING IT ON!
Posted by Bjorn Against | Wed Sep 9, 2015, 11:08 PM (47 replies)
When Bernie Sanders first entered this race few thought he would ever be more than a blip on the radar, yet because of the enormous grassroots support that Sanders has received he has become a far more serious contender than I think nearly anyone anticipated.
This can be credited to Bernie's supporters because make no mistake about it there is no candidate in this race that has a better group of supporters than Bernie does. No other candidate has 100,000 people who will show up at house parties for them, no other candidate can get thousands or even tens of thousands of supporters to pack arenas for them wherever they travel, no other candidate is able to get as many supporters to pitch in small donations to their campaign, no other candidate has as many volunteers, the supporters of Bernie Sanders are objectively the most active and committed group of supporters of any candidate in either the Republican or Democratic races.
While we have heard many try to make broadbrush smears against Bernie supporters recently the reality is that those smears do not accurately represent the vast majority of Bernie supporters.
Now I have no doubt that people are going to post links to some awful things that Bernie supporters have said, but the reality is that random people on the internet do not speak for all Bernie supporters. I could certainly post links to awful things said by Clinton supporters as well, but to do so would be a waste of time because we all know that every candidate has supporters who say stupid things on the internet sometimes.
The way to judge a candidate's supporters is not to look for the very worst things said on the internet, the tens of thousands of people cheering at a Bernie rally represent the campaign much better than the one anonymous poster who made a dumb comment on the internet does.
Let's be honest here, all of the other campaigns only wish they had a group of supporters as committed as Bernie does. Does anyone honestly believe that the Hillary campaign would not do everything they possibly could to recruit Bernie supporters to her campaign if she were to win the nomination? Of course they would and very few of the people complaining about how "awful" Bernie supporters are would have a problem with it because I think most of them even know that those supporters would be a huge asset to their campaign.
While I think most of the complaints about Bernie supporters are coming from random internet posters tied up in primary politics, there is one group that really does have legitimate reason to fear Bernie supporters. The 1% should be very afraid of Bernie supporters because they are proving that ordinary people can pose a real challenge to the wealthy interests. They are proving that the 99% can have political influence and they can push forward a movement to take power away from the wealthy and put that power in the hands of the people.
The 1% has good reason to despise Bernie supporters, the rest of us should admire the amazing work that Bernie supporters are doing to get out the vote and organize for real change.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Wed Aug 19, 2015, 08:25 PM (8 replies)
Hillary Clinton's Newest Consultant Was A Major Keystone Lobbyist
Posted: 06/25/2015 12:34 pm EDT Updated: 06/25/2015 2:59 pm EDT
The newest hire for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign is a longtime strategist who played a key role in her 2008 primary defeat while working for then-Sen. Barack Obama.
He’s also a Washington lobbyist who lobbied the State Department -- led, at the time, by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- on behalf of the company seeking to build the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.
Berman lobbied the House, the Senate and multiple federal agencies. In the second and fourth quarters of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011, the State Department was among the agencies that he lobbied. Clinton was running the department at the time.
There is also concern about Clinton’s position on the matter. Because the pipeline would cross an international border, the State Department is charged with deciding whether it would be in the national interest to grant a permit to the project. While secretary of state in 2010, Clinton said the department was "inclined" to sign off on the pipeline. On the campaign trail, however, Clinton has declined to comment on Keystone one way or the other. And since then, there have been accusations that she's been the object of influence peddling. Two Canadian banks "tightly connected" to promoting the pipeline have paid her $1.6 million for just eight speeches.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Tue Jul 28, 2015, 10:55 PM (11 replies)
As a person who has marched with Black Lives Matter on several occassions and am also currently volunteering for the Bernie Sanders campaign I have a lot of conflicting emotions about what happened at Netroots Nation. I feel sympathy for a number of people on both sides of the debate but I have also seen some incredibly divisive and ignorant comments on both sides of the debate.
I feel like there are a lot of people who are fighting right now that should not be fighting. I think that most Bernie supporters also support the goals of Black Lives Matter and we would love to see them work with the Bernie campaign to incorporate those goals into his platform. I would like to see Hillary, Bernie, and O'Malley all come together on this and declare that they stand together on this issue. While none of the candidates are perfect when you look at what the three of them have said on this issue in recent months there is really not much difference between them at all, in fact when it comes to this issue their stances are nearly identical. There are other areas in which they have big differences, but the issue of police shootings is an area in which they all seem to be in agreement.
We are tearing each other apart over an issue in which ultimately the large majority of us are in agreement. These fights are not helping anyone, they not are not helping Black Lives Matter, they are not helping Hillary, they are not helping Bernie, the only people they are helping are the real racists who are dancing with glee as they watch us tear each other down.
