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    A Happy Christmas Story

    The Christmas season in the year 2000 was filled with extra anticipation.  No one knew what to expect from the President Elect whose victory had the most sober observers of public affairs emptying their caches of superlatives to describe what might be in store for the nation.  One Liberal wag penned that it was an event as momentous as Caesar crossing the Rubicon.  A Conservative former Congressman predicted that every value of his party was in play.  Everyone had an opinion on the impending Administration of President Bernie Sanders.

    And President Sanders did not disappoint anyone.  The first year of his Administration was on the surface quiet and generally rated as a modest failure.  We now know that he was already busily laying the foundation for what would be the most extraordinary eight years in the history of the Republic.  He quietly engaged a sweeping reform of foreign policy.  He let it be known that the “fascismo” as he called it in Oval office meetings, that bundle of tyrants and dictatorships that had been bound together by 50 years of American foreign policy, would be unbound and left to fall into a “loose and useless pile of sticks,” as he so colorfully said in private meetings.  He let it be known that only legitimate democratic societies and their supporters were welcome in his White House.

    He transferred authority over anti-terrorism efforts from the Pentagon to a panel of international experts.  He also transferred the budgets of the myriad intelligence agencies to the control of these experts, with the intention of replacing the “militarized” approach to international discord with humanitarian and Liberal Democratic objectives.   There was enormous opposition to this in the ranks of the uniformed military and the intelligence community alike.  President Sanders used a heavy hand in having his way.   Several high ranking generals were forced into early retirement.  He even sent his vice-President to the CIA, to let those in charge as well as those at the level of intelligence analysis know that opposition to President Sanders policies was “a career decision.”  Chris Matthews would later chortle “He made them an offer they couldn’t refuse.”  

    In his second year in office President Sanders took steps visible to all observers.  The Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, had been continuously stating publicly that the disappearance of the Federal deficit as engineered by Bill Clinton was a danger to overall economic growth.  Sanders deftly took Greenspan’s warning and used it to promote his “Emergency Policy to Energize Commerce And Capitalism” (EPECAC).  He slashed taxes for those earning $250,000 or less by what would eventually amount to an average 60% reduction.  He also levied fees on financial and Wall Street income of such magnitude that as the end of his first term approached, President Sanders was able to allow every citizen to join Medicare regardless of age by Executive Order, without the need to ask Congress for additional funding.  In a tribute to the skill with which the President enacted these initiatives, the International Federation of Chess Grandmasters took the unusual step of awarding the 2003 Bobby Fischer Strategic Brilliance Award to an unrated player, Bernie Sanders.

    In the six years that followed the initiation of the EPECAC program, President Sanders expended over $2 trillion dollars for everything from health insurance to infrastructure improvement to free university educations.  As one looks back on this time, the numbers speak for themselves.  Unemployment was no longer reported because any number above zero was within the range of statistical error.  The crime rate dropped to just above Luxembourg.  Three million new family farms were created.  The alternate energy industry in the U.S. became so successful that 28 times in those six years trading on energy stocks was suspended because of the volatility – upwards – of stock in these businesses.  The list is as long as it is dizzying.

    As the end of his second term approached, there was a national clamor to allow President Sanders to remain in office.  The debate among Constitutional experts and political leaders was deadlocked when the religious Right announced that a new translation of the Apocrypha revealed that the Rapture was actually a time of material security – and that it had arrived.  This overwhelmed public sentiment and Bernie Sanders was allowed to serve another term, with the caveat that the Inauguration would be moved from January 21 to December 25.  And so as we now say in the U.S.A. – Merry Christmas.   

    (One can dream can’t they?)


    Dear Larry, I enjoyed your historical revision immensely. Do you think it is too late to get this into the newest editions of the Texas School Board approved text books? Peace, ~flowerchild~

    Hmm, what's the liberal version of the Hallmark Channel?

    Lovely dream, Larry -- please don't wake me ....

    LOL!  This is fantastic story, but almost so gleefully sublime a vision that we'll crash later today.  Bugger.  ;o)

    My favorite part was this: The debate among Constitutional experts and political leaders was deadlocked when the religious Right announced that a new translation of the Apocrypha revealed that the Rapture was actually a time of material security – and that it had arrived.

