Sanders: Climate Change more Menacing than Terrorism (Germanos)

Andrea Germanos writes at

In a newly published interview, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) blasts the "unfettered capitalism" that has collapsed the middle class, and the corporate power fueling climate change, which poses a "far more serious problem than Al Qaeda."

Sanders speaking about the government shutdown’s impacts. (Photo: AFGE/cc/flickr) Speaking with economics writer Jonathan Tasini for the interview with Playboy, the 72-year-old Independent senator said that "one of the untold stories of our time is the collapse of the American middle class." It's due, in part, to "the decline of trade unions," which means that workers "have less power to negotiate contracts and less political clout."

It's a system that has brought immense inequality, he says.

"We are in the midst of intense class warfare, where the wealthiest people and the largest corporations are at war with the middle class and working families of this country, and it is obvious the big-money interests are winning that war."

It's a "hypercapitalist society," where there are even efforts to "privatize water, for God’s sake," and the function of the current health care system is "to make as much money out of it as possible," he told Tasini.

When Tasini told Sanders, "You make the U.S. sound like a banana republic in which a handful of families control all the economic and political power," Sanders responded simply, "Yes, it is. In more technical economic terms I would call it an oligarchy."

It's a system that has put corporate interests above people—and the planet.

"You have the entire scientific community saying we have to be very aggressive in cutting greenhouse gas emissions," Sanders told Playboy. "Yet you’re seeing the heads of coal companies and oil companies willing to sacrifice the well-being of the entire planet for their short-term profits. And these folks are funding phony organizations to try to create doubt about the reality of global warming."

It's "incomprehensible," he said, that "[b]ig business is willing to destroy the planet for short-term profits."

"And because of their power over the political process, you hear a deafening silence in the U.S. Congress and in other bodies around the world about the severity of the problem. Global warming is a far more serious problem than Al Qaeda."

As for any hopes Sanders supporters have that the senator will make a bid for the White House, he told Tasini, "I am at least 99 percent sure I won’t."



Mirrored from Commondreams

10 Responses

  1. The deliberate fracturing of the American society by the *powers in charge* is now complete.
    The propaganda machine has (and continues to) effectively deflect attention from the important issues of social justice and good governance. The shiny rules the 21st century.
    There is now basically nothing *the people* can do to get their government back, IMO.

  2. Would like to see Sanders and Cole comment on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, controversial new Nafta-type agreement with countries in the Pacific Rim, purportedly supercedes national environmental laws.

  3. I am not one to put one person ahead of all society, all humanity. It’s all in the organization, folks, and frankly we on the so-called American left don’t have diddly-squat worth of it these days.

    Yet with that introduction, big congratulations on the Senator for telling us the brutal truth. May we have the ears to hear.

    May we have the brains to consider how our own idealism (and our unwillingness to see how it hurt our effectiveness) froze up and corroded, for example, the very hopeful beginnings of the Occupy Movement.

    Plenty of tomorrows lie ahead to make it better. A positive attitude is an asset to any activist.

  4. three paragraphs from the article below about bush fires in Australia:

    “Politics” is about society coming together to debate and decide our common future. In that noble sense, no issue is more desperately in need of politicising than our rapidly degrading climate.

    But politics has already been degraded. For the bulk of our politicians and media, politics is now a game. Who wins or loses each round, and the moves each player makes, have become our sole focus at the expense of serious discussion of why we play the game. So crippled is the reputation of Australian politics that claiming an MP is “politicising” an issue is to suggest nothing more than narrow self-interest. So superficial is our debate that an expert articulating the clear scientific evidence that global warming has contributed to these fires can be asked by a straight-faced interviewer, “Sure, but what did you think of Adam Bandt’s tweet?”

    What’s more, in the current Australian political climate, there are political points to be scored by accusing others of trying to score political points.

    There are links in the article from the Guardian with the title:

    Why we need to politicise the bushfires
    The refusal to make the link between the fires and climate change will condemn more people to the inferno

    link to

  5. Maybe if our Crackpot Realists and inveterate invertebrate Great Gamers who could or could not care less about degrading the habitability of the Game Board (except as an extractable profit center and Taken Teritory) could be brought around to declaring Climate Change and its agents and agencies to be Unlawful Enemy Combatant Terrorist Insurgent Revolutionaries, we all might learn What Is To Be Done to rectify It-All… though without those satisfying videos of people being shot in the head or blown up, and vehicles being reduced to blood-and-tissue-smeared scrap metal, and cities rubble-ized, and all the chest-thumping-and-bumping and back-slapping and fanny-patting and grim satisfaction stuff, it’s obviously a hard sell.

  6. It shouldn’t be incomprehensible to a critic of market economics that businessmen are willing to destroy the earth for short-term profits.

    Capitalist apologists never talk about the importance of speed in accumulating wealth. Classical capitalists refused to admit that money can change velocity due to crashes caused by short-term investment mania. Keynesians recognized that, but they in turn wanted to speed up the economy all the time, which still has environmental consequences. One of the most logical articles I saw about the ’08 Crash noted that New Deal-era tax policies once pressured businessmen into reinvesting their profits into their own businesses, but before and after that era it made more sense to make a quick killing, then gamble it on the markets. They could make enough for a lifetime instead of the drudgery of using their actual expertise growing their own businesses.

    The market always becomes a race. If the reward of winning the race at all costs outweighs the consequences, then everyone will throw out or reinterpret their moral restraints. Gambling is addictive. And the winners can buy private islands and armies to survive while the world burns around them.

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