Democratic Socialism

Kissy Cuddly Commies


cjones03032020

Maybe it’s just me, but if you identify yourself as a socialist in the United States and you want to be elected to the nation’s highest office, maybe don’t go around praising communist leaders.

Last Sunday during a 60 Minutes interview, Bernie Sanders praised the increase in literacy rates in Fidel Castro’s Cuba after his 1959 communist revolution. And while I understand his intention is that there’s something good to take away from that, and I think a lot of people are overreacting, I don’t understand why it’s a fixation for him and why now. Not a good time, Bernie. What’s next? Praise for Mussolini for getting the trains to run on time?

Bernie is a self-described socialist. He’s advancing ideas that are only radical in the United States like healthcare is a right. He’s campaigning on implementing policies that are successful in democratic socialist nations like Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, Denmark, etc. Yet, all Republicans have been wailing on is that Bernie wants to turn us into Venezuela. Well, now Bernie has given them Cuba to add to the mix.

Sure. There are great things in Cuba, like healthcare and free education from preschool to doctorates. But it was implemented and rnn by a communist dictator who controlled the island from 1959 to 2008. There was no free press or speech. Travel from the nation was extremely limited. He made his nation a satellite of the Soviet Union. He helped instigate the Cuban missile crisis. He jailed thousands of dissidents and oversaw human-rights abuses which led to a large exodus of the nation’s citizens. The effect of Castro’s anti-imperialism and socialist-run system created an impoverished economy.

But you know who else established a very successful literacy program and provided free education to his citizens from cradle to grave? Saddam Hussein. Yet, nobody is talking about creating a government that mimics Iraq. No one is advocating for a system where everyone is literate but no one can operate a pencil because they criticized the leader and their hands were chopped off.

Bernie has made it clear he’s not praising authoritarianism. But in a way, he is. How about you just stop, Bernie? If Bernie Sanders is the nominee, he’s going to have a rough time winning Florida as it is without praising Fidel Castro (they rejected the extremely intelligent Andrew Gillum for a guy who made commercials where he’s building Lego walls with his baby). Bernie has pointed out that President Barack Obama also praised Cuba’s literacy rate under Castro, but there are a lot of Cuban Americans in South Florida who still have their knickers in a twist over him establishing diplomatic relations with the nation.

While I’m not happy with Bernie praising Castro, I’ll take that over Donald Trump, who has praised authoritarians over and over. And no, Trump isn’t praising their literacy programs as he’s not one who puts a lot of emphasis on reading or knowing stuff. Donald Trump is praising the practices that silence dissent and throws journalists out of high-rise buildings.

On North Korea, Trump said, “North Korea has tremendous economic potential like perhaps few other developing nations anywhere in the world.” Really, Donald? While Republicans are screaming that Democrats want to turn the United States into Venezuela, Donald Trump believes a one-man communist regime can create a “tremendous” economy. On Kim Jong Un, He said that they “fell in love.” At least Bernie hasn’t said he’s in love with Fidel Castro.

Donald Trump is currently seeking out Never Trumpers in his administration and purging those he deems disloyal. He defended the move by tweeting, “We want bad people out of our government!” Which is something a tyrant would say. That also leaves you with the kind of people with qualifications of the likes of an Ivanka Trump. So, with this purge, Trump is probably admiring that Kim Jong Un disposes of Never Kimmers with anti-aircraft guns and by having them ripped to shreds by dogs.

Let’s not forget that Kim Jong Un hasn’t just starved, brutalized, and tortured his own people, but he’s murdered American citizens. Kim Jong Un murdered American Otto Warmbier after torturing him and Donald Trump says Kim “feels bad about it.”

On Turkey’s president, who’s imprisoned journalists and dissidents, including a 16-year-old who insulted him and a Miss Turkey who shared a poem criticizing him. He jailed over 50,000 after a failed coup. He’s consolidated his powers to personally appoint or dismiss ministers, select judges, and rule by decree. Trump said, “It’s my honor to be with a friend of mine, somebody I’ve become very close to, in many respects, and he’s doing a very good job.” What kind of “respects” there, Trump? Are you going to start jailing people who write poems about you? Roses are red, violets are blue, Donald Trump is a racist fucking moron.

On China’s Xi Jinping, “President Xi, who is a strong man, I call him King, he said, ‘But I am not King, I am president.’ I said, ‘No, you’re president for life and therefore, you’re King.’ He said, ‘Huh. Huh.’ He liked that.” And then this one time…at band camp.

