A Crazy Establishment Demands ‘Sanity’

Exclusive: As support grows for anti-Establishment candidates Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, a frantic Establishment is demanding that Americans “stay sane” and vote for one of its approved candidates. But is it sane to follow advice that has led to endless wars and a disappearing middle class, asks Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

With ever-growing hysteria, the Establishment is begging, cajoling and warning American voters not to elect a rogue President from the Right or the Left, neither Donald Trump nor Bernie Sanders, but to accept instead one of the “sane” mainstream options. Yet, the unspoken truth is that the American Establishment has been off its rocker for decades.

It was, after all, Official Washington’s Establishment led by the neoconservatives and their sidekicks, the liberal interventionists that embraced President George W. Bush’s catastrophic invasion of Iraq in 2003. However, as costly as that decision was in terms of blood and money and cascading chaos now destabilizing Europe the Wise Men and Women imposed virtually zero accountability on themselves or other chief culprits.

David Brooks, conservative columnist at The New York Times.

David Brooks, conservative columnist at The New York Times.

Indeed, many of the same neocons who architected the Iraq disaster are listed as top foreign policy advisers to the “sane” candidates, such as Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush. And Hillary Clinton not only voted for the Iraq War but seemed to learn no lessons from what she only grudgingly acknowledged was a “mistake.” As Secretary of State, she sided with Democratic “liberal interventionists” to engineer another “regime change” in Libya that has led to another failed state, further spreading chaos across the region.

A “sane” Establishment, one that truly cared about the interests of the American people, would have undertaken a serious self-examination after the Iraq War. Yet, there was none. Rather than cleaning house and banishing the neocons and liberal interventionists to the farthest reaches of national power, the Establishment rewarded these warmongers, ceding to them near-total control of American foreign policy thinking.

If anything, the neocons and liberal hawks consolidated their power after the Iraq War. By contrast, the foreign policy “realists” and anti-war progressives who warned against the invasion were the ones cast out of any positions of influence. How crazy is that!

It was as if supporting the Iraq War was the new initiation rite to join the Establishment’s elite fraternity of worthies, a kind of upside-down application of rewards and punishments that would only make sense at the Mad Hatter’s tea party in Alice’s Wonderland.

In a sane world, the publishers of The New York Times and The Washington Post would have purged their lead editorial writers who had advocated for the catastrophe. Instead, the Post retained its neocon editorial page editor Fred Hiatt and nearly all of its pro-war columnists and the Times even promoted liberal interventionist Bill Keller to the top job of executive editor after it became clear that he had been snookered about Iraq’s WMD.

Similar patterns were followed across the board, from The New Yorker on the Left to The Wall Street Journal on the Right. Pro-Iraq War writers and commentators continued on as if nothing untoward had happened. They remained the media big shots, rewarded with book contracts and TV appearances.

The same held true for the major think tanks. Instead of dumping neocons, the center-left Brookings Institution went off in search of neocon A-listers to sign, like Robert Kagan, a co-founder of the Project for the New American Century. The ultra-Establishment Council on Foreign Relations recruited its own neocon “stars,” Max Boot and Elliott Abrams.

And what did this year’s “sane” presidential candidates do as the deadly and dangerous consequences of neocon thinking spread from the Middle East into Europe? They pledged fealty to more neocon strategies. For instance, Establishment favorite, Sen. Marco Rubio, is advocating more “regime change” tough talk and more expansion of U.S. military power.

‘Stay Sane’

Nevertheless, when New York Times conservative columnist David Brooks urges Americans to “stay sane,” he is calling on them to support the likes of Rubio and reject the likes of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who had the sanity to vote against the Iraq War, and billionaire Donald Trump, who also questioned the wisdom of the war.

Brooks lamented that his favorite Rubio had resorted to some populist rhetoric of his own recently, but added: “Marco Rubio has had a bad month, darkening his tone and trying to sound like a cut-rate version of Trump and [Ted] Cruz. Before too long Rubio will realize his first task is to rally the voters who detest or fear those men. That means running as an optimistic American nationalist with specific proposals to reform Washington and lift the working class.”

Graphic in Sen. Marco Rubio's plans for spending more on a U.S. military build-up.

Graphic in Sen. Marco Rubio’s plan for spending more on a U.S. military build-up.

Yet Rubio led the parade of dancing candidates who performed at the so-called “Adelson primary,” seeking to win the favors of gambling billionaire Sheldon Adelson by vowing to fully sync U.S. policies in the Middle East with positions favored by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (whereas Trump refused to toe that line). And Rubio’s warmed-over right-wing, trickle-down economic orthodoxy is sure to do little to help working- and middle-class Americans.

Brooks offers some dubious history, too, writing “In every recent presidential election American voters have selected the candidate with the most secure pair of hands. They’ve elected the person who would be a stable presence and companion for the next four years. I believe they’re going to do that again.”

It’s unclear how far back in time Brooks is going. Is he acknowledging that the American voters actually favored Al Gore in Election 2000 although the Republican majority on the U.S. Supreme Court decided to give the White House to the untested and unreliable George W. Bush? Is Brooks saying that Bill Clinton had more “secure” hands than George H.W. Bush in 1992 and that the radical right-winger Ronald Reagan was more “stable” than Jimmy Carter in 1980?

Indeed, the rapid divide of the United States into a land of haves and have-nots can be traced back, in large part, to Reagan’s economic policies of massive tax cuts primarily favoring the rich and thus incentivizing greed and his disparaging the role of democratic governance, which is the only force that can truly counter the power of the wealthy elites.

