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Sen. Bernie Sanders: Shulkin's Ouster Is Really All About Koch Brothers' Privatization Push

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opednews.com Headlined to H1 4/2/18

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By Andrea Germanos, staff writer

"This is part of a broader approach of the Trump administration," the senator says.

From flickr.com: Bernie Sanders {MID-275084}
Bernie Sanders
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U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Sunday that President Donald Trump's ouster of Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin is rooted in a Koch brothers-led effort to hand federal agencies over to private corporations.

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"This is part of a broader approach of the Trump administration," the senator, a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, told CNN's "State of the Union."

Sanders' interview with host Jake Tapper comes days after Shulkin wrote in a New York Times op-ed that "advocates within the administration for privatizing V.A. health services [...] saw me as an obstacle to privatization who had to be removed."

As Common Dreams noted last week, "the VA has long been a major target of Charles and David Koch, who have used their 'front group' Concerned Veterans for America to advocate pushing veterans into the private healthcare market and sharply reducing the department's budget."

Echoing comments he made to the Washington Post last week, Sanders said, "Let us be clear...you have the Koch brothers -- the third wealthiest family in this country who are going to spend some $400,000,000 with their billionaire friends on the coming elections -- having enormous power over the Trump administration."

"And what the Koch brothers believe," he said, "is not just that we have to privatize the Veterans Administration. They want to privatize Medicare ... they want to privatize Medicaid... they're beginning to go after Social Security."

"We have a Secretary of Education who does not believe in public education, a Secretary of the ...EPA who does not believe in environmental protection. So what you're looking at under the leadership of the Koch brothers is a massive effort to privatize agencies of the United States government and give them over to private corporations. That is what the removal of Shulkin is all about," Sanders said.

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"I would hope whether it's guns, whether it's Social Security, whether it is prescription drugs, that the Trump administration start listening to the American people, not just the billionaire class and the Koch brothers," he added.

Sanders' perspective on the president's booting of Shulkin is shared by Iraq war veteran and director of government relations for VoteVets Will Fischer, who told MSNBC Thursday that Trump and the Concerned Veterans for America's desire "to destroy and privatize the VA" was the motivating factor.

Shulkin, for his part, also spoke to Tapper on Sunday, saying that he "did not resign," adding, "I believe that way you have to improve care is to work closely with Congress, listen to the veterans' groups, and make sure that you're doing what the veterans want."

(Denise H. Rohan, the head of the nation's largest veterans organization, the American Legion, it should be noted, said in a statement last week, "Our 2 million members are opposed to any legislation or effort to close or privatize the Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare system.")

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6 people are discussing this page, with 9 comments


John Lawrence Ré

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More paliative misdirection from the quisling. This time he singles out the one agency which should be privatized if it can lower the tax burden on the working class who are already accomplices to war by paying taxes to finance it. Let someone else monetize patching up those who return.

Submitted on Tuesday, Apr 3, 2018 at 6:09:07 PM

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Devil's Advocate

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Reply to John Lawrence Ré:   New Content

Agreed.
And he's doing the bidding of his fellow Dems by making it another attack on the "Trump administration". If I were an American, I'd be telling him to just sh*t or get off the pot. Like Warren and a few other supposed "remaining progressives", he's all bluster until he has to get to the part where the real culprits should be called out.

He's become a sad story.

Submitted on Tuesday, Apr 3, 2018 at 9:36:57 PM

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John Lawrence Ré

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Reply to Devil's Advocate:   New Content

And worse, he's become viewed by well-intentioned millennials as a srupulously sincere granpa figure who can satisfy their longing for an antiestablishment leader. Unfortunately, he's more a Pied Piper than the fantasy rebel they imagine and will lead them like last time right off a cliff. His mumblings about running again in 2020 will insure the candidacy of a more authentic antiestablishment figure like Tulsi Gabbard gets torpedoed.

Submitted on Tuesday, Apr 3, 2018 at 10:23:46 PM

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Reply to John Lawrence Ré:   New Content

Maybe that's his new role in politics - a sort of "Trojan Horse" figure meant to take attention away from candidates the Establishment doesn't want gaining traction.

Submitted on Tuesday, Apr 3, 2018 at 11:16:19 PM

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BFalcon

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Reply to John Lawrence Ré:   New Content

What a crazy comment, all of it.

"Let someone else monetize patching up those who return" - is that how you understand health care?

Submitted on Thursday, Apr 12, 2018 at 8:56:43 AM

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Lawrence Samuels

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Betsy DeVos believes in public education, not "government" education. All of the ugly ideologies from the 1920's-1940's supported not only government-controlled and owned educational institutions, but compulsory education. This included many fascist and Soviet regimes.

We need to get back to public education which is non-government (NGO's). The Founders did not believe in allowing the government to educate children; it is just too dangerous. Think about it. What if Trump takes over the country completely. That would give him the power to dictate what children will be taught in the classroom. Who wants politics taking over the classroom? Nobody I know.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 4, 2018 at 1:25:26 AM

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What DeVos is pushing is PRIVATIZED education. Privatizing schools does not, in any way, provide anything similar to PUBLIC education. In that scenario, private money controls the curriculum.

The only way to have public education is to pool PUBLIC money, which is what government is supposed to be doing currently. Whether that money is being distributed the way it should may be another issue.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 4, 2018 at 1:36:19 AM

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Sam Kettering

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American veterans are putridly stupid to even allow the suggestion of this happening. The va system works. It actually makes money through its pharmacy services. It is the only guarenteed basic health service millions of americans have access too. There are stupid screwhead veterans that a lot of watch fox news, which is the Koch GOP propaganda channel. Desteoying the va system will probably completely destabalize what is left of society. It is bitter sweet. Those of us with little or no medical care, will certainly be laughing, at how psychotically stupid a lot of veterans are to allow this to happen as we get sicker ourselves. Anyone who has worked in the wretched broken medical system in the us, as i have knows The USA has the worst medical system in the world. We know the va has some redeeming qualities. The koch brothers are insane psychopathic-demons who have a small idea of what they are doing and do not give a dam. Of course, the paid trump and koch trolls above this comment tried to derail the comment section with the usual fascist bs about public schoold that Ben Franklyn, Sam Adams. TOM JEFFERSSONMadison lobbied for. You are probably bots and yur masters are the worst filth.. I hope when veterans realize what happened they turn their guns on chickcrap chickenhawks like the mercers, the koches and the trumps.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 4, 2018 at 9:13:27 AM

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Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 4, 2018 at 10:21:48 PM

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