In 1971 the Pentagon Papers were disclosed to the public. They revealed that the Johnson Administration had “systematically lied, not only to the public but also to Congress” about the Vietnam War. 
Just one month ago the Washington Post disclosed government documents revealing that “senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign.” 
We’ve also known for years that we were lied into a war in Iraq when the U.S. failed to discover the so-called “weapons of mass destruction” the neocons in the Bush Administration were fear mongering about. The Center for Public Integrity reported that “President Bush and top administration officials made more than 900 false statements in the two years following Sept. 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Iraq under Saddam Hussein…. The statements by Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, then National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other officials ‘were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.'” 
Now we have the Trump Administration claiming that we were facing an “imminent” threat from Iranian general Qasem Soleimani to justify the U.S. strike that killed him last week. YET they haven’t provided ANY evidence of that claim to Congress. 
While, for now, it appears that we may be backing off from all out war as a result of Iran’s measured and limited response, tensions have increased and the least little thing might trigger a very deadly conflict. 
In 2002 the U. S. Armed Forces conducted a $250 million war game against Iran called “Millennium Challenge 2002.” It was supposed to last 14 days, but the retired Marine Corps general they picked to command Iran’s (“Red”) forces basically wiped out most of the U.S. Navy (“Blue” forces) in that area in a strike on the first day (which would have resulted in the deaths of over 20,000 U.S. service personnel).
The game was suspended and restarted, and the participants were ordered to follow a script drafted to ensure a victory of U.S. (“Blue”) forces. In objection to the new script restricting him, the retired general complained and resigned from the game. 
This is not saying what might happen today in a real conflict with the current actors, and possibly things have been learned since then, but Iran’s forces are supposedly 4 times greater than what the U.S. faced in Iraq, and that conflict resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people on both sides, cost trillions of dollars, and we’re still involved in a conflict there 16 years later. 
In other words, a war with Iran would likely not be as quick and easy as some are saying, and we shouldn’t automatically believe ANYTHING coming out of the mouths of Trump, his administration, senior U.S. officials involved in the military industrial complex, war mongering representatives in the House or Senate, or war mongering pundits on cable.
Another thing to keep in mind is that there are a group of neocons who have been pushing for conflicts like this for many years now (going back as far as the George H. W. Bush Administration). They were behind the War in Iraq during the George W. Bush Administration and they still have a lot of influence. John Bolton is just one of them. 
8. Iraq War
Years ago Pelosi blocked the House from launching impeachment hearings of George W. Bush and recently admitted she KNEW the Bush administration was lying about Iraq at the time.
Up until recently Pelosi fought against launching an impeachment inquiry of Trump (which should have started over a year ago) until she was dragged into it. Up until then, she was his foremost enabler by resisting it.
Then Pelosi successfully limited the scope of the impeachment inquiry of Trump to Ukraine. By limiting the scope of impeachment she placed a poor political calculation over the oath she swore to protect the Constitution.
In the same week as articles for impeachment were passed in the House, Pelosi and establishment Democrats gave Trump some of the biggest wins of his presidency (the USMCA Trade deal and a new defense spending bill that increases spending by $22 billion, gives Trump money for his border wall, and formally establishes Trump’s “Space Force”).
Now Pelosi seems to think that delaying sending the articles of impeachment over to the Senate will somehow give her leverage over how the Senate will conduct the trial. I’m not sure why she believes this gives her any leverage AT ALL. I’m sure they’d be HAPPY if she NEVER sends it over. The longer she delays the more public support will decline, and the better Republicans will be able to frame it to their advantage.
Democrats are so wimpy.
I’m no fan of Pelosi who had to be dragged into conducting an impeachment inquiry into Trump–almost against her will. Up until then, she was his foremost enabler by resisting one. An impeachment inquiry should have been launched over a year ago even before the Mueller Report came out. Now the inquiry has been limited to Ukraine, and there are only two articles of impeachment.
Trump is an unindicted co-conspirator involving the violation of campaign finance laws, which his former lawyer Michael Cohen is already serving time for committing. Adding that to the articles of impeachment should have been a lay-up. Robert Mueller outlined 10 occasions where Trump obstructed justice in his report, so adding those shouldn’t have been very hard either. There’s also enough public information to add violations of the emoluments clause to the articles.
