Tuesday, March 31, 2020

What I've Learned from COVID and Our Election

Some truths that I believe have been exposed over the past few months:

1-We do not have democracy in the US.

We have a system that is more like what exists in Iran.  The Ayatollah selects candidates that are acceptable to him that have slight differences.  The people are then permitted to make a selection among them.

Bernie Sanders was not acceptable to the Ayatollah.  The appearance of democracy is there to convince people they believe they can choose him.  But Shadow Incorporated is tallying the votes in Iowa and you never really get to be sure what happened.  Bernie may have gotten more votes, but Pete won.  The establishment ultimately will converge on a narrative that prevents a Sanders victory (he can't win, Biden can) and that will have a big impact.

If Bernie had been able to overcome this and win more delegates this wasn't going to matter.  The establishment was clear that they would have disregarded the will of the voters.

The big assist is the establishment media.  Imagine if Bernie had spent a whole month falsely claiming he had been arrested with Nelson Mandela?  Imagine if there was a credible accusation of rape against him?  What if Bernie was as confused as Biden?  What if Bernie was on video awkwardly sniffing the hair of little girls and women?  They attack Bernie because anonymous twitter fans are mean.  We're supposed to just trust Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow when they say Bernie's followers are much worse.  It won't matter that after the fact this will be disproven.  You can try to resist this.  It can be overcome in theory.  In practice though all the money you donate, the canvassing you do, the time you spend on the phone calling supporters, I'm coming to the point where I feel it is wasted.  We must fight with one hand tied behind our back.  I don't see that we can win.

2-Even I'm surprised at how inept the US response is.

We're the richest most powerful country in the world.  We were given plenty of advanced warning about this epidemic.  Frankly China's response was astonishingly swift (see this discussion of their overall timeline.)  The virus was spreading there for 2 months before they even knew it was human to human transmissible (January 15).

And yet China with a GDP/capita about 1/3 of ours was able to get in front of the epidemic and in about 2 months was able to bring their economy back online.  With their extremely dense population centers and massive public transportation.  In the middle of the biggest travel period of the year, in a time of year that is cold with higher transmittance rates for airborne illnesses.



Frankly I'm embarrassed.  But smart people saw it coming.  They knew we're going to have people that just won't go to the doctor for fear of the bills.  Like this.  We have a garbage system, and if this doesn't get people to ask some questions and demand some change I'm not sure what will.

3-Establishment Democrats do not care about anything but their own power.

What's great about Trump is like Homer Simpson he says out loud what he a smart person would keep to himself.  We know he's narcissistic and he's not good at hiding it.  For instance I watched this interview with Hannity.  He's concerned about letting the Covid patients that had been out of country into our country because it will make our numbers look bad.  A smarter politician would think that but keep it to himself.  You're supposed to appear to be more concerned about people's safety then any potential negative perception that comes from a meaningless scorecard, the number of people in America with corona virus.  But it's kind of nice that he tells us what he's thinking.  The truth is laid bare.

But it's sad to say Democrats think similarly.  This amazing report details how Democrats pushed for elections in the middle of this pandemic knowing that it would kill.  They did it because Biden is currently up in the polls and they want to close out the primary to ensure Sanders is blocked.  They go so far as threatening states with a reduced allotment of delegates if they delay their primary out of concern for the health of their citizens.

What about women's rights?  Democrats were very concerned about the rape allegation against Brett Kavanaugh.  What about Joe Biden?  Nah.  It's not even worth talking about.  In fact Biden surrogates are going back in time and deleting their past Kavanaugh tweets.  They have never cared about women's rights, they have never cared about gay rights, they don't care about environmental matters.  They adopt positions that are useful for obtaining votes and will abandon them as needed in service to power.

They are not different from Trump, they are just better at hiding it.  Malcolm X nailed this many years ago, I think he captures it perfectly.


4-Capitalism is savage.

In the city of Las Vegas, currently filled with empty hotel rooms, the homeless sleep in the parking lot.  An empty hospital sits unused because the owner and city can't come to terms.  The maker of an $11K ventilator threatens to sue because volunteers spent $1 on 3D printing materials to create a valve that saved lives.  Reports are that Trump is trying to gain exclusive access to a corona virus vaccine being developed in Germany.  They assure us it would be "affordable."

This type of capitalism is being forced on others.  Iran's health service has been devastated by sanctions and they are struggling with the corona virus.  But the US has tightened sanctions in the midst of this.  Sanctions in Venezuela are very deadly and dangerous during this pandemic.  Recent action by the US is to put out a mafia style indictment, offering to pay people up to $15M to provide information that can help lead to his arrest.  Bombing runs are ordered on Iraq.

In contrast China is sending plane loads of medical help to nations around the world.  In the US media China sending help is proof that they are evil.  Cuba is sending doctors and even taking in foreign sick people.  No apparent concern for how this will make them look statistically.

I understand how the owner of a building needs to make money, that hotels have constraints.  I'm not viewing this as proving that Americans are evil people.  We have a system that leads to action though that produces an evil outcome.  China has a system that is producing a positive outcome, whatever motives people want to attribute to them.  We have to be willing to think about that.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

I Have No Patience For These Snowflakes

Color me surprised, and yet not surprised, at this absurd focus on "mean" Bernie Bro tweets and comments.  This is a non-story.  The corporate media has a difficult time going after Sanders on policy because his policy positions are very popular.  And he's been consistent.  He wasn't against the war and supporting gay rights when it was popular only.  He did it when it was hard.  He hasn't been fighting to protect social security and the environment only recently when it was more politically popular.  He did it when it wasn't easy, when triangulators like Biden and Clinton wanted to be thought of as moderates and friends to Republicans, and they wanted the adulation of the corporate media.

So they focus on the fact that some people online are mean.  This is not news.  Everyone knows what the comment section of Youtube looks like.  Everyone knows how toxic it can be.  It's not for everyone.  If you don't want to be subject to that I understand.  But stay out of the public discourse on politics.  Don't criticize Trump.  There are people that like him that will call you names, attack you.  That's life.  If you want to get in the ring and throw punches expect punches to come back.  Some will be below the belt.

It is unbelievable to me how much time Warren and Maddow spend on this topic in her interview after ending her campaign.  Of course publishing people's home addresses and phone numbers is terrible.  But this kind of thing is going to happen to people on Bernie's side, to people on Warren's side.  I look at it a lot like late hits you see in the UFC.  What Jorge Masvidal did to Ben Askren was horrible.  But it's going to happen.  If you don't like it don't get involved in the fight business (I wouldn't.)

What is another level of absurdity are these people who refuse to vote for Sanders because of the mean tweeting Bernie Bros.  Here's a Biden surrogate who says she will not vote for Sanders over Trump if he's the nominee.  She is a super delegate.  She had a "horrible" experience in her mind.  She tweeted an edited video of Bernie saying nice things about the subway system in the Soviet Union, how the metro stations are beautiful (which is absolutely true).  His criticisms were taken out, so it makes him appear to be an apologist for Soviet communism.  Glenn Greenwald offered a modest tweet in rebuttal.  This led to Sanders supporters attacking her.  They called her a racist and a bitch.  Oooohhh.  It was so bad she felt she needed to resign her position as treasurer of the Pennsylvania Young Democrats.  Vanity Fair explains how much of a victim she is with this article.  The subtitle indicates that she "didn't survive with her job."  She resigned, her job was not taken from her, and it was an unpaid volunteer position.

Again, I'm not condoning what was said to her, it is wrong.  But we do have free speech in the US.  Bernie cannot prevent this.  A lot of Bernie supporters are angry people I suppose.  Many are probably outsiders.  A lot of us think Bernie gets unfair treatment in the media and this is aggravating.  Some overreact.

But people are dying from lack of health care.  The planet is on track to not be habitable for humans for large areas of the globe.  There are so many issues that are far more important than the mean tweets coming from Bernie Bros.  The corporate media is making this an issue because it's hard to get after Bernie on policy.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Election Thoughts-Something is Wrong

I'm pleasantly surprised by the success of Sanders once again in this election cycle.  Will he win the democratic nomination?  It certainly looks like it.  People are talking a lot about how the establishment could steal it from him.  It's possible, but my instinct tells me they won't go to that far.  He'll win the nomination.

Even more surprised than me is the establishment.  Here's a great video watching through time as MSNBC variously downplays him, acts like he has no chance, only to come to the horrifying realization that he's becoming the front runner.  Today is the day after the SC primary and the media is delving back into fantasy land thinking Biden can stop him.  This guy.  I don't see it.

A lot of the establishment thinks Bernie won't be able to beat Trump.  No way the population will go that far, they say.  As if universal health care is so bizarre, or raising the minimum wage.  What is true though is that Bernie is a departure from the way we currently do things.  He's different.  He's change.

But isn't this obviously what the electorate wants and has wanted for quite some time?  The ruling class I think understood this in 2008 when they offered up Obama.  Obama wasn't really much of a change.  But he felt like change.  A black president is at least superficial change.  But I think people were a bit disillusioned with Obama.  He wasn't real change.  Hillary I think once again demonstrated that the ruling class knew that change is needed.  They tried the superficial "first woman president" method that got Obama elected.  But it was against Trump.  Whatever you think of Trump he's real change.  Real change beat superficial change.

And now we're 3 years into Trump and while there has been change I don't think it's the kind of change people were looking for.  I think this Ted talk is insightful in terms of recognizing that we have systemic issues that cause depression and anxiety.  Our problems are not the result of illegal immigrants, Muslims, minorities.  This is Trump at least offering the population some kind of answer for their problems.  He's attacked these groups, but it hasn't made life better for ordinary people.  I think at a deep level people understand that something needs to change still.

And that is why I think all the data we have, imperfect as it is, is telling us that Bernie would be among the best positioned to beat Trump.  Further I think if he does win and is able to successfully implement his agenda his popularity will skyrocket.  Because not only would this mean change, it is the kind of change that I think will help Americans start addressing their serious problems.

For me the most important thing is it means the planet would have a chance.  I'm not sure if we are too late, but I think we are not.  If we organize and focus we can prevent catastrophic damage.  Sanders means we'd have a president that would at least try.  That's real change.  We desperately need it.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

100 Million Dead From Socialism

Socialists need a better answer when critics raise this issue.  "But that wasn't REAL socialism" or "I only mean Denmark."  There is some validity to these replies but for a lot of people I think this isn't good enough.  We need to address it head on.  That's what I intend to do here.

Any system will produce avoidable death.  The question is whether the socialist system produced more death than the capitalist system over a comparably sized population and time period.  I would submit that it hasn't come close.

If we accept the 100 million figure from 1917 to 1990 that is about 14 million dead every decade.  If that makes socialism a failure what do we do with 1.8 billion dead in India alone under British capitalist domination from 1765 to 1938.  That's over 100M every decade.  For 17 decades.

And it wasn't accidental death that the British worked to avoid and mitigate, as in China during the Great Famine.  The Great Famine is regarded as a failure of planning and management, not a deliberate effort to starve Chinese peasants.  The British actively starved people.  This article talks about how the British conducted experiments to see how few calories the people could survive on, then implemented that knowledge throughout the country.  They report of human skeletons walking around doing the work required by the British.  Churchill knowingly diverted food away from Indians he knew were starving, and said it was their fault for breeding like rabbits.

China and India achieved independence at about the same time, with India pursuing a more soft capitalist approach with a fair amount of government intervention in the economy and China pursuing a more aggressively socialist agenda.  China did suffer the Great Famine, but also had some success in terms of rural education, health, and food programs.  The result was 39 million excess deaths per decade in India as compared to China.  This again exceeds all deaths attributed to socialism from all countries.

We're talking about one country and the death toll dwarfs that of all of socialism.  We haven't touched on Vietnam, Iraq, Guatemala, Indonesia, East Timor, Kenya, the Congo, Korea, Iran.  If this is our metric capitalism is an incredible failure.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Faux Concern for Venezuelans


When a country elects a government that US policy makers don't prefer the response often involves things like sanctions and embargoes.  Our government collectively punishes people for voting the wrong way in a free election.

The goal is to cause collective suffering.  This in turn can lead to a change in government if the people either blame the government for the suffering or simply give up and elect the government preferred by US investors to stop the pain.

Sanctions can approach genocidal levels.  In fact in Iraq two consecutive directors of the UN Oil for Food Program resigned because they regarded it as genocidal.  Madeline Albright was confronted with the magnitude of the collective suffering.  At the time of this question it was thought to be 500 thousand children starved.  She said it was worth it.

In Venezuela it's been extremely harsh.  Blocking insulin and malaria medication?  Now we're implementing additional measures to prevent their efforts to feed their own poor?  This is atrocious.  Jeffrey Sachs estimates 40K dead Venezuelans already.

US propagandists want people to blame the Maduro government for this suffering.  But nobody would fall for that, right?  I mean, maybe you might fall for that the first time it's tried, maybe the second.  Or third.  But again and again and again?  Humans can't be that naive.  Can they?

Of course they can.  Here's my friend HP.  He's so upset to see suffering Venezuelans and ANGRY that people don't finally come to realize how terrible socialism is.  Even though Venezuela is not a socialist country.  I'm baffled.  And so is Jeffrey Sachs as he reveals in this interview.  Remember, the sanctions are designed to produce this outcome.  We see the outcome.  We don't recognize sanctions as the cause?

Meanwhile in Bolivia the president and candidate who won the most votes is pressured to leave the country.  His VP is arrested.  A right wing politician who's party won very few votes has assumed the presidency and has signed a measure permitting the military to put down protesters by lethal force.  Which they are now doing.  And in Venezuela Juan Guaido, who recently attempted an overthrow of the elected Maduro government with the support of the US, the country imposing collective suffering on Venezuelans, is still campaigning for insurrection across Venezuela.  Guess which country is described as a dictatorship?

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Another Global Warming Debate with Bob Dutko

I'm really impressed with Greta Thunberg's activism.  Her speech at the UN Climate Summit was amazing.  Conservatives are largely attacking her so I thought I'd listen to Bob Dutko the following day to see what he had to say.

To Bob's credit he was not hostile to her.  In fact he says it is obvious she believes what she is saying.  But he would like to let her know that she shouldn't be worried.  In fact climate scientists supposedly haven't gotten ANY of their predictions right.  They have gotten ZERO correct according to Bob.  Really.

These are the claims the climate scientists have gotten wrong according to Bob.

1-20 years ago they were telling us that **by this time** sea levels are going to rise so much from melting icebergs that millions will die, entire countries will be underwater, coastlines will be gone, famine will be running rampant, so many disastrous hurricanes and tornadoes will lead to calamity.  We're going to be burning up and children won't know what snow is any more.  The polar bears will be drowning.

2-30 years ago it was global cooling.  An ice age age **by this time**.  Millions of people are going to be dying from freezing to death and lack of food.

3-Also AOC says the earth will be uninhabitable 12 years from now.

Following this litany Bob made the following statement:

"How many times do these environmentalists have to make predictions and not get any of them right, zero of their predictions right, before we start realizing I'm not going to listen to them when they keep on making these kinds of predictions."

Bob said that in time Greta would see that the coastlines are still coastlines, the temperature of the earth is still the same, the ice is still there in the arctic, no coastline houses are underwater, the state of Florida isn't underwater.

Also apparently a letter was delivered to the leaders of the UN summit that was supposedly a listing of 500 scientists that completely dissent from the mainstream view and they want to have a debate about it.  Why won't they engage in this debate?  They'll say it's because they don't want to give the other side credibility, but if the science was clear this debate should be welcomed.  But they won't because their argument is so weak.  This is Bob's conclusion.

Well I thought I should give Bob a call on this.  But it was tough for me to figure out what to say, and I would suggest to Bob that this is another reason why this debate is not welcomed by climate scientists (though I agree they do not want to give the denial side credibility.)  What Bob engaged in with this discussion is what is sometimes called the Gish Gallop.  Overwhelm your opponent with as many arguments as possible, each of which require detailed research.  Hurricanes, tornadoes, polar bears, ice age, sea levels, global cooling.  I don't even know where Bob is getting his specific information.  How can I discuss without first getting the sources and researching them?  What would a climate scientist do on the stage for 90 minutes?  Would anybody expect this to resolve the question?  It takes tons of time, tons of study.  In reality it takes a research paper, which is what scientists have been going back and forth doing for the past 30 years.  That's why the debate is over.

This is what I was thinking about in placing my call.  I thought maybe I should just call in, ask for a source on one issue and tell him I'll call back next week.  But I decided instead to try to talk about the ice age because he had brought that up the last time we talked and he had provided the source.  At least I can speak to that intelligently.  But I want to try to avoid having him jump from here to there on a different topic.

Unfortunately I was unable to do that.  He seemed to view my effort to bring up his source on the ice age as me just trying to nail him to the wall for one error he made 7 years ago, like this is just me trying to get in a zinger I guess.  And he was off to the races talking about polar bears, hurricanes, supposedly I need to go find a photo of a house from 50 years ago on the coast and compare it to today.  We're off in 14 different directions.  This is what a verbal debate would look like and I can see why no climate scientist would be interested.

Despite that I think the call was OK.  I at least got some good info out there.  But I was unprepared to really deal with polar bears and hypothetical coastline photos.  To Bob's credit though he did let me get most of my points out.

And perhaps I will follow this with reaction to his various arguments.  If I can track down his sources.


Friday, November 23, 2018

Ben Shapiro: 7 Myths of Democratic Socialism Debunked....Debunked

My friend Chad on Facebook has exposed me to some material from Ben Shapiro.  I watched a recommended video.  Having put in a bit of time replying I thought I'd go ahead and just post my effort here for future reference.

From what I can gather Shapiro is highly regarded as an intellectual amongst conservatives.  I watched some of the "Ben Shapiro DESTROYS so and so" videos since I became aware of him. I wasn't very impressed.  I think this critique captures my sentiments pretty well.  I feel he just creates caricatures and destroys them, often bullies students or other non-professional speakers rather than engaging in what I feel would be an honest and inquiring interaction.

Here is the video I'm responding to.  Shapiro debunks 7 myths surrounding Democratic Socialism.
Myth 1-Democratic socialism is different from regular socialism.  The only difference is we vote for it.
Shapiro response-Socialism is about from each according to his ability, to each according to his need as ensured by the total nationalization of industry and resources.  This is different from a capitalist country that has some socialist policies along with some wealth redistribution or nationalized health care.
Shapiro here is talking about the positions being advocated by Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.  Presumably their positions define the meaning of the phrase "democratic socialism."  If their positions are the basis for the meaning of Democratic Socialism don't we need to talk about what their positions are?

In fact we don't get that from Shapiro.  Instead he starts by defining socialism for us.  It is "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need." He then tells us that Bernie and AOC say democratic socialism is different from socialism.  But that's "not accurate" because all they are saying is that it's socialism but we get to vote for it.  What??

There is so much confusion here.  First of all "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" isn't socialism.  It has more to do with communism.  Compare that to what socialism actually is.  In summary socialism is about social control of the means of production.  It says the fruits of the labor of workers belong to the workers, as opposed to a person sitting in a mansion collecting checks because he owns all the stock.  Right now Alice Walton may sleep all day in her mansion and she will still collect the fruit of the labor of others.  Stock boys at Walmart, cashiers, cleaners, cart collectors, even sweat shop laborers sewing shirts and underwear together, really everyone up and down the supply chain.  There are people who do the work, much of it back breaking.  And then there are capitalists.  People who own the property rights.  These are the people that get the fruit of the labor but don't actually contribute to the creation of the revenue.

