Monday, March 30, 2020

Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Trump Coronavirus

I accuse.

Over 100,000 will die.  Perhaps millions.
Our economy will be set back again- worse than 2008-2012, that will
cost homes, lives, careers, families,  and more.
By a virus that began in China and has now spread world wide.
The U.S. has more cases than any other nation on earth, including China.
Why ? In part the incompetence of the Trump administration. 

The U.S. was not prepared. When the Trump administration first knew of the virus they hid the information to continue to promote Trump.  Then, they misdirected and lied to avoid blame, all the time the problem was growing worse.  Masks, ventilators, safety equipment should have been placed on emergency orders by Feb 1- it was not.  People will die.  Brothers, sisters, grandchildren, parents will die. 
The CDC bumbled the initial testing production, adding to the crisis and the lack of ability to respond. 

Austerity, promoted by Republicans nationally and in the states, and some governors,  under funded  public health systems.  We need a positive, ready, public health system.  We do not have one. (Mostly a state and local level responsibility). These were budget choices.

Thousands, perhaps millions will now die in the richest country in the world due directly to incompetence by the Trump cabal and the underfunding of public health choices.
Now, many of us will die.  Our children, our grandchildren will die. 

There are many guides to dealing with the virus.  Here is the CDC.  Also, check your local, regional county or state government sites.

Duane Campbell, Sacramento

See. This Is Barbarism post below.

Friday, March 27, 2020

DSA - This is Barbarism

Choosing Democracy: DSA - This is Barbarism: This Is Barbarism Over 100 years ago, in the midst of the death and destruction of the First World War, German socialist leader Rosa...

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

"Which Side Are You On?" New Bernie Sanders video

The Bill Is a Step: But, Not Good Enough

Last week we asked you to call congressional leaders and members of Congress to demand they fulfill their moral and constitutional responsibilities to the American people and expand the emergency provisions to care for us all and enact our Moral Agenda immediately.

You let your voices ring out throughout the Capitol, and our leaders responded.

Because of you, the Senate was forced to reconsider and make some amendments to a stimulus package that favored corporate bailouts over the cries of 140 million poor and low-wealth Americans who need immediate assistance and access to quality health care, paid leave and living wages

But our work far from done there is so much work to do. This bill is still not the kind a response necessary to help poor and low wealth communities We ask that you continue to demand that our leaders present long-term solutions to the ever-present crisis of systemic poverty and its interlocking injustices of systemic racism, ecological devastation, war economy amidst this pandemic.

We won’t be silent anymore. And together, we will make a difference.

Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II, President of Repairers of the Breach

Reverend Dr. Liz Theoharis, Director of the Kairos Center

Co-Chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Repeating the Mistakes of the 2008 Bailout

Repeating the Mistakes of the 2008 Bailout: We needed to rescue the financial system in 2008, and we need to support sectors like airlines and aerospace now—but TARP is the wrong model.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Trump Removed the Scientist Whose Job It was to Warn the U.S. About Possible Virus from China

President Donald Trump loves to blame China for the coronavirus pandemic, but new information surfaced over the weekend that the administration eliminated a position last July that potentially could have helped the US get an earlier jump on a response to the crisis, suggesting the president may need to place blame a little closer to home.
The Trump administration told the United States’ embed at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that the position would be defunded, causing her to leave her post in July 2019, according to a report from Reuters’s Marisa Taylor. The embed helped train Chinese pubic health experts and served in part as a liaison between Chinese officials and their counterparts in the US. 
With the administration planning to discontinue the role, the embed return to the US about five months before China began to see its first Covid-19 cases. Under normal circumstances, the embed likely would have passed information about the novel virus to US officials. Instead, Chinese officials were able for weeks to conceal the virus and the threat it posed, leading to a delay in the world’s response to what was then a matter of great concern and is now a pandemic.

