The Bernie Meme

Bernie with Ulysses S. Grant

W.J. Astore

The Bernie Sanders meme has been good fun over the last few days. At an inauguration ceremony where everyone was dressed to the nines, like the rulers of the Capitol in “Hunger Games,” Bernie looked like one of the downtrodden from the districts. He looked like one of us. A no-frills man of the people. And so the photo of him with his practical coat and handmade mittens has caught on exactly because it was real. As Caitlin Johnstone put it,

“This is why something as simple as Bernie Sanders turning up in mittens captured everyone’s hearts and imaginations. It was such a glitch in the whole phony performance and such a nice break from being lied to all the fucking time. We need to give people that experience way more.”

Special Guest Star: Mitten Man

Bernie has already been pushing and pressuring the Biden administration to be more aggressive in helping people suffering in the districts, to use “Hunger Games” terminology. (We’d say “flyover country.”) Meanwhile, back in the Capitol, people were gushing over Michelle Obama’s fashion sense, or Lady Gaga’s inaugural outfit, with its huge golden bird that truly echoed the privileged getups of Capitol denizens (credit to Ron Placone for the Gaga/Hunger Games reference).

CNN was gushing over the splendor of Michelle Obama’s outfit
A full-throated Lady Gaga. If only that golden bird had been a mockingjay.

As Bernie wrote in his recent op-ed:

“In this moment of unprecedented crises, Congress and the Biden administration must respond through unprecedented action. No more business as usual. No more same old, same old.

Democrats, who will now control the White House, the Senate and the House, must summon the courage to demonstrate to the American people that government can effectively and rapidly respond to their pain and anxiety. As the incoming chairman of the Senate budget committee that is exactly what I intend to do.”

Good luck, Mitten Man. We need you now more than ever.

24 thoughts on “The Bernie Meme

  1. I like to think it was just Bernie Sanders being Bernie no pretentiousness, rugged, the Real deal, representing the Great State of Vermont that I’m proud to have vacationed in, skied, & hiked…! Not a phony, or fake bone in his body! Yep I think that’s it. Gotta love the Viral attn. He deserves it.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I managed to avoid watching the celebrations hype and insteadenjoyed listening to all of my old Brothers Four LP – Goodbye!! Farewell! Adios! – and instead of white celebs like Lady Gaga, listened to another old favourite, mezzo-soprano Marian Anderson’s 1939 performance at the Lincoln Memorial :
    For those who did not know Ms Anderson there’s more on YouTube and particularly for the historians among you :, which right at the start features a blatant lie : she did not perform at the Lincoln Memorial because no other place could accomodate such a big audience (!), but because she had been refused the originally intended venue, which was reserved for white performers only … Praise to Eleanor Roosevelt, who then organised the Lincoln Memorial for her.

    As for Bernie, WOW ! My favourite meme is the one where he joined the equally iconic construction workers up high in the sky. But thishistorical justice one’s not bad either : :-). If it does not open, google ‘hrafnkat Melania dress’. If anyone could claim that his election victory was stolen from him, it’s Bernie .,.,.


  3. When I read Klein’s column yesterday, at first, I thought it must be satire. Then I realized she might be serious. Then I thought how crazy it was if she WAS serious.

    The guy put on his mittens to keep his hands warm. Period. There’s no deep meaning to it. If we’re parsing MITTENS to get a read on anything, we might as well be using animal entrails or a ouija board.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love Klein, but she really can overthink once in a while. It might still be a light satire but … well. Durn.
      Sometimes a mitten is just a mitten.

      On the other hand, I have it directly from Bernie, in a vision I had, just now. He tells me he has a 50-point “Mitten Manifesto” but can’t reveal the contents because it is top secret. Really top. Top. Top. Top. He was about to tell me but he was talking to me on a phone outside and had to put his mittens on, just too cold to keep talking. Sigh. Almost gave me a scoop.

      As far as the rest of that day, I could barely listen. Way too much boiler plate the from the “Platitudes by Number” speech-making book. Including the cute kid with her poem. Just too young and taken in. And the outfits. Can’t they just throw at least one of these shindigs in casual office gear? The hors d’oeuvres can still be veggie.

      I think I’m getting cynical. Today, the cynic. Tomorrow the misanthrope, then pessimism, and the sneer.
      Okay, now I’ve having fun.
      Mike :–)))


  4. fait accompli: (French) noun. A thing that has already happened or been decided before those affected hear about it, leaving them with no option but to accept it.

    While Bernie the Cuck basks in his celebrity “mittens” reward for all those Biden campaign speeches — delivered to virtually empty parking lots — the US military does its usual thing with US presidents: namely, present them with a troop escalation in a quagmire somewhere, daring them to either (1) admit that they knew nothing about what our Vaunted Visigoths had done or (2) “desert the troops” and “let the Brutal Dictator” win if they order a withdrawal. Whether heading out the door (Trump) or just coming in (Biden), America’s “Commander-in-Brief” gets his real marching orders early, late, and often from a cabal of self-interested military careerists and their employers: corporate weapons contractors. Some observers — though not many in the Global Corporate Oligarchy’s US Marketing Territory — can look past the inane, vapid hoopla to what just happened: BIDEN Ramps Up Troops Into SYRIA On First Day As President , the Jimmy Dore Show (January 23, 2021). Amazing how clearly one awake person can can see from his garage in Pasadena, California.

