Bernie Sanders’ Presidential Campaign Starts In Vermont.

by Jerry Alatalo

“[Business and finance are] unanimous in their hate for me – and I welcome their hatred… I should like to have it said of my first Adminstration that in it the forces of selfishness and lust for power met their match; I would like to have it said of my second administration that in it these forces met their master.” (Campaign speech, 1936; quoted by Justice Douglas)

– FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT (1882-1945) 32nd President of the Unitese States

Burlington, Vermont - USA (photo: go100percent.org)
Burlington, Vermont – USA
(photo: go100percent.org)

Alphabet The people of Vermont gathered on the waterfront in Burlington, where Bernie Sanders began his political career as mayor, to hear him deliver a speech about why he is running for President of the United States. For presidential historians, the speech most likely reminded them of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Some excerpts from Bernie Sanders’ speech:

“Today with your support, and the support of millions across our country, we begin a political revolution to transform our country economically, politically, socially and environmentally. Today we stand here and say loudly and clearly: Enough is enough. This great nation and its government belong to all of the people and not to a handful of billionaires.”

“Brothers and sisters, now is not the time for thinking small. Now is not the time for the same-old, same-old establishment politics and stale inside-the-beltway ideas; now is the time for millions of working families to come together to revitalize American democracy, to end the collapse of our middle class, and to make certain that our children and grandchildren are able to enjoy a quality of life that brings them health, prosperity, security and joy – and that once again makes the United States the leader in the world in the fight for economic and social justice, for environmental sanity, and for a world of peace.”

“My fellow Americans, this country faces more serious problems today than at any time since the Great Depression, and, if you include the planetary crisis of climate change, it may well be that the challenges we face now are more dire than at any time in the modern history of our country. And here is my promise to you for this campaign: not only will I fight to protect the working families of this country, but we are going to build a movement of millions of Americans who are prepared to stand up and fight back.”

“We are going to take this campaign directly to the people in town meetings, door-to-door conversations, on street corners and in social media. This week we’re going to be in New Hampshire, we’re going to be in Iowa, and we’re going to be in Minnesota – and that’s just the start of this national campaign.”

“Let me be clear. This campaign is not about Bernie Sanders; it’s not about Hillary Clinton; it is not about Jeb Bush, or anyone else. This campaign is about the needs of the American people and the ideas and proposals that effectively address those needs. As someone who has never run a negative political ad in my life, my campaign will not be driven by political gossip or reckless personal attacks. This is what the American people want and deserve. These are serious times – we need serious debates.”

“Politics in a democratic society should not be treated as if it were a baseball game, a game show, or a soap opera, and I hope the media understands that as well. Let me take a minute to touch on some of the issues that I will be focusing on in the coming months, and then give you a brief outline of an agenda for America. An agenda which in fact will deal with the serious problems and lead us to a better future.”

“Today we live in a nation which is the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, but that reality means very little for most of us because almost all of the wealth is owned and controlled by a tiny handful of individuals. In America we have more income and wealth inequality than any other major country on Earth, and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider and wider. The issue of wealth and income inequality is the great moral issue of our time; it is the great economic issue of our time; it is the great political issue of our time, and we will address it.”

“Let me be very clear, and let the top 1% understand this. There is something profoundly wrong when the top one-tenth of 1% owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90%, and when 99% of all new income goes to the top 1%. There is something profoundly wrong when in recent years we have seen a proliferation of millionaires and billionaires at the same time as millions of Americans are working longer hours for lower wages, and we have shamefully the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country.”

“There is something profoundly wrong when one family owns more wealth in this country than the bottom 130 million Americans. This grotesque level of inequality is immoral, it is bad economics, it is unsustainable. This type of rigged economy is not what America is supposed to be about. This has got to change, and as your president, together, we are going to change it.”

“My fellow Americans, let me be as blunt as I can and tell you what you already know. As a result of the disastrous Supreme Court decision Citizens United, the American political system has been totally corrupted, and the foundations of American democracy are now being undermined. What the Supreme Court said, essentially, was that it was not good enough for the billionaires to own much of the economy – they could now own the United States government as well, and that is precisely what they are trying to do.”