Vox news

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Robert Reich and the Covid - 19 crisis

I am so furious that I need to shout from the rooftops. But we're in lockdown, so I'm emailing you: No industry—not airlines, not hotel chains, not cruise ships—should be bailed out.
Congress is feverishly negotiating a sweeping economic stabilization bill that is expected to pass as early as tomorrow. The details of it are changing rapidly, but Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell are proposing hundreds of billions of dollars in bailouts for the airline industry and other industries that recklessly mismanaged their budgets by fattening the pockets of their CEOs. And now, these wealthy executives are begging Republicans for a taxpayer handout.
But guess how much the lowest-earning Americans would have gotten from McConnell's initial proposal? As little as $600.1 It's disgraceful.
Duane, breaking news indicates that House is drafting its own bill, that Democrats aren't ready to rubber-stamp the Republican corporate bailout proposal, and this legislation is not yet a done deal.2 But we have only a couple of days to pressure lawmakers to rise to the challenge of this unprecedented moment and make sure that our government bails out the American people, not corporations. That's why I'm writing to you now.
Think about all of the people across America who are constantly checking their local newspapers' websites to learn the latest about how the pandemic is affecting their communities; that's what I'm doing, and you might be, too. But what if, in addition to showing the much-needed news updates, the newspapers' websites showed ads pressuring Congress to give a lifeline to people, not corporations, in the economic stimulus bill? These ads will make lawmakers, who I can assure you care about what's said in their local papers, take serious notice.

As former secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, I can tell you that there is no justification whatsoever to bailing out corporations right now. The airline industry certainly doesn't deserve a bailout: The biggest U.S. airlines spent 96% of their cash flow over the past decade to buy back shares of their own stock in order to boost executive bonuses and please wealthy investors. American Airlines alone repurchased more than $12.5 billion of its shares over the past 10 years.
But McConnell expects us to bail them out to the tune of $50 billion?
The airlines can stay in business by borrowing at rock-bottom rates, using their assets as collateral. Regular Americans living paycheck to paycheck don't have that same option.
 we need to come together right now to demand Congress put people first and pass an economic stimulus bill to support Americans in need, not provide bailouts for big businesses.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Pandumbic 2 (The Sequel) | The Daily Show

Not enough ventilators

When Even Medicare for All Isn’t Enough. Let’s talk ventilators—the medical machines that help patients breathe or breathe for them. Obviously, they’re a necessity to saving the lives of patients with severe cases of COVID-19.

And guess what? Hospitals can’t afford them. The cost of a single ventilator ranges from $25,000 to $50,000, according to an article in today’s Washington Post, and that doesn’t factor in the cost of training medical personnel to use them.

Currently, American hospitals have 62,000 state-of-the-art ventilators and roughly 100,000 not-quite-that-advanced-but-still-serviceable ventilators on hand. Problem is, by at least one estimate, they may need 900,000 as COVID-19 rages on. Also currently, manufacturers turn out 50,000 ventilators a year.

And the reason they don’t turn out more is that hospitals don’t have the money to pay for more. Even allowing for hospitals’ notorious desire to pass on expenses to someone else (surprise billing, anyone?), it’s clear that they haven’t budgeted for the kind of mass purchase of ventilators they now need. “Hospitals can’t eat the cost,” health care attorney Julie Letwat told the Post, adding that the one institution that could pay for both increased production by the manufacturers and increased consumption by the hospitals is the federal government.

As my colleague David Dayen has noted in his daily reports, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and other progressive members of Congress have urged the administration to invoke laws that would enable it to make just such interventions. And be it noted that this goes beyond making health care a right by creating Medicare for All; it is what would happen if we socialized medical supply as well as treatment. Which, it turns out, is exactly what we need to do. ~ HAROLD MEYERSON

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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Coronavirus Capitalism — and How to Beat It

Trump, Republicans, Cut Paid Sick Leave from Bailout Bill

Trump said he’d expand paid sick leave during the crisis. That’s not happening.
By Emily Peck and Igor Bobic, Huff Post.

Under pressure from the White House and business groups, House Democrats agreed to further water down paid sick and family leave provisions in the coronavirus emergency bill currently awaiting a Senate vote.

