Head in the Sanders

illustration of an ostrich with head in the sand - symbol of the analysis of Bernie Sanders' presidential candidacy.There is a history in all men’s lives,
Figuring the nature of the times deceased,
The which observed, a man may prophesy,
With a near aim, of the main chance of things
As yet not come to life, which in their seeds
And weak beginnings lie intreasured. (1)

If this is true of the lives of men, it should be even truer of American presidential elections. Their history observed, would enable us to easily prophesy what they are going to be – a farce played on the voters at their expense, while the citizens should pretend, or affect to pretend that the farce is a true story.

Which, in a world-upside-down way makes sense. For the candidates are abstractions, chosen behind the scene, talking to another abstraction, the public, consisting of individuals who never are and never can be united in an actual situation or organization – though they are classed together as a whole.

Therefore, the blunt monster with uncounted heads (2) can be treated as such, blunt, monstrous, gullible and, of course, mindless. Deserving to receive the most absurd stupidities extracted from the deepest black hole of idiocy.

Take, as one example out of many, an electoral statements by Sarah Palin (a recent vice-presidential candidate). This woman, governor of Alaska, said she would be the perfect vice-president to fight Russia (declare war?), because she can see Russia from her window.

For there is no escape. Either the woman is stupid or she thinks her audience is. A loss-loss situation. In the instance, if the woman is stupid, it says much about whom the state of Alaska chose to be administered by. If she thinks her audience is stupid, it says much about the respects she has for her fellow citizens. If both the speaker and the audience are stupid, it should suggest some conclusions about the mental tone of the exceptional country. Or finally, the statement may be intended to represent the elections as a farce, with the candidates as protagonists and the electors as bit-players and background actors. If so, it seems logical to conclude that the millions who vote, relish being taken for a ride.

On the other hand, the most likely case is that the electorate, being an abstraction, is irrelevant. Though it is part of the farce to assume the contrary and to subject the public to the toxic pedagogy of acceptance of lies and falsifications, constructed with the Lego of inventions and illusions.

Which brings us to the candidacy of Bernie Sanders, who, in my view, represents this year’s twist and novelty element in the farce. Bernie Sanders, on the surface, appears to be the voice of the unorganized Left, practically disappeared since the times of Ronald Reagan – who, after stating that “the problem is not with the government, the problem is the government”, increased its size by over 300,000 employees during the term of his presidency.

Bernie Sanders is one of the democratic candidates, along with the nefarious Hillary Clinton. His strategy is to focus on the popular resentment over ever-increasing social inequality. Something that Clinton cannot do as she would be laughed at, quite apart from her other issues, equally worthy of disgust and contempt.

Sanders says that income inequality is “the great moral issue of our time” and attacks the greed of the “billionaire class.” He then praises and promises the restoration of “the once-great American middle class.”

As Henry VIII said to Cromwell, “It’s well said again, and it is a kind of good deed to say well, yet words are no deeds.” (3) For, given the entrenched and unshakable power of the “billionaire class” and of those who feed at its trough, nothing short of a Jacobin revolution could have even the remotest chance, if not of success, at least of change. An impossible event to imagine in the current circumstances, with the “opposition” reduced to make its voice heard on the Internet – the last refuge of the (regrettably) irrelevant classes, however we may wish to think otherwise.

What should or could be a progressive opposition is confused and often contradictory for lack, among other things, of an ideological beacon. It relies mainly on models and characters that may have historical, philosophical and reference value, but are irrelevant to the conditions of today’s world.

The Marxists, for example, are divided between Trotskyites (international socialism) and Stalinists (I simplify, meaning socialism one country at a time), plus other sects mixing the two currents in different degrees and arguing with each other with the zeal and tenacity of medieval theologians

With opponents like these, Sanders’ billionaire class can rest secure with their billions. While the modest sporadic protests, diligently suppressed by the police, constitute the part in the comedy that gives a tinge of democracy to acts of uselessness.

However, the same amorphous and disorganized Left, takes encouragement from Sanders’ initial popularity, given that anti-communism was the foundation of official politics in the United States since the end of WW2. And further considering that, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, socialism is a proscribed and disparaging word in US culture.

Sanders is encouraging, they say, because many people are looking for alternatives to the existing political and economic system, which offers, as a vision, a return to the medieval order. Criticism of Sanders by the Trotskyites centers on his nationalism, as a symbol of bourgeois politics, whereby workers identify their interests with those of the nation, which, of course, is ruled by the capitalist class.

