Monday, July 25, 2016

Puzzled by DNC bias? Completely explained by the weakness of Hillary Clinton as candidate for president

First, take a look at this picture:

The latest release of emails from Wikileaks is getting the full scrutiny of the world to show just how much Hillary Clinton colluded with the DNC to rig the election against Bernie Sanders. A clear pattern of collusion and deception has emerged in the emails released by Wikileaks, so much so that now, an interesting question has been raised:

Did Hillary Clinton win the delegates she has fair and square?

I think, based on the available analysis of the emails so far (meaning there is more to come), the answer is no. The Sanders campaign was treated with hostility and venom in the emails, attitudes that were not communicated openly to Sanders campaign officials. The extent of the candor in these emails is breathtaking.

Have a look here at a sample of items from a list compiled by at least one researcher already:

DNC member killing horses for insurance money.

DNC requesting a pull an MSNBC commentary segment.

DNC controlling the narrative with time released stories.

DNC Hillary supporters infiltrated Sanders campaign.

DNC members going to complain to Morning Joe producers about his mentioning of a “rigged system.”

Why would the DNC have any pull at all with the media? Shouldn't the media be able to make its own mind about what stories to run or not? Isn't our free press supposed to be independent and unbiased, free of the influence of the people they investigate and report on? What do they have to gain by colluding with the Clinton campaign?

Here's an email where they wanted to get someone in the press to ask Sanders about his belief in God. He's already stated that he is of the Jewish faith, but apparently they wanted to embarrass him on TV to sway Southern Christians:

See for reference. Seems ironic that someone from the DNC would try to introduce a religious test for a candidate for president. Why is the DNC looking for proxies to ask embarrassing questions of Bernie Sanders?

Why is the DNC doing opposition research on Bernie Sanders? Shouldn't opposition research be reserved exclusively for members of other political parties? You know, like Donald Trump?

What we can see yet again, is that party unity was *never* a priority with top DNC officials. They seemed to think of Sanders as a trespasser rather than a legitimate candidate. The same can be said of our national news media. They treated Sanders as a trespasser, denying him the free coverage they gave to Clinton, denying access to Sanders surrogates and accepting planted stories from the DNC.

Impartiality must come before unity.

To summarize, they infiltrated Sanders' campaign, fed stories to reporters and news agencies, and generally, sandbagged his campaign. All in the name of what? Electing the first woman president of the United States before the Republicans do it? Does anyone seriously believe that the GOP even wants a woman as president of the United States?

Now there have been calls for accountability. Respondeat superior, "let the master answer', is appropriate here. So far, we have seen Debbie Wasserman Schultz (DWS) be removed from the speakers list for the Convention. Then she announced her decision to resign after the convention. But she is not the master. Lucky for her, she got a job with the Clinton campaign as honorary chair on the same day she announced her intent to resign. How convenient. I guess the corrupt take really good care of their own, don't they?

How about Hillary Clinton? Well, she had the gall to hire DWS the same day as campaign manager. That is how Hillary has answered. But she is not the master.

Now there are calls for President Obama to answer. He did. Obama and Biden issued glowing statements professing the virtues of Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

There is also talk of an illegitimate nomination. The DNC was supposed to be impartial, fair and balanced in terms of service to the candidates. They were not. People are beginning to seriously question the legitimacy of the presumption that Hillary Clinton is indeed the nominee.

What we see now, with the evidence at hand, is an enormous effort to assist Hillary Clinton with her campaign, assistance which was not provided to any other candidate, including Bernie Sanders. This assistance, at the expense of all the other candidates, shows how little confidence that the DNC had in Hillary Clinton as a candidate.

Despite enormous opposition from the Democratic Party, Sanders managed to win 23 states, raise more than $220 million, and won 1900 delegates, more than anyone had ever imagined. Is it reasonable to think that with a level playing field, he would have easily won 2383 delegates before the convention? I think so.

The superdelegates now have something else to think about. Clinton had an 11 point lead in national average polling before "the endorsement". Now that lead has shrunk to a rounding error of 0.4% according to Real Clear Politics. Check out the graphic below:

Where are the polls for Sanders? They seem to have stopped doing them at the end of May. I guess that free and independent press wouldn't want us to know how other people feel about seeing Sanders as nominee now, would they?

Any superdelegates out there still willing to tar their name and reputation with a vote for Hillary at the convention? If so, I've got a mid-term election to sell you. We have a sale on them right now straight from the 132 people who financed 60% of the superPAC spending for the 2012 presidential election. All you have to do is pass laws you won't follow anyway that place people you don't even care about at a disadvantage to you. We'll call it "neoliberal economics" so your voters will have no idea what you're talking about when you run for office again.

There is a very well written petition circulating for the delegates and superdelegates, requesting their help to nominate Bernie Sanders. I urge you, dear readers, to sign and share that petition. Hillary Clinton's campaign is engulfed in scandal, intrigue and corruption. I just don't see how any voter could now, in good conscience, vote for her. I know that I won't. I'm #neverhillary and #stillsanders.

