Bernie Sanders and Trump’s Pick for Health and Human Services Face Off on Right to Health Care

Yves here. It’s refreshing to see Sanders taking no nonsense from Trump nominee Tom Price, who is trying to put a pretty face on the Republican plans to cut health care coverage. Even worse, Price has incoherent views on what to do, and as a former member of one of the looting classes of doctors (orthopedic surgeons, who I have found based on extensive personal experience as well as observation, are way too eager to operate) is fiercely opposed to sound and not hugely intrusive cost containment measures.

As Lambert and I have discussed, one of the depressing things the runup to the inauguration has revealed is that Sanders is virtually alone among opposition leaders in being willing to talk about policy. Democrats are so unwilling to abandon their failed strategy of identity politics that they really seem to believe that Russia-related hysteria will lead to a Trump impeachment. The elections already disproved the thesis that moderate Republicans would ally with Democrats against Trump. Republicans know that an impeachment would damage their party enormously, and if Trump wanted to fight, he could do so very effectively by holding rallies in the districts of Republican turncoats. Trump would be vulnerable if the Republicans take big losses in the 2018 midterms. And the public is not going to stay in Trump freakout for more than two years, no matter how hard the media keeps hitting hot buttons.

By Alexandra Rosenmann, an AlterNet associate editor. Follow her @alexpreditor. Originally published at Alternet`

Since his stunning election night victory, Donald Trump and the greater Republican Party have been noncommittal at best about the former’s vow to preserve the country’s Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits. So during Wednesday’s confirmation hearing, Sen. Bernie Sanders decided to put the president-elect’s pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services on the spot.

“Is the President-elect, Mr. Trump, going to keep his word to the American people and not cut social security, Medicare and Medicaid, or did he lie to the American people?”

Tom Price, an orthopedic surgeon staunchly opposed to government spending on healthcare, answered meekly that he had “no reason to believe” that Trump has changed his position on the matter.

But the fireworks were only just beginning.

“The United States of America is the only major country on Earth that does not guarantee healthcare to all people as a right,” Sanders continued. “Canada does it, every major country in Europe does it. Do you believe that healthcare is a right of all Americans, whether they’re rich or they’re poor? Should people, because they are Americans be able to go to the doctor when they need, to be able to go into a hospital because there are Americans?”

“We are a compassionate society,” began Price.

“No we’re not a compassionate society,” Sanders shot back. “In terms of our relationship to poor and working people, our record is worse than virtually any other country of any other major country on Earth and we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of any other major country on Earth and half of our senior older workers have nothing set aside for retirement, so I don’t think compared to other countries we are particularly compassionate.”

Watch the tense exchange:

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  1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield

    Give ’em hell Bernie!

    Only Democrats could possibly believe the Impeachment fairy will appear and save the day. With the current Republican majority, that’s just not going to happen. And IIRC, the Senate seats up for grabs in 2018 are not favorable for Dems taking back Senate control (and also, a necessary first step would be a House leadership open to passing articles of impeachment).

    1. aab

      Professional Democrats can’t possibly think they’re getting a gift impeachment. That’s just the street grade smack they sell the suckers. Isn’t it? I mean, I know they’re making the classic mistake of using the product to some degree, but they really can’t believe the Republican Party would voluntarily destroy itself for them.

      1. Lambert Strether

        It may be that the technocratic mindset in the Democrat leadership is so totalizing that they actually believe the impeachment decision is up for resolution by credentialed professionals.

        Liberal: Here’s my law review article on why Trump should be impeached

        Conservative: Yes, yes, that is dispositive…

        1. aab

          They are demonstrably incompetent in numerous ways. Lambert, please, PLEASE go look at the new Perez Twitter account for his DNC campaign. The “spoon” thing is, well, clarifying.

          But real pols like Pelosi? Do you really think she buys into the impeachment idea?

          1. jgordon

            The real question is not what Pelosi buys, but rather who buys Pelosi. The Democrats are exclusively a party of money and marketing; they believe what they are paid to believe and studiously offer zero substance at every possible opportunity.

            As you say, this is the pablum for the peasants, and perhaps also for the more deluded donors. If they actually believe any of this crap then they’re a whole lot closer to self immolation than any of us were thinking. Although even that they’re thinking that their misdirections, lies and obfuscations (while slurping up rich people money left and right) aren’t transpatent to most people at this point already bodes ill for them.

            1. oh

              Pelosi has been bought and she’s always looking for higher bids and newer buyers. General public not allowed.

      2. Jen

        And what would impeachment get us?

        President Pence.

        Several of my Hillary friends have brought up impeachment. Not one of them appears to have considered what would happen next if that were to occur.

        Oddly, none were quite so keen to impeach upon thinking it through all the way through.

        1. aab

          Thank god. I was under the impression that a lot of Hillary supporters have been so propagandized that they would see Pence as an improvement.

          1. different clue

            I suspect many Hillarrhoids would indeed see Pence as an improvement, because Pence is a Clintonite on Free Trade Treason Agreements, a Clintonite on Regime Change against “undemocratic” governments beginning with Assad first and most, and a Clintonite on “standing up to RussiaPutin aggression.” Many Hillarrhoids would accept Pence’s talibangelical nastiness in order to get Establishment Clintonism on Trade, on Assad, and on Russia.

            Also, and separately, many Hillarrhoids want personal revenge on Trump for defeating their precious the-one Clinton. Impeaching and removing Trump would give them that revenge. They would accept Pence as an acceptable price for having their revenge.

        2. craazyboy

          Firstly, President Pence will throw Hillary friends’ genitals under the bus. Next, revoke wimens’ right to vote democrat, drive dumb cars and smoke the cigarette brand of their choice. Then, send all the kids off to the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Korea and a small fake Island in the China Sea. Vouchers for Free Bible School will be provided while stationed offshore in these places. Vouchers for outsourced unregulated healthcare insurance will also be provided. The boys will have the rank of “private”. The girls will have the rank of “private”. Showers will remain segregated and chrome plated as God intended. Then, let the meritocracy commence! The Neo-Crusades begin, and no terrorist will be left behind.