Since Reagan’s presidency, Republican orthodoxy has been to enact ever more generous tax cuts for the rich while freeing them from government regulation or “red tape.” Republicans along with Establishment Democrats most notably President Bill Clinton also favored “free trade” that led major corporations to shift their industrial jobs to Third World low-wage countries.

This combination of tax cuts for the rich, “free trade” for multinational corporations and disdain for “big government” intervention to protect average citizens along with technological advances has savaged the Great American Middle Class, which was largely created by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal programs and the major infrastructure investments after World War II. Under President Dwight Eisenhower, the top marginal tax rate for the richest Americans was 90 percent, essentially enforcing an American egalitarianism.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt at a press conference.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt at a press conference.

The abandonment of those hard-earned lessons from the Great Depression — a reversal accomplished  primarily by Reagan, Clinton and George W. Bush — returned U.S. income inequality to levels not seen since the Wall Street Crash of 1929.

The Trump phenomenon can only be understood by factoring in the frustration and fear of the white working class that has shifted Republican since the 1960s because of anger over the Democrats supporting equal rights for blacks and other minorities. But those working-class whites now sense that the GOP leadership is selling them out, too, by favoring the ultra-rich donor class and willing to sacrifice their sons and daughters to implement unrealistic neocon foreign-policy schemes.

So these downwardly mobile white Americans are in rebellion and have embraced billionaire Trump, who rejects politics as usual and understands something of their blue-collar mindset because of his experience on popular reality TV shows.

Democratic Populism

Something similar is happening on the Democratic side through another imperfect vessel, Bernie Sanders. Democratic progressives see the consequences of a steady retreat by mainstream liberals on economic and foreign policy issues since Reagan’s election.

Rather than fight to convince the white working class about the need for democratic governance, Bill Clinton and other neo-liberals fashioned a strategy of catering to Wall Street and other rich donors by offering “free market” financial deregulation and “free trade” deals on manufacturing.

Sanders represents the first candidate for president in recent memory who has offered a full-throated defense of government as a necessary counter-balance to the power of the rich over both the economy and the electoral process (though President Obama has paid some lip service to those principles).

By contrast, Hillary Clinton represents a continuation of the cozy relations between the so-called New Democrats and the wealthy power centers of high finance and big corporations. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Clintons’ Paid-Speech Bonanza.”]

Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a Democratic presidential debate sponsored by CNN.

Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a Democratic presidential debate sponsored by CNN.

She also advocates foreign military interventions in line with what the neocons have sought as they demand U.S. fealty to Israeli interests. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Hillary Clinton Seeks Neocon Shelter.”]

As a senator, Clinton voted for the Iraq War and as Secretary of State, she sided with the neocons and their “liberal interventionist” allies in escalating the war in Afghanistan, in engineering a bloody “regime change” in Libya, and in pushing for a direct U.S. military intervention in the Syrian civil war (via the creation of so-called “safe zones”).

Though Sanders’s foreign policy positions can be something of a muddle, he is generally more skeptical about U.S. military adventures than Clinton.

So, who are the crazy ones here? Does it make more sense to follow Hillary Clinton’s Establishment-friendly positions on issues from Wall Street regulation to Syrian military intervention or to support Bernie Sanders’s more aggressive strategy against income inequality and less aggressive approach toward foreign conflicts?

Similarly, on the Republican side, is it nuttier to back Rubio and other Establishment favorites who would effectively let Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu set U.S. policy in the region, even if that means invading Syria and accepting permanent warfare  or Trump who suggests letting the Russians and Iranians share the burden of battling Islamic extremists?

Clearly, the Establishment would have a stronger case if it hadn’t led the United States into one catastrophe after another, while refusing to hold its own representatives accountable.

There is the old line about insanity being defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. What David Brooks and other Establishment figures are demanding is that the American voters keep electing the same system-approved neocon/neolib presidents again and again and expecting something better for the nation.

Is that “staying sane” or “staying insane”?

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

60 comments for “A Crazy Establishment Demands ‘Sanity’

  1. Peter Solinski
    February 6, 2016 at 01:56

    I honestly think that the main reason that the middle class was able to rise after WWII was because millions of them had served in the military and knew what it meant to kill and be killed. This caused the rulers some consternation. Fear is a great motivator.
    As succeeding generations, with ever smaller numbers of veterans, became the norm, the elite, while watchful of the number of guns, do not really fear the middle class because they know the vast majority of them have never looked a person in the face and killed them.

  2. Richard
    February 4, 2016 at 14:28

    The core problem is that the people serve the government (when the government should be serving the people). We have a representative government, true, but I’m not sure WHO they’re representing!!! It’s like the government is telling us that public policy is NONE OF OUR BUSINESS. Foreign Policy (we’ve got this), spending (none of your business), domestic policy (no need for panic), or state secrets (don’t ask and we won’t kill you). Yes, we have elections. But, our elections are staged contests among party darlings where the media “helps us choose” by demonizing one candidate over another. Watching how the republican party frets over Trump, while the Democratic party tried toi get Joe Biden to run if Clinton faltered (meaning the dems don’t want the Bernie Sanders troop in the White House). Meaning, that our voting choices are pre-sifted to ensure that Americans make “the right choice”.

  3. Richard Bittner
    January 30, 2016 at 07:12

    Excellent assessment and summary of the inherently corrupt machinations masquerading as policy making by our DempublicanCFR ruling elite. The only Country on earth that has benefited from American foreign policy since 9/1, is Israel… just ask the C.I.A. torture Queen Alfreda Bitkowsky’s (SP?) husband.

    • Richard
      February 4, 2016 at 14:34

      “corrupt machinations” sounds like a really good discription.

