Chris Hedges: Bernie Sanders Has Made No Mention of the Military, Part 3 + Our Night with Bernie by Bruce Gagnon

Bernie Sanders - Caricature (Painting)

Image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr

Dandelion Salad

with Chris Hedges

TheRealNews on Jul 8, 2015

On Reality Asserts Itself, Chris Hedges and Paul Jay discuss the role of violence in revolution and the Bernie Sanders campaign.



Our Night with Bernie

by Bruce Gagnon
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Organizing Notes
July 7, 2015

I spent two hours yesterday holding a banner (joined by eight others with signs and a 2nd banner) outside the Bernie Sanders for President rally in Portland, Maine that reportedly drew about 9,000 people. It was an impressive crowd for someone who once claimed he was a ‘socialist’.

People began lining up before 5:00 pm for the 7:00 event and during those two hours I kept a steady stream of requests going to folks as they entered the Portland Civic Center. I suggested to eager Sanders supporters, “Please ask Bernie his position on the $400 billion F-35 fighter plane project. Ask him if it is true that he has lobbied to bring the plane to Vermont?”

I suggested to the excited crowd, with many young people in line, that they might ask Sanders, “His position on NATO expansion up to Russia’s border – can we really afford war with Russia?”

“Informed citizens need to know the answers to Bernie’s foreign policy – he’s not talking about these issues,” I said.

Once the line had ended I folded up my banner and made a dash inside just as the rally was starting. All seats in the arena were taken and the entry onto the floor was blocked but I wedged my way down onto the hockey stadium floor within 25 feet of the stage that Sanders was speaking from. The candidate was getting huge applause as he took on Wall St, the Koch brothers, income inequality and the like. He touched on all the traditional progressive buttons just like I’d heard Jesse Jackson, Ralph Nader, and Dennis Kucinich do in the past. Women’s issues, single-payer health care, student loans hitting young people, and more were addressed. Sanders called for free college tuition for all. He wants to create millions of new jobs. He talked about fixing our neglected and broken infrastructure. He hit hard on climate change calling for a sustainable society.

It was when he mentioned climate change that I figured he had to talk about the military industrial complex, because after all that is the pot of gold that has to be tapped in order to pay for building the new vision of America that Bernie so eloquently laid out. But nothing was said about the metastasizing Pentagon budget nor a mumbling word was spoken about foreign policy. Nothing about Russia (Sanders does support sanctions on Moscow), nothing about NATO expansion, nothing about Israel’s brutal attacks on Gaza (Sanders has publicly supported Tel Aviv’s attacks on Palestinians), nothing about negotiations with Iran, nothing about waste, fraud, abuse at the Pentagon, nothing about our endless wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Ukraine, etc, and nothing about conversion of the military industrial complex to peaceful production.

After making many social program promises the only thing Bernie mentioned as a way to pay for all of this was a tax on “Wall Street speculation” which of course got a big cheer.

I really didn’t disagree with anything in Bernie’s speech last night. He is adept at pulling all the right strings and it is more than evident that the public is hungry for some real push back against the power of the corporate oligarchy (he even used the word oligarchy) that runs Washington.

I left wondering how many people noticed that he never once mentioned military and foreign policy? It’s rather hard to imagine making a speech to 9,000 people and asking them to vote for you to be president but avoiding the elephant in the middle of the room. The Pentagon now rakes in 55% of every discretionary tax dollar so you’d think that would be on the table as a campaign issue. But it is not which makes me more than alarmed.

My bullshit meter went off the charts last night. I’ve seen this song and dance before. But it doesn’t really matter what I think because those 9,000 mostly liberal democrats left the Civic Center last night thinking they have found another shining knight on a white horse to lead them to victory. But victory won’t be within their grasp unless we can talk about the US imperial war project that is draining our nation, killing people all over the world, and helping to increase climate change as the Pentagon has the largest carbon bootprint on the planet. Sure taxes on Wall Street speculation will help some but until we get our hands on the Pentagon’s pot of gold nothing really changes around here…..just saying.

from the archives:

Socialism According to Eugene V. Debs by Elizabeth Schulte

Chris Hedges: Liberals are a Dead Force, Part 1

Chris Hedges: The Enemy is Corporate Power, Part 2

Chris Hedges and David Swanson: Cold War Redux + Hedges on ISIS + Hedges: A Time For Rebellion?

Bernie Sanders is no Eugene Debs by Howie Hawkins + Will Bernie Sanders Take on Hillary Clinton? by Ralph Nader

Chris Hedges: Bernie Sanders is Giving Legitimacy to the Democratic Party

Invest in Activism, Not Bernie Sanders by David Swanson + The Problem with Bernie Sanders by Ashley Smith

See also:

The Secret Plans…I’m Still Waiting by Bruce Gagnon

34 thoughts on “Chris Hedges: Bernie Sanders Has Made No Mention of the Military, Part 3 + Our Night with Bernie by Bruce Gagnon

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  7. Bernie HAS criticized military spending!

