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Sanders wants to fund abortions in ‘poor countries’ to fight climate change

RT | September 5, 2019

US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said he would support using taxpayer money to fund abortions in foreign countries as a means of population control in the face of climate change.

Sanders merged the hot-button issues of climate change and abortion rights, at the same time singling out developing nations as the culprits overpopulating Earth, during a six-and-a-half-hour CNN townhall on climate change on Wednesday. While his supporters appeared galvanized, the proposal invoked the wrath of his detractors online.

Sanders described the Mexico City agreement, which prevents American foreign aid from being used to fund organizations associated with abortions or birth control abroad, as “totally absurd,” while espousing the need to advocate and fund reproductive rights across the world, but especially in developing countries.

“So I think especially in poor countries around the world, where women do not necessarily want to have large numbers of babies and where they can have the opportunity through birth control to control the number of kids they have [is] something I very, very strongly support,” Sanders stated emphatically in response to an audience member.
Also on rt.com 2020 Democrats double down on diversity – or do they?

While all major Democratic candidates have pledged support for reproductive rights, Sanders is the first to tie the issue to both global population control and climate change, much to the chagrin of conservative pundits and commenters online, who described the proposal as “unbelievable,” “monstrous” and “absolutely horrific.”

Meanwhile, even those who might typically agree with many of Sanders’ positions felt his stated approach was missing the mark, saying over-consumption, not overpopulation was the real issue.

September 5, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Science and Pseudo-Science | | 3 Comments

Corporate and “Progressive” Democrats Threaten Medicare Itself

Sanders, Jayapal, and more…

By Charles Andrews | Dissident Voice | March 1, 2019

The Democratic Party won a majority in the House of Representatives in the November 2018 elections by making health care one of its top “messages.” Yet events from Bernie Sanders’ bill of 2017 to legislation that “progressive” Representative Pramila Jayapal introduced on February 27, 2019 show that the Party is on its way to destroy Medicare.

For decades activists identified the prize as “single payer health care.” The program would issue a Medicare card to everyone, like the one senior citizens get now. The card would be good at any doctor’s office, clinic, hospital, laboratory, and prescription pharmacy. These largely private businesses would be reimbursed from a public single-payer fund. The fund would receive broadly collected tax revenues; the patient would pay little or nothing at the reception desk, and no monthly premium. This is guaranteed, comprehensive health care.

In other words, single payer is Medicare for all, carried to completion by eliminating Part B premiums and by more comprehensive coverage including prescribed drugs.

Health care activists always agonized over the colorless name “single payer.” A few years ago many of them began to speak of Improved Medicare for All. Actually, it had been in the title of the benchmark bill, H.R. 676, when congressperson John Conyers introduced it in 2003. A few years later he shortened the title to The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act. The text remained stable, and although the bill went nowhere in Congressional committees, H.R. 676 became the centerpiece of organizing. It is readable, only thirty pages of double-spaced large type. Hundreds of trade union locals and councils endorsed this model legislation in a steady stream year after year.

The health care industry has enjoyed a long-term phase of expansion, like railroads in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Back then, the new way of moving heavy goods and people was amazing and useful; today, new biological and biochemical understanding makes possible longer life, survival from a heart attack, restored clarity of vision, and so on. In both situations, capital has had strong pricing power and taken fat profits. And just as anger at railroads swelled into a populist revolt against The Octopus (Frank Norris’ novel about the Southern Pacific railroad corporation), people today are angry at insurance corporations, pharmaceutical monopolies, and hospitals, whether or not they call themselves “non-profit.”1

Opinion polls measure growing support for single payer health care for all. Employers continue to raise the employee cost of coverage, or simply not provide a health benefit. Health insurance purchased individually on the so-called exchanges of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) turns out to be full of exceptions like a slice of Swiss cheese.

Sanders Promotes Health Care for All Then Undercuts Conyers

Popular support erupted into a political force when Bernie Sanders launched his presidential campaign at the end of April 2015. Record-breaking crowds filled his rallies around the country. The top three issues in a Sanders speech rotated – sometimes including inequality of wealth and income, sometimes climate change – but he always revved up on health care for all. It had been the cause of a few thousand health care activists. Now Improved Medicare for All became a challenge to the neoliberal establishment. For the first time in forty years, people were on the verge of a mass campaign for a major gain in their quality of life and their security.

It did not happen. Sanders did not win the Democratic presidential  nomination. He returned to the Senate, making an implicit or private deal with the party: he would speak as a independent progressive, but he will act on all serious matters as an unannounced Democrat.

Doing something about health care for people largely fell out of public view. Health care activists carried on. Policy aficionados spun proposals. Sanders had used the issue in his campaign, but sustained mass organizing for it did not happen.

Then in September 2017, senator Sanders introduced his “Medicare for All Act.” S. 1804 is three times as long as H.R. 676, and the reader must unravel cross-references within the text. Sanders made no mention of Conyers’ H.R. 676 at his press conference. Since then, no one has asked him the obvious question: Why didn’t Sanders simply introduce the text of H.R. 676 in the Senate?

The “Buy-In” Trap

Sanders’ bill would actually undermine Medicare. It would set up a “Transitional Medicare Buy-in Option and Transitional Public Option.” Sanders portrayed it as a four-year period (longer if necessary) to bring people of age 55 or over into Medicare, then down to age 45, then down to age 35, then everyone. This scheme is the very opposite of guaranteed single-payer health care for all.

How is Medicare financed today? Most of the money comes from payroll and income tax revenues, not enrollees’ Part B premiums, by a ratio of 3½ to one.2 We all pay into Medicare. At the moment when someone needs care, she gets it, period – without financial worry. That is the single-payer principle, and Medicare implements it, although not entirely, since enrollees must keep up-to-date on their Part B monthly premiums, and there are some co-payments for services.

Expanded and Improved Medicare for All would eliminate premiums and co-pays. That is what H.R. 676 declared, but in Sanders’ S. 1804 people younger than 65 could “join” Medicare by paying fat monthly premiums (a “buy-in”). People who want to sign up this way would use the notorious Obamacare exchanges.

Trade union campaigners for genuine Medicare for all, H.R. 676, wrote in a December 11, 2018 letter:

Unlike HR 676, S 1804 inserts supposedly incremental steps of public options and Medicare buy-ins for four years prior to arriving at a real single payer plan. Because S 1804 expands care while maintaining the private insurance companies, costs will skyrocket before the savings of single payer kick in. The incremental steps will become a roadblock rather than a path to single payer. Perhaps the worst part of this inclusion of the public option and the Medicare buy-in is the reinforcement of the false notion that there should or must be transitional steps to single payer. Neither the public option nor the Medicare by-in are based on sound policy. To place them in the bill for even a short period of time endangers the single payer goal.

