Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein and Gary Johnson: False Messiahs and Why Third Parties Don't Succeed.

The nominees of the two major parties, we are reminded endlessly, have historic unfavorable ratings in polls. Of the two nominees Hillary Clinton has received withering criticism on her trustworthiness and honesty even in comparison to, yes, Donald Trump. Every mention of Clinton's numbers on honesty is often wistfully compared to Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein, both of whom are not seen as part of the Democratic party establishment. If Sanders's and Stein's records were examined even superficially one could see that they don't stack better than Clinton on trustworthiness and their policy prescriptions border on economic fantasy. It is with good reason that Third Parties have been relegated to the fringe in American politics.

First, Bernie Sanders. Sanders mounted a very impressive and completely unforeseen candidacy that almost rattled Clinton's camp. While Sanders and his supporters shred Clinton for being, well, a politician what went almost unnoticed or unexamined is how hypocritical Sanders himself was or how venal a politician Sanders was.

Sanders, like Obama before him, endlessly excoriated Clinton for her vote that authorized Bush to go to war against Iraq. Sanders claimed that like Cassandra he predicted the mess that would follow an invasion of Iraq. He also criticized the US defense spending. What is the real record?

Picture courtesy Wikipedia. Bernie Sanders.
If US intervention and regime change troubled Sanders so much then why did he vote for NATO bombing campaign in Yugoslavia? An adviser to Sanders quit and wrote a stinging letter calling him out on his hypocrisy then. Sanders also supported the war against Afghanistan after 9/11. He said he could not support the invasion of Iraq because there was no plan and that it would destabilize a region and draw the US into a protracted war. In fact all that was truer for Afghanistan, a war that Sanders eagerly voted in support of. Note, Sanders opposed the war against Iraq not only because unlike Afghanistan war it was pre-emptive in nature but more critically for the reasons mentioned previously and those reasons hold good for Afghanistan too. Essentially Sanders knew that voting against the Afghan war would be politically suicide and in a typical pattern he caved and voted out of political expediency.

The US army's most expensive program to date is the F-35 stealth bomber project that, at $1.2 Trillion, has overrun cost by hundreds of billions of dollars. Sanders supported that too because the defense contractor Lockheed Martin created jobs, thanks to that pork bill, in Vermont. For a man who railed with manufactured rage against regime change Sanders cheerfully voted for the 1998 regime change in Iraq legislation. The so called peacenik also would not stop drone programs, widely blamed for the death of hundreds of civilians. Some Messiah this Sanders is. When anti-war supporters occupied his office Sanders had them duly arrested.

Asked about his Kosovo vote during a debate Sanders bristled "Well, obviously, I voted, when President Clinton said, 'Let's stop ethnic cleansing in Kosovo,' I voted for that". Note, the humanitarian rescue excuse was what Obama and Clinton gave for Libya too and Sanders admonished Clinton for that adventurism.

Though Sanders voted against the Iraq war he has consistently voted in support of the funding for not just iraq war but for all that wars too. A President Sanders would keep the thousands of troops currently in Afghanistan he said. The sulfurous stench of hypocrisy is more revolting.

Hillary Clinton took heat for supporting Bill Clinton's Crime Bill in the 1990s. Promoting the bill in the 90s Hillary labeled violent offenders as 'super predators that have to be brought to heel'. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter today that remark haunted her on the trail. She apologized. Bill Clinton, however, drew attention to the fact that Sanders had indeed voted for the bill and that the bill, faulty by hindsight, did stanch the crime wave that was sweeping then. Also, back then Bill Clinton was leading the Democrats into a new era by showing that they too, like Republicans, could be tough on crime. Sanders escaped all criticism for his vote while Hillary took heat.

Sanders piously claimed that he supported the crime bill because there was a restriction against assault weapons in the bill. NBC anchor Chuck Todd refuted him in an interview that that was not true. Yet, it is Hillary Clinton that is seen as "liar".

