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Excerpt: "The reality is that we have more people living in poverty today than at any time in the history of the United States of America."

Sen. Bernie Sanders at a markup meeting of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, 03/21/13. (photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Sen. Bernie Sanders at a markup meeting of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, 03/21/13. (photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

A Threat to American Democracy

By Sen. Bernie Sanders, Reader Supported News

29 March 14

en. Bernie sanders: thank you very much. As the longest serving independent in the history of the u.s. Congress, i want to address a—an issue that i think does not get the kind of discussion that it should from either political party but certainly not from our republican colleagues, and that is the moral, economic and political dimensions of the kind of income and wealth inequality which we have in our country today. In my view, this is the most important issue facing the united states because it impacts on virtually every aspect of our lives. It is an issue that we must be discussing thoroughly and one in which the american people have got to be engaged.

The fact of the matter is that while we often speak of the united states ofamerica being the wealthiest nation on the face of the earth, that is only partially true because within the context of total wealth is the reality that the middle class, the great middle class of this country is disappearing. The reality is that we have more people living in poverty today than at any time in the history of the united states of america. The fact of the matter is that we have by far the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major industrialized nation on earth. So if you add it all together, yes, we are the wealthiest nation on earth. But the reality is that the people on top own a huge amount of that wealth while the middle class is shrinking and poverty is increasing. And i want to bore you, madam president, although i think you already know this issue, but i do want to speak to our colleagues and the american people about some of the realities out there in terms of income and wealth distribution.

Today, madam president, the top 1% owns 38% of the financial wealth of america, 38%. And i wonder how many americans know how much the bottom 60% own. They want people to think about it. Top 1% own 38% of the wealth. What do the bottom 60% own? The answer is all of 2.3%. Top 1% owns 38% of the financial wealth. The bottom 60% owns 2.3%. Madam president, there is one family in this country, the walton family, the owners of wal-mart, who are now worth as a family $148 billion. That is more wealth than the bottom 40% of american society. One family owns more wealth than the bottom 40% of american society. Today the richest 400 americans own more wealth than the bottom half of america, 150 million people. That’s distribution of wealth. That’s what we own. In terms of income, what we made last year, the latest information that we have in terms of distribution of income is that from 2009-2012, 95% of all new income earned in this country went to the top 1%. Have you all got that? 95% of all new income went to the top 1%, which tells us that when we talk about economic growth, which is 2%, 3%, 4%,whatever it is, that really doesn’t mean all that much because almost all of the new income generated in that growth has gone to the very, very, very wealthiest people in this country.

Madam president, the top 25 hedge fund managers made last year over $24 billion. 25 hedge fund managers made over $24 billion last year. That is enough to pay the salaries of more than 425,000 public school teachers. 24 hedge fund managers and 425,000 public school teachers. Over the past decade, the net worth of the top 400 billionaires in this country has doubled, up by an astronomical $1 trillion in the last ten years. We have heard—i will be talking about this in a moment – the extraordinary political power of the koch brothers, a family that is investing very, very heavily in the political process, spending hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars to elect right-wing candidates who will protect the interests of the wealthy and the powerful. To give you some idea of what is going on in this economy, everybody should understand that charles and david koch, the koch brothers, they are the second wealthiest family in this country. In the last year alone, that one family saw a $12 billion increase in their wealth. $12 billion in one year, bringing their total wealth to up to $80 billion.

The other day in “the washington post,” madam president, you may have seen an article talking about the aid he willson—the adelson primary. Now, when we talk about a political primary, what it means is you have candidates in the democratic party, candidates in the republican party competing against each other to get the support of the people in their respective parties. Well, forget about that. That’s old news. Now the goal is to appeal to one multibillionaire so that that can’t—that individual can contribute hundreds of millions of dollars into your campaign, and that is what is going on right now in the republican parties.

