The danger posed by Bernie Sanders

The biggest issue that the US faces is the attempt by the oligarchy to take over complete control of all aspects of the country. What is clear is that they want to go all the way and remove anything that stands between them and unbridled profits. This means dismantling regulations that protect the public interest, underfunding regulatory agencies so that they cannot even enforce what regulations are left, removing any oversight under the guise of cutting down the bureaucracy, changing the tax structure to benefit the wealthy even more, and divert to themselves all the funding that goes to the mass of people in the form of public education, public services, and social welfare programs, under the guise of making government more efficient or preventing ‘moochers and looters from exploiting the system.

Let us not fool ourselves. The oligarchy seeks nothing less than the destruction of all the things that make for the public good that does not benefit them, seeing them as sources of revenue that they can divert to themselves. They also want to keep the country on a permanent war footing because not only do wars against other countries benefit them, they need that war machinery to be able to control an increasingly restive domestic population as hardship inevitably spreads.

This is their goal. It used to be more diffuse and subtle but now is more overt. They have already advanced a great deal towards it but the extent of their control is masked in part by the willingness of the establishment media to talk about anything else other than the greed of the oligarchy and their dominance in all aspects of the country.

There was a brief break in that cone of silence, The generous way that the big banks were treated after the financial collapse and its executives escaped scot-free and continue to thrive even more led to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Although the establishment moved quickly to crush it, the movement was successful in highlighting the fact of the 1%-99% split. The reality is that it is even worse, with just the 0.1% or even the 0.01% controlling everything but the “We are the 99%!” has a catchy ring to it and has been retained.

As a result, all the political candidates have been forced to talk about inequality. But the media lets them discuss it in the same vague way they do with any other policy issue like health care reform, as a kind of technical issue, rather than as a symptom of a fundamental deforming of the democratic system. This is because all of the Republican candidates and Hillary Clinton, without exception, are already either beholden to the oligarchy for money or are desperately seeking their support. They cannot bite the hand that feeds them.

This is the danger that Bernie Sanders poses. It is clear that he has taken the issue of oligarchic control as his main platform, the foundation on which almost all the other social ills that plague US society rests. He is going to be talking about this taboo topic for the rest of his campaign and this has to be a concern for those who want to hide the fact that big-moneyed interests have taken control. He is clearly passionate about the topic, is articulate, has command of the facts, and is not easily distracted.

It is not that the establishment media are not going to try and get the public to look at anything other than this issue. You are going to read and see and hear a lot of trivia and rubbish about the Sanders candidacy aimed at justifying why they should ignore him, dismissing him as not being a credible candidate, as being somehow weird, asking why he doesn’t comb his hair, whether he has enough money, and so on.

But as Matt Taibbi correctly points out:

It’s a little-known fact, but we reporters could successfully sell Sanders or Elizabeth Warren or any other populist candidate as a serious contender for the White House if we wanted to. Hell, we told Americans it was okay to vote for George Bush, a man who moves his lips when he reads.

I will be trying to wade through that muck and bring to light anything that is substantive. Here is the first installment, a good interview that Sanders had on MSNBC’s The Ed Show where he talked about the major issues of the day.

If Sanders’s message about oligarchic control catches fire with the public, we will see an even more determined effort to shut him down. That is the one topic that they cannot allow to become the subject of mainstream debate.


  1. says

    Sander’s hadn’t got a snowball’s chance in Mississippi of making the final ballot. But if he is still in the running when Washington has its primaries, he has my vote.

  2. says

    The oligarchy of today are no different than the attempted oligarchy of the 1930s, when Prescott Bush attempted a fascist overthrow of the US government, one that planned to ally itself with Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. It was stopped because of the courage of one man, Major General Smedley Butler, who exposed the plan for what it was. Bush and others attempted to enlist Butler as lackeys in the military chain of command. Sadly, the US made the mistake of not prosecuting the participants because they were wealthy and influential, many of them politicians and “captains of industry”. (Pirates is more like it, many of them did business with the Nazis, e.g. IBM, Ford, banks, etc.)

    This time, the oligarchy is much more patient. There’s no external threat to the country, and the internal threat of an educated opposition is being slowly eradicated.

    The thing that the oligarchy doesn’t understand is that if only the rich can afford an education, there will be fewer people studying science and fewer minds capable of advances and invention. Being rich does not make one smart, just look at George Bush, the twice unelected Resident. An intelligent and educated populace is as much an infrastructure as buildings and roads -- the more educated minds you have, the more ideas you produce. When you allow the infrastructure to collapse, the country can’t function and the whole will eventually collapse.

  3. says

    The oligarchy of today are no different than the attempted oligarchy of the 1930s, when Prescott Bush attempted a fascist overthrow of the US government

    … Which was not much difference from the oligarchy that took over shortly after independence was declared and arranged a mutually-opposed power-sharing arrangement built on tax relief for the oligarchs, and trade based on slavery and drugs.

