Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Corruption and war are really just politically acceptable methods of abusing other people

Today, I'd like to show you an interesting observation made by Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism. The topic of her article is the declining value of education beyond 4 years of college and how elites seem to have abandoned everyone else in their quest for wealth and solitude:
Another layer of the problem is increased class stratification. I know lots of people personally who came from working class families, both my age and somewhat younger, who went to elite schools and got prestigious jobs. All sorts of data now shows that people who grow up in lower income cohorts are unlikely to leave them. Greater class differences and less class mingling means that there are fewer opportunities for bright, energetic kids from the wrong side of the tracks to learn to master the class markers necessary to move up the social ladder. And that’s before you get to the fact that continuing attacks on public education and teachers, the increased propensity of parents of means to send their children to private schools, and the looting operation known as charter schools (video) have increased the gap between the pre-college educational experience of the upper middle class and affluent and everyone else.
The current economic regime in America is all about increasing distance between the 1% and everyone else. "But, but...Hillary Clinton says we're stronger together!" Ah, but they're mere words that don't match the neoliberal agenda dutifully followed by every administration since Reagan. Both parties have abandoned the working classes and instead, have pursued the big bucks of the elites, the 1%, and the professional class.

If you don't believe me, check out this video of Bill Clinton and Paul Ryan talking together at the conservative Peter Peterson Foundation in May of 2011:

Bill Clinton is a Democrat and former president of the United States. Paul Ryan is a Republican, and now speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States. In this video, we see that both of them agree to cut Medicare. Isn't it interesting that a former president could still have so much influence in public policy long after leaving office? The Peter Peterson Foundation is a part of the "Fix the Debt" cabal of very wealthy people who are continually shifting the burden onto the middle class. Fix the Debt is an organization dedicated to balancing the budget, without raising taxes (on the wealthy).

Notice that when politicians talk about tax cuts, they're not talking about anyone but the 1%. When the 1% get those tax cuts what do they do? This is what I said about the Bush tax cuts in 2013:
The tax cuts were not used to spread the prosperity around. They were used instead to build, secure and assert an advantage for the business owners over the rest of us. For example, the trend over the last 30 years has seen business investments move from labor to capital. This means that instead of paying employees to do the work, more automation is in use or, labor has been moved offshore. This resulted in exploding profits for the largest corporations. This is a tremendous advantage.
What will employers do with this advantage? They will use it to buy homes in gated communities, private security services, power generators for their homes, private schooling for their kids. They will seek distance from the middle class, both in economic and social terms to ensure that they no longer have to compete directly with the middle class or even have contact with them.
The 1% has very little empathy for the lower classes. As the 1% prevail to cut education funding, health care funding, seek to privatize public lands for exploitation, send our jobs overseas and send our kids off to war, the costs are borne by the lower classes, and the wealthy get their bailouts when it all goes bust. I get the sense that the 1% sincerely believe that they are entitled to punish everyone else for "not getting it".

I have seen firsthand the contempt some wealthy people can have for "lesser humans". We see it in Donald Trump. We have seen it in Hillary Clinton as she wore a $12,000 pantsuit while schooling us about inequality. We've seen it in the DNC and their zeal for getting Hillary nominated despite popular support for Bernie Sanders, something that I will never forget.

The class stratification that we've witnessed over the last 40 years allows the upper classes to isolate from the rest of us. They go to their own private schools, have their own social and business networks and get exclusive access to the halls of power. They exert meaningful influence over Congress and statehouses, something that middle class people can only dream about, as observed by this study, Testing Theories of American Politics:Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens. Though we are all human, the money is what separates us.

Our supersized prison industrial complex is nothing more than modern day slavery. It is punitive in every sense of the word for the inmates and for the guards. The American prison system is not about rehabilitation, for if it were, we'd have a far lower rate of recidivism, and that is by design of the people who have the most influence in public policy. The 1%.

If the 1% are unhappy that they are so reviled by everyone else, perhaps they need only to look in the mirror and consider the following proposition: punishment does not build coping skills.

In every case where punishment is delivered, the recipient only grows more determined to defeat the messenger and the sender. It is as if the elite truly believe that they can overwhelm their opponents with force. We see that attitude in our criminal justice system, our politics and our foreign policy.

I believe that pain is America's biggest export. I know this because for as long as I can remember, terrorists has been the enemy and terrorism has been used perversely to unify Americans. Terrorism is simply a ruse to distract us from a much bigger problem.

