Monday, January 18, 2016
Bernie Takes Hillary To The "Woodshed" in 2 Hr Screamathon
The last NFL playoff game finished hours earlier, but this Democratic debate in Charleston, SC(sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus) was a knock down drag out, with Bernie keeping Hillary Clinton on the defensive in the health care and Wall Street responses - with an aggressive stance nearly the whole time. As MSNBC political commentator Chuck Todd put it at one interlude:
"Bernie Sanders very much being the revolutionary candidate for major change. But Hillary Clinton saying she very much wants to build on the things President Obama did, wrapping herself in President Obama"
And that is Hillary's mistake, because much of the nation distrusts Obamacare and that it can work to their overall cost benefit. Many of these are among the 3 million or so already dumped from state exchanges - like here in Colorado - because the medical care costs have been too high for the private insurers to tolerate. Others are seeing premiums rise, as originally predicted would happen, because not enough young people (in the healthier 23- 29 year old range) are enlisting to share the medical costs burden. As we know, in the standard health care models that work healthier members who need less care shoulder more of the cost burden to that sicker members can remain. This simply isn't happening.
In addition, the absurdly high deductibles of many ACA plans are leaving many millions under insured because they can't afford the more 'gold plated" options.
These are the primary reasons we need to go to a single payer system best described as "Medicare for all". And let's get it into our craniums this is not a "freebie" or simple entitlement. Wifey calculated the total medical costs and premiums for our Medicare last year and it came to over $10,000. And this did not include the extra $5,500 shelled out for eyeglasses, eye exams and dental work (including a new crown for me at about $1500).
Thus, new enrollees to a single payer system under Bernie's vision will have to pay, but it will be mainly in higher taxes not actual premiums. But you simply can't get this single payer system gratis. Let's be clear on that.
Sanders was also excellent in taking Hillary to task for insisting that Dodd-Frank will do, in so far as preventing another banking debacle. God forbid we bring back Glass -Steagall, which Sanders rightly wants - as we all should. For those with short memories, Glass-Steagall had (before being removed under Bill Clinton's administration) prevented the mixing of investment banks with commercial banks. Under its purview I could sleep at night without fretting my money was being used for "gambling" purposes - e.g. trading in swaps, derivatives - without my knowledge and also with the participating banks benefiting with super high leverage and low capital requirements.
Meanwhile, Dodd-Frank attempted to right the wrongs and herd the cattle back in after they'd run off. But it was an impossible task given the law has been tweaked and re-tweaked mostly in favor of Wall Street interests and banker lobbies. Indeed, some articles I've read in the WSJ actually conjecture that Dodd-Frank might be reduced to a "toothless" farce within 2-3 election cycles.
But again, this is no wonder, since as Sanders vigorously pointed out, our campaign finance laws threaten the civic underpinning of our society because the money changers and makers can use them to shape legislation to their monied will. So long as money is treated as "speech" and floods our system it will undermine the public interest, whether that is tilted toward breaking up the big banks, rebuilding our infrastructure, or fighting man made climate change. We have to clear this money out of our political process or reap the whirlwind as it continues to trump the votes of actual humans.
True, the responses at times reached the decibel level of screams, but often it was necessary in order to finish a point above the noise level of the moderators (Andrea Mitchell and Lester Holt)
My one minor continuing complaint with Sen. Sanders - in the segment on dealing with ISIS and Iran (as in previous Middle East forays) - is that I wished he'd stop saying "EYE-ran" and "EYE-rack".. Those pronunciations are more befitting of the knuckle dragger enclave on FOX and its followers than a standing U.S. Senator and Presidential candidate.
As for Hillary, it was amusing for me to hear her harangue (in that classical scolding harpy voice) about "taking a more aggressive stance against Putin" when it was her Neocons (led by Victoria Nuland) at State that instigated the uprising against then Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovich. And now they have the nerve to complain after Putin reacted to what he saw as an underhanded move to get Ukraine into the NATO orbit.
In the end, what transcended all the debate details and fine points was Sen. Sanders' integrity which shone through like a beacon. For those of us who want to see real change, and aren't so brainwashed as to spurn him as a :"crazy socialist" this debate was an even more defining moment: disclosing the character of a man who is probably too good to be elected President in the U.S..
It is just a pity that the scheduling of these debates - by the DNC and Hillary 'homer' Debbie Wasserman-Schultz- has been such as to keep more viewers from seeing him and his articulation of sober proposals for badly needed change. This is as opposed to the irrational changes offered by the fool factory of Trump et al, with 1,000 mile long fences as high as the Empire State Bldg. and other nonsense.
Bernie showed more than ever he's ready to take Iowa and New Hampshire, and I believe he just might..