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Bernie Sanders
    Bernie Sanders, 2016
Updated Friday, January 1, 2016
Posted Sunday, August 23, 2015
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Commentary and Political Notes
This entry was posted Thursday, July 30, 2015; updated Wednesday, November 25, 2015;  filed under  Keeba’s Commentary.
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Keeba Smith is a published writer and desired screenplay artist.  She is the author of Shades of Bright Pale and many other
unacquainted writings. Please visit to find out more about Keeba Smith, read critiques and her unpublished
“Spirit in the Dark.”
© 2015
Longtime Democrat changed Democratic Socialist

My parents always stressed how importuning voting was and taught all their children to vote.  On my
eighteenth birthday, my Dad drove me to the nearest registration site to register to vote and I have
not missed an election since.  (If I did not do anything else to make my parents proud, I was going to
vote - as instructed.)

Although I listened to my parents about the importance of voting, I know that they said were
Democrats and so was I.  However, at 18 years old, I hardly had the commonsense to consider the
differences between a Republican or Democrat, a Lefty or a Righty, or a Conservative verses a

As I grew older I still hardly paid attention to politics and the two Parties but in time, I would learn
that I did not need to vote for every Democrat that came my way.  Because I did not favor every
Democrat nominee, I would secretly vote Republican amd/or Independent.

Before 1997, I had been a registered Democrat, Republican and Independent.  I took my voting
seriously so after that, I remained a registered Democrat; those Republicans were getting out of

After 1997, I decided I could no longer support anyone other than the Democrat Party, as I had a
local government official that needed my help in every election; I was a going to be a Dem forever

Fifteen years ago, I became an avid and crazed mentally insane political news watcher and from time
to time, MSNBC, CNN and Fox News journalist would interview Vermont Senator, Bernie Sanders.

During those crazed mentally ill for politics days, I became a devoted Bernie Sanders fan.  The
passion and determination he showed made both my spouse, his brother and I wonder when he would
run for president.  I kept wondering where the other compassionate politicians were.  Where were
the Independents?  Why don't voters support more people such as Bernie Sanders?  Where there
any more like him?

Sadly, there are only seems to be a handful of politicians such as Bernie Sanders, Congressman Alan
Grayson, former Senator Nina Turner, Congresswoman Diana DeGette, Congressman Keith Ellison,
Congressman John Lewis and Congressman Elijah Cummings.  We, The People hire 535 Senators
and Congress members but only a handful of them does their job!  Something is wrong with that, but
I digress.

There is much to know about Bernie Sanders.
  • ABC News
  • AJPlus
  • American Thinker
  • Bernie Sanders, Senator
  • CNN
  • Fox News
  • Huffington Post
  • Merriam‑Webster & Dictionary & Thesaurus
  • NBC News
  • New York Times
  • Think Progress
  • USA Today
  • Washington Post
To get the true definition of Democratic Socialist/Social Democrat, think Denmark, Finland and Sweden.  In those
Countries, there are larger voter turnouts, which makes sense, as there is free education, better medical care, better
retirement benefits, better childcare etc.  Those are just a few things that Sanders wants for the American People - and
not just for the elite/selective few.

Sanders’ version of socialism is rooted in 20th-century Jewish-American leftist politics, which organized for better
working conditions and wages, equality for women, and civil rights for Blacks/Black African Americans, and assistant for
those that live in poverty and the middleclass.  As well as what he noted in the gray shaded area.

The slogan for Social Democrats is simply "freedom, equality, and solidarity" for all.

Sanders' statements today and before he announced his run for president, are not new but just a reiteration of what he
has been saying for over a decade.

Now of course, most politicians will say anything and everything to be elected but as stated, Sanders has been saying the
same thing for at least 25 years.  He already has a comfortable and stable political position and while in that position, he
has been trying to get other politicians to stand with him and fight for the middle-class; to fight for equality.
In 1963, Bernie Sanders was a young activist at the University of Chicago, where he fought for racial equality.  In that same
year, he was arrested during a demonstration protesting the City's segregated schools.  For the first time, he traveled to
Washington D.C. to hear Dr. Martin Luther King speak at the March on Washington for "Jobs and Freedom."

Some people may not know that as undergraduate, Bernie was not only arrested for protesting but was also a member of
the following extracurricular organizations:
 The Young People’s Socialist League
 The Congress for Racial Equality
 The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
 The Student Peace Union

In the 1970's, Bernie Sanders, Judith Sargent, John Bloch and Betty Clark were active members of the new, small, pro-
labor, anti-war Third Party in Vermont.  Bernie deemed himself a socialist.

"He was unusual for a political activist at that point because he was willing to include not only women but children," said
Sargent.  "Hell," said Bloch.  "I think I had my kids there, too.  We were not terribly formal back then."

