HomeUncategorized7/18 News Roundup & Open Thread – Bernie Sanders Discusses Medicare For All & More
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While Sanders himself has continually pointed to Scandinavia as providing inspiration for his policies, critics have sought to seize upon his disposition toward the Venezuelan government as evidence that he would allegedly destroy the U.S. economy “because socialism.”

Sanders, however, has never embraced the Venezuelan government — either under former President Hugo Chavez or now under President Nicolas Maduro. He never met with these leaders. He never claimed that Venezuela serves as a model of a socialist society. In fact, in 2016, he even specifically stated: “When I talk about democratic socialism, I’m not looking at Venezuela. I’m not looking at Cuba. I’m looking at countries like Denmark and Sweden.”


I can see why Sanders hasn’t “embraced” the Venezuelan government on a political level. Not that his critics won’t act like he did, of course.


Only the R’s claim Venezuela as a “Model” of Socialism as it fits their narrative. R’s don’t want to talk about FDR and the programs he started.


This perhaps explains Bernie’s recent focus on health care and his campaign’s eagerness to engage Biden in this issue.


But one number jumped out at me in the new CNN/UNH poll of New Hampshire Democratic primary voters that’s really good for Sanders: 34 percent think that Sanders is best able to handle health care.

By contrast, only 19 percent of voters in the poll put Sanders as their first choice (tied with Warren for second and behind Joe Biden’s 24 percent), so he’s still getting some credit from voters even if they don’t necessarily have him as their first choice.

And frankly, he probably should be getting credit. I don’t mean that as any sort of endorsement of his plan. It’s just that he has a plan — Medicare for All — when several of the other Democrats don’t. Instead, a number of other Democratic candidates — Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand — have signed up as co-sponsors of Sanders’s bill.

This is particularly strange for Warren, whose semi-official slogan is that “she has a plan for that.” As the Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein points out, there are plenty of plausible versions of plans that fall under the rubric of single payer or Medicare for All, some of which would allow Americans to keep some forms of private insurance (without which, Medicare for All becomes much less popular). Harris, meanwhile, despite having co-sponsored Sanders’s bill, has had trouble articulating what her health care stance actually is, exactly. In the category of unforced errors, I find it hard to fathom why Warren and Harris are ceding leadership on health care to Sanders, and even to Biden, who released his own plan health care plan this week. And it comes on an issue that matters: Health care ranked as the top issue for Democrats in that CNN/UNH poll.



On this latter point, Sanders tackled the right-wing spin with sarcasm. Opponents of Medicare for All, he said, “seem to think that the American people hate paying taxes, but they just love paying insurance premiums. ‘Oh my god dear, the insurance premium is here, what a wonderful day! Oh wow, let’s celebrate, hey!’”

In preparation for the coming showdown, pharmaceutical and insurance industry lobbyists have not restricted their backroom dealmaking to reliable friends in the GOP. They have also poured money into the Democratic Party, attempting to buy allies who can propagate misinformation about and deflate enthusiasm for Medicare for All. And they’ve found more than a few takers.

Sanders’s speech on Wednesday showed that despite the forces arrayed against him — and with full knowledge of the extent of their power — he’s steadfast in his support for Medicare for All. And he’s ready to rumble with the healthcare executives and their elected friends.

If Sanders and the movement he’s trying to build win, maybe we will all eventually get a card in the mail similar to the one millions of people received in 1966. With that card we can go to any doctor or hospital we want, and get any treatment or service we need. It will be the dawning of a new day in America: a day when the health of the many is prioritized over the profits of the few.


Bernie’s sarcasm is a great weapon. I just love it.


well, 538 may wish there were several plans that fall inder the rubric of M4A, but there really aren’t. Eliminating tiered care is essential.


Yeah I noticed that but I think the point was the need to actually have a plan.



The hashtag “#IStandWithIlhan” began trending after the crowd at President Trump’s rally Wednesday night targeted Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and broke out into chants at “send her back.”

The chant erupted during the Greenville, N.C., rally after Trump made a series of remarks blasting Omar following days of attacks on her and other non-white progressive congresswomen, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.).

All of the freshman lawmakers are U.S. citizens but Omar is the only one of the four born outside of the U.S., having arrived as a child refugee from her native Somalia.

Omar responded to the chant by sharing a quote from Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise.”

“You may shoot me with your words,/You may cut me with your eyes,/You may kill me with your hatefulness,/But still, like air, I’ll rise,” Omar tweeted Wednesday.

Social media users, including many U.S. and foreign politicians, used the hashtag “#IStandWithIlhan” as a message of solidarity following the chant.




Sure, Trump has dived deep into the septic tank before—leading the birther nonsense, calling white supremacists “good people,” declining to condemn the KKK, and intentionally conflating Hispanic immigrants with violent criminals. But, folks, this is truly a new low.