Until 2012 not even Barack Obama was in favor of gay marriage. Asked in 2008 Obama wriggled out of supporting marriage equality. Bill Clinton, and Hilary's support of, the now much maligned 'Defense of marriage act' (DOMA) was made an issue by Sanders who claimed he was for gay marriage ahead of Hillary.

While Sanders voted against DOMA and claimed this year that he did so because the act discriminated against gay marriage. Liar. Time magazine traced Sanders's evolution on gay marriage and cited an answer he gave in 1996 where his wife and Chief of staff Jane Sanders told "Associated Press reporter in July 1996 that he opposed the law because it weakened the section of the constitution that says sates must respect laws that are made in other states. 'We're not legislating values. We have to follow the Constitution'". Liar, Liar pants of fire.

Was Hillary being politically expedient in supporting gay marriage in 2013, after Obama did? Of course yes. But so was Sanders when he strategically kept mum on supporting his successor in the mayor's office in his efforts to legalize gay marriage. A Vermont political reporter said that getting Sanders to opine on the issue was like "pulling teeth from a rhinoceros". Rachel Maddow of MSNBC confronted Sanders on his refusal to back gay marriage in 2006 in Vermont. Sanders sheepishly said it was because he thought "give us more time" because of the political climate at that time. Maddox torched him, "Isn't that the same kind of tactical thinking, same kind of pragmatism, that may have driven the decision for which you criticized Secretary Clinton". Oh the saintly Sanders.

The policy prescriptions of Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein show why they are still outside the mainstream of American politics.

Bernie Sanders fired up the millennials with a simple promise, free college. I too love free lunch but I remember the caution of economists that when somebody offers lunch it is because they're are stealing my breakfast and possibly my dinner too. Both Sanders and Stein sell this snake oil of 'free college' and it is their ticket to popularity.

The non-partisan fact checking site Politifact rated Sanders's claim that his free college program will be paid for by a tax on Wall Street transactions as "mostly false" because Sanders often fails to mention that his plan critically depends on States providing a third of the funding. So, even if one takes a lowered estimate of revenue raised by taxing stock transactions there's a huge chunk that remains unfunded. Liar, liar, pants of fire. Politifact does not get into the messy question of whether taxing wall street transactions is itself a good idea economically speaking. NPR further dented the case in a fact checking article that concluded that free college does not necessarily create "the most educated workforce" and pointed out that countries which have better educated work force than US do not offer free college. The US itself does quite well in the rankings.

This is NOT to say that the US does not have a problem regarding College tuition increases but it is only to say that free college is not the magic bullet. Further, it is a fact that student aid programs, following the immutable laws of economics, does increase inflation, and in this case that means tuition increase.

Both Stein and Sanders rail and rant against Health Insurance companies when they discuss healthcare costs but when it comes to college costs the only question is how to fund it, not, how to control it. But then any talk of cost control would alienate the drooling liberal campuses of their support.

Sanders and Stein also gloss over the fact that with funding free college government will play an explicit role in college education as it now does, locally and at federal level, in school education. Tax payers will demand government oversight of quality. UK does it. Any such suggestion or even a hint of it will make the millennials run away like they'd do from plague

While Sanders and Stein rave and rant, perhaps a tad justifiably, about corporate lobbying they are least bothered by Universities that lobbied enough to make the Obama administration drop a measure that rated universities and degrees according to rates of return (ROI). In their zeal to promote free college these Marxist duo give no thought to the fact that students who pursue their passion in esoteric or less employable fields would be educating themselves at taxpayer expense. Many university courses lack appreciable returns because the degrees are, well, worthless. Yes, their plan is only to give free tuition in public universities but then many are just plain useless anyway. Also these candidates who have no idea of economics do not understand that free tuition would see these public universities struggling to deal with an onrush of students and students who flock here would deprive other universities of money. While superficially it may seem desirable it is not. Two professors who study College costs critiqued Sanders's plan in an oped in Washington Post. Federal attempts to steer money to states that participate in the program while starving the rest will only deepen a crisis elsewhere

