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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 4/16/16

The Most Eloquent Letters to the Editor and Commentaries about Bernie, Part II, April 2016

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Bernie Sanders at Tindley Temple Chapel in Phila
Bernie Sanders at Tindley Temple Chapel in Phila
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This compilation is a synopsis of the best 20 recent letters to the editor and commentaries that support Bernie Sanders for the nomination. I hope you enjoy them, and if you see one you really like in your reading of newspapers, please let us know, even if it yours before it gets published.

From Robert Reich, April 7, in the San Francisco Chronicle, with the reasons this former Labor Secretary in the Clinton Administration now completely supports Bernie Sanders

Excerpted from the entire article, here:
click here

The real reason the major national media can't see what's happening is they exist inside the bubble of establishment politics, centered in Washington, and the bubble of establishment power, centered in New York. So they're most interested in the personalities of the candidates, and in the people and resources backing them.

Within this frame of reference, it seems nonsensical that Sanders could possibly win the nomination. He's a 74-year-old Jew from Vermont, originally from Brooklyn, who calls himself a democratic socialist. He wasn't even a member of the Democratic Party until recently, has never been a fixture in the Washington or Manhattan circles of power and influence, and has no major backers among the political, corporate or Wall Street elites of America.

Because the major media are habituated to personalities and power, they haven't been attending to Sanders' message -- or to its resonance among Democratic and independent voters (as well as many Republicans). The media don't know how to report on political movements. Yet a big part of Sanders' candidacy is less about him than about the "political revolution" his followers want to bring about. The major media haven't noticed how determined Americans are to reverse the increasing concentration of wealth and political power that have been eroding our economy and democracy.

So it's understandable the media continue to marginalize Bernie Sanders, and all he represents. But it's way too early to count Sanders out. And even if he loses the nomination, the movement he's spawned isn't going away. It's one of the biggest stories of our time.

Robert Reich


Letters to editor 2/14 Las Cruces Sun-News New Mexico

Bernie Sanders is right leader for America
When Bernie Sanders started his campaign for the presidency, few people gave him any chance at all; he was thought to be so extreme that few would vote for him. Now the campaign is in full swing, and it appears many are happy to vote for him, even in a conservative state such as Iowa. What's going on here?

When people hear what he has to say, they recognize that he is making valid points, whether or not they are ready to agree with him. Our political system is working for the benefit of the rich and corporations, while doing less and less for the benefit of ordinary folks. Bernie pledges to change that, starting with undoing the effects of the disastrous Citizens United ruling and limiting the influence of big money in politics. Almost everyone in the country seems to agree, except for those happy with the influence they buy with their millions and for the politicians eager to receive the money.

The other thing that is happening to make Bernie's campaign look more promising is the Republican primary. Bernie is far less extreme than any of those doing well in that race. They would rather go to war with Iran than negotiate an end to Iran's program to develop nuclear weapons. They think we should torture those we capture in conflict, and hold them until they die in captivity, believing American exceptionalism justifies war crimes. The same Republican leaders plan to defeat ISIS by bombing to oblivion the cities ISIS has invaded, ignoring that ISIS arose in response to our earlier bombing campaigns and derives continuing support from those who believe the U.S. wants to destroy Islam.

Bernie Sanders is right for America, and more and more Americans are coming to see that.

Richard Bagby, Las Cruces

Re "Early Missteps Seen as a Drag on Sanders Bid" (front page, April 4): NY Times, April 5

So it seems that if Bernie Sanders loses the nomination to Hillary Clinton, it will be because he didn't introduce himself earlier in the election cycle to those who didn't know him, choosing instead to continue doing the job he was elected to do as a United States senator instead of campaigning 24/7. Or because he was reluctant to "go negative" by challenging his opponent on her large Wall Street speaking fees, the large donations from the oil and gas industries, and her use of a private email server. Sorry, Bernie, if you lose it's because you have integrity. What a sad commentary on the state of our democracy.

EILEEN WEST Pleasantville, N.Y.