          Hillary announces victory – the goodness of the democratic party has broken the iron hammer and sickle of Republican rule. Corporate persons rejoice, singing and dancing to Beyoncé music and smoking designer medical marijuana rolled in colorful doctor prescription papers. A happy ending for correcting the record and that Hillary’s Life Matters.

        3. Pat

          On the bus on the way home last night I heard a probably late twenty something who is not as poor as he looks (designer rustic wear) earnestly talking into his phone about how Trump WILL be impeached, he is clearly already in violation of the emoluments clause and not once mentioning that will of course mean a President Pence. Mind you this was after someone at work going there is still time for it all to be overturned, he isn’t President yet.

          You know there is some delusional group think that all these people who didn’t want Clinton are going to have this revelation on Friday and come to the Democratic Party on their knees begging forgiveness so that Congresswoman Chelsea Clinton and Nancy and Chuck will have this comeback without having to change at all. Funnily enough it seems most of our politicians don’t have any sense of history including recent history. The Republican Party may have risen from the ashes of 2008 (with some help form the Dems), but it was not the Party of George W. Bush and crew as seen by Jeb’s crash and burn. Not to mention that to Mitch and John spent almost six years tiptoeing among their more popular young insurgent Tea Partiers. That may not happen to the Dems, despite all the pooh-poohing about the Tea Party and their support they still ran people and elected them. Our Revolution or any other left of center reaction to the last couple of years will have to do the same thing. My opinion is that we will either see a rerun of the last eight years with regard to the return of the Democrats as in they are back and growing but deeply divided with the regulars barely hanging on and having to bow to at least part of the agenda of their more popular Bernie like fellow members OR they will have lost even more seats to be an even smaller minority.
          Unfortunately there are signs they are still of the idea that they can co-opt any movement to the left and it is increasingly looking like it will be the latter. (That is on the assumption that between the threats AND the tax breaks Trump manages to keep or bring jobs to America or seem to do so.)

        4. Praedor

          Ugh. I have to keep tweeting this out. IF you impeach Trump you get PENCE, NOT Hillary. If, by some miracle, you managed to impeach Trump AND Pence out of office, you get RYAN, NOT Hillary. There is NO road that leads to a Democrap in the White House.

          The idiots in the Democrap Party that may actually believe in impeaching Trump really must think that they wont be stuck with yet another horrible GOPtard. NO road leads to President Hillary (thank Cthulhu!).

          1. John Wright

            To give the Democrats a small amount of credit, the Impeachment talk might be a “rally the troops” campaign to throw a bone to the Democratic base.

            I don’t see the “Impeach Trump” campaign will pull in financial support from well-heeled Democratic donors who understand the line of succession, but it might keep the more disgruntled lower level Democrats somewhat mollified for a while.

            As it is now, the high level Democratic leadership could be in internal chaos, seeing donor money drying up, and THEIR jobs in jeopardy (see CGI) and watching their Democratic base becoming thoroughly disgusted.

            With the “Impeach Trump” campaign, the Democrats can be perceived as “doing something” by the shrinking Democratic base.

            1. Code Name D

              Two points. Impeachment is very much on the table. What ever the deep-state wants, the deep-state gets. And if Trump should push for effective healthcare reform, he is so gone.

              Second, you are right. This is to ‘raley the troops.’ because this is how you keep the sheepel inline. Keep them tramatised, keep them desperate, and hey will charge at those windmills all day long.

          2. perpetualWAR

            I just tweeted this out.
            Democraps response: Pence is the Republican version of Hillary & a far better choice than Trump.
            *face palm*

            1. Jen

              So, turning that around, Hillary is a war mongering right wing nut job?

              As Lambert would say: “wonderfully clarifying!”

        5. Art Eclectic

          Impeachment is the Republican strategy, the fact that Dems are buying into it any any level means they haven’t thought things through and realized that Trump is the only thing standing in the way of total GOP massacre of civil rights, health care, and every other social program. The GOP of course, wants Trump out of office for exactly those reasons. Pence is Team Establishment, he’ll rubber stamp anything Paul Ryan sends to him, unlike Trump.

          1. Don W.

            Trump will rubber stamp anything also because Ryan and McConnell will hold impeachment over his head. I count 3 things standing in the way of McConnell and Ryan passing everything they ever wanted.

            1) Filibuster – Probably gone sometime in the second half of this year.
            2) Pissing off constituents – Its not like their policies are any different from the ones that got them elected, so they will ignore this.
            3) The House Crazy Caucus – Ryan and McConnell’s policies are not extreme enough, and going more extreme could prevent them from ignoring #2.

        6. KFritz

          Do you think the Senate Democrats will block conviction tactically if the House does impeach Trump?

        1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield

          What’s particularly laughable is the 6-month timeframe. Can’t believe there would be anything that would cause a Congress controlled by solid Republican majorities to jettison him w/in 6 months.

        2. aab

          Raw Story is a tribal Dem web site. I’m sure Kos is also pushing it.

          The funny thing is that backing the Republicans into the corner like this is probably the best way to guarantee it won’t happen. They’d have been better off shutting up about it and letting Ryan work it in dark corners, don’t you think? (I still think it would fail, but at least that would be viable politics.)

        3. Katharine

          I think the initial response for many is that his contempt for the Constitution would justify impeachment in short order, and for some there is also a revulsion on the order of what some people feel for worms and slugs. If you get them to look beyond that (and also if necessary to look back at other presidents who could rightfully have been impeached and weren’t) the situation looks different. This is no time for an absolutist argument that “could be” means “should be.”

        4. johnnygl

          Political elite is looking to impeachment as a kind of bailout to save them from their own failures. If they somehow manage to toss out trump, someone else will catch fire that they hate. They really don’t get it.

        5. oho

          Bookies aren’t in the business to be ‘correct’—they just set the line.

          And given the illiquidity/light regulation of betting, it’s easy for a few big pockets to skew the ‘real odds’

          Any SuperPAC willing to throw in a few million dollars in bets placed by their lackeys/online can dominate the odds.

          but of course no one would even think of resorting to those tactics to lamely manipulate the news narrative. everyone’s an angel in DC

        6. Praedor

          IF his sexual assault charges go against him, that ALMOST guarantees impeachment (but you never know with GOPtards). Nonetheless, THAT gives us Dominionist Pence as the Lord of the Realm.