Jill Stein's interview with Cenk Uygur of the ultra left wing channel Young Turks is revelatory in a Freudian sense. Launching into a lengthy monologue that can be picked line by line for half truths and playing loose with facts by any fact checker Dr. Stein lays out why her campaign should be appealing to "43 million young people, and going into middle age and beyond, who are trapped in predatory student loan debt" (transcript from Slate). The appeal, Stein says is simple, "there's only one place that they can put their votes in order to cancel their debt". Yep. As simple as that. I come from India, where politicians promise illiterate farmers that hundreds of millions of dollars in farm loans can be written off. They win, they write off the loans and of course it does nobody any good.

Pic Courtesy Wikipedia. Jill Stein
The justification, Stein says, is that the government wrote off $4 Trillion for wall street "crooks" who "crashed the economy". Even a very ideologically sympathetic interviewer like Uighur had to intervene to say that TARP was a loan that was repaid by banks. Penny for penny, with usurious interest. The Federal Reserve made really good profit on TARP. Unfazed, Stein continues her utopian math to say that the hundreds of billions given to banks in the name of Quantitative Easing (QE) could be mimicked to write off student loans. Never mind the fact that to do so a President Stein would have to unconstitutionally order the Federal Reserve to do so. Why bother learning what a President can do or cannot do when there is no chance of becoming president?

Quantitative Easing, assailed by the left and right, was not the invention of some cabal to line the pockets of pin stripe suits in Wall Street. Rather, QE was a very innovative, albeit controversial, financial methodology that the Federal Reserve, under the chairmanship of Ben Bernanke, a student of the Great Depression, to ease credit flow and to create jobs. QE had it's share of detractors surely but it was not a ponzi scheme to enrich a few suits.

Not content with parading her financial illiteracy Jill Stein went on to equate loan write offs to the GI bill. The GI Bill, god bless the Greatest Generation, was not a loan write off or a hand out, rather, it was the debt of gratitude paid by a nation in 'EXCHANGE' for services rendered, the ultimate sacrifice, by the youth of this country. If Dr. Stein proposes free education in exchange for military service then that is already in vogue and nothing revolutionary but any such suggestion on a large scale would have her brood of peaceniks puking, not, lapping up. Uygur's reaction to all this "you are definitely to the left of me". To be left of Uygur means it is lecturing Marx on how to do redistribution better than what the Communist Manifesto said.

Oh by the way guess who voted for deregulating the Commodities Futures Trading Modernization Act of 2000 that the 2011 Financial Crises Inquiry report, CBS news in a fact check of Hillary Clinton's statement at a debate wrote, identified as one that "contributed significantly to this crisis". CBS fact check also noted that when even more provisions were added as to preventing the government from regulating the over-the-counter-derivatives, Sanders "voted in favor of that too". OTC (over the counter) derivates where blamed big time for the financial crisis. Yes, Bill Clinton signed the bill but it is Hillary Clinton on the ballot and it was Sanders who stood on a stage and characterized, with righteous fury, for being a stooge of Wall Street. Some stooge, some righteousness. Shame on Sanders and those who drink his kool aid.

If anyone thinks a few pin stripe suits brought down the world's richest economy to its knees they're being naive. It was the perfect storm in which bankers, consumers, culture of greed, politicians who promoted the 'American dream', conservatives, republicans, democrats, independents and even mega church televangelists who were selling the 'prosperity gospel', all played a role. A good place to learn is Raghuram Rajan's "Fault Lines". Those who revel in conspiracy theories about QE etc should learn what happened to the world's economy when central bankers dragged their feet during Great Depression in Liaqat Ahmed's Pulitzer winning book "Lords of Finance".

Jill Stein and the left wing make a fetish of science when they piously point out how scientists have agreed that Climate change is man made. The same left wing and Dr. Stein included react with apoplectic horror when confronted with the fact that equally good number of scientists have agreed that Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) are good. I guess everyone loves science only when it confirms their 'beliefs'.

