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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 5/13/19

Announcing Bernie or Bust 2.0: Electoral Warriors for the Green New Deal

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Introduction: Clueless DINOsaur Biden Gravely Menaces the Green New Deal

Joe Biden. Green New Deal. The words stare at each other across the page in slack-jawed disbelief. Or in stark, staring mutual incomprehension. To clueless fossil Uncle Joe, anyone mouthing the words "Green New Deal" (GND, for short) might as well be speaking Klingon.

Tulsi and Bernie; Two GND champions BoB 2.0 loves
Tulsi and Bernie; Two GND champions BoB 2.0 loves
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That's because Joe Biden literally comes from another political planet. Or more precisely, from a geologically distant, long-forgotten era of this one. While you can't walk two feet in Congress without tripping over DINOs (Democrats In Name Only), Clueless Joe is virtually the only Democrat--and certainly the only Democrat running for president--who adds to boringly common DINO status the unique distinction of being an ecological dinosaur. Perhaps the best way to capture Biden's unique combo of planet-deadly traits--Republican policies and a hopelessly outmoded, pre-climate-emergency worldview--is to spell this "DINOsaur."

In other words, Biden's largely a de facto Republican so out of touch with Democrats' current voter base and humanity's present ecological crises that he, unlike most Dem presidential hopefuls, won't even pay lip service to the GND. For unlike disingenuous fellow DINO Nancy Pelosi--who fully groks what the GND is and therefore works tirelessly to sabotage it--DINOsaur Joe lives on a defunct political planet where radical programs like the GND can't even be conceived and the resident doomed lizards are simply clueless as to why any fellow creatures (aware of that onrushing asteroid, these days a climate"asteroid") would clamor for them.

See, a candidate who can't even conceive of a program is certain not to enact it--especially a staggeringly ambitious program like the GND that will require unprecedented political heavily lifting. As the DINO least evolved to grasp the GND, Joe Biden is by far the DINO least likely--even under the most relentless popular pressure--to start enacting it. Uncle Joe is utterly clueless about America's urgent need for a GND, and savvier DINOs like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer--keenly aware of the GND but with GND-hostile priorities--secretly love him that way.

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Maybe you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but even trying with an old DINOsaur is the ultimate study in futility. Simply being a DINO--a fitting stigma for most current Democrat presidential hopefuls--is hardly up-to-date or progressive, but it does include having neurons evolved enough to master the "new trick" of paying the GND extensive lip service. A presidential campaign where the GND is the central, unavoidable topic of conversation--an aim ardently shared by the Sunrise Movement and Bernie or Bust 2.0--would simply make Biden's DINOsaur head explode. A result devoutly to be wished, since our stark choice may well be between the extinction of political dinosaurs like Biden and humanity's own.

Electing current Democrat frontrunner Biden would--from a climate action standpoint--simply be the Jurassic Park nightmare of dinosaurs running amok made politically real. And--to be frighteningly clear--intolerable climate danger looms whether or not prospective nominee Biden defeats Donald Trump. Since Biden is a lackluster, out-of-touch, warmongering neoliberal--Chris Hedges rightly brands him "a goofy male version of Hillary Clinton"--his losing (like Clinton) to arch-climate-destroyer Trump seems even likelier than his own fossilized climate policies.

Fortunately, there's one ultra-powerful weapon for keeping DINOsaur Joe Biden from running amok and dragging already-feckless Democrat climate response back to the Stone Age. Let's make the 2020 election all about the GND--a conversation Biden's fossilized, neoliberal worldview genetically bars him from joining.

Bernie or Bust 2.0: Our Only Party Is the Green New Deal

As pioneers of electoral revolt in 2016, Bernie or Bust's co-founders knew that the Democratic Party establishment had long been a formidable obstacle to democracy and urgent political progress. We found in Bernie Sanders not the perfect candidate, but a unique, popular candidate sufficiently hostile to that establishment to make him a lightning rod for revolt--revolt deeper and more thoroughgoing than Sanders, for all his talk of "political revolution," ever had in mind. Far from being devout "Sandernistas" or "sheepdogs" for Democrats' Clinton establishment, we were intent on a prolonged political war to the death--by the most feasible available means--between the progressive left and the dangerous neoliberal Democratic Party establishment.

