Bjorn AgainstBjorn Against's Journal
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.
In fact he has been addressing these issues more vocally than any other candidate in the race.
The claim that he has not been addressing these issues in the campaign is clearly false as evidenced by the links in the OP, all of which are less than a year old.
There has been a lot of misinformation on this site lately suggesting that Bernie Sanders has been ignoring issues of race. I intend to prove in this post beyond any reasonable doubt that not only has Bernie Sanders talked about racial issues, but he has been a true champion for civil rights. Every example I am providing below of Bernie Sanders speaking out on racial issues is from the past year, I could go back to the 60's when Bernie was involved with the SNCC and marching with Martin Luther King but I don't need to go back that far. In recent months Bernie has spoken out far more than any other candidate on these issues, and here is the proof:
In the wake of continuing unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, Sen. Bernie Sanders said on Wednesday that he will introduce legislation to address the national crisis of black youth unemployment. In a letter to Senate colleagues, Sanders called for a thorough federal investigation of the Aug. 9 death of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, who was shot by a police officer in the St. Louis suburb. We also must recognize, however, that there is an economic crisis facing our nations youth, particularly young African-Americans, Sanders said. In the St. Louis metro area, almost half of young African-American men are unemployed, Sanders said. Nationwide, the youth unemployment rate today is more than 20 percent and African-American youth unemployment is nearly 35 percent.
If we are going to address the issue of crime in low-income areas and in African-American communities, it might be a good idea that instead of putting military style equipment into police departments in those areas, we start investing in jobs for the young people there who desperately need them.
The legislation would provide $5.5 billion in immediate funding to states and localities to employ 1 million young Americans between the ages of 16 and 24.
Under the bill, the U.S. Department of Labor would provide $4 billion to states and local governments to provide summer and year-round employment opportunities for economically disadvantaged youth. The measure also would award $1.5 billion in competitive grants to provide work-based training to low- and moderate-income youth and disadvantaged young adults.
For those interested in reading Bernie's letter calling for a jobs program to benefit African American youth just follow the link below.
Just earlier this month Sanders spoke out on Baltimore as well...
And in April he spoke extensively about Civil Rights...
And in March he participated on the March on Selma...
Can anyone honestly look at these links and continue to claim that Bernie Sanders has been ignoring people of color?
I have heard many people say that Bernie Sanders does not have a chance, I am here to say that those people are wrong. I won't deny that Hillary is starting the race with huge advantages in money, name recognition, and polling numbers. If the election were to be held today she would easily win, I certainly can not deny that reality. While reality does tell us that Bernie would not stand a chance against Hillary if the election were held today, reality also tells us that the election is not being held today and a lot can happen between now and election day.
Here is what needs to happen for Bernie to pull off one of the greatest upsets in American political history.
First Bernie has to start closing the gap in polling numbers between himself and Hillary, a gap that is admittedly massive. The good news for Bernie however is that this gap is almost certain to shrink, Hillary's support has most likely already peaked. When you start out polling as highly as she did the pool of additional voters that she could win over is very small. Many of her current supporters are people who voted against her in 2008, if they voted against her before it is not at all unreasonable to think another candidate could win them over in this election.
It appears inevitable to me that Hillary's polling numbers will drop, of course they have to drop a huge amount for her to fall behind so there is no doubt that closing the gap will be very difficult but Bernie does have a couple of things going for him.
First Bernie's supporters are very passionate and he has a huge presence on social media. This is going to be extremely important because no matter how many small donors Bernie is able to receive assistance from he will never have the funds that Clinton has. With a committed group of volunteers and a big social media presence however it is possible to reach a lot of people without spending a lot of money, if Sanders and his supporters can really tap into social media they can overcome big money as you get far more bang for the buck when you can get volunteers to spread your message for you than you get from relying on ad agencies.
Bernie's history as an independent Senator who is widely respected by Democrats and even some Republicans puts him in a very good position to reach out to a wide range of voters. As much as the media tries to dismiss him as a fringe candidate the fact is he won his last election with 71% of the vote, I realize that it is Vermont but even in Vermont you don't reach 71% of the vote without winning over a broad range of people. Most Vermonters do not consider themselves socialist, yet 71% of them have shown that the word socialist does not scare them. The cold war is over and the word socialist does not carry the sting it once did, Bernie has already shown that by getting elected by huge margins while proudly calling himself a Democratic Socialist.