Democrats had already vastly scaled back their proposals for paid sick leave and paid family leave. Instead of covering all workers, millions were left out of the version of the bill passed over the weekend. Still, the original compromise bill included 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for workers with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, symptoms of COVID-19 or those caring for others who are sick.

Now, after the legislative text was updated, those family leave provisions in the bill are much weaker. Paid family leave would only be available to parents who are home with kids due to school closure. The extended leave wouldn’t be available for people who are sick with COVID-19. Those workers would only be able to take 10 days of paid sick leave ― and only if they work at a company with less than 500 employees. What’s more: Companies with fewer than 50 workers can apply for hardship relief and get out of providing both sick and family leave.

“The carve-outs that came in last night through pressure from Republicans and the White House have dramatically weakened what started out as a strong paid leave proposal that would’ve made a difference to tens of millions of families during this crisis,” said Jessica Mason, senior policy analyst at the National Partnership for Women and Families. “The so-called corrections actually gut those policies and weaken our nation’s response to this pandemic.”

Employers are also allowed to secure exemptions for individual employees who are first responders and health care professionals who may have to deal with emergency issues.

“Politicians like to talk a good game about providing paid sick days to everyone, including Trump,” said Vicki Shabo, a senior fellow and paid leave expert at New America.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

The Painful Decisions That We Face because of Trump Incompetence

Because we have a private, for profit health care system, we have far too few hospital beds, hospitals, medical staff, and respirators. See the post below about the lies about available testing.
Because the Trump administration is incompetent, and because he lies,  we did not begin to build up and to create the needed supplies and hospital rooms.
This austerity approach has also dominated Italy for the last several decades.
Here is what they now face.

The Coronavirus and the Extraordinary Decisions Facing Italian Doctors
Italy now has too many coronavirus patients for each to receive adequate care. So those who are too old to have a high likelihood of recovery, or who have too low a number of “life-years” left even if they should survive, may be left to die.

We must anticipate similar conditions. 
We wish you and your family good health.


Trump's Bogus Google Claim on Convid 19

According to the Washington Post, Trump has lied 1,400 times since becoming President.
So, what should we expect ?  On Friday.

President Donald Trump announced Friday that the US government’s coronavirus testing apparatus, which has lagged badly behind other developed nations, would soon get an assist from Google. The search and advertising giant will create a website, Trump said, that would help Americans figure out if they need a test for the virus, and if so where they can find one.
The only problem: There is no nationwide site like the one Trump described. And Google had no idea the president was going to mention one.
A source at Google tells WIRED that company leadership was surprised that Trump announced anything about the initiative at the press conference. What he did say was also almost entirely wrong. There will be a coronavirus testing site, not from Google but from Alphabet sister company Verily. “We are developing a tool to help triage individuals for Covid-19 testing,” Google tweeted in a statement. “Verily is in the early stages of development, and planning to roll testing out in the Bay Area, with the hope of expanding more broadly over time.”
Even that, though, was not the original plan. The Verge reported Friday afternoon that Verily had intended the site for health care workers only. After Trump unexpectedly publicized the effort, Verily decided it will let anyone visit it, but can still only provide people with testing site information in the San Francisco area.
Google did not respond to requests for comment. A Verily spokesperson characterized the intention of the site differently from the Verge report. "We were initially planning to focus on highest risk populations, which includes healthcare workers—but this was not solely intended for them," the company said. "We are collaborating with organizations like Quest Diagnostics and Labcorp as part of this initiative, and local organizations to determine what will work best. At Verily, we are focused on developing a tool to help triage individuals for testing."
It's unclear whether senior Google or Alphabet leadership was aware of Trump's plans, but CEO Sundar Pichai apparently made no reference to the impending White House announcement in a company-wide memo about its coronavirus efforts Thursday, which was first reported by CNBC. In the memo, Pichai told employees that "a planning effort is underway" for Verily to "aid in the COVID-19 testing effort in the US."
The White House declined to comment on the record, but did not dispute that Google was unaware that Trump would announce the site Friday.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

The Virus and Trump Incompetence

South Korea currently tests about 10,000 people per day, and the virus is slowing,
The US tests less than 200 per day, because we don’t have test kits distributed. We can not get more test kits because the administration cut the health budget each of the last two years,.  And, the virus is spreading, Even in the nursing home in Seattle where many have died, they can not get test kits to test those remaining alive.

