Bulletin N° 759
Subject : FINANCE AND THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF COGNITIVE DISSONANCE: SADISTS CREATING A POPULATION OF MASOCHISTS.
According to cognitive dissonance theory, there is a tendency for individuals to seek consistency among their cognitions (i.e., beliefs, opinions).
When there is an inconsistency between attitudes or behaviors (dissonance), something must change to eliminate the dissonance and often this change is the birth of a new illusion.
US Independence Day 2017
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
The Central Bank of the United States, the so-called Federal Reserve, is a privately owned, for-profit institution which prints money and controls its flow by raising and lowering interest rates on bank loans and, also, by increasing and decreasing the quantity of money in circulation at any time. The history of this powerful institution, operating in secrecy, is essential for any understanding of the financial manipulations which affect the lives of virtually every person on the planet. William Greider’s book, Secrets of the Temple: How The Federal Reserve Runs The Country, was first published by Simon & Schuster Press in 1987. [See CEIMSA Bulletin N°757 for a presentation of the first part of Greider’s important book, with contemporary illustrations from current events.] This well-written history takes us deep into the metabolism of contemporary capitalism, providing a detailed look at how society has been, and continues to be, dominated by the private profit motive, to the detriment of us all, some of us more than others.
The fundamental incompatibility of capitalism (the accumulation of private wealth) and democracy (the political responsibility of all citizens) is a theme that runs through this entire 700-page book. Its eighteen chapters include titles such as “In the Temple,” “Behavior Modification,” “The God Almighty Dollar,” “Democratic Money,” “That Old-Time Religion,” “Slaughter of the Innocents,” “Winners and Losers,” and “The Triumph of Money”; and each chapter offers a new revelation for understanding the political power of banks and “the revolution from the top down,” which is hidden behind the façade of representative democracy.
The authoritarian belief system that governs the logical practice of liberal capitalism is also in crisis, and both the ideological and material threats presented by fascist capitalism appear as real dangers today in the daily lives of most people. Behind this menace are irrational beliefs and behaviors, some of which have emerged before in the history of capitalist crises. Greider analyzes the metaphysics behind the structure of capitalist accumulation, in Chapter 12, “That Old-Time Religion,” with a quote by the Austrian-born American economist, Joseph Schumpeter (1883-1950): “Capitalist rationality does not do away with sub- or superrational impulses. It merely makes them get out of hand by removing the restraint of sacred or semi-sacred tradition.” Greider then goes on to point out the grim influence that the Judeo-Christian-Muslim tradition has had on capitalist society.
Capitalism also adapted sacred tradition to its own uses, inventing a rationalistic logic that corresponded with the oldest rituals of worship and cloaked the non-rationalistic logic in scientific garb.
Every important economic theory, one could say, relied upon an unstated subtext drawn from religious convictions. To declare correct principles for the functioning of the economy, one would first have to make certain assumptions about the larger nature of life itself – about God’s purpose and humanity’s obligations and the moral law that derived from the relationship of deity and mortals. Monetarists, for instance, assumed an immutable natural order, knowable limits that worldly existence imposed on human behavior and predictable penalties for folly and error. The money rule was described as a golden mean: a society that faithfully adhered to it would enjoy the maximum of what was possible in life. If society strayed too far from its path, like Icarus daring to fly too close to the sun, disorder and retribution would result. The advocates of gold relied upon divine authority to enforce this natural order. If humankind pledged obedience to God’s indestructible metal, it would be rewarded with an eternal assurance of stability. Both doctrines, gold and monetarism, were expressions of pre-modernist fundamentalism, simple and certain moral formulas for life, their certitudes had deep appeal, especially in anxious times.
In this context, [John Maynard] Keynes[1883 – 1946] and his followers were the heretics. They were secular humanists who claimed that men and women could responsibly manage human affairs for themselves. They were rationalists who dismissed the ‘old-time religion’ and its false moral commandments. Universal human pleasure, Keynes announced, did not require a requisite measure of Calvinist pain. It required the application of human intelligence.
When Americans judged economic events or political agendas, they worked off the same subtext, the same set of religious assumptions. Like the President himself, citizens were capable of simultaneously embracing conflicting sensibilities, both the old-fashioned Protestant ethic and the humanist faith of abundance. They believed in the here and now – easy credit, full employment and economic guarantees of the welfare state. But they also still believed, down deep, that sinful excess must be punished, that suffering was necessary for redemption. The recession fulfilled their expectations.
