Monday, February 01, 2016

Genuinely Misguided

Interviewing Bernie Sanders as part of a team last month, I felt like I knew him. Back in the early seventies I worked with a cell of four community-organizing followers of Saul Alinsky. Some could be labeled “red diaper babies” — children of Russian-Jewish communists who emigrated to the United States. They wanted to incite revolution in Lowell, Massachusetts where I lived at the time. Bernie isn’t as radical as they were, but he’s close. His ideas, and they way he expresses them, brought them all back.
They wanted a communist revolution, but I didn’t. I was seduced by some leftist ideology, but it was a youthful flirtation. For them it was serious business. They started a community newspaper called “The Communicator” and recruited me to work on it when the City of Lowell wanted to extend a six-lane highway through the neighborhood where I was living. Together we organized the community against the highway and I became an opponent of Paul Tsongas, who was on the Lowell City Council at the time.
We fought City Hall and we won, but after that John Kerry opened his campaign headquarters a half mile from my house when he ran for Congress from Lowell’s Fifth District. His brother recruited me and I accepted. My Alinskyite friends tried to dissuade me because Kerry was a “liberal.” He would work within the system to change things, not bring down the system as Alinsky advocated.
Kerry, Tsongas, Dukakis

Kerry lost that election and went law school school. I went back to school to become a history teacher. Then I moved north to raise my children in a cleaner, more rural environment and here I am. Bernie moved north to Vermont from Brooklyn, New York a bit earlier. I’ve changed, but he hasn’t. I’m a conservative now but he’s still a left-wing socialist.
At the interview, Bernie said our community-organizer president campaigned for him, which makes sense given they’re on the same page politically. Bernie, however, is open about being a socialist while President Obama tries to stay in the closet. With Bernie, what you see is what you get, but not with the president. Obama knew he’d never get elected if he was as open about his intentions as Bernie is. Hillary knows that too. She did her senior thesis at Wellesley on Alinsky.
Bernie would have government take over the entire medical profession with single-payer health care. That was always Obama’s intent, but he pretended it wasn’t. Bernie would take over the entire energy industry as well. That’s Obama’s intention too, but again, he pretends it isn’t. He’s using the EPA to ram through cap-and-trade policies that Congress would not approve. He’d take over the entire fossil fuel sector and he’s begun by shutting down the coal industry.
Bernie is up front about what he believes and what he wants to do. I don’t agree with any of it but I respect his integrity. He’s not devious like the president and that’s part of his charm. My old red-diaper-baby associates in Lowell were open about what they were up to as well and they were even more radical than Bernie is. He doesn’t want to bring the United States down. He wants to turn us into another Sweden.
As I’ve written before in this space, I believe our community organizer president is as radical as my old Alinskyite associates. Obama wants to bring down the system, but he’s sneaky about it. As fellow conservative columnist Mark Steyn suggests: [O]ne way to look at the current ‘leader of the free world’ is this: If he were working for the other side, what exactly would he be doing differently?”
Bernie has spent most of his life in government, and that’s troublesome. The UK’s Guardian, however, says he worked as a carpenter once. That means he worked with his hands with other tradesmen on a job site. That would make him the first president in quite a while who has ever done that. Who was the last? Truman maybe? Coolidge? Lincoln? I don’t think Obama would know which end of a hammer to hold and which end to bang with. Bernie worked on a kibbutz in Israel and would have gotten his hands dirty there too. I like that.
Podcast of my question to Bernie

One thing surprised me during the interview though. I watched him closely while others questioned him and he seldom made eye contact. He’d look at them once, briefly, when they asked their questions, then look at something else or look into space as he answered. I believe it was more out of shyness than disingenuousness. As I said, there was nothing devious about him. He may be misguided, but he’s genuine.


Brian said...

Now on to "Bernie would take over the entire energy industry"

Let's start with the fact that over the past century, the federal government has pumped more than $470 billion into the oil and gas industry in the form of generous, never-expiring tax breaks. Once intended to jump-start struggling domestic drillers, these incentives have become a tidy bonus for some of the world's most profitable companies.

Taxpayers currently subsidize the oil industry by as much as $4.8 billion a year, with about half of that going to the big five oil companies—ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, BP, and ConocoPhillips.

But there is not much more I can say about your statement unless you clarify how Sanders intends to "take over" the industry. By helping alternative, cleaner energies?

Just as was shown previously that there will be no "take over" of the medical industry, it also seems ridiculous to claim a "take over" of the energy industry.

Anonymous said...

Bernie wants to turn us into Sweden?

Oh No! Does that mean we will lower our crime and murder rates, improve our education, and have a higher life expectancy?

How awful!

Anonymous said...

Bernie want's to turn us into Sweden?
Oh, no! Dos that mean we have to form vigilante groups out of desperation, to hammer the "new arrivals" disrupting utopia, that the Gub'mint WON'T, as "promised"?

Tom McLaughlin said...

You stole my thunder Captain.

Brian said...

Not sure which Faux News report you are in a tizzy about, but here is the factchecker Snopes:

Interesting that you had no response to the other comments, or to any comments concerning Cruz.