The fact is that most Americans are not super partisan, huge numbers of Americans consider themselves independents and Bernie's own history as an independent will be valuable in reaching out to these potential voters.
Speaking of reaching out to potential voters, let's face it Bernie has been doing far more to reach out to voters than Hillary has in this campaign. Hillary has not even been talking to the media, and while they try to claim she is bringing her message to voters directly that claim is really just a talking point with little basis in reality. My guess is that most people reading this are voters, I am also quite certain that most of you won't see Hillary reaching out to you directly. Sorry, but speaking to a small group of people in Iowa will not get your message out to the majority of voters.
While most of us have serious problems with the press, the fact is that the press does still play a major role in informing people about the election. Voters generally don't like to see candidates refuse to submit themselves to questions by the press and if Hillary continues to give the impression that she is running away from the press it will backfire on her.
Bernie on the other hand has handled the press beautifully, he has given numerous media interviews over the course of the last month and in all of those interviews he has answered all of the questions without letting the media bait him into focusing on gossip. He has clearly articulated his positions, and while he has managed to use the media to get his message out he has also taken the opportunity to call out that same media for their obsession with gossip over policy.
While I don't deny that Bernie Sanders has a huge mountain to climb, I also think that he is doing a far better job at presenting his message than Hillary is. I may be being optimistic, but I really believe that as long as Bernie can maintain a passionate and commited group of supporters who will help him get his message out he can win. If you want to see that victory then don't let anyone tell you that it can't happen, it may be a tough battle ahead but we can't bring about real change if we don't fight those tough battles.
You seem to want us to believe that what Rand Paul says is more important than what he actually does.
Rand Paul may have given lip service to my side, but it was your side that he stood with when it came time to vote.
In this post-Citizen's United world money can buy a lot of things. Money can flood the airwaves with 30 second ads, money can fill your mailbox with campaign literature, money can rent out stadiums to hold massive campaign rallies for a candidate, but there is one thing that money can not buy in elections.
Money can not buy a good debate performance.
In a political system that has been thoroughly corrupted by big money there are lots of inequalities in our elections, but when our candidates step on to the debate stage together we get to witness a moment in which our candidates are on a relatively level playing field. If a candidate is not able to show that they can grasp the issues that are facing America no amount of money is going to change that on the debate stage. Underfunded candidates can and often do win debates if they have good ideas, the debate stage is the one place in which an underfunded candidate can really compete against their big money opponents.
This is not just about Hillary, or Bernie, or O'Malley, this is about our democracy.
As money becomes further entrenched in our system debates are going to become more important than ever before and we need to be demanding more of those debates, not less.
I think that most of us should be able to agree that the election of our next President is more important than the election of our next American Idol, yet our American Idol contestants will get more time to compete against each other on stage than our Presidential candidates will. There is something seriously wrong with this picture.
People are trying to tell me that six debates is enough despite the fact that we had more than three times that many in 2008. They tell me that we should be able to decide who the best candidate is within six debates.
I have to wonder what the public reaction would be if the NFL were to announce that they were cutting the season down to six games because we should be able to decide who the best team is within those six games. I predict that such an announcement would be met with howls of protest across the nation.
The Presidential race is far more important than the race for the Super Bowl, and yet the public reaction to the reduction in the number debates is far more muted than a reduction in the number of NFL games no doubt would be. Considering the election of the next President is so much more important than football, I don't think it is unreasonable to ask the candidates to spend more time on the debate stage than our football players spend on the field each year.
If we want our democracy to survive the onslaught of big money then we need to do everything we can to ensure that we give the underfunded candidates opportunities to compete on equal terms with the big money candidates and debates are one the very best ways to do that.
Debate is essential to our democracy and those who try to limit it need to be challenged vigorously.
No, a President Sanders could not work effectively with our corrupt Congress nor would I want him to
I have seen some people questioning whether or not Bernie Sanders could be effective at working with Congress if he were to become President.
I will be the first to admit that I know very well that our Congress is run by politicians who are pretty much completely sold out to the billionaires and they will have no interest in working with Bernie on much of anything.
I also know that Congress has approval ratings which make them roughly as popular as genital herpes. Nothing good is going to come from genital herpes, but maybe we can at least have a President that will not allow the herpes to infect more people.
I don't think I am alone when I say that I don't want a President who will play nice with a Congress that is as thoroughly corrupted as our own. I want a President who is going to fight for change, I don't expect that President to bring change immediately but I do expect them to fight against the status quo.