Now, while the wealthiest people are doing phenomenally well, while the united states today has the most unequal distribution of wealth and income of any major country on earth and while that income and equality is worse today than at any time since 1928, what we are also seeing is the collapse of the middle class and an increase in poverty. Madam president, since 1999, the typical middle-class family has seen its income go down by more than $5,000 after adjusting for inflation. The typical middle-class american family earn less income—earned less income last year than it did 25 years ago back in 1989. And in fact, you’re probably the last person in the world i have to explain this to because you wrote several books on this subject. What we are also looking at is that typical male workers—and i want people to hear this. Do you want to know why people are angry in this country? Typical, that’s the median male worker in this country, made $283 less last year than he did 44 years ago. So the question—and i should say in terms of the typical female worker, she earned $1,700 less than she did in 2007. So the question that i think every american should be asking is how does it happen that when we have a huge increase in productivity, everybody has a cell phone, everybody has a sophisticated computer, we have robotics in all of our factories, we have a huge increase in productivity. Where is all of the wealth going that increased productivity has created? And the answer is pretty clear. It has gone to the top 1%. So the moral issue that we have got to address as a nation, are we comfortable as a nation in which in recent years we have seen a huge increase in the number of millionaires and billionaires while at the same time we have more people living in poverty than we have ever had before. Madam president, this is just to me an incredible fact.

As an aging nation, more and more people are reaching retirement. Half of the american people have less than $10,000 in their savings account and have in many ways no idea as to how they are going to retire with dignity. So the first issue that we have to deal with is a moral issue. Are we comfortable living in a nation when so few have so much while so many have so little and so many of our brothers and sisters, our fellow americans, are struggling economically every single day. Today we are addressing the issue of extending long-term unemployment benefits, and what that means is there are millions of workers right now, including people who have worked their entire lives, who no longer can find a job. They have virtually no income coming in. They are struggling to survive. You have got single moms out there trying to raise families with very limited income. Is that the nation that we are comfortable being, and the answer is i don’t think we are.

But it is not just an issue of individual income. Today corporate profits are at an all-time high while wages are near an all-time low. And then when you look at issues about how can we fund early childhood education, how can we make sure that every american has health care as a right, how do we make sure that when people lose their jobs, they are going to get the unemployment that they need, we should remember that every single year, corporations, large multinational corporations avoid paying at least $100 billion a year in taxes because they stash their cash in the cayman islands and other offshore tax havens, and the result is that one out of four american corporations pays nothing in federal income taxes. In fact, over the last five years, huge companies, profitable companies like general electric, boeing and verizon paid nothing, zero in federal income taxes even though all of those companies made a combined profit of $78 billion since 2008.

Now, here is the irony of all ironies. It is one thing to understand that the very wealthy are becoming wealthier while everybody else is becoming poorer, but it is another thing to understand that the people who had the money, the billionaire class, is going to war against working americans. You would ask yourself if you had $80 billion, do you really need to invest in the political process so that you can elect candidates who will give you even more tax breaks? Do you really have to invest in right-wing candidates who are out there trying to cut social security, medicare, medicaid, the environmental protection agency, nutrition, food stamps, education? Why if somebody has $80 billion are they working so hard for more tax breaks for themselves and for more cuts for the middle class and working class in terms of programs that people desperately need? Frankly i think this is not an economic issue. I think it’s a psychiatric issue. I think it is an issue that suggests that people are simply power hungry, they need more and more and more, and i think that that is a very sad state of affairs.

Mr. President, the struggle that we are engaged in now is stopping the billionaire class from cutting social security, from cutting medicare, from cutting medicaid, and from preventing us from creating the millions of jobs that our economy desperately needs. But at the end of the day, what we are really talking about is whether or not this nation is going to become an oligarchic form of society. And what that means, what an oligarchic form of society is about, and has existed in many countries throughout the world, historically many countries in latin america although that has recently changed—is you have a nation in which both the economics and politics of the nation are controlled by a handful of billionaire families. Very, very wealthy. And it doesn’t matter what party is in power because the real power, economically and politically, rests with a billionaire class. And, mr. President, it seems to me very clearly that unless we act boldly to reverse that trend, we are seeing this country moving in exactly that direction. And one of the reasons for that is that as a result of the disastrous citizens united supreme court ruling which regards corporations as people and allows the superwealthy to spend as much as they want on elections, the billionaire party which is obviously aligned with the republicans, is now, in fact, the major political force in this country. It’s not the republican party per se, it is not the democratic party per se. It is the billionaire party led by people like the koch brothers and sheldon adelson. And they are the dominant political force in this country because they can spend unbelievable sums of money on elections, they can spend as much money as they need setting up think tanks and all kinds of organizations which will support their extreme right-wing point of view.