This is incompetence- and it kills,
We now have had more than a month to prepare to defend our people against the spreading virus. The U.S. still is not responding at the necessary level because the Trump government is spending its energy and time managing perceptions to influence the stock market.  See the statement by the nurse’s union.
They have not used emergency authority available to them to mass produce masks and test kits. They also need to be preparing auxiliary hospitals for the coming surge !

This is incompetence.  People will die because of the incompetence.  I hope that it is not you or a member of your family.

See more:

How delays in testing set back the U.S. response

White House over rules CDC on elderly

Get serious about fighting the Virus,


Trump and his administration have proven that they will continue to put profits for the wealthy and corporations ahead of the needs of the rest of us. Trump is empowering Big Pharma and showing concern for industries that he and his cronies are personally invested in—while overseeing an inept and dangerous response to this crisis. From gutting the federal agencies tasked with coordinating the response across states to spreading inaccurate information on Fox News, to appointing Mike Pence to lead the efforts when Pence doesn't believe in science to putting a former pharmaceutical executive who oversaw price gouging of lifesaving medicines in charge of ensuring treatments remain affordable, the federal government's response has been harmful and continues to put more lives at risk as the health crisis grows.
Furthermore, this crisis is exposing the failings of our health care system. No one should have to worry about a medical bill causing bankruptcy, or have to put off going to the doctor because they can't afford the cost of the visit or the time off from work, or be denied care because they can't pay. We must move toward a universal coverage system like Medicare for All to ensure that everyone is able to get the care they need, and workers should have paid sick time so they can rest and recover, or care for their loved ones. We starting to see some progress, as a number of companies have announced paid sick leave for employees and several states have directed insurers to cover COVID-19 tests—but it's far from enough and leaves out the uninsured, so we need to make sure that everyone has access to health care, paid sick leave, and other social safety net supports.
And this crisis is exposing racism and xenophobia. Viruses know no nationality. But just as this viral outbreak is exposing failures of our health care system, it's also uncovering racism and xenophobia toward Asians in America. Attacks against Asians are on the rise, Asian-owned businesses are losing customers, and biased media reporting is fueling misinformation and fear. We now see Republican officials misidentifying the virus intentionally to lay blame at Asian countries and deflect from their own responsibility for a failed response—and this could lead to more hatred, fear, prejudice, and even violence.

A Health Emergency Demands Treatment Not Tax Breaks
Progressives need to need to enunciate and fight for a plan to deal with the potential pandemic. Leaving solutions up to those who have made the situation worse makes no sense.

Monday, March 9, 2020

The Largest Women's Organization in the U.S.- Unions

We salute the women throughout history who stood against injustice and who continue to fight for a better future for all working people.

The largest women’s organizations in this country? Unions! When women have unions, we don’t ever have to walk alone. Our union representatives, shop stewards and fellow members are with us so that we can tackle whatever injustice with strategy and power.
The founder of International Women’s Day was union organizer and socialist Clara Zetkin. She called for the holiday at the second International Conference of Working Women in 1910, in direct response to mass strikes by women workers in the U.S demanding better pay, shorter working hours and the right to join a union. Zetkin also understood the links between workers and war, taking strong opposition against the First World War. She said:
"Who profits from this war? Only a tiny minority in each nation: The manufacturers of rifles and cannons, of armor-plate and torpedo boats, the shipyard owners and the suppliers of the armed forces' needs. In the interests of their profits, they have fanned the hatred among the people, this contributing to the outbreak of the war. The workers have nothing to gain from this war, but they stand to lose everything that is dear to them."
Though its revolutionary roots is often overlooked in the big business media, this day was inspired by the struggles of working class women and our collective power as workers. We demand changes that are structural and transformative, not cosmetic and corporatized. We build to awaken women's class consciousness and to incorporate them into the class struggle. We salute the women throughout history who stood against injustice and who continue to fight for a better future for all working people.
Yasemin Zahra
Chairwoman, USLAW

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Rev. Dr. William Barber: We need to center poverty in building antiracis...