Ripping into Stein's demand to reduce US defense spending by 50% and to "close more than 700 foreign military bases" Slate columnist in a piece titled "Jill Stein's ideas are terrible. She is not the savior the left is looking for", wrote that those ideas sound like they were "hatched in an old Bay area commune". Ouch.

This obsession over defense budget often obfuscates more inconvenient truths. US defense budget is, while being a whopper at nearly $600 billion (almost the equivalent of the next 14 countries defense spending), only 16.2% of the overall budget while Social Security and Healthcare take 43.3% (25.3% and 28% respectively). Medicare spending was $540 billion in 2015 and is projected by Kaiser Family Foundation to reach $1 Trillion in another ten years, 2026.

Affordable Care Act was a financial boondoggle as Americans are beginning to realize this year with soaring premiums. Sanders had his catchy "medicare for all" program. Sure it looks good on a bumper sticker. But no thanks. The so called Single Payer systems of Canada and most notably UK are plagued by their own problems. UK's crown jewel the NIH is literally facing a revolt from doctors who hate the over-regulation of their hours and meager salaries. Sanders never speaks of those and nobody calls him out on those.

Bernie Sanders's home state of Vermont tried the Single Payer system and it crashed to a grand failure almost overwhelming the revenue of the entire state. The cost, Boston Globe reported, "would nearly double the size of the state's budget in the first year alone and require large tax increases for residents and businesses". Snake oil.

An Associated Press opinion poll clearly showed that everyone loves to support Single payer system healthcare ideas as long as they personally don't have to pay more in taxes. While 39% supported a single payer system (33% oppose and 26% are 'neither for nor against') the support drops to 28% if it meant "your own taxes would increase".

Left leaning economists, not the conservative types, pegged the costs of Sanders's programs at an eye popping $2-3 Trillion dollars a year. Sanders scolded them as sellouts and the "establishment". Paul Krugman, a darling of the left thanks to a Nobel Prize in Economics, ridiculed Sanders for his pie-in-sky programs with a valid admonition that the Democrats have created a public image that, unlike the Republicans and their irresponsible policy of unfunded multi-trillion dollar tax cut programs, they can be looked up to for realistic proposals and Sanders's ludicrous tax and spend proposals dent that carefully cultivated image.

Sanders summoned his usual moral outrage during a debate while answering to a question on how Denmark achieves all his pet proposals and has a robust free market economy. Hillary Clinton retorted "we are not Denmark". Retorts have a momentary effect and Clinton did not proceed to dismantle Sanders's rosy picture of Denmark. First, in Denmark the top income tax rate is 60% at income above $60,000. Welcome to socialism where none is rich and all are uniformly poor.

Michael Booth, author of "The almost nearly perfect people: Behind the myth of the Scandinavian utopia", told the Washington Post that "few actually seek to move to Scandinavia, for obvious reasons: the weather is appalling, the taxes are the highest in the world, the cost of living is similarly ridiculous". Booth also adds that Denmark, which "promotes itself as a green pioneer and finger wags the world about CO2 emissions, and yet it regularly beats the U.S. and virtually every other country" in "per capita ecological footprint".Incidentally, irritated by a Democratic Socialist touting the merits of Denmark, the Prime Minister of Denmark told an American audience that "Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy".

Sanders's intellectual dishonesty is breathtaking and makes Hillary Clinton look like, well, not a saint, but a regular politician. Sanders always pretended that his programs are easily paid for by taxing a minority whereas in reality, as Hillary Clinton reminded repeatedly, his proposals will result in Denmark style taxes on all, especially the middle class. Sanders was selling snake oil to gullible voters that they could enjoy Denmark style socialism with American style taxation where 47% do not pay federal income tax and the top 10% pay the largest part of income tax. Chutzpah thy name is Sanders. Naivete thy name is 'Sanders voter'.