Also in response to the same NY Times page 1 story above:

To the Editor: Considering that Bill and Hillary Clinton have run for president four times between them --1992, 1996, 2008 and 2016 -- and have the big money and the support of most of the career politicians and the media, your article's focus should have been on how amazing it is that Bernie Sanders has mounted such a challenge to Mrs. Clinton. Or how did Mrs. Clinton blow such an opportunity to totally dominate the campaign? Or is this a sign that Mrs. Clinton will not get things done, even the very doable ones, if president?

Or that Mr. Sanders, despite the constant media line that what he wants to do is a leap too far, will be able to get done the things that more and more people are indicating they want done -- universal health care, affordable college, public financing of elections, criminal justice reform, no more nonsensical regime-changing wars. The last scenario is most likely the real story.

JOHN E. COLBERT Arroyo Seco, N.M.


April 15, 2016 Santa Fe New Mexican Endorse Bernie!

The majority of Santa Feans believe in Bernie Sanders. His record is proof of his commitment to his ideals and the ideals on which America was founded. The 1 percent is waging a war on the middle class that is being enslaved and destroyed. The Founding Fathers, particularly Thomas Jefferson, would be horrified to see what unchecked corporate greed and manipulation has done to our government's regulatory processes.

The New Mexican should have, by now, recognized the merit in vigorously endorsing Bernie Sanders. Doing so would demonstrate your paper's appreciation of what New Mexico needs in a president. Newspapers everywhere are struggling to retain relevance in an era dominated by electronic social media. The New Mexican is the oldest newspaper in the West; endorsing Bernie Sanders will make you become the most perceptive and relevant paper in the West.

Lisa Rivera, Santa Fe


Endorsement of Senator Bernie Sanders, from Michigan State Senator Bert Johnson


While the talk that history is in the making for the third consecutive Presidential election season, I am not buying fool's gold. Furthermore, I will not be participating; my vote and support is firmly behind Bernie Sanders. Sorry, wishful historians, but I'm a realist. And here's what real about Hillary Clinton:

" She has made several critical tactical blunders, including the email scandal that has wreaked of arrogance and irresponsibility all at the same time.

" Her role as U.S. Secretary of State in the mishandling of the situation in the Middle East, including Benghazi, Libya cost American servicemen their lives and in the process, hurt their loved ones.

" She has more ties to Wall Street than some of the bankers themselves, which certainly will undo some of the progress made by the Obama Administration's banking regulation and reform efforts.

If that isn't enough, Clinton's most damning comment was revealed in January, when it was discovered that in 1996, she implied that gangs of kids are "super predators'' with "no empathy, no conscience.'' Super predators? As a lifelong Detroiter, black male and father of three boys, I was deeply humiliated and offended by Clinton's words because of what they implied.

In my mind, I wondered, "What kids? Inner-city kids? My kids?...'' These are the kinds of words that will not allow America to move forward from its racial past -- and present, and if there's something that we do not need in America, it is a Commander-In-Chief who is insensitive to a segment of the population.

State Sen. Bert Johnson has served the past decade in the Michigan State Legislature


In The Lafayette Indiana Journal Courier, my own letter:
My letter to the editor refers to another recent letter to the editor, "Nightmare of an election." It deserves a massive response objecting to calling Bernie Sanders "a lazy congressman for 23 years." Sure, print such things in a democracy. Like Thomas Jefferson said: he'd rather live with no government and lots of newspapers, than with lots of government and no newspapers.
But in due course, I hope soon, please endorse Bernie Sanders for the nomination. I don't think this is a nightmare of an election at all. The mess that Bernie will clean up with limitations on further corporate government -- that is the mess that is the nightmare, not this election which is the result of and response to the original mess from three decades of growing corporate strangulation of good government. Hillary Clinton brings her problems; Bernie brings solutions.

Stephen Fox, Santa Fe, N.M

Rome (NY) Sentinel publisher, Stephen Waters, (one of the strangest I have ever seen!) about why his paper will not endorse Bernie Sanders, responsing to a letter by Barbara Malteze:
"Thank you for your request that we endorse Bernie Sanders. Bernie may think the science is settled on anthropomorphic global warming but it is not. The data is suspect, the models don't accurately predict recent events, and independent verification is missing. Science, as explained by philosopher Karl Popper, isn't about proving what is true but rather about pruning away what is demonstrably not true, and Bernie seems uninterested in that necessary requirement of science. Furthermore, Bernie is engaged in a political campaign, not science.