Donald Trump has had high praise for Philippines Rodrigo Duterte, especially in his war on drugs, which has involved that nation’s president personally dragging accused drug dealers in the street and murdering them. Duterte compared his killing of drug addicts, not dealers, with Hitler killing Jews. He said, “Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now, there is three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them.” Fact check: Hitler killed over six million Jews, but Rodrigo probably didn’t have access to the type of education you’d find in Cuba. Rodrigo also said, “Just because you’re a journalist, you are not exempted from assassination if you’re a son of a bitch.” 72 journalists have been murdered in the Philippines since 1992.

This one is a little personal for me because, in 1997-98, I filled in for the legendary Corky Trinidad at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, who was in exile from his home nation of the Philippines during Marcos’ reign. It was an education being friends with Corky who I am confident would be furious with Donald Trump’s praise for Duterte if he was alive today.

A couple days ago, a conservative cartoonist accused me of practicing an “intolerant liberal religion.” And he’s right. When it comes to conservative cartoonists and journalists worshipping at the feet of a man who calls the free press “enemy of the American people,” and he’s admiring men who murder members of the press, I’m very intolerant.

Then there’s Russia’s Putin. When it was pointed out that Putin has had dissidents and journalists jailed and murdered, Trump responded with, “What, you think we’re so nice?” After Putin won a sham election, Donald Trump called to congratulate him, even after his staffers told him and left notes “not to congratulate.” During his press conference in Helsinki with the Russian president, he took Putin’s side over American intelligence. He has mimicked Putin’s lies about the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan and Ukraine meddling in the 2016 election. Trump wants to reward Putin by placing Russia back into the G7, which they were removed from with President Obama’s insistence after their annexation of Crimea.

Donald Trump praised Putin while criticizing President Obama. Donald Trump has refused to ever criticize or say one thing negative about Vladimir Putin. Not even his height and he’s shorter than Michael Bloomberg. And throughout his praise of Putin, Trump has been feuding with our Democratic allies. It’s OK for Putin to poison people on foreign soil and to attack our elections, but our national security is being threatened by Canadian cheese.

No, I’m not super happy and giddy about Bernie Sanders praising Fidel Castro. But given the choice between the man who admires the education and healthcare of Cuba vs. the man who admires the murderous, and oppressive tactics of dictators and strongmen like Kim Jong Un, Rodrigo Duterte, Recep Erdogan, Xi Jinping, and Vladimir Putin, I’ll go with Bernie. And if nothing else, at least Bernie hasn’t described people marching with Nazis as “very fine people.”

I’d rather feel the Bern than feel the hate.

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Bernie Rides Again


cjones02252019

Bernie’s back! Yesterday, the Independent Senator from Vermont announced his candidacy for the 2020 presidential election. Sanders will ride his brand of democratic socialism for a second time through the Democratic primaries. Bernie was the only alternative for Democrats in 2016. This time, the back of the unicorn is a lot more crowded.

Before we address the campaign of Bernie Sanders, let’s go through the other Democratic candidates, in order on the unicorn. We’re only going to cover those who have announced so far. So, no Biden or Beto analysis.

Kamala Harris may have had the most impressive announcement, up to this point. She raised $1.5 million in her first 24 hours. The Senator from California is a former prosecutor and state attorney general. If she makes it through the primaries to her home state, she could win the nomination. She’s expected to do very well in the early primary state of South Carolina where black women are an important voting bloc in the Democratic primary. Harris has rejected democratic socialism and identifies as a capitalist. Republicans have attempted to make something out of her dating former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and for admitting she smoked marijuana while in college. In the era of Trump, good luck with that. Harris has been very impressive and tough while questioning Trump nominees and cabinet members from her positions on the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees. She scares Republicans. Being charismatic, tough, intelligent, and a black female, she will give Donald Trump nightmares. I don’t think he has a nickname for her yet. If she doesn’t win the nomination, she would make the perfect veep candidate with her skill at grilling people. It may be enough to make Trump drop Mike Pence from his ticket. She would eat either of them alive in a debate.