  4. Joe Tedesky
    January 28, 2016 at 15:51

    Someone please tell David Brooks that this isn’t the once ‘sane’ America he had enjoyed in his early years as a journalist. No, Americans are now strapped with debt, and all have loss faith in the system which controls them. Gone is the middle class American who at one time could afford to put their kids through college. Gone is the middle class American’s who were able to afford decent health care. Gone is the American who received Social Security as a right for having worked so many years, and not to be told how their contribution to this American society is now considered an entitlement. The young voters are burdened with a huge student debt, only to find their hopes for a good career job vanquished by an ever changing job market. Americans are sick to their stomach of how our government abuses it’s armed forces by serving one deployment after another in endless wars, that seem to have no mission goal. PTSD has become the norm, while peace has been replaced with fear of terrorism. David Brooke’s doesn’t have a clue to what is sane in America, period end of story. If Brooke’s were to aim his rant in the right direction, then he should tell America’s elite (and Israel’s) to start making life worth while to the many average folk who helped build their worth into empire. Sanders needs to defeat Hillary, and Trump needs to clear the board of the nutcases who are running in the GOP primary. After that, then it’s up to us voters to struggle with these two choices…ah, but then there is the conventions where the delegates could determine the outcome. Oh, what a web we weave.

    • Jackie
      January 30, 2016 at 01:15

      What u say is true .. We r domed . their is no middle class, it’s been takin . The rich get richer and the pore is with what was the middle class . We’ve takin so many people in with no background checks or papers . that they r getting the benefits and schooling that the pore r lower class recived . The constitution has been takin also, to meet the needs of the rich whom make the rules.. God save us all.. Where fu__ed peace b with us all !!;(

    • Jackie
      January 30, 2016 at 01:16

      What u say is true .. We r domed . their is no middle class, it’s been takin . The rich get richer and the pore is with what was the middle class . We’ve takin so many people in with no background checks or papers . that they r getting the benefits and schooling that the pore r lower class recived . The constitution has been takin also, to meet the needs of the rich whom make the rules.. God save us all.. Where fu__ed peace b with us all !!;(

    • Richard
      February 4, 2016 at 14:47

      Good assessment. My father was born in 1921, endured the great depression, was a WWII & Korean War veteran, and a child coal-miner. He was a life-long organizer for the local democratic party and a strong advocate for worker’s rights. He believed in democracy and insisted that his children vote. Sadly, he would roll-over in his grave upon seeing what we have become. We allow politicians to manipulate us, and we accept it like sheep. Our system not only promotes disenfranchisement…it guarantees it!!!

  5. January 28, 2016 at 11:25

    Must say that I agree with most of this, but is Trump a sane alternative since he is the best fit I can think of new research at Emory about the successful psychopath – i.e., a person with superficial charm, profoundly dishonest, callous, prone to act impulsively in surprises, very attractive to sought-after people of the other sex, and usually successful in his first attempt to gain public office.

    And even Hillary sounds too much like a psychopathic female.

    Think we’re doomed.

    • GrandmaR
      January 30, 2016 at 17:38

      It is highly suspected by some psychopathy researchers that some of them, at least, have the ability to recognize this condition in others. This can lead to some interesting speculations.


      http://www.quantumfuture.net/store/sanity_1.PdF (The Mask of Sanity)

      http://www.ponorology.com (Political Ponerology)

      http://www.gordonbanks.com/gordon/pubs/kubricks.html (an interesting review of S. Kubrick movies and psychopathy)

    • Richard
      February 4, 2016 at 14:58

      Very interesting. Really. I never thought about it that way. I think Trump would best handle the executive aspect of being president. He’s very flamboyant, yes, but a good strategist. He seems to get on well with the rich and powerful. He possibly has socio-pathic tendencies, but he is clearly the best leader/negotiator of the pack.

  6. Kristin Lee
    January 28, 2016 at 10:40

    “A lethal parasite has infected the brains of politicians and economists all over the world. It is so invasive that it has defeated all attempts to control or eradicate it since its emergence decades ago, and we are still far from having an effective vaccine or way to prevent its transmission. The virus, known by its species name Neoliberalism Economicus (in lay terms, it is just called Neoliberalism), indiscriminately latches onto the brains of both liberals and conservatives. It turns social consciousness into ego-centrism, cooperation into unconscious greed, and it only gets worse as it mutates and spreads.

    Once infected, the virus takes control of the host’s neocortex and converts rational thought into fantasy. The host begins to believe in ideas such as harmonious free-markets where people can act and do whatever they want, a deregulated financial industry that correctly responds to market signals and can dump compounding debt onto society without costs, and corporations that can maximize shareholder value without hurting employees, communities, or the environment.”


  7. Kristin Lee
    January 28, 2016 at 10:39

    “A lethal parasite has infected the brains of politicians and economists all over the world. It is so invasive that it has defeated all attempts to control or eradicate it since its emergence decades ago, and we are still far from having an effective vaccine or way to prevent its transmission. The virus, known by its species name Neoliberalism Economicus (in lay terms, it is just called Neoliberalism), indiscriminately latches onto the brains of both liberals and conservatives. It turns social consciousness into ego-centrism, cooperation into unconscious greed, and it only gets worse as it mutates and spreads.

    Once infected, the virus takes control of the host’s neocortex and converts rational thought into fantasy. The host begins to believe in ideas such as harmonious free-markets where people can act and do whatever they want, a deregulated financial industry that correctly responds to market signals and can dump compounding debt onto society without costs, and corporations that can maximize shareholder value without hurting employees, communities, or the environment.”