      3. Ptolemy Philopater

        If Trump is naive enough to implement the progressive ideas he campaigned on and actually does make peace with Russia and purge the Intelligence Services and the State Department, the swamp in Foggy Bottom, trust me, John McCain & the Republican establishment will turn on him in a New York minute. They despise him for making them look like fools during the primaries and for uprooting all their treasured shibboleths. If he challenges NATO and the rest of the military industrial complex, he is toast. He may have placated them with his retro-grade cabinet picks, but that may just be strategy. How do you think negotiating drug prices will go down with Big Pharma’s bought and paid for useful idiots in Congress? Jettisoning the TTP is already giving them major agita.

    2. jackiebass

      My observation of the political climate in the US is that it’s very fluid. Less than a year ago almost every talking head had the republican party in total disarray and almost dead. Now they are saying the same things about democrats. The American voter has a short memory, they completely forgot what the economy was like at the end of Bush II, and is able to change their view quickly. If republicans implement their real agenda the voter will soon see the con job used on them. Two years in the political climate is a very long time. Once the vote realizes what is going on , I believe you will see a drastic change in who they support. The big issues that will change minds are S.S. and medicare. Voters of both parties love their medicare and are not willing to have it drastically changed. The same is true of S.S. Voter from both parties pay into it and expect to collect when they reach the appropriate age. If republicans make any major changes they will pay the price during the mid term election. All indications are that republicans love their power and will pursue their agenda not caring about the consequences. Paul and Mitch are living in their own fantasy world. They are drunk with power and it is going to lead to their demise. If the indicators are, right the ground work for a republican disaster in 2018 is in the making.

      1. aab

        Not if their opponents are picked by the current Democratic Party. Watch. They will find a way to lose, even then.

      2. ChiGal in Carolina

        And sadly, this is where explaining rather than vilifying, will be crucial but not forthcoming from the Dems, who are after all part of the duopoly and only marginally more committed to the safety net than the Rs.

        People don’t get policy analysis from the infotainment that passes for news anymore. They will fall for the smoke and mirrors on outsourcing health care and retirement to Wall Street – because choice, freedom, responsibility, accountability, access, etc – the stupefying blather that will obfuscate until it is too late.

        Very depressing. In all this Bernie is a beacon of light but the corporate media is more than capable of snuffing him out, since he is practically unique among our pols in his focus on policy.

      3. jrs

        Well since the House is almost hopelessly gerrymandered to elect Republicans and the Senate is a pretty undemocratic construct to begin with (Wyoming as many votes as California), how angry does the vast majority and how many of them do there have to be to change anything pin terms of party politics? I wonder if this has ever been studied. I expect statistics like: you need 75% of the population voting against Republicans for Dems to take back power. I made those numbers up but given all the rigging it’s NOT a bare majority.

    3. Roger Smith

      Not to mention that everyone running for DNC head seems to be a weak floozy. Ellison posted an op-ed yesterday all about what the GOP is doing to people. Um… hello Keith? You might want to focus on your party and their massive failures and right shifting that create the environment where the GOP can do those things.

      I have not completely agreed with some of Bernie’s decisions politically but I still strongly agree with his policy positions. Seeing this video and knowing what morons gave up in order to wheel around the bland, hubristic, “most qualified ever” sack of crap Clinton is infuriating. But let’s all meet up with Moore and protest Trump’s inaguration on Friday, or something. Russia! *slamming head on desk*

      1. different clue

        Want to send the Democraps a message? Primary every Democrap officeholder -reseeker that boycotts the Trump inauguration. If they can’t be primaried off the ticket, find someone to Naderize them with. Can’t find a useful Nader? Vote Republican but only against those Democraps who think we care about their precious Boycott-Trump performance theater.

    4. Mikerw

      I spent some time with the former chief of staff of a since retired Republican governor who is now at a major law firm. He basically gave the establishment thinking, which may be wishful. They view control as a once in 100 year opportunity to enact the movement conservative agenda; i.e., Medicare privatization, social security privatization, end estate tax, reduce taxes on the rich, end CHiP, end Medicaid (or block grant it), etc.

      In their view they are setting Trump up and will impeach him if he doesn’t sign all this legislation as they know Pence will readily and with gusto sign it. So as long as Trump fulfills the Club for Growth wishlist and just signs he survives.

      I just listened without comment. In my view they still don’t get Trump and that getting into a street fight with him is a big mistake. He only cares about Trump and will would rally his “troops” against them in an instant.

      1. johnnygl

        Interesting anecdote. Much like dem elite, repub political class don’t know that they’re not in charge anymore. They may think the way you described, but they’ve been soundly rejected by their own base.

        Trump’s biggest ace in the hole is how the political class just keep continuing to deny reality and underestimate trump.

        1. Jagger

          Interesting anecdote. Much like dem elite, repub political class don’t know that they’re not in charge anymore.

          The republican class is in charge and they will use their power. The problem is that republican politicians have either forgotten or are ignoring the fact that Trump’s election was a rejection of both the republican and democratic establishment. Regardless, republicans have power and intend on implementing their agenda. Trump will pay the price in 4 years if he allows the gutting of SS, medicare and Medicaid by the Republican party. Trump’s success as a president is primarily dependent on his ability to rein in or defeat his own party. He did it in the primary. Can he do it as a president?

          So how do you find people to run a government when everyone credentialed in both parties are committed members of a rejected ideology?

          1. JohnnyGL

            “The republican class is in charge and they will use their power.”

            I’m not certain of that. They have some power, certainly, but they’ve been proven to have a tendency to overreach. Also, I don’t think Trump’s shy about slapping them down when he sees fit. We’re bound to see confrontations in the first couple of months that will show us where the lines will be drawn.

            If Trump wants to handcuff the Republicans in Congress from implementing their terrible agenda, all he’s got to do is send a tweet and give Bernie a call and opposition will rally because everyone hates the Repub elite agenda. There’s no mandate for it. I’m curious if we’ll see these kinds of ‘strange bedfellows’ alliances. I really hope we do.

            1. marym

              So far on domestic policy he appears to be in synch with the Republican agenda.