  4. atheistblog says

    On this supposedly progressive freethoughtblogs you are the only one who support and even talk about Bernie Sanders Presidential run. With all his vague but pseudo progressive talks PZ Meyers is worshiping and he declared his reverence to Hillary Clinton.
    Maybe if Bernie sanders have vagina, PZ Meyers might pretend to support him, but still he will support Clinton. I didn’t vote for Obama in 2012, I had enough of his lies, I voted Jill Stein, and with no surprise PZ Meyers supported a liar, Obama. If Bush was allowed 3rd and 4th term, it would have been lot better than Obama, he would have learned from his mistake, actually Bush was the one who ended the Iraq war, obama who lied and got elected on the basis of his opposition to Iraq war, actually started another one. Strong leaders would take strong decision that ordinary one afraid of, he did not stood up and stopped the middle east war, but started 5 more new wars in the middle east. There is no difference between obama and republicans other than rhetoric or his lies.
    I appreciate at least you are supporting Bernie Sanders.

  5. Pierce R. Butler says

    atheistblog @ # 4: … PZ Meyers is worshiping and he declared his reverence to Hillary Clinton.

    Maybeso, but the PZ Myers (only one “e”) who blogs here writes things like My only prayer is that Hillary Clinton will not be the Democratic nominee and I’d put myself in the cool to lukewarm camp myself….

    Since you proclaim yourself a progressive, perhaps you should attempt to follow the progressive value of getting your facts right. We already have all we need of more-righteous-than-thou blowhards, thanks very much.

  6. thewhollynone says

    Dr. Singham, I have had trouble commenting lately (maybe that problem is solved), but I have been reading interesting (to me) parts of your blog for years now, mostly in silence lately since being verbally abused by some of your respondents over the Israeli/Palestinian “debate.” It isn’t that I’m that thin-skinned, or that I think that my opinions are any more valuable than those of anyone else, but I’m a little old lady retired high school teacher who has learned over many years (I’m 78 now) that it is a waste of time to continue discussions with persons who are so unaware of their own cultural prejudices that they cannot possibly analyze objectively. Now some may retort that this description fits me, and surely it does; it fits us all to some extent or another, and so perhaps we all need to try to be constantly more aware of these influences on our supposedly rational opinions.

    This is your blog, and you have opened a thread here for discussion of the upcoming Democratic Party primary for the Presidency, a thread which has already disintegrated, after only four comments, into off the subject rants about 1) a pre-determined thoughtless vote for a particular candidate, 2) a historical anecdote from 85 years ago, plus an expression of our cultural doom, 3) a shallow overview of the historical origins of this nation, and 4) a personal attack on an entirely different blogger followed by misogynist comments and personal attacks on the present President who is not a candidate in this upcoming primary. This is not a discussion; this is adolescent chaos and frankly many of my high school history classes would have done much better.

    I understand that social studies is not your field of expertise, but I wonder if you understand that, as smart and as educated as you are.

    This could be a valuable thread for educated adults because in the Democratic Party primary so far there are two interesting and historically unusual candidates who may present some options for those of us who care to move our country even slightly away from its path toward the complete “oligarchy” which you have stated that you dislike. It is possible that I (and others, too) might just have some insights and some background information to contribute to this discussion, but I am not going to bother unless you can get control and hold up the “Off the Subject” card and the “Personal Attack” card and ask your respondents to think before they rant.

  7. Mano Singham says

    atheist blog,

    PZ has said that “I’d love to have Bernie Sanders up there, but he’s not running”. This was before Sanders announced so the idea that he would still support Clinton is unfounded. You will have to wait and see what he says.

  8. Mano Singham says


    One of the issues that one has to deal with in having a blog is deciding the extent of moderation that one wishes to employ. I have adopted the policy of moderating with a very, very light hand. I know that this can result in some comments being unpleasant, to put it mildly, but I think that readers tend to tune out or ignore those who are not contributing substantively to the dialogue. I hesitate to impose a tone policy because it is a thin line that separates it from censorship. As long as people are not making threats against others that they may be in a position to carry out and thus intimidate, I have tended to let things go, with a “sticks and stones …” kind of attitude.

    I don’t know that that is the best policy but I hope you will continue to contribute and ignore those whom you find distasteful

  9. thewhollynone says

    I understand you, and I agree, to a point, but it’s not just that off the subject rants and personal attacks are “distasteful,” but that they are a useless waste of time and a distraction because it’s obvious, if you read the thread, that other commenters don’t just Ignore them. It’s as if you were trying to run an electrical experiment in your lab and some idiot in the basement keeps turning the power off and on.

    Meanwhile the oligarchy is eating us for lunch!

    I was interested in the MSNBC clip you posted about the Sanders interview as that’s real to the point evidence,, but had serious technical problems playing it, more than I usually have with your clips. I will try an alternate route to access that as I was most amused by hearing Sanders refer to “the women’s community” along with other groups from which he hoped to obtain grassroots support at little cost in campaign dollars. What I perceive is an articulate and moderately capable male seizing the opportunity to step into what he sees as a vacuum in leadership because the only other occupant in the space happens to be female, and expecting “the women’s community”, or at least a sizable portion of it, to acquiesce relatively quietly. Well, I have to say that he has history on his side in that assumption.

  10. brucegee1962 says

    Sanders really doesn’t have to win to have a big impact. If he manages to get, say 20% of the primary vote in New Hampshire, that would be huge. What needs to be done is to set up a rallying point for the left wing of the Democratic Party; if it’s done correctly, it could have as big an impact as the Tea Party has had on the other side — hopefully with a lot less crazy, though!

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