“Now, what I learned in school, an I think what the men and women who put their lives on the line to defend our country have long-known, that American democracy is not about billionaires being able to buy candidates and buy elections. It is not about the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson and other incredibly wealthy individuals spending billions of dollars to elect candidates who will make the rich richer and everyone else poorer. According to media reports, if you can believe it, the Koch brothers in this election cycle are prepared to spend more money than either the democratic or republican parties.”

“That is not democracy – that is oligarchy. In Vermont at our town meetings we know what democracy is about, and that is ‘one person, one vote’, and that is the kind of political system we are going to fight for and are going to achieve.” 

… “If we don’t get our act together and have the United States lead the world in combating climate change there will be more drought, more famine, more rising sea level, more ocean acidification, more extreme weather disturbances. As human beings who look out over this environment, who appreciate the beauty that we have on this planet, we are not going to allow the fossil fuel industry to destroy this planet.”

“This campaign, starting today, is going to send a message to the billionaire class, and that is: ‘you can’t have it all’. You can’t get huge tax breaks while children in the country go hungry. You can’t continue sending our jobs abroad while millions are looking for work. You can’t hide your profits in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens while there are massive unmet needs on every corner of this nation. To the billionaire class, I say that your greed has got to end – you can’t take advantage of all of the benefits of America if you refuse to accept your responsibilities. And that is why we need a tax system which is fair and progressive, which tells the wealthiest individuals and the largest corporations that they are going to start paying their fair share of taxes.”

“When we talk about power, we talk about Wall Street. In my view it is time to break up the largest financial institutions in this country. Wall Street cannot continue to be an island onto itself gambling trillions in risky financial instruments while expecting the public to bail it out. If a bank is too big to fail, that bank is too big to exist..”

“…we must be focused on campaign finance reform and the need for a constitutional amendment to overturn this disastrous Citizens United decision. I have said it before and I’ll say it again: I will not nominate any justice to the Supreme Court who has not made it clear that he or she will move to overturn that disastrous decision which is undermining American democracy.”

“And that is why I as president will fight to make tuition in public colleges and universities free, as well as substantially lower interest rates on student loans.”

“I am vigorously opposed to an endless, perpetual war in the Middle East.”

“And to those who say we cannot restore the dream, I say look at where we are standing today. As some of you will remember, this beautiful place was once an unsightly rail yard that served no public purpose and was an eyesore. As mayor, I worked with the people of Burlington to help turn this waterfront into the beautiful, people-oriented public space it is today. We took that fight to the courts, to the legislature, and to the people and we won. The lesson to be learned, and it is a profound political lesson, is that when people stand together, when people are prepared to fight back, there is nothing that cannot be accomplished.”

“We can live in a country where every person has health care as a right, not a privilege. We can live in a country where every parent can have quality and affordable child care and where all of our qualified young people can get a college education regardless of their income. We can live in a country where every senior can live in dignity and security, and not be forced to choose between food and medicine. We can live in a country where every veteran who has put his or her life on the line to defend this nation gets the quality health care and benefits they have earned and deserve. We can live in a country where every person no matter their race, their religion, their disability, or sexual orientation realizes the full promise of equality that is our birthright as Americans.”

“Brothers and sisters, that is the nation we can build together. And I ask you and people throughout this country to join us in this campaign to build a future that works for all of us, and not just the few people on top. Thank you again for coming out on this beautiful day. Thank you.”

What separates Senator Bernie Sanders from Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush is that he is the only one of the three who has used the term “billionaire class”. Ms. Clinton and Mr. Bush can no longer ignore wealth inequality in the United States – the highest level of inequality of any major nation on Earth, and an issue of great concern for tens of millions of Americans. If Ms. Clinton and Mr. Bush – with Senator Bernie Sanders in the race for president in 2016 – choose not to honestly address this central, serious issue, the number of voters who were leaning in their directions and voting for them who change their minds to support/vote for Bernie Sanders may become historic.