A President who embraces the status quo will have a much easier time getting their legislation through Congress. Bill Clinton got the Defense of Marriage Act, NAFTA, and welfare reform through quite easily by working with the Republicans in Congress. Hillary Clinton joined a coalition with Republicans in Congress to pass the Iraq War Resolution and the Patriot Act. The Clintons were on the winning side of all of these issues, Bernie Sanders joined the American people on the losing side.
You know what though? I am proud of Bernie for standing with the American people as we have suffered loss after loss. I know we will need him to stand with us through more losses in the future because I am well aware that the wealthy interests are not going to stop their assault on the people of our nation anytime soon.
I know that anytime a person like Bernie steps in to the establishment and tries to change the status quo the billionaire class is going to do everything they can to put roadblocks in his path, but I would rather have roadblocks in my path than to be steered on to a wrong path and end up driving off a cliff.
It is true that if Bernie Sanders were to be elected President the Congress would hand him many defeats, but he will also be able to hand them defeats using his veto pen. I am not worried about Bernie suffering defeats at the hands of an extremely unpopular Congress, I just want to see him get a victoy at the ballot box so I know we will have someone in the White House who will call that Congress out on their corruption.
I will probably be accused of spreading conspiracy theories for posting this, but I am not going to offer you any theories. What I am going to do is post some facts that were reported by major Minnesota news outlets and let you decide for yourself whether or not you think something smells rotten. I am not here to make any accusations, but I do think there are some serious questions that need to be asked about this case.
Last summer Officer Scott Patrick of the Mendota Heights Police Department was shot and killed in the line of duty. I live just outside of Mendota Heights and this shooting happened just a few blocks from my sister's house. Mendota Heights a quiet middle class suburban community just outside of Saint Paul. Police shootings are rare around here so Officer Patrick's murder got a lot of media attention but it was not until this week that some very interesting new details were revealed about Officer Patrick, a man who appears to have been a good cop in a very corrupt police department.
Michelle Patrick will now take her husbands place in that lawsuit, which is scheduled for trial days before the anniversary of his death. In an order earlier this month, Dakota County District Judge Martha Simonett granted Michelle Patricks motion to substitute for her husband in a July 27 jury trial.
We lost Scott even before he was actually killed, Michelle Patrick said Thursday, describing the way her husband often brought his displeasure with the department home at night.
Scott Patricks original complaint, filed in February 2014 in Dakota County District Court, accused Mendota Heights Police Chief Michael Aschenbrener of retaliating against him for reporting a theft by two other officers in 2008. Patrick also alleged that the department failed to provide adequate written notice regarding the nature of an internal affairs investigation before a 2012 disciplinary hearing.
Officer Patrick's widow is continuing the fight her late husband started, she is working to expose the corruption in the department.
According to the lawsuit, the trouble began 7 years ago, when Officer Patrick saw 2 fellow officers moving a picnic table to city hall from the old Lilydale Tennis Club, which was being demolished. Patrick reported what he considered to be a property theft by city employees to Mendota Heights Police Chief Michael Aschenbrener, who, according to the lawsuit, thought it wasn't theft but a "mistake in judgment." Patrick filed a complaint against the chief alleging "a pattern of questionable ethics and criminal violations."
Patrick documented the retaliation -- what he interpreted as payback. One day, his squad car was moved by a sergeant who parked it just inches away from another squad, keeping Patrick, who was admittedly overweight, from getting into his squad. There was also the time a label of rat poisoning was allegedly slipped into Patrick's locker. The officer didn't tell his wife about either incident. Same story with an email he received from the city shortly before he was killed. The city was offering him a settlement, early retirement, to leave the department.
And just days before he was killed, Patrick was suspended once more, for a day, for failing to turn over the audio recordings he'd made documenting his conversations with the chief.
Earlier this year Brian Fitch was convicted of killing Scott Patrick, it must be noted however that no were no witnesses who saw Brian Fitch at the scene of the crime.
A Stearns County jury of seven men and five women also convicted Fitch of attempted first-degree murder for shooting at three St. Paul police officers who captured him after a shootout.
In his closing arguments prosecutor Phillip Prokopowicz, standing at a lectern facing the jury, said the time has come for justice.
He acknowledged the weakest point in the states case: No one saw Fitch at the scene of Patricks shooting, and witnesses to the crime gave conflicting testimony about who was driving the Pontiac Grand Am that Patrick had pulled over.
As I said in the beginning I am not here to make accusations, what I will say however is that something smells very rotten in Minnesota.
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