Ep. 25 - Best of Bernie: A Million Donors Strong | Housing for All | Climate Strike

Ep. 25 - Best of Bernie: A Million Donors Strong | Housing for All | Climate Strike

Veterans share their stories of fighting for essential medical care at recent campaign town halls. Bernie unveils his housing-for-all plan, gets personal in an NPR interview, and explains how he would fight for a progressive agenda, whether or not he faces a supportive Congress.


John Weigel: I'm a Navy veteran, I served 20 years. I saved lives, I was a Navy corpsman, we take care of our own except now. My TRICARE is not acceptable anymore, they took it away. And they claim that there was no TRICARE here in Carson City. Told me that I have to go to Dayton, to somebody I've never even heard of. I have Huntington's disease. I am in stage four.

Briahna Joy Gray: If you listened, to our last two Best of Bernie episodes, you might have noticed that Bernie has been mixing it up. He still commands the largest crowds in the race, even if the media shows little interest in the anatomy of a Bernie rally. But in addition to talking to thousands of people at large rallies, Bernie is also focusing on smaller, more intimate town halls, where Americans can share their stories of financial struggle, healthcare worries, inadequate housing, and a million other stresses that, in a more just system, would never rise to the level of crisis.

These town halls have produced some of the most compelling moments from the campaign. Including this story from John Weigel, a 20-year Navy veteran, who attended a town hall in Carson City, Nevada, earlier this month. After losing access to his medical benefits, and facing bills of well over a $100,000, John said that he doesn't see a way out.

John Weigel: I can barely take care of myself, and I do not have the energy to fight these people. And every time that I get on the phone with them, they piss me off and, and I can't deal with them. And I was supposed to be given healthcare, free healthcare for life for being a veteran, for 20 years, and this is what they've done. They've taken away my TRICARE for life that was coming, the deductions were coming out of my check automatically and somehow, they managed to screw it up. And when you try to tell them how it works here, and that I was you know, the Carson Medical Group was part of TRICARE, they told me I was full of shit.

Bernie Sanders: John, let me ask you this ...

John Weigel: Excuse me-

Bernie Sanders: ... John just gave me this, uh, John Weigel. John, I'm looking at, at, at a bill that says, “Account balance, $139,000.” What is that about?

John Weigel: It's because somehow, after the fact, they claim that my TRICARE I chose to end it, which I didn't. It was coming out of my check, you know, as part of my allotment that was setup in, uh, 2003 when I first retired from the military after doing 20 years. And, and so now they're saying that I, you know, I, I didn't re-sign or do something or-

Bernie Sanders: So how are you going to pay off all-

John Weigel: I can't. I can't. I'm gonna kill myself.

Bernie Sanders: Ho- hold on, John. Stop it. You're not gonna kill yourself.

John Weigel: I can't deal with this; I have Huntington's disease. You know how hard that is? No. You probably don't, do you? I can't drive, I can barely take care of myself.

Bernie Sanders: All right. Let's chat later at the end of the meeting, okay?

John Weigel: Okay.

Bernie Sanders: Okay. Okay.

Briahna Joy Gray: The next day, Bernie was clear that the situation John finds himself in is unacceptable for any American, much less a veteran.

Bernie Sanders: Before he said anything, he had given me a piece of paper, and I had glanced on at the piece of paper, and it said, it was a bill for $139,000. $139,000. And when he got up and spoke and, here is somebody who has put himself on the line, uh, to defend this country, a veteran dealing with a terrible, terrible illness, and what was obviously very unsettling was when he used the word suicide, that he was just overwhelmed with, um, you know, with pressures of having to pay the bill. He doesn't, as I understand it, he told me, he doesn't answer his phone very much as they're bill collectors, uh, calling him up every day.

And, um, you know, this should not be going on in America, not for a veteran, not for any person in this country, and it is beyond comprehension that under the current healthcare system somewhere like a half a million people go bankrupt every year because of medical bills. So, um, it was a very painful situation, uh, to hear that, to see what he is going through, but to know that hundreds of thousands of other people are going through similar type crises.

Briahna Joy Gray: And as infuriating as John's story is, it's just one drop in the ocean of misery that our current healthcare system is creating. It turns out that going broke for essential medical care in the wealthiest country in the world makes people angry, and that anger finds a supportive audience at Bernie town hall after Bernie town hall, all over the county.

Speaker: The drug prices are so high, that I have an incident from the military that the military government does not cover my medication. It cost me $900 for five pills, every month. 900. I served this country, I stood in the war for this country, and I need to know what are you gonna do about it?