Democrats Can't Afford to Lose the Young

A Cautionary Look at Biden’s Wins and Sanders’ Losses

By John Judis

March 4, 2020 10:09 a.m.

To state the obvious: Joe Biden now has to be the favorite to win the
Democratic nomination. Once he showed that he could win a primary,
Democratic voters concerned above all about winning in the fall
flocked to him; and Bernie Sanders is basically too radical for most
of the Cold War-era voters over 40 or 45 years old. Of course, nothing
is certain in politics these days, but if Biden’s lead holds up, what
does that mean for the future of the Democratic Party?

On Monday, I wrote an email to Pat Buchanan, whose presidential
campaigns I covered and whom I got to know during the 1996 campaign,
and told him that what was happening with Sanders reminded me of what
happened to him in 1996. After Buchanan won New Hampshire, the GOP
establishment closed ranks around Bob Dole, and after Dole beat
Buchanan in South Carolina, the battle for the nomination was over.
(There was even a self-funded rich guy in the race, Steve Forbes, who
dropped out.)

Why that analogy is possibly interesting is that in 1996, Buchanan was
appealing to GOP voters on much the same issues that Trump did 20
years later. Trade, footloose multinational corporations, illegal
immigration (squared), abortion (about which Buchanan was genuinely
more passionate), guns, political correctness, and some version of
affirmative action. (Unlike traditional Republicans, he didn’t
threaten to cut social security or Medicare in order to balance the
budget.) But at the time, there weren’t enough working class and small
business Republican voters who responded to this complex of issues. By
2016 there were, and Donald Trump was very much Buchanan’s successor.

Sanders has attracted young voters who were born after the Cold War,
who don’t have the same compunctions about socialism, who understand
democratic socialism could actually be something good, who in the
absence of union protection on their jobs, and union-negotiated
insurance and pensions, look to the federal government to do something
about these things — and also want the government to do something
about access to higher education, student debt and climate change,
which to them is what nuclear war was to my generation. Biden can
mouth the words, but he doesn’t get it. Bernie does.

Moreover, Bernie appeals to the young across income group, race, sex
and nationality. I’ve looked at the polls, and I have gone to quite a
few rallies. The fabled white working class? He gets the younger
voters many of whose parents have become Republicans. Warren the
Harvard professor didn’t reach them. Pete Buttigieg, to paraphrase
what my former colleague said of Al Gore, is an old person’s idea of a
young person. The electorate that Bernie appealed to could be the
future of the Democratic party the same way — and I am not making
invidious political comparisons here — I am a Bernie Democrat — that
Buchanan’s electorate became the future of the Republican party.

So what I would say to my fellow Democrats about Super Tuesday is
this: be optimistic that you may have a candidate who can beat Donald
Trump in November, and that is super-important. But be worried that if
the Democrats can’t hold onto the Bernie generation of voters, Biden,
if elected, will become the placeholder for a Republican majority led
by the likes of Josh Hawley or Marco Rubio — younger politicians who
are trying to take what is positive in Trump’s economics — in
particular, the economic nationalism that Sanders also promoted —
while ditching his bigoted social policies and adolescent behavior. I
am hopeful that the young Democratic activists who have come to life
over the last five years won’t let that happen, but I fear the dead
hand of the K Street and Wall Street Democrats who have had much too
much influence on the party over the last forty years.

John Judis is editor-at-large at Talking Points Memo. He was a senior
editor of The New Republic and senior writer for The National Journal.


