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Playinghardball's Journal
Playinghardball's Journal
May 1, 2015

President Bernie Sanders Would Dismantle NSA Spying

May 1, 2015 Bernie Sanders is running for president for many reasons, and you're going to hear about a lot of them on the campaign trail.

But quietly—at least relative to his wonk-laden sermons on economic populism—Sanders has for years also been one of the Senate's fiercest critics of the National Security Agency's secretive surveillance operations. And, unlike Hillary Clinton, he's been remarkably clear about where he stands.

The Vermont independent, who officially announced his White House bid on Thursday, is widely viewed by Beltway types as more of a debate-stage prop to bounce liberal ideas off Clinton on her march toward an inevitable Democratic primary victory. Polling has routinely placed Sanders in the single digits among Democratic voters. But while progressives are hopeful he can serve as an Elizabeth Warren surrogate and challenge Clinton on Wall Street reform, Sanders' candidacy also offers an opportunity to force Clinton to talk more concretely about domestic surveillance—something he has not minced words about since the Edward Snowden disclosures began in 2013.

"Kids will grow up knowing that every damn thing that they do is going to be recorded some place in a file, and I think that will have a very Orwellian and very inhibiting impact on the way we live our lives," Sanders told MSNBC's Chris Hayes just days after the initial batch of Snowden files emerged. "I want our law enforcement people to be vigorous in going after terrorists. But I happen to believe they can do that without disregarding the Constitution of the United States or the civil liberties of the American people."


May 1, 2015

Email from the Progressive Democrats of America...

Bernie is running for President as a Democrat in the 2016 primaries, and we helped make it happen!

Dear Xxxxxx,

Click here to donate by card or check, to show you're glad Bernie’s running!
If money is tight, join our Win Bernie Win Team and / or our PDA Phone Team.

As the Nation magazine's political writer John Nichols put it this week, “...the intensive ‘Run Bernie Run--As a Democrat!’ campaign mounted by the group Progressive Democrats of America made the case that Sanders could run his kind of campaign in the Democratic caucuses and primaries.”

Click here to donate by card or check, to let PDA know you are glad Bernie’s running!
If money is tight, join our Win Bernie Win Team and / or our PDA Phone Team.

We began by presenting Sen. Sanders with 10,000s petitions urging him to run at PDA’s 10-year gathering a year ago--which we all remember as our founder Tim Carpenter’s memorial service.
We continued by handing out leaflets in Iowa, organizing rallies in L.A., and hosting house parties across the nation. We sold hats, bumper stickers, T-shirts and buttons. We built momentum by phone banking relentlessly.
For the last 12 months, PDA volunteers helped build the campaign that showed Bernie the political possibility was real. And we did most of it all by ourselves. We can be proud of our role in forcing progressive issues into the primaries. And if you are proud of PDA’s work, please donate by card or check now so we can do more of it! If money is tight, join our Win Bernie Win Team and / or our PDA Phone Team.
“Last spring, Progressive Democrats of America launched its ‘Run Bernie Run’ campaign and collected several thousand signatures urging Sanders to run as a Democrat. The group has organized house parties, some featuring Sanders as a speaker, and has distributed hats, bumper stickers and buttons.” --USA Today, Tuesday, 4/28

If you like Bernie speaking out for you, please donate by card or check now so we can help spread the word! If money is tight, join our Win Bernie Win Team and / or our PDA Phone Team.

And thank you for all the work you did to help convince Bernie to run--and for all the great work you’re going to do, now that he’s in the race!

In solidarity,

Conor Boylan
PDA Executive Director

P.S. It’s a very good thing that a principled progressive leader like Bernie Sanders--a real fighter for workers, the young, seniors, the environment--has decided to jump into the Democratic Presidential primary! We needed a choice. And now we have one.
We needed a proven fighter for working families, someone who will stand up against the greed heads, the Koch-heads, big money, and the massive corporations. And now we have Bernie Sanders.
We needed someone who would fight for us. And now we have Bernie, in a significant part thanks to PDA’s work over the past couple of years! So if you’re glad Bernie’s running, let us know, let PDA know--with a quick donation by card or check now.
If money is tight, join our Win Bernie Win Team and / or our PDA Phone Team.
Paid for by Progressive Democrats of America (http://www.pdafund.com)
Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee

April 30, 2015

An open letter

An open letter
By Liberal Librarian


Well, we now have two declared candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination. (If we’re being charitable, three, but who’s counting Lincoln Chafee?)