  8. Peter Loeb
    January 28, 2016 at 07:44


    —Maryla H. Finkelstein, survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto,
    and Maldanek Concentration Camp, Mother of historian
    Norman G. Finkelstein

    Robert Parry’s article “A Crazy Establishment Demands
    ‘Sanity'” above is an excellent analysis of many
    of modern viewpoints. A major flaw is its failure to put
    events in an accurate historical context beyond recent
    reported news events. One example follows:

    “The abandonment of those hard-earned lessons from the Great Depression
    — a reversal accomplished primarily by Reagan, Clinton and George W. Bush — returned U.S. income inequality to levels not seen since the Wall Street
    Crash of 1929…”

    Despite the passion for avoiding these myths about FDR’s “lessons from
    the Great Depression, the facts are that none of the “Deals” though
    well-intentioned solved the Depression. WW II did. The Federal
    Budget of 1941 providing jobs and military perks galore for the wealthy
    ended the Depression. (See Gabriel Kolko, MAIN CURRENTS OF
    MODERN AMERICAN HISTORY, p. 155 (paperback)) Kolko documents
    the failure of various New Deal programs to achieve major gains.

    The illusion about “the lessons of the Great Depression”etc. are
    a mainstay of progressivism.

    INDIAN REMOVAL: In reading descriptions of Indian Removal in North
    America during the first years of the 19th century, the similarities with
    contemporary policies is stunning in many regards (See Michael
    THE AMERICAN INDIAN). The Indian was declared a child unable
    to care for himself but for the “care” and punnishment of the “father”.
    Like Palestinians they were relegated to a lower form of human
    being if that. The needs of the oppressor (father) are transformed
    into what is best for the oppressed. As a result (for their own good
    and for the oppressor’s benefit) the Indians were removed.
    In the US Andrew Jackson, former land speculator himself, became
    a symbol of the ” victory” of the superior and entitled white race.
    The Cherokee tribe was despite its resistance removed. The
    removers did not care about the 4,500 Cherokee deaths during
    removal. (The number is greater for all tribes removed “for
    their own benefit”.).

    It was genocide.

    How similar all of this is to present hegemonic US and western
    foreign policies! What similar attitudes!

    Recent history adds significantly to our knowledge base. It
    is necessary. It does not explain a more profound analysis in
    the light of a longer history (not always “bunk”)

    I have addressed the significance of foreign policy in national
    US electoral processes. I agree with Parry that no matter what is
    said, the difference between Clinton and Sanders will be
    minimized. It should be noted that voting on both sides of
    an issue is business as usual in the US Congress. A Member can
    vote on one side in Committee and then on the opposite
    side on the floor of Congress. This holds whether the issue
    is war and peace or an issue having to do with Social Security.

    —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

    • Brad Owen
      January 28, 2016 at 11:48

      War (and the constant sniping of Wall Street “Economic Royalists”) derailed the New Deal. War is never a social positive. It leads to MIC and manipulation by Deep State operatives (the very ones who planned WWII). You can have an MIC with a “Labor Force” of soldiers, or an Agro-Industrial Complex staffed by a CCC/WPA/PWA Labor force of workers funded by monetized “Greenback” credit issued from a Nationalized Fed. You can have intensive capital investment in guns, tanks, planes; or in graders, earth-movers, bull dozers and dump trucks. You can fight WWIII, a lose-lose proposition; or build New Silk Roads/World Land Bridge and sponsor vast water management projects to turn deserts into grasslands and forests (and new farms and towns), a win-win proposition. The World has reached this fork in the road; will it be Life, or Death? There is no Third Way out of our dilemma. Either MAKE it work, or turn the World into a barren Mars. That’s our choice.

    • Roberto
      January 28, 2016 at 12:03

      Well, ya don’t have to worry about it now because we are the Indians. Germany is on the verge of rebelling against the domination of US policy (largely over the Syrian influx) and Russia has better weapons (largely due to the squandering of our resources in the Mideast).

  9. Someone with a brain
    January 28, 2016 at 04:43

    As a resident of Florida and longtime observer of the callow Marco Rubio, I can say that his success in politics is based entirely on one trick that he has perfected: he talks fast, and fools find that impressive. However, WHAT he says is usually at odds with reality, without substance, and designed to assist only the ultra-wealthy to whom he has sold himself long ago. Most importantly, he is also an uber warmongering neocon who would assuredly drag us into World War III with Russia. In my opinion, he is the MOST dangerous of the candidates, especially since the media insists on describing this extreme right wing radical as mainstream and moderate and the formula for denying Trump the nomination. In spite of his bombast, the most sane Republican running IS Trump. The most sane Democrat (or Social Democrat, if you insist) is Sanders. I hope they are the candidates come November.

    • Richard
      February 4, 2016 at 15:26

      I agree. Rubio looks like he’s not ready to rule the world. An election pitting Trump (the Capitalist Deal Maker) versus Sanders (Doctor Scandinavia) would certainly be interesting. The choice for the country would be stark,

  10. Joe Dubyah
    January 27, 2016 at 23:50

    Anyone “elected” (installed via Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) controlled media programming) to be POTUS will be the mouthpiece of those that actually run this country.

    They will do as they are told.

    They and their family will then receive free secret service protection, healthcare etc., for life, as well as miraculous returns on their investments, and lucrative speaking engagements.

    If they do not do as they are instructed.. they will get the JFK haircut.

    Which would you do?

    The republic has been lost.

    Be a good cow. Go to work, produce taxes, buy into the materialistic religion of America programmed by CFR members owned media and spend so those exchanges are also taxed, and blindly fail to manage your 401K so that you will be financially raped by the protected government friends on Wall Street.

    Yes.. I have accepted my place. I cannot change it. If I could.. I would be “encouraged” to join the club.. or perhaps get the Gary Webb two shots to the face “suicide” option.


