The Bernie Fuss

I have yet to watch a debate, Democratic or Republican, but by now I am curious as what the Bernie fuss is all about. And so I picked a few YouTube clips from my Google News page.

I am for breaking big banks. This is like breaking up Mama Bell to bring the phone call prices down. If a bank is too big to fail, it is too big. Break it up. We need FinTech startups like we need startups every other sector. Banks don't need buildings no more. We need a new era of financial innovation.

To me this is not some commie worldview. This is rabid capitalism. C for capitalism, c for competition. There is no capitalism without competition. But then the special interests capitalism has its own ideas.

One way to break big banks would be to let many, many players do the last mile. But keep the basic protection of deposits sacrosanct. It works for internet access. Some big players might own the big pipes, but the last mile is open to competition by law.

On climate change, create a new county in an uninhabited part of Arizona that will have nothing but solar panels.

Create another county for a million Syrian refugees.

Create food stamps for every interested person, you only get fruits and vegetables. The idea is to save a trillion dollars a year. It is the budget deficit no one is talking about.

New York City's free gigabit WiFi plan will earn the city 500 million a year. Why can't that go national? Turn every phone booth in the country into a WiFi station.

How the media missed Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders, the man who is leading in New Hampshire and giving Hillary Clinton a run for her money in Iowa, is coming to terms with a new reality: The media is taking him seriously. ..... like a certain senator before him, he draws far larger crowds, boasts a remarkably enthusiastic volunteer base, and, though he doesn't have as much money as Clinton, set an all-time record with more than 2.3 million campaign contributions last year. ...... the mainstream media is racing to catch up to a phenomenon that has been abundantly clear to backers, donors and the progressive media for nine months. ...... the oft-repeated claim that Donald Trump's latest incendiary claim was political suicide. ...... When Sanders announced his bid, a Washington Post profile described the "unlikely presidential candidate" as "an ex-hippie, septuagenarian socialist from the liberal reaches of Vermont who rails, in his thick Brooklyn accent, rumpled suit and frizzy pile of white hair, against the 'billionaire class' taking over the country." The New York Times — which had afforded its front page to similar candidacy announcements from Clinton, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and others — buried the Sanders story on page 21. .......

Sanders, however, immediately began drawing thousands of supporters, and then tens of thousands, to his rallies.

...... Local media, which he said did a much better job of focusing on policy over process; and the progressive media — but neither of those could rival the overwhelming national narrative that Sanders was merely an also-ran. ....... "Among 'big-time' reporters, there's an almost pathological fear of looking unsophisticated," one veteran political reporter explained. "Journalists are supposed to look 'wised-up' and with it. I think this ingrained tendency often causes us to miss things that should be as plain as the noses on our faces — and that are apparent to 'civilians.'" .....

Now that Sanders is a real contender in some early states, he is forcing the media to recognize the vast liberal base that exists to the left of the Democratic establishment, much as the rise of the tea party forced the press to focus on the vast conservative base to the right of the Republican establishment.

...... "The media has an instinctive bias against ultra-liberals. The real hard liberals are not taken seriously by our tribe," he said. "No socialist from Vermont is going to be president, in the same way Howard Dean was written off." ...... "We knew Hillary was going to win, and we went chasing after Donald Trump." ..... on ABC evening news, Trump over a period of time got 81 minutes of time. Bernie Sanders got 20 seconds," Sanders said in an interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo in December. "Now, you tell me why." ..... although he still trails badly in national polls, including one by NBC released Sunday that found Clinton with a 25-point edge ..... "I've never been in an avalanche, but I'm beginning to think I know what it feels like," Michael Briggs, Sanders' spokesperson, said of the media requests he was receiving. ......

Pfeiffer argued that Sanders is still "a very long shot to win the nomination" and likened him not to Barack Obama but to Howard Dean or Bill Bradley: "Anti-establishment candidates with a strong base in the largely white, progressive community who can do very well in Iowa and New Hampshire with no clear path to expanding their base."

U.K. Parliament debate: Donald Trump gets pummeled by the British
A debate was held Monday in the British Parliament over whether to ban U.S. Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump from visiting the United Kingdom. ........ The debate, which was started by an online petition that described Trump’s comments about Muslims as “hate speech,” did not produce any binding decisions. Authority to ban someone from the country rests with the home secretary, not with Parliament. But the exchange gave British lawmakers an unusual chance to weigh in directly on U.S. politics......... Lots of amateur analysis of American politics going on in Parliament right now. Scottish National Party member Anne McLaughlin was just interrupted by a member who wanted to talk about GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz. “Where is the Republican Party going, putting one [candidate] up who’s as bad as the other?” she was asked. .......

