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Socialism Tag

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has made life difficult for centrist Democrats. Sanders self-identifies as a Democratic Socialist; a label most Democrats avoid like the plague. During and interview airing Tuesday, Hardball's Chris Matthews asked Hillary Clinton to explain the difference between a Democrat and a Socialist. Not once, not twice, but three times Matthews asked Hillary to explain how Democrats and Socialists are different. Clinton refused. Instead she talked about peace, love, and unity. Yes, really.

Every once in a while, Bill Maher tip toes out of the progressive box and makes statements or asks questions that stun his audience and the media. Reacting to Bernie Sanders' agenda and its estimated $18 trillion price tag, Maher challenged him by asking how America will pay for his radical agenda. Watch: After beginning the interview by stating that he doesn't think "most Americans realize that they’re already socialists," Maher challenges Sanders' the top 1% can pay for everything under the sun premise.

Back in 2008, Obama supporters would foam at the mouth if you suggested Obama was a socialist. Today, progressive activists are positively giddy about Bernie Sanders who openly identifies as a Democratic Socialist. Now that the mask has come off, should the Democratic Party change its name? MSNBC's Chris Matthews was on The Late Show this week and when host Seth Meyers asked him who best represents Democrats, Matthews suggested it's Bernie. Jeffrey Meyer of NewsBusters has the details (emphasis is his):
Chris Matthews Admits Socialist Bernie Sanders Best Represents Democrats Rather than name frontrunner Hillary Clinton has emblematic of the Democratic Party, Matthews eagerly touted how Socialist Bernie Sanders’ views are the future of the party as it moves ever so far to the left:

Despite the crowds of devoted followers who show up at his campaign events, not everyone on the left is convinced that Bernie Sanders could close the deal with America, should he somehow beat the Clinton machine. Bernie's biggest problem, according to Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post, is the way Sanders describes himself in political terms:
Why Bernie Sanders isn’t going to be president, in five words Here's an exchange from Bernie Sanders's appearance on "Meet the Press" on Sunday: And, in those five words, Sanders showed why — no matter how much energy there is for him on the liberal left — he isn't getting elected president.

As expected, Jeremy Corbyn was just elected Leader of the British Labour Party. To describe him as "far left" would be unfair ... to the far left. He's basically an economic and political lunatic. Even The NY Times described Corbyn in stark terms, With Jeremy Corbyn Elected as New Leader, Britain’s Labour Party Takes a Hard Left Turn:
Britain’s opposition Labour Party on Saturday took a remarkable leftward turn, electing as its leader Jeremy Corbyn, a longtime socialist committed to nationalizing key industries, scrapping Britain’s nuclear missile system and reversing the centrist policies of previous leaders such as Tony Blair. The result of the contest, announced on Saturday morning in London, gave stewardship of the Labour party to the hard left for the first time in more than three decades, a development seen here as one of the most surprising upsets in modern British politics.
This neat video from Sky News lists Corbyn's economic goals:

DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews this week and to Matthews' credit, he asked her a tough question. First, the two were discussing Bernie Sanders and the role he should play in the next Democratic National Convention. Then Matthews asked Schultz to explain the difference between a Democrat and a Socialist and things got very interesting. Josh Feldman of Mediate describes the exchange:
Matthews asked Wasserman-Schultz if, even if he loses, Sanders would have a place at the DNC convention, seeing as how he’s really popular with the base and could fire up a Democratic audience before the election. She said he should get to speak, but Matthews kept prodding away to see if he would be allowed to speak in primetime instead of “when nobody’s watching.” Wasserman-Schultz talked up his “progressive populist message” that people like, when Matthews asked her point-blank, “What’s the difference between a Democrat and a socialist? I used to think there was a big difference. What do you think it is?” Wasserman-Schultz ducked the question, but Matthews pressed her and said, “You’re the chairman of the Democratic Party. Tell me what’s the difference between you and a socialist.”

Have you noticed that the same media that uses words like "extreme" to describe Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, and other Republicans finds nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to Bernie Sanders? Sanders, who wants a 90% tax rate for the wealthiest Americans, and recently came under fire for a 1972 column describing female rape fantasies, describes himself as a socialist---yet the media treats him like a viable candidate for 2016. Socialism is the most important aspect of Sanders' political identity and goes a long way in helping us understand the media's kid-glove treatment of him. Jennifer Harper of the Washington Times:
The Bernie Effect: Media normalize socialism There’s yet another trend in the trendy news media, identified by more than one concerned critic. Consider a new Investor’s Business Daily editorial titled “The soft-soaping of socialism in the U.S.” The publication focuses on the happy-go-lucky press coverage of a certain Vermont independent making a vigorous run for the White House as a Democrat.