    Taking “the red pill” (inference: The Matrix) via intense research helps one to arrive at a quite ugly, pragmatic and realistic view and understanding of the global maneuverings of the multinational elite that herd us in the direction that we should go. But, if one can get a glimpse into the play book of the financial maneuverings of the real power group, one has a better chance of protecting their personal finances. Even a thought of taking “The blue pill” now seems so juvenile.

    Insights gleaned from writers and commenters from websites such as this (Thank you Mr. Parry) blended with understandings from websites such as Wolfstreet.com can be highly useful tools to help one navigate the river of deceits we are immersed in.

    Oh yeah… where was I? Mmoooooooo. Yes sir boss.. just grazing here.. nothing to see…nothing to see.

    • Erik
      January 28, 2016 at 09:59

      You have said much truth. But the message that only complacency or concealment of dissent is safe, would damage the courageous dissent that ultimately wins if that is possible. And while pessimism is readily argued in our situation of rotted democracy, it should be used only to educate the naive, not to discourage those who understand.

      The progress we have seen, in public understanding of the extremity of corruption of the mass media and elections by economic power, and of the corruption of public information and debate by secret agencies, has been made by a few courageous individuals. The right wing plutocracy can only “suicide” a small minority before the public catches on. Any top elected official can defy them if he can get elected (admitting that to be unlikely). Our future depends upon the leadership of that courageous few.

      • Richard
        February 4, 2016 at 15:09

        I agree. Rubio looks like he’s not ready to rule the world. An election pitting Trump (the Capitalist Deal Maker) versus Sanders (Doctor Scandinavia) would certainly be interesting. The choice for the country would be stark,

  11. Josh
    January 27, 2016 at 22:48

    The big lies of the 2000 election and September 2001, that were whitewashed by the media, have yet to be discredited. Hence the ill stream that they fed will continue its destructive course. I think that either Trump or Sanders might have the backbone to speak the truth that so many people are longing to hear.

  12. Greg Driscoll
    January 27, 2016 at 22:13

    How can anyone characterize Trump as NOT part of the Establishment? Or for that matter Bernie Sanders who is a career politician in that very Establishment. What we need to do is define terms and then we’ll see that Bernie Sanders is NOT a socialist, nor is Trump really anti-Establishment. They seem to be so, but appearances can be very deceiving, usually by design. Sanders keeps harping on his not voting for the Iraq war but he voted for the special appropriations to spend funds to conduct and continue the war – a distinction without a difference. Trump has used all the levers available only to members of the Establishment to get where he is and stay there despite his manifest incompetence – even so far as working with mafiosi in NY to get things done.

    • Josh
      January 27, 2016 at 22:51

      To call Bernie an establishment politician, rather than a man of conviction who was elected from a state with where people have convictions, is just wrong. He toiled in the back benches for years. Now he’s showing the young how to fight. He’s got an inner strength that is quite formidable.

      • Richard
        February 4, 2016 at 15:52

        I agree. He’s a good man. Where I differ with Bernie is on the proper use of “socialism”. In a Republic, we are to be governed by the rule of law. By it’s very nature, the rule of law is public order, equal opportunity, safety, fair regulation of trade, commerce, and foreign policy. Bernie Sanders wants to increase government ownership of our private income (taxes), and increase government interventionism in our private lives…instead of regulatiing unfair practices. Why does this bother me? I don’t want the government siphoning tax dollars (creating bloated bureauacracy) and intervening in our personal lives. Smart regulation and income redistribution (universal income) would best promote the public good…not more government control.

    • Pat
      January 27, 2016 at 23:39

      Greg, Congress has appropriated funds for the war in Iraq every year since 2003. Some of the funding has been included in broader military spending bills and also in consolidated appropriations bills that included non-military spending. Also, as Congress is wont to do, it sometimes includes unrelated amendments in defense appropriations bills, so that voting against the overall bill would defeat the amendment as well. For example, the supplemental defense appropriations bill in 2006 included disaster relief for Hurricane Katrina. Sanders voted yea. He also voted yea on a supplemental war funding bill that included the establishment of the post-9/11 GI Bill, which he cosponsored and had fought hard to get passed.

      The most important consideration is that he voted against funding in 2003, when Bush asked Congress for $75 billion in emergency funding at the start of the war. And he voted no again when Bush came back six months later for another $87 billion. So to say he voted against the war and then approved funding is technically correct, but misleading. He voting against the war, and he voted against funding to start it.

    • RJ
      January 28, 2016 at 11:01

      Greg – Yes, exactly. For anyone watching this circus and its well-dressed clowns, it quickly becomes apparent that for anyone to run for president, one must be mostly, if not completely already merged with the System. If a true outsider, a truly creative thinker and empathetic soul were to try to run for president, they wouldn’t get far past square one.
      Look at Ron Paul back in 2012 – many new and bold ideas, such as to audit/dissolve the federal reserve, bring all troops back home to only defend USA, rescind huge swaths of federal power back to the States, on and on. He energized millions of open-thinking young people, while he simultaneously freaked out most of the elder establishment. So, Paul was shut down by both PR hacks and devious electoral manipulations. So would it be for anyone else who strays to far afield from the System.
      Now your final comment deserves some consideration… to work with the “mafiosi” can indeed get things. If someone truly outside the box, creative, brilliant and driven were to step up to the table, he/she would definitely need some serious power behind them – physical, monetary, PR. One does not radically change any power structure (make a new omelet) without breaking lots of eggs. To believe such a bold transition could ever happen peacefully is a big reach. I wold love to see it, but not holding my breath.