Mr. President, in the last election for president, barack obama’s campaign spent i believe a little over a billion dollars, mitt romney somewhere around there, maybe a little bit less, about a billion dollars. Koch bureaus’ wealth—brothers’ wealth increased by $12 billion in one year. Is there any reason to doubt that in the future this one family will be able to spend more money on a campaign than the presidential candidates themselves receiving donations from hundreds of thousands of people. And that is where we are today. Where we are today is the very foundations of american democracy are being threatened by a handful of incredibly wealthy people who are saying you know what? 80s are billion dollars—$80 billion is not, i made $12 billion last year, not enough for me. I have to have more and i’m going to get more tax cuts for myself and in order to do that we may have to cut social security, we may have to to cut medicare, we may have to cut medicaid, we may have to cut education for middle-class families.

You know, eesh in a debate, mr. President, as you well—we are in a debate, mr. President, as you well know about whether we raise the minimum wage. My view and i know your view is we should raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour so every working person in this country at least, at least can have a minimal, main minnesota malstliferl—minimal standard of living. I have to say and many americans don’t know it, it is not just that virtually all republicans in the congress are opposed to raising the minimum wage, the truth of the matter is is that many of them want to abolish the concept of the minimum wage. The theory of the minimum wage is that nobody should work for below a certain wage and for many of my extreme conservative friends, they think it would be perfectly fine if in a high unemployment area we abolish the minimum wage and people today were working in this country for $3 an hour, they were working for $4 an hour. But it is not only economics. Many of these billionaires are involved, as the koch brothers are, in energy, in oil. And what they want to do is abolish agencies like the environmental protection agency so they can pollute more and more and more. The scientific community tells us in an almost unanimous fashion that climate change is real, that climate change is made by human activity, that climate change is already causing severe problems in our country and around the world and if we don’t get our act together and significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions the problems will only become worse. Yet you have families like the koch brothers and other billionaires spending huge sums of money trying to confuse people about the reality of climate change.

So, mr. President, to my mind, the issue that we have got to focus on as a congress, the issue that we have got to focus on as american people is what kind of nation do we wish to live in. Do we want to live in a nation where a handful of billionaires own a significant amount of the wealth in this country while the middle class has less and less, where families can’t afford to send their kids to college or get decent child care for their little ones, where people are reaching the age of 65 with virtually nothing in the bank in order to provide a dignified retirement, is that the country we want to live in or do we want to see the middle class grow and have a more equitable distribution of wealth and income, a fairer tax system where the millionaires and billionaires and large corporations start paying their fair share of taxes. And then from a political point of view which is equally important, do we want to have a nation in which the concept is one person, one vote, that we’re all equal, that you have as much say about what happens in government as anybody else, or do we want to have a political system where a handful of billionaires can sit around the room and say okay, put $100 million into that state, let’s put $50 million into that state, where a handful of billionaires will determine who gets elected president, who gets elected senator, who gets elected governor, and have members of congress go crawling up to these billionaires, what do you need mr. Billionaire, how do i get the hundreds of millions of dollars you can give me? Is that really what american democracy is supposed to be about?

So we have some very, very fundamental issues that we have got to address as the united states congress. So i would suggest that we put right on the agenda the issue of distribution of wealth and income, and the implications of that grossly unfair distribution of wealth and income that we have right now.

