Jim Austin's Vermonter at Large
Jim Austin
Jim Austin
is a freelance writer from Putney, Vermont.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 06.28.04


Love Letter to Bernie Sanders

Vermonters are so lucky to have a representative in Congress like Bernie Sanders. Why he got into politics is a mystery to me.

He is one of the very rare men in government who actually seems to care about his constituents and the entire population of this country for that matter.

I haven't heard his take on the torture chambers run by our military or even the cardboard suitcase full of pre-war lies trotted out by our President and his cadre of carnival shills. Bernie talks about health care, education, the grandma-gouging pharmaceutical industry, special interest ownership of our media, and our trade policies that have cost this country millions of jobs.

He even digs past the lurid headlines in Iraq and exposes the corruption that has gone hand in hand with the lying.

In his last e-mail he linked up to an article by Jim Hightower, a former Texas congressman who has become famous for his two-minute commentaries. In this one Hightower pulls the shroud off of the Halliburton situation.

Halliburton is a very big company whose CEO was Dick Cheney, our serpent-tongued VP. Cheney is being investigated by some impotent committee or other for giving sweetheart deals to his cronies, especially Halliburton.

Anyway, Hightower's question is why on earth do we pay Halliburton $100,000 a year for each mess cook and truck driver that they send to Iraq? Why doesn't the army supply their own drivers and cooks for the squalid pay that most military grunts get?

Because then our tax dollars wouldn't be funneled into the pockets of Dick's buddies, that's why. And while we're on the subject why would these contract workers expose themselves to violent death to work away from home with their one week of training?

Maybe it's because outsourcing, union busting, and low-wage jobs with blood-sucking Wal-Marts have made them poor as church mice and they are desperate for a piece of the American dream that they can ill afford.

Bernie will also fill you in on Big Media and their campaign to stifle debate in this country. While most of the one-tooth mullet heads only know what they read off the hoods of NASCAR vehicles, there are a lot of people who would like to make informed decisions.

Disney isn't going to feature Michael Moore's new film Fahrenheit 9/11 even though they practically gave him a condo on the French Riviera at the Cannes film festival. Bernie wrote to Sinclair Broadcasting after they made plans to censor a "Nightline" show with Ted Koppel.

Ted was going to read the names of our soldiers killed in Iraq you see. Sinclair Broadcasting has donated mega bucks to the Bush Campaign and pointing out the inconvenient deaths of our men and women in uniform was deemed counterproductive.

Bernie also wrote to CBS when they censored a ad that was to be aired during the Super Bowl. The ad, called "Child's Pay," was a 30-second spot featuring children working as janitors, dishwashers, and garbage collectors with the caption, "Guess who's going to pay off President Bush's $1 trillion deficit?"

If every politician were as dedicated to the public good as Bernie we wouldn't be losing our men and women in Iraq while blowing up their population for the good of corporate America.

We'd all have health care and pharmaceuticals that don't keep us in rags. We could turn on the tube and have a chance to see both sides of the coin.

Bernie's big problem is that he needs one of those Malibu Makeovers I keep seeing on TV. He looks like the guy selling peanuts at the ballpark. Get a set of plugs, some Armani strides, and get rid of those Drew Carey glasses in favor of some Foster Grants.

It's all about perception, Bernie. And for God's sake, Bernie, don't make all your appearances on Bill Moyer's show. Only 68 people in the country watch it.

Try to get on Imus or Access Hollywood.

Get some bling bling, baby, and -- oh yeah -- try to grow your Party of One.