    On my car I used to have the bumper sticker:  Come the Rapture, Can I have Your Car?

    Home run, Larry H.  And here I was listening since 4:00 a.m. to this Tracy Chapman song from 1989 as the basis for a diary. Some are destined to write fairy tales; others are doomed to write Bummers....   ;o)      

    Merry Christmas, Larry.  (a more appropriate gift for you might be:   

    Very well done, sir! This was a treat to read, perchance to dream.

    What is perhaps most remarkable is the fact that what you have presented here isn't any less plausible than the reality of this period since 2000. On the eve of GWB's Presidency, could we have really anticipated we would ever accommodate all the changes in our foreign policy, the permanent wars/wars of choice, and the debasement of civil liberties to the degree we have? Could we really have understood what a Bush/Cheney Presidency would really look like? Or how complacent the Dems would be in response? Or just how much a subsequent Dem President would legitimize the Bush/Cheney abuses of power and incorporate them into his own Presidency?

    The Sanders Presidency you paint as a fantasy here is every bit as plausible. What a shame we didn't somehow take that course instead of the pursuing the nightmare we now live.

    Exactly SJ.  This was the thought I had that led to my little fantasy - right down to the part with the Republicans screaming that Berrnie Sanders has lied us into an equitable and egalitarian "New New Deal."  Oh the wailing and gnashing of teeth on FOX.  I can hear John Boehner's interminable sobs.  Music to my ears.   If there really was a Left-Right divide in this country then Bush would be the Right and my fantasy Sanders would be the Left.  Would anyone in their right mind want to be a Moderate?

    Gallup poll question:

    Choose one -

    A.) Sustainable sanity

    B.) Descent into hell

    C.) Triangulation

    If you look at Obama's DLC-style triangulation, you begin to see why it always fails so miserably. After all, selection "A" isn't even in the mix as an alternative to be offered. Instead, the asshat cowards in Washington buy into the meme that the country is "center-right," and so the proper (and quite cynical) DLC political calculation is to attempt to smooth out some of the bumps in the road as we go along for the ride into hell. Quick descent? Or slow? Take your pick!

    Bernie gave us a glimpse what it would look like if they were to instead say "Wait! What if we offered an actual alternative?"

    Ah, but the polls show sanity can't prevail because people continue to show their preference for one of the two "alternatives" presently being offered. Far better to continue pitching them an opportunity to ride along with us to the gates of hell instead of the other guys. After all, we've got Barbara Streisand playing on the stereo and a rainbow sticker on our bumper! We can win this!

    Oh Blessed Snoozer, those really are the choices aren’t they?   Anyone who has been in the Army or worked as a laborer knows that it’s better to forget predispositions against races or religions or politics and “work together” to make things as tolerable as possible.  Share the load, watch overhead, holler “Look out,” take turns with the heavy stuff – that’s all sustainable sanity really amounts to.  The “Hell” that threatens at every turn is just the disease inside the head of the Colonel, the boss, the owner.  His madness is beyond his control and it threatens everything else like a plague or a hurricane.  His life is what we call History.  The rest of us are statistics.

    And this “Triangulation” thing – what is that?  Early on in life I was struck by how emotionally insecure people with wealth or privilege seemed to be, compared to my ilk.  I concluded that they know, if only intuitively, that their wellbeing comes from Chance, from Fate.  If they just don’t mess up everything will be fine.  “Triangulation” is nothing more than wanting to be comfortable and being afraid to do anything to disturb the way things are for fear of losing that comfort.  All their talk is just rationalization, or what I was taught was once called “casuistry.”  

    Heh. no relation. None at all.

    The Catholics just liked you to think so.

    You know how you wake up from a really great dream and when you realize it was all a dream you shut your eyes and try to bring it back?  I did that and nothing happened.  Now I'm feeling a little sick to my stomach.  Thanks a lot.

    (Good job.  Loved being transported for that little while.)

    Yeah, I love to dream of things that never were.

    And I love Bernie!

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