Educating Bernie

Diane Sieker photo

If you need more proof that Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders from Vermont is either dumber than a rock or bent on leading unsuspecting young people down the road to a Communist utopia from which there is no escape, I can provide it.

Consider his recent interview with the Hill TV, in which he told host Krystal Ball.

“They (China) have made more progress in addressing extreme poverty than any country in the history of civilization. So they’ve done a lot of things for their people,” Sanders said.

After demonizing what he termed “far right leaders,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump, Sanders offered a half-hearted disclaimer about China moving in a more authoritarian way. Then the Democratic presidential candidate heaped the above praise on the Communist country.

Let’s be clear: Here in the United States no one has to live in “extreme poverty.” That is what happens in countries that fall under a dictatorship.

Yes, we have alcoholics and drug addicts living on the streets of some major cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York because their Democrat-led governments allow it and their friends at the American Civil Liberties Union sue to keep us from enforcing laws against loitering and pan-handling. For those left-wing mayors and city council members, it’s all about people’s freedom to abuse themselves and live in squalor at the expense of others.

There are other options for these people, but many refuse the aid that is available to them. We can’t help them as long as we lack the will to get them off the streets.

Unfortunately, some of these people are mentally ill, but they can no longer be confined in hospitals against their will because the ACLU sued to turn them loose. Yes, liberals love to blame former President Ronald Reagan who closed many mental hospitals – after they were emptied by liberal jurists.

Apart from these unfortunate street people, those who are classified as poor in this country have a higher living standard than most of the middle class in the rest of the world.

Sanders is simply rehashing a flawed report on poverty in the U.S. issued last year by the United Nations Human Rights Council, whose members include such bastions of freedom and economic prosperity as Cuba, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Bangladesh.  It is laughable on the surface and pure rubbish underneath. For more information, visit

The report alleged that here in the U.S. “40 million live in poverty, 18.5 million in extreme poverty and 5.3 million live in third-world conditions of absolute poverty.”

Robert Rector and Jamie Bryan Hall, two experts at the Heritage Foundation, have pointed out that it does have a veneer of legitimacy simply because of the way we compile our official poverty statistics, according to their article at

We count only the cash income reported by these families each year, not the means-tested cash, food, housing and medical benefits for low-income persons. In other words, we omit roughly 95% of the $1.1 trillion U.S. taxpayers provide for them.

The UNHRC claimed that 40 million Americans have incomes below the official U.S. poverty level of roughly $24,000 per year for a family of four.

Rector and Bryan said, “In response to this claim, the U.S. Mission in Geneva cited our recent work showing that, since 1980, only 175 of 222,170 households – 1 in 1,270, or 0.08% – included in the U.S. government’s official Consumer Expenditure Survey reported spending less than $4 per person per day.”

For comparison, the World Bank considers extreme poverty as those living on less than $1.90 U.S. per day.

In response to Sanders and the bureaucrats at the U.N., people only have to examine the living conditions of those they classify as living in extreme poverty. They typically have air conditioning, computers, DVD players and cellphones. They rarely report material hardships such as hunger, eviction or having utilities cut off.

Little wonder that many of those considered middle class or well-off among the UNHC’s member nations would gladly trade places with those classified as living in extreme poverty here in the U.S.

Shortly after that report came out Ambassador Nikki Haley announced our withdrawal from the commission, calling the organization “a protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias.”

Of course, Sanders did not consider the extreme poverty or living conditions for those in China’s reeducation or forced labor camps.  Nor did he mention the poverty of spirit that exists when one’s family member is killed for their vital organs or one is forcibly aborted or their baby is killed shortly after birth or the persecution one suffers from going to an unauthorized church.

Jane Chastain is a Southern California-based broadcaster, author and political commentator. Despite her present emphasis on politics, Chastain always will be remembered as the nation’s first female TV sportscaster, spending 17 years on the sports beat. Chastain blogs at