In the next 3 days, we'll see if there are any "faithless delegates" who would rather vote their conscience and vote for Sanders. We will see if the superdelegates who pledged their support for Hillary long before the first primaries were even held are still determined keep their head in the ground. We may well see if they have the courage to change their mind in a very public way. It is up to us to sway them. If we want to see Sanders as the nominee, now is the time to apply the pressure.

Bernie or Bust.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

At the bottom of the wine dark sea is the TPP

By chance, the TV was on during lunch yesterday so that we could find news about a fire a few miles from our house. That fire filled the sky with a smokey haze that covered the Salt Lake Valley, so I wanted to learn more.

But instead of getting news that I wanted, I got something else, entirely. I got to watch Tim Kaine's acceptance speech. I heard him talk about raising the minimum wage to "a living wage". I find it interesting that he could not bring himself to be specific about the number, $15 an hour. I heard him talk about making college debt free, not free.

They are already walking back anything that was said on the day of "the endorsement." As I watched, all I could think of was Tim Kaine's support for the TPP. Whatever he was saying about public policy didn't matter. As far as I was concerned, he was lying. I could hardly stand to listen to him tell his folksy tales of his life as a normal human being knowing that he supports the TPP.

Kaine is probably a nice and charming guy, but I could see through all of that charm and down-home rhetoric. I know about his ties to the banking industry. His smile hides his support of the TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnership, a deal that if enacted, will affect 40% of the world's economy. This deal, the TPP, is the goal of the neoliberal elite. It is one more handcuff on the economy and the people. It will add a rounding error to the economy in terms of growth, but it will further confine us to the bubble economy that we inherited from NAFTA.

"Get the chalice." That's the phrase that comes to mind as I write this. I can imagine the global business community chanting it as if they were praying for another digit to add to the end of the number at the bottom line. The chalice that I speak of is buried in the TPP: the investor state dispute system, aka, ISDS. ISDS is a system designed to subordinate the will of the people to the will of corporations. It was originally built into trade agreements to prevent hostile governments from nationalizing industries with significant American investment. ISDS was originally intended to defend against banana republics. You would be forgiven if you thought that ISDS was only for banana republics. Now they want to use ISDS to defend against democracy.

You might remember NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. That "free trade" agreement pitted American manufacturing against the world with rules that favored and protected the professional class over everyone else. If you're a doctor, lawyer or some other "professional", you're good. But if you actually make things for people to buy, you're going to have trouble making payments on your mortgage. With the TPP, we're going to see a repeat of the Big Short (now on Neflix, BTW).

I watched Mr. Kaine make his speech behind a podium with the Hillary campaign logo, "Stronger Together". Stronger together, huh? I guess we're only stronger together if we have Clinton as the nominee, but not Sanders, right? No mention of Sanders at all. No mention of the millions of voters he brought to the Democratic Party during the primaries. Not even a thank you. Oh, wait. She did say "thank you" with a smile no less after "the endorsement", but not at this event. As I watched Kaine's speech, I could see it from here: Trump is going to win unless we change course.

Even Michael Moore thinks that Trump will win. Why? Because Hillary is already polling in a tie or is under water in the swing states of the Rust Belt. They remember NAFTA in spades. Any state that once had a thriving manufacturing sector now does not. They will see Trump coming to town to hammer Clinton for NAFTA and her support of the TPP. In January 2016, Trump said, "I will stop Hillary’s Obamatrade in its tracks, bringing millions of new voters into the Republican Party. We will move manufacturing jobs back to the United States and we will Make American Great Again."

Clinton and Kaine know they can talk progressive policy all they want and that it won't happen. Why? They know that their ticket will depress the vote. Millions of disappointed voters will stay home because they don't believe that they have a meaningful choice for president once again. They know that down ballot votes will go to more conservative candidates when the voter turnout is low. They must know by now that inequality is tied to voter turnout. The lower the turnout the better for the 1%. They can talk about a progressive agenda until the cows come home knowing that the votes will not be there for it in the next Congress. Then they can trot out their "3rd way", "we'll take what we can get from the Republicans" leadership and say that they really did try.

Voters will have to choose between Trump, who they hate, and Clinton who they hate, but not as much as Trump. Millions of us wanted Sanders there, front and center.

But the DNC decided not to be so fair and neutral. They did everything they could to sandbag Sanders. Someone is already planning a movie to show how rigged the primary elections were against Bernie Sanders. They have plenty of material to work with including 20,000 emails from the DNC. The latest Email leaks that tell us the story of how DNC staffers mocked Bernie Sanders, worked against his campaign and used the media against him to prevent him from having an even chance to secure the nomination. They knew that party unity was not a priority from the beginning.

In 5 days, the DNC will very likely see millions of people register with another party in a protest known as the #demexit. In November, we will very likely see an alternative on the ballot that is not Democrat or Republican. We may very well see Green on the ballot.