      • bobzz
        January 28, 2016 at 14:41

        “If a true outsider, a truly creative thinker and empathetic soul were to try to run for president, they wouldn’t get far past square one.”

        Yes, RJ and today that candidate is Jill Stein. She is the only one hitting on all cylinders, including Israel, and she has simply been buried.

    • Greg Driscoll
      January 28, 2016 at 14:01

      The ending phrase should have been “- even so far as working with mafiosi in NY to get things done in the way he wanted and at the profit level he desired.”

    • Greg Driscoll
      January 28, 2016 at 14:19

      For those interested, you may want to see Paul Streets article on CounterPunch from last July:

      • Pat
        January 28, 2016 at 17:10

        I read Paul Street’s hit job on Bernie Sanders back when it was first published. This is the narrative that the “hard left” has clung to, even when presented with the total picture and challenged on false presumptions.

        For example, part of their “Bernie the Bomber” narrative on Kosovo is that a Sanders aide was so reviled that he quit. So what? One staff member (Jeremy Brecher) who had been on the staff for a year and who was hired to work on environmental issues didn’t like a decision his boss made and quit in protest. How is that an indictment of Sanders?

        Then there’s the whole episode of his allegedly having peace demonstrators in his office arrested. What they neglect to tell you is that Sanders wasn’t there; he was on a plane back to D.C. So they said they’d wait. Four hours later, when he was still unavailable, they were sure (one of them wrote) that he had “no intention” of talking to them and refused to leave until his staff got him on the phone. Staff gave them the option of an appointment the following Tuesday, the first day Sanders would be back from D.C. They refused, because if they didn’t talk to him immediately, “hundreds more would die in the interim!” It was getting time for the office to close, and staff warned them a couple of times that if they didn’t leave, they would be removed by the police. Half an hour past closing time, staff made good on their warning.

        They also neglect to tell you that a few days later, Sanders flew to Vienna with a congressional delegation to appeal to the Russians for help in ending the war. They hadn’t been consulted, and Sanders thought that was a mistake. The delegation holed up in hotel room all weekend with representatives of the Russian Duma and a key adviser to Milosevic (who according to some reports was in a nearby room), and they came up with a plan they could all agree to. One of the key points was the NATO bombing had to end immediately. The congressional delegation returned and immediately appealed to Congress to support the plan and sell it to President Clinton. Less than a month later, Milosevic accepted a peace agreement and the war ended.

        Miller does mention the trip in his entire letter, but with disdain, as though Sanders was off on a junket. Nor did he appreciate that after an emergency weekend trip to Europe, during which no one got much sleep, Sanders kept his scheduled town hall meeting with constituents on Monday, before flying back to Washington to give a floor speech beseeching Congress to support the plan and push Clinton to accept it. He did take up a lot of time at the town hall meeting, because he had a lot to report from his trip — and his constituents got to hear it before Congress did. According to an article in the Vermont paper Seven Days, everyone at the meeting who wanted to speak got to speak.

        Amazingly, there’s a video of Sanders speaking at the town hall meeting and also his speech on the House floor. Additional remarks can be found in the Congressional Record for May 6, 1999.

        As for the charge that he voted with the Democrats, it’s remarkable that anyone is so daft as to need an explanation, but here goes. There are two parties in Congress. Sanders had a choice of voting with the Democrats or the Republicans on any given issue. There is no such thing as an “independent” vote. Withholding a vote is possible, but you can’t do that too many times. It’s hard to imagine how the anti-war crowd would have perceived his record if he had voted 50 percent with Republicans!

        Bob Parry has written often about how narratives take hold, and no amount of facts can get in the way. Well, that applies to the hard left, too. Every single one of the claims in Paul Street’s article (and others who repeat the narrative) can be explained to anyone whose mind is open enough to want the background and complete picture.

        • Pat
          January 28, 2016 at 21:03

          Oops, auto spellcheck made Brecher “reviled.” Should have been “revolted.”

          • Greg Driscoll
            January 29, 2016 at 13:17

            Thanks for the info. I’ll look into it further. Aside: Why do so many people who offer comments not give their full names? But I digress – my whole intent is not to denigrate Bernie Sanders; compared to Clinton and Schumer and other Democrats, he’s virtually a secular saint. But what I don’t like is identifying him as a socialist – he is not a socialist; a social democrat perhaps, more of an old line liberal with some pacifist tendencies but definitely not a socialist. And he is part of the establishment, that is, he doesn’t go against the ruling ideology of capitalism which is destroying the planet. He may make a very good president in the sense of being a transitional figure toward real change, that is, toward democratic socialism. I’ll most likely vote for him.

          • Pat
            January 31, 2016 at 05:22

            Greg, I wrote a long response to your comment yesterday but it vanished due to a server error. Usually I type comments in MS Word and cut and paste into the comment field, but of course I didn’t do that the one time it mattered. I didn’t have time to reconstruct it until now – way late in the cycle and you may not see it, but I at least wanted to put it on the record, since you made some good points.

            Neither Sanders nor his supporters call him a socialist. Some call him a democratic socialist or a social democrat, or the latest tag, “FDR New Deal Democrat.” To tell you the truth, I don’t know what flavor of socialism he embraces. He often refers to the Scandinavian model, but those countries each have different approaches. Ultimately, I’m OK with letting him define it himself. He does that in his Georgetown University speech on Nov. 19.

            As for being “establishment,” he’s establishment in that he has been in Congress for 25 years, knows how it works, and follows the rules, both written and understood. For example, he would not openly confront Leahy, who is in the hip pocket of the defense industry big time. He also goes along with the dog-and-pony show of debate and hearings for public consumption, when in fact most of the real business of the Senate goes on behind closed doors, and often with lobbyists and corporate lawyers.