According to the same view, Sanders’ “America First” platform implies a chauvinistic approach to labor issues – meaning that American workers should line up with their employers against fellow workers in other countries.

More important is Sanders’ use of the term “billionaire class,” rather than “the capitalist class.” Not that he should, but criticizing the “billionaire class”, without mentioning the turbo-capitalism of neo-liberal economics, is an exercise in vacuity of meaning, let alone of intent.

Equally, advocating the re-establishment of the “great American middle class” is pompous mediatic liturgy, another meaningless externation designed to persuade a few more (otherwise reluctant) people to go to the polls. I want to be wrong, but, barring the proverbial act of God, the pantomime will end in Sanders endorsing Clinton and the latter “making note” of what Sanders said, or uttering words of no-consequence to that effect.

Sanders’ most “dramatic” proposed reforms are a $15.00 minimum hourly-wage, already implemented in some states. The other proposal, of a modest federal jobs program, is not even thinkable among the current rulers. They are the spiritual heirs of those who accused Roosevelt of communism when he launched “the new deal” in the 1930s – a measure that, in his words, saved capitalism in America.

For the 1930s were a time when the appalling working and starving conditions of millions triggered revolts, easily and brutally extinguished by the police. Today a federal jobs program, however reduced, would be labeled as “socialism”, a word that stinks in the NWO (New World Order).

However, even more telling about Sanders’ candidacy is his position on other key issues. He is a hawk and a staunch supporter of American imperialism. His records show consistency in voting for multiple “defense” spending bills to support wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and for “human rights” interventions, such as the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. He also publicly advocated establishing yet another military base in his own state, Vermont, to host the F-35 military jets.

One member of his staff, who resigned after Sanders voted to bomb Yugoslavia, tellingly wrote,

“It was your vote in support of this (bombing) resolution that precipitated my decision that my conscience required me to resign from your staff. I have tried to ask myself questions that I believe each of us must ask ourselves: Is there a moral limit to the military violence you are willing to participate in or support? Where does that limit lie? And when that limit has been reached, what action will you take?”

Sanders supported the US-led regime-change in Ukraine and its current Nazi government, as a bulwark against “Russian aggression.” In a TV interview last year, Sanders declared that “The entire world has got to stand up to Putin.”

He is a staunch Zionist and defended Israel’s barbaric genocidal attack in Gaza in 2014, because “Israel has the right to defend itself.” This should be no surprise, as there is an undeclared competition, among the 535 US congressmen and senators, for the crown of the Zionist champion of the world.

Finally, notwithstanding all of the above, Sanders appears the least wacky among the other wacky and war-hawk current candidates. Which should be considered verification that “Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” (4) But for sure, Sanders is no friend of the downtrodden and no enemy of corporate capitalism.

To those wishing to think otherwise, I would recommend a chaste silence and a verecund reserve (in their optimism). They should remember that Obama triggered hopes of change and expectations of peace. But the bubble that sparkled before the voters became common water at the touch. For it is inevitable that the politics of illusion consistently yield a poisonous fruit.

(1), (2), King Henry IV, part 2
(3) King Henry VIII
(4) The Tempest

Image Source, https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CAcQjRxqFQoTCOfar-Ol_sYCFccpiAodUfwJdw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fcitizentom.com%2F2008%2F10%2F14%2Fdrifting-towards-state-capitalism%2F&ei=ZrS3VeePCsfToATR-Ke4Bw&bvm=bv.98717601,d.cGU&psig=AFQjCNG4rXFVtvJ8TVv0WEfk0XZBHM3DkA&ust=1438189001974306

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  • unionmama

    Badly put. If Sanders is serious about his programme, then, the defence budget has to fall. Secondly, Sanders isn’t as hawkish as some on the left allege (just as many on the right accuse him of racism). Any road, my 61 years tell me that no candidate is perfect (and your post is an exercise in carping that he isn’t perfect). Of those in the race (that’s the only thing that matters), he’s the least bad, and has definite signs of good. Otherwise, you’re arguing for a disconnect from the process… which I oppose. Sanders is the closest candidate to a return to the New Deal. Whom do you put up in his place. Chilly Hilly? Butcher Biden? Kerry? Rubio? Cruz? Paul? Bush the Simple?

    The older that I get, the less that I expect of people… just like Doctor Johnson! Like the Good Doctor, I find that simplifies matters and I call people “good” on easier terms than when I was younger. Sanders is the best electable option. FULL STOP. If think not… well, do prove it and do bring forth your champion. ’nuff said…

    • Badger

      well a day unionmama . I am 69 and my champion was shot for his pains in 1963.