All Unions Committee for Single Payer Health Care, HR 676, Kay Tillow, coordinator

It is a neat trick: under the guise of expanding Medicare, you make it more dependent on premiums. You change it from a public good, like the neighborhood fire station, into a commodity insurance product that individuals buy. You make health care dependent on the patient’s finances.

This perversion of Medicare is not only a fraud upon people of age 55, 45, or 35. It is a threat to Medicare itself. Whenever Medicare seems headed for a financial crunch, real or conjured, the pressure in Congress will be to shift more and more toward a premium- and co-pay-financed program rather than one supported by general and progressive tax revenues – and to take chunks of medicine out of Medicare.

An independent in name but a Democrat, in fact, senator Sanders at his press conference happily introduced several corporate Democrat co-sponsors of his bill. Behind closed doors he had let them write sections of S. 1804! The public option section was written by senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. “One part of the bill that I worked with my colleagues to put in was the ability for every American to buy into a nonprofit public option as part of a four-year transition…,” she said during the news conference introducing the bill.

A public option is a competition with insurance corporations rigged in their favor. They know how to repel potential enrollees who are likely to need expensive care. A government health plan cannot and, of course, should not play that game. It can either raise premiums, or it can turn the program into something like its poor cousin Medicaid. Either way, it cannot become improved Medicare for all.

Democratic Party: “Death to H.R. 676!”

Two important bills stood in contradiction to each other: one for Expanded and Improved Medicare for All (H.R. 676), the other a threat to Medicare itself (S. 1804). Conyers’ bill has been the acknowledged model legislation since 2003; Sanders introduced his in 2017.

But words do not move on their own. The corporate Democratic Party soon put H.R. 676 on the chopping block. Representative John Conyers was pushed out of Congress in a #MeToo incident, resigning from a hospital bed, denying the charges but not up to the rigor of a fair hearing if he could get one.

Somehow, sponsorship of H.R. 676 went to new congressperson Pramila Jayapal. 3 She immediately announced that she was in consultations to rewrite it. In the meantime, she surrendered the number 676 that had been reserved for Conyers’ bill since 2003. It was issued to military legislation on January 17, 2019.

After the Democrats won control of the House of Representatives in the November 2018 elections, it became more urgent for them to gut single payer health care for all. Otherwise, they might have to deliver. Representative Nancy Pelosi, during a post-election whirlwind of bargaining to make sure she became Speaker of the House, agreed to help advance the same scheme that senators Sanders and Gillibrand had put into S. 1804: a buy-in to a premium-based option for people age 50 to 64. Jayapal, who also praised Pelosi during her run for Speaker, spoke out of both sides of her mouth. “I would prefer to have a reduction of the age of Medicare so that more people could qualify but not a buy-in, because that continues the problems that we have right now.” She said lowering the eligibility age “would be an appropriate way to go where we’re taking a step forward towards a system that will ultimately cover everybody.”

The Buy-in Trick Again

Representative Jayapal introduced H.R. 1384, her replacement for the Conyers’ model, on February 27, 2019. The 119-page bill is a masterful card trick. On one hand, it maintains the ban on premiums and co-payments, and it specifies a broad list of covered medical services, including some never proposed before in such legislation.

On the other hand, Jayapal copied Sanders’ big step backward – an optional “buy-in” transition period with premiums, only shortened from his four years to two. (After the first year, minors up to age 18 and people 55 and older would move automatically into the new system.) H.R. 1384 states:

The Administrator shall determine the premium amount for enrolling in the Medicare Transition buy-in, which may vary according to family or individual coverage, age, and tobacco status,… (H.R. 1384, Title X, Subtitle A, Sec. 1002 (e)(A))

Since Conyers introduced H.R. 676 in 2003, his bill never had a premium-based buy-in. Why does Rep. Jayapal think a buy-in period is necessary?

With a buy-in transition, the first experience people would have with the new system would be yet another commodity insurance plan with monthly premiums. This is a recipe for political failure. During those two years the tentative new system would soon be under attack as financially unworkable and just not popular enough.

People could buy in if they wished as individuals through the notorious Affordable Care Act exchanges (“Obamacare”). Because of the extensive benefits, the plan would be one of the most costly choices. Unaffordable for most as an individual premium plan, trying to compete in an unreformed health care system with its bloated costs, the buy-in would attract few enrollees. Enemies of genuine universal health care will pounce on the result, demanding that genuine Medicare for All be postponed and turned into a supplement of one kind or another to corporate health insurance.

Only H.R. 676 delivers guaranteed healthcare for all, the equal care for all of which our advanced society is capable. Bernie Sanders and Pramila Jayapal, just like openly corporate yet arguably less devious Democrats, cower before insurance capital, pharmaceutical capital, hospital capital, etc. These parasites demand that healthcare be a set of commodities that some can afford and others cannot. The people or the dollar – that is the inescapable choice.

  1. A nominally “non-profit” hospital today is not the church-run charity that it might have been a hundred years ago. Non-profit simply means that the corporation is tax-exempt. It does not pay dividends to stockholders, but it still makes a profit. Banks share in the loot, and layers of executives are paid millions of dollars. Affiliated for-profit clinics and labs may suck profits out under cover. Examine the Sutter Health and Kaiser hospital chains in California, for example.
  2. Medicare trust fund trustees’ report, 2018, pp. 45 and 78.
  3. Jayapal went to elite Georgetown University, got an MBA after that, worked on Wall Street on leveraged buyouts, switched to executive positions in several nonprofits, sat a mere two years in the Washington state senate, and won election to the House in 2016.

Charles Andrews is the author of The Hollow Colossus.

March 1, 2019 Posted by | Corruption | , , | Leave a comment

The Magic Socialist

By CJ Hopkins | Consent Factory | February 25, 2019

So here it is, the announcement we’ve been waiting for … all aboard for another cruise on the new and improved U.S.S. Magic Socialist with your captain Bernie Sanders at the helm! If you’re not familiar with this extraordinary vessel, it’s like the luxury liner in The Magic Christian, except catering to credulous American socialists instead of the British filthy rich. Tickets start at just $27 dollars … so hurry, because they’re going fast!

That’s right, folks, Bernie is back, and this time it’s not just a sadistic prank where he gets you all fired up about his fake “revolution” for fifteen months, gets cheated out of the nomination, then backs whichever corporate-bought candidate the Democratic Party orders you to vote for.

No, this time the Bernster really means it! This time, when the DNC rigs the primaries to hand the nomination to Harris, or Biden, or some billionaire android like Michael Bloomberg, Bernie is not going to break your heart by refusing to run as an independent candidate, unbeholden to the corporations and oligarchs that own both political parties, or otherwise make you feel like a sucker for buying his “revolution” schtick. He’s not going to fold like a fifty dollar suit and start parroting whatever propaganda the corporate media will be prodigiously spewing to convince you the Russians and Nazis are coming unless you vote for the empire’s pre-anointed puppet!