Setting global warming aside, Bernie seems uninterested in the patterns of history that show across time that a market economy has raised the standard of living considerably more than the dreams of socialism ever have.

So let's see: he fails on science, math, history, economics, philosophy and political theory. Other than that, I suppose he is nice to children and puppy dogs. We shall not be supporting Bernie . . . Or Hillary, either.
Thank you again for your letter." ----Stephen Waters, Rome NY


Shaun King, in the NY Daily News, after his paper endorse Bernie's opponent (Excerpts):

I disagree with virtually every single word written by our Editorial Board on why they are supporting Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. It is amazing, shocking even, on how differently we see this race and the candidates in it.

Our Editorial Board, like 99% of editorial boards across America, skews older. I'm not being an ageist here -- the facts are that younger voters see this race, see the candidates, and see America drastically different than their parents and grandparents. This is not to discount the endorsement of Clinton on the merit of it being written by "old people," but it is essential that we recognize just how likely it would be, demographically speaking, for an older board of professionals to pen an endorsement of Clinton over Sanders.

I'll ask our Editorial Board this question: Is your premise that Republicans in Congress love Hillary Clinton and are going to be eager to work with her to get her smaller ideas accomplished? I'm not buying it. Sanders actually has a record of getting stuff done with Republicans in power. According to the non-partisan Politifact, "from 1995 to 2007, when Republicans controlled Congress, Sanders passed the most roll call amendments (17) out of anyone in the House of Representatives."

I'd rather have an energized and experienced candidate with bigger, more ambitious ideas, backed by the youth of this country. Even if Sander's ideas get crunched down, we end up with something beautiful in the end. If Clinton's smaller, "more realistic" ideas get crunched down, we get what we already have.

Day by day, America is growing more progressive and more independent. Sanders exists as a serious presidential candidate with victories from coast to coast for this very reason. His fundraising, without the help of a single Super-PAC, is breaking records. The energy of his base is filling arenas not just all over the country, but across New York. Now just 200 pledged delegates behind Clinton, with 1,500 pledged delegates remaining, Sanders can win New York and the nomination and become the 45th President of the United States.


[This letter of mine was published in the NY Daily News, in response to their brilliant cover story about Hillary being the "Fair Pay Phony"! they titled it: Phony Hil, yet still a few days later endorsed her ?!]

Santa Fe, N.M.: Great coverage in your "Fair-Pay Phony" story (April 5). Your paper should look into precisely what Hillary Clinton accomplished for New Yorkers as senator, other than the privileged few on Wall Street with the bailout. I fail to understand why so many New Yorkers see any merit in Hillary, especially in the context of Bernie's long career, unless they stand to profit from having an unmitigated hawk in the White House. I hope you can see the merits of endorsing Sen. Sanders for the nomination.
Stephen Fox, Santa Fe, New Mexico


April 9, Letters to the New York Times, in response to a rather nasty article by Paul Krugman:

To the Editor: I am a longtime admirer of Paul Krugman. But in his denigration of Bernie Sanders he ignores the senator's enormous gift to the Democratic Party. Despite President Obama's many strengths, America has grown ever more unequal under his presidency.

Hillary Clinton promised more of the same. Now even she has picked up on Mr. Sanders's rhetoric. There's a burning need to be addressed, and Mr. Sanders's passion has given it a powerful, much-needed voice.

RUTH GALLAGHER, Portland, Ore.


April 9, New York Times Lettes Re "Sanders Over the Edge," by Paul Krugman column, April 8

What does Senator Bernie Sanders think he's doing? He's trying to raise legitimate questions and have a meaningful, authentic debate centered on issues that deeply affect our country. A vibrant civil society is foundational to the functioning of our democracy and the legitimacy of our elections
As someone who cares deeply about electing Democrats to public office, I understand the pragmatism of not weakening the eventual Democratic nominee before the general election, but this should not come at the cost of forgoing opportunities to nurture an informed, engaged electorate.

Mr. Krugman appears to be asking Mr. Sanders to capitulate and not raise questions about Hillary Clinton's policy positions, past and present, simply because she's in the lead.