The ‘old-time religion’ was unacceptable as an explicit theme in the political campaign, but it connected with deeply held beliefs – and a large reservoir of collective guilt. The disorders of inflation produced complicated anxieties that included a sense that, as [President Ronald] Reagan [1911 – 2004] put it, everyone must pay for the ‘binge.’
These underlying attitudes were suggested, at least obliquely, in the public-opinion polls on inflation. During the 1980 presidential election, when political candidates were accentuating the positive, the public expressed an overwhelming pessimism: the country would have to undergo a recession in order to slow down inflation. By a 2-to-1 majority, people agreed with Ronald Reagan’s unexpressed conviction that the nation must endure a ‘bellyache’ in order to cure itself. According to a Harris poll, 55 percent even said that they would favor measures to bring on a recession if that would stop inflation.
With a politician’s intuition, Ronald Reagan perhaps grasped that his Calvinist dogma was not altogether out of step with what the electorate really believed. A prudent candidate would not speak of these things directly, but people understood the moral commandment better than they acknowledged. In the spring of 1981, public opinion swung to a much more optimistic frame of mind, as the President campaigned for his economic agenda. The majority appeared to believe his promises for economic recovery. By the fall, however, most had returned to their original pessimism. They could see for themselves that the society was beginning to pay for its collective guilt. The suffering was what they had expected all along.
In the political economy, as in the church, ritual atonement required the elements of convincing theater. For the vast audience of faithful, an ancient religious drama was performed by two figures of mythic authority, the President and the Federal Reserve chairman, who presided like priest and prince on a stage of darkness and light. One was shadowy and remote, an ominous figure: the other, bright and cheerful. Paul Volcker [b.1927] was the stern father who admonished and prophesied, uttering mysterious incantations of numbers. Ronald Reagan was the generous king who inspired hope, whose rhetoric evoked streaks of sunshine across the darkened sky. Together, they promised redemption – if only the faithful flock would accept the penitential sacrifice.
The ritual of atonement could even be satisfying. Most Americans, after all, would not suffer grievously from the economic contradiction. They would witness the dislocations and failure around them, but they would not themselves have to endure the worst of it. Millions of wage earners would lose their livelihoods, but the majority would not. Tens of thousands of businesses would be driven to bankruptcy, but most would survive. For most Americans, the recession meant at most a postponement of their economic ambitions, a time to pull back and wait until the ‘bad times’ passed. In exchange, they received an expunging of guilt.
The real burden of cleansing pain was borne disproportionately by a defenseless minority of Americans. The rest accepted this as morally wholesome or else pretended not to know. The political rhetoric of the leaders emphasized shared sacrifice, a period of national penance in which all participated, and this pretense enabled citizens to ignore the true moral content of the exercise. There was something bracing, spiritually invigoration, in the knowledge of ‘hard times,’ especially if one averted one’s eyes and pretended that all were sharing in the sacrifice together. The social deception required a complicity of ignorance between citizens and leaders.
The economic liquidation, in fact, resembled the form, though not the content, of a primitive religious practice – the pagan ritual of human sacrifice. Some individuals were chosen to serve as victims for the good of the entire society, sacrificed in order that the tribe would be restored to harmony with its gods. In moral terms, the process was sadistic, an example of what Thorstein Veblen [1857-1929] called the enduring barbarism of modern society.
The economic victims were chosen at random, but mostly from among the weaker groups in the society. The mythology employed by the Federal Reserve to induce contraction – rationing credit by raising its price – insured that the strongest individuals and enterprises would be able to evade selection. There was this hierarchy within democracy – a hierarchy of vulnerability.
Many victims, ignorant of society’s larger purpose, innocently protested. Such was the power of economic faith that some victims accepted their fate and even endorsed it as necessary. The moral justification was expressed in Schumpeter’s ringing phrase, ‘creative destruction,’ which suggested that, from time to time, capitalism must burn off its dead and obsolete parts in order to grow freely again. The implication was that only deserving victims would be destroyed, punished for their inefficiency. But this article of faith did not correspond to reality. It would be more precise to say that victims were punished for not being stronger or larger. For the most part, their inefficiency consisted of not having the accumulated financial resources to protect themselves.