            He is not establishment in that he doesn’t take campaign contributions from the defense, fossil fuels, banking, or insurance industries or any big money donors that have corrupted the democratic process. He is the only senator who takes no money from the pro-Israel lobby. This is a critical distinction and puts him in a class of his own. Moreover, even though he caucuses with the Democrats, he hasn’t received campaign funding from the party. In that regard, he really is a political outsider. I read somewhere that he has signed an agreement with the DNC so that if he wins the nomination, he will contribute to the party and will be eligible to receive campaign funds from them. But I think it’s pretty clear, given how they’ve been doing everything they can to sabotage his campaign, that he is considered an outsider.

            I don’t use my last name because I’d just as soon keep my political comments separate from my consulting work. I can’t speak for anyone else.

  13. January 27, 2016 at 22:09

    Until there are Nuremberg type trials for the crowd that started the illegal wars, Iraq, and Syria, the US will stagger through an era of one more error after another. Obama spoiled his presidency with the first lines of his first inaugural address. He thanked the top war criminals for ‘their service’. Ignoring them was what he should have done, followed by the establishment of grand juries or references to the International Criminal Court. Not Rocket Science, just justice.
    Michael Fish
    Longueuil, Quebec, Canada

    • Josh
      January 27, 2016 at 22:39

      100% correct, Michael.

      When he gave the criminals a pass, you knew Obama was not worth a dime, rather he aided and abetted them. Sad, such a fake.

    • Curious
      January 28, 2016 at 04:23

      Yes, Michael, the Nuremberg trials should be a mark and what Obama would call a ‘red line’ It’s a shame that many have forgotten the gains and presidence established during the trials. Of course the victor sets the rules, but there were profound issues documented in Nuremberg. Does anyone care or honor these trials anymore?

      2 things that drive me over the edge: Why does the US think they can do whatever they want in any country they want. Wouldn’t this be absolutely opposed to the very concept of the trials after WW2? Have they simply forgotten, or they simply don’t care.

      #2 is an obvious fear of Hillary as a president. It was only a couple of years ago, after her stint as Sec of State where she was quoted as saying Obama would be far more effective if he worked across the isle. This isle is the very isle who was determined to make Obama a one term president at any cost, and any cost to the people of the U Sof A as well. The Repubs had a singular agenda, and yet Hillary said he should work more effectively across the isle. She is a terrible choice no matter how she reads the paper and changes her issue of the day. If she were a weather vane she would be pro war, pro Zionist, and stick her finger out to see which way the wind is blowing on any particular day. She has no values, no moral compass, and thinks it wise to burn and kill thousands of civilians if it suits her purpose. Lets see her fix Lybia now that her nemeses is gone, despite the thousands she killed. What an awful human being who should be nowhere near the military, and no where near any solution to the devastation she has wrought, pretending it solved only one man instead of a country. She is pathetic.

    • Steve Naidamast
      February 6, 2016 at 12:53

      Unfortunately, you will need something far better than the Nuremberg Trials as they were mostly a sham that even members of the judiciary spoke out against.

      I understand that if you read all of the mainstream publications that came out about these trails you will eventually come to the conclusion that they were nothing but “Kangaroo Courts”, which is an affront to Kangaroos.

      Some of the charges were so off the wall that some analysts have said that if the situation wasn’t so tragic it would have been comedic.

  14. January 27, 2016 at 21:47

    I agree Denny! Just want Bernie to say that he would release the classified 28 pages. Enough with protecting past Presidents and having no accountability. What about war crimes and the Nuremberg resolutions!?!

    • Josh
      January 27, 2016 at 22:36

      Right as f@@k, Laurie!

  15. Robert
    January 27, 2016 at 21:19

    These establishment people you speak of remain unpunished for their crimes.

  16. January 27, 2016 at 20:50

    I certainly prefer your reasoning to that of David Brooks……..with this caveat….
    i wish all of you knew my old employee Bernie Sanders as well as i do, having first met him in 1971…..I got to know him very well back then, and later as my Mayor, then Congressman, then US Senator from my state……

    I do think Bernie will win this [or maybe Trump will] -Hillary is done- and my suggestion to all of you is HOLD ONTO YOUR HATS….

    2LT Dennis Morrisseau USArmy [armor – Vietnam era] ANTI-WAR retired.
    POB 177 W Pawlet, VT 05775
    802 645 9727 [email protected]

  17. Gregory Kruse
    January 27, 2016 at 19:43

    Staying insane.

  18. Pablo Diablo
    January 27, 2016 at 19:07

    HUMP THE TRUMP, vote for THE DONALD and get the United States over with now.

  19. Herman
    January 27, 2016 at 19:01

    On the domestic policy side, Bernie Sanders does offer a better alternative. I hope he wins the nomination if the choice is between he and Clinton because of his commitment to ordinary people and his unadulterated support for progressive change.

    His proposals for tax reform, higher taxes for higher incomes, and his Medicare for all are long overdue.

    What will he do on defense spending? We don’t know but the very fact that we don’t now gives us reason to hope. There is the possibility that his domestic agenda will dampen the continued excessive defense spending.

    On foreign policy, the same. He can’t be worse. No candidate except the maverick, Donald Trump, is going to rock the boat, and even he would have to perform a miracle to clean house and pursue a fresh policy. Plus he won’t get nominated.

    One Clinton is enough in our lifetime

  20. January 27, 2016 at 18:43

    It is unlikely that ANY candidate will be able to control the government. I am in favor of Sanders/Trump simply because they don’t toe the line. But then, Obama said he wouldn’t toe the line either. He fooled me and the majority of people who wanted what he promised – but which is no longer deliverable, because the power of government has been placed on the block and sold to the highest bidder.

