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Member since: Thu May 7, 2009, 11:59 PM
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When it comes to NATO, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump offer similar assessments

Have Bernie's views on NATO evolved at all, because on feelthebern.org, Bernie is still listed as being very critical of NATO and its mission and Bernie's statements about NATO being a waste of money have not been removed. We criticize Trump for his repeated attacks on NATO and his extortionate demands saying that if NATO members don't pay their fair share, the U.S. might not honor its obligations, particularly in the event aggression by Russia, but it seems like Bernie still questions the need for NATO.

Or, perhaps feeltherbern.org just needs a major update if the views listed therein no longer represent Bernie's views.


Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are both outsiders of sorts in this campaign, and though they rarely agree on issues, there appears to be common ground over NATO.

Sanders dismissed NATO decades ago as a "waste" of money for the U.S., which funds a disproportionate share of the alliance among its 28 member nations.

"The countries of Europe should pick up more of the burden for their defense," Sanders said when asked during Thursday's debate about his past statements.

* * *
Sanders' views on NATO are somewhat similar to those recently voiced by Trump, who says NATO is unfair economically to the U.S. "NATO is obsolete," Trump said last month on ABC's "This Week." "And there's nothing wrong with saying it's obsolete. But it is obsolete."


Bernie opposes the expansion of NATO because it could lead to further aggression from Russia, which is territorially sensitive about the military alliance’s expansion eastward. Bernie also believes the U.S. foots too much of NATO’s bill.

Who are the current members of NATO?
NATO member countries include the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Iceland, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Turkey, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Croatia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Albania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Hungary, and Greece.

Which countries are interested in joining?
Bosnia, Georgia, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Ukraine have all indicated an interest in joining NATO. Ukraine’s potential membership has become a hot-button issue in the past year as its conflict with Russia has raged on.

What is Bernie’s opinion on NATO expansion?
He’s against it, claiming it is a waste of taxpayer dollars and not geo-politically sound. In 1997, as a congressman, Bernie said:

“After four decades of the cold war and trillions of United States taxpayer dollars allocated to compete in the arms race, many of our constituents understand that it is not the time to continue wasting tens of billions of dollars helping to defend Europe, let alone assuming more than our share of any costs associated with expanding NATO eastward.”

Why would Bernie want to prevent countries from joining?
Bernie sees the eastward expansion of NATO as an unnecessary provocation of Russia — and, as stated in the quote above, he’s not interested in revisiting the Cold War era when Russia and the U.S. were constantly pitted against each other.

Even “pro-western” politicians in Russia have been hesitant to support NATO’s expansion to include Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, the Baltic states that were part of the former Soviet Union. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s personal envoy even suggested that Finland’s membership in NATO would start “World War III,” while Putin himself referred to Ukraine’s potential membership as a “direct threat” to Russian national security.

Finding A Way In Trump's America Through MLK's 'Drum Major Instinct'

The following Lyndon Johnson quote is often noted as an explanation of how Trump uses the racism of his white supporters as means of oppressing them. Lyndon Johnson, of course, was a white southerner who nonetheless signed the Civil Rights Act.

However, there is also Lyndon Johnson's contemporary, Martin Luther King, who addressed this same phenomena from the perspective of a black man.

The perspectives of both Lyndon Johnson and Martin Luther King are particularly important during the Trump presidency. We cannot simply deny racial inequality or argue as some progressives have that racism is simply the result of economic hardship. We cannot assume that by eliminating economic inequality, racism will go away. To the contrary, racism itself is used to perpetuate economic inequality. By scapegoating immigrants, racial and religious minorities, and women in the workforce, Trump can get the white working class to sign off on tax cuts to the rich on cuts in salaries to federal workers, to cuts in health care all in exchange for feeling superior and entitled.


Dr. King went on to talk about the character trait that would prompt James and John to ask that question of Jesus in the first place. He calls it ‘The Drum Major Instinct,’ and says it’s that innate desire that we all have to lead the parade or be first. Philosophers say it’s the most dominant human impulse. When the instinct goes unharnessed we will put others down so we can be on top.

Dr. King tells a story of being locked up in a Birmingham jail, talking to police officers about race, when the subject of money came up. When the officers revealed how much they were earning Dr. King laughed:

“You ought to be marching with us. You’re just as poor as Negroes. You have been put in the position of supporting your oppressors, because through prejudice and blindness, you fail to see that the same forces that oppress Negroes in American society oppress poor white people too. And all you are living on is the satisfaction of your skin being white, and the drum major instinct of thinking that you are somebody big, when you are so poor you can hardly send your children to school.”

Little has changed. Poor whites think it’s the black and brown population taking away jobs and security when it’s really the one percent. Dr. King also warns of what could happen if China, the U.S. and Russia had a standoff. We’d all go within seconds. Even less has changed. Dr. King goes back to Jesus, James and John.