As a living, exaggerated parody of the Democratic establishment at its most clueless and obstructive, Joe Biden is a worsened reincarnation of everything voters found "revolting" in Hillary Clinton. For 2020, not only have establishment Democrats found in Biden a standard bearer more hideous than Hillary, but they've done so in a presidential race whose peril and promise are historically unprecedented. No more potentially enlightened package of progressive policies than the GND has ever appeared: a package rightly acclaimed by Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, and Noam Chomsky(to name just a distinguished few) as the pitch-perfect US response to humanity's climate emergency. The devil of course lies in the details, and only a truly radical GND (clearly not some castrated version palmed off on us by establishment Democrats paying it lip service) will fulfill the GND's historic promise.

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As pragmatic radicals, Bernie or Bust's co-founders have pledged our passionate loyalty to a strong, toothsome version of the GND. To the extent that we regard the GND itself as the only political "party" to which we owe loyalty, and everything else is pragmatic calculation rooted in that fundamental loyalty. We feel the GND has no chance whatsoever of fulfilling its historic, climate-saving promise unless legions of activists join us in making the GND their "party," their unwavering object of political loyalty.

Yet, passionate loyalty to the GND still requires detailed calculation about candidates fit to enact it--especially when facing a "horse race" as crowded as the 2020 Democratic primaries. Perhaps surprisingly--but certainly conveniently for reconnecting with our Bernie or Bust followers--our pro-GND calculations led us to draw the same political battle lines as in 2016: Bernie Sanders and the progressive left vs. the Democratic Party establishment. An establishment represented at its most intolerably odious by Joe Biden.

Hence, we're calling our updated (and we hope, improved) pro-GND version of Bernie or Bust "Bernie or Bust 2.0." In the next section, we'll explain the political calculation that makes Bernie Sanders by far the most promising standard bearer for the GND, with some strategy refinements related to the miraculously gutsy young insurgent Tulsi Gabbard.

So Why Insist on Bernie (Enhanced by Tulsi) Again?

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Patrick Walker is co-founder of Revolt Against Plutocracy (RAP) and the Bernie or Bust movement it spawned. Before that, he cut his activist teeth with the anti-fracking and Occupy Scranton PA movements. No longer with RAP, he wields his pen (more...)
 

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Patrick Walker

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To a keen eye, it doesn't get any bigger than this: a newsmaking radical opposition movement is back to save the climate-saving Green New Deal from its clueless establishment enemies. My pulse as pounding as I wrote this; I can only hope--for the sake of no less than saving civilization--yours is too.

Submitted on Monday, May 13, 2019 at 8:40:18 PM

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Art Costa

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I vote Green, but I'd vote for Gabbard or Sanders/Gabbard ticket. Of course we are headed toward collapse, but it could be a shot at sanity and a possible softer landing and setting the nation on course.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 5:08:46 PM

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To get the movement off the ground, I had to accept some compromises, like the fear that making voting Green our "Bust" option (as I preferred) would alienate some third-party progressives who might not want to vote Green. Since this about counter-extortion, I wanted to cast our movement lot--if Democrats insanely nominate Biden--with a pledge to vote Green while joining the Extinction Rebellion. Greens are still clearly the only viable progressive third party and therefore the one Democrats most fear progressives abandoning them for.


As to the Extinction Rebellion, Greens clearly can't win in 2020, so we're left with either Trump or Biden winning--and EITHER will have climate policies that will demand massive strikes and shutdowns.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 5:19:39 PM

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Sadly (or not) nature neither compromises nor negotiates.

There are things we can and should do. Going 100% renewable is likely not one of them. Renewable will require fossile inputs for the forseeable future. Schumacher's recommendation applies regarding technologies: small distributed appropriate technologies. (As a rule technology solutions creates more and frequently worse problems.) Fossile was never the problem anymore than food is the problem for obesity. Moderation was never heeded. So here we are 150 years later.

We need to find a way to live on this planet with minimal impact to the environment. Some mix of degrowth, perhaps by 80% which will return us to the early 1950s. But with 7 billion and shooting to 10 billion humans that's going to be serious pain.

My suggestion at 80% degrowth, we should achieve steady state economy. Use natural methods of drawing down CO2 and healing the Earth. Right now the 2 words are: STOP IT!

Humans must live entirely different on the planet. Collapse simply provides the imperative: STOP IT!

Extinction is a real possibility.

Humans are the most invasive species on the planet.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 7:01:16 PM

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Dana Clark

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I love your use of the word "grok". Heinlein is smiling down on you from Alpha Centari.

