Bernie Sanders’ Dissonance and Dissidents

UPDATE 3/8/2016


By J. Eller @SDzzz  SandersGuide 2016 YouTube

Bernie’s Rule: Jobs and Elections Will Always Trump Protests

In the 2016 campaign for president, Bernie Sanders expounds on his vision of a grassroots movement of a million protesters swarming Washington, DC to force senators, representatives and the president to do their bidding. Curiously, Sanders doesn’t like protesters unless they’re for his cause or action. Imagine  large protests against Sanders or his policies after reviewing Sanders’ reactions to the six situations here:

GE Weapons Protest

1. Tom Hall for The World Socialist Web Site in a 15 May 2015 article titled, “The right-wing political record of Bernie Sanders” denounces Sanders judgment in standing with money interests over their solidarity movement: “When Burlington business interests and radical posturing came into conflict, Sanders came down unhesitatingly on the side his bread was buttered on. One former supporter, in a recent letter to, describes how Central American solidarity activists picketed the General Electric factory in Burlington that manufactured machine guns used in military helicopters against peasant guerrillas: “I vividly remember Bernie standing arms-folded alongside the right-wing union officials from the factory and the Burlington Police Department as we were being arrested. He falsely insinuated that we were ‘anti-worker,’ and he refused to have any serious political dialogue with us activists.” World Socialists – The right-wing political record of Bernie Sanders

Politico’s “The foreign minister of Burlington, Vt.” by Michael Crowley and Michael Kruse, 07/31/15 describes the GE incident, “Sanders resisted their calls to shut down the plant, arguing that it was unfair to punish workers for corporate policies influenced by Washington.”
“I’m not going to throw 3,000 people out of their jobs at union wages and create a depression,” he said in an interview at the time.” In another interview he argued that “you cannot split the movement and push workers to one side and have peace activists on the other side.” (Lockheed Martin purchased General Electric’s Lakeside division in 1993)  The Foreign Minister of Burlington, VT

Note on Sanders pro-gun votes with PLCAA – Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act hailed as “the most significant piece of pro-gun legislation in twenty years” by the NRA, S.397 Firearms Manufacturers Protection Bill provided liability protection for manufacturers, dealers or importers as well as their trade associations. Sanders NRA grade went from D+ to C-. A little known feature of these is the protection provisions extended to government weapons  manufacturers, such as Lockheed.

Sierra Blanca Protest

Sanders behavior toward protesters in the GE event is very much like the treatment Sierra Blanca residents received in their visit to Vermont:

2. Olive Hershey , a Houston writer and environmental activist’s report in the Texas Observer described the experiences of three West Texas citizens who visited Bernie Sanders in Vermont in”Sanders to Sierra Blanca: “Drop Dead!” Before the rally Sanders invited the three West Texans to meet with him privately, and the Texans eagerly agreed. The meeting was no longer than Sanders’ attention span — when it comes to Sierra Blanca. “He didn’t listen,” Curry said. “He had his mind made up.” Afterward, Bernie was giving his proforma campaign speech, never mentioning nuclear power or nuclear waste. Sierra Blanca activist Bill Addington, who’d arrived just that morning to join the march, along with his neighbor Marfa Mendez, had had enough, and he yelled from the crowd, “What about my home, Bernie? What about Sierra Blanca?” Several others joined in. “What about Sierra Blanca, Bernie?” Sanders left the stage, which surprised no one in the small Texas delegation. Earlier, he had told them, “My position is unchanged, and you’re not gonna like it.” When they asked if he would visit the site in Sierra Blanca, he said, “Absolutely not. I’m gonna be running for re-election in the state of Vermont.” The Texas Observer – Sept. 1998

Lockheed and Sandia Labs

3. “Lockheed is not a parent company of Sandia”– Bernie Sanders. Fact: “Sandia National Laboratories is operated and managed by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation.” Sandia National Laboratories

Highlights from Greg Guma – Green Mountain Politics:

  • Meanwhile, the Vermont Sandia lab, simultaneously being developed at UVM with Sanders help, would focus on cyber security and “smart grid” technology. Yet Kiss and Sanders denied knowing about the partnership being negotiated by the other. Both Burlington’s Progressive mayor and its famous former mayor-turned-Senator apparently saw no need to consult. Yet somehow everyone was on the same page.
  • By 2011, Sanders was also supporting the Pentagon’s proposal to base Lockheed-built F-35 fight jets at the Burlington International Airport. Despite his past criticisms of the corporation’s serial misconduct and excess, he joined with Vermont’s most enthusiastic booster, Senator Patrick Leahy, signing on to a joint statement of support.
  • When Vermont’s partnership with Sandia was ultimately announced, Governor Peter Shumlin didn’t merely share the credit for bringing the Center for Energy Transformation and Innovation to Vermont. He joked that Sanders was “like a dog with a bone” on the issue. They had agreed to co-host a press conference on December 12 to outline the initiative, which now included Sandia, UVM, Green Mountain Power, several Vermont energy businesses and state government.