    Because of that, we will have to learn the hard way.

    • Larry Motuz
      January 27, 2016 at 22:29

      I take your point. But, whereas Obama talked a good talk, Sanders has actually walked a good walk.

      I expect both will continue to do so.

    • David Sendero Santos
      January 28, 2016 at 00:24

      I also hippitty hopped into Mr. Obama’s proffered trick bag. It is not liked we were not warned however, Noam Chomsky, Cornell West, and the late Alex Cockburn of Counterpunch renown all warned us as to Barack Obama’s well documented NeoLiberal bona fides.
      Bernie Sanders is incorrect in his analysis of foreign policy. I mailed him a copy of V.I Lenin’s pre 1917 work “Imperialism” in a plain brown wrapper. Bernie is wrong about the F-35 fighter plane which he supports funding due to the economic stimulus his home state of Vermont will receive from its manufacture and basing. Never has Bernie been paid in the high seven figures for a five minute speech before a select audience of oligarchs. This avoidance of lucre from ethical corruption that has been codified into lawful practices is in itself a sea change from the NeoLiberal Selfish Maxim that everyone and everything has its price and that which doesn’t is worthless. Perhaps, after the NewNazis of Zion have been reduced to vapor, and the Oligarchs along with their Top Corporati are brought before a Court of Revolutionary Justice they will discover that the power of Money and Lies is limited while the values of Wobbly style Class Solidarity and country simple Honesty have infinite and timeless creative and transformative power.

    • Carroll Price
      February 5, 2016 at 21:24

      Take my word for it. No candidate will survive the primaries unless they are approved by the Establishment. Once the two candidates are selected, it doesn’t matter which one wins. It’s been that way for the past 60 years or more.

  21. Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
    January 27, 2016 at 18:20

    The establishment in the US has thoroughly corrupted the SYSTEM itself that if even Jesus Christ himself were to be elected president he would follow the corrupt system…………..

    Remember Obama and his talks and promises before he got elected?! And he ended up same if not worse than George Donkey Bush!! It does NOT matter much who gets elected president because He/She will still have to live and work in a corrupt place called Washigton,D.C.

    • Daniel Cullen
      January 27, 2016 at 18:25

      You are correct Dr. Soudy. Unless of course the new leader is able to engage the American public in a return to sanity and that would take some powerful power of moral suasion. If that happens then anything is possible. We could even become the kind of country and people that we’ve long pretended we are. Imagine!!!

    • Irena
      January 27, 2016 at 20:17

      Let us not insulate the peaceful donkey by referring that noble, courageous, patient, hard-working animal to George Bush, who definitely does not have those attributes.

    • Roberto
      January 27, 2016 at 21:09

      A good point, however, electing someone like Cruz would be the end of everything. If Washington DC can be stopped by a snow storm, what would a real war do? And if those incoming stealth missiles cause a frustrated
      US government to go for the nuke option? A job at Goldman Sacks would be worthless.

      • dahoit
        January 28, 2016 at 13:39

        Watching the Absent Minded Professor last night,you had to see the response to a flying model T,absent on the day that changed everything.:)

    • fudmier
      January 28, 2016 at 01:55

      It does matter who gets elected? The USA consist of but 537-members; USA elected legislate according to the bidding of the up stream oligarchs and force down stream state legislators (500 each * 50 states) to enable up-stream Oligarch demands. Basically the players are in ancient Egyptian terms “the 26000 slave drivers[1%]”.; 1% who are the Oligarchs, and the 300,000,000 99% who are the voting slaves.

      So a very small group of slave drivers, control the political power that enables and allows all corruption.

      The elected 26000 persons [1%] control 99% of the population. One law making person exist [1%] for each 11,500 (99%) voters Such power vested in so few enables (the 1% Oligarchs) to dictate how the elected 1% should control the wealth, knowledge, security and behaviors or 300,000,000 Americans (99%) 1. 2. 3. etc. things.
      Voters should consult a lawyer’ concerning an if-elected voter-candidate contract ? IANAL and don”t know if such a contact could be made to be enforceable so consult a lawyer .

      • Roberto
        January 28, 2016 at 11:37

        We already have the Constitution but it is not enforced. Therefore Cheney’s company can have the contract for the Iraq War…

    • Susan
      January 29, 2016 at 11:58

      Obama’s candidate speeches were written by Gene Sperling, who served under Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers during the Clinton years. Obama’s rhetoric was spot-on regarding the devastating trade agreements because Sperling helped push them through. How cynical is that? Obviously, they knew what concerned Americans most – job loss – but, remember too, that once in office, Obama was able to pass the trade agreements which Bush Jr. failed to do. Sperling continued to write for Obama – assuring us that all is well, while giving away our national heritage and looting public property. Sperling, et al aren’t concerned about jobs, because if they aren’t “serving” in public office they’re employed in some “think” tank developing policies that will benefit Wall Street at the expense of Main Street – all have plenty of access to the revolving door, so their actions are never felt personally. They take advantage of and enrich themselves off the suffering they impose.

    • Richard
      February 4, 2016 at 16:04

      Have to correct you here!!! Jesus Christ would NOT follow this corrupt system!!! He stood up to the proud and arrogant in his time…so much so that they whipped him until they could see his lungs inflate through his chewed up back…and made him carry a cross while he was losing blood…and nailed him to the cross…and hung a sign over his head saying “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”,,,and mocked him, spat on him, and jeered at him to come down from the cross. To this, Jesus prayed “forgive them Father, for they know not what they do”.

Comments are closed.