      • Tsigantes

        1963, the coup d’etat. 2000, the putsch.

      • Judith Osterman

        Be your own Goddamn champion.

        • Badger

          hmm just like that. Maybe I’m missing the high life. Or maybe I’m not delusional. Hey might be a song in that………..

          • Judith Osterman

            What, exactly about John Kennedy, made him exalted enough to be considered your champion. What did you expect from him? Or did you mean someone else?

          • Badger

            First I am no pundit .But it seems he had no love for industrial military wars and an unfettered CIA. He was of a time when he was pragmatic in contrast to the Strangelove people still around . And a time for naïve young boys like me to feel he was replaced by a lesser man; an opportunity sorely to be missed for the common man.

    • David F

      “Voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil.”
      Gerry Garcia

    • voltaire1964

      Thank you for your comment and yes, you are pointing to a paradox. I have no intent to be ‘clever’ for I couldn’t if I tried.
      If I, and so millions, knew exactly where the best path is, there would be no need for even this dialog. But the situation is what it is. Of course Sanders’ general (let’s call them ideological) statements make sense and are appealing. But we both know that Sanders is deeply engulfed in the political mill. The mass-media and the Zionist super-powerful lobby have endorsed Clinton anyway. Therefore (I am of course guessing) Sanders’ words are designed to pull-in the hopefuls. And at the last moment the hopeful electorate will be advised that, for their benefit (that is for the benefit of the ruling elite and cabal), it is important to be ‘united’ – that is, vote Clinton, maybe with the concession of having Sanders as Vice President. My guess is no better than anyone else’s, of course. But the symptoms and clues point in that direction.
      Furthermore, you will probably agree that “attacking the millionaires” sounds good in words, but, in the current climate and at this stage of the (turbo) capitalist system, there is more chance for you and me to win the lottery than any meaningful reform.
      Just one anecdote, for the proofs are endless and way beyond the scope of a comment. Did you watch the Congressional Panels when one of the indicted Wall Street or Bank overlords (Dyman if I remember correctly) was called in to testify about one swindle of his amounting to 6-8 billion $, if I remember? All congressmen were vying with each other to flatter and praise the investigated, who of course was never indicted, and actually made substantial PR gains – better than sending lobbyists to lobby on his behalf.
      As for Trump, in the contest of the puppet show, he has the spunk to say what he thinks, which, given the current political landscape, is almost unheard of. In the circumstances, and based on comparable cases and characters in history, gumption ends up benefiting the common man more than word-wiggling, posture, pretense and (clearly), deceit. Check Obama, if you please, without even dealing with that monster of womanhood in reverse, slated to be the new president.
      Yes, a Jacobin revolution would be best, but we know it is impossible. And it was exactly to prevent a Jacobin revolution in Europe after WW1, and the following economic crashes, depressions, widespread poverty, unemployment, soup kitchens etc. that the moneyed class accepted and encouraged fascism (and Nazism). Which, for a few years, brought significant relief to the common man, albeit heavily pushing nationalism, imperialism etc. to keep the moneyed elites happy. Happy because they enriched themselves via the armament industry.
      Here, at least on the surface, Trump “wants to talk to Russia”, which suggests that, at least immediately, he would be against more wars. The unofficial military budget is 1.5 trillion $/year – and could be even more because government debt (for ‘defense’) has no limits. 1.5 trillion would ensure a job at 30 k$/year to 50 million people, which would essentially wipe off poverty. Something to think about.
      In conclusion, with many ‘excepts’, provisos and reservations, Trump could be paralleled (in terms of political positioning) to F.D. Roosevelt. FDR was accused of being a communist, Trump is accused of being a fascist but the bottom line does not change.
      In the video series “Historical Sketches” I am working on a set of episodes, titled Essence of Marxism where I will attempt to condense the immense work by Marx, including the demonstration why the end-game of capitalism is war (look around, do you still remember the ‘peace dividend’?). Therefore, anyone who says what he will talk to the ‘enemy’ is better than those who do not.
      Sorry for the length, but I hope I have conveyed the idea.

