By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: July 31, 2019 ~
Last night’s Democratic Debate could have covered all the positions in the field at Yankee Stadium and had one player left over. In fact, the debate roster should have been limited to nine contenders instead of ten because former Maryland Congressman John Delaney was clearly batting for the other team. Time and time again, Delaney sounded like a die-hard Republican. And Delaney was aided and abetted by CNN moderator Jake Tapper, who phrased one question to Senator Bernie Sanders this way:
Tapper: “Let’s start the debate with the number-one issue for Democratic voters, health care. And Senator Sanders, let’s start with you. You support Medicare For All, which would eventually take private health insurance away from more than 150 million Americans, in exchange for government-sponsored health care for everyone. Congressman Delaney just referred to it as bad policy. And previously, he has called the idea ‘political suicide that will just get President Trump re-elected.’ What do you say to Congressman Delaney?”
Sanders called Tapper out, stating the following: “What I’m talking about and others up here are talking about is no deductibles and no copayments, and Jake, your question is a Republican talking point. And by the way, the health care industry will be advertising tonight on this program.”
Delaney came into Senator Elizabeth Warren’s crosshairs also during the debate. After she had made an impassioned plea that Democrats need to get out and fight for what is right, Delaney retorted with a remark that sounded like he had just deboarded a spaceship from an alternative reality. He said: “the government and the private sector are working well together.”
The on-the-ground reality in the United States is that the Federal government has now become a subsidiary of multi-national corporations, with their lawyers and lobbyists now holding key posts throughout the Trump administration – a point that was made repeatedly throughout the night by other candidates. Marianne Williamson had this to say on the subject in her opening remarks:
Williamson: “In 1776 our founders brought forth on this planet an extraordinary new possibility. It was the idea that people, no matter who they were, would simply have the possibility of thriving. We have not ever totally actualized this ideal. But at the times when we have done best, we have tried. And when forces have opposed them, generations of Americans have risen up and pushed back against those forces.
“We did that with abolition and with women’s suffrage and with civil rights. And now it is time for a generation of Americans to rise up again, for an amoral economic system has turned short-term profits for huge multi-national corporations into a false god. And this new false god takes precedence over the safety and the health and the well-being of we the American people and the people of the world and the planet on which we live.
“Conventional politics will not solve this problem because conventional politics is part of the problem. We the American people must rise up and do what we do best and create a new possibility, say no to what we don’t want and yes to what we know can be true.”
Tapper lobbed another loaded question at Senator Bernie Sanders. The exchange went like this:
Tapper: “So Senator, let’s talk about that. If Medicare For All is enacted, there are more than 600,000 union members here in Michigan who would be forced to give up their private healthcare plans. Now, I understand that it would provide universal coverage — but, can you guarantee those union members that the benefits under Medicare For All will be as good as the benefits that their representatives — their union reps fought hard to negotiate?”
Sanders: “Well two things, they will be better because Medicare For All is comprehensive — it covers all healthcare needs. For senior citizens it will finally include dental care, hearing aids and eyeglasses.”
Congressman Ryan: “But you don’t know that — you don’t know that, Bernie.”
Sanders: “I do know it, I wrote the damn bill. And second of all, second of all — many of our union brothers and sisters, nobody more pro-union than me up here, are now paying high deductibles and copayments. When we do Medicare For All, instead of having the company putting money in to healthcare, they can get decent wage increases, which they’re not getting today.”
On trade policy, Delaney said he was the only presidential candidate who supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Warren responded with this:
Warren: “You know, for decades, we have had a trade policy that has been written by giant multi-national corporations to help giant multi-national corporations. They have no loyalty to America. They have no patriotism. If they can save a nickel by moving a job to Mexico, they’ll do it in a heartbeat. If they can continue a polluting plant by moving it to Vietnam, they’ll do it in a heartbeat.
“I have put out a new comprehensive plan that says we’re not going to do it that way. We’re going to negotiate our deals with unions at the table, with small businesses at the table, with small farmers at the table, with environmentalists at the table, with human rights activists at the table. And then, we’re going to use the fact that everybody in the world wants to get to America’s markets. They want to sell to you…”
The nonprofit government watchdog, Public Citizen, describes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which lacked enough votes in Congress to get passed, like this:
“Although it was called a ‘trade’ agreement, the TPP was not mainly about trade. Of the TPP’s 30 chapters, only six dealt with traditional trade issues. The TPP text was the result of 500 official U.S. trade advisors representing corporate interests involved in years of closed-door negotiations while the public, press and Congress were locked out.
“At the heart of the TPP were new rights for thousands of corporations to sue the U.S. government before a panel of three corporate lawyers that could award unlimited sums, including for loss of future expected profits, to be paid by American taxpayers when the corporations claim U.S. policies violate the new entitlements the TPP would provide them. The TPP also included extreme new monopoly protections for pharmaceutical firms that blocked competition and ensure high medicine prices. The deal’s environmental standards, negotiated by Democratic President Barack Obama’s trade ambassador Mike Froman, were a roll back from those included in the last four agreements negotiated by George W. Bush. The labor standards replicated ones that had failed to stop egregious labor abuses in agreements with other countries, and the TPP included several nations notorious for labor abuses.”
The name Mike Froman should send a chill down the spine of every engaged American. Froman was an executive at the serially charged and insolvent Citigroup (which received the largest secret government bailout in U.S. banking history). He was also the man who secretly made the staffing recommendations to Obama for his cabinet and key administrative posts. See WikiLeaks Bombshell: Emails Show Citigroup Had Major Role in Shaping and Staffing Obama’s First Term and WikiLeaks: Citigroup Exec Gave Obama Recommendation of Hillary for State, Eric Holder for DOJ.
And the secret role that Froman played in the Obama administration – after Obama had promised “hope” and “change” to the American people – should be the cautionary tale for voters in assessing what Obama’s Vice President Joe Biden might bring to the table as President of the United States. Biden will be on the debate stage tonight with the balance of the 2020 Democratic contenders.
Under the Obama administration, millions of Americans were foreclosed on with robo-signed forged documents from Wall Street mega banks while the very same banks and their foreign peers received a $29 trillion bailout that was neither seen nor heard of by the American people until years after the financial crisis.
Even after Senator Bernie Sanders demanded public disclosure and tacked an amendment onto a spending bill to force the Government Accountability Office to audit the Federal Reserve’s “emergency” loans to Wall Street, the GAO came up with only $16 trillion – which turned out to be $13 trillion short of the real mark.
Millions of average Americans were devastated from the financial crisis, losing their life savings, their jobs and their homes, while corrupt and insolvent mega banks on Wall Street were propped back up, allowed to continue charging double digit interest rates on their credit cards to struggling consumers, as the banks secretly received trillions of dollars in loans at less than one percent interest.
At the time, Sanders called it “a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you’re-on-your-own individualism for everyone else.”
The Democrats need to seize that talking point. If the government can, almost overnight, find $29 trillion to bail out Wall Street from its own crimes, then it can certainly find money to repair crumbling infrastructure, relieve student debt, provide national health care like every other major nation, and set a minimum wage that will lift millions of Americans out of poverty.
Ten presidential candidates participated in the CNN Democratic debate last evening. The candidates (in order of how they stood on stage from left to right) were self-help guru Marianne Williamson; Congressman Tim Ryan; Senator Amy Klobuchar; South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Senator Bernie Sanders; Senator Elizabeth Warren; former Congressman Beto O’Rourke; former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper; former Congressman John Delaney; and Montana Governor Steve Bullock.