You can watch the clip here.
The protesters, from Occupy and the Code Pink anti-war group, were upset that their senator, along with every single one of his 99 compatriots, had voted to send more financial aid to Israel to support its war against Gaza, where nearly 2,000 people have been killed so far this summer. The shit really hit the fan when Sanders parroted the standard line: that missiles fired from the most densely populated open air prison on the planet come from densely populated areas and therefore Israel is justified in killing populations. He even hinted that ISIS is infiltrating Gaza. Now, that is a claim that even the neo-cons aren't making. Yet.
Sanders is a self-identified socialist who ran as an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, and who fancies himself the great progressive alternative to a President Hillary Clinton. The dead giveaway that his pseudo-campaign is just flimsy window dressing designed to make Clinton's coronation seem like a hard-fought democratic battle is the smarmy way he talks about his alleged nemesis: "I have a lot of respect for Hillary Clinton and she has accomplished a lot of very positive things in her career. But I’m not quite sure that the political process is one in which we anoint people."
Wow. If that's the way to get all fired up and ready to go, Sanders might as well throw in the towel right now. His wishy-washiness makes even the consensual Barack Obama look like a roaring liberal lion. Bernie isn't quite sure that anointing presidents is kosher. He'll have to ponder that one.
It's the same way he's always qualified his criticism of Obama -- from the president's proposed cutting of Social Security benefits to his coddling of Wall Street: "I support the president, but...." or "Obama has been a disappointment, but he can still save his presidency."
Heaven forfend that the lone resident erstwhile "sewer socialist" of the Senate actually condemn a sitting corporate president.
And last weekend's Town Hall was by no means the first time that Sanders let his socialist mask slip and let his war-mongering propensities shine through. When Bill Clinton was bombing Kosovo in 1999 and anti-war protesters showed up at his Burlington office to stage a sit-in, Sanders instructed his staff to call police to have them removed.
When the World Trade Center was bombed on 9/11, then-Rep. Sanders initially voted against the Patriot Act, but later approved funding for it. And although he initially voted against the Iraq War, he approved all later appropriations bills funding it And although he initially voted against creation of the Department of Homeland Security, he approved all later funding to keep it growing, and growing, and growing.
Sensing a pattern? Bernie Sanders is the useful idiot who pretends to take various bold stands in order to impart the illusion that we still live in a functioning democracy. When it comes to the war and surveillance states, anyway, he has more in common with Barack Obama than he does with Eugene Debs. Ron Jacobs of CounterPunch thinks Sanders's record is a mixed one, his bellicosity tempered by his work for veterans, his approach necessarily pragmatic to ensure that regular people can survive in a cutthroat neoliberal world. Without the grotesquely expensive F-35 being headquartered in tiny Vermont, for example, how could Vermont even consider single payer health care and other progressive programs?
Also writing in CounterPunch is self-described Vermont radical Jay Moore, who is unsparing in his criticism of "Bombing Bernie":
Bernie was still an “avowed socialist” when he started out his electoral career in the early 1980s. He proudly displayed a portrait of Eugene Debs over his desk in his Burlington mayoral office. But today Bernie never even uses the term, “working class,” much less talks about what socialism means. That’s been totally dropped from his vocabulary as he seeks higher and higher offices. His populist rhetoric, often at time indistinguishable from right-wingers who advocate “America First,” is now all about saving the threatened American middle class. Lost is any sense that maybe the middle class got to where it was not only by virtue of the hard work he extolls but also by living in an imperialist country that benefits off the exploitation of workers and others in the Third World. There is no sense that maybe that American middle class standard of living is indefensible if we are going to move to a more sustainable way of living on the Earth sharing its resources in a more equitable manner. Genuine socialists, like Eugene Debs, are revolutionary internationalists. Rock bottom as a matter of principle is building solidarity for the working class and oppressed people all over the world.Meanwhile, conservatives are ecstatic that Sanders is defending Israel's bombing campaign against what they variously describe as the Hamas supporters, racists and anti-Semites showing up at his town halls. Mediaite, for example, approvingly opines that Sanders is more moderate than many of the people he actually represents. RealClearPolitics just cut to the chase and characterized anti-war activists as "anti-Israel."
One of Sanders's aides, pointing to his recent bipartisan compromise on Veterans Administration reform with Neocon John McCain, allows that Bernie "may have mellowed a bit as he's gotten older."
Except, I guess, when he's going all Archie Bunker on his own constituents and telling them to go stifle themselves.
|"Shut up," he explained|