by Jerry Alatalo
enator Bernie Sanders and Thom Hartmann have teamed up for the weekly Q+A call-in program “Brunch With Bernie” for several years now. Bernie says he’s getting close to announcing that he will campaign for President of the United States. Here’s hoping he runs and here’s hoping he wins. Step aside Hillary, Bernie’s coming through. That’s kind of a catchy campaign slogan, come to think of it.
Here’s how Bernie Sanders of Vermont becomes the next President of the United States. First, he and Massachusetts Senator and progressive wing of the Democratic party superstar Elizabeth Warren strike a secret deal, known only to the two of them. Ms. Warren, because of her principled stands against Wall Street corruption, has men and women across the nation urging her to run for the highest office in the land. If she had decided to run her odds of garnering more votes against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination would have been poor, because Ms. Clinton has more political experience – first lady for eight years, Senator from New York, a near win in 2008 for President, and Secretary of State.
In addition, two women battling it out for the nomination would have resulted in Hillary’s 2008 voters going for her again this time. This is only a guess, but Senator Sanders will soon enter the race, and when the campaign gets into full-swing and hot and heavy, as per the secret deal, Bernie will hold a press conference where Senator Warren will appear after Bernie Sanders tells Americans that “If I win the nomination of the Democratic party, Elizabeth Warren has agreed to become my Vice-Presidential running mate”. Or, Senator Sanders will run as an independent third-party candidate, so “Elizabeth Warren has agreed to become my Vice-Presidential running mate against Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush”. At that point the front page of newspapers all across America, without exception, will contain “the photo” of Sanders and Warren standing side-by-side smiling, hand-in-hand raised vertically toward the sky, with the headine… “SANDERS – WARREN!!”
Most Americans who agree with progressive policies – policy proposals locked into the platform of a Sanders-Warren Democratic or Independent ticket – would in unison across the 50 states exclaim/erupt with decades-of-internalized political frustration and disappointment miraculously transformed into joy: “Finally!!”
In a very short time after the mega-announcement, some fellows by the name of Koch, Adelson, Bush, Walker, etc. will be on phones urgently arranging appointments with their respective psychiatrists, because “visions” of hundreds of millions of dollars being flushed down the toilet have them very worried about experiencing odd hallucinations and unmanageable, severe depression. Let us say that the fellows have become, well… a little “shook up”, like that actor Herbert Lom in the Pink Panther movies whose eye twitches when Peter Sellers is around.
Presidential campaigns are well-known for their unexpected, vote-swinging bombshell news events. Will the Sanders-Warren scenario described come to pass? Many people have come to the point where “nothing surprises anymore in this world”, so just remember the possible secret deal between Senators Sanders and Warren comes from the imagination. Then again, some people claim that creative visualization really works…
After a little harmless fun, here’s a brief overview of some of the topics discussed on the April 23, 2015 broadcast of “Brunch With Bernie”. Before taking phone comments and questions Senator Sanders talked about the previous week, with particular focus on the Republican budget priorities. Sanders tells Thom Hartmann’s viewing audience that the provisions are so bad that people may not believe it when he tells them. He goes through a list including taking health insurance from 16 million people who’ve signed on to the Affordable Care Act, cutting $90 billion over ten years from Pell Grants for college students, cuts in Headstart funding, “devastating” cuts to the food stamp program, tax breaks for the top .2% through repeal of the Estate Tax, higher taxes on low-income and working people, $billions more in military spending, plus cuts to programs helping the elderly and children.
Sanders notes that the media has not reported on the GOP proposed budget nearly enough given the huge consequences for average Americans.
The first caller asked the Senator when he would announce he’s running for President, and Sanders explained it was a difficult decision because of the forces he and his supporters would come up against: Wall Street, multinational corporations, pharmaceutical companies, military contractors, the Koch brothers and fellow billionaires, etc. He said that a major grassroots movement will have to emerge, not to mention creating a credibly funded campaign in light of unlimited campaign contributions guaranteed by Citizens United. In response to the caller on when, he said “shortly”.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was the topic for several callers, to which Bernie Sanders replied by saying he was against it, that he and Oregon Senator Ron Wyden have a “strong disagreement” on the proposed trade deal, and that all presidential candidates “can’t wiggle your way out of telling the American people where you stand on TPP”. Although he did filibuster the TPP proceedings in the Senate, he admits the action only slows down the process, but that filibusters can’t stop the vote. He noted that 60,000 manufacturing plants have closed since 2001 due to TPP-like trade deals, workers in Vietnam (one of the prospective nations of TPP) making 56-cents an hour, Americans can’t find/buy products “made in America” anymore, and that people need to call their representatives in opposition.
Thom Hartmann shared his perspective on TPP: “It’s like a show of horrors”.
After a caller asked Senator Sanders why voter turnout in the mid-term 2014 elections was so low, he responded by saying the average American looks around and asks “who is listening to me?’, then decides not to vote because they don’t want to give a completely corrupt system credibility. He elaborated, saying there is massive demoralization in the country, that too-many people see that nobody in Congress is speaking for them, and concluding it (voting) doesn’t matter, because the rich will get richer whoever takes office. Sanders pointed out that a mass movement is necessary across America; a movement whose central message is “enough is enough”, and that it’s either developing that type of powerful grassroots movement “or lose”.
The last caller touched on the 2014 mid-term election and his perception that candidates in the Democratic party did an abysmal job of “selling” their ideas and agenda for the country, and that this was the main reason for losing many seats in Congress. Bernie Sanders agreed with the caller, then listed a number of progressive stances on issues that most Americans agree with:
infrastructure improvements creating millions of jobs
an increase in the minimum wage
pay equity for women
transforming the national energy system from fossil fuels to renewables, creating millions of jobs and economic growth
decreasing Wall Street power by breaking up too-big-to-fail banks
ending tax breaks for billionaires and large corporations
single-payer health care system
Finally, Bernie Sanders stresses the clear and urgent need for a progressive agenda focused on average Americans which “takes on the billionaire class”.
Promise you won’t tell anybody about that secret deal between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. It’s supposed to be a surprise.
(Thank you to thomhartmann at YouTube)