Bernie would never dream of doing that … or at least he’d never dream of doing that twice.

There are limits, after all, to people’s gullibility. It’s not like you can just run the same con, with the same fake message and the same fake messiah, over and over, and expect folks to fall for it. If you could, well, that would be extremely depressing. That would mean you could get folks to believe almost anything, or that we were stuck in some eternally recurring multi-dimensional reality loop. The next year and a half in American politics would play out like one of those Groundhog Day knock offs meets The Magic Christian meets The Usual Suspects, directed by David Lynch, on acid. We’d be barraged by recycled Feel-the-Bern memes. Hacky sack shares would go through the roof. That creepy little bird would come fluttering back, land on Bernie’s podium again, and chirp out “L’Internationale.” People would start booking Tim Robbins for interviews. Ben & Jerry’s would roll out another revolutionary flavor of Bernie ice cream … and in the end it would all amount to nothing.

But that’s not going to happen this time. No, this time, the U.S.S. Magic Socialist is setting sail straight for Socialismland! This time, it’s really the Revolution! The end of global capitalism! And the best part of the whole deal is, you don’t even have to take up arms, stage a series of wildcat strikes, blockade major highways, occupy airports, or otherwise cripple the U.S. economy … all you have to do is vote for Bernie!

See, that’s the magic of electoral politics! The global capitalist ruling establishment, despite the fact that they own the banks and the corporations that own the government that owns the military and intelligence services, and despite the fact that they own the media, and all essential industries, and channels of trade, and are relentlessly restructuring the entire planet (which they rule with almost total impunity) to conform to their soulless neoliberal ideology, and are more than happy to unleash their militarized goons on anyone who gets in their way … despite all that, if we elect Bernie president, they will have no choice but to peacefully surrender, and transform America into a socialist wonderland!

Sure, they won’t be happy about it, but they will have no choice but to go along with whatever Bernie and his followers want, because that’s how American democracy works! We’ve seen it in action these last two years, since Donald Trump got elected president. The establishment wasn’t too thrilled about that, but they had to put aside their own selfish interests and respect the will of the American people … because imagine what might have happened if they hadn’t!

For example, they might have concocted a story about Trump being a Russian intelligence asset who was personally conspiring with Vladimir Putin to destroy the fabric of Western democracy so that Russia could take over the entire planet. They could have had respected newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post and television networks like CNN and MSNBC disseminate this story, and subtly reinforce it in endless variations, on a daily basis for over two years. They could have appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the facts of their made-up story, and indict a bunch of unextraditable Russians and a handful of inveterate D.C. slimebags to make the whole thing look legitimate. At the same time, they could have had the media warn everybody, over and over, that Trump, in addition to being a traitor, was also the second coming of Hitler, and was on the verge of torching the Capitol, declaring himself Führer, and rounding up the Jews. They could have generated so much mass hysteria and Putin-Nazi paranoia that liberals would literally be seeing Russians and Nazis coming out of the woodwork!

Fortunately, the global capitalist establishment, out of respect for democracy and the American people, decided not to go that route. If Americans chose to elect a jabbering imbecile president, that was their right, and far be it from the empire to interfere. Tempting as it must have been to use all their power to demonize Trump in order to teach the world what happens when you get elected president without their permission, they restrained themselves … and thank God for that! I don’t even want to contemplate the extent of the rage and cynicism they would have fomented among the public by doing those things I just outlined above. That might have left people with the false impression that their votes mean absolutely nothing, and that the entire American electoral system is just a simulation of democracy, and in reality they are living in a neo-feudalist, de facto global capitalist empire administrated by omnicidal money-worshipping human parasites that won’t be satisfied until they’ve remade the whole of creation in their nihilistic image.

Thankfully, the ruling classes spared us all that, so now we can hop aboard the Magic Socialist and take another cruise with Cap’n Bernie! Considering how magnanimous they’ve been with Trump, once Bernie wins the election fair and square, the empire clearly won’t have any problems with him nationalizing the American healthcare system, tripling taxes on the super-rich, subsidizing university education, and all that other cool socialism stuff (i.e., the stuff we mostly still have here in Europe, along with some semblance of cultural solidarity, although the global capitalists are working to fix that).

Oh, yeah, and in case you’re worried about Bernie backing the empire’s ongoing regime change op in Venezuela, don’t be. He’s just playing 4D chess, like Obama did throughout his presidency, by pretending to do the empire’s bidding while he actually went about the business of resurrecting hope and eradicating racism. Bernie’s just being sly like that! It might seem like he’s aligning himself with mass murdering thugs like Elliot Abrams and sadistic ass freaks like Marco Rubio, but he isn’t. Not really. It’s just an act. I mean, he has to get elected, doesn’t he?

How else are we going to get to Socialismland?

February 25, 2019 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Senate Approves Bill Opposing ‘Precipitous’ US Pullout From Afghanistan, Syria

Sputnik – 01.02.2019

WASHINGTON – The Senate has voted to advance legislation opposing any “precipitous withdrawal” of US forces from Syria and Afghanistan, following President Donald Trump’s announcement that he would be pulling all US troops out of the country.

The Senate voted 68-23 to limit debate on an amendment introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that calls on the United States to remain in Syria and Afghanistan until all terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and the Daesh are defeated there.

McConnell’s move was backed by almost all Republicans in the Senate, with only three of them — John Kennedy, Mike Lee and Ted Cruz — voting against the motion to advance the amendment.

Trump is reportedly considering plans to withdraw around 7,000 of the 14,000 US troops deployed to Afghanistan after ordering the Defense Department to pull out all 2,000 US soldiers stationed in Syria.

However, Senator Bernie Sanders criticized Trump’s move and supported congressional intervention to help create a more gradual troop withdrawal plan in a statement on Thursday.

“Congress must play a role, consistent with its Constitutional authority over war, in developing a troop withdrawal plan that is coordinated with our allies, that continues to provide humanitarian aid and that supports political settlements in these countries”, Sanders said.

The amendment will be introduced to a wide-ranging Senate bill on the Middle East, the “Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act”. The sweeping legislation must still go up for a vote in the Senate, along with the US House.

If passed, the legislation would impose new sanctions against Syria, boost defense spending in the region and punish activists who call for economic boycotts of Israel to protest its policies in Palestine, among other measures.

The move marks a rare break between Senate majority Republicans and President Donald Trump who has said he plans to pull US troops out of both countries. The 68 votes in favor of the motion mean it could be re-passed with two-thirds of the 100 senators overriding any presidential veto by Trump.

