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Donkees's Journal
Donkees's Journal
August 6, 2018

Opinion - 'Modern Day Debtors' Prisons'

The time has come to end cash bail, a major factor in inequality in the court system.

By Meagan Day and Bhaskar Sunkara
Meagan Day is a staff writer at Jacobin, where Bhaskar Sunkara is editor.

Aug. 6, 2018


Despite releasing a comprehensive and remarkably radical criminal justice reform agenda in 2015, Senator Bernie Sanders was accused throughout his presidential campaign of being insufficiently concerned with the topic, and of habitually changing the subject to economics. The reality is that Mr. Sanders has the clearest insight into the connections between criminal justice issues and economic inequality of any major politician today. And nowhere, perhaps, are those connections more obvious than in the instance of cash bail.

In late July, Mr. Sanders introduced legislation that would end cash bail on the federal level. “Cash bail” is the current bond system in which people arrested for even low-level offenses are detained pending trial — unless and until they pay a fee. The fees are often arbitrary and often beyond people’s means ($3,000 for allegedly stealing a backpack, $10,000 for a bicycle), leaving the poorest arrestees locked up, sometimes for years, without being convicted of a crime.

Under this system, freedom comes with a price tag, and those who can pay it get to walk while the rest languish in the United States’ bloated prison system. Citing a statistic showing that over 400,000 people are in jail simply because they can’t afford to pay bail, Mr. Sanders called for the end of “modern day debtors’ prisons.”

Mr. Sanders’ bill is more radical than one proposed last year by two of his colleagues, the Democrat Kamala Harris of California and the Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky, which sought to reform but not eliminate cash bail. In completely prohibiting “the use of payment of money as a condition of pretrial release” on the federal level, the Sanders bill turns one of Black Lives Matter’s most broadly popular demands directly into legislation.



August 4, 2018

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders talk to Sarah Smarsh ...

Sat 4 Aug 2018 05.00 EDT


“To be very honest with you, it is not easy,” Sanders told me. “It’s not easy at all. I would be lying to you if I did not tell you that Washington is a very, very different environment in which to survive with decency. It is a phony environment. It’s an environment where people are very nice to you and then will do everything they can to undermine you. It is an environment where there is an enormous amount of ego. So it is a tough place in which to work, and it takes a toll on me.”

Sanders encouraged budding representatives to “find colleagues who share a common sense of justice and those with you in the fight” and make frequent visits with earnest activists. He had just left a visit with Vermont youth involved in an ACLU immigration effort.

“It strengthens me,” he said. “It makes me feel much more human, talking to these idealistic young kids who are trying to do the right thing.”


August 4, 2018

Vermont Primary Preview: Can anyone beat Bernie Sanders?

By Darren Perron | Posted: Fri 7:14 PM, Aug 03, 2018


But anyone going up against Sanders, who's seeking his third term, will be a long shot, according to Dickinson, and history is likely to repeat itself. Sanders won overwhelmingly in the last election.

"Over 70 percent of the vote six years ago-- his profile has only risen and there hasn't been a lot of mud thrown at him that has actually stuck," Dickinson said.

Vermont Democratic Party Chair Terje Anderson released a statement in regards to the U.S. Senate race, saying: "The Vermont Democratic Party has a strong, productive and close relationship with Senator Sanders. We are proud of his role as a leader in the US Senate Democratic Caucus, and as a powerful voice for Democratic values, issues and candidates. In 2012 and 2006 he ran for the Senate with the endorsement of the Vermont Democratic Party after winning the Democratic primary. We anticipate the same will happen this year and look forward to campaigning together with Bernie to elect candidates who support Democratic values at all levels of government."


August 4, 2018

🐦 Aug 10 at 7PM - BE A HERO! BRISTOL, VT - Ady Barkan and Special Guest Sen. Bernie Sanders

Be A Hero: Organizing for Health Care Justice and a Stronger Democracy with Ady Barkan and Special Guest Senator Bernie Sanders & Mari Cordes

Ady Barkan, an incredible activist who is battling ALS, is touring across the country with a mission and he's coming to Bristol with special guests US Sen. Bernie Sanders & House of Representatives candidate Mari Cordes to stand up for our health care, raising the minimum wage, paid family leave, racial justice, and our country!

Ady is asking you to be a hero, get out and rally, and get out on doors to turn the tide in this year’s midterm elections. Ady famously confronted Senator Jeff Flake last year about his vote on the Republican tax bill, and has continued to tirelessly stand up for our rights to health care, economic security and urge us all to take back our democracy.

August 04, 2018 at 7pm - 9pm

Bristol American Legion
56 Airport Dr
Bristol, VT 05443



August 2, 2018

Yes, Medicare for All is expensive. That's not the point.



By Diane Archer
August 1 at 5:14 PM

Sen. Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All proposal improves and expands the current Medicare program, replacing commercial health insurance with federally administered coverage for all Americans. The proposal eliminates premiums, deductibles and co-pays, and includes new coverage for vision, hearing and dental care. It allows everyone to use the doctors and hospitals they know and trust, anywhere in the country, without the restrictive networks, arbitrary denials and high out-of-pocket costs that go hand in hand with commercial insurance.

Medicare for All, like Social Security, is social insurance, designed to pool and broadly distribute the costs of care across the entire population. At its core, Medicare for All gives doctors and hospitals the freedom to compete for patients without insurers getting in the way.

Blahous writes that Medicare for All is expensive. That’s correct, but it’s the wrong starting point. The current commercial health insurance system is much more expensive than Medicare for All and is unsustainable by any measure.

There are always winners and losers in policy reform. Today, commercial insurers and other corporate interests in the health-care industry are the winners, and the American people are the losers. Medicare for All flips that paradigm. We can’t afford to live without it.

August 2, 2018

Senate Hearing Held on Sanders' Legislation to Expand Dental Care for Veterans

Wednesday, August 1, 2018


WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 – The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a hearing Wednesday afternoon to consider legislation authored by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to expand access to dental care for veterans.

“The goal of my legislation is really pretty simple: to improve and expand access to dental care for veterans throughout the country,” said Sanders, who is a longtime member and former chair of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Today, millions of veterans have access to timely, high-quality health care through the VA. However, very few of these veterans have access to dental care through the VA. To my mind, this doesn’t make sense. The evidence is very clear that a person’s oral health is directly linked to a person’s general health.”

“If a person has oral health problems – problems with their teeth or their gums – those problems can cause serious diseases and illnesses, everything from heart disease to premature births,” Sanders said.

Sanders’ legislation would create a three-year pilot program to test the idea of ensuring all veterans who are eligible for VA health care are also eligible for VA dental care.

Sanders’ legislation also gives the VA the authority to provide restorative dental care services to veterans. “That means if the VA pulls a veteran’s tooth to prepare them for surgery, they will be able to then furnish the veteran with dentures or implants. We know that missing teeth can have a huge impact on a person’s life. It can affect their mental health, their ability to get or keep a job, or – quite simply – make it hard for them to eat,” Sanders said.

Sanders’ legislation also would empower the VA to provide veterans education and training on effective oral hygiene. “That’s another common-sense, low-cost solution that will help veterans take care of themselves, prevent problems and save the system money,” Sanders said.


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