Hillary Clinton is on her “listening tour” (didn’t she do that in 2008?), and seems to be listening somewhat. She gave a speech calling for the end of mass incarceration; a mass incarceration she called for back when her husband was president. But, people change, that was 20 years ago, and being the good rationalist I am I will keep an open mind. I’m certainly not going to dismiss her out of hand if she wins the nomination, because the thought of someone more conservative and unhinged than Antonin Scalia taking his seat on the Supreme Court should give even the most side-eyed Democratic Clinton-hater a bucket-full of pauses.

And then we have Bernie Sanders. I really don’t know why he’s running. He might have made an impact as an independent; but, props to him, he didn’t want to split the left vote, so he’s giving it the old college try. But an old guy with unkempt hair who looks like he should be feeding the pigeons probably won’t have the financial wherewithal to take on the Koch/Adelson money machine (something Hillary will have no problem doing should she win). Bernie running is part vanity, and part to get his issues out beyond his acolytes. (This is assuming that the media give him any attention, even if he is running as a Democrat. The media is good at ignoring those who are inconvenient.)

Some are rooting for Deval Patrick to enter. Many are pinning their hopes on Martin O’Malley. And, of course, there’s always Jim Webb. (I jest.)

Of course, I have questions.

Which Democratic candidate will run on the Obama legacy, rather than running to reset to Year Zero, before the Black Guy came and shook up American politics like no president before him? Which candidate will embrace the Obama program, promising to build on it, improve it, take it forward, keep perfecting it? That’s what the Obama coalition wants to hear; not, “We need new ideas for a new time”, but, “We’re going to take what’s been working for 8 years and make it even better.”

Hillary has been on a waffling mission, at times embracing President Obama’s legacy, at others striking out in a most clanging fashion. Bernie, of course, thinks Pres. Obama is another corporatist stooge, so don’t expect much praise from him. (TPP!!!)

Which Democratic candidate can keep the Obama coalition together? It’s the coalition which has won 2 elections in a row. And not only that, but which candidate can continue the work of getting that coalition to turn out to vote in midterms?

Hillary, to her credit, has announced that she’s going to set up a 50-state grassroots campaign. In that she is following the Obama playbook. But will that bring in the Obama voters, or is she trying to completely sideline that coalition? And if so, will she be able to build a strong enough coalition to not only win the presidency, but affect down-ticket races? Bernie? Well… TPP!!!

Which Democratic candidate can unite all the Big Tent factions? Who can speak to Obama voters, Conservadems, the minority interests, labor? Who can unite the party?

I have no doubt that Hillary will try her hardest to unite all the Democratic factions. But, as readers of this essay are aware, there is already a huge backlash against her among Obama loyalists, who see her at best as a fair-weather ally. I don’t think Obama voters will go PUMA on her, but I don’t think they’ll rally around her with enthusiasm. Bernie, meanwhile, will appeal to a very small slice of the Democratic electorate, the one which thinks Democrats need to be even more to the left. It’s a needed voice, but speaks for not even a plurality of Democratic votes, much less general election voters.

Of course, there is one person who ticks off all these boxes.

He can’t run away from the Obama success (not that he would want to) because he’s been intimately involved in it.

He’s viewed by the Obama coalition as the heir apparent, a loyal soldier ready to take over the leadership from Pres. Obama.

He can speak to all the Democratic factions, because he’s worked with them throughout his long and honored career.

That man, of course, is Joe Biden.

No other Democrat has the standing Joe does.

As Pres. Obama’s loyal lieutenant, he has furthered Administration goals, arguing passionately for them.

He has given counsel. It hasn’t always been accepted (as with the Osama bin Laden raid), but has never been given in a self-serving manner.

He has defended the Administration and his president with the tenacity of a bulldog, gleefully highlighting the hypocrisy of our opponents.

And he has a good will among Democrats which no other Democrat has. He’s affable. He’s charming. He’s down-to-earth. He has no pretense.

I don’t know if he’ll run. I don’t think he knows if he’ll run. He’s run twice already, and lost both times. But neither of the previous two times that he’s run has he done so possessing the well of good-feeling which he has now. He wouldn’t be running as one of one hundred senators; he’d be running as the one man who would guarantee the continuation of the Obama program.

I will respect his decision if, after a career of service, he decides he wants to spend more time with Dr. Jill. But, I hope he has one more fight left in him. We all hope he does.


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Name: California Kid
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