    • Judith Osterman

      I agree w/you about not abandoning the process. Sanders’ candidacy has given visibility to, a platform for, leftist ideas. These things have become part of the national conversation: just Mon., Gov. Cuomo, in advance of the April 19 NY primary, threw a few, not completely wholesome crumbs to the unwashed, in the form of a pseudo $15/hr. min wage, & a hokey 12 wk. family leave provision, which must be financed entirely from a tax on the employees’ payroll. This race is turning into one between the people, who have turned out to not think that socialism is such a bad thing, & the establishment. Bernie is a little bit better than the lesser evil, & the people have even pushed him further to the left, as on his recent statements on Palestine. I think he provides the galvanizing factor that Jimmie spoke about the left needing, in that awkward interview. All kinds of people, ESPECIALLY WOMEN, are becoming activists, exposing election fraud, & voter suppression, scrutinizing the candidates records, researching their backers, etc. I think its promising.

  • voltaire1964

    Kerry Bassett said,
    An excellent piece by Jimmie Moglia! I might even say brilliant, without hesitation!

  • voltaire1964

    Dan Shea said,
    “Jimmie creativity critiques Bernie Sanders as a false hope of “the left” with wit and facts.”

  • Badger

    Yes yes Jimmie but as you say so wisely ( But for sure, Sanders is no friend of the downtrodden and no enemy of corporate capitalism.) And as one of your 25 readers I encourage the other 24 to contradict me. To vote for the least worst is to capitulate to the machine at best and sell your soul for a bow of rancid porridge at best. Has the mighty US come to this? Vote for a puppet and just tick the least worst? Whats that about? Lets face it ( What should or could be a progressive opposition is confused and often contradictory for lack, among other things, of an ideological beacon. It relies mainly on models and characters that may have historical, philosophical and reference value, but are irrelevant to the conditions of today’s world.) Lets face it the US is controlled by very few and very rich. Better start being a double good thinker , open the cool aid and turn on the game…………

  • spoint

    Sanders has slogans for the poor and more guns, ammo and absolution for the Zionist. He could get elected on that platform. The next president will.

  • purplelibraryguy

    I kind of agree with much of this, but it feels bizarre looking at it after reading your piece on Trump.
    Juxtaposing the two, it seems weird that on one hand, you seem to be showing a vaguely left perspective on this, but the result is that you come up with subtle erudite reasons to diss Sanders despite his having more good points than any other prominent US politician (not saying much, to be sure), and then come up with subtle erudite reasons to be positive about Trump despite all the obviously horrible things about him, to the point where reading both pieces one would say you would consider Trump better than Sanders. This seems odd and extreme, less a genuine position than a quest for cleverness.

    Aside from that, I’m also left with rather a question: Is there anything that could possibly be done in the United States that would not be vulnerable to most of your critique of Sanders? As I understand your position, it basically goes: The system in the US is so entrenched that only a Jacobin revolution could have any impact. And, the left in the US is marginal, and in functional and ideological disarray.
    OK, so Sanders is useless because anything that does not constitute revolution is useless. So the only possible useful action would be to undertake a revolution. Except, the US left is marginal, fragmented and in disarray and so there’s no way it could successfully undertake such a thing. If it tried, it would either accomplish nothing at all or would just open itself to a crackdown and backlash.

    So, what then? Do you have any prescription that an alternative you would not dissect as harshly as you do Sanders’ candidacy?

    • David F

      Enjoy what time you have left to the extent that you can. The ship is sinking. It is too late to change course, it is too late to repair the vessel.

      We live in a broken system, no political participation is going to change that. The system is beyond repair, and has been for a long time.

      It is all going to end very, very horribly; and nothing you can do is going to change that.

      Live, love, be happy while you can.