              He may see drug price negotiation, one item not on that agenda, as an opportunity to make a business deal, his area of experience, so maybe that’s something that will work out for people
              Apart from that, his cabinet nominees are fully in support of the long-term right wing agenda. His infrastructure plan is a “private sector” plan – tax incentives to business, usage fees for the rest of us (and probably the rest of us in high population density areas, because who wants to build a toll road anywhere else?) If he has a health insurance plan, based on his HHS nominee, it’s Medicaid funded as block grants to the states. His education nominee wants to replace public schools with for-profit charters and vouchers for religious schools – training them, no doubt, as cannon fodder for her brother’s crusade. The Hill today is reporting cuts to Stop Violence Against Women grants, and to right-wing targets like NPR and National Endowment for the Arts.

              Yes, we need to see what he does, but so far nominating extreme right-wing ideologues, billionaires, science and education deniers, and enemies of the safety net doesn’t seem to be preparation for the slapping down of any Republican agenda items.

          2. readerOfTeaLeaves

            The problem is that republican politicians have either forgotten or are ignoring the fact that Trump’s election was a rejection of both the republican and democratic establishment


      2. mad as hell.

        I gotta agree. Trump has eviscerated 16 or 17 republican presidential candidates. A group like them will have some big revenge fibers in their being. It just seems like they and their followers will turn on Trump at some point. Even though Pence will be far worse with his far right Christian beliefs. We got the makings of a Greek tragedy coming up.

        I can not believe all the anti-government cabinet picks that Trump is filling the swamp with. It ‘s as though all the villains in a Batman movie have been selected to run Gotham city.

        I’m from Wisconsin and the one thing that I seen when Scott Walker was elected was how fast he moved when he had a Republican majority in both houses to enact some of his, no I mean ALEC’s wishes. The national democrats now blame Russia for their losses. Yeah right. On top of that the Wisconsin democrat’s leeched onto the pro union movement and ran a lackluster candidate for the recall.

        The republicans from prior experience are gonna move so fast in changing government that the media, Democrats and the people’s heads are going be spinning like a ball in a roulette wheel. This is a circus show with a ten ring event. Barnum and Bailey closes in May but the Trump Circus will pick up for it and it starts now.

        1. Vatch

          The filibuster is still available for legislation and Supreme Court nominations, although it’s no longer available for lower court nominations and Executive Branch nominations. The big question is whether enough Democrats in the Senate will have the backbones required to use the filibuster on a regular basis.

              1. aab

                But I think they are QUITE different. In this case, it confuses what’s going on. Their flopping around in the Senate is a bit like a basketball player flopping — it’s performative. If they really cared about stopping ANY of Trump’s nominees, they do have tools at their disposal in the minority. They are, instead, just talking for cameras.

                Arguably, their performative weakness is demonstrating quite a bit of political will. They know what their owners want, and they’re willing to do what’s necessary to achieve it, even if it’s flopping around impotently to look like they care for the suckers.

      3. rosemerry

        What I find as a foreigner is the complete lack of any kind of sympathy, empathy, fairness, humanity from the Republicans (most of whom claim to be Christians) for their fellow humans, for the environment in which they live and for the reputation of their “exceptional nation” as a worthwhile country for anything but invading and destroying other countries while meanly denying the most basis rights in their own country to anyone not rich. This applies of course to many Democrats, but living in Australia and now in France, I find there remains some sort of solidarity and willingness to provide basic reasonable lifestyles for everyone at every age which is singularly hard to find now in many Americans.

        1. Big River Bandido

          >This applies of course to many Democrats, but living in Australia and now in France, I find there remains some sort of solidarity and willingness to provide basic reasonable lifestyles for everyone at every age which is singularly hard to find now in many Americans.>

          I know very few Democrats any more who do have those noble qualities, and this callousness has led me over the past year to a self-imposed aloofness from old friends of 2 and 3 decades who have cast their lot with establishment politics. Three-quarters of Democrats (the same percentage that believes the “Russia hack” nonsense) are just as batshit loony, hair-on-fire bed-wetters as the Tea Party. They suffer from serious cognitive dissonance, and concern themselves only with the most shallow, tribalistic notions of party. Their sensibilities (if one could call them that) are “informed” by nothing but the reductionist, simplistic and phony platitudes from a failed economic policy.

        2. mad as hell.

          You are not alone in your thinking. It is so sad that it has come to this and it looks like it will take a divine intervention to change it or a civil war.

        3. oh

          Unfortunately, I feel the same way. Most Americans seem to approach any issue with “what’s in it for me?.

        4. aab

          This is not my experience at all with regular people. Our culture is so toxic that it’s definitely a problem with the elite, and it contaminates a broader band around the elite like nuclear radiation.

          But when I deal with working people in my community, they are often kind and caring, even with utter strangers. Robust majorities of the overall population want universal health care, free public college, expanded Social Security, etc. Because our system is so broken and the ruling and accolyte classes don’t want those things, we don’t get them. The two tribes now both have thoroughly internalized the scapegoating rationales each tribe uses, so angry Republicans demand to shame and punish one subgroup, while angry Democrats demand to shame and punish a different one. But both tribes are shrinking, and independents keep growing, so while the obediently hostile tribes howl, the overall population is moving toward setting all of that aside in favor of treating us as one community that gets the same basic services and benefits. Since the tribes control the major media channels, that can get lost in the noise, especially if you don’t live here.

    5. lyman alpha blob

      The Dems wouldn’t even try to impeach Bush after he started a war on false pretenses and shredded international law. If they wouldn’t do it when they had ample reason to (and an actual majority), they aren’t going to start now and if they do they will fail.

      I believe the reason is that while they would love to see Trump gone, in general they are scared of impeachment. They were on the receiving end of it within the memory of most of them and were they to try it themselves, the Republicans who aren’t such shrinking violets would very likely retaliate against any future Dem president.

      Impeachment would require the Dems to grow a spine and that just isn’t going to happen.

