HomeBernie SandersInequality in America: A National Town Hall
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Benny

Thanks LD! I’ve finally got YT set up on my smart TV as a stream so that I can get a better view of the town hall. I’m viewing it via TYT.

Benny

FYI…those of you trying to watch TYT, they had technical difficulties and there was a 15 min delay. There was a series of statements from what I could see from my FB feed.

TYT finally caught up, Ana from TYT is on now to help facilitate. Catherine Flowers has joined the group from Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise. The center had some folks at the People’s Summit.

Benny

Ms. Flowers is talking about how the wealthy have taken over government in rural Alabama and environmental issues that have arisen from misinformation about septic systems that failed and people got very sick. Sen Warren points out how business is not attracted to come because the sewage systems aren’t developed. No internet except a few lines from public libraries.

But Ms. Flowers also points out systemic racism. It’s not just issues with septic systems and hookworms. The tax incentives for business don’t translate in the public sector (gov’t).

Why are we relying on business? Shouldn’t government be helping?

Benny

None of the people who gave out bad self-install septic systems were never fined or cited. The politicians are ignoring the problems although there are plenty of symptoms.

Benny

I visited Alabama last year.

Ms. Flowers mentions that has raw sewage in many places in the county near Selma and Montgomery. Admittedly I didn’t drive all of the country roads that probably would have displayed more of the poverty.

Bernie slams the MSM for not doing enough investigative reporting on these issues.

Benny

Michael Moore and Bernie make more commentary about MSM and how they cover more salacious issues (Trump family).

Moore brings up an important question: what if they (the MSM) did?

Benny

Cindy Estrada from the UAW is speaking to the panel now. She talks about the fight for $15, and that is isn’t even a living wage. Employers are more likely to give extra revenues to either trying to bust up unions or their shareholders.

Benny

Elizabeth Warren:

Unions are necessary to rebuild America’s middle class.

Everyone did better until 1980, we switched over to trickle down America. 100% of the wealth of corporations goes to the top 10%. Family of a generation ago could make it on one income; not any more.

People went broke due to medical conditions that bankrupted families.

wi60

The down fall of the middle class really took off with the deregulation in the 80’s and when Gordon Gecko uttered the phrase that turned into rule one for wall street–“Greed is good” been down hill for the middle class ever since.

Benny

They mentioned Reagan busting the Air Controllers union strike.

wi60

I look at that particular decision by Reagan as the beginning of the end for unions, Walker in Wi basically thought if his hero can do it he could and with the gerrymandering support he got he signed act 10.Walker tenure has ALEC and the Koch Bros, fingerprints all over WI now.

Benny

Michael Moore makes a good point that when unions and organizing started deteriorating, folks weren’t as engaged or informed. They then started voting for folks who had the money to run ads on TV, etc.

Benny

Concluding remark: labor unions can hold politicians accountable as much as employers.

Benny

Can you imagine the baroness having such a discussion if she had become POTUS?

Benny

Next up: Gordon Lafer, professor and political economist at U of Oregon (a constituent of Sen Jeff Merkley, who also cares about these issues).

He discusses about ALEC and has a website called ALEC Exposed: https://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed

A quarter of big business’s lobbyists are members of ALEC.

ALEC introduces 1000 bills a year in many states, about 200 on average get passed.

1 in 4 are working than less than minimum wage –with inflation considered–than the rate in 1968.

Benny

Lafer raises an interesting issue: the lobbyists aren’t partisan. They threaten politicians, Right and Left equally. This is what happened in getting the tax act passed in December. Many donors told the GOP they had to vote for it or else they wouldn’t get their donations anymore.

Elizabeth Warren: Corruption: plan and simple. a million dollars a day is spent on lobbying against consumers.

Michael Moore shares a story about meeting one of the chairman at the Oscars who worked for Goldman Sachs, who wondered why Michael Moore raised issues about capitalism. The Goldman Sachs guy said “we’re Democrats.” It turns out that some of his employees were on the boards of media/cinema companies who wouldn’t fund his next movie. But it irked Moore than they didn’t have an extra vote in the voting booth anymore than he did, but they had wealth and power to control the media.

Moore said to fight the oligarchy : right now the largest party is the non-voting party. By not participating in democracy, it is a way to show disdain for the political system. We need to reach this largest block and give them something to vote for, not just against.

Benny

Bernie mentions that our young people are going to Europe to go to college because it’s more affordable there than in the US.

Now we do we go from here? How do we energize the non-voting block? C

EW: how about child care that is a lot more affordable so that folks can work or go back to school? Child care has gone up 1000%; in Germany they have free child care sponsored by the government.

Michael Moore brings up the 15th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. It’s important to hold politicians accountable for that they say they will do. We have to go beyond just impeaching Trump and others. The working class are women and people of color make up a lot of the working class and they are the ones who making a lot less. We need them at the voting booth.

Derrick Hamilton concluded the session with some other ideas

  • baby bonds, 80B annually
  • federal job guarantee,
  • professionalize care work (both for children and the elderly),
  • postal banking to ensure everyone has an account (my thought: we need to have free banking services, but that’s not likely to happen with the new bank lobbyist act)
  • single payer healthcare
  • stop mass incarceration,
  • and possibly reparations for slavery

Bernie is somewhat optimistic despite how things have gotten worse because he’s seeing more people running for office, voter turnout is up a little bit. We need a healthy democracy, and that is a large step in how can make it happen.

And that’s a wrap!

Benny

WaPo wrote about the college affordability issue that Michael Moore and Bernie are referring to:

polarbear4

Thanks, LD and Benny! good stuff.

Benny

Benny

Benny

magsview

Thank you Benny! I wasn’t able to watch so very much appreciate your perspective.

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