The Dangers Of A Brokered Convention

Democrats craving a brokered convention should Learn the lessons of 1968. The Intercept:"Democratic officials have insisted that Donald Trump is an unprecedented threat to the republic, a fascist and racist dictator whose removal from power is the paramount, if not the only, political priority. Yet the strategy on which they are now explicitly relying to prevent Sen. Bernie Sanders from being their 2020 presidential nominee — a brokered convention at which party elites anoint a nominee other than the one who receives the most votes and wins the most delegates during the primary process — is the one most likely to ensure Trump’s reelection. In the 1964 general election, the Democratic candidate, Lyndon Johnson, won the presidency in one of the biggest landslides in U.S. history, with more than 60 percent of the popular vote and all but six states. Four years later, it all came crashing down for the Democrats, as the once-left-for-dead Republican, Richard Nixon, not only reversed the Democrats’ 1964 electoral gains, but also permanently obliterated many of their long-held regional strongholds. A major factor in that jarring outcome, if not the dispositive one, was the Democratic Party convention that took place in Chicago in late August, just slightly more than two months prior to the election. The convention was a brokered one, marred by protests and riots outside the convention hall, and angry fights among delegates inside of it, that culminated in the anointing of the establishment candidate, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, over the anti-war candidate of the left, Sen. Eugene McCarthy. The Democratic establishment, desperate over the anti-war sentiment overtaking the party, turned to Humphrey, as well as its arcane rules that allowed backroom deals to choose the nominee at the convention, in order to maintain its stranglehold over the party regardless of what the dirty masses of their voters thought or wanted."

The Nation Endorses 'Bernie Sanders And His Movement'

Monday, March 2, 2020

The Nation mag Endorses Sanders - Which Side Are You On ?


After much deliberation and robust debate, The Nation has decided to endorse Bernie Sanders for President of the United States.

Thanks to the movement that has lifted him up, Sanders offers an alternative that is more than merely credible. Sanders 2020 is possible—and with it the promise of a different future. Sanders is running and winning as a candidate who has repeatedly shown genuine moral courage—exemplified by his steadfast support for Palestinian rights and immediate denunciation of the rush to war with Iran. This makes him the living antithesis to Donald Trump—and the president’s most formidable challenger. What is perhaps most exciting about the Sanders campaign is his commitment to expanding the electorate, which could produce a sweeping victory for his campaign and congressional Democrats this fall.

In this election, the fundamental question is also the oldest one: Which side are you on? The Nation is on the side of hope, not fear. We’re on the side of radical change, not retrenchment and retreat. We are proud, and excited, to stand with the movements that have brought us to this moment, and made this amazing, terrifying, exhilarating, and empowering campaign possible. And we are proud to endorse Bernie Sanders, a democratic socialist with a program realistic and radical enough to meet the test of our time, for President of the United States.

Read Endorsement

Sunday, March 1, 2020

South Carolina and California

The vote for Biden was impressive,

The last time South Carolina voted for a Democrat in the Presidential election ( not primary) was 1976.

We should watch North Carolina. ( and others like California) on Super Tuesday.

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders waves to guests after being interviewed by Rev. Jesse Jackson at Operation Rainbow Push on Mar 12, 2016 in Chicago, Ill. Illinois residents go to the polls on Mar 15, 2020 for their state's primary., Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images // Common Dreams

The Important Word in ‘Democratic Socialism’ is ‘Democratic’

Jesse Jackson
February 24, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Sen. Bernie Sanders isn’t talking about making America into Cuba or Venezuela. He’s talking about extending social guarantees like those offered in other advanced countries, such as Denmark and Sweden.

After the Nevada caucuses, Bernie Sanders is now the front-runner in the Democratic presidential race.

After the Nevada caucuses, Bernie Sanders is now the front-runner in the Democratic presidential race.