Briahna Joy Gray: This is Hear the Bern, a podcast about the people, ideas, and politics that are driving the Bernie Sanders 2020 campaign, and the movement to secure a dignified life for everyone living in this country. My name is Briahna Joy Gray, and I'm coming to you from campaign headquarters in Washington D.C. Last week, Bernie's campaign reached a historic milestone. More than one million individual donors have donated to the Bernie Sanders campaign since he launched seven months ago. The fastest any candidate has reached that number ever in the history of the United States of America.

That also makes Bernie the only candidate with more individual contributions than Donald Trump himself. And who's giving to Bernie? Folks who know firsthand what it means to work at and be exploited by companies like Walmart, Target, Starbucks, and Amazon. And of course, none of those contributions come from lobbyists, corporations, or healthcare and oil execs. Something that quite a few other candidates in this race can't say.

Now of course, the campaign needs those donations to pay for our on the ground organizing, advertising, and media output, including this podcast. But Bernie's massive pool of supporters is significant in another way, too, and that's his unique capacity to bring together Americans to fight for populist change, even, and especially, when government institutions are resisting it.

A question that Bernie gets asked a lot is how will he pass the most aggressive agenda ever through a hostile Congress? Not to mention prevail in the inevitable court battles that will follow?

Now let's set aside for a moment the fact that Bernie gets challenged on this more than perhaps any of his Democratic rivals, despite the fact that, as we saw with the Obama administration, a Republican-controlled Senate will try to block any Democratic agenda no matter how moderate. But unlike the other candidates, Bernie actually has a plausible answer, one that's backed up by evidence, like his huge donor list. And that answer is that he would tap the source of real progressive power in this country, the people themselves.

This came up in recent interviews Bernie did with Katie Halper and Matt Taibbi, on their new Rolling Stone podcast, Useful Idiots, and with Kyle Kulinski, host of Secular Talk.

Katie Halper: You talk a lot about movement politics and of course your motto is, "Not me, Us." Um, what will the movement have to do when you're president to keep you responsible to the movement, to keep your feet to the fire? Which is something I'm sure you want the movement to do, but h- what, what are they gonna have to do? Just so we can prepare.

Bernie Sanders: Well, Katie, we are living in an unprecedented moment in American history, and it's not just the racism, and the pathological lying, and the sexism, and the homophobia of Donald Trump. It goes beyond that. And that is, and I'm the only candidate, I think, who talks about this consistently. And I know, you know, Matt, you guys have been writing about this for years, you're, you're some of the few people in America that write about this stuff.

Matt Taibbi: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Bernie Sanders: And that is we are looking not only at the incredible greed of the corporate elite, but the corruption of the corporate elite, and the power of the corporate elite. So, you're talking about Wall Street, you're talking about six banks that have assets equivalent to half of the GDP in this country, more than $10 trillion, banks that borrow money at two and a half percent, and charge people 25%, 30% interest rates on their credit cards. You're talking about a drug, the drug companies who are involved in price fixing, and now in court cases right now for selling opiates to the American people, when they knew that those, uh, opiates were addictive.

Uh, you're talking about the drug, the, the insurance industry charging us the highest prices in the world. You're talking about the fossil fuel industry knowingly, knowingly producing a product that is destroying the planet, what can you say about that? See, you're talking about corruption, you're talking about greed, you're talking about incredible power. And when we talk about the debate last night, and every other debate that I have been on, these are issues we are not allowed to talk about. No commentator, no moderator has asked me about the power of the corporate elite, the corruption of the corporate elite, and how you deal with that issue. And obviously that is the heart and soul of what this campaign is about.

So, Katie, to answer your question, what I have said, and I think you've heard me say this a million times, is no president, not Bernie Sanders, anybody else, can do it alone, because these people have unlimited amount of money. They control the corporate media. They have unbelievable power. The only way we defeat them is with a president of the United States who is prepared to stand up to them.

But behind that president has got to be an unprecedented grassroots movement of millions of people who are telling the insurance companies, “Sorry, everybody in this country will have healthcare as a human right.” Telling the fossil fuel industry, “Sorry, your short-term profits are not more important than the future of this planet.” Telling the drug companies, “Sorry, we're not gonna die because we cannot afford the outrageous prices of your medicine.” Only way we accomplish that is with a mass movement, that is what this campaign is about.

Katie Halper: And what is the mass movement going to look like? Does that mean protests? Does that mean running for office?

Bernie Sanders: That means mobilizing millions of people to run for office, absolutely. To make it clear in a way that does not happen right now. I'll give you an example. Uh, last month I was in Louisville, Kentucky challenging McConnell to bring up gun safety legislation, to bring up the bills passed in the House that raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour, uh, to bring up the legislation passed in the House, which will do the best that we can to prevent Russian intervention in our elections.

Kentucky, it turns out, is a poor state, it is a state where people are struggling, and yet you got a Senator there from Kentucky, not only McConnell but Rand Paul, in a poor state, that believe in massive tax breaks to the rich and cuts Social Security Medicare, Medicaid education, environmental protection. How does that happen? How do you have a poor state, a struggling state, electing people who represent the interest of the rich and the powerful, and ignore the needs of the vast majority of the people in that state?

And what the political revolution is about is going into those states, and I've been into Kentucky, got a lot of support there. Going into West Virginia, another poor state. Going into so-called red states, and blue states, and rallying the working class of this country. Here is the main point that I try to make all over this country. The ideas that I am talking about: raising the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour, healthcare for all, making public colleges and universities tuition-free, canceling student debt, dealing with climate change aggressively.

These are not radical ideas; these are ideas that the working class of this country supports. Problem is we have a lot of people who are not voting, we gotta get them voting. We have a lot of young people who are very, very progressive, who are not involved in the political process, we got to get them involved. The only way you do that is by having the ideas, the movement that brings them into the political process, and that's what we are working on day after day right now.

Briahna Joy Gray: And in conversation with Kyle Kulinski, Bernie did not shy away from the idea of endorsing progressive challengers to Democrats who oppose policies like Medicare for All.

Kyle Kulinski: So, let's say hypothetically, you win, President Bernie Sanders is in the White House. You go to do Medicare for All, let's be kind to the Democratic party here and say that only 25% of your Democratic colleagues oppose Medicare for all. Is President Bernie Sanders willing to use the bully pulpit to try to make them fall in line, and even go as far as supporting primary challengers against Democrats who are gonna obstruct not only your agenda, but the agenda of the American people?

Bernie Sanders: Absolutely. And I mean I've said this a million times. I believe that the agenda that I am fighting for is an agenda supported by the overwhelming majority of working people. And I think if we have the chance to explain what that agenda is, you get even more Republican support than people think possible. Nobody in America, or very few people think you give tax breaks to billionaires and cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, which is exactly the agenda of the Republican Party. Nobody thinks, well I should say very few people think, that climate change is a hoax, which is what the leadership of the Republican Party is about.

And in the same sense with the Democratic Party, among Democrats, overwhelming support for a Medicare for All single payer program, overwhelming support to raise the minimum wage to a living wage, make public colleges and universities tuition free, cancel all student debt, demand that large corporations and the wealthy start paying their fair share of taxes.

So to answer your question, as President of the United States what I will fight for is the implementation of that agenda, and I am prepared to go to every state in this union and rally the American people around that agenda to put pressure on their representatives whether they are Democratic or Republican. And your question is would I oppose in a primary battle Democrats who are not supportive of that agenda? The answer is absolutely yes.

Briahna Joy Gray: Also last week, Bernie unveiled a plan for affordable housing every bit as detailed and transformational as his plans for healthcare, climate change, criminal justice, and education. Now nationwide, healthcare consistently ranks as Americans' top political priority, but the cost of housing is also very much on Americans' minds.

Some 11 million Americans spend more than half their paycheck on rent. Millennials, in particular, are affected, spending about 45% of our income on rent, or an average of $93,000 by the age of 30. That's way higher than the inflation adjusted total for older generations at the same stage of life.

And according to The Department of Housing and Urban Development, more than half a million Americans are homeless, something that Donald Trump has lately taken notice of in typical fashion, by calling for demolishing tent cities, cracking down with police, and potentially just incarcerating the homeless. Bernie's plan could not be more different. It invests one and a half trillion dollars in the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, to build and update affordable housing around the country. It pressures state and local governments to remove restricted zoning ordinances that often serve as de facto tools of segregation. And breaking most daringly from the rest of the Democratic pack, it institutes nationwide rent control. But I'll let the man himself explain.

Bernie Sanders: On this plan we will invest more than $32 billion over the next five years to end homelessness in America. We're gonna end this nightmare, wherein city after city we see people sleeping out on the streets. We've got to end that from a moral perspective. That is not what America is about. And in addition to building the housing units that we need to house the homeless, we also understand that we must provide critical outreach services to those who are experiencing chronic homelessness.

Under this plan, we will invest $70 billion to repair and expand our dilapidated public housing stock. I could tell you that in many parts of this country where there is public housing, cities, and communities and states have not had the money to upgrade that housing. Elevators are broken. Rats are running all over the public housing units. And we intend to adequately fund and help communities all over this country retrofit that public housing. Public housing residents should no longer be forced to live in unhealthy and unsafe conditions because of a massive underinvestment in these facilities.

Under our plan, we will provide $50 billion in grants for states, cities, and towns to establish community land trusts that will enable over a million households to purchase affordable homes over the next 25 years. Land trust housing enables people to enjoy the advantages of home ownership while keeping housing perpetually affordable. When I was mayor of Burlington, Vermont, we were the first municipality in the country to implement a community land trust. We were the very first, and this concept has been so successful that it is now being utilized throughout the country, and in fact, in countries all over the world.

At a time when the people in communities throughout our country are seeing massive rent increases, I want to congratulate the states of California, New York, and Oregon for recently passing rent control laws, which begin to address the crisis of affordable housing.

Now the bad news is that in America today, 32 states preempt or limit the ability of communities to establish rent control or stabilization rules to protect the American people against excessive increases in rent.

In other words, you have communities that want to do the right thing, and you got states overriding those communities. It is clear to me, therefore, that in the midst of this national housing emergency, we need federal policy that protects tenants from the greed we are currently seeing in the real estate industry. Under my plan, we will establish a national rent control standard, capping annual rent increases throughout the country at no more than one and a half times the rate of inflation, or 3%, whichever is higher.

Briahna Joy Gray: Bernie doesn't often talk about himself, preferring to focus on policies and how they affect others. His message discipline, that is what PR types call his ability to stay on topic, is legendary to the point that some cable news personalities have tried to label his consistency as boring. Bernie's response, “Should we ever achieve justice, I promise I'll write some new speeches.” But one side effect of the Senator's focus is that we don't always get glimpses of Bernie's more personal side, which is why I was so struck by this interview with Maria Hinojosa, host of NPR's Latino USA. Maria wanted to know why, given the tough nature of the campaign trail, Bernie opted to run again?

Maria Hinojosa: Honestly, Senator, I don't know why you would want to do this [laughs], I'm just like, like this is so exhausting.

Bernie Sanders: See, if I told you the truth ...

Maria Hinojosa: And you better tell me the truth [laughs].

Bernie Sanders: Because I have seven grandchildren, I want them to be able to grow up in a country, which is a good country, and a just country, and a country which is not ravaged by climate change, and so forth and so on, that's why I'm running. That's the simple truth of it.

Maria Hinojosa: So, tell me about the kids, like your grandkids because I, I realize I don't really, like I don't have an image of Bernie.

Bernie Sanders: Oh, he's a doting grandfather.

Maria Hinojosa: Ooh, tell me more.

Bernie Sanders: A doting one. Um ...

Maria Hinojosa: What does that look like?

Bernie Sanders: Well, I've got four kids, one of them in New Hampshire, uh, one of them now in Arizona, two in Burlington, Vermont, and I've got seven grandchildren, uh, three in New Hampshire, four in Vermont, and, uh, what can I tell you? They are the most beautiful grandchildren in the entire world.

Maria Hinojosa: Never heard that before.

Bernie Sanders: I mean that's just a fact, and you know ...

Maria Hinojosa: [laughs].

Bernie Sanders: ... I, I don't want to argue the point, but they are.

Maria Hinojosa: Not like you're exaggerating [laughing] [crosstalk] .

Bernie Sanders: Uh ...

Maria Hinojosa: What about them brings you joy? I mean, do you-

Bernie Sanders: Yeah, I'll tell you. I mean, don't tell anybody, but I kinda like children more than adults, they're, uh ... But don't tell anybody that, all right? You won't say I said that? Will probably cost me some votes, but the children don't vote, but, um, you know kids are, what I like about them is that they're honest, um, you know, when they get involved in the things they do it with all of their energy, you know, they play, and they relate to each other, and everything is a big deal, and they haven't learned to be phonies, and you know, it's kind of nice.

Maria Hinojosa: So, there's a lot of phonies in your line of work.

Bernie Sanders: [laughs].

Maria Hinojosa: And so now I'm seeing this-

Bernie Sanders: I, I would say that is a major understatement.