We need less shouting and more listening on both sides. People have a negative reaction to shouting, that is just human nature. Just because someone has a negative reaction when they feel they have been shouted at does not mean they are your opposition.
I don't claim innocence here, I know I have gotten angry and shouted people down before as well. I need to do better and we all need to do better, I am not just talking to one side because I personally think that neither side has handled this debate particularly well.
We can disagree on who the best candidate for President is but let us all agree on one thing, black lives do matter and we all need to stand together to protect those lives.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Mon Jul 20, 2015, 09:41 PM (9 replies)
This weekend it is looking like Bernie Sanders is going to attract more huge crowds, but this time those huge crowds will be in the red states of Arizona and Texas which the naysayers insisted Bernie had no support in.
The pundits will no doubt be telling us that crowd sizes don't translate to votes, but they could not be any more wrong. These huge crowds are going to win millions of votes for Bernie and this is how they will do it.
The Sanders campaign is not just holding these rallies to get people to cheer for their candidate, they are using these rallies to build an army of volunteers. At all of these rallies they have people going around with clipboards and signing people up to get involved in the campaign.
I was at the rally in Minneapolis last month when they signed me up to volunteer and I was not alone. They signed up hundreds of people at that event who have already participated in activities with the campaign. There are already plans to bus Minnesotans down to Iowa to door knock and get people out to the caucuses, the names that were gathered at that rally are going to help to fill multiple buses of people to Iowa. The Sanders campaign has already built a large organization in the state and the Minneapolis rally played a large part in building that organization.
The event in Phoenix will be particularly important as it is happening at the same time as Netroots Nation and will be attended by many bloggers and people who have a lot of influence on social media. If you can get the bloggers enthused and you can get social media to spread those blogs that means the campaign gets some great free advertising.
These rallies are building large networks of volunteers as well as a lot of free advertising through social media, anyone who tries to tell you that will not translate to votes is flat out wrong.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Sat Jul 18, 2015, 12:19 AM (20 replies)
Generally Vice Presidential candidates have been selected among a small pool of elite politicians, but I think it might be time to change that.
I believe that there are a fairly large number of Americans who are well versed on the issues, show strong leadership skills, and would be more than capable of performing the duties of the Vice Presidency.
I personally think it would be awesome to see someone like a high school history teacher or a social worker get selected as the Vice Presidential nominee. A candidate like this would have far more understanding of the struggles that the common citizen faces because they have actually lived the life of the common citizen.
While a move like this might be risky, I think most Americans would find it very refreshing. Many people are turned off by politicians in the political establishment and I really think they would love to see a complete outsider picked.
A bold move like this would really solidify Bernie's status as a candidate of the people and I believe it could also get us an amazing VP pick. There are so many people in this country who have done amazing things and I have no doubt that a lot of genuinely great people would apply for the position.
I have never heard anyone propose this before so I was wondering what other people think of the idea. Do you think it would be a good idea for the Bernie campaign to put out a call asking for people to submit their resumes to apply for the position of Vice President of the United States?
I will be curious to see what people think.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Thu Jul 9, 2015, 10:46 PM (13 replies)
Many people have been trying to suggest that the fact that Bernie Sanders calls himself a democratic socialist is a negative against him, this could not be further from the truth.
I don't know about everyone else, but I am happy to be able to vote for someone who speaks the truth about what socialism is and does not allow the fear of right-wing propagandists make him run away from speaking that truth.
I am proud to support a candidate who openly talks about redistributing the wealth because the reality is that a massive redistribution of wealth is desperately needed. We have a few billionaires at the top hoarding our nation's resources while others can not even afford to buy food or pay the rent. We have people working full time and still living in poverty while racist assholes like Donald Trump sit on billions of dollars without making any sort of positive contribution to our society.
As a Bernie supporter I will not run away from the socialist label, instead I will embrace that label.
I will embrace that label because the people who have worked so hard to poison that label have continually shown us that their system of cut-throat capitalism has not benefitted the people. Their system has created an economy where nearly all the wealth is concentrated in the hands of a very few while the workers who created that wealth struggle to get by. They have produced a system where racist hiring practices are common and people of color are often unable to find a job. Their system has brought us into unnecessary wars which have left millions of people dead and countless lives shattered.
The right-wing forces who have told us that socialism is such an awful thing have brought harm to our nation and to our planet in so many different ways, they have been wrong about damn near everything and they are wrong about socialism as well.
The fact that we have a candidate who will not accept the right-wing propaganda and will embrace a term that has been unfairly demonized should not make us afraid, it should make us proud.