Jill Stein also illustrates why third party candidates wallow in the low single digits. We often ridicule the nominees of the two major parties for being politicians, and by that we mean whores pandering to every voters. Reality is different. The last election saw 120 million voters exercise franchise and Obama won over Romney by 4% margin. The US population is 324 million. Appealing to nearly 40% is no mean feat and to garner 51% of that vote is sheer acrobatics. One has to sing a certain tune in Iowa and a different tune in California while not antagonizing the voter in Ohio or Michigan and without forgetting the voter in Florida. In a social media age when a remark in a California fundraiser, as Obama learned, could ricochet in a Pennsylvania primary we need to tip our hat to the nominees of the major parties. The two major parties are far bigger ideological tents than we give them credit for. And for anyone to become the nominee there's bound to be pandering and contradictions.

Third party candidates flame out because often they are nothing but the extreme fringe of the two major parties. The Green party of Stein is an extreme fringe variety of the Democrats and the Libertarian party of Gary Johnson is an extreme fringe variety of the GOP. As fringe variations their policy menu is thin and appeals to a very thin sliver of the electorate albeit a very maniacally committed and disillusioned sliver.

Hillary Clinton is often mocked for being over-prepared and less spontaneous. This election cycle in debate after debate, in conversations with editorial boards across the country Clinton won plaudits for knowing what she was talking. Editorial board interviews, like the one with New York Daily News, were unmitigated disasters for Sanders. In a year when media are distrusted by the left and the right Editorial boards released entire transcripts to justify the endorsement editorials. TV debates that squeeze candidates to answer complex topics in miserly 1 minute or 30 second rebuttals were an injustice but editorial boards gave Sanders all the time he needed to answer a question. New York Daily News pressed Sanders on his signature issue of breaking the banks and Sanders could not, in a very lengthy answer, offer any coherent reply. Jill Sanders later termed the interview an 'inquisition'. Sore loser. Left leaning online magazines 'Daily Kos' and 'Mother Jones' in addition to other mainstream media called the interview an unmitigated disaster. The interviewers were aghast at his absolute ignorance and that too on his banner issue. During a debate Sanders rambled on Climate change when asked about Syria.

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, a darling of the neither Hillary nor Trump crowd, could not remember where the city of Aleppo is and why it is at the heart of the Syrian tragedy. One could say that these are gotcha questions and that Clinton with all her knowledge of facts still pursued disastrous policies around the world. That intellectuals and erudite people make mistakes, and they sure do, does not mean we entrust the highest office of the land to the completely ignorant. That is idiocy. It is funny to see Sanders voters flock to Gary Johnson. Johnson has nothing in common with anything Sanders promoted.

We mock the nominees for being extra cautious but let's not forget that we as voters do not reward carelessness either. The nominees go to extreme lengths to select non-controversial VP candidates as running mates only to avoid the embarrassments Jill Stein would've faced with her choice of Ajamu Baraka if she had represented a major party.

Ajamu Baraka unflinchingly calls Obama, the nation's first black president, an "Uncle Tom". Just as Sanders gleefully tarred and feathered any and all of his critics as sellouts and "establishment", Baraka, when Sanders meekly endorsed Clinton, called him a "media driven pseudo-opposition" and an "ideological prop of the capitalist imperialist-settler state". Take that Sanders. Oh and Cornel West, a Sanders supporter who in turn called Obama an 'uncle Tom', was labeled as "sheep-dogging for the democrats". Wikipedia lists selected insults of Baraka's sharp tongue. Not satisfied with colorful tongue lashing Baraka holds positions like not awarding death sentence to Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma city bomber. A VP nominee like Baraka will sink any presidential candidate unless of course the candidate is moving heaven and earth to not rise above 3% in the polls like Jill Stein is doing with vigor.

The ultimate utopia was by Jill Stein when she offered "jobs as rights". The government, Stein says, should be the employer of last resort. Current US unemployment hovers around 5%. Under Stein's proposal the government would give them all a job. Fantastic, pray can I have my entree and dessert with it too. What kind of job can the government give? At what pay? Do personal aspirations count or is it any job doled by the government? What differentiates deserving personal aspirations from unrealistic expectations?