On December 19, President Trump announced that the US would be withdrawing its troops from Syria over a period of several months. According to Trump, the US coalition’s mission, the defeat of Daesh (ISIS), had been secured.

The US and NATO initially launched military operations in Afghanistan in 2001 after the 9/11 terror attack. While most of the US troops had left the country by the end of 2014, NATO launched a new mission in 2015, called Resolute Support, to provide training and assistance to Afghan security forces.

January 31, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loophole in Bernie Sanders’ Yemen Bill Actually Allows Continued US Involvement in Yemen

By Whitney Webb | Mint Press News | December 3, 2018

Last week, many celebrated the advancement of Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 54, which had been introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), as a sign that the U.S. Congress was finally willing to act to reduce the U.S.’ culpability for the situation in Yemen, currently the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The bill, which will be voted on by the Senate this week, has been praised by many within the anti-war movement for its bid to “end” U.S. military involvement in Yemen. Passage of the bill would, however, do no such thing.

Much of the media coverage of the bill has noted that the resolution invokes the 1973 War Powers Resolution, which prohibits the president from deploying U.S. troops into armed conflicts without congressional approval. Though that resolution has been ignored many times since its passage, particularly since the War on Terror began in 2001, SJR 54 has been promoted as a “progressive” effort to bring the U.S.’ military adventurism to heel at a time when Saudi Arabia — one of the two countries leading the war against Yemen – is under increased scrutiny.

Yet, the text of the bill itself reveals that SJR 54 invokes the War Powers Resolution in name only. Indeed, while the bill claims to be aimed at achieving “the removal of United State Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress,” it contains a major loophole that will allow the majority of U.S. troops in Yemen – if not all – to stay.

As the bill states, it will require the president to remove troops “except United States Armed Forces engaged in operations directed at al Qaeda or associated forces.” Notably though, the only U.S. troops “on the ground” in Yemen that are involved in “hostilities” (i.e., combat operations) are those that are allegedly involved in operations targeting Al Qaeda — operations that the U.S. frequently conducts jointly with the countries waging war against western Yemen, such as the United Arab Emirates.

U.S. troops deployed in Yemen to target Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) also collaborate with the UAE and Saudi Arabia in “intelligence sharing,” “midair refueling,” and “overhead reconnaissance” for forces involved in counterterrorism operations that the U.S. is leading. This cooperation is what the very text of SJR 54 claims to want to end, but only in regard to the coalition’s war in western Yemen. However, the current text of the bill would allow all of this cooperation to continue, just not in areas where there are no claims of AQAP presence.

Thanks to the loophole in SJR 54, all that would need to change for the U.S. military’s assistance to the Saudi/UAE coalition to remain as is would be for either the Saudis, Emiratis or the U.S. to claim that there is an AQAP presence – however small – in an area they wish to target. Given that AQAP regularly collaborates with coalition forces elsewhere in Yemen, the coalition would only need move AQAP forces near a site in western Yemen that they wish to bomb in order for U.S. military involvement in its war against Yemen’s resistance to continue unimpeded.

Alternatively, either of those countries could supply “intelligence” that would seek to link Yemen’s resistance movement Ansarullah or the Houthis to AQAP, thus allowing U.S. involvement in the coalition’s war in Yemen to continue unchanged. This is a very likely scenario if SJR 54 is passed given that some top Trump administration officials have a history of providing false intelligence in order to justify aggressive policies and push for military intervention abroad. Furthermore, the Trump administration also has experience linking countries it doesn’t like to Al Qaeda without evidence in order to justify such policies. Thus, linking Yemen’s resistance movement to AQAP despite a lack of evidence is something the Trump administration would likely pursue were this bill to pass in its current form.

In addition, the Sanders-introduced bill will do nothing to stop the U.S.’ use of drone strikes that regularly kill scores of civilians in Yemen. Indeed, a recent investigation conducted by the Associated Press found that at least one-third of all Yemenis killed by U.S. drone strikes in Yemen were civilians, many of them children. Even though U.S. intelligence has regularly shown that the U.S. drone war in Yemen actually strengthens AQAP, this bill would do nothing to stop the U.S. military’s deadliest practice in Yemen, with a documented history of murdering civilians.

The bill’s failure to touch on the U.S. drone war in Yemen is unsurprising given that Bernie Sanders — who introduced SJR 54 — supported drone strikes and the controversial “kill lists” during the Obama administration. Furthermore, when asked on Meet the Press in 2015 if his foreign policy if elected President would involve the use of drones and Special Forces in military operations overseas, Sanders stated that it would involve “all of that and more.”

SJR 54 as mostly kabuki

Given the fact that SJR 54 provides a huge loophole that would prevent it from having the advertised effect, it seems that the measure is meant to serve other purposes, namely political, instead of its stated purpose of ending U.S. military involvement in Yemen. The bill appears to be little more than a PR stunt by Democrats and Democratic-aligned senators to distance themselves from Republicans.

This is supported by the fact that not a single Democrat in the Senate voted against the bill last week, while several Senate Democrats had voted against it earlier this year, setting up the case that only Republicans are against halting the U.S.-backed war in Yemen. Another suggestion that this is the case is how the media widely reported the vote as a “rebuke” of President Trump, as is the fact that 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls, such as Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren, co-sponsored this bill even though they both hold pro-war positions regarding another Middle Eastern country, Iran.

The “anti-war” credentials of Warren — as well as Bernie Sanders, who wrote SJR 54 — have long been questionable, particularly after they both backed James Mattis as Secretary of Defense even though he had led the U.S. assault on the Iraqi city of Fallujah in 2004, an attack that killed thousands of civilians and used chemical weapons that still cause birth defects in those born in Fallujah over a decade later.

Though the death of Saudi journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi has been blamed for the change of heart of Senate Democrats and some Republicans, reporting from MintPress and others has shown that the “outrage” regarding Khashoggi’s death is not about “human rights” but about money and pushing Saudi Crown Prince to move forward with expensive weapons deals and the neoliberalization of Saudi state assets that he had tried to back away from. Viewing the situation from this lens, SJR 54 seems little more than a PR effort to cast Democrats as “anti-war” when they are just as beholden to the military-industrial complex as the Republicans.

Yet, most importantly, the toothless text of SJR 54 shows that relying on either of the corporate, war-loving political parties in the U.S. to end the country’s involvement in the war in Yemen is misguided, as such action if more likely to come about from sustained public pressure or grassroots activism than from politicians beholden to special interests such as the Saudi or weapons lobbies.