Bottom line, one way or another, the global business community sees their number one goal as getting the TPP ratified and signed.

I love Bernie Sanders and what he is doing for the country, but the #1 goal is not to defeat Trump. We can deal with a buffoon in the White House for 4 years, for we have already survived 8 years under Bush. What we can't deal with is 3 potential paths for the TPP to get through. If Trump wins, the TPP will be quietly signed by a lame duck president. If Hillary Clinton wins, she will sign so that Obama can have his presidential library, his foundation and his book writing deals, so he can live the rest of his life in obscurity and peace with guaranteed income for life. If Hillary is somehow impeached or indicted, Kaine will find a way to get it passed and signed.

I think we need to re-assess our priorities and make it clear that the elite agenda is not about who gets elected. It's about getting the TPP passed. Isn't it an interesting coincidence that, despite what she says, Clinton is the only remaining presidential candidate strongly in favor of the TPP?


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Economic accountability is the subtext of this election

It would be easy to forget that the biggest issue in politics today is big money in politics. If you watch national news or frequent websites run by the likes of Time, CNN, even USA Today, you're going to get the cult of personality as entertainment. The mainstream media would like us all to believe that this is a contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and implore us to please forget Bernie Sanders even though he's still running for president. You would be forgiven if you didn't think the Trumps and the Clintons were friends at all.

Have a look at this picture:

That picture was taken in 2008. Trump is on the left and who could miss Bill Clinton in the center? So they're all playing a friendly game of golf, right? How many times has this happened? How come I'm not a member of this club?

Because this is the club of high finance. Who is standing between them? Billionaire Michael Bloomberg, the 8th richest man in the world, and this photo is from an article in the New York Times from last December. What is the opening line of that article (followed by the next paragraph)?:
For years, President Bill Clinton was the best friend Donald J. Trump always hoped to have.
When scandal engulfed Mr. Clinton’s White House, Mr. Trump leapt to the president’s defense. “He’s probably got the toughest skin I’ve ever seen, and I think he’s a terrific guy,” Mr. Trump told CNN.
Best friends? You're kidding, right? Trump defended Bill Clinton when he was president? Well, it's a pretty tight little club, and we're not invited to join.

What kind of club is this? It's very exclusive and only very special people are ever selected to join the club of high finance. This club is one of the most expensive clubs in the world to join. But who would guess that the middle class pays for their membership? What do they do in this club? They just do mergers and acquisitions in high finance, right? Well, have a look here at a very well written article from the LA Progressive to find out what they've done to America:
These conditions are prevalent in America today, described by a popular newspaper:
  • 66% of American families say they must choose between paying for food and paying for medical care.
  • 108 million Americans have no dental coverage. 25% of adult citizens have untreated cavities or infections.
  • 59% of our people worry they won’t have sufficient retirement funds. 20% of those near retirement age have been unable to save anything.
  • 25% of American families have no emergency savings at all. 50% have some, but not nearly enough.
  • An average family can no longer afford to buy a new car, except in Washington, D.C., the city with the highest per capita income in the nation.
  • Fifty years ago General Motors was the nation’s largest employer. Workers earned, in today’s inflated dollars, an average of $50 per hour. Working for today’s largest employer, WalMart, employees take home $8 per hour.
Above you see a laundry list of conditions created by the club of high finance. Why any captain of industry would be proud of these accomplishments, I don't know. But if you look at Wall Street, they seem awfully proud about it. What I find so interesting is that the economic policies put forth to create these conditions just don't work and the people who put them in place simply refuse to be held accountable for their mistakes.

The economic conditions that prevail upon us today are exacted by a class of politicians known as "neoliberals". The economic philosophy promoted by this class of politicians is "neoliberalism". More from the same article at the LA Progressive on the subject of neoliberalism:
The Reagan years transformed public policy with the crackpot ideology of neoliberalism: cut taxes for the rich, slash social programs, bloat the military, deregulate corporate enterprise, privatize public services and public assets. Reagan’s Republican successor unleashed America’s military power to assure continued access, for U.S. energy corporations, to Persian Gulf oil.
Now that Clinton has chosen vice president as a running mate, Tim Kaine, what can we learn about him? He loves the TPP and he loves the big banks. He's a rent-seeker's dream candidate. He's also a neoliberal, just like Hillary Clinton and just like President Obama. Even Republicans like George W. Bush, his dad and Bill Clinton are neoliberals. Oh, wait. Did I say that Bill Clinton was a Republican? He sure acted like one as president.

Some economists are starting to wise up to the ruse of neoliberalism. Nobel Prize winning economist Joe Stiglitz has been leading a team for years to document the problems inherent in neoliberal economics. From trade to monetary policy, they've been documenting the cause and effects of neoliberal economics. You can find it all here at The Roosevelt Institute. Their latest offering is called "Overcharged: The High Cost of High Finance".