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(Thank you to Vermont PBS at YouTube)

Victory Day, Bridging Ideological Divides And True Peace.

by Jerry Alatalo

aaa-23Alphabet In an ideal world where humanity had moved beyond ideological battles and worked together in oneness, leaders from every nation would have attended Victory Day in Moscow.  This year’s event marked the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Nazism in World War II and the Russian people gathered in large numbers to remember the 27 million Russians who died in that war. One of the main reasons for this post is to help set the historical record straight regarding the Russian role in defeating fascism during World War II, in particular as regards misperceptions in America, where many hold the erroneous position that Russians played little or no part in the victory.

First of all, the writer does not wish to take “sides” on the issue of who deserves more credit for the victory over Nazi Germany, because there really are no sides when seen from the standpoint of oneness. The focus is on contributing toward a historically fact-based, truthful perception of the important events of World War II, the truth which if not widely understood results in confused, factually-weak, and harmful discussions about present day relations between the people and governments of the Russian Federation and the United States of America.

If one were to ask a number of Americans for their views on who was responsible for the defeat of Nazi Germany, perhaps 80-90% would respond by saying that the United States defeated Nazism and that Russians had little to do with the victory. Books have been published by scholars about the particular reasons why Americans have come to largely hold that incorrect historical view, but, leaving reasons aside, the historical truth is that Russians’ efforts and sacrifice had a more determinative effect in defeating Nazi Germany in World War II.

In discussing this issue many will come to the point of questioning what difference it makes when World War II ended 70 years ago.  Many will want to end discussing the issue because they feel it is irrelevant to today and the state of international relations on Earth. Why it remains relevant, however, becomes illustrated by the fact that United States President Barack Obama and the leaders of other US-allied nations were absent from the Victory Day celebration in Moscow.

That fact goes back to the point made in the first sentence of this post: humanity has not overcome its ideological battles, and that means there is a distance to travel before more positive international relations circumstances become created which significantly reduce potential for outbreaks of war and violence. Ideology is a political or social philosophy most often associated with class. Through history ideological differences have been the single source of conflicts, wars and destruction – World Wars I and II the most glaring and destructive examples.

Humanity’s great challenge related to ongoing problems of violence directly associated with ideological differences remains seen around the Earth in places like Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and regions on the continent of Africa.  Some have suggested that World War III is already being waged and in its early stages; that humanity must move swiftly and powerfully to prevent military escalation and a repeat of the horrific events of World War II. So, what preventive options are available and offer the best chance for eliminating the conditions which could lead to military escalation and another catastrophic, full-out world war?

Any human being who describes him or herself as rational believes dialogue and exchange of ideas is the clearly superior choice over military action, so a week-long World Peace Conference seems an obvious, ideal concept for discovering peaceful avenues to resolve differences between nations and people. Organizing and conducting such a conference, with speaking invitations to political, religious/spiritual, business and academic leaders from every nation and region on Earth, to use some clichés, are “plain as the nose on one’s face” and a “no-brainer” when it comes to the goal of war prevention and increasing the peace.

A global effort to stop what some observers see as World War III in its early stages is now necessary and urgent. A World Peace Conference would be an excellent beginning action, as true solutions will become identified and then available for implementing. Other possible steps humanity can consider for preventing escalation and outbreak of war include:

United Nations reform making it mandatory and binding for all member states to ratify the Rome Statute Treaty – agreeing to come under jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court

Establishing, in line with Albert Einstein’s idea of “the only promise of peace, supra-national security” – a global military force made up of men and women from every nation and region on Earth, stationed together around the world as peacekeepers –  leading to the end of national militarys; the end of “us versus them”

Historic ideological divides responsible for all wars on Earth have not yet been overcome, and that reality remains a threat to international security and peace. The human race has taken positive steps through years, decades and centuries of developing increasingly effective self-restraining governing, legal and institutional intellectual concepts which, when consequently manifested in reality, have successfully minimized the chances for wars and violence to break out. There are absolutely no reasons to believe that humanity is finished with its evolution in this regard, and absolutely every reason to believe humanity is more than capable of taking the steps necessary to cross the ideological divide. To cross the bridge to real peace on Earth.