      1. Steve C

        Dems think Trump is far worse than Bush. They’re stuck in a box and don’t get what’s happening so they’re unable to grab at opportunities.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          For the Team Blue types, Bush was a legitimate player for the Yankees. Trump and especially Nader before him challenged the professional sports aspects of politics. When you consider Trump, you have to consider the environment that produced him because Trump is so outrageous on the surface. Shrub had his daddy’s old crew to swear this Triple AAA player was okay, so Team Blue types didn’t have to worry why Gore could be in a tight race with an obvious dope (Gore being a less obvious dope). With Trump, there are no old hands. He could do anything, and the Team Blue types might have to make concessions to the left (or the thinking class), the people they’ve trashed for years, or canvass poor areas to win in the future. Team Blue has no clue how to proceed.

        2. John k

          Dems didn’t mind bush because their minders liked most of what he did. Now the minders, especially neocons, are fearful of the rabble, which trump represents.
          Minders don’t mind neolib pence nearly as much, he probably happy to confront Russia with a fleet of f35’s.
          Unlikely impeachment noise not just dems trying to distract their base away from Bernie’s progressive talk but also rep neocons that would dearly love to see trumps backside.

      2. Praedor

        The Dems couldn’t impeach Bush for Iraq war crimes without indicting themselves. They were nearly all completely on board with Bush’s wars. Besides, they actually AGREE with all that stuff (see warmonger Hillary, their uber-preferred candidate!).

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The “Gang of Eight” which included Daschle, Gephardt, Reid, and Pelosi at various times.

    6. Kim Kaufman

      Well, unless they decide Pence is a better vehicle for their goals. Or Trump really pisses off the intelligence community. It’s not going to happen because the Dems want it.

  2. EndOfTheWorld

    It’s said that in his younger days, Trump believed in single payer, or medicare for all, or join the civilized world, or whatever you want to call it.

  3. thoughtful person

    If trump actually manages to do what he says he will – pass healthcare for all and reduce pharmaceutical pricing, what will democrats run on in 2018 or 2020?

    Very hard to imagine the repubs going along with it, but remember Bismark (worried about socialism, he pushed through socialist health care policies). Sanders is the most popular politician in the USA. If trump fails, guaranteed a Sanders protege (gabard possibly?) will be a top contender in 2020, and likely win in a crushing landslide (56 to 60%) as Sanders was poised to do in 2016, if nominated.

  4. RenoDino

    Price is unusually creepy, even for a cabinet head. His tap dance about his pharma stock purchases while voting on same as a Congressman had him taking “great offense” at the mere mention of ill-gotten gains.

    Senator Nunn’s questioning was particularly sickening. Price said he would never hesitate to treat someone in an emergency no matter how little money they had. He left off the part about not sending them a bill afterwards.

    There is no point in offering any advice or sympathy to the Democrats until they admit they brought this all on themselves, and that will never happen given their current rhetoric. They have even adopted their abuser’s “rigged and stolen” election excuse. On a purely psychological level, this is not a good sign.

  5. Andrew

    You can’t impeach public officials, that would criminalize public service – Cass Sunsein … Alrighty then
    Sanders stands nearly alone in fighting Trump on policy.
    Imagine that – Zuck! 20/20

  6. crittermom

    I admire Bernie for continuing to dig in his heels on behalf of the American people. Shame on those who lack the balls to join him.

    In the video, as always, he’s spot on. He doesn’t mince words. Directly to the point & clearly asking if Trump meant what he said while campaigning or if he lied. Yes!
    I just wish he had continued to drill down regarding the fact the problem is many people can’t afford health care which means ALL people aren’t covered.

    The Republicans (& Dems, as well), are sitting so high in their towers they just can’t conceive that notion. Evidently, they seem to think that if we can’t afford coverage we should just ‘sell off one of our vacation homes’ or something.

    It soon became apparent Price was going to continue to dodge a direct answer so Sanders gave up.
    I think Bernie made it obvious the ‘games’ have already started, but is anybody listening?

    I continue to wonder who will pick up for Sanders in 2020? I have yet to see anyone remotely in the same league.

    1. Vatch

      I admire Bernie for continuing to dig in his heels on behalf of the American people. Shame on those who lack the balls to join him.

      We can help Bernie by contacting our Senators and letting their staffers hear what we think about Trump’s cabinet picks. It only takes a couple of minutes per phone call, and you don’t have to call the Washington, DC, offices of your Senators. All of them have local offices within their states. Here’s a web site with their contact information. Click on your Senator’s link to get information about all of his or her phone numbers:

      Since we’re discussing health care and Tom Price in this thread, I recommend that people let their Senators know just what they think about the nomination of Tom Price to be the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Please don’t assume that you don’t need to do anything, because enough other people will call — your phone call is needed to increase the call volume. Senators don’t pay attention unless a lot of people contact them.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        Thanks Vatch, you have been tireless in putting this out there. I have called before, but now I have added the link to my bookmarks bar, which I should have done long ago.

    2. Roger Smith

      One another thing I found maddening was Al Franken’s invoking of universal coverage. The guy that outspokenly backed the ‘never gonna happen’ candidate against Sanders in the primary. So when he has less clout and room to do anything about the reality, it is cool now. Please, tell me again how Trump ended the world Mr. Franken.

  7. Katniss Everdeen

    During this same hearing, “johnny” isakson, GA, referred to “healthcare” for all americans as a “lofty” goal.

    bob casey, PA, sternly lectured price on the the fact that, pre-obamacare, being a victim of domestic violence was considered a “pre-existing condition,” precluding insurance coverage. He demanded that price assure him that obamacare repeal would not reinstate that.

    What unmitigated horseshit the whole thing was. I would like to have heard Bernie remind the committee that, despite the fact that price is a weasel of the highest order, as HHS secretary he does not make the laws. Congress does.

    And when it is accepted as given that providing healthcare for all is too “lofty,” someone is going to be left out. Rather than grandstanding for groups that obviously deserve “healthcare” in the american system but are denied, I’d like to hear an explanation of who it is that is not deserving. Because there is no way around the fact that the opposite of “all” is pick and choose.

    1. Carolinian

      Sounds like I’m not the only one who sees Sanders statement–which might translate as “prove to me that your future boss Trump isn’t a villain”–as a bit of grandstanding. One wonders if he made the same demand of Hillary, who he campaigned for.

      That said, Price doubtless is a goon and Trump is surrounding himself with some dubious characters including my governor.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        I have tried to forgive Bernie for his folding to clinton. I can’t. As a result, I find myself second-guessing everything he says.

