First published December 11, 2010
It has occurred to me that yesterday was the perfect storm.
For the first time in my lifetime, a real man took the floor in the United States Senate, and fought for the soul of his country.
Senator Bernie Sanders, 69 years old, stood up on the floor of the Senate and over a period of eight and a half hours, gave the world an incredible history lesson and economics lesson about what has happened to the United States economically from 1928 to 2010.
I have never seen anything like this, and I doubt I will ever see it again.
But Bernie Sanders, armed only with facts, evidence, and the truth, laid out clearly, and unimpeachably, how Reaganomics -- which has controlled the financial wellbeing of the American people from 1980 to 2010 -- was merely a replay of the laissez faire economics which led up to the Great Crash of 1929, and the Great Depression which ensued.
I do not know what the future holds, whether Sanders's landmark speech will go unheeded like the great warning given to us by Theodore Roosevelt in 1910, or whether it will mark a turning point bringing us back from the abyss which lies ahead if present policy is continued, but either scenario guarantees that we will look back on yesterday, December 10, 2010, as a significant day in American history... the day the case was made for fairness by one Bernard Sanders.
In 1980, professional screen actor Ronald Reagan began one of the greatest con jobs in all of history, convincing a majority or at least a strong plurality of the American people that government is bad, and corporations are good.
This policy has been in the ascendancy for thirty years. The antitrust laws which prevented monopolization and ensured competition have been virtually torn out of the law books, the securities laws were rendered unenforceable by congressional action impeding private enforcement and staffing reductions impeding public enforcement, income tax and estate laws were manipulated to increase the burdens on the working class and to decrease the burdens on the wealthiest of Americans, the copyright laws were manipulated to favor large corporations over artists, creators, and the public, the laws which separated the financial markets and banks were eliminated, and on and on.
Republican Pres. George H. W. Bush of course continued Reaganomics.
And Pres. Bill Clinton, nominally a Democrat, continued it, too. He even expanded upon it, by foisting NAFTA upon the American people, and accelerating the export of American jobs to other countries, further obliterating the middle class that had been created by the protections of the New Deal for trade unions, and by social safety nets such as Social Security and unemployment insurance and the GI Bill. Bill Clinton's term created unprecedented opportunity for multinational corporations, all at the expense of the common man, to whom not a thing "trickled down". Although a Democrat, and most often labeled a "centrist", one would be hard pressed to find a single economic policy of Reagan and Bush which Clinton did not at least continue, and in many cases expand upon. His "centrism" helped to further weaken our country's "center", its middle class. So I reject the appellation "centrist"; he unfailingly represented the right wing's economic agenda. Unlike Reagan, Clinton probably wasn't doctrinaire about Reaganomics and trickle-down, he was willing to do whatever the polls said would be popular. And since Reagan's sales pitch had worked, he just went along with it. He of course never attempted to mount his own sales pitch for what he knew was right; that would be "leadership". We've had none of that.
Then Pres. George W. Bush came along, getting into power in 2000 only by election tampering and judicial cronyism, and clinging to power in 2004 only by massive election fraud, and in both terms continuing with great vigor the right wing, anti-people, pro-corporation policy of his admitted hero, Ronald Reagan.
The very first murmur of an end to Reaganomics was the campaign of then Senator Barack Obama in 2008, who made numerous campaign promises, among them that he would fight for a public option in health care, an end to the Hyde Amendment impairing womens' right to choose, and an end to the George W. Bush tax cuts for the rich.
Unfortunately it was only in the campaign that Mr. Obama waged those fights.
As President he has not fought at all for the things he represented that he believed in, and his healthcare reform was cause for great jubilation among healthcare insurance companies and the investors who held their stock, since its primary features were to force an increase in the number of policy holders, whether they could afford to buy the policies or not, and to prevent people other than those on Medicare [or in the employ of Congress] from having access to a public option.
In view of the strong sense of public outrage at Obama's backroom deal with GOP leaders to extend tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, in this time of massive deficit and economic depression, and the President's inability to convince the people that the nonsensical thing he is doing makes any sense, Pres. Obama further demonstrated his weakness by trotting out his Democratic Party, Reaganomics-loving, predecessor, Bill Clinton, to speak to reporters yesterday, in an attempt to deflect attention from Senator Sanders's historic speech.
How fitting. And how surprising that a longtime supporter of Reaganomics would argue for its continuation.
The "mainstream" media -- which ignored Senator Sanders's historic address on the floor of the Senate -- was quick to report on Clinton's tired talk with reporters in the Whitehouse briefing room, a vivid illustration of why the "mainstream" media are no longer "mainstream", and why no tears are being shed for their ongoing demise.
Among Twitter's 100 million plus members, the Bernie Sanders address trended #1 worldwide. It was clearly the most important story in the world that day: a battle for the soul of the most powerful country in the world, trying to pull it back from its government's love affair with the most powerful multinational corporations and aggregations of wealth the world has ever seen, whose greatest joys in life are the rape of forests, oceans, and mountaintops, the slaughter of everything that breathes, the building of armaments, the destruction of ancient peoples and cultures, and the privatizing of water needed by poor people for their survival.
Yesterday was the perfect storm. A perfect alignment of the forces of light versus the forces of darkness.
On one side, Bernie Sanders fighting for the people.
On the other, the corporatists, plutocrats, and oligarchs, and the corporate media who continually try to spin their malignancy as benign, fighting for the wealthy.
What a day.
I will remember it forever.
