United States nurses support Sanders, establishment doesn’t

Supporters greet US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders

From daily News Line in Britain:

US nurses celebrate Sanders victory

15th February 2020

MEMBERS of National Nurses United (NNU), the US’s largest union of registered nurses, on Tuesday celebrated Senator Bernie Sanders’ New Hampshire primary win, saying it shows voters want a president who fights for the people.

‘The people of New Hampshire have spoken, and nurses are so moved to know that their support is with Senator Bernie Sanders,’ said NNU Executive Director Bonnie Castillo, RN.

‘No one better embodies nurses’ values than Bernie. His platform is the strongest on protecting workers and strengthening the labour movement. He has stood by nurses’ side for decades in the fight for Medicare for All, and he is the only candidate who is building a grassroots movement to win on the issues that matter most to working people and families across America.’

‘I canvassed in New Hampshire with my fellow Maine nurses, and the support for Bernie was through the roof,’ said NNU Vice President Cokie Giles, of Bangor, Maine. ‘At one house, there was an older couple, and the woman was raising her fist in the air for Bernie. His platform really speaks to all generations and all walks of life.’

In addition to leading all the candidates on protecting workers and on Medicare for All, nurses say the New Hampshire results show the popularity of Sanders’ other progressive policy proposals, including his call for a Green New Deal; for climate, environmental, racial, and gender justice; for college for all and cancelling student debt; and for immigration reform.

Nurses in states with upcoming primaries say the New Hampshire vote also paves the way for a strong win for Sanders in their state.

‘The nurses of El Paso care for the border community in the middle of Chihuahuan desert, and it’s our duty to help and heal all people—including our asylum-seeking patients.

‘We are thrilled that New Hampshire set the stage for Texas to back Bernie in our March 3 primary. Nurses know that he is the candidate who will stand up for our American values to treat refugees and asylum-seekers with compassion and humanity,’ said Tishna Soto, RN, of El Paso, Texas.

‘Bernie’s New Hampshire win bolsters California nurses to keep canvassing and phone banking in the Golden State, so we can see him win here on March 3,’ said NNU President Deborah Burger, RN, of Santa Rosa, California.

The devastating wildfires our state has experienced in recent years have resulted in the loss of lives and homes of patients and nurses, and sickened people with toxic smoke. We know these deadly fires are fuelled by the climate crisis, and we need President Bernie Sanders to pass a Green New Deal now. Nurses thank New Hampshire voters for getting us one step closer.’

‘Nevadans are ready to build on the momentum from Bernie’s New Hampshire win,’ said Kari Deton, RN, of Las Vegas, Nevada, ahead of the state’s February 22 caucuses.

‘Eleven per cent of people in Nevada have no health insurance at all. Our patients – and patients across this country – shouldn’t have to face death just because they are priced out of preventative care. We need Medicare for All, and Bernie is the candidate to get it across the finish line!’

Nearly 700 labour activists representing 700,000 federal and D.C. government employees from across the country and overseas are calling on lawmakers to support the work they do on the public’s behalf and reject the White House’s efforts to undermine their jobs and eliminate their rights.

By hearing from and visiting members of Congress and congressional staff, holding a silent vigil on Capitol Hill, and mobilising with fellow activists, union members attending the American Federation of Government Employees’ Legislative and Grassroots Mobilization Conference on Monday made it clear that they’re standing up for dignity, fairness, and respect on the job.

‘Ever since President Trump took office, we’ve faced escalating assaults on our workplace rights, because this president wants federal employees to put his personal interests above the Constitution and the American people,’ AFGE National Secretary-Treasurer Everett Kelley told conference attendees.

‘The fact is this: For all of our victories last year, everything we’ve gained and everything we stand for remains at risk. This administration is still waging war on workers,’ Kelley said.

Even as Kelley spoke, the White House was unleashing a new round of attacks on federal employees through a proposed fiscal 2021 budget that would impose nearly $82 billion in cuts to workers’ retirement savings through 2030, shift more costs for health care plans onto employees and retirees, further suppress workers’ wages by denying them a meaningful pay rise next year, and slash overall spending for non-defence programmes.

The administration has already stripped employees of their negotiated rights at the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Education, and it is attempting to prevent workers across the government from addressing unsafe workplaces, mismanagement, and other issues by evicting union officials from federal worksites under the guise of three executive orders issued by President Trump in May 2018. The Department of Veterans Affairs, for instance, ordered union representatives to vacate their offices as of February 7.

Several hundred AFGE members held a vigil on Tuesday in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building, standing silent for 20 minutes to reflect the 20 months since the executive orders were issued.

As the conference was getting underway, attendees learned of the latest attack by this administration on workers’ collective bargaining rights – a January 29 memo from President Trump delegating to the Secretary of Defense the authority to remove any or all DoD employees from the law guaranteeing their right to organise.

Workers from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who are in the midst of renewed contract negotiations with the administration’s political appointees, called for an EPA Workers’ Bill of Rights, raising signs during the conference that read, ‘Proud EPA Worker’ and ‘#ProtectEPA’ as they protested at the administration’s hostile treatment of federal workers.

Last month, EPA workers launched a campaign for an EPA Workers’ Bill of Rights to protect the EPA from ongoing attacks on its workers and its mission: to protect human health and the environment.

‘EPA employees have dedicated their careers to the vital mission of protecting human health and the environment. But right now, we’re facing down an administration that is hell-bent on attacking civil servants and the work that they do,’ said AFGE Council 238 President Gary Morton, speaking on behalf of 7,500 EPA workers nationwide.