        Would it have been so hard to just say, “Three quarters of americans want universal access to affordable, quality healthcare as the citizens of all other economically developed countries enjoy. All of those countries provide this benefit less expensively and more effectively than the u. s. does. Having run a populist campaign, will the Trump administration accede to this overwhelming and overdue demand?”

        The campaign is over. Let. It. Go.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          Actually, in the clip he does in effect say this when he slips in that Canada and all European countries are able to provide health care for their citizens.
          I think he also mentioned that a majority of Americans support single-payer.

          It’s a process.

        2. Code Name D

          I call it the Utopean’s Paradox. Sanders is on his game when he talks policy. But dosn’t appear to have a clue on how to bring these policies about. He seems to think as if we live in a functoning political system that respons to reson and evidence. That we already live in the utopeia we are trying to create.

          You don’t have to love or lump Sanders. You can suport him and still be critical.

    2. oh

      We cannot let perfect be the enemy of the good, ya know! I wonder who said that in the not too recent past?

  8. Quanka

    Lots of good comments. Our congress is such a joke that Bernie is one of the few people even capable of talking policy like this. Price was a damn dear in the headlights, a robot reverting to the only line of code he can summon. Good for Bernie for shooting it down.

    +1 to JL/ others on the crazy thinking that impeachment is the Dems best card, or even a card worth playing when you consider the guy lined up to take over. Seriously, what a bunch of idiots peddling that fantasy.

    +1 to Jackiebass for commenting on the fluid nature of the political winds. Who knows where we are going to be in 1 or 2 years … who really knows.

    +1 to Roger Smith. Now consider for a minute … the Trump administration is not going to do insurance for everyone. Not gonna happen despite whatever BS they peddle in the “mews” — but what if they leash and collar big pharma. You think thats enough of a “win” to get more votes in 2018/2020? I bet it is.

    I propose a new term — MEWS — for the media and MSM. Think of this as something that was converted into its current state of existence but intended for a totally different purpose.

  9. roadrider

    I wonder if the Dem Senators would be just as hard on Clinton nominees if they were defending Obummercare and the student loan/college cost situation as they were on Price and DeVos.

  10. Tom Stone

    The Democrats are not opposing the Republicans on Policy because….Ka-Ching!
    They depend on the same mega donors, with the exception of Sanders.

    1. Praedor

      The more extreme and horrible the GOPtard agenda, the better the Democraps can USE that to push for more donations. The Dems LIKE the GOP agenda and threats because they can sucker a lot of people to “donate” money to help the Dems “fight the GOP” (Riiiiiight).

  11. BeliTsari

    This must be why Mook, Wassermann Schultz & Brock decided to stomp down lifelong Keynesian Democrats, all progressive down-ticket candidates & turn an entire new generation of Democrats into disaffected cynics (they’d SEEN how Obama hoodwinked brainwashed liberals). The DNC’s job is to fight any nascent Democratic revival, to shield their actual constituents on K Street & Wall Street. That 13 million managed to end-run Debbie’s super-delegate landlords, lawyers, hedge-fund dowagers to vote for their loyal sheep-dog; even after their media pals disappeared Bernie and rammed Podesta’s rabid orange clown Führer choice down our throats… it shows you who they were fighting against, for whom they were fighting? The DNC went through how many billions? Eight years ago it was ‘Blazing Saddles,’ this time they were reenacting ‘The Producers’ Where did they go RIGHT?

    1. run75441

      Lieberman was an independent in 2010 and only a Dem for convenience. He is nothing right now other than a paid flunky for the DeVos foundation and their business. His words should not be given any credibility. DeVos stopped legislation in Michigan asking for accountability for Charter schools in the state.

      “when a broad coalition of Detroit schools advocates pushed for a mayoral commission that would oversee the opening of new district and charter schools and would be able to coordinate things like enrollment and transportation, DeVos and her allies saw the effort as an attack on charter schools and moved to block it. Members of the DeVos family spent $1.45 million in June and July — $25,000 a day for seven weeks — supporting lawmakers who voted against the commission.”

      1. Big River Bandido

        “Lieberman was an independent in 2010 and only a Dem for convenience.”

        Lieberman’s power was not in the party, but in the Senate itself, where he was one of the “key Senators” who ran the place.

  12. DJG

    I have a quibble or three with the opening paragraphs: The Democrats aren’t playing identity politics. Many of the groups now allied with the Democratic Party (or used as ATMs by the Democratic Party) have nowhere else to go right now. Except, ironically, white women, who are turning up in all kinds of unexpected places in the Trump administration.

    What I am seeing at reliable Democratic outlets like The New Yorker, Eschaton (commenters), even The Guardian is hyperventilating, bathetic outrage by upper-middle-class types who are concerned about their privileges.

    Even today, the New York Times has some bathetic article about “pro-life” women feeling all alienated because the platform of the Women’s March on Washington (a very good platform, worth your while to seek out and read) includes right to abortion (and contraception). These are upper-middle-class complaints–pretexts for not showing up and participating.

    1. jrs

      What upper middle class privileges does anyone think Trump poses a threat to? He doesn’t. This makes no sense.

      Ok if you work directly for the DNC then maybe you are not in a good spot. And minorities of all classes aren’t helped by Trump’s rhetoric. But he really truly doesn’t pose a threat to privilege, except maybe if those people also hope to get Social Security and Medicare some day along with the proles (if there is a threat there of course it will be Trump and a Republican CONGRESS that do it and so far it’s just a Republican congress talking about it).

  13. Jim A

    ” And the public is not going to stay in Trump freakout for more than two years, no matter how hard the media keeps hitting hot buttons.”
    –I think that you underestimate Trump’s abilities to say and do things that will keep people freaked out.

    1. Pat

      I think you overestimate how many people are freaked out. Sure the upper middle class and relatively wealthy who didn’t understand that Barack Obama was driving the truck in to a ditch are having a tantrum, but that is largely what it is, a tantrum.

      When the screaming subsides, and it will, the time will come to see who has an actual agenda in order to change the course. I hope (and will work for it being more of the Bernie types. But it may not be.

    2. oho

      We also live in a time where it’s a secular trend that people are tuning out of politics and cocoon-ing themselves.

      sure 10% of people are freaked out and will be for the next 4 years. to 33%, Trump is literally a Messiah.

      to another 33%, they’re too busy making ends meet to worry about Russians.

