Monday, May 30, 2016

It's Not Just Us -- The World Feels the Bern!

It's not just us--the world feels the Bern! It truly does. The submissions we've received over the past year have come from all over the planet. "Berners" are found all over the globe, and yes, it's been almost one year since The Bernie Blog began. Next week we'll celebrate that particular anniversary, but this week we have another very important anniversary to announce:

Happy Anniversary Jane and Bernie!
 Aw, ain't those lovebirds cute? 

Best wishes for many more happy years of marriage, Jane and Bernie! Many Berners donated $28 to Bernie's campaign on the May 28 for Jane and Bernie's 28th anniversary.  What gift could be more appropriate? (Did we set yet another fundraising record? Probably!)

Let's begin our trip around the world and across the "Berniverse" of Bernie supporters with our first stop: Australia.

Here's what Tai Sui has to say about their song for Bernie:

Feel the Bern--Bernie Sanders Song
Alexis -- Tai Sui

Bernie Sanders represents a type of leadership that arises in society when we find ourselves both individually and collectively faced with the tough question, "Are we content with things remaining in their current state, or is there some form of change required ?" It's a question that many of us find both confusing and unsettling, as there are many variables to consider and inevitable risks involved, regardless of the ultimate decision made.

 America is one of many countries around the world who is currently amidst a time of great deliberation and systemic restructure. Like the transitional metamorphosis that we see in the animal world, we too must participate in an evolutionary process that requires us to shed that which no longer serves us or the greater community by which we are part of.

 Bernie Sanders has been the metaphorical stone cast into the lake, his long standing progressive ideology and impassioned values on equality have rippled far beyond the constraints of geographical location and perhaps further than opposing parties had initially anticipated. Shock! There are blatant constraints and deviate misappropriation of the facts on mainstream media and as such, you may or may not be aware that people from all corners of the globe are rallying and becoming actively engaged in this particular movement. Why you may ask? Because Senator Bernie Sanders has provoked within ourselves the need to ask the big questions: Where are our national leaders who speak and advocate with such honesty? Who is representing our needs and acting on behalf of those in our community who do not have a voice?

 As we watch on from Australia, we are truly envious of the gift that presents itself to your country in the form of a meritorious and gallant 74-year-old gentleman who displays more integrity, candor and compassion towards his fellow citizens than we have ever witnessed from any political leader in our country.  Leadership should never have to be granted based on a choice between a lesser of evils, yet sadly this is the common practice in current campaigns all over the world. We find ourselves asking the questions: Who will do the least amount of damage? Who is least likely to commit us to war? Who is less of a liar?

 We wanted to proactively contribute to this campaign because of its strong focus on equality, compassion, human rights and care for the community as a collective. These are considered extremely relevant issues regardless of ones birthplace or societal status. Our song Feel the Bern has been donated and can be freely used for the Bernie Sanders campaign.  To our brothers and sisters in America, we wish you all the very best in the coming months ahead.  This campaign has ignited a fire within so many us, and we will be drawing upon the inspiration of Bernie Sanders and those alike to continue our fight for equality and sustainability for future generations. 

And now a trip to the Netherlands for a word from an ex-pat who sees the strength in Bernie's leadership on health care. 

Clinton vs. Sanders: 

A Matter of Style
by George Oeser

As the Democratic primary race has tightened nationwide, my Facebook feed has been filled with angry rants from both Clinton and Sanders supporters. (I freely admit that some of those rants were my own.) As I have thought about the two candidates, though, my anger has subsided a bit. While there are good reasons to vote for either candidate, there is one important difference that has helped me to make my decision and might help you with your decision as well. That difference is the opposite political style of the candidates.

Style is a word that sounds frivolous in this context, but I think it is the word that works best. I'm not talking about hair or clothing, I am talking about the candidates' approach to governance, and their approaches are considerably different.

Let's look at health care for an example of this difference and why it matters.

