Buttigieg gets the comeuppance he deserves

One of the things that is often overlooked about Sanders is that, along with Elizabeth Warren, he is a sharp debater. This is because they both have key facts at their fingertips and use them effectively, and also because they do not pull their punches. This, along with his policies, is another reason why I think Sanders is the best person to challenge Donald Trump. His relentless focus on the important issues means he will not be distracted by Trump’s clownish antics and name-calling. But most importantly, he quickly recognizes bullshit and calls it out in no uncertain terms, which will be very effective in countering Trump who as we have seen is full of it.

Here is Bernie Sanders during the last debate rebutting Pete Buttigieg’s repeated assertions that he is a ‘polarizing’ figure.
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Bernie Sanders already projected to win in Nevada

With just 6% of the votes in, Fox News has already projected that Bernie Sanders has won the Nevada caucuses, suggesting that he already has such a lead that the others are unlikely to overcome it.

With six percent of delegates in, Sanders has 54.7 percent.

According to those returns, former Vice President Joe Biden is in second place with 17.9 percent, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has 9.7 percent, and former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg has 9 percent and billionaire Tom Steyer has 7.4 percent. Ultimately 36 delegates are at stake.

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Every American should live for a while in a country that has a single-payer health system

Here is Jon Shore responding a year ago to someone who asked him the question: “How do countries that have a single payer system handle people with preexisting conditions and special needs specifically?”

Shore’s answer is very simple.

I am an American and have lived in 4 EU countries over the past 19 years. All of them have single payer systems. Most people in countries with single payer systems do not even know what a ‘pre-existing condition’ is or why it would matter. They are shocked when I explain it to them. The only person who needs to know your medical history is your doctor. If you or someone in your family has a special need then they get the special treatment necessary. It is really that simple.

As an American expat, even after all these years I still have a subconscious fear of telling a doctor about a pre-existing condition because it might raise my health insurance premium or cause me to lose my coverage. I have to remind myself that I live in a civilized country now and that my right to high quality healthcare is guaranteed no matter what. [Read more…]

These ‘Democrats’ are not worried that Sanders will lose to Trump. They are worried that he will win

One of the stories that I hear all the time in the mainstream media is that while Democrats are desperately want to defeat Donald Trump, they fear that the party might nominate someone who cannot beat him. The ‘Democrats are worried’ is a perennial media staple and polls suggest that it may well be true. Even the remotest possibility of a second Trump term is alarming enough to worry any sane person.

The problem with this narrative is the message that is often implicit (and sometimes explicit) is that it is a Sanders nomination that is most likely to lose, even though little evidence is given in support of this position. But when the members of the media do actually talk to ordinary voters, while many say that they want someone who is electable and have concerns on this score about Sanders, they always, always end up by saying that they will vote for the nominee, whoever it is. I have yet to hear a single person saying that they will vote for Trump if Sanders is the nominee. This news report just before the Iowa caucuses is typical.
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Bloomberg and Biden both lied about stop and frisk

The stop and frisk policy in New York City while Michael Bloomberg was mayor was blatantly racist and Bloomberg is getting a lot of grief for it now that he is running for president as a Democrat. In the debate, he claimed that when he realized that it was not working as he intended it and was out of control, he put a stop to it. Joe Biden said that that was wrong and that it was the Obama administration that ordered a stop to it.
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A visual analogy of the Klobuchar-Buttigieg debate spat

The sharp exchanges between Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg at last night’s debate have created a lot of buzz. What was noteworthy was the it was not about major policy differences but rather over trivial things about whether Klobuchar should have known the name of the Mexican president, who is more electable, the dreary old trope about whether it is better to be a Washington insider or outsider, and so on.

This clip on Twitter pretty much captured the spirit of the exchanges.

If you did not see the debate, here are the exchanges between the two of them.

All along, Sanders has been right and his critics wrong

One repeatedly finds the complaint among establishment media analysts that Bernie Sanders keeps saying the same things over and over, whether it be at debates, rallies, in interviews, or whatever. It seems like they want a candidate to be like a stand-up comedian, coming up with fresh material every so often and get bored by the same material, however important it might be.

It is true that Sanders stays relentlessly on message that health care is a basic human right and that the current levels of wealth inequality are obscene and about his proposals such as Medicare For All, free college, higher minimum wages, massive tax increases on the wealthy and corporations, and so on. Whenever he is asked about things that he thinks are distractions from his core message, he perfunctorily responds to it before immediately pivoting to the issues that he thinks are important. We saw that intense focus again last night which is why the consensus seems to be that he emerged from the debate unscathed by the attacks launched against him by everyone, while Michael Bloomberg seemed to be taken completely off-guard by a similar blitz.
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Reflections on last night’s Democratic debate

Last night’s Democratic debate was very feisty, to say the least. People came out swinging, and some clear patterns soon emerged.

They all attacked Bernie Sanders and that was to be expected because he seriously threatens the status quo and has now risen in the polls to the top. He led in 10 out of ten polls released since Monday. They attacked his Medicare For All policies saying it would cost too much but never answer his response to explain why it is that the US spends twice as much as other developed countries that have universal health care, when we don’t even cover everyone. That must mean that the US is spending be spending about half its health care costs on things not related to providing health care and thus would experience a reduction of health care costs if we switch to something similar to those countries. It also shows that there is a huge amount of money right now that is spent on providing huge profits to the health insurance industry, buying overpriced pharmaceuticals, and ridiculously high administrative cost that would disappear under his plan, and thus it would end up saving the country and people money because they would no longer have insurance premiums deducted from their salaries, they would have no co-pays or deductibles, and most importantly, no worries about losing coverage.
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