On Thursday, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders plans to announce his candidacy for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. “Breaking Bernie” is a “Breaking Bad”-themed article (featuring original James Rustad topical folk songs) about Bernie Sanders. Conventional wisdom says that squishy, moderate American voters would more likely vote for a meth-cooking high school Chemistry teacher (such as Walter White from “Breaking Bad”) than a Socialist Senator from Vermont. In my new article, I examine the track record of Senator Sanders and argue that Bernie has a great deal to offer the American people in terms of the “three P’s” (principal, policy, and passion).
“Yeah, Mr. White! Yeah, science!”
Republican politicians embrace the science of Climate Change with the enthusiasm of Jesse Pinkman. Christopher Byrd, an attorney with the Office of General Counsel for Florida Department of Environmental Protection, told the Miami Herald that his office was “told [by the administration of Republican Governor Rick Scott] not to use the terms ‘climate change,’ ‘global warming,’ or sustainability.'” Bernie Sanders routinely challenges “climate change deniers” and champions alternative energy sources such as solar power. My song “Hey Hey Oil Industry” asks companies such as British Petroleum “How much carbon will you burn today?” Listen here:
“We had a good thing, you stupid son of a b-tch! We had Fring, we had a lab, we had everything we needed and it all ran like clockwork! You could have shut your mouth, cooked, and made as much money as you ever needed. It was perfect! But no! You just had to blow it up! You, and your pride and your ego! You just had to be the man! If you’d known your place, we’d all be fine right now!”
The billionaires have a good thing going with Citizens United and Bernie Sanders is not pleased with this development. Recall that the United States Supreme Court held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting the independent political expenditures of nonprofit corporations. Remember, corporations are people too (with feelings and emotions) and their rights are important! As it stands now, the U.S. Congress is fast becoming the handmaiden for the oligarchy. Bernie Sanders steadfastly opposes Citizens United and the conversion of our democracy into a “Kochapalooza.”
Bernie Sanders said (in 1998!!!) that investment banks and commercial banks should remain as separate entities. In addition to his other considerable talents, he appears to be prophetic. My song “Money is the disease (the subprime mortgage song)” shows how the “Wall Street loan sharks took the country for a ride.” Sample lyric: “Greed is the symptom, money’s the disease.” Listen here:
“Did you know that there’s an acceptable level of rat turds that can go into candy bars? It’s the government, Jack. Even government doesn’t care that much about quality. You know what is okay to put in hot dogs? Huh? Pig lips and a–holes. But I say, hey, have at it b-tches ’cause I love hot dogs.”
President Barack Obama’s infomercial on MSNBC’s “Hardball” with Chris Matthews did little to persuade Bernie Sanders (nor Senator Elizabeth Warren [D-Massachusetts]) that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (a.k.a. TPP) is a good deal for the American people. The TPP has, as Sanders put it, “been written behind closed doors by the corporate world.” The American people and members of Congress do not have full knowledge as to what is actually in the TPP, which makes me concerned that this treaty is laced with rat turds.
Senator Sanders argues that the TPP will create more outsourcing of jobs, threaten wages, harm the environment, and reward authoritarian regimes like Vietnam thus encouraging human rights violations. Bernie Sanders fought against unfettered free trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the Permanent Normalized Trade Agreement with China (PNTR). My song “Beggar Thy Neighbor, Currency Manipulator” discusses the perils of “Free Trade” with China. “Chinese consumers can’t afford to buy our goods, trade deficit fuels (U.S.) unemployment.”
“Yo, I thought I was gonna see some, like, vaginas”
“I didn’t say she actually painted vaginas. I said, some of her paintings looked like vaginas.”
“Uh, seriously, not even close.”
“Georgia O’Keefe painted all kinds of stuff. Everyday items, her surroundings. Some of it evoked an erotic nature. It’s who she was.”
“Not like any vagina I ever saw. This chick have medical issues?”
Republicans continue to wage a “War On Women” by attacking reproductive rights and the right of women to earn equal pay. Jesse Pinkman’s attitudes towards women look progressive in comparison to those of say, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Bernie Sanders is consistently pro-women’s rights across the board. Meanwhile, the GOP perseverates about the so-called “War On Whites” by the Democratic Party:
Bernie Sanders also strongly advocates for the rights of LGBT people. All the while, many Republican politicians endorse “religious freedom” laws which enable businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers:
“Yo, Gatorade me b-tch!”
Bernie Sanders consistently fights for the increase of the minimum wage, which is currently not a livable wage in a time of rising costs. Many Americans do not have enough disposable income to buy a Gatorade. Hard-working full-time employees of corporations like Walmart often rely on government subsidies to survive; in effect the government subsidizes the corporations that get away with “rolling back” on worker wages.
“Send him to Belize? I’ll send you to Belize!”
In the 1980’s, Bernie Sanders spoke up against Ronald Reagan’s imperialist field trips to Central America. Again, Bernie looks prophetic in that U.S. Military Aid of repressive Right Wing regimes created the conditions in Central America which caused large groups of unaccompanied children to head to the United States border.
“You clearly don’t know who you’re talking to, so lemme clue you in. I am not in danger, Skyler. I am the danger. A guy opens his door, and you think that of me? No! I am the one who knocks!”
Bernie Sanders commendably opposes the War on Drugs, the surveillance state, tax cuts for the wealthy, and the massive bank bailouts that inflated our national debt. Many political pundits dismiss the idea of a Bernie Sanders presidential candidacy, but Bernie is not to be underestimated and he will be (metaphorically, I think) knocking on the doors of big money interests that subvert the democracy of our great country.