The religious subtext of economic recession helped to explain why people put up with it. The public’s tolerance for the contraction and loss was conditioned by a deeper sense of religious awe. Moral objections and democratic qualms were stilled or at least moderated by primitive fears. The gods would be angry if the price was not paid . For a time at least; most Americans acquiesced, with pious sympathies, to the necessity that some among them must be punished. The authority to perform the sacrifice, whether people realized it or not, was implicitly in the powers they had conferred, but democratic process, on their national government. The secular temple on Constitutional Avenue fulfilled its sacred purpose.
Public acceptance of recession declined proportionately, however, as the ritual continued and the suffering spread. The longer it went on, the more distressing it became to people. Atonement was necessary, but perhaps the priests were going too far. The sacrifices began to seem greater than the burden of guilt required. As failure and unemployment spread through the society, it occurred to more and more citizens that they too might be chosen as victims.(pp.420-423)
In an earlier chapter, entitled “The Liberal Apology,” Greider discussed the atmosphere of moral change that American society underwent before the counter-revolution of the 1980s, an ideological change with historic precedents from medieval times:
For some years [before 1980], American society had been engaged in an era of moral liberation, a period when long-standing religious commandments and inherited social taboos fell before the new popular desires. Protestant disapproval of gambling was displaced by multimillion-dollar public lotteries, sponsored by state and local governments. The Catholic sin of abortion was legalized. Pornography, once forbidden and furtive, became freely available; homosexuality and even prostitution were reconsidered in a more tolerant light. Moral inhibitions that had held authority for centuries were abandoned. Old notions of sinfulness were redefined as largely private matters, no longer subject to public regulation.
In this climate of moral change, American finance was also liberated to do what had once been forbidden. The sin of usury was legalized, by act of Congress. Religious injunctions against usury were as old as the Book of Genesis and given specific definition in American law: lending at interest rates above certain limits was ruinous to the hapless borrower and therefore prohibited. When it enacted financial deregulation, Congress declared that, given the circumstances of double-digit inflation, the usury laws must be set aside. The interest-rate ceilings imposed by state governments on home mortgages were abolished by federal legislation, and the limits on business and agricultural lending were suspended for three years. Many state legislatures, responding to the same pressures, repealed their own usury limits on consumer loans.
Unlike the eclipse of other moral taboos, usury provoked no great controversy when it was decriminalized. The new leniency toward private sexual behavior inspired storms of popular reaction and political movements, but usury provoked little or no reactions. Lending money at ruinous interest rates would now be regarded, like sex, as a ‘victimless crime,’ a private act between consenting adults.
The suspension of the usury law, though less important than the other provisions, accurately reflected the moral logic that propelled the deregulation package. A deep transformation was underway in the political values shared by American elites, both Democratic and Republican, and it cut across many areas beyond finance. The values inherited from the New Deal – the idea that government would serve as regulator and protector in the raw struggles among private economic interests – were in eclipse. The commitments of liberalism – providing shelter for weaker combatants in the marketplace in order to insure certain social goals – were being displaced. An older faith was reviving and regaining its original hegemony, the belief that social justice was best served by an unfettered free market.
The biblical meaning of usury defined the obligations of those who had accumulated wealth toward others who had none and were in need. It imposed limits on the power that the wealthy could exercise, through lending, over the poor. By 1980, the moral argument was reversed. Creditors were now portrayed in political debate as the victims, the virtuous citizens who were exploited by the political interference. Borrowers were described as morally suspect – people who did not themselves save, whose ‘speculative’ spending was ‘subsidized’ by the virtuous savers. The original social contract implied by the concept of usury – the obligations of wealth toward the needs of others – was inverted. The congressional debate described a new political obligation: the savers must be set free, free to seek the highest rate of return on their money.(pp.170-171)
. . .
The moral concept of usury was always in fundamental conflict with the dynamics of capitalism. Usury implied social obligation; capitalism depended on individual gain. When they collided in Western history, the capitalist imperative prevailed. Until the late Middle Ages, the Catholic Church still taught that lending at interest – any interest rate whatever – was a sin against God, ‘ignominious,’ as the Second Lateran Council of 1139 described it. Usurers, though they might be wealthy merchants and prominent in Church affairs, were excommunicated and refused burial in Christian ground, condemned with robbers, prostitutes and heretics. Their eternal damnation was described in the most grisly terms: toads and other demons gathered on the usurer’s corpse, plucking silver from his purse and driving the coins into the heart and mouth of the cadaver. The moral offense was profit without work. The usurer sold time, which belonged only to God.