And with that, mr. President, i would yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. your social media marketing partner


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+57 # reiverpacific 2014-03-29 11:18
"Note the absence of a quorum" (quote 1). Indeed, all Sen' Sander's speeches seem to elicit only yawns from his millionaire club "Colleagues" as they wait to open the back doors of their offices to the bag-carrier "burrowers" as lobbyists were formerly and more accurately known.
Well, guess which country instigated reprisals or usurped any effort to democratize these Banana Republics by coup, interference and direct intervention, planting strategic CIA stations in all of them, plentiful armaments flowing into them, with death squads, torture and disappearances rampant and major corporations like Chiquita joining in the slaughter and oppression to their increased profit (I've seen this up close and personal)? Present-day Honduras, the "Murder capital of the world" is a prime example with Colombia and even Mexico practically failed states.
I just wish everybody would stop talking about "American Democracy" as in the title block, as if it had been achieved.
-Not even close and seemingly sliding backwards into Feudalism if the Adelsons and Koch's get their foot far enough in the door, which they seem to have done already to a large extent, a bit like the foregoing Banana Republics, cheered on by the "Bananas Republican" party
-40 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2014-03-29 11:49
I will state a few simple yet power truths. And I know that since the American voter or non-voter loves to "bitch," I'll get plenty of red ink. I really do not care. Now the truths. Bernie is applying the art of perception. On one hand saying and using an American pass-time phrase, "ain't it aweful." While at the same time voting to kick deserving and hurting families off of food stamps by voting for lavish handouts to the corporate agricultural complex. Bernie wanted the agricultural vote. Hurting families were less important than he staying in office. He needed the agricultural vote. While it is a fact that the agricultural bill and the food stamp bill were "neatly wrapped" as one sausage, I simply did not ever hear Bernie say, "this is bull shit!! We cannot vote this way. Each issue needs to be voted on its own merits."

Major premise:politic s is the art of perception

Minor premise: to gain advantage, perceptions given to me can be and often are false.

Conclusion: politics is very often a ruthless game of deception.

Will Rogers:"if you like sausage and the laws of your country, watch neither of them being made." Bernie, if you did not like the sausage that was presented to you, let's hear your voice, OK?
+7 # Art947 2014-03-29 16:06
What drivel, Mr. Bloedorn. Unfortunately the RWNJs in our Federal legislature will vote "NO" on anything if it is not perfectly congruent with their position. This NOT what politics is supposed to be. Would a vote of "NO" by Sen. Sanders bring back full-funding of the SNAP program? Would further delay in getting the funding measure passed help anyone -- except those who refuse to aid their fellow Americans? Your major premise is wrong. Politics is the art of persuasion and compromise. Perception is your view of reality.
-9 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2014-03-29 16:26
So lovely. "Fairy Dust." Tell your position to Bush and Cheney. Art497, Your response simply put-proves that Americans get what they deserve in politics. Suppose, just suppose there is such a political event, as persuasion with criminal, non-honorable motives. Apparently, based on your definition of politics, that would be just fine. Would you consider changing your definition of politics to include the word "honorable, worthwhile" persuasion? Idealistically, your nieve position is simply not correct-"Politi cs is the art of persuasion and compromise." Who would be that nieve? Right now, we are not living in an ideal world. When have we ever lived in an ideal world? Maybe your line of reasoning suggests that "we can make the Earth turn backwards. Then, we get to do it all over, the Iraq war then never happened." That war was an excellent example of creating false perception results in gross deception. Please note that my position is "politcs is (very often) a ruthless game of deception." I did not say, it is always a game of deception. You missed my point with Sanders. Did he cause objection to "sausage" voting he was presented. No public statements such as "this is God damn wrong!! Unbundle the bill. It cannot rightfully be voted on as a package" Nothing. A good politician would do just that. The system will not change unless politicians stand up for honorable change. Bernie was saying, "look, politics is no different than running a grocery store. No money-no groceries."
0 # RLF 2014-04-02 06:48
Art...I'm afraid to say that Eldon is right here. Bernie voted for subsidies for corporate farmers and cutting food stamps with no explanation. Knowing Bernies politics, I suspect he has an explanation but isn't sure people would like to hear it. I would like to hear it. I know that compromises have to be made but I want to hear the case. Let's hear it Bernie!
+13 # RCW 2014-03-29 11:38
To many of the power hungry extremists of whom the senator and who often lay claim to Biblical piety, I believe that Bernie Sanders is animated by the same spirit that spoke through the prophet Amos, and they would do well to pay attention.
+8 # Futilitarian 2014-03-29 11:44
I just plain don't understand. Is it that no one listens to Bernie and it is known that no one listens to Bernie? Is his choir that small? Is it that in casting a play on the stage for consumption by the masses that a character like Bernie is actually needed to further the impression that there is indeed still an actual democratic government in existence? Is it that Bernie has only a few precious days, weeks or months left to live or they already know that this is his last term? Or is it that the NSA has found no dirt or any other way to threaten, manipulate or blackmail Bernie or anyone else in his life?
+37 # unitedwestand 2014-03-29 12:34
I know of many people who don't pay attention to politics until it is time to vote, and even then they do about 10 minutes of reading their ballots for what they should vote for without really understanding what they are voting for. I've worked as a poll worker and I'm often astounded that some come in reading about the issue for the first time.

People are either complacent and/or just want to go to work, watch TV or be with their families, and don't have the time to read about the hundreds of things that are going on around the world and the nation. I often have all day to read and I still can't catch up on everything. The onslaught of misinformation or no information is making the people of our country too dumb to think straight.

As for the wonderful Bernie Sanders, I wish there were dozens like him, he is not a sell out, he is not greedy, he is a man with pure intentions and I hope he continues for a very long time. Most of the time he is preaching to the choir as only people that already agree with him ever hear him, but maybe he gets through to a few more each time he speaks. Bless him.
+24 # Saberoff 2014-03-29 11:54
We, the Undersigned, do hereby ask Senator Bernie Sanders to commit to running in the 2015/2016 Presidential primaries as a Democrat.
-21 # Bolduc619 2014-03-29 12:04

This is a normal speaking voice.

Please do not YELL.

0 # Saberoff 2014-03-29 12:17
If you will notice: the article is written in YELL.

You are referencing a "quote" from the article.

What do think of the Keyboard smiley face characterizatio n?
+2 # Bolduc619 2014-03-29 13:51
I actually like smiley's. And, yes, you are right. It was simply this site doing a cut and paste of Sen. Sanders speech. All caps and large print (most probably) makes it easier to read when speaking, but not when re-reading.

Thanks for pointing out the difference between original and re-post.
+2 # Anarchist 23 2014-03-29 18:50
I am glad to know that it is not my computer going haywire and exhibiting the article in all caps...
+2 # johnlee100 2014-03-29 12:31
Maybe it helps Sen. Sanders to set his speeches in an all-capital format. If so, we can assume that the text here came directly from his original digital file. All-caps shouldn't be offensive in that case, but they sure as hell make it difficult for the ordinary reader to decipher.
+1 # Bolduc619 2014-03-29 13:49
Yeah, I tend to be a Sen. Sanders fanboy, but the all caps was hard to read. Just being grumpy.
0 # Malcolm 2014-03-30 12:33
Sanders was using all caps, or was it someone else? On my ipad, his speech was in normal lettering, though there was a plethora of misspellings, extra phrases, etc.
0 # Caliban 2014-04-01 00:27
Same here.
+6 # jsluka 2014-03-29 15:45
Thanks for YELLING, it saves the batteries for my hearing aids (LOL).
0 # Malcolm 2014-03-30 12:31
I tend to use Caps to emphasize words, exactly as I would use italics, if RSN (oops; that's yelling) allowed the use of italics. Or underlines. Or BOLD.
+24 # DurangoKid 2014-03-29 12:27
A threat to democracy presumes we have a democracy that can be threatened. We have a smattering of democratic forms, but they don't add up to a functional democracy. Most of the institutions in this country are geared to thwart democracy and the political class seems to like it that way.
+10 # MidwesTom 2014-03-29 13:06
If you would like to see some easy to understand graphs on this subject visit:

You will see that the spread started in 1980 and has only grown. You will also see that difference between Income and Wealth distribution. It makes a good argument for wealth taxes over income taxes.
+11 # DurangoKid 2014-03-29 14:42
It also makes a strong case for a MAXIMUM wage indexed to a MINIMUM wage. Perhaps by a factor of eight?
-16 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2014-03-29 15:59
Week after week we get the same messages from RSN. "Almost everything, Democracy is going to hell." Week after week, author after author has the same gut wrenching message. Then, we wonder why Democrats typically do not vote in mid-term elections if "everything is going to hell, particularly Democracy." One week, Reich. Next week, Krugman. Next week Sanders. Then, somebody else. I'll come back to RSN after I take a mental bath which I need after reading this "stuff" week after week, month after month. Too much is too much! Where are the people who have solutions and do not concentrate on the problems? Let's hear from them.
+15 # tclose 2014-03-29 19:58
Eldon, if you would read carefully what Messrs. Reich, Krugman and Sanders have written, you would see that they always suggest solutions to the "gut wrenching messages" you complain about: e.g. Sanders - repeal Citizens United; Reich - a more progressive income tax; Krugman - more government spending to stimulate demand and employment rather than austerity. Yes, Democracy is going to hell, but there are ways to prevent that from happening - but you have to read their articles, not just complain about them, Eldon.
-15 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2014-03-29 20:10
Talk is cheap. Since Americans rank 25th in the world, math and science based on the upper 10 percentile, which are critical thinking skills, what can one expect? A few bright ones here and there but mostly talkers and not doers. We "harvested" German intelligence after the war to get us to the moon. Maybe we can harvest some Germans to uncorrupt of political system.
+10 # BeaDeeBunker 2014-03-29 21:37
No Eldon, talk is not cheap! If you carefully read the Senator's speech he spelled it out very clearly as I see it. Talk is very expensive if you want your talk to actually have any effect on the outcome of, let's say for example, an election. The NYTimes has a slogan that accompanies every edition of its paper, "All the News that's fit to print." The truth is, and 'Citizens United' only proves it, "He who has the press, prints the news." If talk was cheap then why do the Koch's and their kind spend billions to control that talk. All that $$$$ doesn't go for cupcakes and soft drinks at local party headquarters. Reagan got rid of the "Fair Speech Doctrine" on TV a long time ago. SCOTUS declared that money is SPEECH (and yes I'm YELLING).

You want solutions? Here's a few to consider by you and everyone in this thread:
1. Copy Sen. Sanders' speech, caps and all, and send it to every senator, once a day, every day for a few months, since a quorum wasn't present. Create a group list of all the email addresses and just keep on sending it out each morning before your coffee.
2. Do the math! I mean really do the math. If 'one man, one vote' is to mean anything, then the math says that if every citizen is 'required' to vote, mathematically 1% cannot get more votes than the 99%.
Get rid of the Electoral College while we are at it!!

Effective talk is not cheap!
-2 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2014-03-29 22:40
I'll be renting a bill board for several months to get rid of a corrupt Republican in my district. Show his voting record. That talk is not cheap.
-3 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2014-03-29 23:21
Talk is cheap. Waving a Tinker Bell wand will not do it. Great Progressive leadership can do what needs to be done. And we do not have that kind of leadership in the Democratic Party at this time. You know and I know that generally speaking, Senator's do not read their email. That action is typically staffed out. I have written to my senators who I have financially supported, and not just a dime here and a dime there. How many replys have I received? About as often as I have physically traveled to the moon.
+1 # RLF 2014-04-02 06:55
We need two round voting also. Vote for your favorite and then the top two face off. That way we can get movement in the two party system.
0 # JJS 2014-04-06 08:32
Round 2 voting does happen if you participate in party, primary elections.
Dems and Reps have their own primaries to elect the candidate for the general election.
Republicans, and Independents who just happen to be disgruntled right wingers, (not all Indies are right wingers) pushed very hard to enact "open primaries" in most every state. They succeeded in that 19 states are open and 5 states have blanket primaries.
These numbers may be more or less but not by much.

It was mainly the GOP claiming "free speech" to open the primaries, but their real hope is to influence the opposition's primary outcome and who their "opponent" will be.
+8 # Seadog 2014-03-29 13:16
Let the Hunger Games begin!!!
+22 # tclose 2014-03-29 13:57
There are few people who speak so clearly and lay it all out as forthrightly and bravely as Sen. Sanders does - perhaps Sen. Warren, but few others.