"He just had a difference about him," said Clark.  "He was not like the rest of us kooks, who didn't know what we were
doing.  He had more ideas, and he spoke better."

In 1972, Bernie wrote an article in a Liberty Union Party newsletter and it he wrote, "Everybody knows what's happening
— who wants to know."  A handful of people own almost everything … and almost everybody owns nothing.  A handful of
people make the decisions and the vast majority of people have virtually no control over their lives.  The rich are getting
richer and the poor are getting poorer, and the vast majority in the middle are having a harder and harder time.

In his first election win, Sanders was elected the mayor of Burlington, Vermont in March of 1981.  He won by just 10 votes
and received press attention from all over the country and the world.  Rolling Stone called the socialist who was elected six
weeks after the inauguration of Ronald Reagan the "red mayor in the Green Mountains."

Linda Niedweske, who helped run the campaign, said, "He's very bright, and he's very persistent."

After being elected mayor, Sanders picked up trash in the park.  He was not your everyday status quo politician but donned
work shirts, work boots, jeans.  Fancy clothes were not high on his list of priorities but service to the people was.

As mayor, Sanders helped bring minor league baseball (the Vermont Reds) to Burlington.  In 1987, U.S. News & World
Report said Sanders was one of America’s best mayors.

Sanders was reelected mayor in 1983, 1985, and again in 1987.

A month after his re-election in 1983, Sanders told students at the University of Connecticut's West Hartford campus that
his tenure as a socialist mayor was evidence that people are willing to support radical change.

Some people may not know that while mayor, the people of Burlington would boast that Bernie would check in on women
with abused husbands.  Moreover, he took consideration of those less fortunate and took a homeless man to a shoe store to
purchase shoes.

Political science professor at the University of Vermont, Garrison Nelson said, "Most socialist candidates do not want to
win.  They want to lose and blame the system for their defeat.  They revel in their defeats.  Bernie believes that to be
absurd."  Nelson went on to say that Sanders is "the most successful socialist candidate in the history of the U.S."

In 1986, Sanders ran for governor of Vermont but lost.  In his career, he has won fourteen elections.

Sanders' message started long before many of us came on board, but it has not changed, as Bernie Sanders is consistent and
is determined in his fight for equality for ALL Americans.

listen to what he is saying and remember that it all started around the early 1960's - BEFORE many of us were born.  
Then consider that his fight has not wavered.  He certainly is NOT like your average politician.

In 1988, Sanders supported Jesse Jackson's presidential candidacy.

Sanders lost his congressional bid in 1988 but ran again in 1990 and won.  At the time, former editor of Vermont Vanguard
Press, Greg Guma said, "He's the best left-wing politician I've ever seen."  And longtime friend and lawyer John Franco,
said, "He didn't want to sit around and theorize.  He wanted to actually do things."

Sanders spent 16 years in the House and although an Independent, the Democrat Party helped him run for the Senate in
2006.  (He never officially joined the Democrat Party but votes with them the majority of the time.)

Some people may not know that in 2011, Sanders was ranked the third -most popular Senator in the Country and the
NAACP and the NHLA gave him a 100% rating for his time as a Senator.  And by 2015, his approval ratings increased and
he became the most popular Senator among any of his colleagues.

Bernie Sanders has done a lot in his lifetime but it was not until the late 1990's that I began to listen to him.  Each time I
heard him, he made it very clear where he stood; never evading talking about issues that concerned most Americans.  He
paid attention to the people's reaction to the issues that concerned them most.  And because the economy was always at the
top of the list, he was hardened to fight for and talk about jobs, minimum wage increase, Unions, increase job creation and
productivity, ending sending jobs overseas, ending disastrous trade polices such as NAFTA, CAFTA, PNTR, assistance for
people wanting to start their own business, women's right to equal pay, "health care is a right of all and not a privilege",
higher education, consistent exhortations against the growing gap between the haves and the have-nots, restore the nation’s
bridges and roads, put an end to seniors living in poverty, etc.

After watching Sanders over 17 years (more than a decade) the more I liked him and the more it seemed fitting to just call
him Bernie.  (He became a household name.)

Other than what was listed, two things standout about Bernie:
1. He is an Independent  (Besides Angus King, Bernie Sanders is the only Independent.)
2. He is a self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist  (Some untutored folks cringe when they hear the word "socialist" often
confusing it with communism and not realizing that America has been a socialist Country for 70's plus years.)

Some of those that oppose Bernie, refer to him as old and grumpy, and he is indeed both of those, as he has only spent over
forty years fighting with his colleagues to do the right thing for the people.  Constantly fighting greed and corruption would
anger any reasonable and moral person.

