by Alex Symington…….
In case you didn’t know, there are other candidates besides Hillary Clinton vying for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Recently the heat has been turned up on the Democratic Machine and the DNC Chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, to be more inclusive of other Democratic contenders. However, Debbie is making it clear she is not interested in anyone other than her presumed future boss, Hillary, and is obstructing a growing demand by the left to give voice to Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley and others. This attitude is the antithesis of democracy. Many would like to see more debates and fewer restrictions on debate format. Meanwhile in the right camp there is Donald Trump and his adoring 24/7 corporate media coverage. After the latest three hours of intellectually empty calories of Republican debate Carly and Ben are doing a little better. Whatever. Unfortunately fact checking is not included in the post-debate analysis.
The Donald continues to get more coverage than Kim Kardashian’s caboose, but I want to talk more about Senator Bernie Sanders. In the past Bernie was completely ignored by the corporate press, but with his poll numbers steadily rising and the largest rally attendance of any candidate, right or left, he has become impossible to ignore. He isn’t as entertainingly bombastic as Donald Trump, but he identifies the very real problems facing working and middle class Americans (the vast majority) and offers practical achievable solutions. Conversely, The Donald has “a good plan” and when asked to elaborate, he says, “It’s a very good plan”. Yes, very impressive, if you’re running for middle school student council.
There is media coverage and then there is media coverage. While Trump, Fiorina and the rest are given passes on outrageous and factually challenged pronouncements, our fake fourth estate incessantly repeats that Bernie is “unelectable”; too left, too old, too Jewish, too socialist…in other words a long shot like that guy with the funny name, Barack Obama.
Considering all this repression and/or negativity Bernie’s message is still getting out there and being enthusiastically received. A quick synopsis of his proposals: Eliminate income inequality, promote a livable minimum wage, invest in our country’s future with tuition free state college for our young, single payer healthcare, invest in American infrastructure creating millions of jobs, break up the too-big-to-fail banks so if they do gamble and lose the tax payer doesn’t have to pay for their reckless behavior, end corporate welfare and tax havens so even those “corporations/people” will have to pay their fair share into the system that made their wealth possible in the first place, overturn citizens united (we all know corporations ARE NOT people), stop endless wars and wean us away from a war based economy, end police brutality and the militarization of civilian police forces, end the failed “war on drugs”, end privatization of prisons for profit and raise taxes on the one percent free loaders paying nothing or next to nothing.
In spite of a mind boggling 18 trillion dollar figure Rupert Murdoch’s “Oligarchy Journal” tossed out, the money is already there to make all these much needed changes possible. It just comes down to what do WE want to spend OUR money on; healthcare or endless war? US infrastructure or no bid contracts to fix other countries we’ve invaded and destroyed? Tax breaks, loop holes and kick-backs to oil companies or clean renewable energy? In a September 15 Washington Post article by Paul Waldman he explains, in terms even I can understand, we are already spending trillions and just publishing big numbers to frighten tax payers is just straight up textbook propaganda. A good example of apples to apples is this on healthcare:
“At the moment, total health care spending in the United States runs over $3 trillion a year; according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, over the next decade (from 2015-2024), America will spend a total of $42 trillion on health care. This is money that you and I and everyone else spends. We spend it in a variety of ways: through our health-insurance premiums, through the reduced salaries we get if our employers pick up part or all of the cost of those premiums, through our co-pays and deductibles, and through our taxes that fund Medicare, Medicaid, ACA subsidies, and the VA health care system. We’re already paying about $10,000 a year per capita for health care.”
Shocking,right? Here’s more: “By the logic of the scary $18 trillion number, you could take a candidate who has proposed nothing on health care, and say, ‘So-and-so proposes spending $42 trillion on health care!’ It would be accurate, but not particularly informative.”
One last thing. “There’s something else to keep in mind: every single-payer system in the world, and there are many of them of varying flavors, is cheaper than the American health care system. Every single one. So whatever you might say about Sanders’ advocacy for a single-payer system, you can’t say it represents some kind of profligate, free-spending idea that would cost us all terrible amounts of money.”
Bernie Sanders’ ideas are not radical. They are pro-America and pro-American. He is an actual populist, unlike Hillary, who only plays one on TV. He is speaking honestly and respectfully to the people in a way no other candidate, right or left, is. As Bernie’s undeniable poll numbers rise Hillary is stuck with a conundrum. Bernie has consistently been civil when asked about his opinion of Hillary and her campaign so the Clinton camp must appear civil, as well (read: proxy swiftboating). Bernie is sticking to focusing on what he will do when he becomes president and completely avoiding the meaningless distraction of negative attacks on anyone, including Hillary and the right wing gang. My hope is the DNC will give ALL the democratic contenders more opportunities to show Americans what they have to offer instead of the self-fulfilling-going-through-the-motions ordination of Hillary Clinton.
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