Check out this video of a boy as he is pulled out of the rubble in Syria. He has no idea what is going on. All he knows is that he is hurting, covered in blood and dust, and has no idea who did this to him. He is a victim in a war he knows nothing about. Thousands of kids like him may later be indoctrinated to find the source of the bombs and seek retribution. Those people seeking retribution, are probably the same people we call "terrorists". When we sell or send bombs that are used to kill the children of other people, and those other people strike back, we call them "terrorists".

Because we live so far away from them, we can objectify those other people as "terrorists" instead of actually helping them. Hillary Clinton and others like her, helped to sell those weapons. People like Hillary Clinton and President Obama either gave the order to drop the bombs or delegated that authority to someone else to do it. That's the punishment foreign countries receive for "not getting it".

Whether the perspective is global or local, we can easily verify that punishment does not teach coping skills. Punishment only teaches us to cope with punishment, it does not teach us how to solve problems. Punishment distracts us from the natural consequences of our behavior. When a kid does something "wrong" punishment is a manufactured consequence. When a kid makes a mistake, the consequence is not manufactured by the parent. The natural consequence of a mistake is an opportunity to learn how to do something that works. As parents, it is our job to teach our kids the skills they need to cope with life.

In politics and economics, most of what we have been doing in America is manufacturing a consequence for everyone but the 1%. Since the 1% have real influence over the government by virtue of their money, they should be held accountable for their public policy decisions, including their mistakes, but they're not. Everyone else is punished for the mistakes of the 1%. The austerity, the slow economy, the wars, and the prison state, are all manufactured consequences of the rest of us "not getting it".

I have yet to see an example where punishment did not reinforce unwanted behavior. Not as a parent, not as a child and not as a social or political observer. Punishment doesn't make society better. Anyone familiar with our prison systems knows this. One only need to compare recidivism rates between America and Norway. In America, if the problem goes away, it is only because the problem "solved" by punishment goes into hiding. In Sweden, if the problem goes away, it is because inmates are taught the coping skills they need to be a part of society.

It is only through true political discourse, negotiation and a commitment to living peacefully together, that real solutions are created. Take note of some of the deliberations of the Democratic National Committee. As punishment for "trespassing", most of Bernie Sanders' picks for committee appointments were ignored. As punishment for even being present in Nevada, many delegates that supported Bernie Sanders were shut out of the deliberations process. After all that, there were calls for unity. But instead, the DNC got a #demexit that is ongoing and could potentially damage or even decimate the Democratic Party after the elections in November.

Until we make a sincere commitment to live in peace and work together to solve our common problems, little progress will be made. Neither the Democrats or Republicans are truly committed to peace. Both major parties still very much believe in punitive action as part of the solution in the hopes of securing that elite campaign funding goodness.

There are some Berniecrats entering the fray who can help set things right. They believe in the peaceful agenda set by Bernie Sanders. The Green Party is finally starting to get meaningful national recognition with their peaceful agenda as well. With any luck, Jill Stein may appear on the stage with Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Libertarian candidate for president, Gary Johnson. We need greater diversity of political parties in political discourse because the two party system is broke and doesn't work for us anymore.

I would love to see Bernie Sanders on the debate stage, but he has other plans and from what I can tell, he's really busy with Our Revolution. The closest match for my priorities for the remaining candidates for president is Jill Stein. The Green Party represents my values in a way that the Democrats abandoned decades ago. That's why I'm voting for Jill Stein this November. Fortunately, she's on the ballot in this state and the list of states where she will appear is still growing.

It's time to replace the war and punishment agenda of establishment politics with an agenda based on peace and cooperation. It's time to recognize that all the corruption, the crime, war and the punishment are forms of abuse and are not a sign of mental health. We must recognize that all abuse is a sign of past child abuse sustained by the person delivering the abuse. Whenever a politician insists on dropping bombs on a foreign nation, it's a sign of abuse. We must recognize that when a politician insists on depriving someone else of a right, it's a sign of abuse.

Every person who abuses another is telling the story of how they were once abused as a child. We have the right, no, the duty, to change the story we want to tell. Not just for us, but for our kids, and their kids.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Zephyr Teachout challenges a member of the donor class to a debate

Zephyr Teachout is running for Congress in the 19th District of New York. She is one of many Bernicrats running on a campaign funded by small donations, zero corporate money and signified by one important plank in her platform: get the corrupting influence of big money out of politics. Teachout has done something that I have never seen any politician do, ever. She ran the following ad:

You gotta watch this ad. It is pure genius and totally fits in line with Teachout's approach to politics. The ad is an open challenge not to her opponent, but to one of her opponent's biggest funders, Paul Singer, a billionaire hedge fund manager.

