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Bernie Sanders Of Vermont–Socialist United States Senator

Yesterday I wrote that conservatives and Republicans were helping Americans consider socialism as an option for the first time, simply because the political is so often repeating a word that most Americans had never given much thought about . In yesterday’s post I said that today I would consider Vermont’s self-described socialist United States Senator Bernie Sanders.

Bernie Sanders has held public office in Vermont since 1981. In 1981 he was elected Mayor of Burlington. He won that election by 10 votes. Burlington is Vermont’s largest city with a 20oo population of around 39,000. In 1990, Mr. Sanders was elected to serve as Vermont’s at-large member of the U.S House Of Representatives. Mr. Sanders was elected to the U.S. Senate  from Vermont in 2006.

Here is Senator Sanders’ web home in the Senate.

Here is some description of Mr. Sanders from the 2008 Almanac of American politics—

Sanders grew up in Flatbush, Brooklyn, the son of a paint salesman who had emigrated from Poland; his mother died when he was a teenager. He became involved in radical politics at the University of Chicago, then came to Vermont as part of the hippie invasion of 1968 and worked as a carpenter. Four years later, he ran in a special 1972 Senate election….Sanders won just 2% as the candidate of the socialist Liberty Union Party. His rumpled, tieless, sincere persona helped him election as Mayor of Burlington in 1981…”

On the way to the Senate, Mr. Sanders lost his first statewide race in 1988 for Vermont’s one House seat. He won in 1990 in good part because of the National Rifle Association. The Republican elected to the House in 1988 voted for the semiautomatic weapon ban while Mr. Sanders opposes gun control.

Hence the saying that politics makes for strange bedfellows.

In Congress Mr. Sanders has focused on the cost of prescription drugs. He was the first to propose the 2001 personal income tax rebate that later was taken up by former President Bush and Congressional Republicans. He has opposed NAFTA and other free trade agreements saying the harm workers in the United States and in the countries who are our partners in these treaties.

Mr. Sanders strongly opposed the Patriot Act.  This is a view that put him on the same side as many libertarians.

Writing in The Huffington Post last December, Senator Sanders said he supported the following–

“A major economic recovery program which invests at least $400 billion in each of the next two years to create millions of good-paying jobs rebuilding our infrastructure and moving us toward energy independence, sustainable energy and energy efficiency.”

I think this idea, with a few hundred billion dollars tacked on, will sound familiar to most Americans at this point.

Here is what Mr. Sanders said in a 2006 article at Common Dreams.org about his focus and his success at the polls.

“He says his consistent electoral success reflects the widespread discontent with rising inequality, deepening poverty and dwindling access to affordable healthcare in the US. “People realise there is a lot to be learned from the democratic socialist models in northern Europe,” Mr Sanders said. “The untold story here is the degree to which the middle class is shrinking and the gap between rich and poor is widening. It is a disgrace that the US has the highest rate of childhood poverty of any industrialised country on earth….”

Mr. Sanders was willing to take on Alan Greenspan long before most were willing to do so.

 Here is a list of a number of votes that Mr. Sanders has cast in recent years.

Senator Sanders has shown  that one can be what many would consider quite far to left, and still be able to reach the high post of United States Senator. With the involvement of government in so many aspects of our economy in recent months, Mr. Sanders may well be able to say that the nation is moving closer to his ideals than to those of his critics and towards the critics of government intervention in the economy.

The people of Vermont know Mr. Sanders well after all his years of seeking office in that state. Now the nation is moving closer to the views of Mr. Sanders and his supporters in Vermont.  On the other hand, familiarity with George W. Bush and his radical free-market ideas bred only contempt with the majority of American people.

March 17, 2009 Posted by | Books, Politics | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Constitution Should Be Amended To Ban Unsecured Loads

Senator Russell Feingold of Wisconsin has proposed that the Constitution be amended to mandate the direct election of all U.S. Senators. This comes after the big mess involved in filling the seat once held by President Barack Obama.

This issue does not really move me one way or another. Despite a number of Senate appointments needed to fill spots left vacant by Senators leaving to serve in the Obama administration, these appointed Senate seats don’t happen all that often.

One issue I feel should be addressed by Constitutional amendment is unsecured loads on our roads and highways.  I’d like to see the day when a person driving around in the way you see below would not only get a ticket, but would also be found to be in violation of the United States Constitution.

If found in violation of the Constitution of the United States of America, I believe that the drivers of these vehicles, and maybe even passengers in these cars and trucks as well, could be sent to special jails. Such as wherever we are going to send the people in Guantanamo after that place is shut down.  At that point they might or might not ever get a trial.

Below is what King County, Washington asks drivers to consider before transporting stuff by car or truck—

Is your load secure? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Is there any chance of debris falling or blowing out of my vehicle?
  • Would I feel safe if I were driving behind MY vehicle?
  • Would I want MY loaded vehicle driving through MY neighborhood?
  • What would happen to MY load if I had to brake suddenly or if I hit a bump?
  • Do I need to drive slower than I normally do?
  • Is my load secured at the back and on the sides AND top?
  • Did I double-check my load to make sure it is secured?

Here are suggestions from King County about how you can be certain that your load is secure—

Follow these tips for securing your load:

  • Tie Down – Tie your load with rope, bungee cords, netting or straps. Tie large items directly to your vehicle.
  • Don’t Overload – Keep material level with the truck bed or trailer unless tied down, netted, or tarped.
  • Lighter Goes Lower – Put lighter weight things at the bottom of the load.
  • Consider Covering – Cover your load with a secured tarp or net.
  • Always Double-Check – Make sure your load is secured.

Here is a story about a woman who won a 15 million dollar judgement after she was terribly injured by an unsecured load.

There are lawyers who make a living off of this kind of thing.

Unsecured loads are a clear and present danger. By amending our Constitution to address this menace, we would be sending the clearest possible message that they will no longer be tolerated.

March 17, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment