Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders stood in front of empty shelves at Detroit’s Brightmoor Food Pantry on Sunday, alongside comrade Rep. Rashida Tlaib, to talk about socialism.
The odd location was part of Tlaib’s so-called “Corporate Greed” tour of the city on the same day her predecessor – former Rep. John Conyers, the longest serving black man in Congress when he “retired” last year – passed away at his home in the Motor City at age 90, the Detroit Free Pressreports.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: “My understanding, interestingly enough, is that that mission was accomplished with information supplied by the Kurds, and as we know Trump has turned his back and betrayed the Kurds.” pic.twitter.com/Wr88UGamZo
— The Hill (@thehill) October 27, 2019
“Here in this campaign, we hear the word socialism a lot,” Sanders said. “Well, what this is a perfect (example) of is socialism for billionaires, massive amounts of subsidies and tax breaks.
“But for children, there’s not enough money for a decent education and for poor people, there’s not an ability to get clean drinking water,” he said in front of the barren shelves.
The pantry was the final stop of the tour that included a stop at Marathon Oil and Little Caesar’s Arena, businesses that paid less in tax for an agreement to invest in the city. Sanders and Tlaib attempted to connect those government agreements to Detroit residents who do not pay their water bills.
The empty shelves in the food pantry are where the charity stores bottled water, which is in short supply because city officials are shutting off water to residents who refuse to pay.
The tour came on the same day President Trump announced U.S. special forces cornered ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who killed himself with a suicide vest in Syria on Saturday. Sanders acknowledged the momentous achievement, then used the occasion to take a dig at Trump.
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“From my understanding, interestingly enough, is that the mission was accomplished with information supplied by the Kurds. And as we know, Trump has turned his back and betrayed the Kurds,” Sanders said, referring to Trump’s recent agreement with Turkey’s involvement in Syria. “That’s something that I think will have a negative impact not only in that region of the world, but in terms of our relationship with allies from one end of this planet to another.”
Sanders’ comments about socialism and leadership in front of the empty store shelves is a peculiar choice, considering how critics of socialism often illustrate its failures with the barren store shelves that inevitably result from government mismanagement.
In Venezuela and other socialist nations, government corruption and ineptitude play out on a daily basis with massive food and water shortages, runaway inflation, rampant crime, and crumbling infrastructure for most people, while government elites enjoy an entirely different lifestyle.
In Detroit, where many earn more in an hour than folks in Venezuela earn in a month, the store shelves are empty because residents refused to pay for their water service and went to the food pantry for free bottled water instead.
Regardless, Sanders and Tlaib capped off the “Corporate Greed” tour with a rally at Cass Technical High School, a state of the art facility in downtown Detroit, after a brief moment of silence for Conyers, who died hours before.
About 4,500 folks came out to support Sanders, including Detroit rocker Jack White of The White Stripes, who attended Cass.
“Bernie is telling the truth,” White assured his followers. “You can trust him.”
Tlaib also offered her endorsement for the Socialist senator, the latest radical Democrat in Congress to sign on to his campaign. Fellow members of The Squad – four socialist freshman congresswomen of color – Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also endorsed Sanders last week.