By Steven Tavares

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders lobbed progressive invective to the delight of California Democrats Saturday afternoon in Sacramento while charging the Republican plan to cut Medicare is the real “death panels” feared by some Americans.

“They are planning, if they get their way, to cut Medicare by hundreds of billions of dollars,” said Sanders at the California  Democratic State Convention. “If you get sick, what happens to you? Forty-five million Americans are going to die if they can’t get to the doctor.”

“Lucky you,” said Sanders of the plan put forth by Wisconsin Sen. Paul Ryan, “you get $8,000 to give to an insurance company. If you have cancer, how many days will that give you?” he said adding, “What we are talking about is death panels.”

Sanders railed against the widening gap between rich and poor saying, “This is not democracy, this is an oligarchy.”

“We are engaged right now in unprecedented warfare and the wrong class is winning,” he said. “And the challenge we have from California to Vermont is to rally Americans to fight back and to make sure that we end what is going on right now– that is, the disappearance of the middle class.”

The U.S. senator, known recently for his eight hour long filibuster which gave fodder to progressives who then pilloried corporations for paying little, if no taxes, said the discontent across the country is due to more people working longer hours and bringing home less to care for their families. “While the middle class of this country is decreasing, poverty is increasing,” he said. “The rich in this country have never had it so good.”

The Socialist Democrat, who is a registered independent also took aim at Democrat, although with a less finer edge. “Which side are you on?” he asked the party. Sanders asked for a greater voice on labor issues, the budget and urged them to better defend Social Security from Republicans he says misrepresent its durability and solvency. “Social Security is not going broke,” he said. “It has paid every nickel in good times and bad. It has a $2.6 trillion surplus that can pay every benefit for next 27 years and has not added one penny to the deficit.”

The three-day convention ends Sunday afternoon with the adoption of the party platform and resolutions.