    • voltaire1964

      Thank you for your comment and sorry if I repeat a comment made already.
      If I, and so millions, knew exactly where the best path is, there would be no need for even this dialog. But the situation is what it is. Of course Sanders’ general (let’s call them ideological) statements make sense and are appealing. But we both know that Sanders is deeply engulfed in the political mill. The mass-media and the Zionist super-powerful lobby have endorsed Clinton anyway. Therefore (I am of course guessing) Sanders’ words are designed to pull-in the hopefuls. And at the last moment the hopeful electorate will be advised that, for their benefit (that is for the benefit of the ruling elite and cabal), it is important to be ‘united’ – that is, vote Clinton, maybe with the concession of having Sanders as Vice President. My guess is no better than anyone else’s, of course. But the symptoms and clues point in that direction.
      Furthermore, you will probably agree that “attacking the millionaires” sounds good in words, but, in the current climate and at this stage of the (turbo) capitalist system, there is more chance for you and me to win the lottery than any meaningful reform.
      Just one anecdote, for the proofs are endless and way beyond the scope of a comment. Did you watch the Congressional Panels when one of the indicted Wall Street or Bank overlords (Dyman if I remember correctly) was called in to testify about one swindle of his amounting to 6-8 billion $, if I remember? All congressmen were vying with each other to flatter and praise the investigated, who of course was never indicted, and actually made substantial PR gains – better than sending lobbyists to lobby on his behalf.
      As for Trump, in the contest of the puppet show, he has the spunk to say what he thinks, which, given the current political landscape, is almost unheard of. In the circumstances, and based on comparable cases and characters in history, gumption ends up benefiting the common man more than word-wiggling, posture, pretense and (clearly), deceit. Check Obama, if you please, without even dealing with that monster of womanhood in reverse, slated to be the new president.
      Yes, a Jacobin revolution would be best, but we know it is impossible. And it was exactly to prevent a Jacobin revolution in Europe after WW1, and the following economic crashes, depressions, widespread poverty, unemployment, soup kitchens etc. that the moneyed class accepted and encouraged fascism (and Nazism). Which, for a few years, brought significant relief to the common man, albeit heavily pushing nationalism, imperialism etc. to keep the moneyed elites happy. Happy because they enriched themselves via the armament industry.
      Here, at least on the surface, Trump “wants to talk to Russia”, which suggests that, at least immediately, he would be against more wars. The unofficial military budget is 1.5 trillion $/year – and could be even more because government debt (for ‘defense’) has no limits. 1.5 trillion would ensure a job at 30 k$/year to 50 million people, which would essentially wipe off poverty. Something to think about.
      In conclusion, with many ‘excepts’, provisos and reservations, Trump could be paralleled (in terms of political positioning) to F.D. Roosevelt. FDR was accused of being a communist, Trump is accused of being a fascist but the bottom line does not change.
      In the video series “Historical Sketches” I am working on a set of episodes, titled Essence of Marxism where I will attempt to condense the immense work by Marx, including the demonstration why the end-game of capitalism is war (look around, do you still remember the ‘peace dividend’?). Therefore, anyone who says what he will talk to the ‘enemy’ is better than those who do not.

  • You try to argue from a supposedly leftist perspective but the most that comes out of your posts is the thought of a right-wing populist, more than anything else…
    …your post dotted with “one-worders” which aggregate semantic “weight” for supporters of these politics but do not make up a consistent argument or analysis.

    In that argument uneven weight is attributed to Sanders’ stance on Russia, the same being true for Trump.

    So the best use you make of leftism (by the way, your overview of contemporary marxist trends is ludicrous, just what one totally irrelevant would reference – makes me doubt you have read any author applying marxism in his scientific analysis the last forty years) is that it provides you with a “resistance vocabulary” to be utilized in contradicting ways.

    I have a low opinion of Sanders myself and what I feel must be argued against is the romantic rhetoric of people who see the trees but miss the forest and who allow themselves to be manipulated in this never-ending theater that actually prevents them from building a reliable 3rd pole in the US politics.
    And I do think that Sanders and Clinton will be surely worst than they sound, while Trump might be better than he sounds (but still worst overall)

    But equally threatening to any prospect of building a pro-worker, internationalist political framework is the trend to pay lip-service to leftist demands, borrow left’s anti-imperialist vocabulary to push for politics and parties that are more likely to resemble Le Pen’s Front Nationale (or its equivalent in other countries) than anything remotely leftist.

    …this kind of populist conservatism paves the way to fascism, from which it borrows most influences really…
    Even nazism had its “left-wing” trend, but they got “cleansed” when it came to forming policies…just “ask” Ernst Rohm.

    …and while capitalism and fascism are closely internlinked historically, one should also emphasize that fascism and righ-wing populism is instrumentalized by capitalism to fight its enemies, BUT they get dropped mid-term, because they can’t provide the political legitimacy that capitalism needs in order to be effective in manipulating politics and the economy…at least in the centers of world power, not the periphery necessarily.

  • Judith Osterman

    Jimmie, I am going to send you a link to a piece about Shakespeare’s empty grave. In the meantime, have you changed your mind about Bernie being nothing more than a sheepdog for our owners & rulers? The American people have surprised me, especially the young. I don’t think that they understand how capitalism/imperialism really works, in all its labyrinthine intricacy, but they have a great spirit of standing up for themselves, instead of the timidity, despair, & impotence of the recent past.