    And that “mittens” thing. It sounds to me like a name for a neutered house cat. Appropriate, actually, in the case of Bernie Sanders.


    1. Isn’t it nice to know we can rush troops back into the Syrian morass, Mike? Where next? More troops to Iraq and Afghanistan? Somalia?

      If only Trump had really been focused on ending this nonsense. But that’s like arguing for a different man.

      The military-industrial-Congressional complex is the most powerful branch of government. It gets roughy 55% of federal discretionary funding. It’s constantly celebrated and applauded. Biden is only reinforcing this worshipful attitude by asking for God’s protection of the troops at the end of his addresses.

      Forget about asking God to protect our troops. Let’s protect them ourselves by pulling them out of useless lost wars. Let’s downsize our empire and halt the march of militarism in our country.

      But Biden’s cabinet is a collection of hawks. The only dove of peace we’ll be seeing is the big golden one worn by Lady Gaga at the inaugural.


      1. “Hawks,” yes Bill. But wilfully blind, deaf, and dumb hawks with two right wings.

        How the situation reminds me of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos where the US military set up its own internal communications network to cut out the civilian leadership — especially the State Department and the [Kennedy/Johnson] White House — to prevent the civilian administration from getting an accurate picture of the downwardly spiralling debacles. I feel confident that the situation is even more ludicrous today since the Pentagram never learns anything except how to better fuck up soup sandwiches and still keep the knowledge secret from the American people. Anyway, Michael Tracey in his Twitter feed quotes several paragraphs from a Vanity Fair article relevant to the Commander-in-Brief’s actual impotence when it comes to military matters.

        Michael Tracey:
        “Read these paragraphs in which the former acting Defense Secretary calls the entire department “rotten” because a Deep State is hiding its functions from civilian leadership.”

        [begin quote]

        Sitting on his couch at the end of a surreal week, he finally took off the gloves. His target? The Defense Department itself, the largest organization in the world—and one he has served in various ways since he was 18. “This fucking place is rotten. It’s rotten.” Miller’s gravest concern, he said, involved a bedrock principle of American democracy: civilian control of the military. “When the system is weighted towards the Joint Staff and the geographic combatant commanders against civilian control, you know, we’ve got to rethink this.” He expressed a belief that by “idolizing and fetishizing” the top brass, members of Congress had ignored an erosion over time in the chain of command. [emphasis added]

        “We’re in a crisis mode,” Cohen had told me earlier. He said he and others had discovered that the Joint Chiefs were creating their own “security compartments” containing operational planning details “for the express purpose of hiding key information from career civilian and political leaders in the Pentagon”—up to and including the secretary of Defense [emphasis added]. Talk about a deep state. “That means that policymakers were basing their decisions on partial information. It’s very dangerous and irresponsible [emphasis added], and that’s something I’ve actually highlighted in my conversations with [Biden’s] transition team.” I’ll admit it sounded loopy. To me it had all the elements of a Trump fever dream: The military and intelligence establishment was somehow scheming against the renegades. That is, until two other senior national security officials—with Miller and company—confirmed Cohen’s assertion [emphasis added].

        The entire system,” Miller stated, “the intelligence community [included], is complicit in setting up all these compartments—so that only very select people actually have perspective and access to the entire picture. And then your question is, ‘Well, who are these people that have the complete picture?’ I felt like I finally did as acting SECDEF—to a point. I’m sure there’s still some stuff that was being compartmented. But I don’t know that for a fact.” emphasis added]

        [end quote]

        I realize that Deputy Dubya Bush, Bubba Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden never experienced active-duty military service in Vietnam (or anywhere else), but I would at least have thought that they’d heard of the place and the fact that the US military had corrupted itself beyond redemption there. Out of sight, out of mind, I suppose.


        1. Yes — secrecy combined with corruption is a huge problem. The “defense” department is way too powerful. It has been for 70 years, but the problem continues to grow. And of course the Pentagon doesn’t even pretend to be able to pass an audit.

          I see no other solution than major cuts and serious efforts to curtail and eliminate the imperial structure. But the problem isn’t even on Biden’s radar, as he focuses on Covid and the economy.

          And note that focus on the economy. Not on health care.


  5. BERNIE: The only politician with any degree if integrity in that incestuous club that occupies Washington, D.C.
    D.C. Where money speaks the loudest and where any changes in the corrupt system are termed “Too Disruptive”.
    It is our own damned fault for not paying enough attention.
    We allowed campaign costs to skyrocket
    We allowed media takeover by a few billionaires
    We allowed news to become “entertainment”
    We allowed sensationalism to be substituted for real news
    We allowed TV networks to remake the election process into a cash cow
    And we allowed a common carnival barker to divide and nearly destroy our country.

