A Purely Personal Note About the Protests

So, in addition to the things I've written previously, I want to note for the record that protesters like me on sight. Not everyone usually does. I'm not the sort of person who comes by protests often, but they really appreciated that I was there. They were vocal about it.

Whole years go by without someone complimenting my appearance, but I had a pretty young lady come up and shake my hand emphatically. "You're just so cool," she said.

At the Black Men for Bernie protest, one of the Black Men for Bernie came up to me and said, "What's up, my brother with the best beard ever?" He proved, in a few seconds conversation, to have accurately guessed that I'd been to Iraq. I'm not sure what he was picking up on -- I wasn't wearing my "Baghdad Summer Camp" T-shirt.

I also met a very nice, older lesbian couple who had spent their younger years as trappers in the north, and were now raising exotic plant species. They were great fun to talk to, worried about corporate influence on our elections but very much in favor of the freedom to wander the forests.

There was also a reporter I met from Australia, who said he was working for their version of VICE. He was a fun guy to hang out with and swap stories. His opinion was that these protests were proof that, for the first time in a while, personal character had become a real issue in an American Presidential election. The rise of third parties wasn't mostly about ideology, but about the fact that both major party nominees were really bad people.

He was right about that, I think. For a while, I was carrying a sign somebody gave me that read, "Which Liar Do You Trust?"

It does seem to be the relevant question this year.


Eric Blair said...

But how will they vote?

Grim said...

For Stein, or so they chanted. I heard a lot of speeches about how Clinton had already done everything anyone worried that Trump might do. They hate her, and she's earned it.

Tom said...

I'm enjoying your personal observations on this.

Military folks have a certain vibe, I've discovered -- the way they carry themselves, something. Some people can pick up on it.

Grim said...

Maybe it was something similar to that, I guess. After he called me out about the beard, he asked me how I was feeling. I said I was fine, though it was hot and we should take care about that. He said, "You don't have to worry about that. You've been places way hotter and more dangerous than this. You know how to handle the heat. May your wisdom be used for positive purposes."

I wished him the same because, after all, that's Sherlock Holmes levels of wisdom on display. Whatever he was picking up on, he was seeing clear.

Tom said...


Gringo said...

Thanks for the stories, Grim. I also found it interesting that you got pegged as ex-military.

I could never vote for Sanders, given his previous support for Castro and the Sandinistas. During this year's campaign Bernie Sanders has declined to comment on Venezuela. Sanders supporters get infuriated when the Sanders variety of Socialism is compared to Real Existing Socialism in Venezuela. "We mean Socialism as practiced in Scandinavia! How dare you bring up Venezuela! [President Maduro has expressed support for Sanders.]

Yet in previous decades Sanders was an outspoken supporter of Marxist regimes in Cuba and in Nicaragua, a support that spanned decades. This would at least imply support for Chavista Venezuela, whose strongest allies are Cuba and Nicaragua- as in the 1980s, ruled by Daniel Ortega.

In the 1980s, in his capacity as Mayor of Burlington, Bernie Sanders was not so bashful about expressing his views on Latin America, as he spent a lot of time defending Cuba and Sandinista Nicaragua. After all, it is very important that a small city in Vermont has its own foreign policy. Or at least that the mayor of a small city in Vermont has his own foreign policy.

As Bernie Sanders has declined to comment on Venezuela, he has made no statement about the food lines in Venezuela. However, in his capacity as Mayor of Burlington, Bernie Sanders did make a statement in support of food lines in Sandinista Nicaragua.

Bernie Sanders: It’s funny, sometimes American journalists talk about how bad a country is, that people are lining up for food. That is a good thing! In other countries people don’t line up for food: the rich get the food and the poor starve to death.

Couldn't you just hear a Chavista honcho informing the public that long food lines are Chavismo's guarantee that the rich won't get all the food and that the poor won't starve to death? Funny thing, the longer the lines, the less food there is.

Gringo said...

In 1969, Bernie Sanders wrote a defense of the Castro regime: Vermont Freeman _Cuba: The Other Side of the Story.[pg 5]. He admitted that his "main source of information" was Monthly Review, a journal with a Marxist perspective, albeit a perspective somewhat independent of the USSR and the PRC. Sanders was not a complete shill, as he pointed out that Monthly Review left out some important facts about Cuba.

The facts presented in the article, to be sure, do not tell the whole story of the Cuban situation. They do not tell, for example, about the lack of civil liberties in Cuba..or why tens of thousands (including workers and peasants) have already left Cuba.

Having made that disclaimer, Sanders went on:
They do, however, present a side to the Cuban Revolution which is very rarely presented to the American population; a side which needs to be told if Americans are to gain a more intelligent perspective of Castro's Cuba than they have at present.

In blunter terms, Democratic Socialist Sanders wanted Americans to "gain a more intelligent perspective of Totalitarian Socialism as practiced in Castro's Cuba."

Sanders went on to quote Monthly Review verbatim:
:The statistics prove that a revolutionary approach to the problem can bring down sickness and death rates in the short space of eight years in a way that is not possible in Latin America without socialism."
First: As Sanders quoted Monthly Review without comment, he implicitly agreed with what Monthly Review stated. Second: No one will claim that what transpired in Cuba was Democratic Socialism. What transpired in Cuba was unabashed Totalitarian Socialism.

So a more accurate statement from Monthly Review would have been:
"The statistics prove that a revolutionary approach to the problem can bring down sickness and death rates in the short space of eight years in a way that is not possible in Latin America without totalitarian socialism."

Most important, the Monthly Review quote does not correspond to the facts. The percentage reduction in the crude death rate from 1960-1968 was 19.2% in Cuba, compared to a 19.1% reduction in Latin America and the Caribbean. [In absolute numbers, Latin America reduced its death rate by 2.3/1,000, and Cuba reduced its death rate by 1.7/1,000]. Monthly Review's claim that only [totalitarian] socialism can bring down death rates so quickly was and is a false claim, as Cuba's performance was only slightly better than that for Latin America and the Caribbean in percentage terms, and slightly below average in absolute terms. The following countries had a higher percentage reduction in the crude death rate than Cuba for the 1960-1968 period: Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Venezuela of horrid Fourth Republic fame, Nicaragua, Honduras, Brazil, El Salvador, and Colombia.

So-called Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders parroted a false claim about the alleged accomplishments of the Cuban Revolution, in order that Americans "gain a more intelligent perspective " on Totalitarian Socialism as practiced in Cuba.Why would a so-called Democratic Socialist parrot a false claim in the defense of Totalitarian Socialism? Just wondering.

When asked about Venezuela, Bernie has declined comment, probably hoping that his previous stands on Latin America will be forgotten. He couldn't make a statement favoring freeing political prisoners?

Death rate, crude (per 1,000 people), % decline 1960-1968
Latin America & Caribbean (developing only) 19.1
Costa Rica 28.1
Dominican Republic 27.9
Venezuela, RB 24.7
Nicaragua 24.0
Honduras 20.6
Brazil 20.4
El Salvador 19.3
Colombia 19.3
Panama 19.2
Cuba 19.2
Guatemala 18.5
Chile 18.5
Peru 18.3
Ecuador 17.6
Haiti 17.3
Mexico 16.5
Bolivia 13.6
Paraguay 8.7
Uruguay 0.7
Argentina -4.7

World Bank: World Development Indicators.