When Cynicism Makes You Lazy and Wrong

by William Skink

In my cynicism toward the Bernie Sanders campaign I articulated an assumption that was inaccurate, which Steve W. tried pointing out in a comment, but it got stuck in the spam filter. I just saw the comment today, so I wanted to bring attention to my error.

Here is Steve W’s comment:

William, I challenge your untrue assertion about Bernie Sanders. In your piece above, you wrote, “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if Bernie Sanders took political advantage of this? He could start loudly and repeatedly calling for more debates, but he won’t.”

https://go.berniesanders.com/page/s/more-debates

http://time.com/3903978/bernie-sanders-debates/

http://www.latinpost.com/articles/75809/20150831/2016-presidential-debates-democrats-bernie-sanders-martin-omalley-criticize-dnc.htm

The above links demonstrate that Bernie Sanders has repeatedly (since last June,) and forcefully, called for more debates. In fact he’s petitioning the DNC to hold more debates. Please sign the petition and add your name to the formal demand of the people on the DNC Chair.

Bernie also protests the exclusion from debating Republicans, Greens, and others, that the DNC’s schedule contains.

One thing I like about reading you is I usually learn something new. That must be why it annoys me so damn much when I see you write completely unsubstantiated assumptions.

All humans do it. Some more than others, and I don’t think you are worse than most in fact I think you are better. But the information about Bernie’s stance on the DNC Debates is readily available. If you would only search it out before publicly making bad assumptions I doubt i’d be writing this.

I’m amazed at how little you know about Sanders, Mr Skink. This campaign is almost exactly like every campaign Sanders has ever run. If you spent a little time studying the man, his voting record, his amendments, his past campaigns, you would exhibit far more awareness about the current political situation.

Sanders is currently leading Hillary by double digits in both New Hampshire and Iowa and he’s cut his deficit in S. Carolina from about 40 to about 20 points and continues to close. He’s done that by following his long proven campaign strategy of not making personal attacks on his opponent. Now the fact that he tells people what his policies are and how they differ from Clintons policies might not be good enough for you, Mr Skink, but I can hardly see how you can argue with the results politically. What you call “…little interest in taking it to Hillary.” I call “kicking Hillary’s ass” by erasing her double digit leads in NH and IA and halving his deficit in SC.” All in about 3 months.

I think you should consider this article http://www.thenation.com/article/what-the-us-left-and-bernie-sanders-supporters-can-learn-from-jeremy-corbyn/

As for the Indonesian events, it’s all really hinky as far as the eye can see. It’s kind of 9 eleveny. n many of the ramifications and impacts.

Steve W. successfully challenged my untrue assertion about Bernie Sanders. Sometimes I’m lazy with my cynicism, so I appreciate Steve calling me out (sorry for not catching this comment earlier, Steve).

I think part of my obviously very cynical and sometimes inaccurate take on the Sanders campaign is the ever-increasing disillusionment two terms of Obama has produced. Because of that, I don’t allow myself to be hopeful for a Sanders presidency. I just don’t. I do need to at least be accurate, though.

I’ll put the cynicism on hold for a second and say I am increasingly hopeful Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House is terminal. The economic message of the Sanders campaign, and the narrowing of the polls, is encouraging in ways I’m sometimes weary to acknowledge.

I’ll leave it at that, mildly hopeful Hillary won’t occupy the command center of the sputtering American empire.

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About William Skink

I'm a poet and political cynic living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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24 Responses to When Cynicism Makes You Lazy and Wrong

  1. Greg Strandberg says:

    Let’s think locally.

    What’s so frustrating about the Sanders campaign is that the people on the ground here in Missoula seem to be way behind. This is from the last email I got last Friday:

    “And a reminder that the next our meeting will be on Oct. 4, 4-5:30 at the Burns St. Bistro. We will be working in small groups writing letters to the editors for the Montana daily papers as well as the weekly papers throughout Western Montana. If you have a laptop please bring it. We will have information available on the different papers, their email addresses along with any word limits, etc. Please sign up on the berniesanders.com/events page.”

    I feel at this point we should be doing a bit more than just writing letters to newspapers. For instance, what about getting people bumper stickers? I’m sure people want them.

    Maybe my cynicism toward Montanans for Bernie comes from what I saw at their library meeting a few months back. It didn’t fill me with confidence.

    Let’s think globally.

    The Party wants Hillary. I was saddened to see someone share a clip of Schweitzer the other day, with him talking-up Hillary on a morning talk show. Just today I saw another Ellie Hill tweet extolling the virtues of Hillary. I’m sure the Missoula Democratic Machine wasn’t too happy to see Montanans for Bernies show up at their parade event on Saturday either.

    You said it here on this site best of all, however – Bernie Sanders has no plan for our foreign policy mess. This is where Schweitzer nailed it on that morning talk show – we need to stop throwing so much money and so many lives at the Saudis. But I suspect it’ll just be business as usual for the corporate-controlled (read Big Oil and international banks) Democrats that we have.