‘We need a strong EPA now more than ever, and that means standing up for workers’ rights and scientific integrity.

‘That’s why we’re calling for an EPA Workers’ Bill of Rights. It’s time to end the attacks on our rights as employees – and on science itself. We’ll keep raising our voices until we win’, he stressed.

This 15 February 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Democratic Super-PAC Caught Preparing Bernie Sanders Attack Ads

A Democratic PAC is preparing to launch an ad campaign against Bernie Sanders. John Iadarola, Cenk Uygur, and Lindsey Ellefson hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

Sanders surge in poll sparks backlash in Democratic establishment

15 February 2020

The surge of popular support for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, now the clear front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, has touched off frantic retaliation by the Democratic Party establishment and the corporate media. …

Sanders won the most votes in both the February 3 Iowa caucuses and the February 11 New Hampshire primary. He has taken a wide lead in polls of prospective Democratic primary voters both nationally and in many of the states scheduled to vote over the next month, which will select two-thirds of the delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

A Morning Consult poll published Thursday found Sanders with a double-digit lead among likely Democratic voters nationwide. Sanders was at 29 percent, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden at 19 percent and the billionaire former mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, at 18 percent. Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who finished second in both Iowa and New Hampshire, was in fourth place nationally at 11 percent. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was at 10 percent, while Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota was at 5 percent.

The support for Sanders reflects shifts to the left in the working class and among young people. Exit polls in New Hampshire showed Sanders leading by a wide margin among working-class voters, both those with incomes below $50,000 a year, and those without a college education. He had 51 percent support among young people under 30, compared to 4 percent each for Klobuchar and Biden.

Nationally, half of US college students support Sanders, according to a poll from Chegg/College Pulse, which surveyed 1,500 full and part-time students attending both four-year and two-year colleges. The students named climate change and income inequality as their top issues. Warren came far back in second at 18 percent.

The widening support for Sanders, along with the apparent demise of Biden’s campaign, after a fourth-place finish in Iowa and fifth place in New Hampshire, has provoked angry denunciations of the Vermont senator from the Democratic Party establishment and the corporate media.

The Biden campaign led the way, with its campaign co-chairman, Representative Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, telling a conference call with reporters that there would be “down-ballot carnage” for the Democrats if Sanders won the nomination. “If Bernie Sanders were atop of the ticket, we would be in jeopardy of losing the House, we would not win the Senate back,” he said.

Two right-wing Democrats in the Senate openly denounced Sanders for his claim to be a democratic socialist. Senator Doug Jones of Alabama said, “I don’t agree with the socialism label.” Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia said, “If Bernie ends up being one of these frontrunners, he’ll have to moderate. I’m not going socialist. Never been a socialist.”

Campaign consultant James Carville, a fixture in Democratic politics for three decades, was more vituperative, making repeated television appearances this week to denounce Sanders as an easy target for the Republican right, and at one point directly echoing Trump in calling Sanders a “communist”.

The corporate media was filled with anti-Sanders commentary, ranging from laments (Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times), to cynical sneers (Paul Krugman in the Times) to outright denunciations (Chuck Todd on MSNBC).

Krugman’s column, under the headline, “Bernie Sanders Isn’t a Socialist”, makes the correct observation that “Bernie Sanders isn’t actually a socialist in any normal sense of the term. He doesn’t want to nationalize our major industries and replace markets with central planning”,. and suggests that Sanders would be better described as a European-style social democrat.

The column goes on to echo the warnings of the Democratic establishment that if Sanders is nominated, Trump would win an easy victory, concluding “I do wish that Sanders weren’t so determined to make himself an easy target for right-wing smears.” Krugman says nothing about the fact that the “right-wing smears” have already begun from the Democrats.

As for Todd, during MSNBC’s coverage of the New Hampshire primary Tuesday, he quoted from a diatribe against Sanders by Jonathan Last of Bulwark, who wrote: “No other candidate has anything like this digital brownshirt brigade. I mean, except for Donald Trump. The question no one is asking is this, what if you can’t win the presidency without an online mob?”

This comparison of supporters of Sanders—who is Jewish—with the fascist thugs of Hitler and Mussolini is typical of the smear tactics by the corporate media against anyone who criticizes the super-rich. Todd’s commentary was reposted by the Sanders campaign, where it was viewed nearly a million times, no doubt adding to Sanders’ support.

The consternation over Sanders’ rise in the polls has already led to calls for the consolidation of the “moderate” (i.e., openly right-wing) forces in the Democratic Party against him. A focal point of these appeals is billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who entered the race for the nomination in November and will be on the ballot for the first time in the March 3 Super Tuesday states.

Bloomberg has poured $100 million into advertising just in those 14 states, a major part of the $300 million he has already invested in winning the Democratic nomination. His campaign has rolled out endorsements from congressmen and local government officials, particularly mayors of cities where Bloomberg has long used his gargantuan fortune to buy influence.

Rather than risk a four-way split among Biden, Bloomberg, Buttigieg and Klobuchar, to Sanders’ advantage, there have been multiple suggestions in the media of various combinations—a Bloomberg-Klobuchar tie-up, for example.

More likely than an open alliance is a splintering of the delegates among five or six candidates, that would preclude any one candidate gaining an absolute majority, leading to a brokered convention in which the various right-wing candidates would combine to block a Sanders’ nomination.

Sanders directly addressed this possibility in an appearance on MSNBC. “The convention would have to explain to the American people, ‘Hey, candidate X got the most votes and won the most delegates at the primary process, but we’re not going to give him or her the nomination,’” he told host Chris Hayes. “I think that would be a divisive moment for the Democratic Party.”

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