Christian theology eventually yielded to the new reality. By the thirteenth century, the primitive networks of capitalism – were flourishing across Europe. To function, even in its dimpliest forms, capitalism required the linkage across time that credit provided – lending today for transactions that would be completed in the future. . . . A theological innovation opened the way for absolution of their sins – the elaboration of purgatory. After death, the souls of condemned usurers might yet be resurrected for eternity through the intervention of prayer and other considerations. Many primitive capitalists plunged forward into sinfulness, counting on purgatory for their eventual salvation.
‘The birth of purgatory,’ the French historian Jacques Le Goff wrote, ‘is also the dawn of banking.’
. . .
John Maynard Keynes himself wrestled with the moral contradictions. Keynes deplored high interest rates and the inequitable distribution of wealth and incomes, but he nevertheless celebrated the creative possibilities of capital multiplication. ‘The power of compound interest over two hundred years,’ Keynes wrote, ‘is such as to stagger the imagination;’ In 1930, at the depths of global depression, Keynes wrote a prophetic essay entitles ‘Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren,’ which predicted a golden future for mankind, thanks to the labor-saving inventions of science and the driving force of compound interest. Amid the gathering despair, Keynes was able to see that the capitalist economies were on the brink of vast breakthroughs in agriculture and other technologies – advances that would dramatically multiply the productive potential.
He went on to predict that the standard of living in most progressive countries would improve as much as eight fold within the next hundred years and that ultimately:
[M]ankind would be freed of the morbid love of money to confront the deeper questions of human existence – ‘how to live wisely and agreeably and well.’(pp.171-173)
The task of liberation still lies before us all: to free ourselves from the ideological bondage of possessive individualism, which blinds us to the vicious collective behavior of our masters whom we never see or hear from. The financial establishment, according to William Greider, has a long history of staying out of sight and out of mind, meticulously following their logic of “the ends justify the means”, the purpose being to enrich the owners of capital as much as possible, while maintaining a general will for sacrifice and self-discipline in society.
The 17 items below should serve as a wake-up call to citizens, on this anniversary day of US independence for the British Empire some 241 years ago. What followed were more than two centuries of Amerindian genocide, chattel slavery for millions of Africans, imperialist invasions of other countries, and cruel domination of populations around the world. Only a tactic of “divide and rule” would permit such control, and the few who were rewarded by money and reforms had to be constantly disciplined so that they would keep their side of the Faustian bargain of selling their souls to capital pursuits and when called upon collaborating with the forces of repression.
Professor emeritus of American Studies
Director of Research
University of Paris-Nanterre
Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements
The University of California-San Diego
Central Bank Intervention Serves The One Percent
by Paul Craig Roberts
The crooks who run the Western financial system set up the gold market in a way that lets them control the price. Gold is not priced in the physical gold market where bullion is bought and sold. Gold is priced in a futures market where uncovered contracts that are settled in cash are bought and sold. As the futures contracts do not have to be covered in the way that shorting a stock has to be covered, the bullion bank agents of the central banks can create paper gold by printing naked contracts. In other words, it is possible to inflate the supply of gold in the market in which the gold price is determined by dumping futures contracts on the market. The huge increase in supply of paper gold drives down the futures price of gold. This Western policy is stupid, because it drives down the price of real gold for the major Asian purchasers—China, India, and Turkey. But the policy protects the value of the US dollar by preventing a rising gold price that would show the growing lack of confidence in fiat paper currencies.
Imperialism in the 21st Century
Imperialism, explains renowned economist - whether explicit or implicit - is about the struggle to control economic territory such as markets, workers & labor, natural resources and new kinds of markets that are developed
The Necessity for Urgency
by Paul Jay
On the need for an independent news source that's not beholden to the partisan political warfare that's covering up the danger of war and the existential threat of climate crisis
Trump Competes With Clinton in U.S. War of Lies and Terror Against Syria
Donald Trump is out to prove that he is as bloodthirsty as Hillary Clinton and better than anyone at brinksmanship. Has he gone “play-crazy,” or is it the real thing? “By pushing Trump into a corner and demanding that he display his most bellicose self, or be ceaselessly mocked as a ‘puppet’ and minion of Russia, a lesser power, the War Party and its media and clandestine services have created a perfect storm of mayhem that may consume us all.”