The GND has many noble goals but the money folks will never allow it and I don't think they grok the need for it likewise.

D Clark

Submitted on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 5:53:23 PM

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Where is the link to the pledge?

Submitted on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 9:27:08 PM

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Great question, since that's ultimately the most important item of our organizing. Wish I had a great answer.


See, I let Victor Tiffany supply the article's links to the website, since I just joined the Bernie or Bust 2.0 team and he's more familiar with the website. I'm not sure, but I get the impression he's still tweaking the wording of the pledge. I asked him about this earlier and he hasn't yet responded. I'm sure future articles I write will have links to the pledge. But thanks for asking, and I wish I had a better answer.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at 6:49:57 AM

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Lois Gagnon

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The establishment Dems will never allow Bernie or Tulsi anywhere near the nomination. This will be a repeat of 2016 unless progressives stop being scared to vote Green and just do it. The only way we're going to get the original Green New Deal which is the only one with any teeth, is to vote for whomever the Greens nominate. Whomever that is will be light years better than anyone else running. The same old strategy will not work.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 10:22:58 PM

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As noted above, I'm all for voting Green as the "or Bust" backup threat. But unless large numbers of voters actually see Democrats perversely shove Biden down our throats and vote Green in angry response, I as a realist see very little hope of the Green Party gaining traction. A rejection of Bernie for Biden would provoke angry voter passion, with possible resulting Green votes. Left to its own devices, the Green Party's chances of winning are too minuscule to inspire voter passion. But even based on voters furious about Biden being nominated, Greens can't win, and enough Green votes will hand the election to Trump. I'm willing to accept that result if it shows Democrats they can't get away with "Empty Suit" warmongering neoliberal nominees. In any case, Biden's nomination will demand the tactics of the Extinction Rebellion.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 11:32:55 PM

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I'm a big fan of Extinction Rebellion. I'm not even sure we should wait until after the election to enact their tactics.

It should be painfully obvious by now that the Democrats are never going to allow Bernie or Tulsi to be the nominee. It will cost them millions in Wall St. donations. That's really their only concern. They'd rather lose to Trump than win and lose their Wall St. funding.

Our only hope of electing a sane people focused president is to vote Green. If the people who vote blue don't see that by now, we may as well just hit the streets. The sooner the better.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at 12:35:35 AM

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Yes but does it matter?

One can say a ticket that blended the policies of Sanders and Gabbard would be hypothetically attractive, but it's in the end hypothetical.

My sense is that regardless the story has been written. Even a hypothetical political win will not undo what has been written. There is a small space that could allow survival, but it will not be the world we inherited and have existed in.

Better to laugh darkly at Kurt Vonnegut's last book, "A Man Without A Country" than to expect this to end well. Or as Beckett would refrain, "I can't go on. I'll go on."

It just feels too late for any sort of Green New Deal.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at 2:32:36 AM

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Most scientists think there's still a window for CONSIDERABLE effective action. So, just giving up seems rationally unjustified; that's my view until a scientific consensus tells me otherwise.

The problem with prophecies of doom--in a context where effective action is still possible--is that they're SELF-FULFILLING prophecies. Those who give up bear an awful burden of moral shame and guilt--copping out on the human project. I personally choose to organize and fight.

As to expecting it to end well, I deeply admire Antonio Gramsci's slogan "Pessimism of the intelligence, optimism of the will."

Submitted on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at 5:49:48 AM

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Yes there are things we could do...


Do you see any of it getting done, that is that measures up to what is upon us?


Small but telling: Monsanto has lost two whopping law suits (billions) due to what juries saw as a connection to their Roundup product and the plaintiffs cancers. Monsento ads, lovely animations for Roundup are still shown regularly. That's Capitalism.


I would claim an emergency and take over all farmland and convert to regenerative farming. Train millions of farmers in stewardship. This would be a measure up to the task of pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere, naturally, while producing nontoxic food. BIODIVERSITY!!!!!


We need to embrace our life giving planet. It has the answers.


We seem incapable. Its all about Full Spectrum Domination. AMEN...


Submitted on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at 12:34:00 PM

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Reply to Lois Gagnon:   New Content

The problem with organizing Extinction Rebellion tactics on a large scale is that most people simply aren't there yet. I agree with you about the willingness of establishment Democrats to elect Trump to save their donor-driven game, but I think the best way to get enough people on board for XR tactics is to push the popular GND hard and watch Democrats quash it. Of course, if we can organize enough people for electoral rebellion, there's some chance that they'll be forced to give in. But either way, electoral rebellion a la Bernie or Bust 2.0 seems the required first step. Electoral rebellion--and if that fails, Extinction Rebellion. That makes the most logical sense.