Maria Hinojosa: But I'm seeing the kind of Bernie, the genuine Bernie who's talking about his grandkids, and I'm like, "I can see that now." So why does that Bernie want to be hanging out and playing a game, where you know that there's a lot of this, you know, politicians, they're, they ...

Bernie Sanders: Well, I'll tell you why. You know, um, my wife and I thought long and hard about whether we should run or not, and on Mondays we said yes, and Tuesdays we said no, and Wednesday yes, and Thursday no, and we knew. You know, we're not children, and we knew exactly what we get into in terms of the kind of attacks, not just against me, against my family, all of the ugliness and lunacy that's out there. But we decided to do it for two reasons. Number one, it is absolutely imperative that we defeat the most dangerous president, uh, maybe in the history of the United States, somebody who's a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a xenophobe, a religious bigot, among other things, and is a pathological liar. So, this guy cannot be allowed to be reelected.

And I have concluded along with some other people that, in fact, we are the strongest campaign to defeat Donald Trump. Can other people defeat Donald Trump? I think so, but I think actually we go into this thing as maybe the strongest candidate. So that's number one.

And number two, the other reason for running is that I think the time is long overdue, and this goes beyond Donald Trump, to transform our economy and our government, and create a nation, a government that works for all of us, and not just wealthy, powerful, special interests.

See, you've got massive income and wealth inequality, you've got millions of people who are struggling, you've got 87 million people who don't have any healthcare, you've got all kinds of young people can't afford to go to college or are leaving school deeply in debt. You've got all kinds of sexism, racism, and a criminal justice system which is broken, an immigration system which is broken. And then on top of all that, if that's not enough, you got the global crisis of climate change. Which, the scientists tell us if we don't turn this around you ain't gonna have much of a planet left for our kids and our grandchildren. Other than that, we're doing pretty good, and, uh [laughing] uh, but you know, that's why I'm running, because I think you got to address those issues.

Maria Hinojosa: I was one of those people who, when Donald Trump announced, I said, he, he could do this.

Bernie Sanders: Did you?

Maria Hinojosa: Oh, yeah.

Bernie Sanders: You were one of the few?

Maria Hinojosa: Yeah, and people kind of dismissed me.

Bernie Sanders: Yeah, right.

Maria Hinojosa: And I was like, "No, no, no, he could do this." Because being a Mexican immigrant out in the United States of America, and just kind of hearing ... You know because this kind of anti-immigrant thing, which is what he is running on, obviously ...

Bernie Sanders: Yep, yep.

Maria Hinojosa: ... it didn't just start yesterday.

Bernie Sanders: Right.

Maria Hinojosa: I mean it's been around for a long time; it's been really seeping into our psyche for the last 50 years certainly. But I want to ask you then, Senator, um, how do you think that this happened? That he, in fact, did get elected?

Bernie Sanders: I will tell you why, now I may be wrong, but I'll give you my best shot. I think it's, you know, so I'm, I'm gonna upset a lot of your listeners right now, but I will say that I think it's not so much that Trump won, but the Democrats lost.

Maria Hinojosa: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Bernie Sanders: And by that I mean the Democratic Party over a period of years has evolved into a West Coast party, into a, uh, East Coast party, a party of the upper middle class, a party which has become very dependent on the wealthy and large corporations for campaign contributions. And in the midst of all of that, they've forgot what FDR was about, what even Truman was about, and that is being a party of the working class of this country. Having the courage to stand up for working people and take on big money interests.

So, what has happened is that year after year you see in America, you see in the Midwest, people work longer hours for lower wages. You are seeing increased, massively increased income and wealth inequality. So, workers all over this country they're working two or three jobs, and then they see three people on top of them with more wealth than the bottom, half of American society.

You've got people out there who can't afford childcare, they can't afford, uh, to send their kids to college, they can't afford healthcare, they're paying 50% of their incomes in housing, and you know what they're saying, Maria? They're saying, "Who cares about me? Who cares about me?" And then Trump comes along, he says, "You know what, I'm listening to you. And you know what the cause of your problem is? I will tell you. It's the immigrants, or it's the gays, or it's the ..."

Maria Hinojosa: Muslims.

Bernie Sanders: The Muslims or whatever they got-

Maria Hinojosa: The Mexicans.

Bernie Sanders: The Mexicans, whoever it is. And that is what demagogues always do.