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

December 4, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Bernie Sanders makes no comments about Russia’s alleged support for him in 2016

Press TV – February 17, 2018

US independent Senator Bernie Sanders has remained silent towards allegations by special counsel Robert Mueller about Moscow’s support for him ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

The Vermont lawmaker released a statement to announce stance in the wake of Mueller’s Friday revelations coming from months of investigation into ties between Russia and US President Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign.

According to Mueller’s indictment, the Russians “primarily intended to communicate derogatory information about [then-Democratic candidate] Hillary Clinton, to denigrate other candidates such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump.”

Mueller also indicted 13 Russian individuals and three Russian entities over Moscow’s interference, whose operations allegedly started as early as 2014.

Shortly after Mueller’s indictment, Sanders called for the continuation of the investigation without mentioning allegations that Russia supported him to undermine Hillary’s campaign.

“It has been clear to everyone (except Donald Trump) that Russia was deeply involved in the 2016 elections and intends to be involved in the 2018 elections. It is the American people who should be deciding the political future of our country, not Mr. Putin and the Russian oligarchs,” Sanders said. “It is absolutely imperative that the Mueller investigation be allowed to go forward without obstruction from the Trump administration or Congress.”

Clinton herself has not commented on the indictment yet but Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez called the new revelations “chilling” in a statement.

“This indictment gives us a chilling look at just how sophisticated, well-funded and wide-ranging this attack on democracy really was. It should send chills up the spine of every American,” he said.

The investigation seeks to find out whether the Russian government coordinated with Trump’s aides after the intelligence community’s conclusion that the Kremlin helped with the New York billionaire’s campaign effort ahead of winning the White House, an allegation dismissed both by Moscow and the president.

According to the new indictment, Russian “specialists were instructed to post content that focused on ‘politics in the USA’ and to ‘use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump—we support them.).’”

February 17, 2018 Posted by | Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 5 Comments

Ominous Russophobia in America

By Stephen Lendman | November 12, 2107

It infests America like a malignant tumor, exceeding the worst of the post-WW I “Red Scare” and its repeat following WW II.

Beginning in 1938, House Un-American Activities Committee witch-hunt hearings into alleged disloyalty and subversive activities became headline news.

Starting in the late 1960s, more of the same followed by the renamed House Committee on Internal Security.

Notorious McCarthyism in the 1950s was a demagogic smear campaign against prominent figures, slandering them, ruining careers, even accusing General George Marshall of being “soft on communism.”

Notable Hollywood figures were blacklisted. McCarthyism was baseless slander, unscrupulous fear-mongering, and political lynchings.

Harvard Law School dean Ervin Griswold once called McCarthy “judge, jury, prosecutor, castigator, and press agent, all in one.”

Modern-day Russophobia includes a second Cold War, Russia under Vladimir Putin again considered the “evil empire,” relentless Washington and media Russian bashing, along with endless congressional and special counsel witch-hunt investigations suggesting the worst, revealing nothing.

Russia expert Stephen Cohen said “(w)e’re in the most dangerous confrontation with Russia since the Cuban missile crisis.”

He underestimated the threat. It’s much worse now than then. Jack Kennedy explained he “never had the slightest intention of” attacking or invading Cuba.”

Obama was no Jack Kennedy. Nor is Trump, his administration and Congress infested with neocons, Democrats as ruthlessly dangerous as Republicans.

The late political theorist Sheldon Wolin once called undemocratic Dems the “inauthentic opposition,” as infested with neoliberal Russophobic neocons as the Republican party.

Virtually everyone in Washington is part of the anti-Russia crowd, Bernie Sanders among them, a progressive in name only.

Sanders sounded like a modern-day Joe McCarthy, shamefully claiming “the evidence is overwhelming” that Russia “help(ed) elect the candidate of their choice, Mr. Trump, to undermine in a significant way American democracy.”

In a YouTube video, he repeated the Big Lie, saying “the US intelligence community has concluded that Russia played an active role in the 2016 election with the goals of electing Donald Trump as president.”

“The Trump campaign had repeated contacts with the senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election.”

The phony “dossier” showed Russian agents able to “blackmail” the White House. Like most others in Congress, Sanders is a cold and hot warrior, a self-serving con man, supporting wealth, power and privilege like the rest of Washington’s political establishment, pretending otherwise.

Feelthebern.org states:

“Bernie supports enforcing economic sanctions and international pressure as an alternative to any direct military confrontation when dealing with Russia.”

“To temper Russian aggression, we must freeze Russian government assets all over the world, and encourage international corporations with huge investments in Russia to divest from that nation’s increasingly hostile political aims.”

“The United States must collaborate to create a unified stance with our international allies in order to effectively address Russian aggression.”

“(T)he United States should isolate Putin politically and economically…The entire world has got to stand up to Putin.”

Shocking stuff, exposing the real Bernie Sanders, not the persona he publicly displays!

Former CIA counterintelligence official/whistleblower John Kiriakou was invited to participate in a European Parliament panel – then removed at the last moment because panelist Winnie Wong, co-founder of People for Bernie, refused to appear with him, Kiriakou saying:

“(S)he didn’t want the appearance of Bernie Sanders appearing to endorse the Russian media.”

Kiriakou hosts a Sputnik News radio show called Loud & Clear, why she objected, supporting Sanders’ Russophobia.

Kiriakou remarked saying “American politics rear(ed) its ugly head in Brussels.” No problems arose when he appeared on another panel with Cuba’s EU ambassador.

It’s the “red scare all over again,” Kiriakou explained. Anything remotely connected to Russia is toxic. Failing to be Russophobic in Washington is a likely career-ender, much like what happens to Israeli critics.

Intense anti-Russian sentiment in America risks the unthinkable – possible catastrophic nuclear war, humanity’s survival at stake.

November 13, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | | 1 Comment

Bernie Sanders Can’t Shake His Imperial Piggishness

By Glen Ford | Black Agenda Report | September 28, 2017

Donald Trump’s performance last week at the UN General Assembly set the rhetorical bar for U.S. imperial piggery at a 21st century low — although Hillary “We came, we saw, he died” Clinton is surely his equal in moral depravity. At about the same time that Trump was threatening to incinerate a whole nation of people, Bernie Sanders attempted to fill in the vast holes in his own foreign policy profile, in a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, the same venue where Winston Churchill, the 20th century’s prototypical western imperial pig politician, delivered his Cold War-initiating “Iron Curtain descending on Europe” speech in 1946. This is deep swine territory, and Sanders could not help but wallow in it.