Through a thick brogue, McLaughlin notes that Trump is “the son of a Scottish immigrant. And I apologize for that.” She accuses Trump of “hypocrisy” in his views on immigrants, and urges him to “look to Lady Liberty for some advice.” She says the strongest argument for banning him is “equality.” Others have been banned for similarly hateful remarks, she notes.

........ He may want to ban Muslims, but “the answer to his ban is not to ban him.” Doing so would only give him more publicity, generating “headlines around the world.” And besides, Trump could win. “And then we would be in the absurd situation of having banned the president of the United States.” ......... British members of Parliament are exhausting a thesaurus using words to condemn Trump. They’ve called him “a buffoon,” “a demagogue,” “a joke.” One member called him “an idiot” about five times in three minutes. ...... He says that it’s easy to be for “motherhood and apple pie,” but that it takes “real guts” to say things that are controversial. He’s not defending Trump. But he is defending Trump’s right to speak. ....... Before the debate, Trump had threatened to withdraw his planned investment in his Scottish golf courses if Britain went through with a ban. That threat may have had an impact. Corri Wilson, a Scottish National Party member who represents the area that is home to Turnberry, one of the billionaire businessman’s golf resorts, read off statistics about the number of jobs created in her area by Trump. She opposes the ban. .......

He says Trump and Muslim extremists feed off one another, adding, “ISIS needs Donald Trump and Donald Trump needs ISIS.” Dromey closes with a call for a ban: “Donald Trump is free to be a fool. But he’s not free to be a dangerous fool in Britain.”

...... Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, a Scottish National Party member, is interrupted by a questioner who describes Trump’s comments as “buffoonery,” which should be met “not with a ban, but with the great British response of ridicule.” ........ Ahmed-Sheikh says that by condemning Muslims, Trump has condemned Britain’s Olympic athletes, its newscasters and its members of Parliament. And he’s playing into the Islamic State’s narrative, by portraying a clash of civilizations between the West and the Muslim worlds. Others have been banned for anti-gay rhetoric or for Islamist extremism. The government needs to be consistent, and ban Trump for his hateful rhetoric against Muslims. “His remarks are condemning an entire religion,” she says. ....... The opponents say the proponents are inadvertently helping him by “fueling the man’s publicity machine.” Or so says Victoria Atkins, a Conservative MP, who says New York was named after a hamlet in her district. ....... Naz Shah, a Labour member .. As a Muslim woman, she would be banned from the United States under Trump’s plan. But she won’t support banning him from the United Kingdom. Instead, she wants to invite him to Bradford, “the curry capital of Britain.” She would serve him food and take him to the mosque, she said. ........

“While I think this man is crazy,” Tugendhat says, “I will not be the one to silence his voice.”

....... Trump, who’s of Scottish heritage, has invested heavily in Scottish golf courses and was until recently a business ambassador for Scotland. ........ Trump, he says, is “a ridiculous xenophobe. But someone we don’t need to promote any further.” ....... Tulip Siddiq, a Labour member from north London, is the next to rise. She supports keeping Trump out, saying, “I draw the line at freedom of speech when it imports a violent ideology.” The government’s option to ban people is intended to protect the public. It should be applied to Trump, and he should be banned from visiting “the multicultural country that we are so proud of.” .......

Trump’s comments were born out of “fear.”

........ Referring to the idea of banning Trump, he says: “I’ve never heard of one for stupidity. I’m not sure we should be starting now.” ......

Flynn wants to invite Trump to Britain, and show him around.

...... No one has expressed a word of support for Trump ...... Flynn says as much as he disagrees with Trump, he worries that banning him would give him a “halo of martyrdom.” ...... Flynn pays tribute to the Unites States as the land of “Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King and Barack Obama.” The debate, he says, isn’t about disrespecting the United States; it’s about the comments of one man. ...... The petition favoring a ban attracted more than 570,000 signatures. The one opposing a ban received about 40,000. ................ In nearly a millennium of history, the Palace of Westminster has played host to kings and queens, endured Nazi bombing raids and showed the world how a people could govern themselves through representative democracy. ..... But

it has never seen a day quite like the one expected Monday, when the building’s cold stone walls will echo with a parliamentary debate over whether to ban from Britain the leading Republican contender for president of the United States.

.......... It will be a strange moment for politics on both sides of the Atlantic. ... The Anglo-American alliance, a bedrock of Western security, is supposed to transcend politics..... Donald Trump’s reality-show-style emergence as Republican front-runner, however, is putting that notion to the test. Brits have watched his rise with a mixture of bemusement, alarm and indignation — the latter coming after he alleged that certain areas of London were off-limits to police because of rampant Islamic radicalization. ........