In that paper, they estimate that the total cost of diverted resources and lost productivity, including the financial crisis of 2008, to be roughly $12-22 trillion. If there is any wonder why the economy is slow, it's because an unregulated, unaccountable financial industry has been taxing the economy. Guess who wants a slice of that money for their campaign financing? The Democrats and Republicans. They get a small chunk of that money from the 132 Americans who financed 60% of the superPAC spending in the 2012 election cycle, and they don't want to piss them off during this election.

Like Bernie Sanders, Stiglitz and his team are aware that a revolution is needed to help set things right, a peaceful revolution. The Rooselvelt Institute now has a website called, Rewrite the Rules, where they show how inequality is a choice, it's a matter of public policy. They go on to show us the public policy objectives and goals needed to set things right again. They understand that the extreme inequality (video) present in our economy now has created a class of people who seem to be "untouchable". That might explain why Hillary Clinton has escaped indictment and prosecution so far.

Perhaps it is not too late then. Wikileaks released some 20,000 emails to confirm that the DNC had known all along that they were going to support Hillary Clinton to the exclusion of all other candidates. The emails show a clear pattern of prejudice against Bernie Sanders and favoritism towards Hillary Clinton. Examples in the press show emails that have mocked the Sanders campaign and brainstorming conversations about how to use Sanders' religious beliefs to hobble his campaign.

Isn't the DNC supposed to be neutral? A lawsuit claiming fraud on the part of the DNC as a cause of action has been filed to answer that question. Plaintiffs are seeking monetary and punitive damages for the people who donated to the Sanders campaign and the DNC trusting that the DNC was looking for the best candidate, not just the candidate that would bring in the most money from the biggest donors.

All of the notable events of this primary election smack of a sort of strategy to shoot first, talk about it in court later after the damage is done. From being cut out of the VAN database in December, to voter fraud allegations, to "the endorsement", I believe that the DNC and their backers seem confident that they are beyond the reach of the law, at least in time to change the course of history. They seem more intent on electing a woman as president than electing an honest candidate.

With so much money riding on this election, accountability doesn't even get a mention in the mainstream press. Did you see the story about the man who was shot by the police while laying on the ground, unarmed? They asked the officer why he shot him. The answer? "I don't know." But one thing we can be sure of based on prior history: he will not be held accountable.

I support Bernie Sanders because he is not "untouchable". He is not so wealthy that he is immune from prosecution if he should commit some wrong. He is not so powerful that allies would shield him from any wrongdoing. He does not have a massive, entrenched political network of corporate financiers expecting him to do their bidding should he be elected. He knows that "he who pays the piper calls the tune".

He has not conceded the nomination and he is still running for president, despite "the endorsement". We can expect to see him on the floor of the convention, using every available and legal means, to secure the nomination. He is accountable and that why I want Bernie Sanders for president.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

An attempt to put the polling in perspective with regard to Bernie Sanders

I happened upon this article, "That’s the pattern across the nation.", an interesting account of how little pay many degrees are fetching these days. From the article:
A part-time position after four years (a small miracle that a baccalaureate can be completed in four years at any state school in California — you can’t get scheduled for all of your courses — too few full-time profs — most are adjuncts paid $3k for a 3 credit hour course) obtaining the baccalaureate and another four years to complete the doctoral degree. Eight years of higher Ed, in applied science — and national chains only call the Pharm.D. In to mix up the chemo. As recently as 2006 I had a Pharm.D. with a disability as a client. That client was recruited out of graduate school with a $200k signing bonus!
Today we have highly-educated people, carrying the massive student debt that a terminal degree entails, being told they are not worth a full-time job.
A decade ago they had signing bonuses.
Today, they can’t find a full-time job.
That story and millions more like it, represent what we are up against and what we are fighting. Now, even if you have two or three college degrees, it's become very difficult to find a job that would pay off that enormous student debt. Unless you find a way to go into business and make a tidy profit, you're out of luck.

This is what big money in politics is doing to our country. Even if you have a degree to flail at your next hiring manager, six figures will be hard to come by. You'll be lucky if you break $60k. The big money in politics has for years been writing rules that will extract every last cent from the economy and force people to get on the credit treadmill so that they earn money, but never really get ahead and begin to save money.

I know, it's a long digression but I'm just setting the stage. Now for the fun. Check out these polling numbers from Real Clear Politics. First, have a look at favorable/unfavorable. Here's Trump:

Trump has a net favorable rating of -25 (that's a NEGATIVE). Now have a look at Clinton:

Clinton is not all that far behind with a -17 net favorable rating and that score too is negative. These scores are not all that far beyond the historical net favorable averages from many other candidates for president in modern history. Most have been negative. This is what the establishment is dishing up for us, two of the worst candidates in American history.

On the other hand, we still have Bernie Sanders. He's still a candidate and he's still running for president. Of the three, he's the only one with a positive favorable rating:

He has a whopping 11 point favorable rating. But the mainstream media would much rather prepare dog food for us to vote on. Do we want dog food with chicken or beef? That is the question being prepared for us in November.

Well, there's another interesting trend in polling that I think we should all be aware of. We know that Clinton has been losing her lead in the polls. It's been quite a struggle, especially since "the endorsement". Here are the numbers for Clinton v. Trump:

What we see above is that Clinton is holding a thin lead above Trump of less than 3%, which is well within the margin of error for most polls. She does noticeably better in a 4-way poll when we throw in a Libertarian and a Green Party candidate, but she's not storming off towards the White House in that poll, either.

Now have a look at the trend:

Before "the endorsement", she had a strong lead of 11%. Now she's down to 2-3%. Given the trends so far, I don't think she will recover that lead. We're being asked by establishment media to believe that Clinton actually stands a good shot at winning. Even after "the endorsement", the bump that Clinton supporters hoped she would get did not appear. Note that she received Sanders "endorsement" on July 12th. From there on, she can be seen bouncing along the tie line after going negative the day after.

Now recall the story of the degreed pharmacist who can only get a part time job. Imagine a nation of people with degrees and debt who can only get a part time job. This is what Trump and Clinton are selling.

What has Sanders brought to the table? $1 trillion for infrastructure spending. Medicare for all so that there is a public option that we can all use, supported by taxes that would prevent the cost shifting we see now in health care. We see free college education at public universities regardless of income so that when people leave college, they actually have money to pump back into the economy.

I know, Clinton mouthed the words of Sanders on the day of "the endorsement". But as we all know, "She will say anything and do nothing." -- Barack Obama, 2008

For those who think there is no hope at the convention, there is. Sanders is planning a roll call vote for all his nearly 1900 delegates and even Susan Sarandon has helped get them funded. Thousands of people will be there to protest and march in the streets during the convention. Unlike the RNC, Sanders supporters will easily outnumber the press and police.

Even if Clinton is nominated, your vote in November will still count. 88% of seats in Congress are up for election this year. So get out there and vote. Here is a list of all Berniecrats running for office. And don't forget that there is still time to lobby the superdelegates. More than 400 superdelegates declared support for Clinton before the first primary was held. There is no reason we can't try and talk some sense into them before they vote at the convention.

So keep the chin up, sunny smiles, the debate civil and the facts at hand in case anyone should try and talk you into voting for Clinton. Bernie or Bust!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A brief psychological analysis of political oppression in the context of the 2016 US election

On July 3rd, 2016, I published an article to describe the relationship between child abuse and corruption. It was called, "Corruption is the symptom, child abuse is the cause". I believe that my article fairly described the urgency of the problem of child abuse in the political context. Until the entire human race decides to put an end to child abuse in all of its forms, reducing preventable human suffering will remain difficult at best.

As serendipity happened to prevail upon me, I found the following meme (I couldn't save the image, so I took a screenshot):

For me, the meme evokes an almost visceral response. I'm an older white male. I can't even begin to comprehend the kind of life blacks must endure in the face of institutionalized discrimination. I can only empathize and do what I can to help. The meme inspired me to write the following text when I shared it myself for my followers on Google+:
The subjugation of the blacks by the whites who perpetuate the myth of black inferiority can be characterized as the projection of the internalized shame of the whites onto the blacks.
When whites who perpetuate the myth of black inferiority resolve their own shame, they may at last see the the folly of their ways.
Notice how I qualified my statement. I did not castigate all whites. There are some heroic white activists who fight for racial justice that we know of from history. There are legions of white activists that we may never read about in the news, who are working behind the scenes, to do what they can to promote racial justice.

There is simply no such thing as an inferior person. The notion of an inferior person makes about as much sense as the notion of an inferior water molecule, atom or proton. From a genetic perspective, we're all pretty much the same except for a few minor details, like the color of our skin, eyes and hair (if we still have it). We all have brains, hearts and a deep yearning to be a part of something greater than ourselves. To deny that sense of belonging to anybody is the ultimate betrayal of the human spirit.

In the context of the current American political environment, it has become clear to the oppressed that they are indeed, being oppressed. They are making it known that they do not appreciate how they are being treated. All of us feel it, but the Black Lives Matter movement make it apparent who is feeling it the most. Blacks suffer the highest rates of unemployment as a demographic constituent of the United States. They experience far greater casualties and incarceration at the hands of police. They are, as Rosa Parks once was, at the back of the bus.

When one class of people subjugate another class, it must be justified in the minds of the oppressors. Where people get that justification can often be found in the roots of their childhood. Kids are raised to be racist, they are not born that way. Babies and toddlers have no context for racism. But young kids who can begin to see outside of themselves and use language to communicate ideas and feelings can learn racism. If you teach a kid that one person is better than another, absent any other influence, they will believe that notion.

Parents who teach racism are revealing their own shame. Parents who teach that blacks are inferior are attempting to hide their own shame about who they think they are. The shame of a family is passed down through generations of teaching and is reinforced to the point where it becomes "common sense".

