Bernie Sanders

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is an American politician and the junior United States Senator from Vermont.

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SenSanders2498 karma

Not voting for the USAPatriot Act was one of the better votes that I've ever cast. In my view, the NSA is out of control and is very clearly acting in an unconstitutional manner. Terrorism remains a serious issue and we must do all that we can to protect the American people, but we don't have to do it through a massive invasion of privacy rights or undermining the constitutional rights of the American people. I am going to be working as hard as I can to pass the strongest legislation possible to end the abuses of the NSA and other intelligence agencies. If we are a "free country," then we cannot have the U.S. government, or for that matter the private sector, invading the privacy rights or our citizens.

SenSanders2028 karma

I raise money very differently than other candidates. A recent study showed that I raised more money from small donors, tens of thousands of them, than any other U.S. senator. Also, throughout my political career I have not accepted money from corporate PACs. I don't represent large corporations and I don't want their money.

SenSanders1443 karma

I strongly support net neutrality and will do everything I can to maintain it, including opposing the recent FCC proposal. The Internet is an incredibly important and democratic tool. All people, whether you are a multi-national corporation or a small business, whether you are The New York Times or a small blog, should have access to the same Internet speed.

SenSanders1405 karma

I believe that's true. When you have the top 1 percent of the country owning 38 percent of the financial wealth, when you have billionaires now able to contribute unlimited amounts of money into the political process, when you have 95 percent of all new income going to the top 1 percent in recent years, I think one can say that reflects an oligarchic society.

SenSanders1256 karma

I have not yet made a decision as to whether or not I will run for president. If I do, the main focus of the campaign would be on the decline of the middle class, high unemployment, income and wealth inequality and the fact that the United States is the only nation in the industrialized world not to guarantee health care for all people as a right.

SenSanders1095 karma

Excellent question. We gotta throw out the foxes. I don't mean to be too revolutionary here but I think we need to have a Congress which represents ordinary people and not just the billionaire class, Wall Street and multi-national corporations. To accomplish that goal, we need massive grassroots organizing efforts so that ordinary people play a much greater role in the political process than is currently the case. In the coming election, it is estimated that only 40 percent of the American people will vote. That is unacceptable.

SenSanders963 karma

My answer is pretty simple. Given the enormous problems facing our country, the fact that we are moving toward an oligarchic society and the fact that we are not addressing the planetary crisis of climate change, it is unacceptable for anybody to throw their hands up in despair and turn away from the political process. Historically in this country, people have fought and died to end racism and segregation, to fight for women's rights, gay rights, workers's rights, and no generation has a right to turn its back on the political process and not participate.

SenSanders941 karma

The bottom line is that our current health care system is dysfunctional. We spend almost twice as much per person on health care as do the people of any other nation despite the fact that over 40 million Americans have no health insurance and many more are under insured. I voted for the Affordable Care Act because it will provide health insurance to millions more Americans and ends the obscenity of "pre-existing conditions among other attributes. I also managed to get into that bill $11 billion to create hundreds of new community health centers throughout the country. Having said that, it is my strong view that the United States has to join the rest of the industrialized world and move toward a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system which guarantees health care as a right. I have introduced legislation to do just that.

SenSanders636 karma

I agree. Democracy is not just the right to vote every two years. It also means having an impact on your job and where you work. For millions of Americans, a job means not only inadequate wages but also no control over how they spend 40 hours a week of their lives. They are, in truth, cogs in a machine over which they have no power. In Vermont, we have made modest progress in the concept of worker ownership and companies with have strong employee stock ownership plans. When I visit those companies, where workers really do have a say over the nature of their job it is clear to me that those workers feel much better about their work life. I have also introduced legislation which would make it easier for businesses to sell their companies to their own employees.

SenSanders608 karma

If you are concerned about the economy, health care, the environment, women's rights or any other issue you must be concerned about the disastrous situation regarding campaign finances. For many years, big money has had enormous power over what goes on in Congress and the White House. The horrendous Supreme Court decision in Citizens United made a bad situation much, much worse. We now have the extraordinarily undemocratic situation by which billionaire families like the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson and others are able to contribute hundreds of millions of dollars into the political process and to elect the right-wing candidates they support. Nobody I know, and this goes across the political spectrum,believes that American democracy is about billionaires being able to buy elections. Short term, we need a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and I and Rep. Ted Deutch have offered what I think is a very strong amendment. Further, we need to pass public funding of elections so that working people and middle-income people can participate in the political process and run for office without being dependent upon wealthy benefactors.