Zephyr Teachout is all about rooting out corruption in politics. Here is the opening paragraph on her Wikipedia page:
Zephyr Rain Teachout (born October 21, 1971) is an American academic and political activist and candidate. She is an Associate Professor of Law at Fordham University. A supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement,[2] in August 2015, Teachout became CEO and board chair for the campaign finance reform-oriented organization Mayday PAC, replacing Lawrence Lessig. She stepped down from this position in December 2015 to run for the United States House of Representatives in New York's 19th congressional district.[3] Teachout won the Democratic primary, and she will face Republican John Faso in the November 8, 2016 general election.
She has written a book on corruption in politics, "Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin's Snuff Box to Citizens United", just published this year.  Teachout is the kind of woman I would love to see running for president in the next ten years if she can pull it off. She's young yet, so there's plenty of time for her to catch the millenial wind to the Senate and eventually to the White House.

Teachout has some great history and credentials making her an ideal populist progressive candidate. We need an army of people like her to move up the ranks in the Democratic Party and return it to the people.

With her direct challenge to a member of the donor class, she is doing something quite remarkable. She is shining a light on the corrupting influence of money during her campaign. Why is this significant? This is significant because public policy is being made based not on the merits of laws and regulations, but on the money riding behind them.

John Faso is a Republican running for Congress in the same district. His SuperPAC has accepted $500,000 from just one donor, Paul Singer, a billionaire. He is worth $2.2 billion, so $500,000 is like lunch money to him. He's an activist investor and his generous donation is proof of his activism. He doesn't have to protest on the streets like the rest of us. He can just write a check. Here is the lead paragraph on his bio at Forbes:
Activist hedge fund manager Paul E. Singer keeps fighting with the government of Argentina, refusing so far to settle claims his Elliott Management is owed more than $1 billion on sovereign debt it bought on the cheap after a 2001 default and restructuring. Singer built Elliott into a $27 billion behemoth that often shakes up companies with activist positions. Its recent targets range from Cabela's to Alcoa. The self-described libertarian conservative contributes heavily to Republican causes including more than $100,000 to the GOP itself last year and $1 million to the American Unity PAC, which supports pro-gay rights Republicans. A foreign policy hawk with strong pro-Israel ties, in April 2015 Singer donated in to Florida Senator Marco Rubio's presidential campaign. In 2008 he put his weight behind Rudy Giuliani's failed bid for the White House.
Singer is one of the people we almost never hear about in the news. He's throwing money into elections like an investor with a clear expectation of a return on his investments. Singer is pro-Israel, so he wants to write foreign policy with a dollop of war, too. He's a libertarian conservative who wants things his way because, he's got the money to make it happen.

I would love to see Teachout in a debate with Paul Singer. I think that would set a very important precedent. If billionaires think they deserve exclusive access to the people we elect to office, then they need to put their mouth where their money is. They need to be present and accountable for their influence when things go wrong.

Lets put this into perspective. When the economy goes south, most people fear losing their jobs. They do not have a big savings account to work with. They do not have an extensive business network from which to find their next job. They do not have a guaranteed income to rest upon while they're looking for their next big gig. They suffer the consequences of public policy. This is the plight of the middle and lower classes of America.

Paul Singer is what we call a "rent seeker". He owns securities, and the securities pay dividends. Dividends are a form of rents, just like patent and copyright royalties. Most people do not own enough stock to make enough money to call it a living income. When the economy goes south, Singer will still have most of what he has now. He doesn't live from paycheck to paycheck. He will never be homeless. He will still get the best medical care money can buy.

Teachout is doing what every Berniecrat should at least consider doing. She has done opposition research on the biggest donors to her opponents. First in the primary election and then in the general election. By calling out the biggest donors for their influence in politics, we can help to reduce their influence by voting for candidates who will not accept b/millionaire cash. When we shine a light on big donors like Paul Singer, yes, they may scurry to SuperPACs that promise anonymity, but we can still check on their spending with databases maintained by organizations like OpenSecrets. We would do well to note that after a string of court decisions, 132 of the richest people in America were able to legally fund 60% of SuperPAC spending in 2012 (video, Larry Lessig).