      (grabbed percentages out of the air for illustration’s sake)

  14. BeliTsari

    “as against what the government forces them to buy…” Good NIGHT folks, drive carefully! What I see in this clip is: the neo-Confederate talking-point we’re now doomed to hear over and over: We are the Democrat’s product, forked to the sharks by corrupt bureaucrats (who’ve adopted Republican kleptocracy). Bernie, certainly shows no inclination to answering this? Classic good cop/ bad cop role playing… why some of us still have B&W tube, analog, NTSC TVs buried in the basement… we haven’t watched since the Carter years? Paycheck Loans, asset forfeiture, tax liens, foreclosures, 1099 wage theft bought these jackals their way into Congress so they feed on us all. The brave new sharing economy world is simply now getting some airtime (since many of their indentured serfs are now heavily armed, pissed-off whites). If they can’t be placated with redneck reality infomercials and the occasional broken taillight police murder, they’ll gladly feed them footage of protesters & looters being subdued?

  15. jerry

    It’s all good and well of Bernie to do this, but he’s still just going through the motions of the senate confirmation hearing and Price just gave the answers he needed to give. For only one person in Washington to genuinely give a damn about this shows how horrendously screwed we will continue to be.

    It sadly does come down to Trump, we will have to see where he lines up on this once the details start coming out. For all his faults, Trump has one great thing that Obama never had (or cared to use): balls.
    If he does in fact make drug companies negotiate directly with medicare/medicaid, and offer cross-state plans that increase competition and drive down prices, that would be incredible. He doesn’t seem to mind pissing people off and will not back down from a fight.

    But if he pushes the usual Republican line of further healthcare privatization, then their would – I would hope – be enormous public backlash and we may get what we actually need: revolution.

  16. landline

    Bernie had his chance. He chose to stay with the corporate party that fights against the interests of the poor and working class people that he loves to mention.

    Now, he is just grandstanding.

    1. Vatch

      Actually, he is no longer a member of the Democratic Party. I also question whether he “had his chance”, since the deck was heavily stacked against him, with superdelegates and the mainstream media sabotaging him at every step of his campaign.

      1. landline

        He ran for President as a D. He supported its candidate when he had an independent movement of people behind him.

        He surely knew that “the deck was heavily stacked against him, with superdelegates and the mainstream media sabotaging him at every step of his campaign” at the behest of the D party to whom he stayed loyal during its most important time, the Presidential campaign.

        I don’t want a masochist leading the campaign for my political interests. Especially one who calls the cops on people that disagree with him about weapons of war.

        Grandstanding. He could have broken up the Democratic Party and helped build an alternative Socialist/Anti-Capitalist party of broad appeal. He didn’t, and his moment and chance have passed.

        Bye Bernie. Say hello to Jesse for me.

        1. Martin from Canada

          I follow US politics a lot, but even I was surprised at how hard it is to forge a brand new political party in the USA, unlike say the UK, Canada, Germany and the like. Check out Seth Ackerman’s piece from Jacobin that was in the links a few days ago.

    2. oh

      He had a golden opportunity to do the right thing and run, even if meant he would fail. He chose to take his seniority in the Senate over choosing to walk his talk. His talk is worth zilch now. I;m not falling for his grandstanding either.

      1. sj

        Boy, I just don’t get this attitude. You may call it grandstanding, but this is classic Bernie Sanders. This is why I have been an admirer of his for years. He says what no one else will say. He always has and, obviously, he still will. Just as he has always walked his talk. He didn’t become a different being when he launched his presidential campaign.

        While I always supported him, I didn’t give a snowball’s chance of getting anywhere close to where he got. I totally underestimated the level of public support he would get. I didn’t, however, make the mistake of underestimating the level of antipathy from Democratic leadership.

        I have mixed feelings about his support for Clinton even as I understand why he ran as a Democrat. It appears to me that he weighed the dual threats of a horrible Trump presidency and a horrible Clinton presidency and made a judgement call. I get why you’re disappointed, I do. But after all, I made the same judgement call, and to my own fury, voted for Clinton.

        But I see comments like yours and landline’s and thank Hozier for the line “that’s a fine looking high horse”.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Throwing dynamite into a barrel of fish and declaring you made fish sticks isn’t worth applause. DeVos is an idiot version of Lucille Bluth. Warren’s problem is where was she when John Lewis used the same lines as DeVos or really any idea of Arne Duncan’s.

  17. Altandmain

    I don’t think that we are going to see the US get universal healthcare or even make the first steps towards getting universal healthcare any time soon.

  18. Cynthia

    Speaking of “identity politics,” I heard the neo-Left lamestream media mention that Obama commuted Chelsea Manning’s remaining prison sentence not because she is innocent, but because she is a transgender. In other words, according to them, Obama wouldn’t have commuted her sentence if she were white, straight and male. This is the problem I have with what the Right refers to as “social justice warriors,” as reflected in the neo-left lamestream media. They honestly believe that if you are a minority, in terms of either race, gender or sexual orientation, you deserve special treatment under the law.

    Whatever happened to this rather left-driven, MLK inspired notion that justice should always be blind? I think that it has gravitated towards the Right. Which is why a longtime leftist such as myself is gravitating, slowly but surely, towards the Right. On a growing number of issues, I find myself siding with conservatives more than with liberals.

    1. wmkohler

      Sorry, what? She’s extremely popular in the LGBT community, which undoubtedly contributed to a significant outpouring of popular support for her release. I haven’t seen any suggestion in any of the coverage I’ve seen that this means that being transgender is the reason for her commutation. People are well aware of her role as a whistleblower, and it’s absurd to argue that this was somehow beside the point or of secondary importance to the people who have been campaigning against her imprisonment for years.

      1. Cynthia

        What makes you think that Obama has ever supported whistleblowers of any kind or sort, whether they whistleblowing against Washington corruption or Wall Street corruption? If anything, Obama has done everything in his power to put them behind bars.

        1. wmkohler

          Yes, that is widely known, and has nothing to do with anything that’s been argued in this thread. Either provide some of the sources on which you’re basing your claim that the commutation of Manning’s sentence had to do primarily with her gender identity, or stop shifting the goalposts.