Syria Ignoring Important U.S. Intelligence
by Seymour M. Hersh
In April 6, United States President Donald Trump authorized an early morning Tomahawk missile strike on Shayrat Air Base in central Syria in retaliation for what he said was a deadly nerve agent attack carried out by the Syrian government two days earlier in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun. Trump issued the order despite having been warned by the U.S. intelligence community that it had found no evidence that the Syrians had used a chemical weapon.
Pursuing Hard Truths in Syria
by Scott Ritter
A U.N. agency says it found sarin in victims of an April 4 attack in Syria, but lack of a plausible weapon and unreliability of pro-rebel witnesses make the pursuit of truth difficult, says WMD expert Scott Ritter at The American Conservative. On the night of June 26, the White House Press Secretary released a statement, via Twitter, that, “the United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children.”
White House Says It Will Fake "Chemical Weapon Attack" In Syri
by Moon Of Alabama
The White House claims that the Syrian government is preparing "chemical weapon attacks". This is clearly not the case. Syria is winning the war against the country. Any such attack would clearly be to its disadvantage. The White House announcement must thereby be understood as preparation for another U.S. attack on Syria in "retaliation" for an upcoming staged "chemical weapon attack" which will be blamed on the Syrian government.
Intel Behind Trump’s
Syria Attack Questioned
by Ray McGovern
"We KNOW that there was no chemical attack … the Russians are furious".
The mainstream media is so hostile to challenges to its groupthinks that famed journalist Seymour Hersh had to take his take-down of President Trump’s
6 attack on Syria to Germany, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
Legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh is challenging the Trump administration’s version of events surrounding the April 4 “chemical weapons attack” on the northern Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun – though Hersh had to find a publisher in Germany to get his information out.
In the Sunday edition of Die Welt, Hersh reports that his national security sources offered a distinctly different account, revealing President Trump rashly deciding to launch 59 Tomahawk missiles against a Syrian airbase on April 6 despite the absence of intelligence supporting his conclusion that the Syrian military was guilty.
Chris Hedges And Richard D. Wolff
(Mar 25, 2017)
Chris Hedges explores capitalism in crisis with Richard Wolff, professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. From Brexit, to labor protests in France, to Italy’s financial woes, they discuss the effects of austerity on the working class. RT Correspondent Anya Parampil looks at the fallout of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.
The War Against Workers and the Poor
A Review of Plutocracy: Class War from Metanoia Films
By Kim Petersen
In 2017 the United States finds itself with a billionaire president who defeated, as adjudged by electoral college votes, the multimillionaire Hillary Clinton. In fact, high political office in the US has become a stepping stone to personal enrichment. Barack Obama is cashing in now with exorbitant book deals and speaking fees. It is highly illustrative of the divide between the working masses and the 1%-ers of Wall Street who effectively own the American political system. The politicians know the voters want change, but they also know who butters their bread. Empty campaign promises are followed by endless betrayals.
While the common folk fight asymmetrical US wars far from American shores, the fat cat Wall Street investors profit from the violence. It is nothing new. In the introduction to Scott Noble’s Plutocracy: Class War we find 19th century president Rutherford B. Hayes writing in his diary that the United States had become a government “of corporations, by corporations and for corporations.”
Wall St. Democrats vs.
Working Class Democrats
Nina Turner and Paul Jay discuss the fight within the Democratic Party and the need for the Sanders movement to more seriously take up the question of war and U.S. foreign policy
From: "Robert Cruickshank, Democracy for America
Sent: Sunday, 2 July, 2017
Subject: A disturbing NRA video you ought to see
The National Rifle Association (NRA) just put out a very troubling and scary video -- and we think you ought to know about it.
The video, which you can see here, features conservative TV host Dana Loesch stoking fear as a series of images show the news media, schools, anti-Trump protests, and more. It ends with her calling to fight back against progressives with "a clenched fist of truth." It's a threat that we need to take extremely seriously.