This is hard hitting stuff, which pulls no punches in the interests of political correctness (class warfare will be the charge, no doubt). It is unfortunate that few in the mainstream media will pay any attention whatsoever to his words of wisdom - but please, please, do not stop trying, Senator. Your words and wisdom motivate us all to take up the gauntlet and go forth.

This deserves to be trumpeted from the highest place across our downtrodden land.
-3 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2014-03-30 11:30
Are you a Vermont farmer? Was there something in Sander's vote for you? Great poetry you say. Real life progresses on prose. Not once did Sanders say, "I cannot vote on this bill because it lavishes tax payer money on corporate interests. And simultaneously it also kicks the poor in the teeth. We need to scrap the bill-start over. Each item in the bill needs to be voted on as a separate issue." He did not have the courage to say that. And you praise him for having a lack of courage to not do what he could have done. Americans get what they deserve in politics-and they are getting lots of it.
+1 # tclose 2014-04-01 16:22
Eldon - here you go again. What has Bernie done to you that deserves such derision on your part? Here is a guy who challenges the status quo, who bravely speaks against untruths and injustice - and you diss him for his vote on a bill you probably do not know the complexities of, and probably do not know the reason for the stance he took either. I take it he can only vote in accordance with your wishes, right?
-3 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2014-04-01 18:32
tclose-There you go again. Bernie can vote only in accordance with your wishes-right? Why does Bernie have to satisfy your voting requirements? Are you a Vermont agricultural farmer? I didn't say he is a bad politician. I like the guy. I supported his campaign. Where was his chsllenge to that bill? You say, "....who bravely speaks against untruths and injustice...."
+1 # jsluka 2014-03-29 15:42
Moved my comment up to reply to Bolduc619. Sorry for the double entry.
+13 # geraldom 2014-03-29 17:53
There's an old saying, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." If you can detect early on that something is wrong, you have a better chance of avoiding it if you act.

When G.W. Bush became presidential candidate G.W. Bush in 2000 at the RNC, I knew right away what his top agenda was, what the Republican top agenda was, to pack the federal bench with as many extremist, political, and ideological hacks that they can get away with, and they got away with a lot over Bush's 8 illegitimate years as president.

Well over 300+ of these judges were placed distributed at all levels of the federal bench, with two on SCOTUS, Samuel Alito and John Roberts, everyone of them a lifetime appointment.

G.W. Bush, thanks to the ignorance, naiveté, and the sheer stupidity of the Senate Democrats, was able to permanently and completely corrupt and taint the whole of the federal bench with judges who will vote against the interests of the common man in this country but who will support the corporate and extremist Christian religious agendas which completely violates the tenets of the U.S. Constitution.

G.W. Bush's agenda also included, among other things, destroying Roe vs. Wade, and his judges have done one hell of a good job of doing just that, and allowing energy companies to destroy our environment.

The federal bench is now a tool of the Republican Party, corporations and the extremist Christian Right for who knows how long thanks to the idiocy of the Democratic Party.
+1 # RLF 2014-04-02 06:57
The people are voting right wing and get the court they deserve. The danger is that they are ignoring precedent on the court and that will create interpretations of the law that careen wildly. The next liberal court will have no choice but call a lot of these decisions crap.
+10 # Vardoz 2014-03-29 18:07
This is the kind of person we need for president- an angry, experienced man who cares about the majority and has compassion for mankind!!!!!

Do we the people have what it takes to win?
+4 # Emily 2014-03-30 09:13
"Why if somebody has $80 billion are they working so hard for more tax breaks for themselves and for more cuts for the middle class and working class in terms of programs that people desperately need? Frankly i think this is not an economic issue. I think it’s a psychiatric issue. I think it is an issue that suggests that people are simply power hungry, they need more and more and more, and i think that that is a very sad state of affairs." -Sanders

YAY Bernie Yay yay!, this is the Achilles heel of the uberwealthy, I have been writing letters for every paper in VT , Everyone, harp on this aspect- aim your arrows at this Achilles heel, wealth of this magnitude is an addiction and we must all call it out for their weakness to be exposed! Yay Bernie, I usually can't support you this way, but this is sooooooooo important to harp on.
+4 # Walter J Smith 2014-03-30 10:09
RE: " issue that i think does not get the kind of discussion that it should from either political party but certainly not from our republican colleagues, and that is the moral, economic and political dimensions of the kind of income and wealth inequality which we have in our country today."

