Whenever I Vote….

Standard

Whenever I vote for a Presidential candidate, I do not vote for a specific party.  However, the Democratic party’s platform aligns most closely with my beliefs.  However, I do keep an open mind.  If the Republican party, or even an Independent party candidate is better than a Democratic choice, I will change my mind.

In this race, I supported Bernie Sanders, even though I always knew he did not have a chance of winning.  However, his policies most closely aligned with my beliefs.  Throughout his campaign, I kept hearing squeals from the Right about voting for a Socialist, and how horrible that would be for the country.  Ignorance is not pretty.  Bernie Sanders is not a Socialist.  He is a Democratic Socialist, something completely different. That said, most of the people squealing about his being a Socialist don’t even know what THAT term means, let alone, a Democratic Socialist.

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Over the past 50 years, Bernie has had a distinguished career as a social justice activist and an elected official. He’s been a mayor, a congressman and a senator. In looking at his accomplishments,  I want to begin with  a few that don’t appear on his website. I want to acknowledge that he has had the courage to:

  • run for president without taking Wall Street or corporate money,
  • run for president against the formidable Clinton machine
  • run as a Democrat without backing or support from the Democratic Party,
  • run in the context of blatant corporate media bias for Hillary and against him

Sanders’ other accomplishments include:

  • Elected by the state of Vermont 8 times to serve in the House of Representatives.
  • The longest-serving independent in U.S. congressional history.
  • He was dubbed the “amendment king” in the House of Representatives for passing more amendments than any other member of Congress.
  • Ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee.
  • Former student organizer for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
  • Led the first ever civil rights sit-in in Chicago history to protest segregated housing.
  • In 1963, Bernie Sanders participated in MLK’s Civil Rights March. One of only 2 sitting US Senators to have heard MLK’s “I have a Dream Speech” in person in the march on Washington, DC.
  • Former professor of political science at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and at Hamilton College.
  • Former mayor of Burlington, VT. In a stunning upset in 1981, Sanders won the mayoral race in Burlington, Vermont’s largest city. He shocked the city’s political establishment by defeating a six-term, local machine mayor. Burlington is now reported to be one of the most livable cities in the nation.
  • Co-founded the Congressional Progressive Caucus and chaired the group for its first 8 years.
  • Both the NAACP and the NHLA (National Hispanic Leadership Agenda) have given Sanders 100% voting scores during his tenure in the Senate. Earns a D- from the NRA.
  • 1984: Mayor Sanders established the Burlington Community Land Trust, the first municipal housing land-trust in the country for affordable housing. The project becomes a model emulated throughout the world. It later wins an award from Jack Kemp-led HUD.
  • 1991: one of a handful in Congress to vote against authorizing US military force in Iraq. “I have a real fear that the region is not going to be more peaceful or more stable after the war,” he said at the time.
  • 1992: Congress passes Sanders’ first signed piece of legislation to create the National Program of Cancer Registries. A Reader’s Digest article calls the law “the cancer weapon America needs most.” All 50 states now run registries to help cancer researchers gain important insights.
  • November 1993: Sanders votes against the Clinton-era North American Free Trade Agreement. Returning from a tour of factories in Mexico, Sanders says: “If NAFTA passes, corporate profits will soar because it will be even easier than now for American companies to flee to Mexico and hire workers there for starvation wages.”
  • July 1996: Sanders is one of only 67 (out of 435, 15%) votes against the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, which denied federal benefits to same-sex couples legally married. Sanders urged the Supreme Court to throw out the law, which it did in a landmark 2013 ruling – some 17 years later.
  • July 1999: Standing up against the major pharmaceutical companies, Sanders becomes the first member of Congress to personally take seniors across the border to Canada to buy lower-cost prescription drugs. The congressman continues his bus trips to Canada with a group of breast cancer patients the following April. These brave women are able to purchase their medications in Canada for almost one-tenth the price charged in the States.
  • August 1999: An overflow crowd of Vermonters packs a St. Michael’s College town hall meeting hosted by Sanders to protest an IBM plan to cut older workers’ pensions by as much as 50 percent. CBS Evening News with Dan Rather and The New York Times cover the event. After IBM enacts the plan, Sanders works to reverse the cuts, passing a pair of amendments to prohibit the federal government from acting to overturn a federal district court decision that ruled that IBM’s plan violated pension age discrimination laws. Thanks to Sanders’ efforts, IBM agreed to a $320 million legal settlement with some 130,000 IBM workers and retirees.