Hillary Clinton's daughter Chelsea Clinton made a speech for her mother's campaign in which she said Bernie Sanders wants to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. This was a bit disingenuous, as it made it sound like Sanders wants to return to the completely broken system that existed before the ACA was passed. In fact, he wants to expand health care coverage and lower costs by instituting a single payer system, but the statement said a lot about the political style of the candidates.

Hillary Clinton would claim that Sanders is a radical with his head in the clouds. There is no way he could get a single payer system passed through Congress. However, she says this in a way that implies trying to put a single payer system in effect would destroy the ACA. I believe that it would do just the opposite. Even if Sanders failed to implement a single payer system just the effort put into trying would do a considerable amount to protect the ACA. Let me tell you why.

As soon as the ACA became law, Republicans started to attack it. A lot of Democrats seem to take a bit of joy in the fact that the Republicans keep failing to repeal the ACA, but we shouldn't get too cocky. The Republicans have already managed to reduce the effectiveness of the ACA with a US Supreme Court case in which a majority of the justices ruled that states could not be required to expand their Medicaid programs. 

In my home state of Tennessee, this has meant many still can't find health care they can afford. This means that they are being fined for not having health care, which also means they still can't afford to go to the doctor or hospital when they need care, which means that hospitals in Tennessee are laying off health care workers or shutting down completely because they aren't receiving an increase in patients to compensate them for the reductions in Medicare payments required by the ACA. 

So yes, the Republicans have failed to repeal the law, but that doesn't mean they haven't done quite a bit of damage to it and limited its effectiveness. We should also remember that an attempt to repeal the law didn't just pass in the House, it also passed in the Senate. Luckily it didn't pass with a high enough margin to make it veto proof, but it is a sign that the Republicans could be getting closer to their goal. So how will Clinton and Sanders respond to this?

Clinton seems to be interested in taking a defensive position to deal with this issue. She wants to continue to hold off the Republican attacks on the ACA with her veto power and rallying Democrats in Congress to not vote for the Republican bills. This has worked so far for President Obama, but we don't know that it would continue to work for Clinton. Clinton is not well liked by Republicans, in fact they may dislike her even more than President Obama. Putting the word "president" in front of Hillary Clinton's name is only going to enrage them even more. She may face a tougher fight than Obama has to protect the ACA, and we have no idea how many Democrats there will be in Congress to help her. 

We know it would be almost impossible for Democrats to gain a majority in the House because of gerrymandering and regaining a majority in the Senate will not be at all easy. We could even lose seats in both houses. This could mean Clinton would have a massive battle on her hands that we can't be certain she will win.

Sanders, on the other hand, wants to introduce legislation to set up a single payer system. If he succeeds, we will have a new health care system that will provide universal coverage, lower costs and might even find support in the business sector as it would prevent them from having to provide health insurance to their employees and create considerable savings for them. Of course, it will face a very negative response from Republicans and no one could say with a straight face that it would be an easy piece of legislation to pass. Of course, just focusing on if it could pass or not doesn't tell the entire story.

Under a Clinton presidency, Republicans would be free to put considerable time and effort into repealing or weakening the ACA, and they might wind up being successful. Under a Sanders presidency, the Republicans wouldn't be able to focus on repealing or weakening the ACA because they would be forced to fight against Sanders' single payer plan. If Sanders' plan didn't pass, well guess what? We would still have the ACA in effect. We might also, as the fight against the single payer plan unfolded, manage to get the Republicans to agree to some measures strengthening the ACA in order to prevent a single payer plan from taking effect. In other words, the Republicans would have to stop fighting to move us backwards on health care and instead would have to fight against moving forward on health care. 

I like our odds in that fight a whole lot more, and I believe if nothing else Sanders' single payer plan would effectively safeguard the ACA from future attacks, at least for a while.

Of course Sanders' style of playing offense has advantages across the board. We have to try for more to even know what we can get. If we keep the Republicans in a defensive stance, if we make them fight against progress and fight against making people's lives better, their popularity will suffer. If we go with Clinton and take a primarily defensive position, it puts the programs we support in peril. We give the Republicans a strong advantage. You can only score when you have the ball. We have let the Republicans hold on to the ball for far too long.