Single payer activists disrupted the inauguration of Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin this weekend. Somewhere between November and now, we forgot to tell them that even though a Democrat won the election, they lost. Mike Donoghue of the Burlington Free Press:
Police ID 29 arrested at Statehouse protest The Vermont State Police have identified the 29 protesters arrested on suspicion of unlawful trespass for ignoring orders to leave the Statehouse following a sit-in Thursday in Montpelier. James Haslam, executive director of the Vermont Workers' Center and the organizer of the sit-in protest over single-payer health care on the day of Gov. Peter Shumlin's inauguration, was not among them. "I had some commitments in the morning to deliver two little kids to school. Family comes first," Haslam told the Burlington Free Press. Haslam, who kept his distance, said others were prepared to be arrested. For his part, Shumlin said he was disappointed some protesters tried to interrupt his inaugural address, but was bothered more that the demonstrators disrupted the final benediction by the Rev. Robert Potter of the Peacham Congregational Church. "I found it heartbreaking," he said.
The incident was caught on video, watch it below.

The ultra-liberal state of Vermont never liked Obamacare but not for the reasons most Americans object to the law. Vermont felt it didn't go far enough and was determined to establish its own single payer system. As of this week, that plan is dead. Sarah Wheaton of Politico:
Why single payer died in Vermont Vermont was supposed to be the beacon for a single-payer health care system in America. But now its plans are in ruins, and its onetime champion Gov. Peter Shumlin may have set back the cause. Advocates of a “Medicare for all” approach were largely sidelined during the national Obamacare debate. The health law left a private insurance system in place and didn’t even include a weaker “public option” government plan to run alongside more traditional commercial ones. So single-payer advocates looked instead to make a breakthrough in the states. Bills have been introduced from Hawaii to New York; former Medicare chief Don Berwick made it a key plank of his unsuccessful primary race for Massachusetts governor. Vermont under Shumlin became the most visible trailblazer. Until Wednesday, when the governor admitted what critics had said all along: He couldn’t pay for it.
Advocates of a single payer healthcare system may not realize just how bad this news is for them. Vermont was their best shot. John Fund of National Review noted this:
Health-care experts from outside Vermont point out some of the implications. “It’s a very liberal state, and its leaders spent years trying to design a system that would work,” Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute observes. “If Vermont can’t make it work, single-payer can’t work anywhere in the country where the economy has free and competitive markets. It’s more evidence that centralized government health care is simply not workable in America.”
All is not lost for the Green Mountain state. One of their senators might even run for president.

In a new edition of Firewall, Bill Whittle explains why believing in Socialism requires the same thought process as believing in the Loch Ness Monster. Here's a partial transcript via Truth Revolt:
Ah, Progressives! You really have to – well, not admire them exactly – but if not admire them then at least grant them a grudging respect for the tenacity of their beliefs. Unfortunately for them, the Socialist utopia is a Cryptid, which, according to Wikipedia’s serviceable definition, is “a creature whose existence has been suggested but has not been discovered or documented by the scientific community.” Here’s another example of a cryptid: it’s called the Loch Ness Monster. Like the socialist utopia, the Loch Ness Monster requires a lot of magical thinking. Magical thinking is not wishful thinking. “It sure would be cool if there was a Loch Ness Monster!” That’s wishful thinking.
From there, Whittle examines the Socialist states progressives often point to as models of success such as Sweden and then knocks down those examples like a house of cards. In a particularly eloquent moment, Bill points out:

The seemingly inexorable march towards economic socialism and political statism has been accomplished through legislative and judicial ratchets which, once established, were all but impossible to reverse in part because the filibuster helped lock in the agenda and those supporting the agenda. Because of the ratchet, the nation moved only in one direction: Towards redistribution of wealth, and bigger government. Because of the ratchet, there was little or no hope of fundamental reversals. Not anymore. When Democrats -- the embodiment of redistribution and statism -- exercised the Nuclear Option yesterday, they blew up the ratchet. The filibuster is dead for all purposes, even if superficially only as to non-Supreme Court nomninees. No one will respect the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees or important legislation -- the Senate can't be half pregnant. Ezra Klein gives several reasons whey the filibuster effectively is dead for all purposes, and why that may be a good thing for Republicans in the near term, Nine reasons the filibuster change is a huge deal:
8. There's a lot of upside for Republicans in how this went down. It came at a time when Republicans control the House and are likely to do so for the duration of President Obama's second term, so the weakening of the filibuster will have no effect on the legislation Democrats can pass. The electoral map, the demographics of midterm elections, and the political problems bedeviling Democrats make it very likely that Mitch McConnell will be majority leader come 2015 and then he will be able to take advantage of a weakened filibuster. And, finally, if and when Republicans recapture the White House and decide to do away with the filibuster altogether, Democrats won't have much of an argument when they try to stop them....
The inexorable march no longer is inexorable.
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