[This is one of the best, most moving letters to the editor]

In the Oregonian (Portland), April 3 More for our tax dollars:
In his March 31 letter to the editor supporting Hillary Clinton for president, Mr. Anthony Plumer declares that Bernie Sanders supporters are naive and that Sanders' policies are impractical, promising "the sun, the moon and the stars." For decades, college tuition, health care and day care have been alive and well in Western European democracies. These are not "the sun, the moon and the stars" but real benefits that citizens enjoy through their own tax dollars. Sadly, the lion's share of my tax dollars go for war and do not benefit our own people.

My niece died in Georgia this year because of the high cost of health care; she did not go to the doctor in time and died of lung cancer. Her children did not go to college; they felt they could not afford it. These are real and avoidable consequences of the poor policy decisions by our "leaders." Mr. Plumer needs to wake up to the possibilities and not be satisfied with a few crumbs of benefits that we get here in the U.S.

Gov. Kate Brown wants to support Hillary, who voted for the war in Iraq and destabilized Syria and Libya, which costs us all dearly. Almost a million people are dead and several thousand of our soldiers, as well. My own brother-in-law died in Vietnam for a lie. Our family knows well the bitter consequences of paying for wars. Is Mr. Plumer OK with this use of his tax dollars? This is why we don't have the same benefits as Western Europe, my friends.
Linda McKim-Bell, Northwest Portland


New London CT, The Day: Published April 07. 2016
I want to say why I am working as hard as I can for a progressive government led by Bernie Sanders.

There is vast dissatisfaction with the government of this country. I like the story of the three blind men trying to describe an elephant. One has the tail, one has a leg and the last has a hold on the trunk. They each describe what they believe is the elephant. They are all careful to describe what their examinations tell them. They are all correct. But, not having the full picture, they fail to describe the elephant. Every candidate for the presidency has a piece of the truth and they have people who support them in that piece of the truth.

There is a great imbalance in power in the United States. The system is broken. Those with the most power are determined to keep and expand their power. I have very serious doubt that making incremental changes will be enough to create balance in the government.

That's why Senator Sanders' call for a peaceful political revolution appeals to me so much. I believe that Senator Sanders sees the whole elephant. He has my vote to be the Democratic nominee.

Hubert Kauffman


My letter to NY Times re: 4/11 article, Will the Fervor of Bernie Sanders's Legions Endure?

This article surprises me in its under-informing essentially skeptical tone.
When I read articles by Yamiche Alcindor, Gail Collins, or Charles M. Blow in the Times, I am grateful that they are fair, open-minded, and thorough.

However, this one by Anand Giridharadasapril, with its focus on Bernie's supporters' demeanor and clothes: I wonder "how did this end up in the most august newspaper in America?" Bernie's supporters in NY are far more diverse than what this article implies, that we are either old hippies or naà ve non-politically-skilled young people.

After all, as an Indian, he should know how long the fervor of Gandhi's Legions endured! I would like to read more of what Gail Collins was getting at in analyzing New Yorkers memories of Senator Clinton's lackluster years as NY Senator, and how New Yorkers perceive the horrific parts of her career at State.

Sincerely, Stephen Fox


From the Lancaster Pennsylvania Online, April 10, 2016

I remember the 1960s. I remember those times when a whole generation demonstrated for peace and the end of the Vietnam War. When young boys, putting their lives at risk, boarded buses with elderly black men and women to demonstrate for racial equality. When young girls threw away their bras and carried on for equal rights for women. Riots, demonstrations, sit-ins. They said, "Don't trust anybody over 30," and derided the establishment. And then they were over 30, and then they became the establishment; they became mayors and governors and presidents and cops, and their ideology essentially disappeared. And I am one of them. Hillary Clinton is one of them. Sen. Bernie Sanders is one of them. Donald Trump is one of them.

Sanders, however, still speaks some of the language of the '60s! He is awakening dormant seeds in a whole generation and sewing new seeds in that generation's children and grandchildren. And the seeds bear the possibility of social and political redemption. Much like what has happened so often throughout history, the one bringing the message of hope is an unlikely pick. Feel the Bern.