Ultimately, we must do our own research to find out who is spending the money and where they are putting it. Once we know where the money goes, then we can vote our conscience and make informed choices about who to vote for. Zephyr Teachout is a great example of how we can get a Brand New Congress, with 88% of seats up for election this year. She is a great example of someone who doesn't need a law to resist the temptation of the corrupting influence of money. She can win the election without b/millionaire funding and she can do it from within the Democratic Party.

There are some who say that the Democratic Party is broken and beyond repair. That may be true, but I think that if the Democratic Party is beyond repair, then it is weak enough to be infiltrated by anyone. Populist progressive candidates can be the infiltrating force. The structure is there and if progressives are diligent, we can take the party and mold it for our own use. If it could happen to the Republicans in North Dakota early in the last century, it could happen to the DNC, too.

Imagine what would happen if the mainstream media could no longer rely upon the Democratic Party for business as usual. That's why we need to consider a popuplist progressive infiltration of the Democrat Party as a viable option. Zephyr Teachout could be one of many Berniecrats to lead the way.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

What if all of us, including Donald Trump, have been played by Bill and Hillary Clinton?

NBC declares, rather optimistically, that Hillary Clinton will win with greater than 270 electoral college votes in November. But this time, unlike the Associated Press which held their breath until the day before the last primaries were held, NBC jumped the gun a full 2 and a half months ahead of schedule.

Here's a screenshot of their very optimistic election map from NBC's website:

Looks like Hillary won already, huh? Yeah, I checked at Real Clear Politics and they are projecting 272 for Hillary. I bet Donald Trump is breathing a sigh of relief now. Why would he do that?

Since about September of last year, I've published a few articles expressing my suspicions that Donald Trump is just controlled opposition. For awhile now, I was pretty sure that Trump was quietly coordinating with the Clintons to throw the election. I have expressed these ideas in the following articles for your reading pleasure:

Trump doesn't seem to be fighting too hard to win at this point and more than a few people must be puzzled by his behavior. While I was thinking that Trump was trying to throw the election to the Clintons so he could receive a big fat check, Michael Moore has other ideas and he sums them up well in his latest article on Trump. Trump wanted more money from the networks for his Apprentice show. He talked with the networks to see what he could fetch and decided that just announcing that he was running for president would help give him leverage to get more money.

I think Trump was more than a bit surprised to see that a few months later he was on track to win the nomination. Here is the nugget from Mike's latest article, "Is Trump Purposely Sabotaging His Campaign?", at Medium:
And then… you can see the moment it finally dawned on him… that “Oh shit!” revelation: “I’m actually going to be the Republican nominee — and my rich beautiful life is f#*@ing over!” It was the night he won the New Jersey primary. The headline on TIME.com was, “Donald Trump’s Subdued Victory Speech After Winning New Jersey.” Instead of it being one of his loud, brash speeches, it was downright depressing. No energy, no happiness, just the realization that now he was going to have to go through with this stunt that he started. It was no longer going to be performance art. He was going to have to go to work.
I encourage you to read that article in its entirety. Michael Moore is a great comedy writer and you'll have a few laughs as I did. Let's compare that article to a previous article that Michael Moore wrote just a few weeks ago, called 5 REASONS WHY TRUMP WILL WIN, the article isn't dated, but it was referenced on Alternet in another article on July 21st of this year. Check out the dire news he provided then:
I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I gave it to you straight last summer when I told you that Donald Trump would be the Republican nominee for president. And now I have even more awful, depressing news for you: Donald J. Trump is going to win in November. This wretched, ignorant, dangerous part-time clown and full time sociopath is going to be our next president. President Trump. Go ahead and say the words, ‘cause you’ll be saying them for the next four years: “PRESIDENT TRUMP.”
The change of mood here is plain to see. Michael went from "Donald is going to win", to "Donald is a reluctant candidate". If Donald Trump quits, Hillary has this in the bag. But now I'm not so sure they were colluding. Donald Trump does not like to lose. At anything. But this race to be president? Donald Trump simply isn't in it to win it.

The timing of his announcement to run is interesting, too. Donald Trump announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015. Several weeks before he announced, he had a phone conversation with Bill Clinton. This has been verified by at least three sources, The Washington Post, The New York Times and Vanity Fair. We don't know what they talked about, but the articles I've read suggest that Bill Clinton encouraged Trump to run.

So, since at least September of last year, I believed that Trump was colluding with the Clintons to throw the election. Tina Nguyen at Vanity Fair beat me by almost a year exactly to reach the following conclusion: Donald Trump has been played by the Clintons.