In South Carolina, the next primary, former Vice President Joe Biden is the favorite, buoyed by his support among African American voters. But Sanders will come into the state with real momentum, having won the popular vote in each of the first three contests

More importantly, in Nevada, Sanders revealed the breadth of his growing coalition: he led the field among men and women, among whites and Latinos, among union households and non-union households, among voters of all ages, except those over 65, among Democrats who called themselves liberals, moderates and conservatives.

"Call it capitalism with a conscience, democratic socialism, call it lemonade. It’s the substance, not the label that counts."

Equally important, Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have offered Americans a new direction, not simply another candidate. Both have called for a modern version of what Franklin D. Roosevelt called the Economic Bill of Rights: Medicare for all, tuition-free public education, universal day care, a Green New Deal to generate jobs while addressing climate change. Both would tax the wealthy and corporations to make vital public investments in the common good.

The other candidates—particularly Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Mike Bloomberg—have scoffed at these ideas as too radical, too bold, too costly, too ambitious. They offer mostly a continuation of the politics that existed before Donald Trump disrupted the country. The problem with that, of course, is that it doesn’t offer much hope for most Americans.

Sanders calls himself a “democratic socialist.” Warren objects to that label and says she’s for making markets work. But this is a difference in labels, not in substance. Their agendas are remarkably similar. The direction they would set is the same.

Some already have started to frighten people about the label “democratic socialist.” Trump paints it as Venezuela or Cuba. Mike Bloomberg has called Sanders (and presumably Warren’s) views on taxing wealth “communist.” Voters are going to hear a lot more of this nonsense, if Sanders continues to build momentum or Warren catches fire.

Here’s the reality. The important word in “democratic socialism” isn’t socialism, it’s democratic. Sanders isn’t talking about making America into Cuba or Venezuela; he’s talking about extending social guarantees like those offered in most other advanced industrial states, invoking Denmark or Sweden. These countries have universal health care at lower cost, paid family leave, guaranteed paid vacations, higher minimum wages, more generous public retirement programs. They also have vibrant and competitive economies, lower inequality, less poverty, and higher life expectancies.

Sanders is seeking a popular mandate from voters to move in this direction.

When you think of democratic socialism, remember the programs that Republicans and conservatives and the corporate lobbies denounced as socialistic when they were first considered: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, environmental and consumer protection, banking regulation to protect consumers.

The Federal Aviation Administration, which manages our nation’s civil aviation and international waters, is a state program. The Food and Drug Administration, which ensures that drugs are safe is a state program. The minimum wage, food stamps, public housing could all be considered democratic socialist programs.

Our problem has been that we have too much socialism for the rich and the powerful—subsidies for corporations, get out of jail free cards for crooked bankers, tax breaks for the rich that leaves them paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries, monopoly power for corporations that allows them to gouge customers and more.

And we have too little shared security—democratic socialism—for working people: affordable health care, a living wage, guaranteed paid vacation and family leave, universal childcare, affordable college, public mobilization to deal with the threat of climate change.

When I ran for the presidency, I didn’t use the label, although some tried to slur me as a socialist or a communist, but I don’t think the label makes any difference. The question is one of direction, not name-calling; of program, not posturing.

And on this, Dr. Martin Luther King—often smeared as a “red” or a communist—was very clear. In 1966, he confided to his staff:

“You can’t talk about solving the economic problem of the Negro without talking about billions of dollars. You can’t talk about ending the slums without first saying profit must be taken out of the slums. You’re really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you are messing with folk then. You are messing with captains of industry. Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong with capitalism. There must be a better distribution of wealth, and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism.”

So, put aside the fearmongering and the red-baiting; take a look instead at the substance. There’s no question we need big structural change, as Elizabeth Warren puts it. We need a better distribution of wealth, and a greater protection of basic human rights like the right to affordable health care, as Sanders argues.

Call it capitalism with a conscience, democratic socialism, call it lemonade. It’s the substance, not the label that counts.

[Jesse Jackson is an African-American civil rights activist and Baptist minister. He was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988 and served as shadow senator for the District of Columbia from 1991 to 1997. He was the founder of both entities that merged to form Rainbow/PUSH.]