Churchill was an arch racist, an admirer of fascists until they threatened his home island and its global colonial empire, and a great innovator in war crimes against civilian populations — and, therefore, a hero of the Wild White West. Sanders revealed his own swinish predilections in Westminster. The Vermont senator reverently quoted Churchill’s “strategic concept” to provide “nothing less than the safety and welfare, the freedom and progress, of all the homes and families of all the men and women in all the lands.” What these words actually meant in the mouth of an imperialist, is eternal subjugation of the darker races while rich white men bore the “burden” of global governance. But Sanders chose to give the most benign interpretation to Churchill’s colonial pig-talk, claiming the British prime minister’s “challenge” to current society means moving “toward a global community in which people have the decent jobs, food, clean water, education, health care and housing they need.”

Churchill would never dream of providing a welfare state for Britain’s colonial captives, nor is Sanders proposing to do so for the far-flung subjects of the U.S. empire. However, imperialists reserve for themselves and their “exceptional” home countries the right — no, the obligation (or “burden”) — to shape the destinies of the rest of the human species, if only in their imaginations or to garner cheap speechmaking points. President George W. Bush also wanted to bring “freedom and progress” and safety and welfare and all those other good things to Iraq in the wake of Shock and Awe — and doubtless meant it. Donald Trump has a vision of prosperity for the world, too – embossed with his own golden logo. The Japanese empire imposed an Asian “Co-Prosperity Sphere,” under the armed guidance of Tokyo.

Bernie Sanders is an imperialist, and therefore of the same general political species as Churchill, Clinton and Trump. Many of Sanders’ leftish supporters cannot fathom how anyone could describe their hero as “an imperialist pig,” as I did in a June 15 article. They think imperialism is a personal characteristic, a kind of meanness — the same misconception they have about racism — rather than a global system centered in their home country. That’s why, not only is nearly every self-styled “patriot” an imperialist, but so are many, if not most, U.S. “progressives” — especially the white ones. They truly cannot fathom the meaning of other people’s right to self-determination, but see themselves as benevolent vectors of human progress – which is why “liberals” are so prone to crimes of “humanitarian” military intervention, the imperialist hoax-of-choice since Bill Clinton’s presidency.

A disturbing proportion of Black Americans have caught the same disease, after eight years of identification with U.S. power under Obama, whom, I wrote “was among the most aggressive defenders of white supremacy in history,” having waged seven simultaneous wars to preserve the U.S.-based multinational corporate empire. Obama handed off those wars to Trump, who is vigorously pursuing all of them and threatening more aggressions.

Foreign policy was largely an afterthought in Bernie Sanders presidential campaign — which is a kind way of saying that he did not challenge Barack Obama’s foreign policy and was, therefore, in tacit agreement with the First Black President’s global depredations. Certainly, Sanders backed sanctions against Russia (“that means tightening the screws on them”) and supported the near-genocidal Obama-Clinton regime change war “to get rid of this guy [President al Assad]” in Syria. That’s more than enough to qualify the 2016 Sanders as a world class imperialist pig.

The 2017 version is much the same. Like virtually the entire Democratic Party, Sanders eagerly foments anti-Russian hysteria, embracing CIA tales of Russian “efforts to undermine one of our greatest strengths: the integrity of our elections, and our faith in our own democracy.” He vows to “work in solidarity with supporters of democracy around the globe, including in Russia” – code words for continuation of the Obama-Hillary Clinton policy to foster regime change in Moscow. No serious advocate for peace talks like that — and if you do not advocate for peace, you are not a progressive.

Sanders’ anti-Russia rhetoric negates much of the progressive-sounding wordage in Sanders speech. At any rate, his remarks contained very little of substance on the burning issues of the day. Sanders delivered mostly pablum to signify that he is the Not-Trump, and takes strong stands only on long dead issues. “The goal is not for the United States to dominate the world,” he said. “Nor, on the other hand, is our goal to withdraw from the international community and shirk our responsibilities under the banner of ‘America First.’” But even Trump is capable of saying nice things about the UN — and did, last week, even as he displayed complete contempt for and ignorance of international law. And Barack Obama broke every international law and covenant in the book, while grandiloquently playing the globalist.

Sanders said the U.S. should not have overthrown the elected Iranian government of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, in 1953, and shouldn’t have deposed Chile’s Salvador Allende in 1973. He was against the Vietnam War, and the Iraq War — George Bush’s, not the current Obama-Trump Iraq war, about which he has nothing to say.

Sanders claims to oppose the U.S.-backed Saudi Arabian war against Yemen, although last year he was encouraging the Saudis to become more aggressive in the region. (He apparently meant more aggression against Syria — a violation of international law with which Sanders had no quarrel, since President Assad is a “bad guy” and the Russians are trying to subvert “our democracy.”)

“The Global War on Terror has been a disaster for the American people and for American leadership,” said Sanders. “We must rethink the old Washington mindset that judges ‘seriousness’ according to the willingness to use force. One of the key misapprehensions of this mindset is the idea that military force is decisive in a way that diplomacy is not.”

The “new Washington mindset” Sanders fuzzily proposes has no room for the universal principles of self-determination, national sovereignty and international law. It should be understood that Sanders is talking about use of American military force against sovereign nations; “diplomacy” does not apply to al-Qaida and its ISIS offshoot. Sanders fails to once mention the legality of U.S. violations of other nations’ sovereignty — because he is an imperialist who does not respect international law. Sanders says “military force is sometimes necessary, but always — always — as the last resort,” but he does not recognize that only the UN Security Council can legally authorize attacks on sovereign nations. Plus, even Trump will claim that he only unleashes the military as a last resort.

Bernie Sanders supports the Iran nuclear deal. So do lots of Republicans. But, the “deal” is an imperialist instrument, based on lies that even the U.S. intelligence agencies rejected. In 2007, all of the U.S. spy agencies joined in assessing that Iran had dismantled its nuclear program in 2003. This National Intelligence Estimate outraged the Bush regime, and probably prevented them from launching a full-scale military attack on Iran. But the Obama administration ignored the Estimate, despite another intelligence assessment in 2011 that determined Iran was still on a non-weapons nuclear track. The U.S. and Israel nevertheless waged an assassination campaign against Iranian scientists and unleashed the world’s first massive cyber-attack on the country’s installations, finally threatening a full-scale military attack to force through the current “deal” on nuclear weapons.

Donald Trump, the unilateralist imperialist, threatens to break the deal. Sanders says the U.S. should honor it. But the Iran agreement is itself an imperial imposition based on threats of armed aggression. Whoever supports that type of “diplomacy” is as much an imperialist pig as Trump.

Sanders wants the Iran agreement to serve as a model for dealing with North Korea; in other words, bully Pyongyang until it buckles under. The difference between Sanders approach and Trump’s “fire and fury” is that the Democrat would “look for ways to tighten international sanctions” through “the international community working together.” But, it’s the same lawless blackmail. Sanders says nothing about direct talks with North Korea, the North’s key demand, which would amount to actual diplomacy. But that would smack of equality among nations – an anathema to imperial powers, and to would-be imperial presidents, Bernie Sanders included.