Two movies were influential in my thinking about the concept of racism and helped to give rise to this post: Django Unchained and Seven Years A Slave. If you have not seen them, I urge you to do so at your earliest convenience. Both of these movies illustrate well, the violent and institutionalized oppression of American blacks. There are quite a few movies and documentaries that offer an illustration of the experience of a racist culture. But few have really delved into the cause of racism. Most movies of this type highlight the oppression, violence and discrimination against blacks. But few actually venture into the cause of how racism came to be.

I believe that all forms of oppression and violence are a result of child abuse. Teaching kids that racism is "common sense" is child abuse, very much in the same way that hitting a child is child abuse. All child abuse is caused by shame and all child abuse transfers shame from one generation to another. As one Buddhist said somewhere on the internet, "The lesson will be repeated until it is learned." This is a fact universally recognized by those who are aware and want to learn how to relieve themselves of preventable suffering. When we resolve our own shame, we can stop child abuse and therefore, political oppression.

I hope that in a political sense, we are coming to the realization that we no longer need to be oppressed. You might say, "What? No one 'needs' to be oppressed!" Sorry, it takes two to tango. A man only has as much power as others are willing to give to him. We the oppressed, have created the opportunity for the oppressors to act the way they do.

What Bernie Sanders represents to me, is the start of a movement where we begin to recognize that we are just as responsible for the oppression we feel as the people who perpetrate the oppression. Yes, we have been deceived, that is true, and we may even have some anger and resentment about it.

But take a look at the voter turnout results in the last 70 years or so. In the last 6 years, we've seen the lowest voter turnouts since the Second World War. Bernie Sanders has been telling us all along that if we want to stop the oppression, we must participate in politics. He has reminded us more than once that he cannot do it alone and that he needs our help. It is a fact that inequality has a strong correlation with lower voter turnouts and a lack of participation in politics.

We are not healthy as a nation and we are just now allowing ourselves to notice. I think on an intuitive level, we have known this for a long, long time. But it is possible that shame has held us back. We may have shame for letting it happen. Shame for being a victim of it. Shame for not being willing to speak about it sooner. Better late than never.

I want to point out something else. The oppression we feel as a nation is not simply reserved to blacks. This is not just a case of racial oppression. This is economic oppression. If you don't have money, you're out of luck. The millionaires and billionaires who perpetrate this economic oppression feel justified in doing what they are doing, just as much as the people who fight the oppression feel the same. The rest of us only gave them the opportunity by being "apolitical", apathetic or just too busy to vote. I can empathize. Politics is hard to track when working two or more jobs.

The oppressors and the oppressed are expressing anger and under anger is fear. There can be no expression of anger without fear underneath it. When a dog is eating, don't touch his meal, for if you do, you will find yourself face to face with the dog's instinct for self-preservation. The middle class and everyone below them have become that dog. Even the billionaires are feeling it, but won't let on that much. They know the pitchforks could come at any moment. We are looking at the possibility of our own destruction, economically, socially and perhaps physically.

Bernie Sanders is offering us a chance to step back from the precipice and turn around. This not just a metaphorical expression. Hillary Clinton is losing steam. Trump is starting to show leads in some polls. Trump epitomizes racial oppression, the shame underneath it and he has stirred up the passion for racial oppression in the GOP. We could stop him, not with Hillary, but with Bernie.

Now is not the time for regret. Now is the time for action. We must recognize how powerful shame is and that it is a driving force behind the oppressors. Shame may give rise to violence, but we must not go to the dark side. Let us now resolve our differences with compassion and a firm resolve to err on the side of peace. Our fate is in our hands, as it has always been, and it is up to us to do what is right.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Well, that escalated quickly. Unity still is not a priority at the DNC.

I found an interesting account of some of the proceedings of the Democratic National Committee platform deliberations in Orlando, Florida, July 8th and 9th. I know, the platform is non-binding but it says a lot about what the party sees for its future. I'm not even a registered Democrat, but I care because they are part of this duocracy that we must contend with until we find a way to reduce the power of the duocracy and introduce serious competition for them. This year could be the year that we see the first signs of coalition government in the United States, but we may have to wait until the next midterm elections for that.

There is a growing #demexit movement afoot. Dissatisfied Sanders supporters are going to the Green Party. Even Cornell West has endorsed Jill Stein, and their contributions are growing. I think she'd make a great first female president, but she needs to be on the ballot in 50 states to be a contender worth considering. Some sources say she's on the ballot in 47 states, others say it's more like 24. If Sanders is not on the ballot, many people are planning on writing him in, and I think that may turn out to be the best strategy to get him in if he's not on the ticket. Elite Democrats would like us to believe that we have no other choice but Clinton, but their plans don't seem to be working.

There are visible signs of worry in the Clinton camp about this #demexit, a movement to register with another party or as independent if Sanders is not the nominee by July 29th. But there is also a sense of ease, one that is based on the notion that there are more loyal Democrats than there are people willing to vote for Trump.