  • November 1999: About 10 years before the 2008 Wall Street crash spins the world economy into a massive recession, Sanders votes “no” on a bill to undo decades of financial regulations enacted after the Great Depression. “This legislation,” he predicts at the time, “will lead to fewer banks and financial service providers, increased charges and fees for individual consumers and small businesses, diminished credit for rural America and taxpayer exposure to potential losses should a financial conglomerate fail. It will lead to more mega-mergers, a small number of corporations dominating the financial service industry and further concentration of power in our country.” The House passed the bill 362-57 over Sanders’ objection.
  • October 2001: Sanders votes against the USA Patriot Act. “All of us want to protect the American people from terrorist attacks, but in a way that does not undermine basic freedoms,” Sanders says at the time. He subsequently votes against reauthorizing the law in 2006 and 2011.
  • October 2002: Sanders votes against the Bush-Cheney war in Iraq. He warns at the time that an invasion could “result in anti-Americanism, instability and more terrorism.” Hillary Clinton votes in favor of it.
  • November 2006: Sanders defeats Vermont’s richest man, Rich Tarrant, to be elected to the U.S. Senate. Sanders, running as an Independent, is endorsed by the Vermont Democratic Party and supported by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
  • December 2007: Sanders’ authored energy efficiency and conservation grant program passes into law. He later secures $3.2 billion in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for the grant program.
  • September 2008: Thanks to Sanders’ efforts, funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program funding doubles, helping millions of low-income Americans heat their homes in winter.
  • February 2009: Sanders works with Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley to pass an amendment to an economic recovery bill preventing Wall Street banks that take taxpayer bailouts from replacing laid-off U.S. workers with exploited and poorly-paid foreign workers.
  • December 2009: Sanders passes language in the Affordable Care Act to allow states to apply for waivers to implement pilot health care systems by 2017. The legislation allows states to adopt more comprehensive systems to cover more people at lower costs.
  • March 2010: President Barack Obama signs into law the Affordable Care Act with a major Sanders provision to expand federally qualified community health centers. Sanders secures $12.5 billion in funding for the program which now serves more than 25 million Americans. Another $1.5 billion from a Sanders provision went to the National Health Service Corps for scholarships and loan repayment for doctors and nurses who practice in under-served communities.
  • July 2010: Sanders works with Republican Congressman Ron Paul in the House to pass a measure as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill to audit the Federal Reserve, revealing how the independent agency gave $16 trillion in near zero-interest loans to big banks and businesses after the 2008 economic collapse.
  • March 2013: Sanders, now chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and backed by seniors, women, veterans, labor unions and disabled Americans, leads a successful effort to stop a “chained-CPI” proposal supported by Congressional Republicans and the Administration to cut Social Security and disabled veterans’ benefits.
  • April 2013: Sanders introduces legislation to break up major Wall Street banks so large that the collapse of one could send the overall economy into a downward spiral.
  • August 2014: A bipartisan $16.5 billion veterans bill written by Sen. Sanders, Sen. John McCain and Rep. Jeff Miller is signed into law by President Barack Obama. The measure includes $5 billion for the VA to hire more doctors and health professionals to meet growing demand for care.
  • January 2015: Sanders takes over as ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, using the platform to fight for his economic agenda for the American middle class.
  • January 2015: Sanders votes against the Keystone XL pipeline, which would allow multinational corporation TransCanada to transport dirty tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.
  • March 2015: Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced legislation to expand benefits and strengthen the retirement program for generations to come. The Social Security Expansion Act was filed on the same day Sanders and other senators received the petitions signed by 2 million Americans, gathered by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.
  • September 2015: Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) today introduced bills to ban private prisons, reinstate the federal parole system and eliminate quotas for the number of immigrants held in detention.
  • January 2016: Sanders Places Hold on FDA Nominee Dr. Robert Califf because of his close ties to the pharmaceutical industry and lack of commitment to lowering drug prices. There is no reason to believe that he would make the FDA work for ordinary Americans, rather than just the CEOs of pharmaceutical companies.

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Hillary Clinton is the likely Democratic nominee for POTUS.  While she is not my first choice, I find that many of her proposed policies do not align with my own political beliefs.  For instance, I am against the death penalty.  Clinton favors the death penalty.  I am anti-war, except in extreme cases where reinforcements are needed, and have agreed with our current administration’s choices with that regard.  However, I feel that Hillary Clinton is too hawkish, leaning far right, at times, into that “Let’s just kill them…” mentality that the gun-totin’ Trump fans adore.  That’s not for me. However, I do have to acknowledge her intelligence.  I do have to acknowledge her long list of accomplishments.