Pete Buttigieg is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. He’s 37 and the first openly gay candidate for the Democratic nomination. Being gay and from Indiana, the only person he’s scaring so far is Mike Pence. His hopes are very thin, but I thought the same thing about Sanders’ 2016 campaign. One candidate is going to surge, at least for a moment and grab everyone’s attention. Could it be Buttigieg? I don’t think so, but he’ll probably increase his national profile from this campaign. If he does gain any sort of traction, expect Republicans to twist his last name into the nickname “Bootygay.”

I had high hope for Cory Booker back when he was mayor of Trenton, New Jersey. The man exhibited charisma and intelligence. He’s also been impressive on the Judiciary Committee, along with Harris questioning Trump’s appointees, like Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. He was the first Senator to ever testify against a fellow Senator’s appointment to the cabinet, opposing Jeff Sessions to lead the Justice Department. Booker has not caught fire yet and it doesn’t seem like he will. He’s a vegetarian and if you watch Fox News, they’re warning us he’ll ban meat. But, if you watch Fox News then you’re probably not the type of person to read this blog. If he doesn’t win the nomination, he’ll be on the eventual nominee’s short list for his or her running mate, just like he was in 2016. People like Cory Booker.

Elizabeth Warren also scares Trump. She’s smart, female and she loves to troll him. Much has been made about her ancestry, but will voters care much about something so insignificant from her past while focusing on the future? Trump, as you know, has given her the racist nickname “Pocahontas.” With both being from New England, Warren will challenge Sanders for the New Hampshire primary. She might catch fire…or she may have missed her opportunity in 2016, much like Chris Christie when he skipped 2012, ate a bridge, then ran in 2016 only to lose to a dumbass like Trump.

Julian Castro is the former mayor of San Antonio and HUD Secretary in the Obama administration. At 44, he’s young and will also raise his national profile by running. He was on Hillary Clinton’s short list for the veep spot in 2016. After dropping out of this race, he’ll be on the short list again. He’s Hispanic and from a large electoral state like Texas. If nothing else, he brings gravitas on the border issue.

Kirsten Gillibrand is the Junior Senator from New York. Unlike the last senator from New York, she won’t win the nomination. Being that the Democrats already have New York, and there are more exciting choices among the women in the party, she probably won’t be on the short list. And because the Democrats have New York, she can land in a Democratic president’s cabinet. Republicans have made some noise over her asking, while in South Carolina, if she needed to use a knife and fork to eat fried chicken or use her fingers. But then again, Trump is from New York City and has been seen eating slices of pizza with a knife and fork instead of the New Yorker way of folding and cramming.

John Delaney was the first candidate to announce and nobody knows why he ever bothered. He’s a former Congressman from Maryland. He’s a middle-aged bald white guy. This is probably the first time you’ve ever heard of him unless you live in his district…and then, yeah probably still the first time.

Tulsi Gabbard….No, No, No, No. Just no. Gabbard, a congresswoman from Hawaii, is young at 37, Hindu, a veteran of the war in Iraq, and part Samoan. So what’s wrong with her? She voted with Republicans for extreme vetting of Syrian and Iraqi refugees. She was against civil unions (voted against them while in the state legislature in liberal Hawaii), and gay marriage, but now supports them. The big problem with this is…she was an advocate for gay conversion therapy. For me, she may as well have worn blackface. Gay conversion therapy is abusive. I’m glad she’s against it now, but I don’t want a president who once supported it…and we probably already have that. Her campaign is already in disarray so she may not even make it to the first debate. I think her entire campaign missed her announcement. She was the first congresswoman to endorse Bernie in 2016. She does have a future in the party, but not as president.

Amy Klobuchar, the senator from Minnesota, might have the best temperament to be president, especially one who has to repair all the damage inflicted by Trump. She is not the best candidate. She’s considered a moderate Democrat and was impressive announcing her candidacy in the midst of a snowstorm. Donald Trump is afraid of rain. It’s hard to find any Republicans bashing her much because they all like her. Her Republican colleagues in the Senate only have praise for her. There has been criticism that she’s tough on her staff, which leads one to ask…That’s all you got on her? Tough on her staff? Have you seen Trump and his staff? Please.

There are two other Democrats running you’ve never heard of them so I didn’t bother giving them seats on the unicorn. But for all intents and purposes, they are Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang. See? You never heard of them. Do you wanna know who they are? It doesn’t matter.

This brings us to back to Bernie Sanders. I underestimated him in 2016. While Hillary had her “Scooby Van,” I drew Bernie in a van down by the river, and USA Today ran the cartoon. So, that paper was surprised too when Bernie took off. While I don’t expect him to recoup the momentum he gained in 2016, he did raise $4 million within 12 hours of his announcement yesterday. At this point, it’s up to $6 million. His average donation is $27, which makes his campaign very grassroots.