It is with that bridge to true peace on Earth in mind that the following events from Victory Day celebrated in Moscow are shared here. The intention is exposing the extent of ideological differences remaining on Earth, increasing awareness of what the threat to global peace and security irresolution of those differences means for humanity, and generating wider acknowledgement that overcoming those ideological differences is simultaneously of the highest importance and well within the ability of the human race.

Transcript of Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin’s speech – followed by the speech on video and scenes from “Immortal Regiment” walk in remembrance of those who died in World War II.

“Dear veterans, dear guests, soldiers and seamen, surgeons and petty officers, warrant officers and commissioned officers, generals and admirals. Today we mark the 70th anniversary of victory in the great patriotic war. Today, as we celebrate this date which is sacred to us, once again we realize how immense this victory over Nazism was, and we are proud that it was our fathers and grandfathers who defeated this dark force”.

“This was a terrible lesson for the international community, what happened in the 1930’s. The (people) in Europe did not immediately see the immense threat of Nazi ideology and today, 70 years later, history once again tells us to be vigilant. We shouldn’t forget that the ideal of race supremacy and exclusivity resulted in the bloodiest war, which involved 80% of the world’s population. Many European nations were occupied and the Soviet Union bore the brunt of enemy attacks”.

“The best Nazi troops were sent to Russia; their military might was concentrated here. Decisive battles of World War II took place here. It is no surprise that it was the Red Army that eventually besieged Berlin and put an end to this war with Germany. Our entire nation fought for the freedom of our land. Everybody contributed to this victory and together our people saved our homeland – and determined the outcome of World War II; liberated the nations of Europe from Nazism. No matter where veterans live today, they should know that here is Russia we will always remember what they did how valiantly they fought in this war”.

“Dear friends, this great victory will forever remain a glorious page in the history of our country, but we also remember our allies in the anti-Nazi coalition. We are grateful to people of the United Kingdom and France , the United States of America for their contribution to this victory. We are also grateful to anti-fascist forces in various countries fighting Nazism, including Germany itself. We remember how allies met on the river and how we fought together. This was a good example of nations joining their forces for the sake of peace and security”.

“These values became the foundation of the post-war world order. The United Nations was set up. The modern system of international law was formed. These institutions proved to be efficient in resolving conflicts and disputes. However, during the last decade the basic fundamental principles of international coöperation are increasingly ignored. We saw attempts to set up a unipolar world order; we see the use of force this type of mentality undermines global security. We should work together to produce a system of equal security for all nations which would address modern threats efficiently. It should be based on non-bloc principles of stability. Only this will allow us to ensure peace on this whole planet”.

“Dear friends, today we welcome all our foreign guests here, and we express our appreciation to representatives of countries that fought Nazism and Japanese militarism. There will be troops from ten more nations parading on Red Square today. Their grandfathers and great-grandfathers fought together on the front lines, and in the rear we see a delegation from China. They lost many, many millions of people in this war, and it was China where battles against the Japanese militarism were fought. Also India and Serbia made an important contribution throughout the whole war. Mongolia supported our country and today grandsons of that generation will march in Red Square together”.

“This is our joint anniversary. The entire mankind fought Nazism. Our forefathers, our grandfathers fought and worked extremely hard, sacrificed their lives. This was true heroism and patriotism, and we appreciate the people who fought from house to house for every town, who died in the battles of Moscow, Stalingrad, and who died in the besieged Leningrad, who died in the concentration camps under German occupation. We bow our heads to commemorate our sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, grandfathers, grandmother, friends, relatives – everybody who did not come back from that war; everybody who is no longer present with us here today”.

“Let us now have a moment of silence”.

“Our dear veterans, you are the main heroes on Victory Day. What you did determined a peaceful outcome for many, many generations and afforded an opportunity to live our lives. Today your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren continue what you did. They labor for their homeland, they serve their motherland, they address modern challenges, and secure successful development for our motherland – our Russia. Glory to our people who won this war. This is day of great victory. Happy Victory Day to all”.

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(Thank you to RT at YouTube)

Vladimir Putin Victory Day Speech

“Immortal Regiment” March