Historian Richard Hofstadter in "The idea of a party system: The rise of legitimate opposition in the United States, 1780-1840" captures perfectly the two areas where third parties fail and that explains why the bigger tent major parties survive. America's founding fathers hated party politics but in due course they did arise. Of the three defining characteristics of an opposition party that Hoftstadter specifies two are relevant to our discussion.

An opposition party should be responsible and by that he means that it "contains within itself the potential of an actual alternative government- that is, its critique of existing policies is not simply a wild attempt to outbid the existing regime in promises, but a sober attempt to formulate alternative policies which t believes to be capable of execution within the existing historical and economic framework, and to offer as its executors a competent alternative personnel that can actually govern". Sanders, Stein and Johnson clearly fail this.

Hofstadter adds, "I do not mean to prejudge the question whether a non-responsible critique of government may not have also have some value", "programs and critiques that are essentially utopian in content may have practical results of they bring neglected grievances to the surface or if they open lines of thought that have not been aired by less alienated and less imaginative centers of power". While Clinton did offer a plan to curtail college debt the utopia of Sanders had unleashed a clamor and compelled Clinton to tack further left than she would've done otherwise. While Sanders unleashed a dream it will remain to a Clinton to deliver at least half the promise. A New York Times article today on College debt comparing Clinton's and Trump's proposals shows how rooted in pragmatism and therefore in incrementalism Clinton is. This is the proper function of a democracy. Though Sanders hijacked the Democratic party he achieved more than he'd have had he run as a third party candidate. Sanders has reshaped the Democratic party whereas Stein will be remembered as the person who could not get elected as dog catcher.

Second principle is that an opposition should be effective. An 'effective' opposition is one whose "capability of winning office is also real, that it has institutional structure and the public force which makes it possible for us to expect that sooner or later it will in fact take office and bring to power an alternative personnel". Seen in this light Sanders gate crashing the Democratic party after having been an independent for decades is a sagacious decision but one which also demanded that he play by the rules if he lost the race. This is not the place to extensively debunk the idea of Sanders losing due to a rigged system, check my blog on Hillary Clinton for that. Having lost the race Sanders held out the carrot of endorsement long enough to extract ideological concessions.

Until Donald Trump scrambled the ideological contours of the two parties they represented the yin and yang of the society very well. Any society, let alone America, struggles with two ideologically competing forces. On one side the individual is a unit of society and exists for the sake of the latter in an uneasy truce. On the other side there is no society but a jangle of individuals cohabiting and bound to each by commerce and accommodation of competing self interests. Historian Arthur Schlesinger identified these as "private action" and "public purpose" and said that in American politics they alternatively gain the upper hand in what he labeled "the cycles of American history". The Democratic party and GOP are large ideological tents that have nice demarcated limits and yet accommodating a wide spectrum of ideological shades within their limits. Green party and libertarian party represent ideological extremes that can never garner the support of the larger majorities and therefore are condemned to remain on the fringe. There is no conspiracy to keep the fringe parties in the fringe.

While Hillary Clinton released 30 years of her tax returns Bernie Sanders released just one year's returns and that too without all the schedules attached. After ending his candidacy the Sanderses bought a nice $600K beach house, their third. While he is perfectly at liberty to buy any number of homes he could afford it does smack of hypocrisy when it is a guy who often spoke against CEO salaries. After all if we cannot decide how many homes Sanders should own he too cannot be deciding how much salary if enough for a person, that's between the CEO and his shareholders. Further if Clinton, thanks to the millions she has, cannot speak for the poor then Sanders too cannot speak for the poor.

George Orwell in his essay on Gandhi said that saints are to be judged guilty until proven innocent. Sanders, Stein and Johnson are certainly no saints and they, sure as hell, are not innocent.