The parliamentary debate was triggered when more than a half-million people signed an online petition arguing that Trump should be outlawed from visiting Britain because of his call last month to ban Muslims from entering the United States. Trump’s proposal, petitioners said, amounted to “hate speech.”

......... Trump’s remarks on Muslims, Mexicans, women and the disabled, Flynn said, “are outrageous.” ...... “A ban is not going to achieve anything. It would be far better to test his claims.” ......

The British Home Office, which has the power to ban Trump, said in response to the petition that “coming to the U.K. is a privilege and not a right and [the Home Secretary] will continue to use the powers available to prevent from entering the U.K. those who seek to harm our society.”

....... Trump, who is of Scottish heritage, has not taken kindly to the debate. He has threatened to withdraw $1 billion of planned investment in his Scottish golf courses if the government moves against him. ......... Some in Parliament, while not siding with Trump, have argued that the debate is frivolous. ..... “The absurdity of Trump’s candidacy is matched only by the fact that he is set to be the subject of a debate in the House of Commons” ........ The group has noted that radical Islamist preachers and ­anti-Muslim bloggers, including Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, have been banned...... “Trump’s statements are more extreme than theirs,” wrote British Future’s director, Sunder Katwala.
Whatever Happens to Hillary Clinton’s Campaign, It Won’t Be ‘2008 All Over Again’
"a sense of deja vu from 2008, when Clinton’s overwhelming edge cratered in the days before the Iowa caucuses." ..... there is zero chance Clinton will neglect to devote resources to small-state caucuses, where Obama, nearly unopposed, offset her Super Tuesday wins. ...... the Pacific Northwest where he's so immensely popular. ..... it's also unlikely, at present, that she will get wiped out in a string of southern states stretching from Virginia to Louisiana the way she was by Obama, unless Sanders shows an appeal to African-Americans that he can only dream about at present.
The Case Against Bernie Sanders
Sanders has grudgingly credited what he calls “the modest gains of the Affordable Care Act,” which seems like an exceedingly stingy assessment of a law that has already reduced the number of uninsured Americans by 20 million. The Dodd-Frank reforms of the financial industry may not have broken up the big banks, but they have, at the very least, deeply reduced systemic risk. The penalties for being too big to fail exceed the benefits, and, as a result, banks are actually breaking themselves up to avoid being large enough to be regulated as systemic risks. ....... Recently, conditions have improved. Unemployment has dropped, the number of people quitting their job has risen, and — as one would predict would happen when employers start to run short of available workers — average wages have started to climb. ...... At the very least, the conclusion that Obama’s policies have failed to raise living standards for average people is premature. And the progress under Obama refutes Sanders’s corollary point, that meaningful change is impossible without a revolutionary transformation that eliminates corporate power. ....... Even liberal labor economists like Alan Krueger, who have supported more modest increases, have blanched at Sanders’s proposal for a $15 minimum wage. ...... The despairing vision he paints of contemporary America is oversimplified. ..... He also has difficulty addressing issues outside his economic populism wheelhouse. In his opening statement at the debate the day after the Paris attacks, Sanders briefly and vaguely gestured toward the attacks before quickly turning back to his economic themes. .....

Sanders offers the left-wing version of a hoary political fantasy: that a more pure candidate can rally the People into a righteous uprising that would unsettle the conventional laws of politics.

...... Sanders’s version involves the mobilization of a mass grassroots volunteer army that can depose the special interests. “The major political, strategic difference I have with Obama is it’s too late to do anything inside the Beltway,” he told Andrew Prokop. “You gotta take your case to the American people, mobilize them, and organize them at the grassroots level in a way that we have never done before.” But Obama did organize passionate volunteers on a massive scale — far broader than anything Sanders has done — and tried to keep his volunteers engaged throughout his presidency. Why would Sanders’s grassroots campaign succeed where Obama’s far larger one failed? ............. Sanders has promised to replace Obamacare with a single-payer plan, without having any remotely plausible prospects for doing so. ...... Vermont had to abandon hopes of creating its own single-payer plan. If Vermont, one of the most liberal states in America, can’t summon the political willpower for single-payer, it is impossible to imagine the country as a whole doing it. Not surprisingly,

Sanders's health-care plan uses the kind of magical-realism approach to fiscal policy usually found in Republican budgets, conjuring trillions of dollars in savings without defining their source.

....... a second irony: Those areas in which a Democratic Executive branch has no power are those in which Sanders demands aggressive action, and the areas in which the Executive branch still has power now are precisely those in which Sanders has the least to say. ...... The next Democratic presidential term will be mostly defensive, a bulwark against the enactment of the radical Ryan plan. What little progress liberals can expect will be concentrated in the non-Sanders realm. ......

it seems bizarre for Democrats to risk losing the presidency by embracing a politically radical doctrine that stands zero chance of enactment even if they win.