The problem I see with typical Green Party thinking is the wishful-thinking attempt to achieve political results without organized political supporters. Figuring out HOW to organize people (based on what they seem ready for) is always the first step. Granted, Greens deserving a better political fate, but the very meaning of an unjust system is that abuses of power prevent people from getting what they deserve. That's why Trump, Dick Cheney, Elliot Abrams, and the Koch brothers aren't rotting away in a dank, dreary prison.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at 6:02:32 AM

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Well I intend to continue organizing for the Greens and will attend the Annual National Meeting to choose the candidates which fortunately is in my state this year. We are going to need a truly progressive political organization in place when the Democrats screw over their base yet again. When it becomes impossible to ignore how thoroughly corrupt the Dems are, they will need a place to go. In the streets yes, but we will need some semblance of political organization as well. See you there. :)

Submitted on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at 9:07:31 PM

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America is fast approaching $23 trillion in national debt--and that doesn't include unpaid derivatives on said debt, which pushes the total closer to $225 trillion.

click here

The Green New Deal, in effect, would add $100 trillion to that figure. It is hopelessly unrealistic from an economic standpoint--nothing but pie-in-the-sky fearporn socialism, in pure point of fact. Seriously, forget about the Green New Deal. It has absolutely no future. Sensible Americans have seen enough in four months to regard with jaundiced eyes anything carrying AOC's quixotic brand of idiocy.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at 2:45:11 AM

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Money is simply a human convention measuring the value of REAL goods and services; the end of civilization as we know it is strikingly real. Either we find a way to produce goods and services compatible with addressing our climate emergency or we're goners.

Bottom line; YOU'RE the one being unrealistic here--as MANY scientists and economists who consider the Green New Deal feasible will tell you. This is just one article; I could cite many more. The problem simply isn't money; it's political will.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at 5:38:57 AM

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Sure. And I suppose the world is going to end in 12 years, right?

(Again.)

Undermining the world economy for a $100 trillion program of environmental impracticality, which is based on a series of gross exaggerations made by questionable science, would not represent some form of "human convention." It would constitute genocidal recklessness of purest ray serene.

There exist many examples of peer-reviewed scientific documents that clearly indicate these exaggerations, which globalists have made and continue to exploit in their attempt to unite humanity under one-world government. Like the carbon tax they long to levy against every person on this planet--for no reason other than to increase their personal coffers and perpetuate the hideous concept of oligarchy.

Which is not to say that corporations and the military haven't had a deleterious effect on the environment. They have. The idea, though, that human respiration is causing the planet to heat up is absurd. You do realize that CO2 gives life to plants, which in turn produce the oxygen that gives life to humans, right?

If not, kindly explain the process that creates oxygen, because I am thoroughly mystified.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at 2:17:32 PM

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Your last comment seems to indicate that you are "thoroughly mystified".

Submitted on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at 3:19:13 PM

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Reply to watchpocket:   New Content

It's called natural science. Or botany, if you're into technical stuff. Judging by your picture, I figured you would have grasped some basic science by this point in your life. Alas, no...

But we live in strange times; and some people never awaken. The good news is it's never too late--which should give you hope, "watchpocket." Or maybe not. If I had a penny for every person I stumble across these days who is incapable of thinking critically... Why, I alone could fund this ridiculous $93 trillion boondoggle--which very clearly has mystified YOU, and far too many others.

The fact you even are seriously contemplating that some good would come out of the Green New Deal, as currently proposed--or at least enough to deem it sufficiently worthwhile to attack me with a feeble ad hominem for dismissing it out of hand--is utterly pathetic.

Since you clearly skipped biology, allow me to summarize: You have been lied to, and those lies persist. Far from being "bad," carbon dioxide is an integral part of photosynthesis and human respiration.

The answer to dispensing with carbon dioxide--if you insist on viewing current levels of it as excessive--is not to tear down all buildings in America and revamp them according to some fascist code approved by globalist oligarchs. It's certainly not to push some highly questionable agenda on the rest of humanity, which coerces them into living a certain way--most likely, not the way they would choose to live. No, the solution is simply to plant more trees. Many more trees. Trees of all kind.

That's as green as it gets on this planet.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at 5:27:51 PM

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