In his entire speech on foreign affairs, Sanders did not utter the word “Africa” once, nor did he say the word “Israel.” Yet the U.S. virtually occupies the continent of Africa, through its African Command, while Israel practically occupies U.S. foreign policy. Does that mean Sanders has no policy on Africa or Israel? No, it means he goes along with the general direction of U.S. imperial policy as it exists – because he is an imperialist.

Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com .

September 28, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Tide Is Turning on Single Payer, With or Without Bernie Sanders

By Bruce A. Dixon | Black Agenda Report | June 28, 2017

Extracting nuggets of truth from corporate media is an art. For example when you read something in the New York Times or the Chicago Tribune you can be pretty sure this is what our betters would like us to believe. But what you see in some other publications like the Wall Street Journal is a different matter. This is because WSJ is one of the outlets members of the ruling class often use to talk to each other.

So Tuesday’s WSJ op-ed by Elizabeth Warren, in which the Massachusetts senator urged Democrats to campaign on Medicare For All is a sign the tide is turning. Liz Warren is no dummy. She’s up for re-election in 2018. She knows what sells, and she knows that unlike most Republicans, Trump is entirely capable of running simultaneously to the left AND to the right of Democrats.

The Affordable Care Act elegantly painted Republicans into a corner. It was a Republican plan, originally floated by the right wing Heritage Foundation and called Romneycare when it was enacted into law in Massachusetts in the 1990s. When Obama stole the Republican plan to bail out insurance companies it deprived Republicans of contributions from the insurance industry and Big Pharma, and left Republicans with nowhere to go politically. They could rage and rail against Obamacare, but it’s pretty much impossible to imagine a bigger favor than the Democrats did when they passed the Affordable Care Act in 2009.

So the plans pushed by the House and Senate Republican leadership are standard, boilerplate unimaginative things which pursue old Republican goals like turning Medicaid from a program supposedly based upon need into one funded up to a set amount and no more, instituting health savings accounts and using that Medicaid money for more tax breaks for the wealthy. Republicans might not like Obamacare, but they are for the moment unable to whip their own Senate majority behind the plan of their leaders.

Newspapers like the Boston Globe explain Liz Warren’s sudden reversal on single payer by telling us that while Medicare For All was a “fringe idea” nine years ago the public might almost be ready for it now. What no corporate media outlet will tell you is that a majority of House Democrats have now signed on to John Conyers’ current Medicare For All bill. So-called progressive Democrats are known for striking courageous poses when they don’t have majorities to pass them, this is a very different political moment than nine years ago. Physicians for a National Health Plan, the foremost pro-single payer doctors organization, called the House Republican plan a meaner version of Obamacare, putting them in the same territory as Donald Trump, who now admits calling the bill “mean.” Before he became president Donald Trump was on record more than once favoring Medicare For All. it’s a position he’s entirely capable of circling back to. Trump is plenty smart enough to know that if he can assemble a coalition of Democrats and Republicans to deliver Medicare For All before 2020, his re-election will be a lockdown certainty.

So where is the nation’s foremost proponent of Medicare For All, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders? The answer is nowhere. Early in the year Bernie’s office was telling people to expect a senate version of Medicare For All that might drop in March, or April or May. It’s the end of June now. Maybe Bernie has postponed the push for single payer because Democratic party unity is more important. Bernie just did kick in $100,000 of his followers money to pay for the Democratic party unity tour. Maybe Bernie doesn’t want to shame his fellow Dems – he is the party’s outreach chairman now – by getting too far out in front of them on this. The potential embarrassment is real. California Democrats, firmly in control of their state government killed their own single payer bill not two weeks ago.

Whatever the reason, the fact is there exists NO Medicare For All Senate bill to which Greens, Democrats and others might demand senators affix their name to. Nobody’s holding that up but Vermont Senator and Democratic party outreach chair Bernie Sanders. The US Senate is a good old boys club, and Liz Warren despite her gender is very much a good old boy. Warren will never put Bernie on the spot by introducing her own single payer bill, and neither will any other Senate Democrat.

So the tide is finally turning on Medicare For All. But at this moment Bernie Sanders is blocking that tide.

Bruce Dixon can be reached via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

June 28, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Progressive Hypocrite | , , | Leave a comment

Sanders’ “Barn-burning” Chicago Speech is for Recalcitrant Suckers

In response to Bernie Sanders alleged barn burning speech in Chicago.

By Phil Rockstroh | The Greanville Post | June 11, 2017

How can Bernie’s supporters still be marinating in toxic innocence about his true relationship with and his place within the Democratic Party? Still, despite all evidence to the contrary, they cling to the reality-bereft notion that he can and will act as a redeemer figure to the irredeemably corrupt Party as opposed to the Judas Goat he has proven himself to be.

Yep. You might have surmised. I don’t feel the burn. I’m burnt out on Comrade Bernie. I feel like a burnt offering placed before corrupt Democratic Party deities. Why? Not once did Bernie call out the Clinton Campaign and their toadies in the DNC for their election malfeasance thus he betrayed his credulous flock. Instead, he delivered them to a candidate who stood for everything he claims to stand against.

But it is not only his Judas Goat proclivities, he, in stark contrast to Jeremy Corbyn, is a drone murder apologist, a liberacrat imperialist who slags Russia, he urged the Saudis to bomb more countries, and he embodies all the genocide-enabling proclivities of a garden variety liberal Zionists. Moreover, history reveals, the Democratic Party is the reeking landfill of leftist, labouring class, and minority socio-economic movements. If Sanders was sincere, he would not act as an advocate for the irredeemably corrupt Democratic party — but be would break the news to his followers, they will only truly feel the burn by the act of burning down the infamous thing — so that a true leftist/socialist party could be seeded in its compost and ashes.

“Bernie did the best under the circumstance,” Berniecrats are prone to respond.

Demonstrably false. Sanders, had he made an honest effort, would have called out the Clintonites and their operatives in the DNC, all through the primaries season, and, in particular, after the Wikileaks revelations about their malfeasance. He even stood silent when his supporters were insulted and bullied at the Democratic convention. In short, he has revealed, by his actions, he is far from worthy of trust.

“So what is your solution? A two-party system is what we have.”

Easy enough. As Voltaire averred about the miseries inflicted by the dogma of The Church and its hold on the collective mind of the populace, the solution will be found in “Ecrassez l’infame!” i.e., “crush the infamous thing” i.e., the Democratic Party.

“But that risks too much chaos,” blubber Fainting Couch Liberals.