    My only hope is that Trump will continue to pull the others, and the national dialogue, in new and interesting places that might result in some actual substantive changes for me and my family. Like I said, it’s a hope, and our past 8 years have eroded my faith in hope.

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  2. I hate to see partisan politics reduced to a matter of faith in this or that individual. One should always keep all politicians at arm’s length and use a dose of healthy skepticism. They are free to say anything they want without accountability, after all. By what standard to we automatically assume they are genuine?

    What might motivate Bernie to run? Surely he saw with the Democrats’ treatment Nader in 2000 that progressive politics has no backing among party leadership. They treated him with contempt, excluded him from debates, and even had him arrested when he showed up at a debate. Professional “liberals” like Gloria Steinem allowed their names to be used in a last-minute publicity blitz to drive voters back to their standard issue right-wing candidate, Al Gore. Nader kicked the Democratic machine in the shins, and has paid dearly for it. He’s a non-person.

    Why, suddenly, have the party leaders decided to embrace a progressive? Why is Bernie the toast of the town? The party’s contempt for progressive politics has not gone away. Surely some other game is afoot. I’ve reduced it to two possibilities – that Bernie is a stalking horse for some Republican, but Trump is causing so many problems over there that none of them are able to gain traction. So if that is the strategy, it is not working.

    The other is that Obama with his right-wing agenda has driven progressives away, and Bernie is bringing them back. They will then become part of Hillaty’s base, and she will talk the talk for a while to keep them interested. But this is not clear to me, as Hillary seems to have highly placed powerful enemies who keep undermining her chances. There seems to be a concerted effort to ditch her campaign. She too is a right-winger, even a Neocon, so there is no stake in it for progressives, so it could be that she is being ditched and that’s Bernie is being used as a sacrificial lamb who, once nominated, will be savaged in the media ala Goldwater in 1964, and trounced.

    Those are possibilities as I see them. Partisan politics is not a place for “faith” in anyone. Accountability, skepticism, sane analysis of possible motives is a better course. Of course it could be possible that Bernie is real and the Demoratic Party is a democratic institution, but my experience in politics, seeing th treatment the party has dished out to genuine uncontrolled candidates who stimulate voter interest, from McGovern to Gary Hart to John Edwards to Howard Dean (taken out by a media PSYOP) tells me that Bernie’s shining star is propped up by party cynicism. There is an unstated objective. Trying to discern the reason for their cynicism it is not “cynicism.” It is use of one’s brain.

    Politics should not be engaged in as a religious experience. Faith is for churches. Candidates need to be grilled to a nice brown toast, not blindly toasted as genuine based on mere words.

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    • steve kelly says:

      The 1968 and 1972 elections may shed some light. In 1968 McCarthy got taken out by T
      the McGovern-Humphry alliance. In the 1972 McGoven vs. Nixon contest the media didn’t really do much pre-election coverage of the Watergate breakin, which happened the summer before the election. The unions sat it out. Texas Democrats openly supported Nixon. It’s more sophisticated now, but the power structure remains pretty much the same. The tactics are age-0ld. Sanders may very well win the nomination, but history would favor Biden.

      I think TPTB are expecting a Republican president this time, a man willing and ready to fight the rising discontentment in this country the same way we’ve fought every insurgency worldwide for decades. After all, when the banks come for your life savings, social security and medicare all at once, — think Greece and Cyprus — there’s going to be a backlash, or one hell of a lot of Prozac pumped into us through municipal water systems. Relax, sleep, this won’t hurt a bit.

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      • In this scenario, is Biden waiting for Hillary to fail? That would mean he is behind Sanders and all of the negative exposure of Hillary … Emails, etc.

        He appears to me to be the least likeable candidate, insincere to a fault, transparently phony. That smile is as fake as the hair plugs.

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  3. Big Swede says:

    A Zero Hedge commenter says this.

    >>”The problem with idiots like Sanders is that he is simply a mindless socialist who tells the low information underclass that he is going to make everyone “equal”, but doesn’t tell them tha they will all be “equally poor”.”

    Does not matter. All he needs is the votes. There are over 93 Million americans no longer in the workforce, and it will probably rise by another 2 or 3 million by November 2016. Pluse we have about 60% of the american population, recieving gov’t subsidies, wealth fare, healthcare, or work for the gov’t directly (gov’t employee) or indirectly (contractor). Chevez was a mindless socialist and won by a landslide in Venzuela. Odds favor Bernie will be the DNC nominee or very close to it. Perhaps the only reason why he won’t be the nominee, is that someone even more leftist will get it.

    I don’t see Trump making it. I am pretty sure is womanizing past will catch up to him. All he needs is a couple of women to step forward and declare abuse and he’s all done (Doesn’t matter if is true) My guess the DNC will wait until May OR June 2016 so that the GOP is left with a hole too close to the election for to drum up support for another GOP candidate. Considering Trump has been a lifelong democracy and a long time Hilary supporter, I doubt even if he wins he would “make america great again”.