God bless Bernie Sanders.
Full transcript of Sen. Bernie Sanders(@SenSanders)'s historic 12/10/10 speech
Video of the speech
A paperback book of the speech
(Short URL for this post: http://goo.gl/mAaBjM)
Monday, September 14, 2015
Monday, September 7, 2015
The middle class is at a tipping point, and it won't last another generation if we don't boldly change course now.
The surest path to the middle class for American workers is with unions. The security and strength of a union job means that workers can have good pay, health care, and a voice at work.
Today our country celebrates Labor Day in honor of the working people who fought for our rights to regular hours, fair pay, and a decent living. For decades, the labor movement propped up the middle class in America by ensuring a level playing field for workers.
There are many reasons for the growing inequality in our economy, but perhaps the most significant reason for the disappearing middle class is that the rights of workers to join together and collectively bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions have been severely undermined.That is why this fall I will introduce a bill in Congress whose sole purpose is to restore and encourage workers' rights to bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions. It's called the Workplace Democracy Act, and if it is made law, it will help rebuild the middle class.
Workers need unions because there are people working for minimum wage, barely able to afford to put food on the table — if even that. There are people whose jobs are dangerous, or even life-threatening, who can't speak up for workplace safety for fear of being fired. And there are countless people working without sick days or even health insurance.
Unions change that equation. When workers have unions, they are no longer afraid to speak up. They have a clear path to getting health care, sick days, basic safety precautions, and better pay. They don't have to live in fear of their employers, and they can work to provide for their families.
That is unfortunately far from the reality that exists today. Under the current law, it is incredibly easy for corporations to prevent workers from joining unions. One in five workers who try to form a union today will be fired for doing so. And half of all employers threaten to close or relocate their businesses if workers elect to form a union.
But there's effectively no deterrence for when companies do break the law. The penalties are far too weak, and there is no incentive to stop corporations from dragging their feet when workers want to negotiate contracts.
The Workplace Democracy Act changes that equation. Our bill would:
1. Ensure companies can’t prevent workers from getting a first contract.
2. Make it easier for workers to form unions through a majority sign up process.
3. Strengthen the enforcement when corporations break the law.
This is a commonsense idea that will help our economy and rebuild the middle class. Can you say you support it?
For Labor Day, join me in standing with working people. Click here to say you support the Workplace Democracy Act.
Thank you for your support.
PO Box 905 - Burlington VT 05402 United States - (855) 4-BERNIE
Monday, August 31, 2015
Over the weekend, another positive poll came out for our campaign — one that showed us within single digits of Hillary Clinton in Iowa for the first time.
I want you to read this note I received from a supporter last week. It speaks to some of the reasons we are doing so well in Iowa, New Hampshire, and states across the country:
"I am unemployed. I am uninsured. I am a recent college graduate who graduated with a 3.75 GPA. I am going through a difficult divorce and I have $27 dollars in my bank account. I donated 10 of my remaining 27 dollars because I believe if Bernie is elected I will not have days like this. Days where I stress about where my next meal will come from. Days where I cannot go look for a job because I do not have the gas money to pound the pavement. Days where I cry when thinking about the unpaid medical bills and student loans in my name. I believe things will change. I am making an investment in a person I believe in with the hope that he will change my homeland for the better."
Our campaign is doing so well because we are telling the truth about the reality of American life today. We are talking about a reality in which most of the new wealth and income in this country are going to the top one percent while working families are struggling more than at any point since the Great Depression.
Our success is also because over 400,000 people have contributed to this campaign, even though some, like the author of the note I shared, can hardly afford it. Through our campaign, the American people are finally telling the billionaire class: "ENOUGH is ENOUGH, this great nation and its government belong to all of the people, not just a wealthy few."
But we still have a long way to go.
Ray, make a contribution to our campaign today, and not only will we win Iowa and New Hampshire, but we’ll win the presidential election and take the White House back from the billionaire class.
If you've saved your payment information with ActBlue Express, your donation will go through immediately:
Let me tell you another thing. This campaign doesn’t have a Super PAC, and I don’t spend a lot of time asking rich people to contribute to our campaign. And even if I did, it would probably be a tremendous waste of time.
We will sink or swim based on what we get from the working families of this country. And I could not be more proud of the way we’ve funded our political revolution.
Here are two more stories I received from campaign contributors last week. I want you to read them — they are important:
"I lost my job in 2012 and my house in 2015. I am currently unemployed and looking for work. I don't have a lot of money and barely surviving on food stamps. Despite all of that, I am compelled to donate because I feel that Bernie Sanders will help bring America back to the middle class. A small donation now in exchange for a better future is a no-brainer. The inequality gap must be fixed!"
"I am broke. I was a proud union electrician. I have never donated money to a politician before however, as broke as I am, I trust Bernie and want to say that I am a part of this revolution. God bless him!"
When we started this campaign, the word "fringe" was tossed around a few times. No one is using that word any more.
Every day, thousands of people are joining our political revolution. It’s why we are leading in New Hampshire, within single digits in Iowa, and closing the gap nationally with each passing day. If we continue to stand together, we’re going to win.
Make a $25 contribution to our campaign today, and together we’ll take our country back from the billionaire class.
We will win in 2016. Not just the White House, but the U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and statehouses across the country because we are creating an unprecedented grassroots movement which taps into the American people’s desire for real change in this country.
Our success wouldn’t be possible without you.
PO Box 905 - Burlington VT 05402 United States - (855) 4-BERNIE