Consider how well the mainstream media has "coordinated" their reporting with the DNC and the Clinton campaign. Could every "misstep" by the mainstream media really be "just a coincidence"? What if the media and the Clintons saw in Trump, a man with the ego to run for president, but not the skills? I think that's what they saw in Trump.

I believe that the Bill and Hillary Clinton have the power and the cooperation of the media to pull a fast one on just about everyone. One of Hillary Clinton's biggest contributors is Comcast, which owns NBC/Universal. It is reasonable to suggest that the Clintons, with their deep ties to mainstream media, knew about Trump's desire to get more money from his show. They very likely knew he was negotiating with other networks for more money. With their connections, they could know with considerable precision, what Trump was doing. It is plausible that they also knew Trump was floating the idea of running for president to get more leverage.

Now I don't think that Trump was encouraged to run as controlled opposition anymore, at least, not in collusion, and not knowingly. I think it is reasonable to believe that Donald Trump has been played by the media and the Clintons. They knew he didn't really want to be president, and set him up. They have the connections to the media. So why not?

The Clintons are so powerful that they could easily ask the mainstream media to "give Trump all the coverage you can muster and ignore anyone else, especially Bernie Sanders". That might explain why CNN was willing to air an empty podium for a few minutes instead of cutting over to Bernie Sanders live at one of his massive rallies.

If Trump and Clinton were colluding, Michael Moore just gave Trump the perfect out. If they were not, and Donald Trump is clueless about the ruse, well, then maybe Trump is not as smart as he pretends to be. Remember, he's got really great words. Big words. Small words. People love his words.

Whether the Clintons were colluding with Trump or not, the entire affair stinks of desperation to get Hillary elected. Would we really want someone in the White House who would stoop so low as to play those kinds of games? Why not vote for someone who would rather work for the people instead of against them? Why should our choices be confined to a candidate who doesn't really want to be president and a candidate who is pining away for the chance to sell access to the White House?

I wanted Bernie Sanders, but the DNC would not have him. I will never vote for Hillary Clinton and there is nothing you could say to change my mind. Gary Johnson is a Libertarian, but oddly, he's already professed support for the TPP, a not so free trade agreement. 

The only remaining candidate that I agree with completely, that still has a (long) shot at winning in November, is Green Party candidate Jill Stein. At the moment, there is no other candidate I can vote for with a clean conscience. I don't want to vote against the other candidates and I'm not going to vote out of fear. I want to vote for Jill Stein.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The low hanging fruit of change will pave the way to progressive victories

Here's an interesting statistic: Since the Democratic National Convention, 74% of Sanders Democrats, i.e., Berniecrats, have won their primaries in state and local elections.

This is very hopeful news. It is quite possible that they could win in November and be the start of a wave that could come crashing through in 2018. It is likely that there will be a few more Berniecrats in Congress holding Hillary's feet to the fire if she should win. If she doesn't win, then Trump is going to face more opposition than he expected in Congress.

Either way, it's becoming clear to voters that the change we want to see must start at the state and local levels, just as Bernie Sanders has said before. Those Berniecrats who do win in November will be able to influence the outcome of the 2018 elections. This is where we're going:

The people are organizing for a quiet revolution, but don't expect the mainstream media to report it. The news media that we have now simply has no interest in the change we want to see. The changes we make by electing Berniecrats will place pressure on those in higher office in a number of ways.

Remember all those accusations of election fraud? The people who were implicated in those accusations were holding state and local offices. Putting Berniecrats into office even at the state and local level can help to bring adult supervision back to the polling places and the vote counting process. In other words, election fraud was allowed to occur because people who were willing to do something about it were not present and in a position to stop it. The trends in the primary elections since the DNC are proof positive that we can have an impact on the outcome, but only if we organize and only if we participate.

As the revolution becomes more organized, a network is taking shape. I see it in social media, particularly on Facebook. Take note of Mike Klinger on Facebook. He's been organizing an incredible effort to get Berniecrats and Jill Stein elected with Bernie Sanders Activists. He's organizing a #demexit, promoting Jill Stein and Berniecrats, and building a communications network through social media to get the news out. He is just one of hundreds of experienced social media users and organizers working to effect change.

We must become the news media by replacing establishment news with social media. Reddit is often covering stories that the mainstream media won't touch. Posts about Jill Stein took off on Reddit after the Democratic National Convention. Stein is going to be on the ballot in more states, too. Here's a map showing the state of ballot access for Jill Stein.