Briahna Joy Gray: If someday we look back and mark a turning point when the United States and countries around the world finally began to take climate change seriously and act to stop it, 2019 might be that year. And if it is, then the efforts of young people to force older generations to act will be a key factor. This past week, an estimated four million people took to the streets in likely the largest climate protest in history. Bernie spoke at one of these climate strikes in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Bernie Sanders: And what the scientists have told us is that not only is climate change real, caused by human activity, it is already, today, doing devastating harm to this country, and countries all over the world, and anybody with eyes and ears knows that. We all saw what happened to The Bahamas recently. We all saw what happened to Puerto Rico two years ago, the devastation that was caused. We all saw what happened to New Orleans, and to Charleston in terms of unprecedented floods. We know about the droughts, and the rising sea levels, and the floods that are taking place all over the world.

But more importantly than understanding what is happening today, is to listen to the scientists in terms of what they are saying for the future. And what they are saying is that if we do not get our act together, and aggressively, aggressively transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energies, if we do not do that within the next 12 years, then there will be irreparable, irreparable harm and damage done to our country and countries all over the world.

So, right now, what this issue is about, to my mind, is a moral issue, and that is we have and must accept the responsibility of not allowing this planet for our children, grandchildren, and future generations to be a planet which is increasingly uninhabitable, and unhealthy. We must not allow that to happen. Earth is our only planet, and I think more and more Americans understand that. But the obstacle in our way is a fossil fuel industry, which is more interested in their short-term profits than in the future of our planet.

And what you are doing today, and what people all over our country and all over the world are doing is exactly the right thing. You are developing an international grassroots movement that says there is nothing more important than saving the planet. And we are seeing results already. We are seeing just the other day the University of California system had voted to divest its pension funds and its endowment funds from fossil fuels. And we're seeing that spread all over the country.

Briahna Joy Gray: Pop quiz. What is the only time you will likely hear someone consider bringing criminal charges against corporate titans on cable news? Answer, when Bernie Sanders goes on MSNBC's climate forum. In the midst of climate strikes and once in a lifetime storms every year or so, Bernie's point is clear. How should we respond to an industry that knowingly produces a product that is destroying our future, suppresses evidence, and funds misinformation, all in the name of short-term profits? You take them to court and hold them accountable.

Bernie Sanders: What do you do? What do you do? And I want you all to think about it, because the answers are not so simple, but I have my ideas. What do you do with an industry who, for years, spent what, tens of millions of dollars into phony think tanks, corporately run think tanks, putting stooges up on television telling the American people, "The evidence is not clear whether climate is real or it's not real." They knew that it was real. Their own scientists told them that it was real. What do you do to people who lied in a very bold-faced way, lied to the American people, lied to the media? How do you hold them accountable? How do you hold fossil fuel executives who knew that they were destroying the planet, but kept on doing it? We will hold them accountable.

Chris Hayes: Let me, let me just, we're gonna question you [inaudible] so quickly but are you talking about civil? So, there are right now there are lawsuits precisely on this, that's on the civil side, but are, you, you seem to be indicating criminal accountability.

Bernie Sanders: I'm not a lawyer, and I'll need a good attorney general to help me out on this one, but this is what I think. It is one thing, you're producing a product, and you produce the product, and then you learn that the product that you are producing is killing people, right, which is the case say with the Purdue and, uh, Johnson and Johnson opioid manufactures. The evidence is pretty clear that in terms of Purdue and Johnson and Johnson they learned at a certain point that the opioids they were producing were causing an epidemic and people were dying. And you know what they did? They continued to produce it and hired more salesmen to go out and sell it. What do you do to those folks?

Now, because you have, in this country, which is a subject for another discussion, a corrupt criminal justice system, CEOs and millionaires don't go to jail. People go to jail, kids go to jail for selling marijuana, but if you kill hundreds of people or thousands of people, and you're a CEO and a billionaire, you don't go to jail. That's the nature of the system in America. That's a system I intend to change. But you asked me a question, and I could see in the tone of your voice is you're not sure, but what do you do if executives knew that the product they were producing was destroying the planet? And they continue to do it? Do you think that might be subject to criminal charges?

Chris Hayes: I don't know.

Bernie Sanders: Oh.

Chris Hayes: I'm not running for president.

Bernie Sanders: I think it's something we should look at.

Briahna Joy Gray: That's it for this week. Let us know what you think at [email protected] or send us a tweet with the hashtag #HearTheBern. If you haven't already, please take a moment to rate, review, or like us on Apple Podcast, SoundCloud, or wherever you're listening. As always, transcripts will be up soon. 'Til next time.