What’s Missing from the Debates: Rep. Keith Ellison & Phyllis Bennis

Single payer healthcare, free college for all and an end to subsidies for fossil fuel - if Bernie Sanders’ agenda sounds more progressive than his opponent's, why have so few Progressive Congresspeople endorsed him?

Laura asks Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, why so few members of his caucus have supported Bernie Sanders.

Also in the show, Middle East expert, Phyllis Bennis tells Laura why we need more discussion of war and peace in the race for the White House. Phyllis Bennis is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC. Her latest book is Understanding ISIS & the New Global War on Terror: A Primer. Also, a few words from Laura on cooperation among rival nations.


Laura Flanders: Black Lives Matter is a movement that has received a lot of attention on this program and in the media but there's a lot of what they say that has being said by people in our political system for a very long time. One of those is our guest today. He's Congressman Keith Ellison. He was elected in 2006 to Congress from Minnesota where he was not only the first Muslim-American to sit in Congress but the first African-American in that state.

Welcome to the program, Keith. Glad to have you.

Keith Ellison: Thanks, Laura.

Laura Flanders: Let's just talk a little bit about this Black Lives Matter thing. We were talking about it a bit before the cameras started rolling but this is a new story being told ... Or an old story being told in a new way, I think.

Keith Ellison: Yeah, it's very exciting. The fact is that young people, millennials, are ... They were made, I think, certain kind of promises that we were going to end segregation, we were going to have this post-racial America and it was going to be an opportunity. They were told if they study hard they can go to school. They were told things like this. And yet, many of them are getting out of high school and finding themselves in a very tough job environment, in an environment where they got a lot of student debt, in a place where they're disrespected by law enforcement and other systems, and they're just not having it. They're just not going to sit up with it. They're going to organize themselves, they're going to make a claim, and they're going to push back. That's what it is.



Laura Flanders: Phyllis Bennis is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC. Her latest book is Understanding ISIS & the New Global War on Terror: A Primer. I asked her where foreign policy is in the 2016 presidential race. Here's Phyllis.

Phyllis Bennis: It's somehow become standard knowledge, which is one of those things that everybody knows, which isn't true but everyone knows that elections are not won and lost on issues of peace and war. In fact, we know that's not true. In 2008, the single biggest reason that Barack Obama was elected was because he said: "this is a dumb war and I won't continue dumb wars". Of course, he also said that he would escalate the war in Afghanistan and he did. But that was motivating people in a really profound way. Much of our foreign policy these days, and many of our wars right now are designed in a way to disguise their reality from ordinary people. The divide between military people and the rest of our population has grown wider and wider. It's not only about the draft. It's partly about the draft. The draft meant that everybody had to think about it. Rich white people didn't get drafted very much but they had to at least think about what it meant and what they were going to do to get around it.

Without a draft, you don't have that.

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