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The Media-Responses to Bernie Sanders’s Climate-Plan

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Submitted by Eric Zuesse, originally published at Washington’s Blog:

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, a U.S. Presidential candidate in the Democratic Party primaries, presented on August 22nd the most-detailed climate-plan that has ever been presented by any U.S. Presidential candidate — 14,000 words, or the equivalent of a normal 55-page booklet.

One of the billionaires-controlled news-media, the New York Times, promptly headlined its news-story about it, “Bernie Sanders’s ‘Green New Deal’: A $16 Trillion Climate Plan”, and said little else about it than its total expense-side, no mention at all about its income side (and virtually nothing at all about its benefits, which were detailed in those 14,000 words). The report also said that the Democratic National Committee had just banned CNN’s planned and unofficial Democratic Presidential candidates debate about the climate, which had been scheduled by CNN for September 4th. The NYT reported that the DNC would permit the candidates to appear only one-after-another — without any interaction with each other, regarding climate-issues. The news-site Vice then promptly headlined “The DNC’s Climate Debate Is As Good As Dead”, and reported that, “Democratic voters want to talk about climate. Three quarters of respondents to a June CNN poll said that they wouldn’t vote for a candidate who didn’t recognize climate change as humanity’s greatest existential threat.” Of course, if Democratic Party voters are really serious about that, they’ll follow through on it. But, evidently, the DNC is quite convinced that they won’t be.

Another billionaires-controlled news-medium, Mother Jones, issued online its official blogger, Kevin Drum, bannering “Bernie Sanders Gets a D- for His Climate Plan” and he opened:

Bernie Sanders released his climate change plan today, and Bernie being Bernie it was naturally the biggest, leftiest, most socialist plan out there. And that was the good part. The bad part is that it’s practically designed to fail.

If you’re going to propose a massive, $16 trillion plan, the first thing you should do is get as many people on board as possible. Instead, Sanders practically revels in pissing off as many stakeholders as possible.

Mr. Drum wanted Sanders to be proposing things that the billionaires who fund political campaigns find acceptable.

However, The Intercept, a site that’s owned by Pierre Omidyar, a Democratic Party billionaire from Silicon Valley (and who is not committed to fossil fuels himself), has been remarkably honest about “climate change” or “global warming” (which are the accepted euphemisms that are pumped for global burnout — the actual  threat). In fact, back on 3 July 2019 it had bannered “WILL BERNIE SANDERS STICK WITH A CARBON TAX IN HIS PUSH FOR A GREEN NEW DEAL?” and it honestly presented the reason why that ought to be included in a plan but also mentioned that all pollings show that the public don’t and almost certainly won’t understand that, and so any commitment to a carbon tax would probably sink any candidate who would specifically include it. (Sanders’s new plan does not.) And, then, on 22 August 2019, The Intercept headlined “BERNIE SANDERS’S CLIMATE PLAN IS MORE RADICAL THAN HIS OPPONENTS’ — AND MORE LIKELY TO SUCCEED”. That was the nitty-gritty truth about the matter: All of the other candidates are so afraid of going up against the billionaires (including not up against the Republican ones), but Sanders is doing it nonetheless, and his new plan shows that he really means it when he says, “We must take action to ensure a habitable planet for ourselves, for our children, and for our grandchildren.” He is now putting his entire candidacy on the line for this.

Sanders is the only candidate who is still in the race who has zero billionaires backing him. He has already committed himself: zero dependency upon any of the billionaires. You can agree with him, or disagree with him, but that’s a fact about him. Obviously, the DNC is just as much against him now as it was in 2016. Practically nothing has changed in the Democratic Party since then.

Part of his climate plan even mentions: “Trade deals have been written in secret by billion-dollar companies to give polluters special handouts and protections, as well as the right to sue governments that pursue stronger environmental protections. Under a Sanders Administration, this will end. Trade deals will be renegotiated to ensure strong and binding climate standards, labor rights, and human rights with swift enforcement.” That’s a slam against not only both Bushes and both Clintons, but against the lionized-by-Democratic-voters Barack Obama, whose biggest effort, of all, was to pass his mammoth proposed TPP, TTIP and TISA trade-deals, all of which were even worse in that regard than any of its predecessors such as NAFTA were. And Sanders had led the fight in Congress against all of them. (None of them became passed, though Hillary Clinton would have resumed Obama’s push to pass them if she had become President. Trump isn’t worse in every respect than she was.)