Snopes: Trump Denied He Said Mexico Would Write a Check for the Wall -- But He Did

Part of the problem why the shutdown is going to last so long is because now that Democrats hold the House, the media is falling back into its old pattern of pushing false equivalency instead of objectivity.


President Donald Trump on 10 January 2019 claimed he never said Mexico would write a check to pay for his promised new border wall. That’s not exactly true.

As a protracted partial shutdown of the federal government was on pace to be the longest in U.S. history, President Trump made the comment as he headed from the White House to Texas, where he visited the U.S.-Mexico border. He was trying make the case that unauthorized immigration was a national crisis that merited an appropriation of $5.7 billion for new border wall construction, an assertion Democratic lawmakers denied. Federal government employees began missing paychecks as of 11 January 2019 due to the impasse over the issue and resulting failure to pass a spending budget.

The idea of the wall came from the 2016 campaign trail. Roughly 580 miles of barriers already exist along the nearly 2,000-mile U.S. border with Mexico, and unauthorized crossings are at an historical low. But the idea of Mexico’s paying for the new wall was the subject of a well-known, call-and-response between then-candidate Trump and his rally attendees.

Despite President Trump’s more recent comments, he said on many occasions that Mexico would pay for the wall in full. And during a town hall event hosted by Fox News personality Sean Hannity on 13 April 2016, Trump said Mexico could pay by writing a check.

Vox - Conservatives won't trade the wall for anything good because they know it's a bad idea.

Interesting article that answers the question of why there is no deal to be had: Because it is a stupid idea and Republicans are not going to offer anything worthwhile in exchange for it. Higher taxes on the rich? Nope. Protection for Dreamers? Nope. Thus, despite false equivalency being pushed in the media, Republicans really just want a shutdown and appreciate the cover the media is giving them by pushing a false equivalency.


Spending billions of dollars to build hundreds of miles of additional walling — or “steel slats” or whatever you want to call it — on the US-Mexico border is a bad idea. That’s a critical, underrated feature of the current standoff that has led President Trump to partially shut down the government.

After all, if the president of the United States wants a $5 billion appropriation for a pet project that’s important to him personally and partially fulfills a campaign promise, then he ought to be able to get it. And the time-honored way to get it is to give congressional skeptics something else in exchange. That’s how the system has worked ever since Alexander Hamilton got James Madison to back federal assumption of state debts in exchange for locating the nation’s capital on the banks of the Potomac River.

But back at the beginning of the year, when it seemed as though a compromise involving wall money and a path to citizenship for DREAMers was in the works, it was immigration hardliners in Trump’s own administration who scuttled the deal. That’s certainly their prerogative, but it underscores the core truth of this standoff: Immigration hardliners themselves don’t think the wall is especially useful or important in the real world. If they really wanted a wall, they would go get a wall by offering something — it wouldn’t even necessarily have to be immigration-related — in exchange for it. But since they know the wall is a bad idea, they won’t trade it for anything. Yet precisely because the wall idea is so bad, Democrats, rightly, aren’t going to give it away for free.

The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents are Going Broke by Elizabeth Warren

If you want to get to know about Elizabeth Warren, and get beyond the caricature and stereotypes created by Fox News and Trump, check out the book that put her on the map in the first place. I read it when it first came out in 2004, and it does a great job of explaining why the middle class has become so precarious in the modern age. Fox paints Warren as an out of touch lefty without any real policy chops. The fact of the matter is that she is as serious a policy wonk as anyone running for President.


In this revolutionary exposé, Harvard Law School bankruptcy expert Elizabeth Warren and financial consultant Amelia Tyagi show that today's middle-class parents are increasingly trapped by financial meltdowns. Astonishingly, sending mothers to work has made families more vulnerable to financial disaster than ever before. Today's two-income family earns 75% more money than its single-income counterpart of a generation ago, but has 25% less discretionary income to cover living costs. This is "the rare financial book that sidesteps accusations of individual wastefulness to focus on institutional changes," raved the Boston Globe. Warren and Tyagi reveal how the ferocious bidding war for housing and education has silently engulfed America's suburbs, driving up the cost of keeping families in the middle class. The authors show why the usual remedies-child-support enforcement, subsidized daycare, and higher salaries for women-won't solve the problem. But as the Wall Street Journal observed, "The book is brimming with proposed solutions to the nail-biting anxiety that the middle class finds itself in: subsidized day care, school vouchers, new bank regulation, among other measures." From Senator Edward M. Kennedy to Dr. Phil to Bill Moyers, The Two-Income Trap has created a sensation among economists, politicians, and families-all those who care about America's middle-class crisis.
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