Call Bernie what you will, but several things he is certain; he is hard working, dedicated, authentic, credible, honorable and
committed to the fight.  However when given the opportunity to use just one word to describe himself, he said, Bernie said,
"Compassionate".  Yes indeed!  Bernie Sanders is finally running for president!

As stated I have only been listening to Bernie just over a decade so I am late in following him.  Now that he is running, for
president, I have had follow him even closer and this is what I have learned:
90% Tax Hike Lie:

Although the lie continues, Bernie has never proposed a 91% tax hike.

In 2008, Bernie was on Fox News and the interviewer questioned him about a 90% tax increase, however Bernie clearly
stated that he has not ever proposed a 90% tax increase.

In 2015 Yahoo News with Katie Couric, Bernie said it again; that he does not support a 90% tax hike.  He repeated it again
on CBS This Morning.

In an October presidential Republican debate, Trump said that Bernie was going to "tax you people at 90 percent."  
PolitiFact labeled the statement as "pants on fire"

During one of the debates, Bernie said he did not favor a tax hike of 90%.  In fact, during that debate, he said that he was
not as hard as Eisenhower, who raised taxes 91 percent.

In short, the 90% tax hike lie is just that, a lie.  

Although Bernie has not given a specific amount on how much he plans to raise taxes, he has repeatedly said, that it is NOT
90 percent.

However, no matter what anyone - whether Democrat and/or Republican - says about lowering and/or increasing taxes, we
must remember that it depends on what type of rate; regular rate, marginal rate, nominal rate or effective tax rate.

A marginal rate is the amount you pay on your income above a certain amount.  Currently, the top marginal rate is 39.5%;
the lowest marginal rate is 10%.  However, that does not mean that the government automatically takes 39.5%.  Instead, it
means that if you earn $45,000 a year but take home, $45,200, then that extra two dollars ($200) is considered additional and
is taxed at the marginal rate.  It is the same old, "The more you make, the more they take."  However, there are always tax  
"If men were giving birth to babies, there would not be a lot of discussion regarding the right to choose."~Bernie Sanders

Why stop women from having abortions when the Republicans only deny them the right to life, liberty and happiness.  Just
cut more programs and have them die in the street.  Shame that men still want to control women's bodies.
Breaking Up Banks:

Some people seem a tad confused about what Bernie means when he says he wants to breakup the banks.  In short, it
means that if a bank fails and then needs to be bailed out with taxpayer money to save the economy, it is too big to exist.  
However, it would be more beneficial to the economy if the banks are split, there is less of a chance of it to control all the
money and hold the economy hostage and/or at risk.  Billions of taxpayer dollars are used to bailout these large companies.

If you have one big bank and turn it into four or five smaller banks, then if there is a crash one smaller bank would not make
much of a difference.  Simply, breaking up the banks puts us taxpayers less at risk.

Some people have claimed that Bernie does not appreciate capitalism, but they are wrong.  He embraces it!

Bernie is just simply saying that both capitalism and socialism has worked before in this country and can and should continue
to work.  

He has no problem with 40% of Americans owning the most wealth in America.  However, it is unfair that "a handful of
people makes the decisions and the vast majority of people have virtually no control over their lives…The rich are getting
richer and the poor are getting poorer, and the vast majority in the middle are having a harder and harder time."

Bernie believes as I do, that everyone should pay their fair share in taxes; including the rich.
Climate Change:

Some people were furious when Bernie said, "…climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism.  He added that
climate change will cause farmers in countries "all over the world" to struggle with a scarcity of water and land to grow
crops, which he says studies have shown leads to international conflict.

Oddly, Bernie was right.  A recent study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that shortage of
water sparked a crisis in regions of Syria, Iraq and Turkey that forced 1.5 million rural residents to flee to the border of
Syria after their livestock was killed, children fell ill and food prices spiked.  According to the study, this crisis among other
results of climate change led Syria to violence.

The radicals know that America should be leading the fight to end climate change.  If we ignore, it does not mean it does not
exist but that we should be doing more to not only make our own Country better and healthy, but also the world.

here to learn more about Bernie's plans on climate change.
Congress - People say that Sanders will not be able to do anything with a GOP-ran Congress:

Sanders is telling his supporters to remain engaged.  He does not just want us to vote for him and then walk away but vote
during ALL the elections.

Sanders is calling for a political revolution; calling for ALL voters to come out in droves to march for policies, to show
support BEYOND voting.  He is calling on voters to not allow Congress to continue with business as usual.  Oh but we
must remember that we must do our jobs.  I.E., know who your local government officials are and hold them accountable.  
Voters will NEVER see change or get much accomplished if they do not know their local government officials by name.  
Voters will NEVER see change or get much accomplished if they do not know their local government officials when they
see their pictures.

There is a way to legally stalk your government officials so FORCE them to answer you and DEMAND the changes you
need and want.