Notice that two states are in litigation to prevent Jill Stein from showing up on the ballot. That's litigation caused by resistance at the state and local levels. All of the big states are ready, and a few more are in the oven. This map looks much better than it did a few months ago. We're making progress.

Now before Clinton supporters post a comment to put the kibosh on this effort, I offer you something to consider. Recall what happened to Bernie Sanders, and ask yourself, how you would feel if what happened to him, happened to Hillary. Please be respectful and know that if Sanders supporters truly believed that Hillary was an honest, straightforward person of integrity, we'd vote for her. We don't. We're not afraid of Trump, and we don't believe in voting for Hillary out of fear.

So before you tell me or any other Green Party supporter, just as you did Sanders supporters, that I'm wasting my vote, or that I'm voting for Trump when I vote for Jill Stein in November, remember this:

If you're a Clinton supporter and you believe that my vote is wasted on Stein, then it would follow that you do not believe that my political views should be represented. When I say that I'm voting for Stein and every other Berniecrat that I can find down ballot, this says nothing about how I think you should vote. That's your business. 

There is simply no room for interpretation here. When I say that I'm voting for Stein, that does not mean that I'm voting for Trump or Hillary. That means I'm voting my conscience and voting for Jill Stein. 


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Mental abuse is not justified by a desire to secure a victory for Hillary

I just read an inspiring article by one former Bernie Sanders supporter, now a Jill Stein supporter. His name is John Ennis and he wrote, "No Means No — Stop Trying to Mentally Abuse Me Into Voting for Hillary Clinton", which you will find on Medium, another great blogging website. He describes with precision, the kinds of abuse his friends have put him through to get him to change his mind and vote for Hillary Clinton. This is just one story of thousands and I've seen quite a few.

All of that insulting, name calling, mocking...wait. Let me provide a useful excerpt from John Ennis himself, the author of the article I am referencing:
Even though I have explained my reasoning on being unwilling to vote for Hillary Clinton — and have written an article on why I believe that electing Hillary to stop Trump is not an effective long term solution for our country — the bullying, badgering, shaming, scaremongering, insulting, belittling, mocking, and abuse of all varieties continues to assault me both on social media and in real life as my supposed liberal friends just don’t seem to be able to respect my “no” on this topic.
The desperation in the Clinton camp is becoming so thick, that a coherent response simply doesn't register with Clinton supporters. I know because I've tried. They usually leave in a huff of disgust rather than accepting my decision for what it is. My decision.

If had to sum up a response in one sentence, it might go something like this, "If you have to abuse me to get me to change my mind about voting for Jill Stein, you're voting for Hillary Clinton for all the wrong reasons."

For me, it's a simple proposition. As noted by Mr. Ennis and millions of other voters, Bernie Sanders ran a clean campaign. He took no big money from anybody. He brought in huge crowds. He raised $222 million in campaign funds. He won 1843 delegates and a few superdelegates to boot. All without any help from the DNC, the press or entrenched wealthy interests.

In contrast, Hillary Clinton colluded with the DNC, a supposedly neutral forum for selecting a nominee. The DNC in turn colluded with the press to sandbag Sanders from beginning to end. Clinton surrogates got all the free air time and press where Sanders' surrogates got little to none. Clinton bagged more than 400 superdelegates before even the first primary. There is evidence of election fraud and corruption all to benefit Hillary. Even as the illegitimate "nominee", Clinton can't draw a decent crowd. I could go on and on about this, and I have. Read any article on my blog for the last year and you'll see reason after reason why I supported Bernie Sanders.

The reality is that Clinton could not have won the primaries without cheating, cajoling, bullying, and hiring a legion of paid trolls that so far as I know, have not bothered me. If anyone ever tries to bully me into voting for Clinton online, he or she is going to get a rash of links that will only drive adverse information up in the search results.

I think it's important to really bring this home to the point. If you need to abuse anyone to get them to do something you want, you have a much bigger problem. In recent months, I have come to the conclusion that all abuse, all crime, and all corruption stems from one very basic problem: child abuse. Solve that problem and you bring peace to the world.

If you are a Clinton supporter and you have descended into the habit of abusing your friends with manipulation, insults, mocking, scaremongering, whatever, you might want to ask yourself why you're abusing *anyone* to get them to do what you want them to do. As far as I'm concerned, when you abuse someone else, you're retelling the story of what happened to you. If you're voting for Hillary out of fear, you're still retelling the story of what happened to you.