For those people who want to vote for Trump out of spite, you need to read this USA Today article. Trump doesn't always pay his bills, he uses stall and delay tactics, and lawyers to foist the cost on others. Read that and ask yourself if you want him to be president. According to the article, he has over 200 mechanics liens on his properties. 200? Isn't that like, a lot? I think so. But if you're a billionaire, who cares? This is a man who thinks he can balance the budget? I don't think so.

This intransigence is not just with Trump. It's with the Clinton camp, too. It's all over them. They seriously believe that they're entitled to a blank check from Sanders supporters. Read here and here about the fights during the platform deliberations in Florida. One glaring example is how they refuse to put clear opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership in the platform. The TPP is a trade agreement designed to be the greatest corporate power grab ever. Yet, high level Democrats are afraid to put their opposition to this treaty into their platform. Why? President Obama has been the biggest cheerleader for it. "Oh, God no! We wouldn't want to offend President Obama on this one!"

Sanders and Clinton have both expressed opposition to the TPP, but I only believe one of them. I know for a fact that Clinton has exerted a great deal of support for that agreement when she was Secretary of State. I expect her to do the moonwalk on that one. Sanders? We know where he stands and that is very clear, very strong opposition to the TPP.

So when both of them express opposition to the TPP during this election cycle, it is any wonder why the DNC can't put it in writing in the platform? There is a lot of money riding on the passage of that agreement. That's money that could land in Democratic coffers for the mid terms. That is why they oppose putting that language in the platform. We wouldn't want to piss off those 132 people who financed 60% of superPAC spending in 2012 now, would we?

Then at the last minute in the deliberations on the platform, without any notice prior to the start of the deliberations that would last two days, they wanted to add "The Final Amendment". That amendment would add Hillary Clinton's name to the platform text. The Democrats have never put the name of a candidate in the party platform before. It must have been very urgent because they left out Bernie Sanders.

There was a chorus of opposition from the back of the room. People demanded to have the text of the amendment in writing. It wasn't in their packet of documents they had when they started. In other words, at the last minute, they wanted to enshrine Hillary's name in the platform before she has even secured the nomination.

The amendment was quickly withdrawn when the establishment could see that the ire of the Sanders supporters would not abate. Interestingly, there were "handlers" at the deliberations, telling Clinton supporters how to vote. Handlers? Clinton supporters needed coaching on how to vote? I thought these people were there to vote their conscience. I guess not. There were no handlers for Sanders supporters. They brought their brains and their hearts to the deliberations and voted their conscience.

This is the problem with the DNC. If you need to follow a handler to tell you how to vote, I don't think you have any business being there. Leave your ego at the door, but keep your brain and heart handy. You might need them. Clinton supporters clearly failed that test. Maybe the presence of the handlers is a symptom of another problem.

The millenials, some 81 million people born between 1982 and 2002, have taken note that their prospects for economic advancement are pretty grim. They've noted that both parties have, in an economic sense, put their young in a walled garden that only allows for subsistence and debt. Nothing more. Common Dreams has covered the plight of the millenials well with a fresh offering here. More to the point, what we see is that the Democratic elite are pandering to what we call, "the professional class", a group of people who have degrees and profitable professions. Old guard Democrats are angling for their money.

That's why they can talk about supporting the TPP with a straight face. The TPP does what every other trade agreement has done in modern history: protect the professional class while putting everyone else in competition with the rest of the world. If you don't believe me, check out this book by economist Dean Baker on the same subject, covering a span of 40 years of American history. It's called "The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive". We learn from that book that conservative factions of the duocracy, under the influence of big money in politics, have written the rules in favor of the wealthy, the rich and the professional class. If you're not upper middle class or higher, you're out of luck. It's time to rewrite the rules.

So when you watch the Democratic National Convention on TV, keep the events in Florida in mind. Be prepared for similar shenanigans at the convention, only scaled up, big time. Remember, everything breaks when you scale it. There is a reason it's going to be a contested convention. Sanders knows it. His supporters know it.

This is not a fight about gender and race. This is a fight about who has the money and who gets to earn it and keep it. So be sure to fund a delegate to ensure that Sanders has all the support he needs. We need to let the DNC know that they had better think it through before they nominate one of the worst presidential candidates in history. Let's hope they come to their senses and nominate Bernie Sanders instead.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

An open letter to the Clinton superdelegates

Dear superdelegates,

This is an open letter to you, the superdelegates of the state of Utah, the place where I live. It is also for any other superdelegate who is still pledging support for Hillary Clinton.

Here are the superdelegates for Utah:

Peter Corroon, current Democratic Party chair for the state of Utah, Bernie Sanders
Wayne Holland, former chair of the Utah Democratic Party, Bernie Sanders
Breanne Miller, vice chair of the Utah Democratic party, Hillary Clinton
Patrice M. Arent, current member of the Utah house, 36th District, Hillary Clinton

To the superdelegates who already support Senator Bernie Sanders, thank you. To all the others, this letter is for you.