I want a socialist in the White House, I want the wealth to be redistributed so all of our nation's people can live with economic security, and I want a President who understands that if we want a better world we can not keep living in fear of the right-wing propagandists who demonize those who want to break free of a system that only works for the wealthy interests.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Fri Jul 3, 2015, 02:15 PM (26 replies)
Five years ago I told the story of Liam to DU and received all kinds of love and support from the community here, sadly I am going to have to ask for your support once again.
Liam passed away over the weekend at the age of five.
I can't even begin to describe the pain the family is going through right now. Liam was like a son to me, he lived with me for a year and I played a major role in helping to raise him. Liam and his mother moved out a few years ago but we have remained not just friends but family. I have continued to care for Liam, he was literally the most important person in the world to me and I can't even imagine what life is going to be like without him.
Liam lived a challenging life but he managed to stay happy through most of it despite the enormous obstacles he faced. Liam was only six weeks old when he suffered a traumatic brain injury at the hands of an abusive "father". Liam nearly died when he was an infant, but he managed to hang in there and he made a pretty miraculous recovery. His brain injury prevented him from ever learning how to walk or talk, but it did not prevent him from showing everybody how much he loved them. Liam was filled with laughter and smiles, he loved to give kisses, and while he never learned to talk he did learn to hum along with songs and he sang to us regularly.
Last year Liam's little sister Autumn was born and as she started to learn new things he would follow suit. Once she learned to stand he started to stand up on his own, Autumn was helping to teach him new things in a way no adult could ever do and we were totally thrilled with the progress he was making.
Everything seemed fine, and then Friday night he went to bed and he never woke up again the next morning.
The medical examiners have not completed their report yet so I can't say anything about the cause of death, but I am convinced that it is related to the brain injury that Liam suffered as an infant. There is a possibility that murder charges could be filed against the monster that assaulted him but we have to be able to prove that the death was related to the brain injury so charges will be dependent on how conclusive the medical examiner's report is.
No matter what happens however, the loss of Liam has had a devastating impact on Liam's mother and his new father Brandon, a person who has shown Liam an enormous amount of love ever since he came into his life. Brandon served as a Personal Care Assistant for Liam and a very large chunk of the family income came from the PCA hours that he received. Not only has the family lost a child, but they lost half their income as well and are now trying to figure out how they will be able to keep their home.
I have never asked for donations on DU before but this time I need help. If anyone can afford to donate please follow the link to the GoFundMe page I have provided below. I understand that many people can't afford a donation themselves, but if you could please share the link with anyone who might be able to help it would be very much appreciated.
Thank you all in advance for your support during this very difficult time.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Mon Jun 22, 2015, 05:28 PM (64 replies)
Today I stood in the longest line that I have seen since Barack Obama was in town to declare his victory in the primaries seven years ago.
When I arrived at the Bernie Sanders event in Minneapolis this morning the line was already stretched for several hundred feet all the way up the block and that line only continued to rapidly grow after I stepped into it. I could not even see the end of the line once they started letting people in but it went back a long ways, it was easily two to three city blocks long.
I just barely made it inside, they had to close the doors shortly after I entered because they could not fit any more people. They had to set up speakers outside so that the people who could not get in were able to hear the speech.
The event was originally going to be held at a union office that can hold no more than a couple of hundred people, once they realized that was not going to be big enough they moved it to a gymnasium at the Native American Center, but this was not even close to being big enough either. When Bernie took the stage he had to apologize to the crowd for running out of food, he was not expecting a crowd of this size and he promised to be more prepared the next time. I don't think anyone who was there was bothered by this however, if the biggest problem an event is facing is that they get too many people to show up the organizers of that event should be very happy.
Bernie delivered an excellent speech that drew several standing ovations, it is rare to see this kind of excitement at political rallies these days but I think Bernie is really speaking a message that people have been wanting to hear for a long time. People are excited to see a candidate who is able to speak out against the corporate interests because he has not taken money from them.
When I saw the massive turnout for a rally that was originally intended to be a small event I had to wonder what the Koch Brothers are thinking right now. They can spend their billions but they can't get this many people to show up for their candidates, instead people are showing up to rally around the candidate who is doing more than any other to challenge the corporate interests that are trying to buy our elections.
Some have been trying to dismiss Sanders as a fringe candidate, but if he keeps attracting the number of people to his events that he attracted today anyone who tries to claim he is fringe will get laughed at.
Bernie Sanders has a voice that appeals to mainstream Americans. Bernie is not the fringe, the 1% is the fringe. The Koch brothers are the fringe. The bankers are the fringe. The average American has far more in common with the people who want higher wages for workers than they do with the people whose primary goal is to increase the Koch family fortune.
When Bernie comes to your town make sure to show up because if we can get turnouts like this at all of his events we will prove to the world that we are the mainstream Americans that are going to take on the Koch brothers fringe.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Sun May 31, 2015, 02:03 PM (105 replies)