Socialist senator to push Congress from left

Stephanie

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Thu Nov 30, 2006 1:40pm ET
By Jason Szep

BURLINGTON, Vermont (Reuters) - From pressing for hearings on Iraq to probing no-bid contracts awarded to Halliburton Co., America's first socialist senator aims to give Congress a hard tilt to the left.

Bernie Sanders, a 16-year veteran of the House of Representatives who swept 65 percent of the vote in Vermont running as an independent in the November 7 elections, says Congress owes voters an exhaustive probe into the White House.

"It is time to ask some hard questions. Why did we go into Iraq and what did the president know and when did he know it," Sanders said in an interview in his Burlington office on a hillside above Lake Champlain near Canada's border.

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"The war in Iraq has been an absolute disaster and it's absolutely imperative that America never again goes that route. That's why we have to ask those questions," he said.

Sanders has voted with Democrats in the House since his first election in 1990 and plans to continue to do so in the Senate, where his vote is needed for Democrats to keep its slim 51-49 majority. Democrats ran no candidate against him in this year's election.

His views described as democratic socialist underscore tension in the new Democratic-controlled Congress between urges to confront and investigate President George W. Bush's administration and to govern from the middle while refraining from the most controversial elements on the liberal agenda.

But Sanders, who eschews the polished, made-for-television style of dress and appearance often favored by Washington's elite for the rumpled look of a distracted professor, said he sees his role as an agitator for dramatic reforms and investigations.

"We also need to answer questions about Halliburton, no bid contracts, Katrina," he said. "We need to ask questions about the connection between the pharmaceutical industry and the writing of the prescription drug Medicare bill."

"The American people are entitled to answers about the behavior of the most reactionary and incompetent administration in modern American history," he said.

That firebrand and iconoclast position has made Sanders, a Brooklyn native, immensely popular in Vermont, where a counter-culture streak runs as thick as its forests and where several towns this year passed resolutions to impeach Bush.

DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST

In 1981, when Sanders narrowly won election as mayor of Burlington, the victory was seen by some business leaders as a "socialist" takeover of the state's largest city.

But after reviving the city's waterfront, creating a downtown pedestrian mall and encouraging investment including a minor league baseball franchise, his popularity grew.

Fears he would have the government take over utilities faded and in 1988 Burlington was rated America's "most livable city" by the U.S. Conference of Mayors in the under-100,000 population category.

"I'm not against people becoming wealthy but there is a limit," he said from his office in a refurbished 19th century Masonic temple. "The only people doing well in this economy are very wealthy and that is an issue that has to be addressed."

Sanders, who at 65 is the oldest member of the Senate's freshman class of 2006, said he would target the lack of health insurance for 48 million Americans, loss of manufacturing jobs, trade policies that send jobs overseas, tax breaks for the wealthy and corporate control of the American media.

The United States, he says, should take lessons from the "Democratic socialist" models of Northern Europe, countries like Sweden, Finland, Denmark, which he says encourage capitalism while also offering protections for middle class families.
http://today.reuters.com/news/artic...=&cap=&sz=13&WTModLoc=NewsArt-C1-ArticlePage2
 

Avatar4321

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Seriously these people are like broken records. We gave about a dozen reasons for the need to go into Iraq, and they still act as though there was no reason. I just find it hard to believe that people are really so stupid that they dont know what we've debated for the past 4 years.
 

William Joyce

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Like much of the rest of the new Congress, Bernard Sanders isn't a "socialist," a "Democrat" or a "Republican."

He's a Jew.

While he works on turning us into pinkos stateside, his neocon counterparts work on turning us into Israel's warriors abroad. He's faking the peace stuff just as hard as a Jewish neocon like Joseph Lieberman fakes being concerned about family values. In the end, we get Janet Jackson here and war over there.

Unless and until you understand the level at which Jews work to influence the direction of this country, you will understand very, very little. The first step is to break yourself of the mental taboo that says Jews can never, under any circumstances, be viewed as anything but victims.
 

Avatar4321

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Like much of the rest of the new Congress, Bernard Sanders isn't a "socialist," a "Democrat" or a "Republican."

He's a Jew.

While he works on turning us into pinkos stateside, his neocon counterparts work on turning us into Israel's warriors abroad. He's faking the peace stuff just as hard as a Jewish neocon like Joseph Lieberman fakes being concerned about family values. In the end, we get Janet Jackson here and war over there.

Unless and until you understand the level at which Jews work to influence the direction of this country, you will understand very, very little. The first step is to break yourself of the mental taboo that says Jews can never, under any circumstances, be viewed as anything but victims.
Dude, you seriously need to get out of your narrow worldview and stop with the jew hating. No they arent always victims, but neither are you. Stop bitching and moaning about how jews screw you when the only person screwing you is yourself and your own narrow viewpoint.
 

glockmail

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Dude, you seriously need to get out of your narrow worldview and stop with the jew hating. No they arent always victims, but neither are you. Stop bitching and moaning about how jews screw you when the only person screwing you is yourself and your own narrow viewpoint.
Av, lighten up on William. He's not completely off base with this, and I just don't see any hate there either. If you can't voice a controversial opinion on a message board, where can you?
 

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