Millionaire businessman Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream was on CNN last week talking about his presidential candidate, career politician and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a “social democrat,” not a socialist. For his part, Cohen said, “You know, I’m a capitalist, clearly, and I support the guy.”
Capitalism has certainly been very good to Ben & Jerry. Their Vermont-based ice cream business is an American success story. But in 2012, they sold out to the British-Dutch conglomerate Unilever for a purchase price of $326 million. The result was that Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield became members of the one-tenth of one percent that Sanders rallies against. Cohen and Greenfield each has a reported net worth of $150 million.
The Chicago Tribune reports that the top one-tenth of one percent consists of 160,000 families with net assets of at least $20 million.
Unilever is worth $129 billion, according to Forbes magazine. Sounds like one of the big corporations Bernie should rail against.
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During the Democratic presidential debate, Sanders said, “We’re gonna win because first, we’re gonna explain what democratic socialism is. And what democratic socialism is about is saying that it is immoral and wrong that the top one-tenth of one percent in this country own almost 90 percent—almost—own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. That it is wrong, today, in a rigged economy, that 57 percent of all new income is going to the top one percent.”
He called for a tax on Wall Street but not ice cream to pay for the free college educations he’s proposing for students. But a Wall Street tax would affect the 55 percent of Americans who report having money invested in stocks.
A popular Bernie Sanders meme notes that while he claims to want to get money out of politics, he bribes people with the promise of government benefits in exchange for votes.
What is clear is that Sanders, a true socialist, believes Americans have too many choices, and that apparently the government must step in to regulate and determine what’s best for consumers. “You don’t necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers when children are hungry in this country,” he told CNBC. “I don’t think the media appreciates the kind of stress that ordinary Americans are working on.”
Unilever, which owns Ben & Jerry’s, produces many different kinds of deodorants. Labeled “The World’s No. 1 Antiperspirant” featuring “body-responsive antiperspirant technology,” Degree is available in a range of formats for men and women. They include:
- Degree Men Dry Protection
- Degree Men Fresh Deodorant
- Degree Men Adrenaline Series
- Degree Men Clinical Protection
Sanders hasn’t said anything about too many choices of ice cream. According to published reports, there are about 40 varieties of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream available in pint form. There are reportedly 159 ice cream brands available nationwide.
One could easily argue that underarm deodorants and sneakers are more important than ice cream. But CNN’s Carol Costello didn’t make that point.
In fact, Cohen said his company has produced another flavor, a Bernie Sanders ice cream called Bernie’s Yearning. He told Costello that the giant chip on the top represents all the wealth that’s gone to the top one percent of the population over the past 10 years. “And the way you eat it is that you whack it with your spoon, then you mix it around,” he said. “That’s the Bernie Yearning.”
We are all supposed to have a good laugh about all of this. Except that in socialist Venezuela, which Sanders once praised for shipping fuel to New England, there is a shortage of toilet paper.
That doesn’t bother the Hollywood super-rich. Blogger Steve Bartin notes that dozens of “artists and cultural leaders” have signed up as supporters of Sanders’ socialist program, including comedian Sarah Silverman, once quoted as saying unborn children are “just goo.” Bartin cites a piece by Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds in The Wall Street Journal which says that Hollywood gets about $1.5 billion in tax credits and exemptions, grants, waived fees and other financial inducements. His source was a liberal group, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which noted that the funds could otherwise have been spent “on public services like education, health care, public safety, and infrastructure.”
In other words, services that could benefit what Sanders calls “ordinary Americans,” if only the Hollywood elite weren’t taking advantage of the taxpayers.
The Bernie Sanders campaign is proud of the Hollywood support. It says the umber of “major artists from all genres of music, comedy, acting, writing, and producing” in support of Sanders has reached 125. They have their own special section on the “Sanders for president” website. Dr. Cornel West, honorary co-chair of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), is listed under the category of “academic/philosopher.”
Sanders supporter and Hollywood director Adam McKay, who with Will Ferrell, co-wrote and directed the films “Anchorman” and “Step Brothers,” said, “As artists and citizens we believe it is time for government to once again represent the people and not just big money. Bernie Sanders is the only candidate speaking against the widespread legalized corruption that has handed our government to billionaires, large corporations and banks.”
Columnist Doug Powers commented, “I assume liberal celebs are pulling for Sanders’ style of socialism because he’s going to eliminate the tax credit programs for billion-dollar entertainment corporations? That story line would be too unbelievable even for Hollywood.”
Taking the personal hypocrisy one step further, leftist filmmaker Michael Moore has been quoted as saying that Sanders won the Democratic presidential debate because he questions “the core system” of wealth and power in the U.S. Moore’s net worth has been estimated at $50 million and he just went through a messy divorce, revealing that he had a 10,000 square foot lakeside home in northern Michigan once valued at $2 million.
Meanwhile, sniffing a story here, The New York Times has run a piece, “Bernie Sanders Has Fund-Raiser at Fancy Hollywood Home,” noting that the socialist finished up the debate and then raised money at the home of wealthy real estate operator Syd Leibovitch. The paper reported that tickets for the event sold for a minimum of $250. Those who spent the maximum, $2,700, or who raised $10,000, were invited to a special “pre-event reception,” the paper said.
It sounds like a special benefit for the rich and powerful.
The names on the host list included Marianne Williamson, the famous New Age spiritual teacher who has called for repealing Columbus Day. One of Williamson’s other political objectives being promoted by her Peace Alliance group is a federal Department of Peacebuilding.
Perhaps Sanders will promote that idea in the next presidential debate, after he bashes the rich and announces which brands of sneakers, deodorant and ice cream will go out of business under his administration.
When will the rest of the media follow the lead of The New York Times and expose this “man of the people” and his Hollywood backers as the phonies they truly are?
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.