Democrats have taken the position as fighters for a long time. It is time we have a leader instead of a fighter. Political style makes a tremendous difference, and I believe that Bernie Sanders has the exact style we need right now.  

Bio: George Oeser is a photographer, born and raised in Tennessee but currently living in the Netherlands. He spends much of his time thinking about how much he misses good Southern food.

This Woman is Bernie Strong!
a weekly commentary from a female Bernie supporter

 An Alternate Campaign Tactic 
To Fight Mainstream Media Distortions
 by Rose Benson

Here is a way to campaign for Bernie, it's simple and requires minimal time - with good results. It's easier if one uses social media.

The mainstream corporate media is discounting and/or dismissing Bernie as a possible nominee. The articles, even in more reputable publications, are focusing on Hillary as the Democratic candidate. Mainstream media is using techniques that twist the facts and cause people to believe that it is all over for Bernie. One common misrepresentation is to refer to delegate votes as the collective of both superdelegate and actual delegate votes. This makes it look as though Hillary is only a few votes away from winning the nomination. Many people don't understand the delegate process and believe what they are told.

I recommend we provide accurate information in the comments section for each article we read that contains such distortions. We can reference reputable polls, to correct media errors and distortions: 

-- Reputable poll references -
-- In truth, neither candidate is likely to secure the 2383 delegates required to secure the nomination.
-- There are 781 pledged delegates in the remaining primaries.
-- Hilary needs 615 delegates to win the nomination.
-- Sanders needs 889 delegates to win the nomination.
-- It's likely both will go to the DNC convention without attaining the 2383 delegates needed.

If more of us start commenting on misleading articles it will be very helpful to Bernie's campaign. I do it a couple of times per day. Many news outlets require sign in with Facebook or Twitter, others with just email. The more outrageously distorted sites don't allow comments at all.

In poll after poll, it is clear that Bernie can win over Trump. The problem is that people believe Hillary already has the cat in the bag in terms of the nomination. And she can't beat Trump. So people are starting to consider Trump because the media has convinced them that Bernie is out of the picture.  We need to change that perception.  Will you help me?

So far, I have had some positive feedback, and of course, a few nasty comments to my comments. But I believe and hope eyes can be opened by providing the facts, by educating the public.


Right you are, Rose. By providing facts, we are helping voters see the whole picture and not just the slanted view of the corporate propaganda machine. If we keep sharing the facts and keeping the discourse civil, eventually we will get through to rational voters who are tired of all the manufactured controversy and the very real corrupt activities surrounding certain candidates. (Bernie Sanders is a welcome breath of fresh air by comparison to the shenanigans of Clinton and Trump.

One way to share facts simply and effectively is by leaving the link to the Feel the Bern web site:   It's a great way for voters to click on a particular issue that interests them and find out all about Bernie's stand on the issue and his history on the issue in just a few clicks.

#FeeltheBern and keep up the good work of presenting Bernie to the world in a positive manner, Berners. The last big primary week is soon upon us.. Get back to those phones!


Let's end our trip around the Berniverse with a rousing song and testimony from our good friend from Ireland,  Manus Brennan. We'll rise and follow Bernie! (And continue phonebanking, Facebanking and canvassing, too.)


  1. I welcome international support for Bernie Sanders. The world knows it needs someone who can make America healthy, not 'great again.' #Bernie2016 #OfThePeople

    1. Yes, I wonder what it really means to be "Great AGAIN." Was the US ever "great" and what does that mean? Acting like a colonial conqueror over places such as Puerto Rico and Hawaii? Enslaving our fellow human beings until 1860s? Preventing women from voting in federal elections until 1919? Discriminating against the LGBT population? Yeah, we need a healthier America and we need a healthy world. Smart people everywhere realize Bernie Sanders can lead us into this "healthy future". #FeeltheBern #NotMeUs

  2. Replies
    1. Interesting the Gary Johnson (Libertarian candidate) agrees 73% of the time with Bernie's stands on the issue. This shows you that Bernie has a wide acceptance across Americans of all political backgrounds. The DNC would be wise to consider how electable Bernie is. #FeeltheBern


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