Michael Cohen testified before Congress that Trump previously lowered values of his property for tax purposes and raised them to obtain loans which indicates he has committed both tax and bank fraud. Maybe Democrats could have discovered more about that (as well as likely money laundering of Russian oligarchs) if they had been investigating Trump’s financial interests and making a concerted effort to obtain Trump’s business and tax returns much, much earlier. Legislators in New York went out of their way to make it possible for Rep. Richard Neal (Democratic Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee) to ask for Trump’s state tax returns, but Neal dragged his feet long enough for Trump to start lawsuits to stop them from being released for the time being. Neal also dragged his feet before he requested Trump’s federal tax returns. And, after the Treasury Department refused to furnish them, Neal waited MONTHS before suing the Treasury and the IRS to try and obtain the documents. In other words, Democrats have never seemed all that interested in “following the money” regarding Trump, where his biggest crimes might have been exposed. [Trump was probably worried that Mueller was looking into the money laundering angle (which would explain his obstruction efforts), but Mueller didn’t.]
Regardless, these are just SOME of the crimes that should have been covered in the hearings and eventually included in any articles of impeachment. IMO, narrowing the focus is a mistake for many reasons, not the least of which is what it signals to the future. As Brian Klaas wrote in a Washington Post article back in October, “There is no clause in the Constitution that allows presidents to commit crimes. If some of his abuses are not included in the eventual articles of impeachment, it sets the precedent that a future president can get away with similar conduct.”
These people in Congress swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. By limiting the scope of impeachment, they are sacrificing principle and violating their oath for a poor political calculation.
A 2014 study conducted by Princeton and Northwestern universities concluded that: “The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence” and “Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organisations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.”
The study found that the influence of the average American is at a “non-significant, near-zero level.”
Earlier, George Carlin argued that:
“The real owners are the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, they’re an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls. They’ve got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies, so that they control just about all of the news and information you hear. They’ve got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying ¬ lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else.”
Carlin argued that we only have the ‘illusion’ of choice. The Princeton and Northwestern study indicates this may be the case: that we already have an oligarchy posing as a democracy.
Probably the #1 progressive issue –above and beyond all others–is the legalized corruption that is taking place in our government which has undermined our democracy to the point that the influence of the average American is at a “non-significant, near-zero level.”
Now, if one REALLY believes that climate change is an EXISTENTIAL threat to humanity, and that we only have about 12 years to turn things around before we are screwed like the climate scientists are telling us (which obviously means that we need to START taking BOLD action ASAP in order begin to turn things around by the 12 year mark), then we will need someone LEADING who will PUSH to take the BOLD action we need to save ourselves.
Of course, politicians bought and paid for by the fossil fuel industry aren’t going to be interested in taking strong action on climate change. Just like politicians who take money from the NRA aren’t going to be interested in any gun control, politicians who receive money from the pharmaceutical industry and health insurance companies aren’t going to be interested in “Medicare for all,” politicians receiving large donations from corporations aren’t going to be interested in raising the minimum wage, politicians who have been corrupted by Big Money donors aren’t going to be interested in getting money out of politics and returning us to our Democracy, and so on and on.
Polls continue to show that this kind of legalized corruption is a top concern among all voters.
Why would anyone want to vote FOR a candidate who is corrupted by corporate interests over ours? Why would anyone want to vote FOR an oligarchy that doesn’t represent them?? Why would anyone want to vote FOR a candidate who may be willing to compromise humanity’s future regarding climate change by not taking bold enough action in time???
So, if Trump gets reelected, we’re screwed, BUT if we elect a candidate who is willing to compromise humanity’s future by not taking bold enough action regarding climate change in time, we are just as screwed.
This is just ONE reason I support progressive candidates like Bernie Sanders and Justice Democrats like AOC. They’re NOT corrupted by the establishment oligarchy, so they can actually represent the People instead, and they are already pushing for BOLD action regarding climate change.
I would not be willing to bet humanity’s future on anyone who is corrupted by corporate interests, no matter what they might promise to get elected.
Here’s the second reason…
If it’s purely a matter of who stands the best chance of beating Trump, regardless of who it is, I think the best argument could be made for Sanders…
The energy in the Democratic Party is in the progressive wing. That’s the wing that has the most grassroots support.
Not long ago the NYT published a map of candidates with the most individual donors across the U.S. (see below).
Bernie Sanders was represented in blue, and blue so dominated the map across the country they had to provide another map that didn’t include him so people could see where all the support for the other candidates were.
Polls continue to show Sanders has the highest favorability ratings of all candidates. He’s the candidate who seems to have the most grassroots support and grassroots energy; he’s the candidate who might do more to motivate the key younger demographic everyone says is most important (as well as those who don’t normally vote); he’s the candidate who did well in 2016 in red states like Kansas, Idaho, and Indiana, and key Trump swing states like Michigan and Wisconsin; he’s the candidate who might be able to peel off the most Republicans (he’s even the top second choice among Biden supporters for some reason); he’s the candidate who we might trust most to fight for the things he’s advocating for (because he has decades of receipts); he’s the candidate who always polls well in head-to-head match-ups against Trump, and so on.
