By Don Keelan
Vermont’s untouchable U.S. senator has announced that he will campaign once again for the presidency of the United States. It was only four months ago that Sen. Bernie Sanders stated he would be our state’s voice in the U.S. Senate for another six years. Because of his hands-off standing in Vermont, no one dares to challenge this misleading statement.
His message in 2019 is not at all different than what it has been for the past 50 years — the elimination of capitalism and the free-market system. A real-life example of the Untouchable’s message and how it is practiced can be seen, almost daily, in Venezuela.
There was a time when Sweden was Sanders’ gold standard for what he would like America to be. However, it was not radical enough for him so he attached himself to Venezuela’s recent president, Nicholas Maduro, and before him, Hugo Chavez.
The latter two, in less than a decade-and-a-half have taken one of the most prosperous countries in South America, if not the world, and brought it to economic, social and political collapse. And to hear the Untouchable speak, Venezuela under its socialist leaders is exactly what he would like to replicate in the United States.
Sanders translates this to having free college, Medicare for All, free fuel, food and clothing, and all the other needs of the country’s 99 percent — paid for by the remaining 1 percent, who according to Sanders have all the wealth.
His message is politically contagious. No less than a dozen other Democratic Party presidential aspirants are echoing part, if not all, of the Vermont Untouchable’s message.
Venezuela’s Chavez and Maduro gladly gave away so much of their country’s resources to their constituents so long as international oil prices stayed high. In doing so, it was a guaranteed way of keeping the populace’s loyalty. Their country was one of the world’s largest oil suppliers. And then things changed — the bottom fell out of the oil pricing and the cash flow ran dry. As a result, today the citizens of Venezuela are paying dearly.
Why Sanders is untouchable in Vermont is that the press, politicians and government officials are afraid to challenge him on what he says and what he does, so long as he continues to bring dollars to the state from Washington, D.C.
Where is the outrage that the senator will not stay in Washington and represent our state? Where was the outrage when a small college in Burlington had to close its doors because of what was, at a minimum, a loan scam? Just imagine if a private developer went to the bank and the state bonding agency and had presented similar data that was used to obtain $6.5 million in bond financing for the college? I have not heard of one media source in Vermont inquire as to who are the owners of Alexandria, Virginia’s Old Towne Media LLC, and what about the millions it obtained in fees in marketing commissions from Sanders in the last election. And why was the two-person marketing company given the lucrative advertising contract for the 2016 campaign when Vermont has over 65 advertising and marketing companies? This is the smoking gun, not Burlington College.
It would be awesome if the government could provide free college and free health care to all, but it would be quite helpful if the media would ask what would it cost in detail, and how it would be paid for.
At least the Wall Street Journal is willing to raise the issues. They did so in an editorial on Feb. 20, the day after Sanders made his announcement to run for president.
The Journal noted: “Mrs. Sanders would wield significant policy influence in a Sanders White House, as Hillary Clinton did as first lady. At the very least the Burlington failure shows financial incompetence and a tendency toward nepotism.” Sounds a lot like socialism, and a lot like Venezuela.
Don Keelan writes a bi-weekly column and lives in Arlington, Vermont.