    “The idea that we would allow for significant more spending in defense at the same time they want to cut education and nutrition and health care to me is something that the vast majority of American people don’t agree with,” Sanders said. “I certainly don’t.” –Bernie Sanders, Jan 2015

    “We know that there is massive fraud going on in the defense industry. Virtually every major defense contractor has either been convicted of fraud or reached a settlement with the government….We need a strong military, it is a dangerous world. But I think we can make judicious cuts.” –Bernie Sanders, Feb 2015

  8. Pingback: Chris Hedges: Bernie Sanders is Lending Credibility to a Party That is Completely Corporatized | Dandelion Salad

  9. Chris Hedges misses something rather vital. The billionaires Sanders speaks of are hawks. They own the corporations who profit from war. These are the people who support the military. Without them, and their puppet media, they couldn’t scare the American people into funding the military as they do now. Hedges is cleverly blasting away at the one candidate who is NOT a hawk. One has to wonder at his motives.

      • to a certain extent ..but the war on drugs effects the whole prison system . a President can do something about that .

        also , the President appoints Supreme Court nominees . Gregg vs Georgia ( 1976) allowed the states to decide the death penalty . I would love to see that overturned .

        prison reform and the recitivisim rate –jobs , poverty ..etc..etc.. it all connects.

        • Something must be done about the prison industrial complex and the “war on drugs” only feeds it, so both need to be taken on. I agree with you that it’s all connected. Will Sanders publicly denounce both in the campaign?

  10. Pingback: Sen. Bernie Sanders, I Have Some Questions For You by Lo | Dandelion Salad

  11. Pingback: Socialism According to Eugene V. Debs by Elizabeth Schulte | Dandelion Salad

  12. The “black block” are only thugs and criminals in the eyes of the establishment unless or until they’re hired & choired by the predatory powers, then they become psychopathic patriots ~ after all, hyper-organised crime pays well (especially when it’s wrapped in the flag….) if it didn’t there wouldn’t be any.

    Good points about the scale and gravity of radical threat as perceived by the criminal powers.

    Vision is a dangerous organizing criterion when dilated by authority or adopted as a literal doctrine. As is made clear in the excellent documentaries Cybertopia, & All Watched Over By Machines of Living Grace (Curtis) when an accepted “ecological” vision becomes a creed that is both inspired and implemented by a prevalent technology, the consequences can be extremely dystopian and dangerous. Too many tails wagging robotic appetites.

    It’s the same error preached by McLuhan, that the medium is the message/massage. Do we really want to be massaged into compliance by Microsoft, Google and the rest? Frog-marched into an electronic global village by Silicone-Valley slaves, bristling with collective ideologies like mental clusters of razor wire?

    I’d say better by far to resist conformity ~ embrace integrity.

    There can only be one guiding principle that is generally applicable: resist conformity, embrace integrity.

  13. Reblogged this on Puppet Master's Slave Market and commented:
    Hedges asks the right questions. Conversion of the military industrial complex to peaceful green energy and agricultural initiatives and breaking up the banks and other too big to jail monopolies is what we want.

  14. Lo I completely agree with what you are doing however I think Sanders is walking a very thin tightrope so his advisers have to pick the issues that will not alienate too many voters. It is a dirty game and if you are going to play it you have to play hard and fast. He has to balance the wants of his electorate with national imperatives otherwise he will go the same way as Ralph Nader. Honestly you can’t afford to have Sanders fail the thought of it is just too disturbing. Some issues may well best be left to after the primaries or even after hes is elected. No one but a select few can have access to Bernie and know his true thoughts on these issues however going on the interviews I have seen over the years he is across all matter of concern to progressives. No one gets everything and a single issue handled wrongly could unhinge his campaign. I am really concerned for his safety so he has to be very careful not to disenfranchise his base. A nasty game but I feel he has little choice and critically progressives have no viable alternative.

  15. Another question Bernie needs to answer is whether he favors a public re-examination of 911. There are many of us who know it was an inside job.
    The planners and perpetrators must be punished.

        • OK, what do you think of the likelihood of Senator Sanders speaking out for a new investigation for 9/11? Even Ron Paul dodged that question during his campaign.

        • Bernie has never criticized Israel’s treatment of Gaza or of the Palestinians, and now that there are multiple posts maintaining that 9/11 was a Mossad/Israeli job, with the additional suggestion that PNAC Israelis were involved, I don’t believe we will hear from him on this issue.

        • Norm: Check out the book, if you haven’t already, or heard him speak.

          “Solving 9-11 The Deception That Changed The Word,” by Christopher Bollyn

  16. Pingback: Chris Hedges: The Enemy is Corporate Power, Part 2 | Dandelion Salad

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