Dale Stoltzfus, Warwick Township


Poughkeepsie Journal 4/10 Sanders a candidate who will fight corporate establishment

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different outcome, I cannot help but be terrified when I see so many people in this country, who dream of change, supporting the same establishment politicians. They represent a corporately controlled, corrupt system that is clearly designed to benefit the people that need help the least, and keep the rest of this country divided.

I am 55-years-old and have been watching this insanity for far too long. We finally have a presidential candidate that represents change in Washington. He has not been part of the corporate establishment, and I believe that he is sincere about taking on the corporate establishment that is working so hard to keep the citizens of this country apart. Please, vote for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders so we can snap out of the dysfunctional, destructive trend and begin to reclaim our government.

Patrick McDuff, Manistee, Michigan


Los Angeles Times: To the editor:
Nancy Cohen puts forth the typical but defective argument about why women should vote for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton: It's in our best interest, and women take the lead on women's issues. ("Why women should vote for women," Opinion, April 6) As a 69-year-old woman, I wish I could agree with Cohen, but we know that sometimes female politicians are not good advocates for women.

Right now in Congress, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) is leading a House select committee that is trying to put a stop to fetal tissue research. Her committee has issued subpoenas to hospitals and other medical facilities demanding the names of researchers. This can only intimidate those who are dedicated to finding cures for diseases such as ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease), Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis. In several states, it is women legislators who are leading the charge to restrict abortion rights and women's healthcare options. Female governors have signed bills further restricting healthcare, food stamps and other critical programs.

I am a woman who strongly supports Sen. Bernie Sanders for president. He has worked for civil rights, women's healthcare and equal pay. If that doesn't make him a feminist, what does?

Carol Gendel, San Marcos


From New Mexico Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino's Endorsement of Sanders in the 4/15 ABQ Journal:

Bernie Sanders offers something else. He draws standing-room crowds because he speaks the truth without mincing his words. He emphasizes precisely what needs to be said -- and what his audience recognizes is true: Our country has deserted the middle class, ignored poverty and pretended income inequality is something good! He says it clearly: Power has been used to produce great wealth for a very few but the momentum has gone out of the American promise for the many.

A President Sanders would challenge Wall Street. He would close the offshore tax havens of the 1 percent. He would unflinchingly confront the fossil fuel industry, Big Pharma, corporate medicine and all the other contributors to the destruction of the middle class and its dreams of opportunity. But most of all, he would re-ignite this nation's flickering sense of itself as a country where people count more than money does. Without that, we have an oligarchy, not democracy.


Last and Best! My favorite of all of these letters to the editor and commentaries was written by a woman from Cheektowaga, NY, and published in the Buffalo News April 14:
Sanders' viewpoints are the reason he's so popular

I write in response to Robert S. Berger's claims in Another Voice that Sen. Bernie Sanders' views on pacifism, atheism and socialism preclude his winning the election in November.

How many pictures and stories of maimed and emotionally scarred veterans and civilians do we have to absorb before we admit that war is bad and, more often than not, futile? Is it not a fact that the countries we fought against in World War II have now become our trading partners and our allies? Is it so wrong to be a pacifist who refrains from rushing into every global conflict just because it is deemed advantageous?

Is it not time in this 21st century for the peoples of the world to realize that the label of "atheist" is not something to be feared? It means only that the person who wears it does not choose to introduce the supernatural into explaining his existence, but chooses instead to be respectful and in awe of the wonders of the natural world. Neither belief ensures that its holders will be kind, or compassionate, or just. Both believers in God the father or in nature the mother can have these qualities, or they can be as mean, or as petty, or as merciless as their hearts permit.

Socialism is defined as using taxpayer funds for the benefit of society as a whole. Do we not already see this in our programs of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance and disability insurance?

How about in OSHA, which protects our workplaces, or in the EPA, which protects our environment, or in the CDC, which combats diseases? Is the fear we have of the word "socialism" rational, or is it evidence of our being gullible to propaganda put forth by those who make great gains by privatizing as much as possible?

I am willing to give Sanders a chance in hopes that his ideas will help us move forward in this ever-changing world.

Dorothy K. Bock, Cheektowaga
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