Yes, we get it. Trump is a bully, a coward, a liar, and God only knows what else. But Bernie supporters had a stronger candidate who was polling 15 points above Trump before the convention. The only way that Hillary was going to win and has won, is by cheating. Her supporters wanted a victory at any cost. That cost may include Trump winning this election.

Now there may be a few Bernie Sanders supporters who have used abusive tactics themselves. But the vast majority I've seen online have responded with the facts and links, just like myself. I had no interest in abusing others to get them to vote for Bernie Sanders when he was running. If you're a Clinton supporter and you want to vote for someone who, in my view is morally corrupt and dangerous, go ahead. I'm voting for Stein. There is only one circumstance that will change my mind. That's if somehow, Bernie Sanders runs for president again.

Clinton supporters simply do not have clean hands in this election. You can't tell me to vote for Clinton to stop Trump when the Clinton campaign cheated to win while Sanders was polling far better than Clinton. More to the point, if you need to abuse people to get them to vote for Clinton, then you've defeated every argument you've ever put forth to support Clinton.

You'll have no abuse from me on this subject. I simply don't care who you vote for, because that's none of my business. I'm voting for Jill Stein and every Berniecrat I can find down ticket, and that's it.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

When public policy takes a back seat to talk of assassinations

I came across this very interesting meme the other day:

I can say that I agree with all of the statements in the meme except one. I take issue with the part about Trump denouncing racism because I've searched for examples but could not find any. Maybe that's because of my search bubble imposed by Google. I don't know. 

I find the whole thing curious. I mean, I've seen pictures of Trump and Bill Clinton together as much younger men. Newsweek has documented their friendship here. A casual search will return many articles and photos documenting their friendship. I even read a New York Times article on the same subject, but I can't seem to find it any more. 

With regard to the issue of racism, I have found documentation suggesting that Trump was and is indeed racist. In the 70's, the Trump business was sued for racial discrimination over apartment rentals and we have seen him making racist statements during his campaign. So I have to wonder, if Trump and Bill Clinton were such great friends, and the Clintons were aware that Trump was racist, how can any of the "I'm not racist" claims by the Clintons stand up? They've known each other for decades, yet no one seems to openly question the minority support enjoyed by Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Turning now to the point of the meme, how is it that they can be friends for so long and get to the point where Trump makes what has been interpreted as a veiled call for the assassination of Hillary Clinton? I've read several accounts of this incident, but the most interesting article came from Rolling Stone. Here, we find David Cohen's very interesting analysis about something called "stochastic terrorism". Yes, it is scary, but Trump is an entertainer, so I take it with a grain of salt.

I have to admit some surprise that there have been no reports by the mainstream media that the Secret Service has bothered to grace Trump with an inquiry about his statements. Wouldn't a normal person be arrested or at least interrogated for even hinting at a threat of physical violence to a presidential candidate? Oh, wait. We're not talking about normal people. We're talking about billionaires and very important people.

Then there is Clinton campaign strategist Bob Beckel talking quite openly about his anger at Julian Assange. Here are his words, exactly:
“I mean, a dead man can’t leak stuff,” Beckel chillingly noted of Assange. “The guy’s a traitor, a treasonist, and … and he has broken every law in the United States. The guy ought to be — and I’m not for the death penalty — so, if I’m not for the death penalty, there’s only one way to do it, illegally shoot the son of a bitch.”
Bob is a very high level member of Clinton's campaign. He's really angry at Assange for releasing emails that have impugned Hillary Clinton's reputation, but apparently has no remorse for the content of those emails. Bob would really like to us to forget about all that and just get in line to vote for Hillary Clinton.

There is a clear pattern here. What we're seeing is very wealthy and powerful people talk about openly about assassination, like it's some sort of game or spectator sport. Sure, we might attribute it to bravado, but seriously? Assassinations? Isn't this like, 2016? Haven't we moved beyond violence as a solution to resolving our differences?

Bob doesn't seem to get how offensive it is to Sanders supporters that the DNC rigged the primaries against Bernie Sanders. Bob can't comprehend how offensive it is to American voters that Hillary seems to have been engaged in a business of selling access to the State Department. We're not supposed to know about that, right...Bob?

Bob Beckel and Donald Trump both provide great illustrations of how arrogant people can be once they have attained a position of power and influence. We already know how arrogant Hillary and Bill Clinton can get with power, so I won't delve further there. We know that Hillary pays Bob Beckel very well for his work. Same with Donald Trump. Oh,wait. Did I say that? That was a slip.