Also, here are some of the passages in the plan that I find particularly striking:


Instead of accepting that the world’s countries will spend $1.5 trillion annually on weapons of destruction, Bernie will convene global leaders to redirect our priorities to confront our shared enemy: climate change…

we will support less industrialized nations in the Global South, excluding China, to help them reduce emissions by 36 percent from 2017 levels by 2030, consistent with meeting our fair share of emissions reductions under the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recommendations…

Bernie recognizes that the Pentagon is the largest institutional emitter of greenhouse gases in the world and that the United States spends $81 billion annually to protect oil supplies and transport routes. We are uniquely positioned to lead the planet in a wholesale shift away from militarism…

When we are in the White House, we will create millions of union, family-wage jobs through the Green New Deal in steel and auto manufacturing, construction, energy efficiency retrofitting, coding and server farms, and renewable power plants. We will spend $1.3 trillion to ensure that workers in the fossil fuel and other carbon intensive industries receive strong benefits, a living wage, training, and job placement. We will protect the right of all workers to form a union without threats or intimidation from management…

End overseas fossil fuel financing. The federal government currently supports investments in fossil fuels through the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, OPIC, the Export-Import Bank, and other multilateral institutions…

Bernie will make fossil fuel corporations pay for the irreparable damage they have done to our communities and our planet, and he will ensure that all fossil fuel workers affected by the transition are entitled to new jobs, health care, pensions, and wage support. He will not allow fossil fuel executives to reap massive profits while endangering the future of humanity. He will not leave it to the market to determine the fate of the planet…

Prosecute and sue the fossil fuel industry for the damage it has caused.

Scientists have been clear that in order to solve the climate crisis, we must leave fossil fuels in the ground.


The last two of those are the most important. For example: to “leave fossil fuels in the ground” means to lay off a large percentage of fossil-fuels corporations’ workforces, especially all who are involved in exploring, and negotiating for the exploitation of, new wells and mines; and, furthermore, the stock-market values of all of those corporations will crash, because the vast majority of their market-value is their assets-in-the-ground, their “Reserves”. As the leading study of this matter phrased it in 2013:

If CAPEX continues at the same level over the next decade it would see up to $6.74 trillion in wasted capital developing reserves that is likely to become unburnable. This would drive an even greater divergence between a 2DS and the position of the financial markets. This has profound implications for asset owners with significant holdings in fossil fuel stocks. It is particularly acute for those companies with large CAPEX plans that continue to sink shareholder funds into the development of additional new reserves that are incompatible with a low-carbon pathway.

Furthermore: “Oil, gas and coal mining companies spent $674billion of capital expenditure in the last year seeking to develop more reserves.” This at a time when 100% of such expenditures is actually waste — unburnable excess upon the already-existing excess of unburnable carbon reserves, which those corporations already own and are already producing from.

This is the way capitalism is. Democratic socialism (such as in the Scandinavian countries) isn’t, at all, like Karl Marx’s communism, but billionaires equate those two — democratic socialism and dictatorial socialism — in order to discredit democratic socialism (progressivism), by lies, because billionaires are the only people who really benefit from capitalism.

Especially the owners of fossil-fuels corporations will lose their entire investments in those corporations, because not only of the inevitable crash in their stock-values but also because whatever value still remains in those corporations will then — under the Sanders plan — become transferred to the government, as a partial payment for the massive criminality of those corporations during the many decades in which they were bringing to the precipice the very continuance of life on Earth.

So: it is clear why this nation’s media — which are controlled (even when not outright owned) by billionaires — will do everything possible in order to prevent Sanders from becoming its President. For them, the choice is stark, and it is between either him, or else any of the other candidates. They will congeal around whichever of the other candidates is the likeliest one to defeat Sanders. That’s the reality, about the Democratic Presidential primaries. The Sanders climate plan makes this absolutely clear.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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Daniel Christof

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