Bernie Sanders had a brief (five-minute) meeting with Pope Francis after all. The Pope couldn't attend the economic conference at which Bernie spoke, because he was otherwise busy comforting Syrian refugees on the Isle of Lesbos, and even ended up rescuing a dozen of them.
I couldn't find video of Bernie's formal address in the Vatican, but a full transcript is here.
This is the part that particularly struck me:
We need a political analysis as well as a moral and anthropological analysis to understand what has happened since 1991. We can say that with unregulated globalization, a world market economy built on speculative finance burst through the legal, political, and moral constraints that had once served to protect the common good. In my country, home of the world’s largest financial markets, globalization was used as a pretext to deregulate the banks, ending decades of legal protections for working people and small businesses. Politicians joined hands with the leading bankers to allow the banks to become “too big to fail.” The result: eight years ago the American economy and much of the world was plunged into the worst economic decline since the 1930s. Working people lost their jobs, their homes and their savings, while the government bailed out the banks.Sanders is calling for a philosophical and anthropological analysis of greed. He is calling for a scientific inquiry into what makes plutocrats tick. He is going so far beyond the usual political platitudes that turn so many people off during the endless presidential horse-race. What he is calling for is unprecedented in American politics.
And it is a vital necessity. The whole planet is burning and melting. Una senzione di bruciore!
But it's no surprise that our corporate media are concentrating mainly on his meeting with Pope Francis, (would he or wouldn't he?) the cost of his chartered flight to Rome, his entourage, his itinerary, his tax returns.... and last but not least, the massive hand-wringing concern over his abandonment of the campaign trail right in the middle of a fraught primary contest in the wealth inequality capital of the universe: New York City.
Hillary, meanwhile, was on her own greed trail, heading to California for that George Clooney fundraiser, where a seat at the head table was going for nearly twice what Sanders earns in an entire year. It was even going for about a third more than than one of Hillary's secret quarter-million dollar Goldman Sachs speeches. Where are the anthropologists to do a study on just that one grotesque pattern of wealth culture alone? Forget Coming of Age in Samoa! We need a passel of Margaret Meads and Ruth Benedicts to settle themselves among the billionaires for some heavy-duty insight into their folkways, customs, status symbols and tribal psychology. How much does it really cost a Hollywood chieftain to score the ambassadorship to the Court of St. James? What makes these people tick? Because one thing's for sure: it's their group behavior that's making the rest of the world so damned sick.
(I can't verify this because of all the white noise emanating from the event, but I've heard rumors that the underpaid temporary wait staff added candied Diavolo Sterco to the dessert tray at the Clooney confab.)