Brain said...

Uh, Snopes? Seriously? The website run by David and Barbara mikkelson? The couple with no background in investigation who use google to "fact check"? That snopes?


Brian said...

As for Snopes - I guess if you don't like the message, attack the messenger.

What "trustful" site that counters that information did you rely on?

Mr. E said...

Tom said "You stole my thunder Captain"

Mentioning supposed vigilante groups in Sweden is "thunder"?!!?

Like vigilante action against immigrants is a Swedish problem? Like we do not have the same thing going on in Texas? No, not a Swedish problem, but an ignorance problem.

Thunder? More like the Captain stole your wimper.

Brian said...

I am reposting this now for the eighth time. I can post other comments but not this one.

Here goes again.

This is what doctors have to say about the falsehood of "taking over the medical industry:

Single-payer national health insurance, also known as “Medicare for all,” is a system in which a single public or quasi-public agency organizes health care financing, but the delivery of care remains largely in private hands. Under a single-payer system, all residents of the U.S. would be covered for all medically necessary services, including doctor, hospital, preventive, long-term care, mental health, reproductive health care, dental, vision, prescription drug and medical supply costs.

The program would be funded by the savings obtained from replacing today’s inefficient, profit-oriented, multiple insurance payers with a single streamlined, nonprofit, public payer, and by modest new taxes based on ability to pay. Premiums would disappear; 95 percent of all households would save money. Patients would no longer face financial barriers to care such as co-pays and deductibles, and would regain free choice of doctor and hospital. Doctors would regain autonomy over patient care.

Brian said...

“Single pay is a system in which the delivery of care remains largely in private hands. All citizens would be covered and the program would be funded by the savings obtained from replacing today’s inefficient, profit-oriented, multiple insurance payers with a single streamlined, non-profit, and by modest new taxes based on ability to pay. Premiums would disappear; 95% of all households would save money. Patients would no longer face financial barriers to care such as co-pays and deductibles, and would regain free choice of doctor and hospital. Doctors would regain autonomy over patient care.”

Brian said...

The previous post should have mentioned that the comments came from doctors, disputing people like Tom trying to claim it is "taking over" the medical profession.

Anonymous said...

Oooo, I like the part about doctors practicing political science , under the guise of macro economics.
I ALSO like the bit about doctors autonomy over patient care, it streamlines the coded billing slicker than owl poop on a cold porcelain door knob.
I wonder how many doctors are invested in "health corporations", and historically, have been um...tempted... to embezzle "the system", with overcharged, and unneeded, tests, pharma, by "specialists" within their own "health corporation"?
I was AMAZED at the number of doctors, in three piece business suits, that urgently needed lab coats for the White House Lawn photo op, in "support" of PP ACA 2010.
I've been there, they do NOT like it when you ask for a "*fully decoded-full invoice", and return to ask embarrassing questions. "Unexpectedly", no one seems to know what those codes mean!
* you only get to see these if YOU are the so-called single payer.
That Social Medicine works SO well in Canada, there's a "medical tourism" industry to the US (Well, PP ACA certainly put a damper on THAT) The wait times for the actual "care" part of "Social Healthcare" in England are PHENOMINAL, and the Socialist System in general in Cuba are SO successful, that despite "important" film maker's claims, folks risk death to get away.
But SURELY, It just hasn't been done RIGHT yet!
But Mr. Sanders is the one who can effectively "actualize" it?
Or appoint more career Socialists to "administer" it?

Yep, if you build it, they will come.

Anonymous said...

... a "medical tourism industry to the US, AND South East Asia..

Brian said...

Yes, Canadians generally do have to wait longer for non-emergency visits, however on most measures of patient reported physician quality, Canada comes out ahead of the U.S. Few errors, and more satisfaction with their doctors. In Canada life expectancy is higher, infant mortality is lower, and maternal mortality is significantly lower.

And how about the medical tourism so many Americans take to get greatly cheaper prescription drugs?

Anonymous said...

Yes, "Captain", overcharging runs rampant in our medical system. Are you somehow claiming it would get even worse under Sanders proposal? How could it?

Mr. E said...

Wow, some people keep getting suckered by corporations.

There was the tobacco industry ignoring facts and science and lying to the public about the dangers of smoking.

Then there's Big Oil ignoring facts and science and lying to the public about global warming.

Now there is the Insurance industry ignoring facts and lying to the public about the "dangers" of singer-pay socialized medical care.

Are you really so blind to the fact that when corporations are at risk of losing billions of dollars they resort to such devious tactics? Or do you just gaze lovingly and naively at your corporate idols, thinking they can do no wrong?

Read the following link from an ex insurance executive who talks about being part of a never ending effort of defamation, usually by citing a few anecdotes about those enduring long waits for care. (you know, the stories the Captain swallows up and spits back out at us). He says that the industry's propaganda got little resistance from the mainstream corporate media. He admits now that Britain's medical system is superior.

Brian said...

I love how not even a whimper can be mustered up anymore after being presented with facts!

Pinky said...

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