“In many ways, we are a laboratory for the rest of this country in this area,” Sanders crowed. “With Sandia’s help, I think we are going to do that job very effectively.” But in another way, it suggested that being a corporate predator wasn’t always disqualifying, especially when weighed against the mainstream acclaim and leadership role such a partnership would confer.
Despite the confident presentation, however, the launch ended abruptly after a single question was asked about the city’s aborted partnership with Lockheed Martin. Before a TV reporter could even complete his query Sanders interrupted and challenged it. Lockheed is not “a parent company” of Sandia, he objected. Then, as often the case when fielding unwelcome questions, he declined to say more–… Instead, he turned the question over to Stulen, the man from Sandia, who offered what he called “some myth-busting.”
It was more like a clarification. All national laboratories are required to have “an oversight board provided by the private sector,” he said. “So, Lockheed Martin does provide oversight, but all of the work is done by Sandia National Laboratories and we’re careful to put firewalls in place between the laboratory and Lockheed Martin.”
In other words, trust us to respect the appropriate boundaries, do the right thing, and follow the rules. Moments later, the press conference was over. Greg Guma Blogspot -Lockheed-Sanders-Corporate-Vermont

Inside Bernie’s Office

4. “But the lines were clearly drawn in Sanders’ office. Constituent after constituent poured into the office to express dismay at the F-35 proposal, recounting stories of their home values being destroyed or of the terror that their child faced hearing bombers in school every day. Most of the time, these concerns were dismissed as unserious by office staff–they were often characterized as the concerns of “anarchists” who couldn’t possibly understand the art of politics. Bernie has no influence on military decisions, they kept repeating–these people just really don’t get it. In reality, Sanders’ support for the basing of the F-35s was critical to the project’s eventual success. Sanders had nothing to say about the burden that the basing would place on working-class Vermont families, and he didn’t want to hear from constituents who said otherwise. As both an activist and an intern, I was forced to choose whether to stand with the people of Vermont or with a politician who remained out of touch with grassroots activism.

I ultimately found myself protesting my own boss at a Vermont Democratic Party fundraiser, dodging the gazes of my co-workers and putting my job on the line. This continuous tug between the two forces continued throughout the summer. I bit my tongue as I worked through ribbon cuttings and town halls, while struggling to remain involved in political organizing beyond Sanders and the Democrats. I still looked to Sanders for a political lead, hoping to eventually understand his political end game. What did he have to say about the occupation of Palestine? What did he think of our continuing imperialist interventions in the Middle East?
Had I done my research, I would have discovered Sanders’ frankly hawkish positions on foreign policy. It only takes a brief search to uncover his ardent support for Israeli apartheid, his repeated authorizations of funding for the U.S. military budget, and even his initial vote for Bush’s original Authorization for Use of Military Force resolution that began the war on Afghanistan. I would have even discovered pictures in the local newspaper of activists I knew being thrown out of Sanders’ office for protesting his support of the U.S. bombing of Yugoslavia.” What I Learned About Bernie Sanders – Socialist Worker

Town Hall Problem

5. During a town hall meeting at Cabot’s Willey Building Auditorium, Bernie Sanders lost his temper and told an angry constituent to “SHUT-UP!”.
The real problem here is Bernie has said repeatedly in lectures that he has no idea what to do about Palestine-Israel and the worst thing he could have done was try to fake it with a tightly wound pro-Palestine audience. His solution is that someone needs to sit the leaders down and tell them it has to stop and don’t give them any money. This is laughable, simplistic and typical Bernie. The man doesn’t have a diplomatic bone in his body, grace or manners when he’s dictating his point of view. If he’s met with disagreement he quickly loses patience and attempts to shout down his detractor, cut off discussion or walks out. Instead of asking for opinions and listening, he talked down to the audience after his aides called the police before any disruption occurred. The audience clearly perceived this as a demeaning show of force and erupted. Apparently, he prefaced the Gaza negativity with a few comments along the lines of, ‘sure, Israel does bad things in Gaza, but’ thinking he could then end with assigning blame to Hamas, as if that added some sort of balance to the issue.