Bernie Sanders related links:

  1. Left leaning economists question cost of Bernie Sanders's plans - NYT http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/16/us/politics/left-leaning-economists-question-cost-of-bernie-sanderss-plans.html?_r=1
  2. NPR Fact Check "Bernie Sanders promises free college. http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/02/17/466730455/fact-check-bernie-sanders-promises-free-college-will-it-work
  3. Politifact rates Bernie Sanders's claim that Wall Street taxes would pay for his college plan as "Mostly False" http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/apr/04/bernie-s/bernie-sanders-says-wall-street-tax-would-pay-his-/
  4. Oped by Professors of College of William and Mary in Washington Post "Why Bernie Sanders's free college plan doesn't make sense" - https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2016/04/22/why-bernie-sanderss-free-college-plan-doesnt-make-sense/
  5. Sander's Free public college is a bad idea - US News - http://www.usnews.com/opinion/knowledge-bank/2015/05/27/why-bernie-sanders-free-public-college-plan-is-a-bad-idea
  6. CBS News Fact check of Sanders vote for modernizing Commodities and Futures trading http://www.cbsnews.com/news/fact-checking-hillary-clinton-on-bernie-sanders-financial-votes/
  7. Boston Globe article on Vermont shutting down Single Payer System https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2015/01/25/costs-derail-vermont-single-payer-health-plan/VTAEZFGpWvTen0QFahW0pO/story.html
  8. Associated Press opinion poll on Healthcare taxes http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/02/people-have-no-idea-what-single-payer-means/471045/
  9. "Bernie Sanders's Iraq War Hypocrisy" - http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/02/16/blood-traces-bernies-iraq-war-hypocrisy/
  10. "Bernie Sanders' Troubling History of Supporting U.S. Military Violence Abroad" - http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/bernie-sanders-troubling-history-supporting-us-military-violence-abroad
  11. "Bernie Sanders' Elephant in the Room" http://theantimedia.org/bernie-sanders-elephant-in-the-room/
  12. "Bernie Sanders Supports Keeping Troops in Afghanistan" - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bernie-sanders-afghanistan_us_5623b601e4b08589ef47bdaa
  13. "Bernie Sanders Voting Record Antithetical to his purported anti-war stance" http://www.mintpressnews.com/bernie-sanders-voting-record-antithetical-to-his-purported-anti-war-stance/208066/
  14. "Bernie Sanders Loves this $1 Trillion War Machine" - http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/02/09/bernie-sanders-loves-this-1-trillion-war-machine.html
  15. Michael Booth interview in Washington POst on "Why Denmark isn't the utopian fantasy Bernie Sanders describes" https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/11/03/why-denmark-isnt-the-utopian-fantasy-bernie-sanders-describes/
  16. "Denmark tells Bernie Sanders to sop lying about their country" - http://www.headlinepolitics.com/denmark-tells-bernie-sanders-stop-lying-country/
  17. "Sanders buys $600K beach house" - http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/290887-sanders-buys-nearly-600k-summer-home
  18. Federal Spending pie chart http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/aug/17/facebook-posts/pie-chart-federal-spending-circulating-internet-mi/
  19. Medicare spending detail - Kaiser Family Foundation- http://kff.org/medicare/issue-brief/the-facts-on-medicare-spending-and-financing
  20. Bernie Sanders interview with New York Daily News http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/transcript-bernie-sanders-meets-news-editorial-board-article-1.2588306
  21. Jill Sanders calls NY Daily News interview an 'inquisition' http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/04/sanders-wife-calls-nydn-interview-inquisition.html
  22. "Sanders burns himself in New York Daily News Interview" - Daily Kos - http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/4/5/1510987/-Sanders-Burns-Himself-in-New-York-Daily-News-Interview-Media-Roundup

Jill Stein:
  1. "Jill Stein's ideas are terrible. She is not the savior the left is looking for" - Slate (includes the link to interview with Cenk Uygur) - http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2016/07/27/jill_stein_is_not_the_savior_the_left_is_looking_for.html
  2. Ajamu Baraka https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajamu_Baraka
Gary Johnson:

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