      1. Cynthia

        If Obama had pardoned Manning, then what say is probably true. But he only commuted Manning’s prison sentence, which is better than nothing. Though it is not enough to trick and entrap Assange into spending the rest of his life behind bars in the US.

    2. Waldenpond

      Summary, you are transparently offended that someone other than a straight, white male was treated as a straight white male…. blatantly ignoring the reasons O stated he commuted all but one of the charges of the Manning sentence.

      Typing ‘as a leftist’ while popping up with neo-left (stereotypical display of liberal/right wing contempt for the left) and using social justice warriors (another stereotypical display of liberal/right wing contempt for the left) in “scare quotes”? Are people deceitfully conflating left and liberal or do they really not know the difference?

      Your views are perfectly in sync with the right and liberals regarding Manning.

      Some of us on the left believe Manning should never have been charged for whistle blowing on US war crimes…

      1. cwaltz

        Uh I’m a liberal and her views are nowhere near mine. So please stop bashing broad swaths of people for what you perceive their views to be.

    3. jrs

      “Whatever happened to this rather left-driven, MLK inspired notion that justice should always be blind?”

      It never happened, not in this country, and that’s why the prison population is largely minority. Does the right plan to address that?

      But Manning is mostly a whistleblower which is purely a political crime and so somewhat different that what poor minorities get sentenced for. Why Obama decided to pardon her is something we may never actually know, that’s the thing about Presidential pardons, they have wide leeway.

  19. Dave

    Until “health care” is pro-rated by “self-care” (take care of yourself, get a tax rebate – fail to exercise, eat like shit, treat your body like a drug dumpster), socialized health care is a non-starter.

    1. Waldenpond

      Spoken like a true liberal/conservative. Please give us the appropriate hierarchy and bureaucracy needed to determine the individuals that perform this satisfactory self care and what their deserved level of medical care will be. What is this mythical, magical self-care, the exercise of exercise, this absorbtion of unavailable nutrition (mystical breathing is needed for this one, isn’t it?), which additives are simply must haves and which ones are to be purged from the human experience…. and how are you going to pay for this repressive regime of research, analysis, distribution and enforcement through state violence?

      It just might be cheaper to go with medicare for all. Has anyone run the numbers?

    2. jerry

      Privatized healthcare (and banking system BTW) is a non-starter. All the incentives to lower cost and increase competition are removed because it makes healthcare providers and insurers richer. I suppose it is theoretically possible this could work if we didn’t have a government totally bought and paid for BY the healthcare industry, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

      When it is socialized and government run, the government has the leverage (because it has all the money) to control the costs, force competition, etc.

      We do have a very ill society, I won’t fight you on that point, but attacking the symptoms instead of the cause will not solve anything, as any true medical professional will tell you.

      1. D

        Where in the world is there any evidence of competition in the health service industry, let alone incentives to improve service? You can’t even correspond in writing, and their phone systems have been designed by Monty Python. How does adding overhead to provide profit to the shareholders (which incentivizes service denial) and giving company officers a hefty dollop off the top would improve anything?

        Inquiring minds want to know.

        1. Waldenpond

          Jerry is stating that there isn’t any competition. Health care is not manufacturing. I was watching a report last night that Texas hospitals were actually blocking people from their hospitals for reducing superusers. Those idiots were finding shelter for the homeless, doing home visits, connecting people with gps and assisting in med management etc. The hospitals are pissed off because it’s affecting their profit margin. Oligarchs have worked for 3 to 4 decades impoverishing and immiserating people and poverty and homelessness are starting to bring in the big bucks! What do you have against capitalism?

    3. jrs

      Although I know the American diet is particularly bad, does anyone think everyone in all countries on earth that have socialized medicine have perfect diets? Even the Brits? No way.

    4. Kfish

      Speaking as someone from a country with a civilised health care system (Australia) – I strongly disagree with this. We don’t financially penalise people here for having a sub-optimal lifestyle – we tax the living bejesus out of cigarettes instead! There is no financial need to penalise people for being imperfect stewards of their health; the system will survive just fine. The only driving force behind this demand is Puritanism.

  20. LAS

    I think — because impeachment would yield Pence — there actually are some odds that Republicans might one day help to impeach Trump. It won’t solve the need for different policies, however.

    What’s needed – to start with – is another Civil Rights movement and lots of big demonstrations. And a new political party standing up for labor.

  21. Mike (half russian, beware!)

    I think all of You are STILL (even after winning the elections) yuugely underestimating Trump.

    This is the guy that managed to become President, in spite of all that we saw in past two years. If the establishment (or deep state or what ever you call it) can pick and can decide about anything, then he either IS PART OF THE ESTABLISHMENT, or is simply a new breed, new generation. OUT GOES sheldon adelson, koch, soros, murdoch, in come the new guys. Stuff like that happens. Trump and his allies weren’t born yesterday. They have been operating for over a decade, and finally won. The republicans are at his heels (mostly, just wait for next house or senate elections). The big busines, wall street and goldman sachs guys are taking positions in administration.

    Nothing really special is happening regarding political power struggles. Whats different this time, is necessity to create bullshit jobs and keep the crowd pacified. Its a hard thing to do, because there is no rationale for private business to employ hard working dumb americans over hardworking dumb filipinos or even hardworking smart robots.

    This is only rational for the state, for the interest of those american workers themselves. It has a name: Communism :-).

    So whether Trump can open socialist bullshit jobs in millions, or at least persuade people that he did it even if he did not – we will see. Its either that or back to the feudal middle ages, where american worker is payed roughly the same as hard working filipino or bangladeshi or any other. Orwells animal farm, huxleys brave new world.

    As in britain, switzerland (and to you less known hungary) it is common that overwhelming state produced fake jobs, and printing enormous amounts of money is done by conservative, right of center parties. It’s like only nixon could go to china – lefties would be defamed as communists for doing it.

    All I hope for is that we weather this era of zero capital growth without bloodshed that we saw 1914 – 1945. And for America to not isolate itself from world problems under trump (he seems inclined to do just that).

    There is only one thing worst for the global balance thanUSA interfering everywhere all the time: USA not doing just that.

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