I could also make the argument that despite many of his policy positions being labeled as “radical” and “far left,” they are actually popular and mainstream, but I’ll save going into that here for brevity’s sake.
Right now, the two most viable progressive candidates running are Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. The polls are currently showing them 2 and 3 behind Biden (but together they make up a larger share of Democrats who support them).
Biden is polling best at the moment, but I expect that gaffe machine to eventually self-destruct. And he doesn’t have nearly the grassroots support that Bernie does… or any of the energy.
IMO, anyone with a pulse SHOULD be able to beat Trump in 2020. However, I think the ONLY way Democrats MIGHT lose is if they run another establishment Democrat against a populist once again.
IMO, running establishment, so-called “centrist” candidates (who would rather reach out to Republicans and get their hands slapped every time than inspire their base) is what caused Democrats to lose 1,000 seats across the country leading up to 2016, and it’s what caused all three branches of government to fall into Republican hands before the last mid-terms.
IMO, Trump was so detestable, he inspired enough Democratic voters to get off their asses and give us back the House in the last mid-terms–and hopefully that is evidence of what will happen in 2020–BUT a sure way to KILL that motivation is to spit in the eye of progressives once again.
My hope is that Sanders and Warren come together for the win in the end. I think that will inspire the most enthusiasm and give us the best chance for a landslide that will carry over to the House and Senate (so it will be easier to get progressive policies passed).
Here’s the third reason…
EVEN IF, we elect someone as supposedly “radical” as Sanders (or even Warren), it’s going to be a tremendous uphill battle to bring about the changes needed to get back our democracy and save our planet for humanity.
REMEMBER: for those who may still think progressive ideas are too radical… we don’t elect monarchs or dictators, so whoever is elected probably won’t be able to get all of what they want done to the extent they want to get it done. They will still have to FIGHT for it, and what they do get done will probably end up getting watered down by the opposition (even the opposition in their own party).
But I think Democrats (in general) have forgotten how to get things done.
You DON’T START OUT by trying to compromise.
Democrats should relearn how to play the game Tug-of-War…
When you play Tug-of-War, the objective is to move the opposing team to your side. At the beginning of the game, you DON’T position your team on the boundary between the opposing sides, NOR do you initially position your team on the opposing team’s side and try to drag them onto yours from there. You position your team well on your own side, BEYOND where you expect to eventually pull them!!!
In my opinion, the best and easiest way we can “unify” is for those who would normally back an establishment candidate to back a REAL progressive this time. That way we can keep the energy on our side and bring in younger voters (who might not normally vote).
Now is NOT the time for incrementalism or compromises with corrupt politicians.
Now is the time for bold and dramatic action to save ourselves, our democracy, and our planet.
Right now, I think Sanders and Warren are the most viable candidates who stand a ghost of a chance of doing that.
We can’t afford to waste time trying to reach out to Republicans or compromise with corporate influence, and we can’t afford to waste time with incrementalism and gradualism.
MLK argued against the “tranquilizing drug of gradualism” when he said, “We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there ‘is’ such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.”
If we ever had a time when there was the “fierce urgency of now,” this is it.
If that doesn’t happen, we are screwed.
And it may already be too late.
I have more reasons I could go into, but this should be enough for now.
So, the U.S. spends more on defense than the next 7 countries combined, and—according to the article below—”the Pentagon receives 54 cents out of every dollar in federal appropriations.” That would seem to be the proverbial “elephant in the room” when discussing where our taxpayer money goes. And evidently, the books are cooked and trillions of dollars can’t be tracked.
Yet, many U.S. military families seem to struggle to survive financially.
Something seems to be very wrong with this picture.
Evidently, some other parties besides military families are benefiting from all this money. The ‘Military Industrial Complex’ former President Eisenhower warned everyone about in his Farewell Address is part of a problem that seems to have gone unchecked since his time. Earlier, in his “Chance for Peace” speech (aka: his “Cross of Iron” speech), Eisenhower said:
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
“This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter with a half-million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. . . . This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”
But it seems that BOTH Republicans and Democrats don’t bat an eye when asked to approve military budget spending, which seems to keep increasing and is now the biggest in history. In fact, they were almost falling over each other to see how big of an increase they could approve earlier this year. The amount of JUST the increase–$82 billion—was more than the Trump Administration asked for, and it well surpasses Russia’s entire military budget each year.
I think it’s interesting that when Progressive Democrats propose things like universal health care or free college education (that a majority of Americans support, according to polls), everyone in the establishment wing of the Democrat Party, and most everyone in the establishment mainstream press, starts pushing back about how impractical they are being, and they always ask, “How do you expect to pay for it?”
Maybe we can START by looking at that proverbial and ponderous “elephant in the room.”