    That said, there is also the possiblity there will be no 2016 election. We have a budget debate coming up. If Congress fails to past a debt increase, I think Barry will act and use his special emergency powers to cancel elections indefinately. We also have a flood of ISIS militants (aka Syrian refugees) heading to the US. which will likely result in more domestic terrorism, also enabling Barry’s Special emergency powers.<<-aguy

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    • I listened to an hour long podcast by a guy from the Austrian School of economics yesterday. It was painful, and I commented at the end that my means test for economists is that I will heed their words once it is shown they have ever been right in the past. Austrian economics is only a little more nuanced than neoclassical, and wrong about everything. This guy prattled on just as your commenter above did about how the house of cards is going to collapse.

      This is you in a nutshell, Swede: Even though I’ve been wrong about everything in the past, in the future I will be proven right. Even though the “socialist” economies are thriving and have produced wal their people than here in the US, they will collapse.

      You’re wrong, Swede, about everything.

      Like

      • PS: didn’t read the post above, right?

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        • Big Swede says:

          Damn, caught me again.

          I’ll bite, which socialists countries are thriving?

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        • All of those in Europe. I speak in terms of average household wealth, which is also greater in Canada than the US. Latin American nations, struggling under years of colonialism, don’t seem able to break free, but “socialism” is not their problem. US-supported oligarchs are.

          But I will not do your effing reading for you. This is all discoverable. And please,spare me another effing link from one of your effing trusted sources.

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        • Big Swede says:

          For once I’d like to see a comparison of employees American workers vs. other countries.

          We currently support about 14 million illegals along with vast welfare for domestic low/no families. Subtract those entitlement beneficiaries from the equation and we’re the wealthiest per capita in the world.

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        • Big Swede says:

          “employees=employed. Damn auto spell.

          Like

      • If you want to see a comparison, do some legwork. It is accessible. But I’ll be damned if I will do it for you.

        I do suggest you stay away form your usual sources, avoid short clips or YouTubes, and look for objective data. The UN is a good starting place.

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  4. JC says:

    Swede, this is for you.

    Like

    • Big Swede says:

      You know JC this may surprise you but I’m for means testing for SS bennies. This would cut my personal retirement pay by a couple grand a month but its original intent was to help the truly needy.

      Before you gasp with disbelief the announcement and passing of such legislation would also benefit me in other aspects.

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      • You don’t realize that Social Securoty is self funded outside the regular tax system, do you. As such, means testing is already done via taxes on half the benefits, and up to 85% of benefits on people making more than $25K (S) or $32K (M).

        That was one of the many Reagan tax increases on regular people, and the cruelest past that the $25/$32 figures, put in place in ’86 to tax wealthy people receiving benefits, have never been indexed for inflation so that now people of ordinary means are taxed. Had that been done, the figures would now exceed $50K.

        My take, having written countless letters to congress on the subject, is that the non-indexing was a deliberate means of sticking it to retirees. Thanks, Ronnie.

        TETL.

        Like

        • Big Swede says:

          Can’t remember exactly Christie’s proposal that 80k in retirement income makes you ineligible for SS bennies.

          Don’t like the candidate, like those figures.

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        • Why should anyone who has contributed be denied benefits? The program is not broke, and can support its obligations for decades to come.

          You sort of glazed over when I talked about the Reagan tax hike. That 1983 SS tax hike he signed was the largest tax increase in American history. Why do you go silent when such matters come up? I really suspect your eyes do not see things you do not like to see.

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        • Big Swede says:

          Didn’t glaze it over Mark. The Reagan tax increase on SS and tax decreases on payrolls was part of a larger evil plot to put people to work. You see if more people work more money flows into the banks, more money can be borrowed from the SS fund, more money for foreign intelligence operators and wars.

          Besides self worth is a addictive drug, without it you lie around all day and fixate on the JFK conspiracy.

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        • 1. I do not “fixate” on any one aspect of our history, but I am a student of history, and as such came to realize the depth and breadth and implications of 11/22/63. It is very important, more so than any other event in my life in terms of our republic. It was a military coup d’etat that has costs millions of lives and trillions in taxes, all ongoing.

          You have not studied it, know nothing about it or its importance, so I suggest you keep quiet about it until you do.

          2. Prior to this exchange you, like all devotees of Reagan, knew nothing about his tax shifting scheme, imagining instead that he “cut” taxes. The SS hike was the other shoe falling – after the initial tax cuts produced massive deficits, he raised taxes in those who could least afford it.

          Knowing nothing about it before now, you come along full of understanding about why it was done. That’s nonsense. You knew nothing before our exchange, and only a little more now. So again I suggest you keep quiet about it. You’ve no standing even to hold an opinion, much less lecture us.

          Like

      • Steve W says:

        Ignorance of the law is no excuse, Swede.

        Like

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