I was reminded of the famous jury deliberation scene in 12 Angry Men in which, after two hours of dropping hints, Ed Bagley’s character suddenly explodes in an unequivocally racist rant, exclaiming, “They’re no good, there’s not a one of them that’s any good!” As Bagley continues to spew, each juror gets up and slowly turns away in repulsion, until Henry Fonda’s character famously says, “Sit down and don’t open your mouth again.”

Unfortunately, there are no fellow jurors turning their back on Trump or demanding that he shut up. Most Republicans in Congress could muster nary a peep of protest over the President’s remarks. Virtually the sole exception was Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who, in an interview on Fox News, offered this tepid response:

“We all know that A.O.C. and this crowd are a bunch of communists. They hate Israel, they hate our own country.” But, he went on to allow, the four “are American citizens” who “won an election.”

With defenders like these, who needs racist Presidents?

Somewhere, Richard Spencer, the white supremacist leader who attended the 2016 Republican convention in support of Trump and “sipped Manhattans as he matter-of-factly called for removing African-Americans, Hispanics and Jews from the United States,” is smiling triumphantly.

“Trust me. Trump thinks like me,” Spencer told AP reporter Steve Peoples back then. “Do you think it’s a coincidence that everybody like me loves Trump and supports him?”

No, Dick, we don’t think it’s a coincidence at all.


CNN widely criticized for giving air time to white supremacist Richard Spencer

“Many white nationalists will eat up this red meat that Donald Trump is throwing out there. I am not one of them,” Spencer told CNN. “I recognize the con game that is going on.”

Even this guy from the Daily Caller was apparently appalled:

Eddie Zipperer of the Daily Caller tweeted, “Meanwhile, @CNN was allowing Richard Spencer to dress up in his pundit outfit and use their airwaves to share his crappy opinions. Pretty ironic that on a day they’re fully devoting to calling Trump racist, they themselves give a platform to a horrendous racist.”

He later added, “Honestly, the fact that CNN chose to air his opinions is a million times more newsworthy than what Richard Spencer thinks about any subject ever.”

Is CNN trying to rehabilitate Spencer and help him improve his public image? Hmmmm, I wonder if this has anything to do with Spencer’s words?

Spencer is perhaps most notorious for being a key figure in the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. According to the Daily Beast, Spencer is currently being sued over the event, which he claims was organized with nonviolent motives even though the agenda of white nationalists is inherently violent.




Some of Puerto Rico’s biggest stars rallied a crowd of many thousands in San Juan on Wednesday calling on the island’s governor, Ricardo Rosselló, to resign. It was the fifth day in a row of protests following a leak of hundreds of pages of misogynistic and homophobic texts between the governor and his main advisers.

During the day, trap artist Bad Bunny and the singer Ricky Martin were among the huge crowd that marched to the governor’s mansion.

Tensions ratcheted up in the evening as protesters burst through a barricade at the governor’s mansion, and security forces fired tear gas at the crowd, causing many to flee into surrounding streets. A livestream from Puerto Rican news site El Nuevo Día showed chaotic scenes of demonstrators confronting riot police a few minutes after midnight local time.

By early hours Thursday, the old city of San Juan resembled a war zone, with police chasing protesters through the streets while firing rubber bullets, gas canisters and what appeared to be flash bombs.

The protests have been gaining momentum every day with high-profile support, including from Lin-Manuel Miranda, who led a demonstration in New York calling on Rosselló to step down.

Rosselló has apologized for the texts but has insisted that he intends to remain in office.

In the private chat messages published on Saturday by Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism, the governor and his inner circle use misogynistic language to talk about women. They use homophobic language to talk about journalists and Ricky Martin. They engage in fat-shaming. They talk about manipulating the media, manipulating public opinion polls. And they make jokes about shooting the mayor of San Juan.

The governor’s chief financial officers made a joke about the dead bodies that piled up in a government facility before and after Hurricane Maria in 2017. That comment has been particularly galling for many Puerto Ricans still recovering from the deadly storm nearly two years later.


English translation (per Google):

Words from Rafael Hernandez Colon’s @ricardorossello funeral events: “He taught me that one does not need to hold on to power to contribute to Puerto Rico.” It’s time for Ricky to take that advice. #RickyRenuncia http://m.primerahora.com/noticias/gobierno-politica/nota/rosselloelogialavidafamiliarypoliticaderafaelhernandezcolon-1340664/ … @lherrero @TorresGotay @PabloJoseHR

(My bold)

A little background from May:

Puerto Rico mourns the death of former Gov. Rafael Hernández Colón at 82

Hernández Colón was governor from 1973 to 1977 and again from 1985 to 1993.
An attorney and one of the most influential leaders of the Popular Democratic Party, he advocated for the island’s current status as a commonwealth of the United States. He was president of the PPD for 23 years.



I wonder where Pit Bull (the Latino rapper) stands on this one? T and R, LD!!


Mayor Cruz of San Juan is of course a member of Bernie’s campaign team.


Do you believe this crap? It’s incredibly awful the way that Trump targets progressive women. So thankful Bernie is in her corner (and that she is in his corner).

Trump called her “despicable”! I’m in shock, and with Trump that’s hard to achieve.

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