Our goal isn't to scare you, though the video is disturbing. The reason I'm telling you about it is so you can help resist this wave of hate and threats coming from the NRA.
This fall, DFA-endorsed candidates will be running for critical offices in elections across America. Many of them will face a tidal wave of NRA money -- especially in the all-important state of Virginia.
One of the best ways you can push back against the threats emanating from the extreme right, whether they're coming from a Donald Trump tweet or an NRA ad, is to support grassroots, people-powered campaigns that will defeat the NRA the right way -- at the ballot box.
This NRA ad has gotten a lot of attention from organizers and reporters, who believe it is inciting violence against people who oppose Trump and the NRA. Vox said the ad "comes this close to calling for a civil war against liberals."
Newsweek quoted a former CIA analyst who said "The NRA is feeding an us vs them narrative of the kind that fuels all extremist movements."
Dana Loesch herself freely admitted the ad targets progressives -- and suggested it's also intended to attack the movement for Black lives. Here's what she said in a New York Times interview:
"Asked what violence she saw the ad as addressing, she spoke at length about protests in Ferguson, Mo., that turned violent in 2015 and mentioned the chaos caused by some protesters during President Trump's inauguration."
America has a long history of using gun violence to support racial oppression. The NRA is doing the same thing in this ad. We need to stand up and resist.
DFA has helped candidates defeat the NRA on numerous occasions. This ad makes it clear we have an urgent need to do so again. Chip in $3 or more to help DFA build winning campaigns and elect candidates who will resist the NRA and their hateful, threatening rhetoric.
Thank you for helping DFA take on the NRA.
Senior Campaign Manager
Democracy for America
Fact Check : The US Senate Health Care Plan
This past week, the Senate began debating the American Health Care Act (AHCA) with a vote on that bill expected to take place soon. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 14 million more people would be uninsured in 2018 under the new plan than under current law; and by 2026 the number of uninsured would reach 51 million Americans. While the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has made strides to cover more Americans, it is estimated that 28 million would still not have health insurance in 2026. Either way, we have a long way to go.
The Age of No Privacy: The Surveillance State Shifts Into High Gear
by John W. Whitehead
“We are rapidly entering the age of no privacy, where everyone is open to surveillance at all times;
where there are no secrets
~ William O. Douglas, Supreme Court Justice, dissenting in Osborn v. United States, 385 U.S. 341 (1966)
The government has become an expert in finding ways to sidestep what it considers “inconvenient laws” aimed at ensuring accountability and thereby bringing about government transparency and protecting citizen privacy. Indeed, it has mastered the art of stealth maneuvers and end-runs around the Constitution.
It knows all too well how to hide its nefarious, covert, clandestine activities behind the classified language of national security and terrorism. And when that doesn’t suffice, it obfuscates, complicates, stymies or just plain bamboozles the public into remaining in the dark.
Justice Neil Gorsuch Proving to Be "Far to the Right"
of Antonin Scalia
Robert Parry Wins Prize For Journalism
by John Pilger
There are too many awards for journalism. Too many simply celebrate the status quo. The idea that journalists ought to challenge the status quo - what Orwell called Newspeak and Robert Parry calls 'groupthink' - is becoming increasingly rare. More than a generation ago, a space opened up for a journalism that dissented from the groupthink and flourished briefly and often tenuously in the press and broadcasting. Today, that space has almost closed in the so-called mainstream media. The best journalists have become - often against their will - dissidents.
The Democratic Party’s Deadly Dead-End
by Nicolas J S Davies
By playing for centrist and neoconservative votes, national Democrats have left the party floundering with no coherent political message
and creating a daunting challenge for democracy, says Nicolas J S Davies.
Bernie Sanders on Resisting Trump, Why the Democratic Party is an "Absolute Failure" & More
Last month more than 4,000 people gathered in Chicago for the People’s Summit. Independent senator, former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders delivered the keynote speech. During his speech, he repeatedly criticized the Democratic Party, calling it an "absolute failure," and blaming it for the election of President Trump.
"I’m often asked by the media and others: How did it come about
that Donald Trump, the most unpopular presidential candidate in
the modern history of our country, won the election?" Sanders said.
"And my answer is that Trump didn’t win the election; the Democratic
Party lost the election. Let us be very, very clear: The current model and
the current strategy of the Democratic Party is an absolute failure."