Pulling the pin on the crowd grenade Sanders blames Gaza and Hamas…

Video: Bernie Sanders Shouts “Shut up! You Don’t Have The Microphone.”
“We have a situation where…Hamas…is sending missiles… into Israel…????….and you know where some of those missiles are coming from? They’re coming from populated areas, that’s a fact. Hamas has used money that came into Gaza for construction of the…god knows they need roads and all the things that they need and used some of that money to build these very sophisticated tunnels into Israel for military purposes.”
A woman makes an unintelligible comment about Palestinian self-defense. “I don’t want to be interrupted,” he says. “A question was asked. It’s a fair question. And I’m trying to—”A bearded man rises to challenge Sanders comments and shouts. Sanders snaps back, “Excuse me…”The man continues and there is the infamous… “SHUT UP! You don’t have the microphone. You’ve asked— You know, I don’t want police officers here.” “Are you going to arrest people?” the bearded man shouts. “No, I’m not going to arrest people,” Sanders fires back. “But are you going to— are you going to allow us to have a discussion?”
The large bearded man then stands and shouts at Sanders, “Come down here and be democratic.” A woman shouts, “Occupied populations have the right to resist!” You’re entitled to your views,” Sanders says. “You’ve asked a question and I’m answering it. This is called democracy.”

Walk Out Over Amber Alert

6. Reporters question Sanders on his “no” vote on Amber Alert. Amber Alert contained two things Sanders didn’t like; life sentences for repeat sex offenders and criminalizing virtual child porn.

In a television news segment on the Tarrant campaign ad against Bernie Sanders in 2006:
Thom: “Channel 5 news Stewart Ledbetter is here to help us sort out what’s the truth and what isn’t. Stew?”
Stewart Ledbetter: “Well, Thom, each of these new spots document a vote in the house on something like prosecuting child pornographers or keeping drug dealers out of the country, votes in which Sanders had very few allies. These commercials are well produced and represent the start of the tough stuff we’ve long expected in the senate campaign.”
Voiceover: “Tarrant’s ad begins with a regular Vermonter and hits Sanders hard.” Cuts to ad.
Older woman:”406 members of congress voted to crack down on child pornography. Bernie voted against it. Got kids? Check for yourself. He even voted against increased sentences for sex offenders. Why would anyone do that?”
Voiceover: “Part of that bill indeed establishes mandatory life terms for repeat sex offenders. Asked to explain his no vote…” (cuts to Sanders)
“Whoa whoa whoa…(?)” (holds up legislation) “here’s the bill.” (Unintelligible question) “Now you’re doing what Mr. Tarrant does.” (waves papers)“what I am simply saying is in a 47 page bill…and if you want to read this it’s yours to take…it…in a 47 page bill…there are provisions in there…that I believe are unconstitutional regarding sentence guidelines. The supreme court has ruled that they are unconstitutional.”
Voiceover: “Another Tarrant commercial chides Sanders for being only a handful in congress voting against a bill on Amber Alert.”
Older man: “Bernie Sanders voted against it.” Against kids! Yet Sanders says he’s also supported Amber Alert just not everything else that was in that bill.”
Sanders:“I’m not gonna go into all the details see…is that I vote on bills in some cases that have hundreds of pages…as you well know…and within those hundreds of pages, in some bills,…this is 47…pages…there are good provisions, but my job is to look at all…of…the…provisions.”
Voiceover: “And he’s now launched a tv commercial of his own.”
Sanders ad: “I trust you to use your good judgment…”
Voiceover: “Yet Tarrant says Sanders must explain votes in which he had almost no one on his side.”
Rich Tarrant: “Any representative of the people of Vermont should be able to discuss how he votes and defend how he votes. That’s his job, that’s his responsibility.”
Voiceover: “Yet after a few questions with us Sanders got up… and left.”
Stewart Ledbetter: “Bernie Sanders gets testy pretty quickly when asked to explain himself, saying that these votes were taken out of context. Rich Tarrant on the other hand says it’s his responsibility as a candidate and to voters to tell you what Sanders never will, and of course, Tarrant has plenty of money to make himself heard.”


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