Do you want to troll a liberal chatroom? Bring up Bernie. A lot of liberals love him. A lot hate him. Many go for his Democratic Socialism and his frank style of speaking. They find him honest, but an intelligent honestly, not one of those stupid honest guys like Trump. Democrats who oppose him point out that he’s not even a Democrat and some blame him for Clinton’s defeat to Trump. Bernie supporters blame Clinton for cheating in the primaries.

Two things. Clinton didn’t steal anything from Sanders in the primary. He lost. Get over it. Bernie did not hurt Clinton in the general election. Many of his supporters did. Bernie has every right to run. Let him run. He will bring a great debate on topics that need to be discussed. he will also turn 80 in his first term if he wins, so keep that in mind. Yes, age should be a factor.

It’s not just Bernie who’s older. His campaign is older. He has a base but does that carry over into the primaries? His crowd sizes didn’t. With his fundraising ability, Bernie will be in the campaign until the bitter end. Start your squabbling now.

One thing all these candidates have in common; they’re all better than Trump.

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Democratic Socialism


cjones07292018

I’m not entirely on board with the entire platform of democratic socialism. While I do believe corporations should be subjected to tighter regulations, and profit-sharing by all with their employees would be ideal, I’m not down with government forcing them to share ownership.

But, I do believe every American should have access to affordable healthcare, childcare, and employment. I strongly believe this nation can afford to provide a free education to every American citizen if we make it a higher priority than say, having ten aircraft carriers. The system of privatized prisons and commercializing incarceration should be abolished, and they can take ICE with it. I believe every child in this nation should have three meals a day, no matter which economic class their parents belong to.

A lot of people who try to scare the voters with democratic socialism are either dishonest or lying about it. Typically, when sounding the warning bells of socialism, they point toward Venezuela, or even more outlandish, North Korea.

Democratic Socialism is not about taking everything away from everyone and making it all government-owned. It’s not about not having material possessions. It’s not a John Lennon song. It’s also not about a system where elections are rigged, opposition is oppressed, or where the next leader is chosen from the present leader’s offspring.

When, you think of democratic socialism you should think about Europe. Those are not authoritarian or totalitarian states (The authoritarian candidate here is Donald Trump). Five of the top ten happiest nations in the world (according to the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network) is in Scandinavia (Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Sweden).

I saw a political cartoon last week by a conservative mentioning Venezuela and North Korea while warning that nations providing free healthcare and education are places where you can’t find sandwiches and toilet paper. This is why I love conservative cartoons. They’re inadvertently humorous. It is Hoagiefest at Wawa though, so maybe we should all chip in and send a sub to the Swedes.

Conservatives are not the only ones freaking out about socialism. After Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez upset the 4th ranking House Democrat running on a socialist platform, Dems are afraid what works in the Bronx won’t work in Kansas. They’re right. It won’t work in Kansas, but that’s why candidates need to run on issues that cater to their districts. A voter in Kansas is probably more concerned over the price of wheat than he is about gay marriage. But, running on the economy and jobs works everywhere.

Ocasio-Cortez is a lock to win her general election, so she’s spending her time campaigning with Bernie Sanders for other Democratic candidates. And, yes. Their tour went to Kansas. James Thompson, a centrist Democrat running for Congress in Kansas, said she might as well come out because they’re going to call him a socialist anyway.

I have never wanted every seat on the Supreme Court to be filled by liberals. I don’t want total domination of Congress by one party. I hate districts that are so lopsided, that the opposing party doesn’t even bother fielding a candidate. I want two strong parties.

Right now, there is really only one party to hold a debate in. The Republican Party has turned into the party of Trump, and nobody can tell you what their positions are because they fluctuate on a daily basis. Some people want this nation to get beyond the two-party system, but right now, we barely have one. I don’t mind if there are two wings in the Democratic Party. Debate is a good thing.

Thompson is right. Democrats were called socialists when moderate Bill Clinton won the presidency. They shouldn’t panic when only two of their elected members proudly wear the label. They should take Thompson’s attitude toward the accusation.

He said, “They can just shut their pie hole.” That’s a good message for anyone who doesn’t understand democratic socialism. And, that insult works in the Bronx and Kansas.

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