    God bless you, Bernie Sanders. May your steadfast character and leadership show others the way.


  6. This demonstrates a fascinating property of the human brain, the power to make inferences upon inferences and then accept those inferences as conclusions.

    The inferences are made under the influence of various biases and confirm those biases. Depending on the bias one’s inferences about the mittens, or anything else, will vary accordingly.

    Neural systems seem to use inference to perceive, so the process is vital to our survival. It is how we make sense out of a world with a low signal/noise ratio. Without using inference to arrive at conclusions we would not be able to understand someone’s speech in a noisy room, or identify a danger in the road when driving at night.

    However, because the process is natural to neural systems we tend not to question it. It is like the water than a fish swims in. That is a problem when our inferences become increasingly distant from the data. In extreme cases it leads people to become convinced of conspiracy theories.

    I’m not suggesting that reading into mittens is the same as creating a conspiracy theory. i am pointing out that the inferential process is natural, and it can cause problems. So we need to get into the habit of separating observations from inferences and questioning our inferences. We also need to explore to find other observations that may cause us to make more accurate inferences.

    For example: I was opposed to Lloyd Austin becoming Secretary of Defense until I was listening to a panel discussion put on by the Quincy Institute. A couple of the panelists had spoken against his nomination but one disagreed. He pointed out that Mr. Austin behavior as a general suggested that he would be less likely to advocate for military intervention than the civilians being considered for the position. Now my inferences about Mr. Austin were woven from extremely few observations. I did not need to accept the panelist’s inferences, but I did need to question my inferences based on the observations he reported.

    An old but good book on this topic is Psychology of Intelligence Analysis by Richards Heuer, Jr.


    1. How sad is it that a “retired” general with nearly 50 years in the military (including his time at West Point) plus a high position at Raytheon is “less likely” to support wars than the civilians being considered by Biden?

      How about widening the pool of civilians instead of appointing a general/military contractor head?


      1. What is interesting to note is the Vice-President’s Husband is Jewish, and almost the majority of Senior Positions in the Biden Cabinet are held by People of the Jewish Faith.
        Secretary of the Treasury
        Attorney General
        Secretary of Homeland Security
        Director of National Intelligence
        White House Chief of Staff
        Secretary of State
        Deputy Secretary of State
        Secretary of State for Political Affairs
        The Office of Science and Technology Policy
        Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

        With Joe Biden being Catholic, that’s an interesting significant 1st in US History, especially with Israel wanting the US to fight it’s War with Iran!


  7. Five…four…three…two…one… “We’d really like to introduce progressive bill ‘X’, but we don’t have a super-majority in the Senate, and the Republicans would probably filibuster it and we couldn’t close it off, so we’re not going to attempt it.” & “Those were assumptive goals, not actual plans”, etc, etc..(Democratic memes about to be recycled).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Correction: ‘assumptive goals’ should have been ‘aspirational goals’ – – – I’m just not fluent enough in weasel-words, yet another reason I couldn’t work for the DNC as a speech writer.


  8. Maybe Bernard was a fan of Mother Goose and was warning us in nursery rhyme code…
    Beware the dreaded rats in the pantry storehouse.

    “The three little kittens, they lost their mittens,”
    The three little kittens, they lost their mittens,
    And they began to cry,
    “Oh, mother dear, we sadly fear,
    That we have lost our mittens.”
    “What! Lost your mittens, you naughty kittens!
    Then you shall have no pie.”
    “Meow, meow, meow.”
    “Then you shall have no pie.”

    The three little kittens, they found their mittens,
    And they began to cry,
    “Oh, mother dear, see here, see here,
    For we have found our mittens.”
    “Put on your mittens, you silly kittens,
    And you shall have some pie.”
    “Purr, purr, purr,
    Oh, let us have some pie.”

    The three little kittens put on their mittens,
    And soon ate up the pie,
    “Oh, mother dear, we greatly fear,
    That we have soiled our mittens.”
    “What, soiled your mittens, you naughty kittens!”
    Then they began to sigh,
    “Meow, meow, meow,”
    Then they began to sigh.

    The three little kittens, they washed their mittens,
    And hung them out to dry,
    “Oh, mother dear, do you not hear,
    That we have washed our mittens?”
    “What, washed your mittens, then you’re good kittens,
    But I smell a rat close by.”
    “Meow, meow, meow,
    We smell a rat close by.”


  9. Seems like pointless mocking of a great statesman. Bernie quotes, not silly memes, should go viral. Like this one:
    “ We are witnessing the absolute absurdity of our profit-driven, employer-based private health care system. Healthcare can no longer be an employee benefit – – We must make it a human right through medicare for all”


    1. As the presidential candidate Bernie Sanders campaigned for liked to say: “If Medicare For All came across my desk [as President] I’d veto it.” Think I’ll pass on the concept of Bernie Sanders as “great statesman.” He really could do a better job of picking his warmongering “friends.”


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