Now let's take a look at Bernie's policy positions.  It is property rights, often referred to as private control of the means of production, that makes it possible for wealthy billionaires to collect the fruit of workers while doing nothing.  That's capitalism  Is Bernie Sanders advocating eliminating private control of the means of production?  Not even close.  You can love or hate what he's advocating, but you can't pretend it's socialism.  It's welfare state capitalism.  Basically he's a New Deal democrat.  FDR was looking to save capitalism with welfare state measures.  He wanted the rich to continue to collect money doing nothing, but with all the suffering of the working class at the time the risk was they would overturn the whole system and tell the rich they must work for a living like an ordinary person if they want money.  This was unacceptable for FDR.  Throw them a bone and they'll let the system that enriches the rich for doing nothing continue.  That's what Bernie and AOC are proposing.  They may prefer real socialism in their heart of hearts.  Perhaps they don't think that goal is realistic given the power of capitalists.  But they are not advocating socialism as a policy.  Socialism and democratic socialism are different if the policy positions of Bernie and AOC define democratic socialism.
Myth 2-Democratic socialism is not use of force.
Shapiro response - But what if the people vote against socialism?  In that case the dissenters get gulag'd or liquidated.
A very bizarre commentary, is he saying Bernie is right now gulaging and liquidating Trump supporters since they don't want democratic socialism?  Bernie is advocating welfare state capitalism right now and not by use of force but by persuasion.  I suppose Shapiro is saying that Stalin gulag'd people, but Bernie is not advocating eliminating private control of the means of production as Stalin did.
Myth 3-Socialism is fairer.
Shapiro response - Fairness is based on the idea that you should get what you deserve.  It is not fair that just because you're poor your entitled to take other people's things.
This is another confusion of socialism and communism.  It is communism that says all people should have their needs covered regardless of their contribution.  Socialism doesn't require that.  Socialism is about worker control of their own workplace.  If Company A is doing better than Company B, the people of Company A would have more.  They can willfully give to others, but they don't necessarily have to.

Regarding fairness on capitalism, for Shapiro it is deeply immoral to tax a sleeping Walton family heir and give the money to maybe a Walmart worker who works very hard, much harder than the Walton heir, but isn't paid enough to purchase sufficient amounts of nutritious food to survive.  Why are they paid so little?  So the sleeping Walton heir can get more money on top of the money they already have, which is already more than they can spend in their lifetime.  It would be unfair to have the government take some of the money given to the Walton heir as a result of the work of the worker back to the worker. I guess the sleeping Walton heir deserves it more for choosing the right parents, whereas the worker chose the wrong parents so she doesn't deserve it even though she does the actual work.  Kind of a bizarre view of fairness in my opinion, not sure what else to say.
Myth 4-Socialism was not present in the USSR, Venezuela, Cuba, etc.
Shapiro response - This is a classic "No True Scotsman" fallacy.
This is what I consider very misleading argumentation from Shapiro, which I think is characteristic of him.  5 minutes earlier in this video he argued that just because a country has socialist elements, like Medicare or welfare state measures, this doesn't make a country socialist.  The US is a capitalist country despite some socialist elements.

But now look at what he puts in the mouths of the phantom socialists he is debating.  Supposedly socialists say socialism WAS NOT PRESENT at these locations.  Meaning what?  Meaning supposedly socialists are denying there are ANY  SOCIALIST ELEMENTS in Venezuela or Cuba?  An easy straw man to burn.  This is not the issue.  The issue is the point Shapiro raised above.  Just because a country has socialist elements this doesn't make a country socialist.  This argument is good enough for him when it suits him in the prior point.  Now he pretends the same point can't be said of Venezuela.

Venezuela has socialist elements.  This doesn't make it a socialist country.  There is private control of the means of production in Venezuela.  The majority of the economy functions in the private sector, not the public sector.  This is explained well at a video here.

I view it more as a continuum.  Countries can be compared in terms of the amount of socialist elements they have.  It's fair to say the USSR, Cuba, and Venezuela have more socialist elements than the US.  These are quite poor places.  What critics of them don't consider though is their economic performance relative to countries that started at similar places.  It's all about how Soviets are more poor than Americans, Cubans are more poor than Americans.  True, but how did the USSR perform economically relative to where it started?  The answer: surprisingly well.