You haven’t seen anything yet. Capitalism lurches from bubble to bubble. An economic collapse comes to pass every seven or so years. We are a year overdue. And this time, there will not be trillions to funnel to the Wall Street crooks who caused the collapse, as their quisling Obama, AKA President Drone von Citigroup, did. Political duopoly, the enabler of capitalist despotism, is the problem, rotten root to noxious bloom. And Bernie Sanders is one of the system’s constant gardeners.

June 12, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Single-Payer Bernie Morphs Into Public Option Dean

By Russell Mokhiber | CounterPunch | March 27, 2017

Right before our eyes, we are seeing the transformation of single payer Bernie Sanders into public option Howard Dean.

During the 2016 Presidential campaign, Sanders took off like a rocket, fueled by the promise of a single payer, Medicare for All single payer system.

His single payer plan paralleled HR 676, the single payer bill in the House of Representatives that now has 72 co-sponsors.

HR 676 is the gold standard of single payer bills.

It would deliver one public payer, no deductibles, no co-pays, lower costs, everyone in, nobody out, no more medical bankruptcies, no more deaths from lack of health insurance and free choice of doctors and hospitals.

That was the promise of Bernie Sanders during the 2016 campaign.

But since then, Bernie Sanders has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President.

Then become part of Senator Chuck Schumer’s Senate Democratic leadership.

And this weekend, Sanders has been telling people he will introduce health care reform legislation in the Senate within a couple of weeks.

But it’s not going to be a companion bill to HR 676.

Instead, Sanders is telling reporters he wants to “move toward Medicare for all.”

“Right now we need to improve the Affordable Care Act and that means a public option,” Sanders tweeted yesterday.

The public option?

That would be the plan put forth by the Democratic corporatist Howard Dean, currently a member of the public policy and regulation practice of Denton’s, the multinational corporate law firm.

Dean got into nasty confrontations with single payer activists who confronted him during the Obamacare debates with questions about his corporatist connections and his support of the public option over single payer.

Don McCanne of Physicians for a National Health Program, the premiere single payer health care group in the country, has argued persuasively that the public option — allowing Americans to opt into a public plan — would not solve our healthcare crisis.

“The tragedy is not so much that on this path we will end up with a public plan that will be only one more feeble player in the dysfunctional market of private plans, but rather that we will, once again, have walked away from single payer, perhaps for decades, because of this meme about lack of political feasibility,” McCanne wrote last year. “Instead of making private plans compete with a public option, we should get rid of them and establish our own single public plan.”

And PNHP, in a paper titled The Public Plan Option: Myths and Facts, says that

“the current Medicare experience combined with experience in many different states that have tried this type of reform shows that public plans are left with the sickest patients and fail due to rising costs while the private insurers continue to collect premiums from the healthiest patients and maintain their high profits.”

Sanders also told reporters this weekend that he would consider legislation that would drop the Medicare age from 65 to 55.

David Himmelstein, a PNHP founder, said that while the public option would be a “modest improvement” and dropping the Medicare age to 55 would be a “good step,”  “neither could realize most of the vast savings on administration available under single payer, nor would they achieve universal coverage or address the problems of the tens of millions who are currently underinsured.”

“Introducing a public option will divide and confuse supporters of Medicare for all,” said Margaret Flowers, MD a pediatrician who co-directs Health Over Profit for Everyone, www.HealthOverProfit.org. Flowers is also a member of PNHP. “Senators who should co-sponsor Medicare for all will be divided. Sanders seems to be urging a public option to please the Democratic Party, but Sanders cannot serve two masters – Wall Street’s Chuck Schumer and the people. Sanders must decide whom he is working for.”

“While it might seem politically pragmatic to support a public option, it is not realistically pragmatic because a public option will not work,” Dr. Flowers said. “Senator Sanders knows that and he knows that the smallest step toward solving the healthcare crisis is National Improved Medicare for All. This would fundamentally change our health system that currently treats health as a commodity so that people only have access to what they can afford to a system that treats health as a public necessity so that people have access to what they need. Medicare for all achieves the savings needed to provide comprehensive coverage to everyone.”

“If Senator Sanders believes that it is acceptable to promote a policy that leaves some people out, then we want to know who should be left out. The US is already spending enough to cover everyone and that’s what we need to do.”

“The Affordable Care Act, built on a heavily subsidized private insurance industry, is not possible to fix. The ACA must be replaced by a national health policy that serves the needs of the people by replacing private insurance with publicly-financed Medicare.”

“Sanders wants to lower drug prices,” Dr. Flowers said. “Only a single payer system can negotiate lower drug prices. Sanders says healthcare is a human right, but human rights should not be commodities or profit centers. People do not pay for their human rights.”

“We look to Senator Sanders to act on what he promised during his presidential campaign, a National Improved Medicare for All now, not tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes. It is not up to him to decide if single payer can pass in Congress. That task is for the people to decide.”

Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter.

March 27, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Economics | , | Leave a comment

Sanders Single Payer and Death by Democrat

By Russell Mokhiber | CounterPunch | December 2, 2016

Lori Kearns is the health policy advisor to Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont).

She’s been making the rounds in recent weeks telling single payer supporters that Senator Sanders will not introduce his single payer bill into the Senate next year.

Why not?

Because party unity is more important than single payer.

Sanders apparently believes that single payer will get in the way of electing a Democratic Senate in 2018.

Wouldn’t want to confront Democratic Senate candidates with the deaths of their constituents due to Obamacare, would you?

One reason why Sanders soared during the primary was his constant refrain that we need to cover every American with a single payer health care system.

This resonated with the American people, with polls showing that three-fifths of Americans — including a majority of those who want the Obamacare repealed, and even 41 percent of Republicans — favoring a “federally funded healthcare program providing insurance for all Americans.”

Translate — single payer.

Everybody in. Nobody out.

If Sanders believes it, where is the bill?

Why won’t Sanders re-introduce it in the upcoming session?

Because he is now in the Democratic leadership in the Senate — handpicked by Wall Street favorite incoming Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-New York.)

And if the Democrats say no, Sanders says no.

Call it death by Democrat.

And death by Obamacare.

Narrow networks.

High deductibles and co-pays.

Skyrocketing premiums.

Twenty nine million Americans still uninsured.

And more than 28,000 preventable deaths a year due to lack of health insurance.

All under Obamacare.

And Sanders won’t introduce his single payer bill because the Democrats tell him not to?

During the battle over Obamacare on the Hill in 2009, I asked Sanders why he was supporting Obamacare when he stood for single payer.

Sanders was a student of the difference — Obamacare controlled by the health insurance companies and written by their lobbyists — single payer a public system that cuts the health insurance companies out of the game.

Sanders looked at me, snarled, told me not to lecture him and walked away.

Goodbye single payer. Hello Chuck Schumer.


Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter.

December 2, 2016 Posted by | Economics | , , | Leave a comment