This election should be about big money in politics. But instead of talking about how much money is changing hands and how much more money is at stake in this election, the election has become a high school student body contest. Shouldn't public policy come before personalities? I think so. Why anyone is even talking about assassinations is beyond me.

That's why I plan to vote for Jill Stein in November. I so dearly wanted to vote for Bernie Sanders, but he doesn't appear to be running for president at the moment. Maybe if Clinton has a health crisis, or suffers an indictment, Sanders might resurface. He still has his delegates and his mailing list. But until that happens, I'm voting for Jill Stein.

At least with the Green Party, I won't have to worry about large corporate contributions influencing her decisions in office. I feel the same way about Bernie Sanders, but he's still not running for president.

There is one other thing I like about Sanders and Stein. I have never seen them or their surrogates talk openly about assassinations on network TV.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

I'll take better judgement with that president, thank you.

Lately, I've been seeing comments from people who claim that despite all her flaws, Hillary has the experience to be president. These same people will claim that Jill Stein has no legislative experience. These same people will claim that Stein may set us at a disadvantage while negotiating with other nations. These same people will say that even Jill Stein is a corrupt opportunist. I disagree.

Before the nomination at the DNC, we had someone with plenty of experience who was polling at 15 points above Trump, but the DNC would not have him. Instead they opted for someone who was not polling well above Trump. I voted for Sanders because I believed that he is a man of integrity and I still do. He has a different mindset than Hillary Clinton. But since he is not in the race anymore, I have decided to support Jill Stein.

Stein's critics seem to be using a certain set of talking points. The kind of talking points that might be used by people commonly referred to as "Hillary's trolls". This is my rebuttal to them, in no uncertain terms.

There is a reason why Jill Stein is running for president, just like any other candidate. Every candidate for president truly believes that they are qualified to run for that office and that they offer something to this nation that other candidates do not.

The experience argument was offered by some to dissuade voters of Donald Trump, with little effect. He still managed to secure the nomination, despite establishment opposition. He's never held political office. He's never written legislation, and has paid money to influence legislators. He is somewhat familiar with the role of president. While many are free to criticize his campaign and his loose cannon thinly disguised as his mouth, few have really plumbed the depths of his lack of experience in any article that I've seen to date. His lack of experience has been set on the back burner.

No one who has ever won an election for the White House truly knows what it is like to be president until they become president. Even people very close to the job only have some idea of what it really means until they're sitting in that chair, with that schedule, with that pressure.

There are a number of reasons why I support Jill Stein and the Green Party in general. The most important is that she, like the party behind her, is not accepting big money from corporations or SuperPACs. Like Bernie Sanders, she will not allow large contributions to influence her process for consideration of any legislation or executive action. I'm familiar with their platform and understand that, based on my reading, they are a party for the greater good.

When it comes to experience, a quote from Einstein comes to mind: No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.

I would rather have someone with less experience and confidence in the White House for a number of reasons. Chiefly, after watching several presidents utterly fail to embrace the will of the people, I want to try something different. Bush had plenty of experience in government and he led us into war. Obama had 4 years of experience in the Senate before he became president and he did figure out how to be president, but he bailed out the banks instead of the people. No president that I can recall has truly carried out the will of the people, consistently and diligently.

I have no doubt that Hillary has plenty of experiences that will help her to be president. My primary concern is who she will help as president. I believe that Hillary Clinton, if elected, will be just another president who says one thing and does something else once in office. She is an establishment politician if I ever saw one. Her level of consciousness cannot solve the problems she helped to create.

We elect inexperienced Congressmen and women all the time. We vote people into office based on what they say in their campaign, what experience we see that they do have and hope for the best. Everyone who runs for public office has to start somewhere.

There are some people who insist that Hillary Clinton will make a fine president. I disagree. I believe that her experience is not as important as her judgement. She used a private email account, on a private domain, on a private server to pass classified information and God knows what else. She did so to evade the provisions of sunshine laws like the Freedom of Information Act. This is a sign of impaired judgement and that alone, in my mind, disqualifies her as president. If you are a Clinton supporter, you may still have to worry about those emails. I want someone for president who is comfortable living under the laws signed by another president, not above them.

Bernie Sanders would have fit that bill and I would love to see him resurface as a candidate. But until that happens, I have to consider other options. I refuse to vote for someone as corrupt as Hillary Clinton, so I'm casting my lot with Jill Stein and every down-ticket Berniecrat I can find. I want to start fresh with Jill Stein.