China is another case.  In this comment thread at David Friedman's blog I talk about how it's true that a lot of death occurred in Mao's China.  What critics of socialism don't deal with though is this is far less death than occurred at the same time in capitalist India, which is a country that started at a similar place and had a similarly sized population.  You can criticize socialist China, and while life there wasn't better than in the US, the world's richest country, it was better than capitalist India, which was similarly poor at the time and remains poorer.

Cuba is a similar story.  The embargo is harsh.  It has been borderline genocidal at times.  Compared to the US life is tough.  Compare life to their neighbor Haiti, a capitalist country.  Cuba is a utopia.  Everyone is housed, everyone is fed.  They don't have homelessness.  Life expectancy near the US.  Again, lots of people want more, lots of people will complain, but if you had to choose between life as an ordinary Cuban and any country other than the US in the region it's an easy choice.  People are fleeing Honduras after a coup that installed a more capitalist friendly government, which led to US support for the coup regime.  Life is better for the typical Cuban than the typical Haitian or Honduran.

So to some degree I agree with Shapiro here.  I agree that on the continuum the Soviet Union, Cuba, China, Venezuela, these places may not be pure socialist where the workers actually had control of the means of production.  But they did move more towards socialism on the continuum.  They had a lot of success relative to their starting point and comparable countries.  Even Venezuela, which is suffering greatly today, has had some success relative to the right wing neoliberal years (see my video above and also this).  The story there is more complex than just socialism sucks because they are suffering.  Plenty of capitalist countries have people suffering horrifically and plenty of capitalist influences currently affect Venezuela.
Myth 5 - When Bernie and Elizabeth Warren talk about democratic socialism, they only mean Norway, Switzerland etc.
Shapiro response - In fact these are capitalist countries.
You'd think this would clue Shapiro in that this means Democratic Socialism in fact is capitalism with stronger welfare state measures.  They're telling you that these are the countries that reflect their policy preferences.  They specifically tell you that they are not advocating eliminating private control of the means of production.  Bernie and Elizabeth Warren are capitalists. They say they are, so when they point to a capitalist country and tell you it's an example of what they want you can believe them.
Myth 6 - Democratic socialism is the solution for the medical industry.
Shapiro response - The US doesn't have a free market system.  Switzerland has an Obama Care like system that is the best in the world.  Other systems have various problems.  Most drug innovations come from the US.  The US is still the best if you have the cash.
It is typical of capitalism apologists to conflate capitalism and free markets.  There is no such thing as a free market in a capitalist system.  As I understand capitalism's early critics, like Marx, had no concept of a capitalist system that didn't exploit government to advance profit.  There is no other kind of capitalism except crony capitalism.  If you don't like crony capitalism you don't like real world capitalism.

Many of the criticisms of publicly provided health care systems I've debunked here.  Sure, the US produces lots of drug innovations.  It's just that the majority of the substantial innovations don't come from the private sector.  The US has the National Institutes of Health and other publicly funded sources that drive innovation.  Socialism is working in health care, and the US needs more of it.
Myth 7 - Capitalism is a giant failure.
Shapiro response - This is the dumbest argument of all.  Poverty has fallen dramatically since 1970.
But the gains in poverty he mentions since 1970 come largely from China.  China today is a capitalist country.  WITH HEAVY GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION.  In other words they are doing things largely like what Bernie Sanders would suggest.  Capitalism with government regulation and welfare state measures.  He's making Bernie's case for him.  He would know this if he wasn't trying to pretend Bernie wasn't advocating capitalism.

In my opinion though capitalism is a giant failure, but not a total failure.  As I understand even Marx recognized the amazing capacity capitalism had for ramping up total output rapidly.  If that output was for items that people needed this would mean that we could rapidly satisfy the needs of people.  That's great.

But capitalism requires economic growth even though people's needs are already met (if they are met).  Capitalism creates artificial needs.  Capitalism via externalities is threatening the possibility of organized human society through environmental destruction.  We're in the midst of an extinction event today that is worse than what occurred 65 million years ago when the dinosaurs went extinct.  Capitalism is like a giant asteroid that must be stopped if we are to save ourselves.  A booming stock market today won't matter much to people in future decades dealing with 4°C of warming if the world's most informed people on this topic are to be believed.