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
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