•First ever student commencement speaker at Wellesley College.
•President of the Wellesley Young Republicans
•Intern at the House Republican Conference
•Distinguished graduate of Yale Law School
•Editorial board of the Yale Review of Law and Social Action
•Appointed to Senator Walter Mondale’s Subcommittee on Migratory Labor.
•Co-founded Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families
•Staff attorney for Children’s Defense Fund
•Faculty member in the School of Law at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
•Former Director of the Arkansas Legal Aid Clinic.
•First female chair of the Legal Services Corporation
•First female partner at Rose Law Firm.
•Former civil litigation attorney.
•Former Law Professor at the University of Arkansas School of Law.
•twice listed by The National Law Journal as one of the hundred most influential lawyers in America
•Former First Lady of Arkansas.
•Arkansas Woman of the Year in 1983
•Chair of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession
•twice named by the National Law Journal as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America
•created Arkansas’s Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youth
•led a task force that reformed Arkansas’s education system
•Board of directors of Wal-Mart and several other corporations
•Instrumental in passage of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program
•Promoted nationwide immunization against childhood illnesses
•Successfully sought to increase research funding for prostate cancer and childhood asthma at the National Institutes of Health
•Worked to investigate reports of an illness that affected veterans of the Gulf War (now recognized as Gulf War Syndrome)
•Helped create the Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice
•Initiated and shepherded the Adoption and Safe Families Act
•First FLOTUS in US History to hold a postgraduate degree
•Traveled to 79 countries during time as FLOTUS
•Helped create Vital Voices, an international initiative to promote the participation of women in the political processes of their countries.
•Served on five Senate committees:
-Committee on Budget (2001–2002)
-Committee on Armed Services (2003–2009)
-Committee on Environment and Public Works (2001–2009)
-Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (2001–2009)
-Special Committee on Aging.
•Member of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
•Instrumental in securing $21 billion in funding for the World Trade Center site’s redevelopment
•Leading role in investigating the health issues faced by 9/11 first responders.
•In the aftermath of September 11th, she worked closely with her senior Senate counterpart from New York, Sen. Charles Schumer, on securing $21.4 billion in funding for the World Trade Center redevelopment.
• Middle East ceasefire. In November 2012, Secretary of State Clinton brokered a ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas.
•Introduced the Family Entertainment Protection Act, intended to protect children from inappropriate content found in video games.
•First ex-FLOTUS in US History to be elected to the United States Senate (and re-elected)
•Two-term New York Senator
-(senate stats here: https://www.govtrack.us/…)
-(voting record here: http://votesmart.org/…)
•Former US Secretary of State
•GRAMMY Award Winner
•Author

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The only other choice is that of Donald J. Trump.  Here is his list of accomplishments, in terms of service to his country:

Nothing.

Nada.

Zero.

Zip.

While Ms. Clinton is not my first choice, she is clearly the best choice in this election.  Trump remains the king of the white trash redneck demographic.  They love his bigotry.  They think he is going to make them rich, despite the fact that he is being sued for fraud right now for illegally taking people’s money without delivering what he had promised.  His economic policies, immigration policies and foreign policies are laughable…..and he LOVES the uneducated…which is his main demographic.

Donald Trump is a bully who appeals to other bullies.  He speaks with a false sense of self-assurance that is backed by nothing.  While Trump believes, with his over-inflated sense of importance, that he has this thing won….other things are working against him, behind his back that he is too stupid to acknowledge.  Being 100% sure of oneself is never a great idea.  Not in a Presidential election.  Not in any aspect of life.

No thanks.

The intelligent person will remain open to new knowledge, to new ideas and to the FACT that many things go on in an election that are unseen and unheard by even the candidates themselves.  It is wise not to gloat, as Trump does, nor is it a good idea to bully and try to control, as Trump does.  It gets one nowhere.

Should Trump change his policy proposals between now and November to reflect issues that will actually HELP this country, rather than make it a laughing stock, I may vote for him…but that’s not going to happen.  Is it?  Unaware people such as Trump are always so sure of themselves….while everyone else is pointing….and laughing.  Trump thinks his opponents are jealous of his billions…which, actually, now that an analysis has been conducted, are millions, rather than billions…but still….Trump falsely believes others are jealous of him.  Big mistake. Always.  Stupidity.  Pure stupidity.  Dumb to be that confident.  Really, really dumb.  He has no earthly idea….

 

 

 

 

 

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