I have been reading the story of the struggle for the for the Democratic Nomination for more than a year. I read how more than 450 of you aligned your support for Clinton before even the first primary was held. I was disappointed to see how the press tallied your "votes" into the delegate totals long before you are scheduled to vote on July 25, 2016. I have seen that many of you are steadfast in your determination to vote for Hillary Clinton to be the first woman nominated as presidential candidate for the Democratic Party. Notice that my language says that the nomination is still in contention. That's because neither primary candidate has the 2383 delegates needed to "clinch" the nomination.

While I can empathize with your desire to make history, I can think of better women for the nomination. Unfortunately, we have a contender for the nomination that is of dubious and questionable character in Hillary Rodham Clinton. Hillary is one of the most unpopular candidates for president in modern history. She is still under investigation by the FBI and Congress.

Sure, you could say that those are right-wing conspiracies to derail her candidacy. But you might have noticed that there are no such "conspiracies" against Bernie Sanders. I have read article after article about Clinton's dubious record, not from the conservative side of the spectrum, but from intelligent people on the left. I have written a few myself. I offer the following for your enlightenment:

Hillary has had the privilege of working with a bounty of advantages that any candidate for president would dream of:

  • Household name recognition like no other
  • A compliant media willing to add the spin she needs in the press
  • A well organized and financed campaign coordinated with the supposedly neutral DNC
  • The almost unanimous endorsement and support of every major figure in Democratic history that is still alive today

She should be a shoe-in, right? So why is there so much litigation surrounding the primary elections? Can it really just be sour grapes? I don't think so. Sanders supporters feel rightfully offended by the way the elections were organized and the way the votes were processed. Every single problem that was reported seemed to mean an advantage for Hillary Clinton.

You could say that she was not referred for indictment, but James Comey's press conference included damning statements of Clinton's record as Secretary of State. His past clients and employers provide a conflict of interest for him as well, making him unsuitable to reach the conclusion that no referral is warranted. The impression voters like myself have, is that Clinton is above the law and that she can continue her campaign, even with a cloud over her reputation. If she is above the law, then she is unaccountable to us. Who is she accountable to?

I want to draw your attention now to a passage from one of articles I linked to above, Why the Democratic delegates must choose Bernie Sanders as the Democratic nominee:
"I was particularly bothered by the speaker fees, even after just hearing about a handful of speeches to Goldman Sachs for $225,000 each. That is a lot of money, and Goldman Sachs is a huge and powerful bank. I decided to do my research. And that research led me to learn that it wasn’t just 6 speeches to Goldman Sachs, but 184 speeches by Hillary and Bill to 148 huge and powerful multi-national corporations for a total of $47,756,500 in just the two years before she declared her candidacy."
Hillary Clinton "earned" $47 million in speaking fees in the two years leading up to her announcement as candidate for president of the United States. These are not donations to her family foundation. These are not even political contributions. These are payments for services rendered.

What I would like to know is this: Did any of you, as superdelegates know about this? Now that you do know, how can you justify a vote for Hillary Clinton? You might say, "But she is loyal to all of the people of the United States!"

Which people? The people at the top or the bottom? Or is it somewhere in between?

Former presidential candidate and professor at Harvard University Larry Lessig has compiled and immense body of work on the subject of big money in politics. He has built a superPAC to end all SuperPACs. He has shown us that just 132 Americans have funded 60% of superPAC funding in the 2012 election cycle. His message? "He who pays the piper calls the tune."

"Hillary will say anything and change nothing." That's what then Senator Obama said as he debated Hillary Clinton in 2012. Who is calling the tune for Hillary Clinton now? Sure, she can mouth the words of Senator Sanders all she wants, but she's not a credible progressive. Even after she received the "endorsement of the century", her polling is no better than it was before.

Have a look at this graphic:

Now look at the trend since the endorsement. She went from 11% over Trump to 2.7% over Trump in the polling average. Historically, Clinton almost never recovers from polling setbacks.

She is not just polling badly. She is polling badly against someone I regard as the worst GOP candidate for president, ever. Both of them have net favorability ratings that are near or at historic lows. This polling is not a right-wing conspiracy. This is an indictment of her character.

Bernie Sanders is free of all the baggage that Clinton carries. No scandals, no investigations, no body trails foreign or domestic. He doesn't take big money contributions. He is dependent upon the people alone. He plays the tune called by the people. I may disagree with some of his policy positions, but I know that he is true to the people.

He's not perfect and I wouldn't want him to be. I want our next president to be one of us. Unpolished, a little ruffled, and maybe some wild hair days. I want someone who plays the laws he signs. I know where he stands and that he won't change with the winds like Hillary does. I voted for Sanders because I believe in him and I believe he is the best candidate to serve our country.

Superdelegates, I can't change your mind if you're dead set to vote for Hillary Clinton as the nominee. But you have to ask yourself, is Hillary Clinton the legacy you want to leave behind for your kids and their kids? You may find your sleep easier if you nominate Bernie Sanders, instead. I know I did when I voted for him.


Scott C. Dunn