Excellent issue to address, Bernie!

Start off every morning asking yourself how you play the game of making that very issue worse every day you, for obvious campaign cash & popularity reasons, you every day support the exacerbation of US inequality by boosting the F-35 boondoggle.

The F-35 boondoggle is a picture perfect example of how the government gives welfare to the corporations to produce crap while their corporate banking cronies are milking their 10%-35% off the top of nearly every financial transaction. Then, of course, here's where the senators like Bernie come in: the campaign cash flows right back to the senators who supported the boondoggle in the first place, so they can in turn shout to their pop followers, "See, I brought home the bacon!"

Works 90% of the time, which is about nine or ten times more often than the corporate-produ ced trash sold to the public works.

No mystery here. Just lots of winks and nods and willfull ignorance.
-6 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2014-03-30 18:24
Bernie is shown with his hands cupped over his nose and looking toward the sky, perhaps praying. Or, is he smelling the stink of a bill, the agricultural bill, he voted on and helped pass? Only Bernie knows.
+2 # Sangze 2014-03-30 15:47
Run for president, Senator, please.
-4 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2014-03-30 18:25
See message above yours. OK?
+2 # Gibbous 2014-03-30 20:29
Very nicely stated Sen. Sanders. Thank you.
0 # Leif 2014-04-02 22:12
Stranded Assets - Climate Change

The fossil fuel industry is quick to point out that if environmental constraints force the fossil industry to leave much of the remaining fossil reservers in the ground they face serious economic losses. On this point I would agree. However not to the degree that I feel sorry for them. The Fossil industry has made its bets and must take its lumps. It may be hard to believe but others face cumulative losses even greater than the fossil industry and no one is even talking about them, but should.

There is very serious drought in the SW & California and the the Nation can be looking at the very real problem of climate refugees from those areas in fairly large numbers, relatively soon. Add in the climate refugee folks from around the world losing Nations, waters, (both for irrigation and drinking), coastal lands, bread baskets, infrastructure, ecosystems, businesses, farms, homes, forests, health and even lives and one can quickly see the "stranded assets" of "We the People" becomes significant indeed. If those climate refugees are environmentally forced to leave those assets they become worthless equity.

I would add that the fossil industry funding of the denier sphere and GOPollutocrat enablers are compounding the carnage by funding against reasonable mitigation policies. This is market manipulation depressing the value of investments in the Green Awakening Economy. (illegal?)

When people unite, #Pollutocrats take flight.
0 # Justice Forall 2014-04-04 19:52
The US needs to make a fundamental change in the way we pass legislation. It needs to be set up so that each bill contains only one subject matter. No adding on irrelevant stuff, sneaking in pet projects or controversial ones. One bill, one subject. It's shameful that the system is set up in such a way that if a congressperson wants to vote yes on expanding health care, the very bill he is considering also contains cuts to education, for example. This is major hypocrisy and BS. It's all done behind closed doors and the people have no voice.
0 # typhoeus 2014-04-08 20:18
If you would like to see Bernie Sanders reject the Democratic Party in his 2016 campaign for president in favor of a truly leftist coalition, you can ask him to seek the Green nomination by signing the petition below.

The Democratic Party is a neoliberal, corporate party. It advocates austerity at home and aggression abroad. The party will not be reformed from within by one person; the party would reform him.

The Green Party, on the other hand, does not need reforming. It needs growth, investment, and visibility. It's time to build a leftist third party that can challenge the two corporate parties on a substantive, noncorporate, progressive level.
0 # Corvette-Bob 2015-02-20 21:14
I believe that the top 1% will continue to extract as much wealth from the earth as possible. The short term gratification of people will always win out over the long run. I also believe that the batter to save the earth has been lost and we will see a rapidly degradation of the planet and the quality of life of people. Our political system which is controlled by those who wish to maintain the status quo for their own benefit will be unable or unwilling to address the pressing needs of society. It was a wild ride by man and good luck to the descendants of our greedy specie.

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